John Bradshaw - Heart Health
Welcome to Take Charge of Your Health. I'm so glad you're joining me. I'm John Bradshaw. Take Charge of Your Health could change your life. It could save your life. And it'll definitely help you to get the most out of life. Your health is precious. Way too often we only start to realize that when it's slipping away. But you can fight back against many of the health challenges that are plaguing the modern world. And tonight you'll learn how you can have the kind of health you always wished you had. Welcome to Take Charge of Your Health.
John Bradshaw: This is Take Charge of Your Health, brought to you by It Is Written. Tonight could be absolutely life-changing for you or for someone you love. Heart disease is a killer. About 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States is due to heart disease. And so tonight we are going to talk to the experts. We'll hear from people who've seen incredible improvement in their cardiac health, and you'll find out what you can do to give yourself the best chance to live a heart-healthy life. We'll hear from dietician Dr. Fay Kazzi. We'll get the lowdown on exercise from Dr. Steve Lee. Plus, there are resources I want you to have, so before the program is over, I will share something with you that could revolutionize your life. I am joined now by two cardiologists. Dr. Brian Schwartz is chief cardiologist at the Kettering Health Network, which is based in Kettering, Ohio, just outside Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Schwartz, thanks for joining on Take Charge of Your Health.
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Well, thank you for the invite, John. It's always, a privilege to work with you.
John Bradshaw: I'm really glad you've taken the time to join me. And alongside you, Dr. Harvey Hahn, who is the director of the Cardiology Fellowship Training Program at Kettering Health Network. Dr. Hahn, thanks for joining us.
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Well, thank you.
John Bradshaw: Well, I'd like to start in the beginning. We're talking about something profoundly important, and that is heart health, and we're going to learn over the next few moments that there are some very real things that all of us can do to improve our heart health drastically. But I'd like to start at the beginning, and I'll start with Dr. Hahn. Dr. Hahn, what does the human heart do?
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Yeah, the, the heart really simply is a pump that actually will squeeze like a muscle and push blood forward, and that blood's going to carry oxygen, nutrients to your brain, your lungs, and to all your muscles.
John Bradshaw: It's important that that organ works well, right? So, so go ahead with that.
Dr. Harvey Hahn: No, absolutely. But just as the, the heart supplies blood, oxygen, nutrients to the rest of the body, the heart itself needs to be supplied by oxygen, nutrients, et cetera, and that's done through the coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply the heart, and those are the ones that can get blocked up and cause problems like heart attack.
John Bradshaw: Okay. Dr. Schwartz, how does that happen? What are the problems that afflict the heart? How do they come about? What are the, the, the major problems? I know there are plenty of them.
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Um, there are a lot of different problems that can affect the heart from its pumping ability; that can get stretched out and dilated and cause congestive heart failure when the heart's not very strong. Um, there can be electrical problems with the heart. But the one that most of us commonly think about is having a heart attack, which is, demonstrated by this pressure and kind of clutching chest pain that can kind of come on when, when you overexert yourself or if your heart's under stress. And that's the sign that the small arteries in the heart are getting plugged up and narrow. And, as they become very narrow, it leads to coronary artery disease, manifested by angina.
John Bradshaw: Okay, Dr. Schwartz, what causes the narrowing of those arteries? Because this, this is really practical stuff. There are people watching right now; they say, "You know, I'm, I'm 48. My dad died of a heart attack at 49", this sort of thing. So, lots of us are just tick, tick, tick, ticking time bombs. What causes that?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Well, the really big risk factors, genetics does play a role. Um, in fact, when I trained 20 years ago, everybody taught us this: The dogma was that genetics is the predetermining thing; there's not much else you can do about that. But we now know that all the other causes are related to lifestyle, being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, being diabetic, hypertension, high cholesterol. All those things contribute, and then also smoking is a big contributor to developing coronary artery disease.
John Bradshaw: Okay, Dr. Hahn, we're talking about arteries becoming narrow or getting plugged up. If I want to, it seems pretty clear, if I want to have a healthy heart, one of my primary aims is to keep those arteries open and clear and, and blood flowing well through that. When you speak to patients, or as you're training physicians, what's the advice you give people, give yourself the best chance to have good, clear arteries? What do I do? What do we do about that?
Dr. Harvey Hahn: I think the first thing is you have to know your numbers. Things like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol are often called silent killers. You can have abnormal values and not know it until you have a heart attack, stroke or die. So you have to get your blood pressure measured and then controlled. See if you're diabetic and then get that controlled. Uh, check your cholesterol level and get that controlled. Then stopping smoking's critically important, getting good sleep, lowering your stress, exercise, and losing weight. Those are the really big factors that can really make a huge impact, on your heart health or your overall health as well.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Schwartz, how do we get those things under control? Medication clearly is one option. Are there other options? And is medication, a good, better, or best option?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Yeah, I mean, that's a very interesting question. So, all of those things, with the exception of your family genetics, have in common lifestyle choices that we all make on a daily basis. And, curiously, heart disease does not even exist in poor countries where they don't eat the Western diet. It's related to our fast food, our stressed life, where we relieve our stress by smoking or eating. Um, we're basically medicating ourselves like our culture. And we're influenced by our culture by the advertisements we see that are advertising foods that are not necessarily good for us. So, you can absolutely take charge of your life. You can prevent heart disease. And we now know you can actually reverse heart disease, even if you have it, just through making lifestyle changes.
