By Rick Mautz … As we learned in last week’s story of Russ Palmer’s miracle of survival, having an almost lethal heart attack at the age of 36 can shake anyone’s world. Surviving it is one thing, but to live in fear of another in the future can haunt you for the rest of your life. Was it the result of genetics, COVID, or another condition that can’t be changed? Or is there a lifestyle factor that can be followed to, maybe, put this nightmare behind him forever?

In the cardiac world, the major options have been surgery, medication and other procedures. It was thought that you could not reverse coronary artery disease until Dean Ornish, M.D. proved that you could not only prevent it, but you could also reverse it through lifestyle.

In his landmark research “The Lifestyle Heart Trial” and his 1990 published work in the Lancet, “Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?” it was finally shown how powerful lifestyle is in dealing with the number one killer in the Unites States.

About this same time, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic was seeing a complete reversal of severe coronary conditions through lifestyle approaches that we can also apply to our lives to bring life-changing hope and, as Dr. Esselstyn says, become “heart attack proof.”

Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., the founder of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Reversal program at Cleveland Clinic, explains that the endothelial lining of your blood vessels protects us from inflammation and plaque formation. When damaged by oil and animal products, this lining becomes inflamed which can lead to an endothelial rupture. Then a clot forms, cutting off blood supply to the downstream heart muscle causing a heart attack.  When you protect this vascular lining and keep it healthy, you can become “heart attack proof”. His track record speaks for itself with almost a perfect record from those who follow his program, putting an end to the progression of their heart disease, including former President Bill Clinton.

The short version of his dietary approach is to eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet, avoiding oil, nuts, sugar and other high-fat foods. A powerful adjunct for healing and restoring these endothelial cells is to eat dark green leafy vegetables with their rich antioxidant content daily.

Some may say,” That is just a little too radical”, but Dr. Esselstyn will answer, “What is radical is cutting your chest open and cutting out vessels from your body to bypass the blocked area, or having another heart attack. That is radical.”

When considering a lifestyle change like this, we could focus on the things that we can’t eat. But just like there was only one tree in the Garden of Eden that God said not to eat from, they still had the whole garden of the most wonderful fruit that God had provided for them. And the same is true for us today when we focus on all the good food that we get to enjoy on this life-restoring diet. All the filling whole grains, delicious fruits, flavor-filled vegetables, including the antioxidant-packed, dark green, leafy vegetables, and scores of different legumes. We are truly blessed with such a variety of food that God has given us to enjoy and experience the healthy side effects that they bring.

As Dr. Esselstyn describes, “There are side effects to this ‘radical lifestyle’ which include weight loss, normalization of blood pressure, remission of diabetes, feeling better, loss of stroke risk, reduced risk of dementia, and the loss of erectile disfunction for men. So, yes, there are side effects, but only good ones”

Russ Palmer has decided that he would much rather have a long healthy life with his son and wife than continue his diet of things that almost cost him his life.  He is already learning that the foods that were God’s original diet for us can be even more enjoyable and the side effects are only good.

God knew what He was doing when He designed a heart-healthy diet, a brain-healthy diet, a cancer-reducing diet, a weight-control diet. Trust Him and experience the life that He intended for us all.

For more information on how to add this good lifestyle to your medically-supervised health care to not only prevent heart disease but to reverse the damage that you may already have, contact Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center for personalized support and follow the articles and posts on the website.

–Rick Mautz is the Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center director; photo by iStock

Click here for menus for reversing heart disease.

For more information check out these resources.

The Cleveland clinic website

Some short interview with Dr. Esselstyn

1 -The Walking Dead      
2- The Cause and Solution
3- Education in Cardiology
4- Fruits and Nuts         
5- How Much Can I Eat 
6- Going Cold Turkey