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Straight from the Heart

Let me tell you up front, this post comes from the heart… straight up (like Paula, ha!).

Every day we are given the opportunity to make choices. Choices that impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Those choices are as simple as our outfit of the day to something as complex as deciding between a job here or there. However, when choosing what to eat each day, the same level of thought we put into our clothing selection or job choice, is not imposed. We often go with what we have a ‘taste’ for or what we ‘feel’ like having. More often than not the decisions made on that criteria leads to the outcomes I am going to share.

Heart health is important to me on so many levels. The condition of our heart from a physical perspective affects how we function day-to-day; from an emotional perspective it guides us and affects how we function day-to-day. With that said, I find it intriguing to read published information as it relates to heart health especially regarding congested heart failure.

  1. More than half of those who develop congestive heart failure (CHF) die within 5 years of diagnosis. Heart failure contributes to approximately 287,000 deaths a year.
  2. Heart failure costs the nation an estimated $30.7 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat heart failure, and missed days of work. (Do you realize what this country could do with 30.7 BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR!)
  3. The incidence of congested heart failure is equally frequent in men and women, and African-Americans are 1.5 times more likely to develop heart failure than Caucasians.
  4. Common causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It is more common in people who are 65 years old or older, African Americans, people who are overweight, and people who have had a heart attack. Men have a higher rate of heart failure than women.

The reason I find the information above so interesting and appalling is: our choices can easily change them. It is not necessary for 287,000 people to die each year from heart disease. High blood pressure and diabetes do not have to be the fate of melaninated people. There is a choice we can make and it starts with the food we eat. I know, you are probably saying – here she goes again. She is trying to convince us to be plant-eaters. Well, honestly —– I am not here to CONVINCE you of anything. I endeavor to provide information that will [hopefully] aid you in making better choices when it comes to your health and well-being. There is no reason for us to read such astounding information about sicknesses, when most can be prevented, reversed or eliminated by watching our mouth – literally and figuratively (what you eat and what you speak, but speaking is another post).

Numerous studies have been conducted on plant-based eating and heart disease. The outcomes of these studies overwhelmingly support plant life as a means to reverse this horrible malady. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has stated that plant-based nutrition provides us with a pathway to escape the coronary artery disease epidemic. When asked in an interview, what the cause of coronary disease is, Dr. Esselstyn shared, “It is the typical western diet of processed oils, dairy, and meat which destroys the lifejacket of our blood vessels known as our endothelial cells. This cell layer is a one cell thick lining of all of our blood vessels. Endothelial cells manufacture a magical protective molecule of gas called nitric oxide, which protects our blood vessels. It keeps our blood flowing smoothly, it is the strongest dilator (widener), of our blood vessels, it inhibits the formation of blockages (plaques), and it inhibits inflammation.” He has also shared that the optimal diet consists of grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit, with 10% of its calories coming from fat. A diet that would achieve superior results in decreasing atherosclerosis is a 10–15%-fat diet provided largely by a variety of grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. This diet minimizes the likelihood of stroke, obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, rectum, uterus, and ovary. There are no known adverse effects of such a diet when mineral and vitamin contents are adequate. *

Do you need case studies before you consider saving your life or the life of your loved one? Well, here are three. It is mind-boggling how much effort we will put into researching clothes, shoes, cars, vacations, etc… more than we do the food we eat and its origins or the meds these docs prescribe.

Another note regarding our heart is how dairy alters it. Dairy may increase heart disease risk because dairy products are the #1 source of saturated fat in the American diet, a fact the dairy industry has tried to hide through misleading advertising campaigns.** So that cheese, the yogurt, ice cream, all that = cow pus and blood and it is not good for your heart. Don’t be dismayed, there are great alternatives to dairy and instead of prejudging them, try them with an open mind. My family and I enjoy ‘milk’ from almonds, flax, hemp and peas. When I have a cup of coffee, I use almond milk or creamer made from almond milk and it is tasty. Does it taste the same as pus creamer? No, HOWEVER it is better for me and that my friends is what matters, to ME.

Everything we eat is an acquired taste. No one came out the womb eating pizza, doughnuts and fries. Over time, we’ve been exposed to various foods and developed a ‘taste’ for them. So changing from an animal-based diet to a plant-based lifestyle is all about renewing your mind and your taste buds. Let me tell you a quick story: I promise you I did not like beets. AT ALL! But one day I was reading about the benefits of beets (helps lower blood pressure, increase stamina, fight inflammation, has anti-cancer properties, high in vitamin C, fiber, minerals like potassium and manganese, vitamin B, and provides detoxification support, according to Mercola) and decided my body needed them. I started juicing them, then adding them to salads, now I eat a beet sandwich like a boss. The benefits of a beet are greater than the dislike my taste buds felt at one time. Mind over matter. I mean think about this… some of us toss back nasty beer every day (I know I did; back in the day I had my favorite forty – trust!) so if we can handle that nasty beer taste and the potential hangover discomfort for a temporary buzz, then why in the world are we not able to deal with eating food that is better for us?

My grandmother passed in 2013 from congestive heart failure. Unfortunately, I did not have the knowledge I have today to share with her – so I share it with you and hope it will help you in ways that I was not able to help her. The application of this knowledge starts in my house, with my family. Both of my husband’s parents have dealt with cancer along with some of his extended family. In addition, in 2005, his grandmother passed after a battle with cancer. We may not know our time here on earth but I know while I am here I want to live a quality life. Moreover, if the quality of my life can be positively impacted by the food choices I make, then I am all for it. Even more, I am all for sharing so WE can live quality lives together. Who is with me?

(Next week’s post will give tips, stay tuned. Make sure you subscribe.)

The information shared in this article is for educational purposes. It is not to diagnose or treat any illness. As the reader please do your own research (reference the links included), in order to make informed decisions about YOUR health and wellness.
Links to the statistics listed above:
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2 thoughts on “Straight from the Heart”

  1. Wow!!! From the heart. The knowledge you left here gives me new insight. Your point about mind over matter; good health over taste (paraphrasing) is something that I try my hardest to get over. I have tried several foods that does not taste good and being that it is good for me, I still side eye it. Lol. I’m a work in progress. I do not proclaim to ever living a plant based life but I’m not opposed to the thought either. That taste thing… sheesh. It’s something to master. Lol. Again, Dr. Khadijah you’re awesome. Thanks for another wonderful post.

    1. Give thanks!!! I tell you there are some things that I am still trying to get used to about this journey but I think that is what keeps it interesting. We never know where life may take us – I did not think I would ever let go of buffalo strips (hunni!!!) but I did and I do not miss them. And if I did there are some great alternatives, like buffalo cauliflower – yummy.

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