My Heart Notebook:
Facing the Silent Killer

Former President Bill Clinton: “I did it because after I had this stent put in, I realized that even though it happens quite often that after bypass surgery you lose the veins because they're thinner and weaker than arteries, the truth is that it clogged up, which means that the cholesterol was still causing buildup in my vein that was part of my bypass. I didn't want it to happen again. So I did all this research and …” 

Just a week ago, former President George W. Bush, well known for his physical fitness involvement and given credit as the fittest president who ever resided in the White House, had a stent inserted in his artery to remove a blockage and let blood flow to his heart.
I will not let my past eating habits — they caused the blockages of my arteries — make me a prime candidate for a heart attack or worse. Give me time and I will report a "clean bill of health" again.
Please follow my progress. It's no more meat for me. No more chicken, fish, and oil. Yes, it was rough going. I committed myself to a vegetarian diet and my taste buds struggled and now love it.
A centenarian birthday celebration, here I come.



Can you imagine it! Less than two weeks earlier, on Wednesday, September 15, 2010, I learned I need a CABG x3 (pronounced cabbage) — that's a triple bypass open heart surgery for a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft on 3 arteries. And I thought I am very healthy with just a nagging high blood pressure that causes no pain, taking me to the pharmacy once a month for a new set of pills.

The 5 WHATs:

What is that? What's involved? What are the risks? What are the alternatives? What does the future hold?

Then two very dear friends steered me toward holistic medicine and the alternative to open heart surgery. I hit the books and Googled my heart out.

Because of my high blood pressure discovered in the mid-80s, I have been watching my diet for more than two decades focusing primarily on low-sodium food and strictly no-salt thanks to my hypertension, turned my back on meat and milk some two years ago, and started visiting the produce section at the supermarket with regularity. I even began taking a 2-ounce shot of wheatgrass juice every morning beginning in mid-May. See The silent killer thwarted. Wheatgrass Did It!

I now follow Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's rules to a T (excerpted from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD; also visit www.heartattackproof.com).

From time to time, hopefully on a regular basis, I will share with you in My Heart Notebook my efforts, my findings, and my results (you can count on that because I have confidence in myself, my friends, and the many professionals who are helping me.)

Why am I doing this? I want you to learn what a diet can and will do for us. Will a plant-based diet cure me and prevent recurrence of this deadly disease?

That only leaves one question: How soon will I play tennis again?

                       Sunday, September 26, 2010                HD

My Notebook

2010-09-07 I visited with my doctor to review the results of my stress test I took last week. No abnormalities. "Oh, by the way," I said as the doctor was leaving the examination room, "I have this pain in the upper chest area from time to time." He immediately ordered a battery of tests, including a coronary catheterization.

2010-09-14 The catheterization was carried out in the morning and I was home in the afternoon.

2010-09-15 My visit with yet another physician hit me with the news: I was advised I am facing a triple bypass operation (CABG x3). The operation was promptly scheduled for Thursday, September 23 at 10:00 am.

2010-09-20 Following in-depth soul searching, reviews with friends,  prompt initiation of research on the Internet, and analysis of the suddenly appearing news accompanied by a very serious operation I am to face in just a few days, I advised the doctors that I wish to hold off on the surgical schedule set for September 23 for the coronary artery bypass graft. (I stumbled onto a new world of a healthy lifestyle when Dr. Esselstyn's writings and videos and those of Dr. Ornish caused me to realize there’s more to playing tennis and removing animal products from the menu — and rectifying my sins of the past.)

        I sent an email to Dr. Heilbron-Jimenez which contained a summary of my situation and a request for a consultation. Upon calling his office, I was given an appointment on September 30.

