Dr. Charles Huebner, a rheumatologist in Petoskey looked at his family history,
he knew change was necessary to live a long, healthy life.
parents have suffered heart attacks, along with several aunts, uncles and
grandparents. Then his brother died of a heart attack at the age of
It really made me start to look at what my lifestyle was, Huebner
said. It was worrisome.
Around the same time of his brothers heart
attack, Huebner read an article by Michael Ozner, a cardiologist who, for the
last several years, has educated people on how to prevent heart disease, not
just treat it. Ozner has written several books and articles emphasizing how
lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, are the most powerful tools in
battling the number one killer in America.
Reading Ozners article
motivated Huebner to do more research and study the various effects food and
diet have on the body.
He was eventually led to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
who promotes a plant based, no oil diet to protect the body from heart disease
and other diseases.
Since January 2010, Huebner has followed a vegan, no
oil diet, and has since led seminars following Esselstyns heart-healthy plan to
those in the area.
I feel much more lighter afoot now, Huebner said.
Ive lost 30 pounds, am much more energetic and am much sharper mentally. My
energy level has definitely improved and my exercise endurance has increased
Huebner admits that adapting to a vegan lifestyle was
moderately difficult. He did have to overcome some eating habits and cravings at
first, but after about a month, it became much easier.
You really have
to have a plan on how to enact this type of lifestyle, he said. You have to
know how to, in a practical fashion, eat this way and be able to make enough
recipes and have flavorful and enjoyable food on a regular basis. It is a
learning curve, definitely.
Having a support system in place is also
beneficial, he added.
If youre the only one doing it, that can make it
difficult. My wife is not entirely eating the way I am, but shes very
supportive and we make a lot of dishes together. Once you learn the basics of
different foods and how to prepare them, it does become easier. Im now really
enjoying the flavors of natural foods.
While there is a level of
uncertainty involved with starting and following a vegan lifestyle, Huebner
believes that education regarding the role of diet in relation to heart disease
can be a lifesaver, and he hopes others in the medical profession will begin to
turn more to prevention rather than treatment.
And its not just heart
disease that can benefit from a plant-based diet. Huebner has seen radical
changes in some of his patients with inflammatory diseases such as lupus and
When you realize the role food plays, it becomes crystal
clear that what many people eat just makes them sick. To heal blood vessels and
the heart takes nourishing food, he said. Once you start, you dont want to go
back because you really do feel better. For me, there is no going
Live Simply So That Others May Simply
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