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Feb 7, 2019

Is heart disease from clogged arteries a food-borne disease?

Can eating the right foods really reverse heart disease?

Which foods have a powerful antioxidant effect in your blood vessels?


Dr Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr is a superhero in our family. And this American surgeon who turned his career on a head to become a provider, researcher, advocate and international expert of a wholefoods, plant-based nutrition to prevent and reverse heart disease, is this week’s special guest.

Dr Esselstyn grew up on a beef farm, won a Gold medal at the Olympics with the United States rowing crew as a university student and began his medical life as a surgeon. He then had an important mid-career epiphany, realizing that cutting out the cancer of an individual person was less valuable than understanding why some populations had extremely low rates of both cancer and heart disease. When he learned these healthier populations ate a predominance of plant-based wholefoods he began eating that way himself. He then took a group of patients with very severe heart disease and taught them to eat a wholefoods plant-based diet without oils as part of a formal research study. These patients had dramatic reversal of their heart disease symptoms, lived longer than they were expected to, and a powerful nutritional intervention for heart disease was launched. Caldwell then published this research, wrote the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” and has since devoted his life to directly helping hundreds of patients with heart disease, and to indirectly influencing thousands of patients (and doctors like me) to adopt the same way of eating.

One of those people is Claire’s aunt, Dulcie, who after adopting the diet in “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” had a near overnight cessation of the frequent chest pain her blocked heart arteries was causing. This inspired Claire and I to adopt a plant-based diet which we haven’t looked back from.

Many of you may have heard Dr Esselstyn on a different podcast or in a documentary. You may have read his book too. The reason I think you should listen to this is that you’ll hear very specifically:

  • What happens inside your blood vessels when you eliminate animal-based foods
  • About the 2 distinct mechanisms for this heart disease reversal
  • How much effort he personally makes for each of his patients
  • What foods should be both eliminated and freely consumed

We also covered aspects such as:

  • How important nitric oxide is to the lining of your blood vessels
  • How your doctor is unlikely to be aware of this information
  • Why oils should not be consumed
  • Why he isn’t keen on green smoothies
  • The importance of green leafy vegetables as antioxidants
  • What other disorders respond to the wholefoods plant-based diet
  • Why he chose not to do a randomized study

I really hope you learn from listening to Dr Caldwell Esselstyn

Live well, feel well, do well.


Andrew Davies



Links to people, organisations & other resources mentioned:

Dr Caldwell Esselstyn

Episode 22 of New Normal Project podcast with The Happy Pear:  

“Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” Book

Episode 44 of New Normal Project podcast with Dulcie Corbett:

Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

Dr Esselstyn's initial study (published in 1995) 

Dr Esselstyn's subsequent study (published in 2014) 

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity

American Heart Association diet

John Snow and the Broad Street Pump

William Morton and Ether

Ignaz Semmelweis

Louis Pasteur

Joseph Lister

Karl Landsteiner

Frederick Banting

Charles Best

Alexander Fleming

Howard Florey

Barry Marshall

Robin Warren

Ann & Jane Esselstyn

Rip Esselstyn

DFN Nutrition in Healthcare Conference 2019

Doctors For Nutrition website

Dr Neal Barnard

Dr Scott Stoll

Dr Alan Desmond

DFN Wellington event

DFN Auckland event

New Normal Project podcast

New Normal Project website

New Normal Project on Facebook

New Normal Project on Instagram: @newnormalproject

New Normal Project on Twitter: @newnormalproj

Email Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies on Instagram: @andrewdavies66

Andrew Davies on Twitter: @andrewdavies66

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