Article Review: Dr. Esselstyn's Editorial in J of Geriatric Cardiology

Journal of Geriatric Cardiology Special Edition got me all excited like organic, non-GMO, pesticide-free hydroponic greens!

Journal of Geriatric Cardiology Special Edition got me all excited like organic, non-GMO, pesticide-free hydroponic greens!

Some exciting news in the plant-based nutrition world came out last week! An entire special issue was released on plant-based nutrition in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology and features 8 articles published by a lot of our leaders in the movement! I have been inspired to review these articles as well as highlight a little bit about the authors so that you are inspired to share what you learn with others.

I hope you are as excited about this publication as I am, and I hope that the information shared here benefits you or someone you love in the coming months and years.

Thank you for being a part of this healthfulness journey with me, and I look forward to sharing more great information as it becomes available! Let me know if you find this helpful and would like me to continue this series.  XXXOOO



You can pull any article directly from if you are interested in reading it in its entirety or want to share it with someone you know and love! I will also link directly to the article in the title.

“A plant-based diet and coronary artery disease: a mandate for effective therapy” by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn.

Dr. Esselstyn is one of the founding fathers of plant-based nutrition and is recognized for his early research studies looking at coronary artery disease with a plant-based diet. He developed an entire meal plan and system, which he has prescribed to patients (and adhered to himself) for over 30 years. He has authored a bestseller and cookbook (both linked to Amazon below) and is still is actively involved at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute as the Director of the Cardiovascular Prevention and Reversal Program in Cleveland, Ohio. 

I highly recommend looking into the programs Dr. Esselstyn holds if you or someone you love could benefit from a workshop dedicated to reversing heart disease with diet and lifestyle changes. Click here to Cleveland Clinic’s “Disease Reversal Program” page or Click here to be redirected to his personal page with additional events and programs.

I would like to start with noting this article is an “editorial.” An editorial is an opinion piece written by one of the editors on behalf of the entire editorial team, which represents a consensus opinion. While it is studded with factual data and information, please keep in mind this is an opinion piece written by an extremely accomplished surgeon turned plant-based diet warrior by seeing the effects of a whole foods plant-based diet (no oil) on his patients!

This editorial piece does an extremely great job at highlighting the crises we have created in the USA with our standard American diet and the overwhelming historical data and research pointing to the direct correlations between heart disease and animal consumption. 

Dr. Esselstyn poignantly points out: 

It is increasingly a shameful national embarrassment for the United States to have constructed a billion-dollar cardiac healthcare industry surrounding an illness that does not even exist in more than half of the planet.

It is absolutely incredible to think about this statement! If half the planet doesn’t have coronary artery disease, you would think it would be pretty easy to look at the parts of the world where it does exist... and find out the common denominators...

Guess what! It is! An obvious common factor is the dietary consumption of animal-based proteins and animal products vs a mostly plant-based diet. I’m sure you can guess the correlations associated with each of these lifestyles and just where the USA falls into this…

Dr. Esselstyn continues by explaining what his research and others have shown how the standard American diet causes inflammation and damages our endothelial cells. 

For more information on endothelial cell damage, I would recommend reading more from Dr. Esselstyn and his findings HERE.

Furthermore, he points out that 27,000 people die each year in the USA from cardiac procedures (such as the placement of coronary stents and bypass surgeries), which provide immediate symptomatic relief but fail to provide any cure for the underlying illness.

I am constantly amazed at how people are willing to go under the knife before changing their diet or lifestyle. Though I do understand the appeal of a magical, quick-fix and the urgency behind fixing something that is "a ticking time bomb," I do struggle with understanding surgery over diet changes.

Do you or someone you know feel this way? What if you had a doctor who knew their stuff when it came to nutrition? Would you take their advice? What about a different type of care provider such as a nurse, dietitian or health coach?

I do believe that with appropriate counseling from a physician (or other care provider) comfortable with a plant-based diet, more patients would feel empowered to change their lifestyle to naturally avoid these sometimes life-threatening procedures. Dr. Esselstyn and his programs are a testament to this, and more and more physicians are also finding this to be true in their practices. Message me if you want help finding someone in your area or head over to the Plantrician Project where you can also search for physicians registered in their database. 

In reviewing his own published results (two studies in years 1985 and 2014) with patients adhering to a whole food plant-based diet, he shows the reader the overwhelming evidence in his own practice in almost completely eradicating all symptoms (ie. angina) and the need for any additional cardiac interventions. We are talking about over 200 (between the two studies) very sick people with multiple co-morbidities and previous cardiac events who were able to avoid any additional major cardiac event including heart attack, stroke, and death (99.4% in the 2014 study with 198 patients)! These studies also showed that non-adherent patients to the diet continued to experience adverse events.

These results are AMAZING and cannot be ignored.

Dr. Esselstyn goes on to mention that in the 1970’s Finland was the heart disease capital of world until local officials began educating people how to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and intake of animal foods, and how to stop smoking. Over the next 30 years, the coronary artery disease rate plummeted by 80% for Finland as a whole!

Dr. Esselstyn further states:

The totality of converging lines of evidence, including epidemiology, wartime deprivation,     large nutritional cohort population transitioning studies, and randomized and non-randomized investigations point to nutrition as the principle etiological factor in atherosclerotic CVD.

Dr. Esselstyn ends on the note that inspired me to get involved in the nutritional revolution: physicians receive almost no nutrition education in medical school or post-graduate training and do not have the knowledge or skill sets to help their patients modify their diets.

As powerful as the data are, it is unconscionable not to inform the cardiovascular disease patient of this option for disease resolution. To begin to eliminate chronic illness, the public needs to be made aware that a pathway to this goal is through WFPBN.

What else can be further said on this topic? If you or someone you loves suffers from heart disease, please consider looking into some of the resources mentioned here and get educated on whole foods, plant-based nutrition.

Ask your doctor if he or she has experience with this type of meal planning or consider seeking out someone who can further assist you. There is a huge movement of physicians, health coaches, nutritionists, dietitians and nurses who are all ready to help you discover the heart-healthy, tasty, plant-based revolution!

Interested in working with a health coach to further discuss your healthfulness? Contact Lorna at Finding Healthfulness to set up a consultation and learn more about the coaching process!  *lovelighthealth*

Message me or comment below if you have any other questions or comments!