John Bradshaw: So how does that work? Follow on with me, Dr. Schwartz. How does it work that I, that I, that I have these risk factors and maybe I'm kind of on the precipice of plunging over into a real heart event, how can I, how is it possible to, and what actually happens as we start to reverse this? What's the process? What goes on inside my body?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Yeah, so, the arteries, typically have three linings: the adventitia, the media, and the intima. The intima's a very smooth little lining, almost like the skin on the inside of the arteries. And over years and years of inflammation of, high blood pressure insulting those arteries, of cholesterol deposits being laid down, and just inflammation that comes from stress, those arteries start getting thickened, and you get this thick coat of what we call plaque that builds up underneath that initial layer, underneath the lining of the arteries. Um, it's not a very rapid process, but if we can stop insulting our arteries, by damaging our arteries through smoking, through the foods that we eat, by too much, insulin surging through our body because we're overweight and we can't handle the carbs and the sugars that we eat, if we can stop those things, gradually, little by little, that plaque can actually start to shrink away and be less serious, less vulnerable, and actually open up the artery to allow more blood flow to go back to the heart and to the other organs of the body.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Hahn, two questions. One, can anybody do this? I'll repeat the question. Can anybody do this, what Dr. Schwartz is talking about? And number two, if, if this knowledge is available, if it's out there, if, and if it's that seemingly simple, seemingly simple, I mean, Dr. Schwartz didn't say you've got to climb Mount Everest or swim across the Atlantic Ocean... So, number one, can anyone do it? And number two, if it's that...basic, why isn't everybody doing this? Go ahead.
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Yeah. To your first question, can anyone do this? And the answer is yes. Um, I've actually, I was hypertensive and had high cholesterol and was obese, and by changing my lifestyle, I got rid of all those things, got off two medications, feeling great. Brian Schwartz and myself, we have multiple patients that have lost a lot of weight, got them off the medications. Um, and basically you can become un-hypertensive or even un-diabetic. You can actually reverse that course, in a lot of patients by using lifestyle mediated factors. There's a really interesting study called INTERHEART, and what they found is about 85 percent of your total risk is all lifestyle mediated. Only about 10 to 15 percent is genetics at this point.
John Bradshaw: So what do you see, Dr. Hahn, in patients? Somebody's, well, you, you can speak from your own experience, I suppose, but somebody comes to you, and they're in bad shape, and they get on the program; they adopt some of these ideas and principles. What kind of change do people see in their, in their lives, in their life?
Dr. Harvey Hahn: It's actually very interesting. If you lose even 10 to 15 percent of your body weight, there's a big reduction of blood pressure, sugars, and cholesterol already. Um, what's really fascinating is exercise; the data shows that if you just walk for 10 consecutive minutes, that would decrease your mortality. That may not change your weight, but that's going to decrease your risk of dying from a heart attack. So even small changes can make a huge impact. Um, one of the other big things is once you get off the really heavy, processed sugar diet with kind of the ups and downs, with sugar highs and lows, people feel a lot better. And then, any amount of exercise has an incredible effect on your mood, depression, and energy level.
John Bradshaw: Let me ask you both this question. What are some things that people maybe don't know that, that people on the inside in the medical fraternity, they understand something about, but is not filtering on out to the outside? Dr. Schwartz, let me start with you. What are some things that, that we really ought to know that might impact us, but maybe we don't, or maybe they're not being, no one's making enough noise about it?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Yeah, I think the things we learned in school, the things that were taught by just our, our, our culture around us pushes us to think that life is just happening to us and we're being carried along, and, because my father had a heart attack and he was overweight, I'm going to have a heart attack and I'm going to be overweight, and there's just really nothing I can do about that. And I think the whole title of your program, Take Charge, this is, this is your life, and you can change it. Um, you can change the habits. And Dr. Hahn mentioned that genetics is probably only 10 or 15 percent. The, the more we go with the scientific evidence, here recently, the more we realize that genetics is not the determining factor. We like to say genetics primes the gun, but it's our choices, it's the environmental factors, it's our lifestyle choices that pull the trigger. And so, just by starting to make some simple lifestyle changes, some habit changes, and like Dr. Hahn said, you don't have to exercise an hour a day at first. Um, just starting to exercise 10 minutes, once or twice a day, starts to have an impact. You don't have to get your weight from 250 pounds down to 150 pounds overnight. Just by losing 15 or 20 pounds, it can be as effective as two blood pressure medicines or a cholesterol medicine at reducing your risk for heart disease. And so the, actually the most powerful treatment that we have available right now is not medications; it's what we eat and how we exercise, it's our lifestyle choices, more powerful than medications and without any side effects, and they don't cost a lot of money.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Hahn, is there something that, you know of? You're on, you're on the front lines in combating heart disease. What, what are some things that you just, you just wish people knew and would really take on board?
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Yeah, I think, besides the obvious things, like diet, exercise, and smoking, people don't realize that getting one extra hour of sleep reduces your risk by about 20 percent of having a heart attack or death. Um, the other thing that's really coming up now, and it's kind of important with all the, the COVID problems, is, there's what we call noise traffic; it's small-particulate pollution. So noise pollution or small particles, that actually increases the stress and inflammation, and that can increase your blood pressure and increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. So, being outdoors, being less stressed, getting sleep, these are huge, easy things to do that can reduce your risk.
