Thoughts on health, happiness and sustainability

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Interview with Dr Ellsworth Wareham

The Veggie Channel recently interviewed 98 year old heart surgeon (who retired only 3 years ago) Dr Ellsworth Wareham.

He shares some very wise words and scientific insights.

In particular, he suggests that his good health and that of others is achieved by exercise, a calm mind and a vegetable based diet, the three cornerstones that I talk about in The Health Triangle.  These things will give you the best chances of good heath. He says that if you advise people to do more exercise and try to reduce their stress, they accept this as good advice, but if you advise them to change their diets then they are very sensitive about it.  This is something that I see coming up time and time again.  Food is hugely emotional and people’s dietary beliefs are on a par with religious beliefs.

But he offers some advice by informing us that all tastes are acquired apart from mothers breast milk.  This means that if parents feed their children healthy foods from the start, they can grow up enjoying these foods as much as the rest of us enjoy unhealthy foods.  Similarly, he states that it is possible to acquire new tastes even at an old age, but it just takes a few months of effort to reduce the unhealthy foods that you’re addicted to and develop a taste for the healthy foods that you think you don’t like.  This is something that I have recently been experimenting with and will talk more about soon.

He also talks about his own field of heart surgery and specifically that heart disease is caused by diet, that good diet keeps your cholesterol low and makes it impossible to develop heart disease and that there are only two people in the world that have been able to reliably reverse heart disease in patients.  They are Dr Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr Dean Ornish, both if whom treat their patients with a low fat plant based diet.

Interesting stuff from a very wise old man!  Finally, what is nice about Dr Wareham is that even though he calls himself a vegan, he isn’t political or judgemental about it.  He understands why people do what they do and offers gentle, factual advice as a doctor to help people achieve better health.

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