What change in diet have you made that changed your life for the better? Our story!

I write from my own life experiences! It was at an early July month of summer 2017, that my husband got diagnosed with mild to moderate coronary artery blockage. Two of his side valves were blocked to nearly 90 percent and his cardiac surgeon suggested immediate stenting (Stent: A tube designed to be inserted into a vessel or passageway to keep it open. Stents are inserted into narrowed coronary arteries to help keep them open after balloon angioplasty. The stent then allows the normal flow of blood and oxygen to the heart). Though we were devastated by this news, my husband wanted to do some thorough research before undergoing the surgery. He took a weeks’ permission from his doctor, who hesitatingly gave him so, to do his own research. In the meantime, hubby’s younger brother and sis-in-law, both experienced practicing physicians here in the US, were urging him to undergo the surgery without wasting a second. Few of my cousins who were also cardiac surgeons back in India explained the positives and the negatives of stenting and advised to go for it at the earliest after going through his reports.

But him, who always displayed a strong will power and faith in eating right, insisted on trying something different other than stenting. In his hunt, he discovered the Forks over Knives Vegan diet (personal journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist from Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. On separate paths, their discoveries and groundbreaking research led them to the same startling conclusion: Chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes can almost always be prevented — and in many cases reversed — by adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet). This is an exclusively plant-based whole food diet, with zero oil cooking.

Almost 3–5 times a day, hubby was advised by Dr. Esselstyn to ONLY chew and eat, each time a handful of super greens, which included a nutritious blend of organic baby spinach, arugula, chard, and kale, at least an hour before his regular vegan meals. Chewing the greens along with the saliva generates nitric oxide which produces tremendous positive vascular effects. I chopped a bowl full of greens with varied berries, oranges, cantaloupes and every other semi-sweet fruit to add taste to the greens. An hour later his vegan meals were served that got cooked with zero oil.

Matter of fact, initially it was an effort since we don’t have a concept of cooking Indian cuisine without fat. Indian dishes are flavorful with spices, and fat is the major source to blend in the spices to get rid of its pungency and bitterness along with enhancing the taste of those dishes, be it vegan or nonvegan. Obviously, for that reason, it was a challenging task for me, and I tested and tried, minimizing the spices and substituting bits of sweet/sour fruits like oranges and pears for reducing the pungency and to balance the flavors. It was a trial and error effort, gradually I learned to cook healthy and tasty meals without oil or fat, and sans sugar for desserts and sweet dishes substituting honey, fruits and almond milk instead of regular milk.

He lost nearly 25lbs in the next couple of months, he continued with his regular meds like aspirin and statins but strictly stuck to this diet regimen. Now it’s been 2 years complete and he can do cardio nonstop for 15 minutes without any pain or palpitation unlike before. When his symptoms started, 2 years back, he couldn’t even do cardio for more than 2–3 mins. He started developing angina, and that’s how he got diagnosed by his cardiac surgeon.

So, this is my take! Medical science believes in cutting and knitting the human body if any organ fails to function properly. But I get to believe from my husband’s case that we humans can have tremendous control on our body if we eat our food right, just like medicine. Yeah, these days, occasionally he goes for a cheat meal, here and there(chocolates and sweets), but strictly adhering to veganism!

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Afterschool Teacher For the Department of EEC funded program. Teaching Math and Reading to Elementary and Middle School kids aged 5–14 years.

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Binu Gopinathan

Binu Gopinathan

Afterschool Teacher For the Department of EEC funded program. Teaching Math and Reading to Elementary and Middle School kids aged 5–14 years.

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