John Bradshaw: You talk about lifestyle, what we eat. Well, it seems that every day someone comes along with something new or another idea, another diet, it's this diet; it's that diet; it's the other diet. I want to ask you about the, the keto diet. That's popular in all kinds of circles. Dr. Schwartz, what can you tell us about that one? Explain briefly what it is, and would you recommend it or would you not?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Um, so, the keto diet is based on the idea that if we force our body to start burning, fat instead of carbohydrate, we can actually burn, more calories and burn fat and actually lose weight. And it's very popular because people lose a lot of weight on this diet. And any diet where you restrict your calories is going to have that effect. But it can be real quick. Um, the problem with keto, well, there's a couple problems with keto. First of all, I believe it's based, really, on an evolutionary theory, that our forefathers were out hunting down animals and eating animals. And I actually don't think that's true. But the problem with it is you get a quick gain now, and you get a lifetime of destruction to your arteries, because even though you're losing weight, you're not reversing the damage that's going on to the arteries. It can actually accelerate the damage.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Hahn, is there a diet that you'd recommend?
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Yeah, I think the simplest, best diet is what we call whole food, plant-based, which is basically, well, it was kind of laid out in Eden, basically less animal products. Some people use the term "vegan," but that has some kind of pejorative feeling at this time. So I would just say plant-based whole food. And the idea is the less processed, the more you eat food that's been in its natural state, unaltered, the healthier it's going to be for you. And I, I agree with that.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Schwartz, two questions for you. Two different questions, first one is this: Do I have to become some kind of a health nut overnight in order to improve my health, in order to take charge of my health? Do I have to leave everything behind and grab hold of rabbit food, and, and that's all I've got to look forward to now? Does it, does it need to be radical? And if it does, does it have to be radical all of a sudden?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Yeah, I think there's two answers to that question. So, if you want the absolute best result, you should do the absolute best you can. Um, however, habits are formed gradually, and so I don't expect my patients to make all these changes overnight. It's a learning process. So we start simply. We start with trying to focus on stopping smoking and getting control of our weight. And I may encourage my patients who are consuming a lot of fast food to move away from the fast foods and just try to incorporate some healthy recipes into some of their meal choices. But little by little by little, if you want to get the best results, it might seem like a radical diet, but it's radical only because our culture has popularized it. Once you figure out that it's actually the diet that God recommended in the Bible, as Dr. Hahn mentioned, back in the very first book of Genesis, it's the very same diet, that Daniel and his friends participated in when they were before Nebuchadnezzar's court, and they refused to eat the, the modern diet at that point. Um, it was all the meats and the delicacies and the fine foods, very similar to what we call a Western diet. And as a result, they were healthier, they were wiser, they felt better, and they tested better than all their peers. This, this, the radical thing is to not be following God's plan. This is what should be natural...and normal.
John Bradshaw: I'll tell you something that's radical; that's being carried out in a pine box when you're in your 40s or early 50s; that's radical, and most people in that situation would do almost anything to get another 10, 15, 20, 25 years, and so would their family members. Every so often you hear, you hear or you read there's something published that says, "Fat doesn't make you fat". Uh, and I've read those very words. Is that true?
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Yeah, I think the, the notion goes back to what Dr. Schwartz was talking about, the keto diet and being anti-carbs, is that people were saying fat's not the problem. But if you look at basically almost every study where they looked at fat intake and they looked at cholesterol fat levels in the body, those really strongly correlate with heart attack, stroke, and death. So it does matter.
John Bradshaw: Let me ask you both if you have any final thoughts, any last words that you'd like to share on this. We're talking about heart health and how you can take charge of your health. If there's one last gem of wisdom you'd like to share, what would it be? Dr. Hahn, let me start with you.
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Yeah, I, I think one, like this program says, take charge, and it doesn't have to be total-life makeover. What really works for people is pick one thing and make a change. And it should be really concrete. What I ask patients that will drink, some patients drink like six or eight cans of pop a day, I go, "Can we cut down to five or six cans a day"? Make a small change; work on that. Make it a habit. Then you work on the next change.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Schwartz?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Yeah, I think Dr. Hahn is absolutely right. Just starting to make small habits, but building on them, don't rest with the very first one, can make a very big difference. It's not just, we're, we are just recently learning that it's not just the foods that you should stay away from, but there are very important foods you actually should eat. You should be eating whole grains. You should be eating fruits. You should be eating vegetables. And they go beyond just replacing the bad foods; they have nutrients that are incredibly important for the biome in our gut, which actually influences our heart. They have, nutrients that are important for the heart itself, the brain, and the other organs. And so, eating, or incorporating or adding in just some whole foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, can be very beneficial.
John Bradshaw: Gentlemen, fantastic. We'll talk to you more in just a few minutes. Dr. Brian Schwartz, who is the chief cardiologist at the Kettering Health Network, just outside Dayton, Ohio, and Dr. Harvey Hahn, who is the director of the Cardiology Fellowship Training Program at Kettering Health Network, Dayton, Ohio. Gentlemen, thank you. We'll talk again in a few moments.
John Bradshaw: Now, I'd like to introduce you to somebody who was confronted by something very serious. She took charge of her health, her heart health, and the results that she has experienced have been amazing. She's one of our very own, part of our It Is Written team, Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell, thanks for joining me. Welcome to Take Charge of Your Health.
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: Thanks for having me.
John Bradshaw: Now talk to me about your situation. Well, let's go back. Your dad died far too young. Tell me about that.
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: Well, he had, a condition that he didn't know he had, a heart condition, mitral valve prolapse. He did not stop eating the processed foods. He did not get enough rest. He didn't really take care of himself. And so, his gun was loaded with this heart condition that he didn't know about, but then his lifestyle was suffering as well. And so, after he died, I later learned that I have, a light heart condition very similar to his, and like he, I was also eating processed foods and eating too much sodium, not knowing that I was, salt-sensitive. And, in February, of this year, 2020, I was diagnosed with chronic heart disease and stage 3 kidney disease.
