Probably a great many more than you think.
Think of how many people you know over thirty; then multiply that number by 90%. You see, most people in the United States over the age of thirty already have heart disease, although most of them have never experienced the first symptom. And far too often that first symptom is a deadly heart attack.
That’s what happened to Mike—a good friend of mine in Stonington, CT, a few weeks ago. He was 71, an avid skier, sailor, exercised regularly and was apparently in very good health. While expecting to enjoy many more years of travel, leisure, volunteer work and great times with friends and family—his life was snatched away in an instant. It is the memory of Mike that inspired me to write this post today. Maybe his story will help to save others; he would like that.
This photo illustrates the way I will remember my good friend—enjoying time on the water with me and my oldest grandson, Collin. Unfortunately for Mike’s grandchildren, they will not be able to sail with their grandfather ever again. Because Mike died of heart disease on April 5, 2013.
So did Mike know that he had heart disease? I doubt it, although I know that he visited a number of physicians regularly and he may have been taking cholesterol lowering drugs. But no one dies from high cholesterol. Cholesterol is just a bio-marker.
People die from heart disease—a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Even if Lipitor may keep total cholesterol below 200, it does nothing to address the causation of the disease and it does nothing to remove the deadly plaque that has built up from a lifetime of eating the artery-clogging Standard American Diet (The S.A.D.).
Heart disease at age 30? What’s up with that? I first learned about it from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., when he told the story of American soldiers who died fighting in Korea back in the early fifties. Autopsies at the time revealed that 80% of those young men had advanced coronary artery disease.
But guess what? Their Asian counterparts (who ate a mostly whole foods, plant-based diet) had perfectly healthy arteries—not a trace of heart disease. We’re talking sixty years ago. We’re talking about the #1 killer in the United States and most of the Western world. So why is this news not being shared with the public?
The Story of Dr. Sprouts. When Dr. Esselstyn began reversing heart disease in ALL of his patients at the Cleveland Clinic back in the early eighties, guess what the cardiologists there started calling him? Dr. Sprouts. They ridiculed him because he had figured out a way to completely cure heart disease—by simply prescribing whole, plant-based foods like broccoli, oatmeal and Brussels sprouts.
So why are the cardiologists and other mainstream medical doctors not telling us this wonderful news today—over thirty years later? The short answer is MONEY. The longer answer includes a few more words: power, ego and control. If you want to learn the entire gory story about our dysfunctional health “care” system, order yourself a copy of Dr. Campbell’s new book, WHOLE. It starts shipping on May 7.
You might be wondering right now why J. Morris Hicks didn’t tell his friend Mike about preventing and reversing most chronic disease with nothing more than a whole foods, plant-based diet? Actually, in August of 2008, I arranged for Dr. Esselstyn to speak at our yacht club in Stonington. He spoke to a packed house and then we all enjoyed a health-promoting meal that had been designed by his wife Ann for the event.
But how many people took heed? Not many. Oh, some may have thought about what they were eating for a few days, but would soon forget about it when they next visited their own doctor. That’s because there’s about a 95% chance that their own doctor would be eating some version of the S.A.D. him/herself—meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods three meals a day, 365 days a year.
A truly sad situation. How many more unnecessary deaths will occur before our health care professionals start telling us the truth about the primary cause of chronic disease? How can you help accelerate the process?
The Bottom Line. Even though the news is out there quite a bit these days, people are not likely to “radically” change their diet-style until they get crystal clear advice from their own medical doctor. Even though President Clinton went public with his heart-healthy vegan diet in 2010 and even though CNN aired the powerful “Last Heart Attack” special with Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2011—most people are not going to change their eating habits until they start hearing it from their doctors.
Mike would probably still be alive today if he’d been getting “Dr. Esselstyn” type of advice from the five or six doctors who comprised his health “care” team. What can you do to help spread the word? What can you do to help your doctor discover the powerful disease-reversing truths that were discovered over a half-century ago? Here’s what you can do:
- Ask your doctor to watch “The Last Heart Attack.” If he/she hasn’t seen it when you go for your next visit, get a new doctor until you find one that will listen. You want a doctor who will learn to promote health—even though it doesn’t pay as well as “managing disease.” “The Last Heart Attack” CNN
- Give a copy of Dr. Esselstyn’s book to your doctor. Click here to purchase Prevent/Reverse on Amazon. Again, if he/she doesn’t read it and discuss it with you, get a new doctor.
- Send this blogpost to all of your friends and ask them to see if they can get their doctors to watch “The Last Heart Attack” and read Dr. Esselstyn’s book.
Aside from the millions of unnecessary deaths in the United States each year, the cost of “managing disease” is bankrupting our nation. It’s also beginning to impact our defense spending and jeopardizing our national security. Not only that, the way we eat is the leading cause of global warming, it is grossly unsustainable and would require over two planet Earths to feed all seven billion of us if everyone ate the way we do in America.
Finally, do all of the above for the future “Mikes” out there who are totally unaware of the disease that is quietly going about putting their heart out of business.
- Obituary from The New London Day. Learn about Mike’s distinguished career in advertising. Published on April 7, 2013.
- My special page on Heart Disease. Here you will find lots of videos and links to a ton of information on this crucial topic. Heart Disease (#1 killer)
- My special video page. “The Last Heart Attack” CNN
- My earlier blog from June 2012. Why you won’t hear this life-saving information from the American Heart Association
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to email@example.com
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation