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In 1985, the Chief of Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic was faced with numerous patients suffering severe coronary artery disease (CAD) and failing multiple drug treatments (such as Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor, and Fenofibrate). Cleveland Clinic granted Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn an unusual request and referred to him 18 patients with severe and unmanageable heart disease.

Esselstyn’s goal was to turn them away from their drugs and to employ a whole foods plant based (WFPB) diet with emphasis on the healthiest vegetables. He would target a serum cholesterol level of 150 mg, consistent with cultures (Okinawa, Sardinia, Nicoya, etc.) where CAD is essentially non-existent.

Reversal of Coronary Disease

After five years the patients’ cholesterol levels had diminished by 50% – halting and even reversing disease in eight of the patients (see before and after arteriogram above). All 18 patients survived and returned to active, engaged lives. None of the patients required interventions such as stents to reopen coronary arteries.

For these difficult-to-manage patients who were facing imminent heart attacks, Essy’s rescue diet focused on six servings daily of steamed green and cruciferous vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower topped off with balsamic vinegar and black pepper… no smoothies and no oil (small serving chopped avocado OK). Whole grains and legumes (no meats) were recommended to ensure adequate protein. Essy instructed the patients to chew (for activation of salivary enzymes) the steamed vegetables, still somewhat crunchy, and not overcooked.

While Essy has gone on to publish many scientific articles, collaborating with other great preventive health physicians including Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. John McDougal, his dramatic discoveries are still generally ignored by our profession. There is just no money in it for the large corporations. In fact, Big Pharma with its drugs and their common adverse effects (e.g. headache, feeling tired, and muscle pain) continues to dominate treatments by today’s physicians.

While in Park City, Essy made a comment that surprised the 400 health-seekers in the audience. He said “I particularly welcome failed heart patients (including physicians), especially those who have been suffering from angina (chest pain from inadequate blood circulation to heart muscle). They’re scared. They’re serious about change!” He would then assure these patients that if they followed his diet carefully for six weeks (and maintained WFPB) he would “guarantee” that they would not experience a heart attack in the future!

How many leading physicians can offer such a promise of restored health?

I should emphasize two added points:

  1. Arterial disease related to the Standard American Diet (SAD) begins very early in life, often for people in their 20’s.
  2. All arteries and capillaries are involved, including those that when diseased, can lead to mood and cognitive impairment, reduced breathing and exercise capacity, poor bone health, sexual dysfunction, kidney failure, and others.

As a tribute to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and to your own preventive health is it time to take advantage of more Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) power? Please check out https://esselstynfamilyfoundation.org/ for outlines, graphics and guides to his life-changing discoveries for your own health. Thank you Essy. We truly enjoyed your visit to Park City.

Gratefully yours,
Dr. Tom Rosenberg

Addendum: When I called Essy and Ann last week he told me that his seminars at the Cleveland Clinic continue to attract 30-40 patients every month. His “guarantee” still stands, mentioning that his program consistently relieves angina pectoris (chest pain) within a week. At age 90, Essy remains our foremost expert and scientist of endothelial health and continues to work tirelessly to cure his patients and lecture on WFPB eating.

On the personal level, Essy’s passion, memory and intellect are astounding. He recalled his delight at the Utah Symphony 5 years ago, remembering the “rainbow colored, short sleeve dress” of the featured pianist… and her “rippling” arm muscles. I was amazed!

My ultrasound images revealed a clear, normal abdominal aorta at age 77.

When Dr. Spencer Reed examined my abdomen with a stethoscope he heard a soft whistling sound called an abdominal bruit. While it can indicate trouble, my brief ultrasound exam revealed that “my whistle” was entirely benign, maybe related to my strong heart and pulse pressure. Having been dedicated to preventive health for 30 years I was happy to clear up the question of the bruit. My aorta looked particularly good for a 77 year old American male.


Recently having seen the popular and astounding movie (I don’t see many) Oppenheimer, I thought about Albert Einstein. At age 69, he required major lifesaving aortic repair at the hands of the great general surgeon, Robert Nissen. Later, after 6 years of quiet living he died from rupture of his aorta as he had refused life-extending care. Why was I so lucky while our greatest scientist had suffered from aortic disease that took his life?


Carl Sagan was a true hero for me and millions of others. He has opened our eyes and imaginations to the cosmos. I wondered why his life was cut short at such an early age. He died tragically at age 62 of aplastic anemia, an often lethal condition when the bone marrow production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets is mysteriously shut down. I recalled my med school training regarding the drug Butazolidin which was later withdrawn by the FDA because of its relationship to the fatal side effect of aplastic anemia. While I learned early in my practice to avoid “Bute”, it was nonetheless commonly prescribed for back pain and arthritis for decades and is still in use for horses! Could Sagan have fallen victim to its fatal side effects, the danger of which was not suspected before he died?