John Bradshaw: Well, what do you do when you learn something like that? That's serious when you use the word "chronic" and "heart disease" in the same phrase, stage 3 kidney disease. What can you do about that? Well, you did something. What did you do about that?
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: Well, with a lot of prayer and, listening to the direction that the doctor, had told me that I need to go, I, I had to, I prayed a lot, and I had to stop eating the processed foods. She took me off of sodium. I didn't realize that I was salt-sensitive. Not everybody is, but I'm very salt-sensitive. And so she reduced my sodium. I stopped eating the processed food, started getting more rest, started exercising, an hour on the elliptical every day. And, thank God, it's, it's turned out very well.
John Bradshaw: Well, well, tell me how well. How well has it turned out?
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: Well, you know, after three months, I went back and I did my blood panels again. And I really was, I was afraid, I was afraid of what the results would say, because I didn't really feel like I had done really much. But just those simple lifestyle changes that I made reversed my chronic heart disease and my kidney disease. And those two conditions really were the result of untreated high blood pressure. So it had gotten me in a place that was, I was almost to the point where, you know, stage 4 is really close to needing dialysis. But it was reversed before it could get that far. And I'm so grateful to God that, He gave me the strength, first of all, to make those lifestyle changes. And it was powerful.
John Bradshaw: That's a powerful story. Tell me about your blood pressure. Well, how's it looking today? Where was it and where is it now?
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: Well, it was running about, 150, 160, sometimes spiking to 170 over 89, 90, 99, dangerous! Now my blood pressure is running, oh, 118 over 65, 116 over 77, something like that.
John Bradshaw: That is a great turnaround. So no more heart disease, blood pressure is right where it ought to be. Kidneys are looking great. Where's the, where's the future? How do we maintain this?
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: Well, I've, I've been praying. You know, just last week, I kind of fell off the wagon. And, you know, sometimes you think, "Oh, you know, I'm well. I'm out of the woods". But you must be consistent. God showed me that consistency is really crucial, or I would be back in the same place where I was before. So last week, I fell off the wagon: I wasn't going to bed on time, I was eating too much sodium, I wasn't getting enough water, and I did not exercise last week. And my feet began to swell. And it was the swelling in my feet when I initially went to the doctor that caused her to take such a comprehensive blood panel. So, last week showed me that I must be consistent. I got back on the wagon, and my symptoms went away.
John Bradshaw: This is great news. You've taken charge of your health. Simple changes, the sort of thing anyone can do. So let me give you one last word. Someone is listening to your story, saying, "Oh, I'm kind of where she was. I wonder what I should do". Encourage that person. What would you say?
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: It's not easy, and you can't do it by yourself. You've got to depend on God. That's the only power that can give us the victory over our human natures. Our human nature will take over if God doesn't take over. And it was very difficult for me. It was difficult. I was to the point of tears. I didn't even want to let go of the salt. But we have to be willing to give the Spirit permission to make those changes in our lives.
John Bradshaw: Imelda, I'm thrilled to hear you're doing so well. What a wonderful journey, what an inspirational story, that you for sharing it. Thanks for joining me.
Imelda Hatchett-Mitchell: Thank you, Pastor Bradshaw.
John Bradshaw: You know that you, too, can experience real success when it comes to making changes in your lifestyle and improving your health. Now, not that long ago, you heard our guest physicians say that whole grains are really good for your heart health. Well, I want to introduce somebody to you now, very special. Dr. Fay Kazzi is a dietician, a health professional, and an author, and we're going to talk about grains and more. Dr. Kazzi, thanks for joining me.
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Thanks so much for having me.
John Bradshaw: Let's talk about whole grains, why they're good, and also gonna ask you how we can get more of them into our diet. But let's start off with whole grains. What's the big deal?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Yeah, so, whole grains are incredible because they, of their structure and the way that they're designed, so the, the whole grain, the, the physiology is very simple, but very important. It's basically three parts, but the main part that is the most important is going to be the bran, and that is the part that's surrounding the grain. So that's going to be where all that dense wonderful fiber is, and that fiber is very important for heart health because it helps to protect the heart and other areas of the body, including really improving one's digestion. Um, so when you're thinking about the, the grain, in being its whole state, you really have to have that bran attached to it where it can be the most effective for our bodies.
John Bradshaw: Okay, so whole grains actually, materially, measurably do you good. And when you think about what most of us eat most of the time, more often than not, there's not a lot of whole grain. Isn't that right?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: That's correct. So usually what happens in processed grains, and when I say processed, it's the grain that has the bran removed from it. So when it's removed, you're left with the starch, and that is, like, that is defined as the endosperm, and that starch, although it has a good amount of calories in it, it's very low in nutrients. So when you see your white breads, your croissants, your bagels, and they don't have the whole-grain element to it, you are looking at a very refined grain. So all the good stuff was taken out. They do tend to throw in and enrich it with niacin and B vitamins and things like that, but it's nothing like having that fiber present. And, unfortunately, that is most of the, carbohydrates that we have in the form of, whether pasta or different types of breads or even tortillas; a lot of it, unfortunately, is missing the most important element, which is all that great fiber found in the, the bran that's removed during processing.
John Bradshaw: Okay, so tell me. How do we get more whole grains into our diet? I'm listening to you and I'm thinking, "Yeah, okay, if it's that simple and if it's that good for me, I need to get more of it into my diet," but I might be thinking, "How do I do that"? So tell me.
Dr. Fay Kazzi: The easiest way to do it is oatmeal. So, oatmeal is defined as a whole grain, and it is fabulous because it contains soluble fibers. And this is an interesting, an interesting fact. Did you know that these soluble fibers have an incredible way of protecting the heart? Because they actually attach themselves to cholesterol, and the cholesterol that you might have in your body or that you would have had from the previous, I don't know, burger the night before, it attaches to the cholesterol, and it prevents its absorption into the bloodstream. So this is a fascinating role that soluble fiber can play. It is quite incredible to think about that.
