During the course of Bill Clinton’s presidency, he was a walking billboard for “SAD,” the aptly-named acronym for the Standard American Diet. The hamburgers, ribs, fried chicken and steaks he consumed were legend, to the point that Hillary had the White House cooking staff change the kinds of foods they served there to try and get her husband to at least eat healthy at home.
Perhaps it was the food at home that had the President stop at fast food joints in the middle of his jogs around DC so he could become the butt of all those McDonald’s jokes – it was the only way he could get his unhealthy processed food and meat fix!
Fast forward many years and several heart procedures to unclog arteries and prevent a fatal heart attack, and Clinton’s daughter Chelsea is married with a child. She, like all kids, wants to see her father stick around for a while. So she asked him to please get healthy in time for her wedding – and maybe shed a few pounds along the way before walking her down the aisle.
He obliged, and in the process exceeded all his goals, dropping over twenty pounds and sparing himself from another heart incident, not through drugs or another medical procedure. He did it with food – by turning to a plant-based diet.
Bill Clinton’s vegan diet is one of the more famous cases in recent years, but there are many others who have done the same thing, and with very similar results. There is much to be said for eating a vegan or mostly vegan diet. The drug companies don’t necessarily want this to become common knowledge, but there is absolutely no more sure fire way to prevent and reverse heart disease than by consuming a plant-based diet. None.
Very few of us think of food as having healing properties. We think of certain foods we must avoid, we think of food as poison and harmful and toxic, but to think of food actively doing good for our bodies? Of course it makes sense – what else is food ultimately for? But with all the bad food in our culture, it’s hard to shift the mindset.
To be clear – it’s not just a matter of eliminating the bad stuff. You absolutely must be committed to filling your plate with lots of the good stuff.
Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, have a very high nutrient density – lots of nutrients contained within very few calories. Dr. Joel Fuhrman has an equation for this: H=N/C. Translation: “Your health is dependent on the nutrient-per-calorie density of your diet.” Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals), essential to our health and well-being, are found in spades in plant-based foods – primarily vegetables (the green, leafy, and cruciferous kind are the best foods on the planet), followed by an array of colorful vegetables and fruits.
The nutrients found in plant foods have been proven to reduce cholesterol (a major risk factor for heart disease), high blood pressure (a major risk factor for heart disease), and to actually clean the arteries of plaque and reverse atherosclerosis (which is heart disease), and to do so surprisingly quickly. Limited good fats, such as those you’d get from a handful of raw almonds, walnuts, or seeds, and the omega-3 fats found in oily fish, fish oil, and flaxseed, are also good for cardiovascular health. Round out your diet with a few helpings of beans, legumes, and 100% whole grains, and you’ve got the recipe for a heart that will last a very long lifetime.
Dr. Fuhrman actually recommends a serious change in diet (you have to stick to it, of course!) over any invasive heart procedure, even when arteries are clogged and a heart attack is right around the corner! Bill Clinton’s second heart procedure, for instance, was the insertion of stents in his arteries that had become clogged again because of the previous bypass surgery. Surgery has risks that go beyond what happens in the moment on the operating table!
Isn’t it comforting to know that you don’t need to go under the knife or take a mountain of pills to keep your heart healthy? Isn’t it comforting to know that all you need to keep a heart attack at bay can be found at your local farmer’s market?
Now that’s what I call comfort food!
By Jennifer Nyx