I further wondered about Robert Oppenheimer himself, the greatest particle physicist of his time. Having lived near Hiroshima as a boy I was riveted by the history of the atomic bomb and its devastation upon the peoples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenheimer also died prematurely and tragically at age 67, this time as a result of throat cancer, a preventable disease. His cigarettes and the physical and mental stress which he was experienced are all depicted graphically in the movie.


Why have our most brilliant scientists died prematurely and at such tragic loss to their families and to society? I’m convinced it is because of their absence of holistic health and because their doctors and medical peers were themselves unaware of preventive health.

To your preventive health,
Dr. Tom Rosenberg

Although cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins may be beneficial for patients who have already suffered a heart attack or are at high risk for coronary heart disease, they are currently being over-prescribed. Prescription drugs come with undesirable side effects, often unrecognized. Statins are associated with a number of complications including memory loss, muscle aches and weakness, development of type 2 diabetes, and increased length of hospital stays. Depression and mental lapses have been reported if the drugs are used to reduce cholesterol below the level of 140.

Why are cholesterol lowering medications so widely prescribed? Many physicians assume that patients will not alter the way they eat, exercise, sleep, and weigh-in on the scales. Therefore, they should be medicated! On the other hand, the ProHealth Lab’s non-drug approach will actually reverse and prevent cardio-vascular disease, even in the small blood vessels throughout your organ-systems. Leading researchers such as Dean Ornish, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, and Paul Pritikin have proven the superiority of nutritional and lifestyle interventions over drugs and/or surgical interventions for the majority of patients.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance transported through the blood that is essential to bodily functions. It is derived from the food we eat and is also produced by our liver. When high levels are present in the blood stream, cholesterol can penetrate the walls of the arteries, forming deposits known as plaque. Plaque often enlarges and may combine with inflammatory elements causing rupture of the vessel wall. Now exposed to the blood stream, a clot can attach which may obstruct blood flow and the delivery of essential oxygen to vital organs such as the heart (heart attack) and brain (stroke).


Understanding Cholesterol Levels

You Can Lower Your Cholesterol In Just 4 Weeks

By following these simple steps outlined below, you can lower your cholesterol in four weeks without prescription drugs. By decreasing your cardio-vascular disease risk, you can also improve your chances of avoiding associated diseases which include: hypertension, retinal disease, periodontal disease, erectile dysfunction, migraines, insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and even anxiety and/or depression.

Healthy Diet

  • Eat at least of 1-2 servings per day of soluble and insoluble fiber to reduce LDL/cholesterol
  • Oatmeal, psyilium husk (Metamucil), whole grain breads/cereal
  • Kidney, lima and black beans or other legumes
  • Consume at least 200-400 mg per day of omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish or take Nutriex Omega-3/Fish Oil (or equivalent product)
  • Consume a mostly vegetarian diet and avoid processed foods
  • Eat almonds, flaxseeds, apples, soy protein (tofu, soy beans), garlic, phytosterols-based margarine
  • Avoid sugar and especially high-fructose corn syrup Reduce salt intake
  • Use anti-inflammatory nutritional supplements like Nutriex Sport or Health


  • Walk on a treadmill, pedal a stationary bike, or work-out on an elliptical trainer before or after work
  • Jog around the park or go for a hike Walk, don’t sit, at mid-day
  • Other forms: pool therapy and swimming, stair stepper, rowing, stationary bike and cyling outdoors, Nordic track and cross-country skiing, dancing


  • Improve your BMI, even a 5% reduction in weight can have a dramatic affect
  • Be aware that certain medications can have an adverse affect on your cholesterol levels
  • Stop smoking, if applicable
  • 1-2 baby aspirin daily (81 mg) if at risk
  • Avoid medications which cause fluid rentention, e.g. ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs, etc.

Stress Reduction

De-stress with 20-30 minutes per day of deep breathing, yoga, Tai Chi, aroma therapy, warm baths, prayer, relaxation tapes, mediation or soothing music.


New reports indicate that 60% of Americans are either overweight (10-20% over normal) or obese (even heavier). Believe it or not, obesity-related disability and disease far exceed damage from smoking in America. Can we solve the problem? Maybe. We can tell you that prescribed, drug-dependent weight control (like Phen-Fen) is a big, non-holistic step in the wrong direction. Please don’t catch yourself waiting for a miracle drug.

1: Avoid foods that contain high amounts of fat (cheese is not an any-time meal-maker; it’s usually about 70% grease). Revert to intelligent substitutes like Pam, skim milk and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray. Go grease-free.

2: Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits – especially veggies. Bulk up on fresh tomatoes, fresh apples, bananas and a variety of vegetables. When did you last see an overweight jack-rabbit?

