Greetings friends! Welcome to my first blog post on a topic that I am very passionate about: healthy diet. This is a topic that I have always been interested in, given that I have enjoyed cooking for my family and friends for a long time, but something that has in recent years taken on a whole new meaning for me, with both my husband and I having subscribed to following a very strict heart healthy diet.
Generally when we think of a healthy diet, the emphasis is on the “healthy” aspect with not as much attention to the taste of the food and typically a healthy diet is associated with bland, boring food that one eats because it is good for us but not something that one looks forward to. But it does not need to be this way.
About two years back, we discovered that my husband had severe cardiovascular disease and he had to undergo a major multiple bypass surgery. It came as a real shock to us, as he had always been slim, he did not smoke or drink excessively and exercised regularly. So what was the problem? Why did he have these blockages in his arteries? The answer was our diet.
Diet is not only responsible for causing heart disease but is the leading cause for a number of highly prevalent diseases across the globe. The most interesting research was that a healthy diet can not only stop the progression of some these diseases including heart disease, but it can only reverse existing disease. Groundbreaking research has been conducted in this area by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
Dr. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., is an American physician, author, and former Olympic rowing champion. He is the author of the 2007 book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease that argues for plant-based, whole foods, and no-oil nutrition. This is the book that influenced former U.S. President Bill Clinton to adopt a plant-based diet and this was the book that my husband and I adopted as our bible as we adopted a new, healthier diet based on the basic principles outlined in the book as well as my own understanding and knowledge of Indian vegetarian cuisine, that is based on the ancient science of Ayurveda.
We (and especially my husband) were extremely religious in adopting this new diet and have done so for the last 18 months. This was an extremely difficult challenge and called for a big change in how we prepared and ate our food. Not only did we have to give up meat, fish, dairy and eggs but also key ingredients of our diet such as oil and salt. We could not eat anything that was processed or refined.
Now, of course, we were motivated because we had seen the negative impact of an unhealthy diet first hand, but I believe the biggest reason we could adopt and maintain this healthy diet was that we did not have to sacrifice taste for these health benefits. This is where the art of Indian cuisine with its approaches to blending a variety of food groups and the use of various spices and flavors can truly transform healthy bland food into something that is truly delicious and nutritious.
We have been lucky in that this diet has worked wonders for us. My husband’s total cholesterol came down from 186 to 109, his LDL came down from 130 to 41 and his statin dosage was reduced by his cardiologist from 80mgm to 10 mgm. These amazing results have prompted me to champion this diet to all my family and friends and share the wonderful recipes that I developed and perfected over the last 18 months with the world, so that other people can also derive these benefits and lead healthier lives.
Over the next few months, I will be sharing the best of these recipes through this forum so that all of you can take advantage of what I have developed and follow a healthier diet without sacrificing taste. The secret is the combination of Indian cuisine and its amazing variety of flavors and tastes with the science of Dr. Esseltyn’s heart healthy diet.
Eat well! Enjoy life!