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We have always been taught that meat and dairy are essential parts of a balanced and healthy diet, but according to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. these types of foods are the reason that heart disease is the leading killer in the United States. Read the full CNN story here.

Esselstyn did not set out to change how people eat, he was a general surgeon by trade, but while researching cancer he discovered that some cultures like the Papua New Guinea highlanders and rural Chinese simply do not suffer from heart disease and Esselstyn believes it can all be tied back to their diet.

Esselstyn claims that by following his dietary prescription you will actually become “heart attack proof” regardless of family history.

"It’s a foodborne illness, and we’re never going to end the epidemic with stents, with bypasses, with the drugs, because none of it is treating causation of the illness," Esselstyn says.

Esselstyn’s diet calls for the complete elimination of meat, eggs, dairy and added oils, a completely alien concept to most Americans, but with promises of heart disease prevention and even reversal it is certainly worth a look.

Conventional wisdom tells us that diet is only one factor in preventing heart disease, with physical activity, cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight all playing key roles.

According to the American Heart Association 83 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease and the whopping $270 billion cost of treating heart disease is expected to more than double by 2025.

While there is currently little evidence that Esselstyn’s “heart attack proof” diet can actually eliminate heart disease diet is gaining momentum and many of those on the diet credit Dr. Esselstyn with their improved health and even their lives.

While I am not entirely sold on Esselstyn’s diet being the key to eleimianting the heart disease, the concept is highly intriguing. Imagine how great it would if we could completely eliminate the need for many costly and dangerous medications by simply changing our diets. While this has always been true to some degree and we have not been willing to make those changes or sacrifices, I believe it could be possible to change the mindset of an entire nation if the reward is signinificant enough. And what better reward could there be than to eliminate the nation’s no. 1 killer.

"We are on the cusp of what could be an absolute revolution in health — not dependent on pills, procedures or operations, but on lifestyle," Esselstyn says.


  1. Gravatar for Jessica Hoerman

    I am fascinated by studies such as the ones you mentioned regarding the rural communities that don't experience the same diseases we do as a result of their eating habits. Michael Pollen's amazing book, "Omnivore's Dilemna" spoke of the same.

    Living completely vegan is a challenge, but, it certainly appears to have the science backing its health benefits.

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Gravatar for DiaaK

    Dr. Esselstyn's book is great reading. Fascinating story, fascinating - and courageous! - journey. So far (3 weeks), I have to say that a vegan diet has made my fingernails really, really strong. No wonder Rhinos like plants!

  3. Gravatar for andrew

    once you read Esselstyn's book and T. Colin Campbells' book there is no going back. It's the reason Bill Clinton turned vegan.

  4. Gravatar for A. Scott Williams
    A. Scott Williams

    Scott, great post to get everyone thinking about what we eat.

    Just as importantly is not only what we eat but how much we eat. Have you stopped to think about the portions at restaurants? Last night I ate at a chain that had to post their calorie counts (the first time I have eaten there since the new rules) and I passed on my old standard because it had twice the calories of many other dishes.

    I read Omnivore and China study and personally stopped eating processed meats (I still have some grass fed beef) and I eat more fish than ever before. My cholesterol and weight have reduced significantly.

    Thanks again for the great article.

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