The Path to Wellness

Welcome to Heartbeets! Let me tell you what is motivating me to start this blog, besides the desire for my own little niche online. Cardiovascular disease kills. It’s the number one cause of death globally with cancer quickly catching up. We smoke. We drink. We eat out too much, dining on convenience that comes loaded with salt, sugar and fat.  We are toxic. We sit. Sit. Sit. All day, every day and we become spectators in our own lives. Life is not a spectator sport!

We are sick. Spending on prescription medicines in the United States is expected to reach $610 billion by 2021 according to QuintilesIMS Holding, a company which compiles data for the pharmaceutical industry. It’s estimated that pharmaceutical drugs, including prescriptions, are the second biggest health care cost in Canada — 16 per cent of health care spending — and the fastest growing. What if we could prevent illness or restore wellness, rather than just treat the symptoms of disease?

We are stressed and unhappy and it’s killing us.  A few years ago at a particularly busy time at work, I was speaking to a colleague when suddenly my speech slurred, my head spun and I zoned out. It was a transient ischemic attack (TIA) also known as a “mini-stroke” caused when the blood moving to part of my brain was temporarily blocked. TIAs are the little cousins of stroke, which is when blood flow stays blocked and the brain is permanently damaged. They say a TIA is a warning sign – the big one is coming unless something changes.

My TIA was the result of undiagnosed atrial fibrillation (A-fib), an irregular heartbeat which allows blood to pool and clot, and then block. Was lifestyle partially to blame for this and more importantly, could I fix it? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m overweight, out-of-shape and stressed out. While A-fib is an electrical malfunction, is it prompted by a nutrient deficiency?  Does an inhospitable internal climate from a stressed-out body lead to inflammation, a weakened immune system that invites disease to come in and set up house?

While asking myself these questions, my research led me to the work of several doctors who seem to be putting out similar messages, namely that optimal nutrition in the form of a whole-food plant-based diet could not only prevent illness and disease, but could halt, reduce or even reverse it. What?? I’d like to take a closer look at the work of Dr. Dean Ornish- (Program for Reversing Heart Disease) Dr. Caldwell Esselstyne (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease) and Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) in later posts, but suffice it to say that if this is the case, I want to try it. Who wouldn’t?

Truth or quackery? I have read many testimonials of people who claim they have been cured of Type II Diabetes, cancer and a host of other chronic conditions. For me, there’s only one way to find out – try it for myself. The plan with Heartbeets is not only to document my own experience on this path but to help shine the light for others who wish to give it a whirl too. It won’t be the same for everyone and that is completely OK. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing right off the top.  It’s not all about nutrition either, although that is a huge part of this.  It will be fun to explore some other positive lifestyle changes along the way as well. I’d love for you to join me on this adventure!