3: Strive for a 50-50 plan of 50% whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables and fruits – your “carbs” – balanced with 50% high quality protein including beans, fish, chicken breast, etc. Avoid diets like the Atkins diet which are high in protein and also high in fat (believe it or not, they give sausage, bacon, hot dogs, etc. the green light!). Normal weighers can go 40-60 protein to carbs.

4: Don’t drink a lot of calories. Sugar sweetened sodas, juice-drinks and alcoholic beverages can contribute beaucoup calories (exception: don’t pass up fresh-squeezed O.J. if you’re so lucky). Water – fresh, pure water is the ultimate drink; don’t waste money on imposters!

5: Don’t just drink a lot of water – EAT water (No, you don’t chew ice cubes, Silly). Foods such as beans, whole grains and whole-wheat pastas absorb most of the water they are cooked in and they are rich in fiber. They fill you UP and have staying power. Amen to homemade soups.

6: Avoid taste bud over-stimulation, for example, by eating Chinese/Mexican/Italian/Texas barbeque/burgers and fries for suppers during the same week. Recreational feeders tend to overeat by 15%! Ouch! If you want “taste,” use fresh herbs to liven up your favorite low-fat dishes.

7: Eat more frequently! 4 or 5 stream-lined feedings a day control hunger better and also reduce the lassitude that may be felt after a big meal. Protein/fresh fruit shakes are good for this purpose. Your “supersized” stomach may even shrink back to normal size!

8: To boost your metabolism burn more calories. Walk 1-2 miles a day over a 30-45 minute time span in addition to your other exercise. Labs and Golden Retrievers need 2 hours exercise per day. You’re not exactly a Pekinese or a Shih Tzu!

9: Use a comprehensive nutritional supplement like Nutriex at 2-3 different times per day. Take your Nutriex capsules with a glass of water preceding mealtime. Nutriex is, in summation, key nutrients with essentially no calories. Yes, just the opposite of French fries… key nutrients with essentially no calories!

10: Don’t eat desserts. We apologize, we’re sorry and we re-apologize… you’re grounded from cheesecake, chocolate mousse, pie a’la mode, etc. These modern concoctions are addictive and “hugely” caloric. Choose fresh fruits instead.

11: Weigh yourself daily or bi-daily. Consider weigh-in as an essential preparation; don’t get caught clueless. Unbeknownst “baby gains” of 1-2 pounds are a fundamental cause of the over-weight/obesity epidemic.

You need not focus on anybody but yourself. Seek slow, enduring improvement. Please don’t be in a hurry. You can win the Battle of the Bulge.

A Non-Drug Approach to Sleep

  • Melatonin. This is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that is produced by the brain to help regulate our sleep/wake cycles. Melatonin supplementation can augment the amount naturally produced by the body to induce sleep. It is sold without a prescription in health food and drug stores.
  • Tryptophan-rich evening snack. Tryptophan is an amino acid that acts as a natural sedative. A glass of warm milk or a slice of turkey are excellent sources. Other sources include: bananas, cottage cheese, eggs, fish, tofu, soybeans, legumes, nuts, and brown rice.
  • Bedtime as a positive ritual. Create an inviting atmosphere with a comfortable bed and pillow. Soothing music or recordings of sounds from nature such as a trickling brook or waves can help lull you to sleep. Keep the room well-ventilated with fresh air with the thermostat set in the mid 60s. Any warmer and you’ll toss and turn from the discomfort of being too warm.
  • Keep your bed a place for sleep (and maybe one other thing). But not for working, reading, watching television, doing crossword puzzles, etc. Let your mind and body identify your bed with sleeping.
  • Avoid TV before bedtime. Don’t watch the news or other programs that may cause stress.
  • Take a bath. A warm bath or quick soak in a hot tub helps with relaxation.
  • Get a massage. If available, have your spouse or significant other give you a massage just before going to sleep. If not a full-body massage, a short back rub and/or face and scalp massage can be a big help.
  • Keep regular bedtime hours. Your body likes regular routines. It likes to know that it’s time to get up at the same time each day, eat at the same times, and go to bed at the same time so, pick a reasonable and regular time to go to bed each night.
  • Don’t sleep in. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays. Once you’ve awakened, get up. Don’t lie in bed awake thinking about getting up. Just do it.
  • Get some exercise. Light cardio exercise such as a walk or bike ride at least 2 hours before bedtime can help induce relaxation.
  • Deep breathing. One of the main reasons many of us are tense is our breathing. Most people breathe very shallowly, using only the top part of their lungs. Deep breathing allows us to use our entire lungs, providing more oxygen to our bodies, and energizing and rejuvenating every organ and cell in our bodies. It is one of the most effective and beneficial methods of relaxation.