John Bradshaw: So, let me talk to you about bread. I, I want to show you some, well, bread-like substance. I have some, some bread kind of stuff here. This is, this is the, the el-cheapo white bread, and I understand why some people want to buy this, 'cause it's, it's cheap. Uh, but what's in this, Dr. Kazzi, or not in it?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Um, if you're looking at it, the ingredient list, it's going to tell you it's unbleached flour, and it's just, just that; it doesn't say whole grain. And then the second, ingredient might be water. The third ingredient right after that is going to be fructose corn syrup or some sort of sugar. And that's telling you that this bread, even though it's fortified with certain types of vitamins and minerals, it's lacking in the most important heart-protective element, which is that whole-wheat bran item. And so you're getting a lot of calories and, yes, it's cheaper, but you're missing out on all the beneficial nutrients that you could get from a whole-grain version.
John Bradshaw: And what's fascinating about this, almost like magic, you can take three slices of this bread and reduce it down to virtually nothing. Ahhh, but on the other hand, let me share this! You mentioned this a moment ago. This is Ezekiel 4:9 bread, made by our friends at Food for Life. It's magnificent. So what is it about bread like this? Of course, there are other good breads, too, but my favorite is Ezekiel 4:9. What's so good about this and why is it good for you?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Yeah, so Ezekiel bread is one of the best breads out there. Part of the reason why this whole-wheat version is standing out compared to all other breads is because of the sprouted element. They actually sprout their grains, and with the sprouting process you give a lot of life and nutrients and enzymes to the bread. And basically, what Ezekiel bread is made out of is, I'm going to read the list here, because it's just so, it's so simple and so impressive. It's made from whole sprouted wheats, from barley, spelt, millet, soybeans, and lentils. So, it's really one of the best breads you can get, and it tastes really great, and it has integrity and substance to it.
John Bradshaw: Okay, Fay, we're going to talk more about this tomorrow night. We'll pick up from where we left off. But before you go, I mentioned earlier when I introduced you, you are an author. Tell me about the last book you wrote, and, I'll tell people they can find it online at itiswritten.shop. Tell me about the book.
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Yeah, so my cookbook is called "The Earthy Canvas Vegan Cookbook". It's 100, over 100 plant-based recipes that I personally designed myself. Um, these recipes are focused on whole food ingredients. I don't use processed, items. I don't use processed fake vegan cheeses or meats or anything like that. It's all made out of whole food plant-based items.
John Bradshaw: Fantastic. That's the book. You know where to get it now: itiswritten.shop. And I'm sure you can find it elsewhere, too. Dr. Fay Kazzi, thank you, I appreciate your time, so glad you joined me on Take Charge of Your Health.
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Thank you for having me.
John Bradshaw: Okay, let's take a look at some frequently asked questions when it comes to the question of heart health. Let's go back to our cardiologists, Dr. Brian Schwartz and Dr. Harvey Hahn. Let's start with you, Dr. Hahn. You get questions all the time from people who say, "Doctor, what about...?" Give me one of the frequently asked questions you hear from patients.
Dr. Harvey Hahn: Yeah, one of the most frequent questions is, "What is the best diet"? or "What is the best exercise to do"? And what I typically tell them is, as far as exercise goes, what do you like to do? Just because it worked for somebody else, one size does not fit all; you're going to have to do something you like that you want to do five, six times a week. So it's got to be enjoyable. It can't just be some program that worked for your friend, because that's not a guarantee it's going to work for you. Same thing with diet, the fad diets typically don't work. You're going to have to find something that works for you and your family.
John Bradshaw: Okay, Dr. Schwartz, frequently asked question. You, you get questions all day, every day from people; some of them are panicked about the state of their cardiac health. What are they asking you?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Well, a funny one that unfortunately I get asked quite a bit is, "Can't I still eat my cake and just take that pill"? And there's this mentality out there that if we can just take a pill, it will undo all the bad choices that we've made for many, many years. And unfortunately, every single medication has the potential for side effects; for every effect there is a side effect. They're expensive. They cause problems. And the reality is lifestyle choices are far more effective at preventing the problem and so far more powerful, and without the side effects, no side effects, and no cost. And so that's really something I encourage everyone. Medications are for people that don't want to change their, their lifestyle, by and large. There are exceptions; there are some really bad genetic traits, but by and large, that's true for the majority of, of people.
John Bradshaw: Uh, let me respond to that by asking you this question. You're a physician, a responsible physician; you've got a very responsible position. You're not against medication, are you?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Um, no, absolutely. I will encourage people to make the lifestyle choices as quick and as, as, as fast as they're ready to do it. Um, but I'm not going to just stand by and watch their blood pressure be up in a lethal range, or just stand there and watch their cholesterol being very high. We're going to, we're going to act on it immediately. We're going to use medications, appropriately, but we can very quickly wean those medications down and in some cases get completely off the medications, once, a patient takes charge of their health.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Hahn, I know somebody is listening to this right now. They say, "Look at me. "I'm 100 pounds overweight," or, or 15 pounds overweight, or 215 pounds overweight. And they say, "I agree with this. "I've heard it all before. "I, I, I'm a cheerleader for this stuff, "but it's just too big a mountain for me to climb. I feel like I could never get there". What do you say to that person, Dr. Hahn?
