It's a good start, but it needs to go much further.
That's the reaction from Evidence Based Eating New Zealand's - EBENZ to a white paper titled 'Improving the heart health outcomes for New Zealand', which was released this week by the New Zealand Heart Foundation.
'People need to be made aware they can reverse their heart disease with diet,” says EBE chairperson, Grant Dixon.
The recently formed health lobby group promotes a whole food plant-based diet as the best way to treat a wide range of common illnesses successfully.
Grant says that using diet to treat heart disease successfully has been clearly demonstrated in medical studies by Doctors Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn in the USA.
'And not to just palliate their disease, which is what current medicine does.”
Grant himself has personal experience in heart disease as ten years ago he had a heart attack which resulted in him receiving four stents. He says that the best advice he was then given was to cut the fat off his meat and drink milk.
'It's the same advice the Heart Foundation gives today,” says Grant. 'Fortunately for me, I found Dr Esselstyn's book ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease' and the rest is history.”
Grant says his cholesterol level quickly plummeted, and his full energy returned. Today he continues to run 60 kilometres a month and can run five kilometres in 29 minutes.
'Other heart attack survivors are put on light duties and effectively told to go home to die. It doesn't have to be that way,” says Grant.
'If people truly followed a whole food plant-based diet, which isn't hard, then I think that not one in four lives would be saved, but near 100 per cent of lives would be saved. It's long past time for the medical fraternity to acknowledge this and tell their patients that they don't need to die.
'If only a fraction of Kiwis followed the whole food plant-based diet the savings to New Zealand's health budget could be huge,” says Grant. 'Hospital cardiovascular wings would need to be down sized.”
Grant says that according to a recent paper by Johnathon Drew, a training doctor at Otago University, a whole plant foods diet could bring global warming emissions savings of up to 42 per cent.
'Spread over the lifetime of the current New Zealand population, this would confer health gains of up to 1.5 million quality-adjusted life-years gained and a health care system saving of up to $20 billion.”
Evidence Based Eating is a health promotion organisation which runs a monthly Auckland PlantPure Pod and will soon start a health wellness pilot course as well. EBE NZ's executive comprises five doctors and medical workers and five health enthusiasts wanting to see the plant-based lifestyle widely accepted as the best way to take control of one's health to prevent, reverse and cure chronic diseases.