February 5, 2014

Can you identify the ONE person in this 1950 family photo who escaped the scourge of cardio-vascular disease?

It wasn’t my father. He succumbed to sudden cardiac arrest at age 52.

It wasn’t my older brother; he managed to ward off a heart attack and sudden death with a truckload of meds--until age 69.

It wasn’t my 2 younger brothers who have each suffered multiple cardio-vascular events beginning as early as age 30.

Yes, it was my mother. She lived with NO MEDS until death at age 91. Why no cardio-vascular disease?   Since learning about the dramatic impact of diet on health, I have wondered if her personal preference for brown rice and lentils and the vegetables she grew in her backyard garden contributed to her longevity.

We will never know for sure, but the medical community has known for decades that those who limit their diet to vegetables, fruits, beans and grains have a much lower risk of suffering from chronic diseases of all types than those who eat meat, dairy and refined foods.

Dean Ornish, M.D., was among the first to prove in the 70s through clinical studies that a plant-based diet protected against cardio-vascular disease. His work has been corroborated repeatedly in more recent years.  Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, calls heart disease a “food-borne illness that need never exist and if it does, need never progress.”  His 20-year study of seriously ill cardio-vascular patients whose disease was reversed by a plant-based diet demonstrates the healing power of such a diet. And yet despite the overriding evidence of its importance, no doctor, nurse, or dietitian ever told me that plant-based nutrition could ward off heart disease--not before and not after my heart attack!

What’s wrong with this picture?  Why doesn’t the public know?  Heart disease, the number 1 killer of women and men can be prevented and reversed by dietary change alone, quickly and effectively with no pills, no procedures and no side effects at minimal cost--and yet the medical community remains silent!  This is scandalous!

Today Jeff Fried, CEO of Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, informed me that the Ornish Program is coming to town.  Could change be in the wind?  The program emphasizes the importance of dietary change. Will it have an impact on medical practice and the health of the broader community?  We can only watch and wait—and hope.

  • Dorothy Greet invites you on a journey to amazing good health and vitality through Plant-Based Eating.

    A heart attack turned her life upside down at age 70.

    Now, with a Cornell Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, this retired clergywoman teaches free classes to community groups upon request.

    To contact Ms. Greet, email

    For more information on plant-based eating go to