About 60% of American adults have prehypertension (diastolic above 81-90) or hypertension (diastolic above 90).

Why is there concern over high blood pressure? When blood is pumped from your heart, normally it travels through healthy, supple arteries. With hypertension, the force on arterial walls is abnormally increased. Over time, this leads to stiffening of arterial walls, further increasing blood pressure and leading to vascular damage. Your risk increases for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, aneurysms, and retinal disease… without you even knowing!


It is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. You can buy an inexpensive automatic or manual blood pressure cuff online, at Walmart or locally at Jolley’s Pharmacy).

The most common form of hypertension has been labeled as “essential”, suggesting an unknown cause. However, modern lifestyle factors such as poor nutritional choices, stress, inadequate exercise, abnormal BMI, etc. are really the causes. These root causes should not be overlooked by just taking prescription drugs (a leading pharmaceutical company boasts Norvasc as the fourth biggest revenue-generating drug world-wide). Lifestyle changes address the causes, often making medications unnecessary.


Diuretics: HCTZ (Hydrochlorothiazide), Lasix (Furosemide), Aldactone (Spironolactone), Dyazide (HCTZ and Triamterene) pancreatitis, jaundice, anorexia, oral & gastric irritation, reduced potassium, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lightheadedness
Beta Blockers: Toprol (Metoprolol), Inderal (Propranolol), Tenormin (Atenolol), Coreg (Carvedilol), Bystolic (Nebivolol) fatigue, depression, slow heart rate, congestive heart failure, dizziness, insomnia
ACE Inhibitors/ARBs: Lisinopril, Altice (Ramipril), Accupril (Quinapril), Cozaar (Losartan), Benicar (Olmesartan), Diovan (Valsartan), Avapro (Irbesartan) fluid retention, dizziness, dangerously high levels of potassium, dry cough (Less common with ARBs)
Calcium Channel Blockers: Norvasc (Amlodipine), Cardizem (Diltiazem), Verlan (Verapamil) dizziness, headache, fluid retention, constipation, slow heart rate, runny nose

Anti-inflammatory Nutrition

As Hippocrates said, “Food is the best medicine…”. Many processed and packaged foods lack nutrition and add sodium. Sodium increases blood volume, which increases blood pressure. Deficiencies in calcium, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, D, E may contribute to hypertension. Sufficient potassium is especially important, and adopting a DASH II diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) significantly reduces high blood pressure.

Some Suggestions

  • Season your food with pepper, basil, curry, rosemary, nutmeg, or Mrs. Dash spices instead of salt.
  • Eat 7-11 servings of vegetables per day (watch the sodium content of vegetable juice!)
  • Replace saturated fats with fats from olive, flax or canola oils …and ELIMINATE trans fats!
  • Once your diet is on track, consider supplements such as Nutriex, garlic, Co-Enzyme Q-10, or Omega-3s.

Healthy Foods to Enjoy (often high in potassium)

  • Green Tea
  • Guava, apricots, mango
  • Seaweed, e.g. wakame
  • Avocado, mushrooms
  • Raw almonds
  • Bananas, pears, pineapple
  • Turkey/chicken breast
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Leafy greens
  • Whole grain, low-sugar cereals & bread
  • Beans, seeds, legumes
  • Garlic
  • Soy products
  • Skim milk, kefir, yogurt
  • Potatoes, carrots, celery

Safe Exercise Daily

Exercise increases the heart’s efficiency and vascular tone. Going for a 10-20 minute walk can lower blood pressure for up to 11 hours! Achieve at least 30-45 minutes of continuous exercise per day (should include cardio) and aim to be active at least 2 hours every day. Take the stairs, walk on your lunch break, explore hiking trails—the options are endless!

Progressive BMI Improvement

Improving your BMI to a healthier number can make positive changes on your blood pressure. Loosing just 10-20 pounds can bring blood pressure down to normal levels.

Nicotine, Caffeine, and Alcohol Weaning

Caffeine is a stimulant—it makes your arteries stiffer and increases your heart rate. Switch to decaf or green tea to improve health and lower blood pressure. Also, be aware that some medications may contain caffeine.

All forms of tobacco contribute to hypertension. Seek help in quitting with resources like quitassist.com, nicotine patches or nicotine gum. Having support will help you be successful in quitting.

It may be best to eliminate alcohol completely if you have hypertension because alcohol can increase the severity of hypertension, decrease the effectiveness of drugs, and interfere with magnesium and zinc absorption (minerals important in lowering blood pressure).


Stress increases heart rate and vascular resistance and may adversely influence blood viscosity and blood clotting. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Avoid over-stimulation. Include 20 minutes of stress reducing activities such as meditation, progressive relaxation (focusing on individual body parts from foot to head), yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, aromatherapy, listening to music, etc.

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