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Dr. Ellsworth Wareham – 98 years old vegan

you my name is Massimo Leopardi. I’m a cardiothoracic surgeon and practice that is my specialty all my professional life I’m 98 years of age and I practiced the cardiothoracic surgery until I was 95 I have first try to be active by working around my yard doing my pruning of my bushes and I mow my own lawn so I try to get a little exercise doing that as far as my dietary program is concerned I happen to be a vegan I’ve been a vegan now for about half my life I think that’s a healthy form of nutrition I try to maintain the calm approach to the problems of life and not worry and fret over problems that come along I get a good night’s sleep and if I feel like it I take a nap during the day so I really try to be caught as careful as I can and preserving what energy I have like wood work and when I was 95 and because of this of course I attracted some publicity from the National Geographic and incidentally the people I’ve worked with very much wanted me to continue but I felt I should spend a little more time at home with my family I could be working right now I could do anything that I did then and now 98 but I picked 95 as an arbitrary time when I would quit I have always been inclined to be a vegetarian my folks were farmers and we had quite a bit of meat available but it never appealed to me to eat animal products I never did drink milk by the glass I would use it on my cereal and of course my mother and then later on my wife I’d use it in cooking so I was naturally inclined toward a vegetable type of diet but I was concerned about the adequacy of the nutrition when I found out that I could get by by taking a little vitamin b12 why of course I then became entirely vegan and I think that it has been a very fine form of attrition it’s a little extreme to tell a person who is using flesh foods and that you’re going to take everything entirely away from them but I have when I was in practice in medicine I would tell the patients that the veg vegetable based diet was the healthy way to go and as much as possible we keep away from the animal products it has to be something that the person wants to cooperate in and people are very sensitive about what they eat now you can talk to people about exercising and you can talk to people about relaxation and good mental attitude and life things like that and they will accept that but you talk to them about what they’re eating and people are very sensitive about that if if an individual is willing to listen I will try to explain to them on a scientific basis of how I think it’s better for them I read a statement in the Wall Street Journal last year I think it was in January of last year that I thought was quite significant and it was this that all tastes are acquired except for breast milk now this means you see that if you as a parent will start your child on a healthy nutrition they’ll like it but an individual let us say who is old even my age can change their taste buds now there are a lot of people that take too much salt and their food they think is flat unless they have a lot of salt in it but if you will diminish the amount of salt gradually after a while they won’t know the difference and in a mout a matter of three months or so you can do a great deal to change your taste habits if you are willing to do it if a person is willing to go through the change and give himself time he will enjoy foods that are healthy for as you know cholesterol is the chief problem you have to be concerned about as far as development coronary occlusion and coronary disease is concerned if your cholesterol is under a hundred and forty very very seldom that anybody has a heart attack with a cholesterol of 140 now the factors that influence your cholesterol are things that we should know about and one of the factors is the amount of saturated fat and most animal fat is saturated whereas the vegetable fat is unsaturated or mono saturated so you have to avoid the animal fats now there are those scientists including dr. Colin Campbell of Cornell University that say that animal proteins will also affect your cholesterol not just the fat in other words you pour off the cream off your milk and drink the skim milk even the casein of the milk will raise your cholesterol and then people say also high intake of sugar will affect your cholesterol so if you can keep your cholesterol under 140 your chances of developed coronary disease are very small exercise is beneficial in reducing user lestor all but if you’re taking in a considerable amount of saturated fat you can’t exercise enough to lower it as much as it should be Lord the easiest way to get your cholesterol down is to watch what you eat now you can lower your cholesterol by exercise but now I’m talking about no 15 or 20 milligrams % something like that but if you get on a vegan diet which is a little fat you can drop it much more when we went abroad we had an open heart surgery team that this would be maybe a dozen to two dozen people that would go with team and do open heart surgery in overseas countries but this was back 50 years ago you see when open heart surgery is first starting out now there’s no no need to do anything like that now most of the surgery we did when we went abroad it was for congenital heart disease that is defects of the heart with which a person is born holes in the heart and malformations the valves fourth and the other was valvular heart disease due to rheumatic fever we didn’t do very many coronary cases when we would oversee coronary disease is a disease of the more developed countries that’s being a little bit discriminatory I presume but America undoubtedly in my opinion has been the leader in the development of coronary disease I mean in development of treatment of heart disease and I think has also led out in the research of cause disease we have a lot of information in this country which is not being applied which would greatly reduce the incidence we have of coronary disease I don’t know whether you’ve been following the news but Mayor Bloomberg of New York as you know made certain laws establishing the size of the soft drinks which you can buy and so forth so on and he has other areas in which he is also enforcing by law healthful habits many people question whether you should have your individual freedom limited by laws but there’s no question about it that there are certain things that we could implement in this country that we great they reduce heart disease you know the Cleveland’s linic is the world’s great center for coronary artery disease coronary angiography the study of the coronary arteries was developed at Cleveland Clinic and you can’t diagnose that where the stoppages in your coronary arteries without coronary angiography now we have some newer methods but that’s still sort of the gold standard and dr. Esselstyn of the cleveland clinic he says that coronary artery disease does not need to exist and if it does it doesn’t need to progress and he does it on a low-fat vegan diet there have been only two people in the world that I know of they’ve demonstrated that they can arrest and reverse coronary artery disease and they are dr. Dean Ornish of San Francisco and dr. Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic and they both did it on a low-fat vegan diet if you would go on a little fat vegan diet and you exercise her chances of developing coronary disease will be very low get that cholesterol under a hundred and forty and you can my cholesterol is ordered 17 if I have some pain in my chest I know it is not the coronary disease may be due to some something in my esophagus hiatus hernia from my stomach or something else but it’s not coronary disease because of a hundred and seventeen I’m not going to develop it anybody can do those things very simple

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