Dr. Harvey Hahn: I, I think there is a ton of examples of people that lost 100, 150 pounds. The biggest weight loss in my clinic, I think, was about 250 pounds. He went from 450 to 250, and the great thing about him is basically he was falling asleep all the time, couldn't do anything, and now he can go at least walk and play with his grandkids. So it was a huge change and impact on his life. Um, I think if you look at the numbers, it's very hard to overcome. You have to find the motivation that's more important than what the scale shows you. If you want to be more energetic, travel with your spouse, watch your grandkid graduate from high school, or better yet, college, you're going to have to be healthy to make any of those big milestones. And that's got to be the type of motivation that will drive people. Saying "I want to lose 50 pounds" or "I want to look good for the summer" is not a strong enough motivation.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Schwartz, I've heard where people have said where they found their motivation is in faith in God, where they discover that God wanted the very best for them. It gave them a real lift and a push. When you look into the Bible, and I know I'm, I know I'm bending ever so slightly here, but I do that with permission, I hope, we read that God said He will give us a new heart. David prayed for a new heart. Okay, they were talking about a renewing of the mind, but God is into this, isn't He? He cares about this. What, what do you talk to people about when they ask you about this from a spiritual point of view?
Dr. Brian Schwartz: Yeah, I really love that question. So, a few years back, well, well, actually about 10 to 15 years back, I used to tell people, "You know, you really should stop smoking". "You know, you really should lose weight". And I've come to realize that people know that already. That's just imparting good advice, but there's no power to actually make a lifestyle change or to make a motivational change. What people really need to do is to tap into the source of all power and the source of change. And so about 15 years ago, I actually started addressing spiritual needs in my practice, talking to patients about where do they find their strength, and praying with patients, asking the Lord to give them the strength to overcome smoking, asking the Lord to give them the desire to get healthy, to get their weight down, asking the Lord to actually help them find ways to exercise. And it has made a radical transformation in how patients appreciate it. Um, they no longer see it just as getting good advice, but that I actually, truly, genuinely care about their well-being and their health, and they feel motivated when they tap into the power that comes from the Lord.
John Bradshaw: Fantastic, gentlemen, thank you so very much. Once again, Dr. Brian Schwartz, chief cardiologist at the Kettering Health Network in Kettering, Ohio; Dr. Harvey Hahn, director of the Cardiology Fellowship Training Program at Kettering. Gentlemen, thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time.
John Bradshaw: I want to introduce you to Anne Diroll. Anne is based in Rocklin, California, and she's had a remarkable experience as she has taken charge of her health. Anne, welcome, and thanks for joining me.
Anne Diroll: Pleasure. Thank you.
John Bradshaw: Let's go back to the beginning, at least the beginning of this chapter of your experience. Talk about what you've been through lately and the change that you've enjoyed and experienced in your life.
Anne Diroll: Well, a year ago, just over a year ago, I went to NEWSTART, and my husband strongly encouraged me to go. I had high blood pressure. I had a stressful job as a registered nurse managing a hemodialysis clinic. I was a space case. And my blood pressure really wasn't well controlled on the two medicines that I was taking. Anyway, off I went to NEWSTART, and, I told all the NEWSTART staff that my goal was to feel healthy. I really wasn't too worried about weight, but really my blood pressure and my stress and my lack of sleep were bothering me. And I wasn't functioning very well. I said that I would like to, reduce my blood pressure. Dr. Lukens and the staff said, "Okay, no more medicine. Now you start the program". And after six days with no medicine, my blood pressure was down to 113 over 67, and on about the seventh day, having lost my sense of smell previously, due to a concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, I had no sense of smell; I had no sense of smell for four years, I was walking at NEWSTART on one of my strolls, and I reflexively bent down to smell an iris. My grandmother had irises, and the smell was always so beautiful. And when I smelled it, I could actually smell; my sense of smell returned. So I had two things happen. Firstly, on science, I'm no longer on blood pressure medicines. And secondly, as a miracle, I can smell. I can smell the roses, the jasmine, the rosemary, and all of the spices that I put in my new plant-based whole foods.
John Bradshaw: That is just exciting, and it is fantastic. So tell me something about the program you went through, some of the changes you made that you might say, "Hey, anybody can make these changes and therefore experience great results, kind of like I did". What were some of those principles you put into practice in your life?
Anne Diroll: Well, the first thing was my nutrition consults. I said to my dietician, I said, "I grew up on a sheep farm, you understand. I ate meat seven days a week and sometimes twice a day, and now you're telling me not to eat meat anymore? To eat plants and vegetables"? She said, "Yes. Why not"? Um, Dr. Gallant said, "Well, have you looked at an ox or a stud horse or a big bull? They don't eat meat". So, I thought, okay, they can be strong and muscular without eating meat. So we quit eating meat. And it's quite surprising how wonderful food tastes; spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, tofu. And we really don't eat meat anymore, and we're not really eating three meals a day. We're mostly eating two meals a day. My husband has lost weight. We both sleep better. We both feel better. We both function better.
John Bradshaw: Okay. Talk to me about where you were; compare the you then with the you now. You've mentioned a couple of things. I don't mind if you repeat them, but talk to me about the, the differences, the changes now, where you are now, where you were then. And it hasn't even been very long.
Anne Diroll: Well, first of all, I can smell. Secondly, I'm not on blood pressure medicine. And thirdly, I don't have acid reflux and indigestion every night now, compared to what I had then. My blood pressure, I think, is the biggest thing. I'm not going to die early. I'm going to die healthy when I do die.