2010-09-27 I have been researching on the Internet every waking hour and checked out Dr. Esselstyn's book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease from the library to get a head start on the subject before the copy from Amazon arrives.
        Early this morning I sent an email to Dr. Esselstyn summarizing my predicament and added the following:

        I am an active septuagenarian (age 72) divorced male. Though I was trained in mathematics and quantitative science, made my career in the field of computer technology, enjoy the challenges of writing and publishing, have now embarked on a calling for helping homeless and forgotten creatures meant to be our pets, and turned my life and lifestyle into a new direction thanks to newly-found friends, my common sense and learning places me now more firmly into the camp of nutrition-based cure and lifestyle.
        Indeed, I have kept busy. Playing tennis a minimum of five times a week until the summer of 2006 was my major physical activity. I must admit, besides sitting in front of the computer monitor, there has been negligent physical exercise to report for the past four years. I have no valid excuse for abandoning the exercise I loved, but will resume once the present hurdle has been mastered.
Hypertension has haunted me for the past 25 years with many peaks during the past two years in the 200+/100+ range (I reported my experience at The silent killer thwarted. Wheatgrass did it!).
        My lifestyle was based on “meat and potatoes” and beer. I was born and raised in Germany and emigrated to the USA in 1957. I was divorced in 1983 and turned away from beer some ten years ago. I began the slow process of weaning myself from meat products about five years ago, and have banished meat products altogether from my diet two years ago. I do drink a glass of red wine nearly every day; once or twice a week I reach for a second glass. Like tossing aside smoking in 1983 (the pipe; never smoked cigarettes), I could do likewise with the red liquid.

        I contacted Dr. Esselstyn via email and explained my predicament. Feeling trapped between two worlds, I am searching for an answer to the question, Do I have time to pursue the alternative solution you recommend to reverse my predicament or must I submit to the CABG x3 without further delay? I have already begun and committed myself to strictly follow the regimen outlined by you in Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (unfortunately just 10 days ago).
I am DixieLo and behold, my phone rang less than one hour later (I almost missed the call because I was attending to Dixie's needs who loves to explore empty boxes).
        "This is Dr. Esselstyn," the early-morning voice triggered elation. Our 20-minute discussion and the most valuable advice from the eminent researcher made my day. It did much more. I now feel so relieved. No more worries about my decision to hold off the major surgery.
        It's evening now, the Moon over Miami has taken over from the golden sun, and all our feline friends have had their dinner served.
        And I feel very good tonight, laden with energy and with a most positive outlook for the future.
        Dr. Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic didn't mince words when he told me his program is tough because the diet he prescribes most of us in the Western world never gave it the attention it deserves. I am now even more solid with my commitment to be unwaveringly loyal to the nutrition-based cure of my heart disease. I want to live … and I will for many more years.
        I ended the day with a few pieces of cauliflower. Raw. The dinner consisted of a cooked concoction of brown rice, lentils, Brussels sprout, and carrots. I drank a toast to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn with a glass of filtered water. Oops, I nearly forgot to list the red cabbage I like very much.

2010-09-28 Today's breakfast consists of a small bowl of whole grain cereal and old fashioned rolled oats (raw), 1 apple, 1 banana, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almond milk, and a dash of apple juice for sweetness.

2010-10-15 I must also concentrate on exercise. Today arrived the stepping exerciser I ordered from www.Amazon.com (Cory Everson Bilateral Balance Stepper, $59, free shipping). It's no substitute for chasing after that little yellow ball on the tennis court, but it's a step in the right direction.
        I also get plenty of exercise and fresh air being around town every day for two hours in the company of Marlene. Doing what, you will ask. I got to run; it's 3 o'clock. Will tell you later.
        I had an email from Jerry Moore, an old friend (I was a member of his tennis club some 25 years ago); he invited me to come out and hit some balls. I was tempted to grab my racquet, but consulted with Dr. Esselstyn first. He slowed me down and suggested I wait awhile. Jerry, at age 84, is still on the court teaching tennis. I hope to accept his invitation before year's end.

2010-10-26 Visited with my primary physician today. Everything is okay. Blood pressure reads 110/60 and the EKG is improving. Also visited the lovely vampires at the lab; they took my blood for the cholesterol test.

2010-10-27 Dr. Esselstyn called this evening just before 6 o'clock inquiring about my condition, asking more questions, explaining more, and handing out more valuable pointers.

