Plant based diets

Hi All - New to this world. Recently diagnosed with CAD. Age 47 fit (thought I was fit). Never smoked. Play soccer 2 -3 X per week ( vs 25 yr olds)Gym 2-3 Xs per week. Had physical 12/18. Abnormal ekg. Went to cardio - sent for calcium score. Score was 300. 98th percentile for age. Stress test abnormal. Had angiogram - 100% blockage in circumflex. 40% & 50% in 2 others. Angio showed body made collateral artery. Started dr. Ornish diet. Cholesterol dropped from 230 to 90 in 3 weeks. LDL 154 to 29. HDL 50 to 42. Also started statin 40 mg (cut to 20).

Has anyone else seen such dramatic change. Cardio recommended no stent or surgery. Continue diet.

Do any of you have insight on continuing training.

Thanks for any input.

15 Replies

  • If its working then keep it going.

    Diet and exercisers threat forward.

  • Very similar to my position. I'm a couple of years younger, non smoking keep fit fanatic but a poor family history on fathers side of heart disease. Only because I felt a strange sensation in throat whilst out running did I investigate and like you, turned out I had multiple narrowing. I bought into Ornish and Dr Esselstyn plant based diets and like you, dropped my CH from 6.3 to 3.1 (uk) in 9 weeks which Drs stated they had never seen before. After weighing everything up I had a Cabg x 5 but have stuck to the diet too and will do ever more.

    I'd recommend having a good look at Dr Esselstyns publications - the man even took a call from me pre-surgery so I don't believe it's just a business for them and I do believe generics can load the gun but diet pulls the trigger. You're luck like me you've had no 'incident' and can now do something about it. Training wise the best advice I've had is listen to your body. More good cardio and less heavy weights. I don't think I'll run marathons any more (why risk pushing to extremes) but not will I ever remain sedentary - not in my nature. Get a dog....walk a lot and go back to the gym but shift the emphasis to cardio. The advice is keep BPM to 130 or below....yeah well that a slow jog so again, listen to your body.

    Many people see the plant based diet as a sacrifice but for me it's enhanced my life, and as my family shift towards it too it's had so many positive knock on's. It's cheaper, you feel better all round, it's more compassionate (what cowspiracy or vegucated on Netflix) and it's better for the planet. I'm just slightly ashamed it took a serious health scare to realize the benefits!!

    I genuinely believe from my research that if you stick to the plan your prospects are excellent. In sure there's a reason they haven't opened up the 100% blockage but one to keep an eye on I'm sure and hopefully if you stick to the diet your blood flow will increase over time and reduce any risk.

    Best of luck to you.

  • I appreciate the response. How long have you been on your diet? It would be helpful if we could see responses from people have made these lifestyle changes over a longer period. The reason the didn't recommend doing anything is due to the collatoral artery. In researching the subject it seems you can prevent without surgery and meds. Just have to be disciplined. I'm shock at results in 1 month of eating plant based and grains. Dropped 15 lbs wout lot of excercise. Wasn't overweight to begin with.

  • I have been on the plant based diet for 307 days or 10 months. Had 95% blockage in artery, no heart damage, got to the hospital in time. Had stent fitted, wish I hadn't but was in no position to argue at the time. Released from hospital 4 days later told to take statins, beta blockers, clopidogrel and aspirin. Was told to limit the fat in my food and not to drink too much beer.. that was it. I researched on the internet and found information on plant based diet Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish. I bought both books and have been plant based ever since.

    At the beginning I was tired but wasn't eating enough calories, increased my food intake, felt better. I hated the beta blockers so asked my cardiologist if I could stop taking it as my heart rate was around 54bpm normally anyway. After a treadmill he agreed I could stop the beta blocker. I felt better almost right away. I went against his advice on the statins and stopped taking those too as I had heard too many bad reports on statins besides I was on a plant based diet and after a few weeks had my cholesterol done again and the score was great. My total cholesterol was below 150.

    It took a long time to get the diet right. I lost a load of weight quickly and 8 months later ended up with a few gallbladder attacks which I thought were problems with my heart. I had the gallbladder removed in December 2015 and 4 weeks later was feeling good.

    I don't miss the beef, chicken, pork, lamb etc etc or the milk, but I do miss cheese, butter, and fries. After reading the labels on the "Natural wholemeal breads" bought in shops and supermarkets, I now make my own. I now have the attitude. If it doesn't come straight from the ground, I don't eat it.

    I don't overdo the exercise, no running to the gym every day. I swim once a week for about an hour, I cycle cross country quite a bit, when weather permits and if not I use the static training bike I have at home. I do light weights and keep myself reasonably fit. I look good and I'm feeling much better than I have in years. I will never go back to the way it was.

  • did you take the beta blockers for high blood pressure. Any problems when you stopped. I take them for high blood pressure but want to stop.

  • I didn't have high blood pressure. My blood pressure was always in a good range 112/70 for my age 51 I think it's pretty decent. It's common practice to put a person on to beta blockers after a heart attack, but they made me feel terrible. No problems after I stopped actually felt better, however if you have high blood pressure I think you would need to stay on them at least until you can solve the high blood pressure problem and of course under direction of your doctor.