John Bradshaw: Let me ask you this question. So go back to, go back five years, three years, let's say three years, and the Anne three years ago, could you imagine you being the person that you are now with the lifestyle now? Or then would it have just seemed too foreign, too impossible, too crazy? Was that something then that you could say, "Oh, I could imagine doing that"? Or is it just not something you really would have thought in your mind?
Anne Diroll: I, I had never heard of Weimar. I had never heard of NEWSTART. I hadn't heard of Seventh-day Adventists. And they were just up the road from us. So, three years ago? Not in a million years.
John Bradshaw: And now? Any regrets about the path you've been on? Let me ask you this: what's the path looking like now and how do you maintain where you are now?
Anne Diroll: So, it's really easy. You, spend all your money on vegetables, and you can get a week's worth of vegetables for a day's worth of meat, in terms of money. Lots of fresh air and sunshine, much more relaxed, you realize what's important. The material things aren't important as the spiritual things. And I think that's just the process that happens over time. Maybe when you're feeling better, your brain is acting better, and you can have a better, aerial view of the world. And actually, on Saturday, my husband and I were baptized at Moses Rock.
John Bradshaw: Hey, that is fantastic, what a wonderful story. And it sounds very much like the best is yet to come. God bless you and thank you for taking your time to speak with me right now. I appreciate it.
Anne Diroll: Pleasure. Thank you and God bless you.
John Bradshaw: Now, each time we get together on Take Charge of Your Health, we're going to talk about exercise. Don't groan. We all know, everybody knows it's important to get enough exercise, but for some of us, we don't know how to get it into our schedule. For some of us, we're not really sure what would be best. For some of us, ugh, just the thought of exercise is tough. So, each night I'm going to be welcoming somebody who knows a thing or two about exercise: a medical professional, a surgeon, as a matter of fact. Welcome to Take Charge of Your Health, Dr. Steve Lee.
Dr. Steve Lee: Thanks, John. We all know that exercise is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. But because of modern conveniences, very few of us get the amount of physical activity that we need. Studies show that you need about 30 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And when people think about exercise, they think about going to the gym or playing sports, but one of the best forms of exercise is something that many of us may not even consider to be exercise: walking. Walking is something that almost everyone can do, requires no equipment and no special environment. And walking is not only good for your physical health, but it's good for your mental health, and it reduces stress and increases creativity. In fact, some of the greatest breakthroughs in science and art came to people while they were walking. Walking is also a great activity to do with friends and family because it's easy to hold a conversation while you're walking and socialize. Some good times to go walking are first thing in the morning, when you, it helps you wake up, clear your mind, and you get a little sunshine. And another good time is right after dinner, when it helps you digest your food, and you can socialize with your family and friends. We can all incorporate more walking into our life by parking farther away from the front door, or taking stairs instead of the elevator, and by taking shorts breaks in the office to walk around. So, whether it's a short walk down the end of the driveway or a long hike up a mountain, we can all use more walking in our life.
John Bradshaw: You know, one thing that we should not make the mistake of forgetting, we really cannot make the mistake of forgetting, when you talk about taking charge of your health is spiritual health. And that's why It Is Written has collaborated with AdventHealth and produced an outstanding series of studies called the CREATION Life Study Guides. They're eight studies with principles that will enhance your life physically and spiritually. We're going to look at study number 1 right now; study number 1 in that series is called "Choice". So let's look at it. We will not have time to go through it all, but you're going to be able to download this for free, and in a few moments I will tell you how you can do that.
So we're going to look at study number 1, and when we're done in just a few moments, I will tell you where you can go to download that, and, during the week you'll have downloaded at least 7 of the 8 CREATION Life Study Guides. They are tremendous, and they fill in a lot of the gaps that we haven't yet discussed and, you're going to enjoy this part of the program. Now, the study starts with a fun and a, really a rather remarkable story about President Teddy Roosevelt. And then it follows with this question: "What is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us"? Now, what does this have to do with taking charge of your health? Oh, everything. So, we begin in Genesis chapter 2 and at verse 16, where God says to Adam and Eve, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat". And, and so it goes.
And so you notice that right back there at the beginning, what was the question? "What's one of the greatest gifts that God has given us"? You may say that's a subjective answer. "One of" means there are many possible answers. But way back there at the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve freedom of choice. Now, if you're familiar with that Bible story, you'll know that Adam and Eve didn't use that freedom of choice entirely wisely. So how about us today? We are surrounded by choices. Life is really just a succession of choices to make. We've been given the ability by God to make choices. And if you're human and slightly honest, then you're aware that at times you have made less-than-stellar choices. One decision can change everything. Adam and Eve found out that that can work for the bad. But, you know, it can also work for the good. Choice is a powerful thing.
So, we look at the second question now. And the second question is, "Does choosing to do the right thing mean that the path ahead will always be smooth"? Let me ask you that again. "Does choosing to do the right thing mean that the path ahead will always be smooth"? Well, we know that that's absolutely not the case. The study points us to the experience of a man named Joseph, a Bible character who did absolutely the right thing and, as a result, ended up in a really difficult situation. Now, again, if you're familiar with that story, you know that it ultimately ended up well for Joseph, and not just for Joseph, but for his entire family. You'll notice this line in the answer to question 2. It says this: "The long-term benefits of making the right choice outweigh the short-term repercussions". And we want to think about that and keep that in mind in terms of taking charge of your health.
And so now, question 3, study guide 1 in the CREATION Life series: "If we make good choices about what we eat and drink, how can that help us"? Now, that takes us to the story of Daniel. The book of Daniel in the Bible starts in a really interesting way. Daniel and others were taken from Jerusalem, where they lived, to Babylon, and when they got to Babylon as captives, they immediately faced a significant test. The king was going to feed them, of course; they were his captives; they were going to be his servants (slaves, really) but Daniel realized that he couldn't conscientiously eat the king's food. And that would be a massive insult to the king.