2010-10-28 In a phone call early this morning, Dr. Esselstyn continued his instructions, explaining more details of my condition, and how his plan works. I understood; it makes sense.

      Dr. Esselstyn fired away with a list of greens I should eat every day at a tempo my pen had a difficult time keeping up with. With Mrs. Esselstyn’s help in an email this afternoon, I polished the list (please forgive me for not being kind to the dictionary at times; I am new to the field of culinary delights):


Collard greens


Mustard greens

Napa cabbage

Bok choy

Swiss chard

Brussels sprouts






Romaine lettuce.

That is just a partial list, Mrs. Esselstyn commented. She added, "All greens are good; the top are kale and collards, but you have to know how to cook them. Strip off the thick stems and boil them 4 or 5 minutes or until they taste like spinach; put on lemon or balsamic vinegar." I like White Balsamic Fig Infused Vinegar; the sweetness of the fig gives the vinegar a pleasant taste. 

2010-10-29 I forgot to report one big decision I made yesterday; actually, it is two. How could I forget. I contemplated all night long the wisdom of these two decisions. During my conversation with Dr. Esselstyn yesterday, I built up the courage to ask, "Would it be okay to have 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning and 1 or 2 glasses of wine in the evening?" I had cut out coffee five weeks ago and miss it, I offered as a justification. Ditto for the red stuff. "One glass of wine every Saturday would be okay; coffee I would stay away from," I heard the telephone voice advise.

        I decided to eliminate both, scrubbed the coffeemaker, placed it in its original carton, put it away, and scratched the bottle of wine from my shopping list. No more coffee and no more wine for me. I can do it. I will!

        Cholesterol test results are in: Cholesterol 168, HDL 31 (good cholesterol), LDL 185 (bad cholesterol). We are getting closer to Dr. Esselstyn's goal of a 150 cholesterol reading.

To compare:
2007-06-25: Cholesterol 279
2008-08-11: Cholesterol 208, HDL 41, LDL 126.

2010-11-27 Today I ran out of handkerchiefs. For the past four days a nasty runny nose, sweaty body, and feeling awful has been haunting me.

        "That's very good news," clamored a dear friend in jubilation. Then she explained. My body is catching on to my diet of raw greens and is beginning to cleans itself. Well, I will not complain about my suffering; after all, I am committed to heal myself and be very young again. She laughed.

2010-11-28 Last night hit me with a scare. In the middle of the night I awakened with chest pains, miserable headache, and feeling terrible. I don't believe in reaching for headache pills, but had to do something. I reached for the thermometer and was advised by its reading fever was not the culprit. Please don't laugh. I calmed down and figured all is well or at least when the sun rises I will feel well again. Today is Sunday; on Monday I will report the incident to my medical authorities.

        As the morning sun enlivened my breakfast of my daily shot of wheatgrass juice followed by a large glass of freshly squeezed carrots, celery, Brussels sprouts, collards, apple, and banana I felt wonderful again, all pains and sweatiness were gone.

        My good friend Regina urged: go immediately to the Emergency Room. I will go there only if I am unwillingly dragged there — waiting in the ER for hours is ruthless punishment.

2010-11-30 I feel wonderful. Readings at midday report a blood pressure of 102/77, heart rate of 52, temperature of 96.5, and weight of 150.

        I played cat catcher and trapped a feral black and white to be sterilized. I misread the clipped ear; he was already neutered. Stray cats will have their left ear clipped, it's a tiny clip, to give notice to the wonderful people who take care of the multitude of homeless cats. This kitten, middle-aged, was showered with the wonderful heart of one of the ladies who devote their time and resources feeding these stray cats. The veterinarian performed an urgent operation on the cat's teeth; a must to assure life without pain and other complications. Let me speak for the homeless kitty: Thank you, Marlene, for reaching into your own pocket for this operation. You are an angel.

        When I took our patient home for a required rest period before releasing him in his home territory, I was pleasantly surprised by Dixie's reaction to our overnight guest. Dixie, my black and white cat, promptly recognized the inhabitant of the cat carrier and placed himself at the carrier's door to keep the recuperating fellow cat company. How gentlemanly a gesture!

