In his book, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Programme for Reversing Heart Disease, Dr. Ornish said, “Instead of asking you to follow a long list of ‘do’s and do not’s’ you have a spectrum of choices based on your specific needs. If you have coronary heart disease, then your intake of fat and cholesterol needs to be very low to increase the likely hood that reversal will occur. If you don’t have a heart problem, then you may eat somewhat more fat and cholesterol.” He recommends two types of diets in his programme, the Reversal Diet for those who have coronary heart disease and the Preventive Diet for those who want to avoid the risk of heart disease.
The Reversal Diet is very low on fat, less than 10% of total calorie intake, and has almost no cholesterol. It excludes all oils and all animal products except low fat milk and yogurt. He recommends that there is no need to restrict calorie intake but to be careful of the type of food and to select only from vegetable sources. In the Preventive Diet, Dr. Ornish recommends cutting back on meats, ice-cream, butter, eggs, cheese and oils. If your cholesterol level is below 150 and you are not taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, then whatever you are eating is probably sufficient to prevent heart disease. If your cholesterol level is greater than 150, he recommends eliminating red meats completely, eating more fish, avoiding fried foods, having some vegetarian meals each week and using as little oil as possible when cooking. He said, “Some people will find moderate dietary changes are sufficient to bring their cholesterol levels down around 150. Others will require more comprehensive changes to accomplish this.”
Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, ‘Programme for reversing heart disease’ greatly influenced me on my journey towards good health. Dean Ornish, is a revolutionary thought leader in healthcare and medicine, proving through 35 years of research that comprehensive lifestyle changes can improve chronic heart conditions and transform lives. I learned that good health requires a holistic approach with physical activity, proper nutrition and eating habits and managing stress. Also, the influence of family support, social engagement and spiritual pursuits have on our sense of wellbeing and good health. We address the root cause of diseases when we work on all these aspects of life.
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