So it says in Daniel chapter 1 and in verses 8 and verse 20, we'll start in verse 8 first. It says this; "Daniel had a choice: He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself". And now verse 20: "And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them", that's Daniel and his friends, "ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm". Now, this is something that's often overlooked, and let's pause and think about that. He made the right decision, physically. Think about this. If you were taken down there to the lap of luxury, to the capital city of the ancient world, and the king said, "You're mine now, and I want to lead you and train you in my way," you would expect that the food would have been, from an earthly point of view, a worldly, a human point of view, really the best stuff. What did Daniel do, though? He said, "You know, no. Even though I'm going to, undergo some risk in saying so, no".
Now, back to that thing that's often forgotten. The book of Daniel contains some of the most phenomenal message, messages ever given from heaven to earth. Daniel is used to share messages from God. And it basically started with Daniel on the question of what he would eat and drink. He could easily have eaten the king's food and justified it: "I have to. It's good. I'm hungry. What else am I going to eat"? But he wanted to be faithful to God and to honor God with his body. Daniel knew that wrong choices would hurt him. And he believed that good choices would advantage him. And that's how it turned out. Took a while to get there, but that's how it turned out. He evidently knew what we read over in the New Testament, where Paul wrote that the body is, and I quote, "the temple of the Holy Spirit". Think about this. God, the God of the universe, the Creator, the One who made it all, God, so big the Bible says, "The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him", this God actually wants to dwell in us. And so it's right, it's wise to keep your body in the best shape possible, to keep your mind as clear as possible, in order to give you the very best long-term outlook. And when faith comes into it, long-term can, can mean really long-term.
So, question 4 now: "How much can making the wrong decisions cost us"? Well, we'll look at Mark chapter 10; we start in verse 17, interesting story: "Now as He was going out on the road", that would be Jesus, "one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?'" Which is an amazing question. Think through this with me. He asked Jesus, "Tell me what to do in order to have eternity". Jesus answers him. He tells him, "Do this. Do this, and you can have eternity". So what did Jesus tell him? Verse 21 says, "Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him", which I think is a poignant point, "and said to him, 'One thing you lack.'" That's not bad, one thing. "'Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me.'"
Now, don't misread this. This isn't God saying that people can't have stuff, that it's wrong to have material things; God's not saying that. But this is God saying that there are times you need to make the right choice. This man's issue was that his possessions were more important to him than eternal life. Not true for everyone, but, nevertheless, he had a choice to make. Everything depended on his choice. So how did he decide? Even when eternal life was there waiting for him to take, it says in verse 22, "But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions".
Interesting, isn't it? You wonder sometimes why you wasted an hour on a Sunday afternoon when you could have made a better choice and done something more constructive with your time. But here's a man looking eternal life right in the eye and saying, "I choose otherwise". There are some powerful motivations, some powerful connections that we have that affect our choices. It's good to identify them. It's really important to ask ourselves why we do what we do and recognize there are consequences to our choices, keeping in mind that we have the ability to make a choice.
Okay, question 5: "If we've made bad decisions in the past, can our future still be bright"? You want to know the answer to this. We go to Genesis chapter 27; it says that Jacob "went to his father and said, 'My father.' And he said, 'Here I am. Who are you, my son?' Jacob said to his father, 'I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.'" Jacob was deceiving his father, just flat-out lying to him. He chose to deceive his father to get what he wanted, and he ended up paying a brutally high price. He spent over 20 years in exile. He was deceived himself by his future father-in-law and never saw his mother again. It was an exorbitant price to pay in order to get what he wanted. But in the end, he was able to return home and be reunited with a brother who forgave him and a father who had missed him.
And now question 6: "How important are small choices"? Okay, look what it says in Luke 16:10. "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he", by the way, he or she, "who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much". What we see is that our small choices add up to big choices. Decisions frequently become habits, and then those habits will form you, they'll define you, and they will guide your life. Get in the habit of taking a walk; in time you're going to see that that small choice has big benefits. There's a man in my neighborhood who began walking; then he began jogging. Might be a slight stretch, but it seems as though he's half the man he used to be.
For the last nine months or so, I've seen a different man, well, same man, okay, a different, you get what I mean? In another part of town there's a man; I see him jogging when I drive to the office. I've been able to see over time that he's losing weight. It's dramatic. So a small choice carried out adds up to a big change. You drink some, some soda, let's say. Drink some soda instead of water? You'll see the opposite in action. Over time you really would. There's a choice that over time is going to drag you down. Once, ah, you're okay, even if it's not the best. But again and then again and then again, and those jellybeans or whatever it is, they might just end up having a deleterious effect on you.
[b]So, I hope you'll get this study. There'll be more resources that I share with you. I want to tell you where to get this study from. Here's what you do. You go to takecharge.life. Notice the kind of different ending on the website? takecharge.life. You go there; you can download this resource, we only got partway through it, "Choice," how to make good choices. I want to take charge of my health, so I know it's all about my choices. You go to takecharge.life. There you'll also be able to watch this presentation, if you missed part of it, or if you'd like to watch it again, and you can share the link with others and say, "Hey, watch this. It's going to help you to take charge of your health". Tonight was heart health; tomorrow, diabetes. Did you know? In the United States there are 88 million people who are prediabetic; most of them don't know. There are 34 million, that's adults, and 34 million people battling diabetes. You can do something about it. Tomorrow, medical experts, success story, it's going to be great. We'll see you then on Take Charge of Your Health.[b]