  • Sounds like your on the right path and doing well. It sounds like you regret the stent. Any reason? Do you believe with diet it may not have been necessary? What symptoms did you have that sent you to hospital? I had no symptons - very active until a physical in mid december. After test found 100% blockage. Think I'm lucky I made collateral artery. After shock of all this I have no question we can reverse & prevent future problems. My cholesterol has dropped 60% - dr. now says too low. Reduced statin from 40 to 20 mg. Lost 17 lbs while still eating a lot. Thought I was fit before finding out.

    Keep the discipline & live each day to fullest!

  • Perhaps a good idea to check out the problems associated with cholesterol being too low? You don't want to swap one health problem for another.

  • Hi, Yes I had symptoms I had an episode two weeks prior to the heart attack as I was attaching a piece of machinery to the back of the tractor. It was like something grabbed and twisted my heart under the rib cage but then let go. I went into the house and took an aspirin and drove to the hospital but the doctor at A&E told me that it was a pulled muscle in my back. I left and went back home. Two weeks later I was doing some light work in the yard but didn't feel good, I had a dry mouth, nauseous and a little tight chested. I went into the house and asked my wife to take me to the doctors. On arrival the did an ECG but everything looked normal and they told me to go home. At this point though the pain was now radiating down my right arm ( not left ). I told the nurse that I was having a heart attack but she dismissed it and sent me upstairs to see the doctor. Once I got to the top of the stairs the pain was almost unbearable and I told my wife that i needed to go to A&E and to leave the surgery. At this point I was in agony and we were in a queue to see the doctor. My wife seen the distress on my face and asked the people in the queue if we could go in front, they of course agreed. The doctor looked at the ecg printout and said that it was normal and that I wasn't having a heart attack. I told her that she was wrong and that she should get an ambulance. She then agreed for me to have another ECG. This one was showing my heart was distressed. The doctor said " you are having a heart attack" of which I replied, thank god you believe me. Ambulance came, given aspirin and morphine and taken to hospital. When I arrived it all happened so quickly. The cardiologist told me that he would put a catheter into my heart via the main artery in the groin. I watched it on the monitor. He then showed me where the blockage was and then opened the blockage by inflating a balloon, then the stent was inserted and expanded. It all happened very fast and had I known what I know now I would not have had the stent inserted. I do believe with a plant based diet that I would have been able to prevent the artery blocking again.

    Fit and being healthy are two separate things. I was reasonably fit however I wasn't healthy. I smoked, I drank beer and I ate lots of meat and dairy products. Today, I look better, I am stronger, slimmer and healthier than I have been since I was in my early twenties.

  • Marcus911 -

    That's an unbelievable story! Guess you were lucky to be at dr. office but sounds like they were really driving up your blood pressure. I'm suprised that you feel you wish they didn't do stent. Did you have immediate relief? Sounds like your doing really well with the lifestyle change.

    I've done a tone of research since I found out my calcium score. I had never heard of it as I thought I was healthy and fit. Never smoked. Always active. Even thought I ate relatively healthy. What's most amazing is that they don't use the score as preventive medicine at a younger age (40) a lot of this could be avoided by following plant based diet. At least I hope since I have 100% blockage in circumflex & 40% in 3 others.

    Like I've said in 3 weeks I dropped cholestrol 60% & lost 15lbs. They put me on 40 mg statin & dropped to 20 mg.

  • Yes I got immediate relief as the balloon was deflated, I could actually see on the monitor the blood filling up the artery. The stent I know was placed to keep the artery open, however if I had known about how good the plant based diet was I would have refused stenting at that point. After all the blood was now flowing through the artery after angioplasty.

    I believe that fitness has nothing much to do with what goes on inside your arteries. I know plenty of people who were considered as fit who died from cardiac arrest. What you put inside your arteries is what counts.

  • I also Agee with you that the food is actually good and as of yet don't miss much.

    Keep up the discipline and I'm sure you'll be with your family a long time.

  • A little over 12 months now and like you, dropped some weight naturally. I was previously quite high protein and lots of gym so it's taken a new mindset as your previous fitness goals change (and arguably should include the goal of staying alive!). Another good point of reference is the many plant based athletes. Robert Cheeke is worth a look.

    I don't think I could ever go back to meat now irrespective of illness. My chest is healthy fish now and again. Similar to Mr Bill Clinton so I suppose technically prescatarian.

    The success of your CH drop just supports the theory .... We are what we eat!

  • "Cholesterol dropped from 230 to 90 in 3 weeks. LDL 154 to 29. HDL 50 to 42.

    Also started statin 40 mg (cut to 20). "

    Please check your cholesterol numbers against the standard in this web site:

    Is it the food intake or statin dropping the numbers?

  • Think it's a combination of both.Reduced statin by 50% a month ago & going to have blood test tomorrow to see impact on numbers.

    There's no question no fat diet effects numbers greatly.

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