        I can't say good night without getting the following off my chest. We all know Miami is capital of homeless cats. Why must private citizens dedicate themselves to feeding these stray cats and spending thousands of dollars of their own money to recover the health of these poor, homeless critters? Our city fathers are cruel politicians and without compassion because they refuse to help. They should be accused of animal cruelty because their no-action results in the round-up of these cats by hired mercenaries and the brutal murders of these lovable creatures, many of which were members of families who lost their homes in foreclose, victims of our economic downfall created by irresponsible powerful forces.

How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
Using a Plant-based Diet

Former President Bill Clinton: (Interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer)

“I did it because after I had this stent put in, I realized that even though it happens quite often that after bypass surgery you lose the veins because they're thinner and weaker than arteries, the truth is that it clogged up, which means that the cholesterol was still causing buildup in my vein that was part of my bypass.

I didn't want it to happen again. So I did all this research and it says that 82% of the people since 1986 who have gone on a plant-based, no dairy, no meat of any kind -- I eat very little fish -- 82% of the people who have done that have begun to heal themselves. Their arterial blockage cleans up, the calcium deposit around their heart breaks up.

This movement has been led by Doctor Caldwell B. Esselstyn at the Cleveland, Dean Ornish out in California, the doctors Campbell, father and son who wrote The China Study, and a handful of others. But we now have 25 years of evidence. So I thought... I'll become part of this experiment. I'll see if I can become one of those who can have a self-clearing mechanism.”

Dr Esselstyn is, of course, the very same doctor who has been a guest on the NaturalNews Talk Hour (http://www.naturalnews.com/027472_D...) and whose website www.HeartAttackProof.com helps people teach themselves how to reverse heart disease using a plant-based diet.

Bill Clinton has apparently made a courageous decision to pursue a plant-based diet and thereby save his own life. Notably, such a move would have been impossible during his presidency due to a strong political backlash from the dairy and meat industries who continue to push their disease-promoting foods on the population.

Roy Heilbron-Jimenez, MD



Board Certified Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Holistic Medicine

Mt. Sinai Hospital, 4302 Alton Road, Suite 530, Miami Beach

Click to enlargeT. Colin Campbell, PhD

The China Study

The science is clear. The results are unmistakable.
Change your diet and dramatically reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Respected nutrition and health researcher, Dr. T. Colin Campbell reveals the truth behind special interest groups, government entities and scientists that have taken Americans down a deadly path

Even today, as the low-carb craze sweeps the nation, two-thirds of adults are still obese and children are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, typically an “adult” disease, at an alarming rate. If we’re eating healthier, why are Americans stricken with heart disease as much as we were 30 years ago?

Drawing on the project findings in rural China, but going far beyond those findings, The China Study details the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The report also examines the source of nutritional confusion produced by powerful lobbies, government entities, and opportunistic scientists. The New York Times has recognized the study (China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project) as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology” and the “most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.”


Click to enlargeCaldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Cleveland Clinic



Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease



Here are the rules of Dr. Esselstyn's program
in their simplest form:

• You may not eat anything with a mother or a face (no meat, poultry, or fish).

• You cannot eat dairy products.

• You must not consume oil of any kind — not a drop. (Yes, you devotees of the Mediterranean Diet, that includes olive oil, as I’ll explain in Chapter 10 of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.)

• Generally, you cannot eat nuts or avocados.

You can eat a wonderful variety of delicious, nutrient-dense foods:

• All vegetables except avocado. Leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, veggies that are red, green, purple, orange, and yellow and everything in between

• All legumes — beans, peas, and lentils of all varieties.

• All whole grains and products, such as bread and pasta, that are made from them — as long as they do not contain added fats.

• All fruits.

Instead of using milk on cereal, people can use non-fat soymilk, oat milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, multigrain milk, etc.


Dean Ornish, MD

Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI)


Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease;

Eat More, Weigh Less;

Love & Survival;

The Spectrum.


