Sunday, January 6, 2013
MY DARK LEAFY PLAN
After hearing Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn speak in person a few months back, I made a decision to eat dark leafy greens at least 6 times per day. The reason as explained by Dr. Esselstyn is to increase the level of nitric oxide in one’s system, which heals the endothelium or the lining of the blood vessels.
“I want patients to eat leafy greens six times a day,” he said, recommending greens at every meal, including breakfast. “And I adore it when you have an evening snack of kale. You’ll think you’re eating a hot fudge Sunday.” -Dr. Esselstyn-
Eating dark leafy greens 6 times a day has been a challenge to say the least, especially since I don’t juice and don’t own a juicer. Dr. Esselstyn is not a big proponent of juicing and explained that the act of chewing the dark leafy vegetables has an added benefit in healing the endothelium.
So how do I get in 6 servings of dark leafy greens each day? Well, here’s how it goes: I eat a large bowl of oatmeal in the morning with a piece of fruit followed by a big bowl of raw kale. Lunch is another large green salad (either raw kale or spinach) along with a bowl of beans (usually black or red beans) and another piece of fruit. Along with my afternoon snack of fruit I have started eating another bowl of dark leafy greens. Dinner is usually some vegetable stir fry (without oil) brown or red rice, and another dark leafy salad.
To be honest, this is a lot of eating and I find it difficult to get in the six servings. It feels like the only thing I do all day long is eat. But I can honestly say that I feel much better when I eat them and have noticed a change in my blood pressure & weight.
My advice to everyone is to begin eating as many dark leafy greens as they possibly can. Add them to everything!!! Instead of lettuce on a sandwich add kale or spinach. Add them to soups & stews. Add them to chili and homemade pizzas. Add them wherever and whenever you can. I am sure that you will notice a difference as I have and the benefits will pay off.
“What we are trying to do is get our cardiovascular patients to eliminate completely the foods that will further injure the lining of their blood vessels. The reason that they have heart disease in the first place is that their blood vessel lining has been so injured and so decimated that they now have the manifestation of heart disease. Now what is going to stop the injury to those endothelial cells? Well, we avoid the foods that have been shown scientifically to injure them; namely oils — olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, palm oil, canola oil; anything with a mother, anything with a face — meat, fish, chicken, turkey; and dairy milk, cream, butter, ice cream, cheese and yogurt. And now in addition, we know that fructose, that is to say, orange juice, apple juice, agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses and honey. Now this isn’t to say that you can’t have some pancakes with maple syrup once or twice a month. But know every time that you are having them that you are injuring endothelial cells. In addition, caffeine with coffee, nuts, avocado. That’s pretty rigid for the patients now who have heart disease. But what has happened is that since this is not cancer, when the endothelial cells are given a reprieve, when they are no longer beaten down, they recover. As they recover, so does their ability to produce this magic molecule called nitric oxide production. Not only do you halt the disease, but we have shown clearly that you can begin to reverse it.” --An Interview with Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.--by Mark Huberman