Decision Memo for Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation (ICR) Program - Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease (CAG-00419N)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease meets the intensive cardiac rehabilitation (ICR) program requirements set forth by Congress in §1861(eee)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act and in our regulations at 42 C.F.R. §410.49(c) and, as such, has been included on the list of approved ICR programs available at http://www.cms.gov/MedicareApprovedFacilitie/.


The following foods can be eaten whenever you are hungry, until you are full:

·         Beans and legumes

·         Fruits -- anything from apples to watermelon, from raspberries to pineapples

·         Grains

·         Vegetables


These foods should be eaten in moderation:

·         Nonfat dairy products -- skim milk, nonfat yogurt, nonfat cheeses, nonfat sour cream, and egg whites

·         Nonfat or very low-fat commercially available products --from Life Choice frozen dinners to Haagen-Dazs frozen yogurt bars and Entenmann's fat-free desserts (but if sugar is among the first few ingredients listed, put it back on the shelf)


These foods should be avoided:

·         Meat of all kinds -- red and white, fish and fowl (if we can't give up meat, we should at least eat as little as possible)

·         Oils and oil-containing products, such as margarine and most salad dressings

·         Avocados

·         Olives

·         Nuts and seeds

·         Dairy products (other than the nonfat ones above)

·         Sugar and simple sugar derivatives -- honey, molasses, corn syrup, and high-fructose syrup

·         Alcohol

·         Anything commercially prepared that has more than two grams of fat per serving

A Tiny Dictionary

The repair of a blood vessel, as by inserting a balloon-tipped catheter to unclog it or by replacing part of the vessel with either a piece of the patient's own tissue or a prosthetic device: coronary angioplasty to widen an artery blocked by plaque.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft on 3 arteries

1. Chemistry. the process of chelating.
2. Medicine/Medical .
a. a method of removing certain heavy metals from the bloodstream, used esp. in treating lead or mercury poisoning.
b. a controversial treatment for arteriosclerosis that attempts to remove calcium deposits from the inner walls of the coronary arteries.

Coronary catheterization
the use of or insertion of a catheter (as in or into the bladder, trachea, or heart)
catheterize or British catheterise

Enhanced External Counterpulsation

Holistic Medicine
Medical Dictionary
An approach to medical care that emphasizes the study of all aspects of a person's health, including psychological, social, and economic influences on health status.
Cultural Dictionary
An approach to medicine that emphasizes treating the person as a whole, with special attention to the interconnections of the mind and body and of the systems within the body. Holistic medicine stresses the patient's role in health care through such means as positive attitudes, sound diet, and regular exercise.

Philosophy .
1. the theory that whole entities, as fundamental components of reality, have an existence other than as the mere sum of their parts. Compare
organicism ( def. 1 ) .
2. Also,
holiatry. Medicine/Medical . care of the entire patient in all aspects.
3. Psychology . any psychologic system postulating that the human mind must be studied as a unit rather than as a sum of its individual parts.
World English Dictionary
1.      any doctrine that a system may have properties over and above those of its parts and their organization
      See also alternative medicine the treatment of any subject as a whole integrated system, esp, in medicine, the consideration of the complete person, physically and psychologically, in the treatment of a disease
      philosophy reductionism Compare atomism one of a number of methodological theses holding that the significance of the parts can only be understood in terms of their contribution to the significance of the whole and that the latter must therefore be epistemologically prior

Lipid Profile
The lipid profile is a group of tests that are often ordered together to determine risk of coronary heart disease. They are tests that have been shown to be good indicators of whether someone is likely to have a heart attack or stroke caused by blockage of blood vessels or hardening of the arteries (atherosclerois). The lipid profile typically includes:
Total cholesterol
High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — often called good cholesterol
Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) —often called bad cholesterol

Links to Relevant Websites














See you later, alligator. After a while, crocodile.

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What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease occurs when fatty deposits called plaque (say "plak") build up inside the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries wrap around the heart and supply it with blood and oxygen. When plaque builds up, it narrows the arteries and reduces the amount of blood that gets to your heart. This can lead to serious problems, including heart attack.

Coronary artery disease (also called CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is also the number one killer of both men and women in the United States.

Please read more.