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Book Summary Video Interviews with Dr. Dean Ornish on his book “The Spectrum for HealthBootcamps.
Dean Ornish, MD, is the founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif. He is the clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Ornish received his medical training in internal medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He received a BA in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
For more than 32 years, Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. He directed the first randomized, controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. His research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease. In collaboration with Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., he also showed that these lifestyle changes can lengthen telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that control how long we live.
He is the author of six best-selling books, including New York Times bestsellers Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Love & Survival; and his most recent book, The Spectrum.
The research that he and his colleagues conducted has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Circulation, TheNew England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Cardiology, The Lancet Oncology, and elsewhere.
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[00:01] REENA JADHAV: Now part two is all about your recipes and cooking essential and we’re going to condense all that into this chapter which is Dr. Dean Ornish’s meal plans. So what I want to know Dr. Dean is what do you eat? So describe your day for us; what’s your breakfast, what’s your lunch, what’s your dinner, how much wine do you drink, what’s your indulgence?
[00:21] DR. DEAN ORNISH: Well I don’t have any chronic diseases fortunately I don’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol. My weight is good; I don’t have heart disease in fact actually.
[00:31] REENA JADHAV: You follow your diet of course you don’t.
[00:32] DR. DEAN ORNISH: I have been doing it since I was nineteen although I grew up in Texas eating a lot of cheese burgers and tulips and so on three four times a day. So it was a big change when I did make the changes. I was at 256 [inaudible] when I turned 60 and they said that I had the arteries of a 14 year old so that made me feel good. So it does work. For me I find that still eating the same whole foods plant based diet is what I recommend so I have.
[01:00] REENA JADHAV: So are you a vegetarian or vegan.
[01:02] DR. DEAN ORNISH: I’m a vegetarian or vegan but I’m mostly I’m closely getting closer to being vegan. My big indulgence is chocolate so I try to limit the amount of that but I do know good dark chocolate and my wife Anna is a brilliant teacher in many ways and I talked to her about the spectrum but she did a DVD of guided meditations on the back of it. And she’s the one on the cover with her arms up here and so she has a wonderful in fact we just co wrote this new book together that’ll be coming out in January called ‘Undo It’ and I like to talk about the science, she talks about how she developed a learning management system for all the hospitals and clinics and issue groups that were training around the country. For breakfast I might have I really like steel cut oatmeal, I can just cook that if I don’t have time I use microwave, and four minutes it is ready. I put a pint of blueberries on it because I love blueberries and there’s a lot of evidence that blue berries actually do make you smarter which is a good thing and a little bit of low sugar organic soy milk on top of that. So that’s my breakfast meal every day. And for lunch or dinner it just depends I have a big salad. Living here in San Francisco we have access to such great produce, as you know the Bay area that you can make these incredibly beautiful salads that better just incredibly delicious. And at night I have a steamer my stove which makes it so easy to steam up something and people have broccoli that’s gross but organic broccoli just slightly steamed is incredibly good and as well as most of the vegetables are as well as so It’s really easy for me to eat this way.
[02:35] REENA JADHAV: And I think it’s because you’ve had your taste buds sort of retrained from enjoying a tupelo to enjoying the broccoli because that was challenge for me. I’m a sugar addict and so I was used to eating everything with gobs of sugar in it and so when I transitioned to basically eating low sugar diet for fifteen months like nothing. I mean maybe two grapes a day was sort of the maximum sugar I was getting results because I was almost done no grain diet. It took I would say maybe a couple of weeks for my taste buds to completely get retrained but boy you are so right when they did I started finding beans sweet. I started finding broccoli sweet.
[03:16] DR. DEAN ORNISH: Yeah well I mean when you train. It’s one of the reasons why it is sometimes actually easier to make big changes than small ones because you were always eating some short and not as much your palate never gets to change. It’s like people who eat a solitary go from a whole milk to skim milk. At first, the skimmed milk is like water after a while it tastes fine after a couple of weeks you go out to dinner and somebody gives you milk it tastes like cream it’s too greasy. But it wasn’t a cow change but your palate adapted and so making big changes in some ways makes that easier. Witnessing this between sugar and that comes naturally fruits and vegetables for example from added sugar because the problem with sugar it besides the fact that you can eat so much without getting full is like main lining sugar. So your blood sugar spikes, your pancreas makes insulin to bring back down. But these repeat sergeants on insulin cause chronic inflammation, locks in stress and on the receptor level they down regulate and you get what is called insulin resistance which over time can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. But when you get it in like whole grains are very different than refined grains because whole grains are rich in fiber we should get our whole apple is different than apple juice because the fiber fills you up before you get too many calories and it slows the rate of absorption. So you don’t get these spikes in blood sugar you get this nice constant slow elevation it doesn’t go high enough to provoke an insulin response and it goes down slow so you don’t get this wide swings in blood sugar and carbohydrate craving that comes from your you know it’s like a pendulum that goes one side to the other. Blood pressure is too high; blood pressure is too low so in our program we don’t eliminate carbs at all. In fact it is mostly carbs but they are good carbs so fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, starch products, international forum which are generally rich in fiber. And even if you eat some of the foods that are have a higher glycemic index most of the time people eating them as part of a meal and it is the overall glycemic index how quickly your blood sugars absorb that really gets effective. And so I find that makes it much more sustainable and plus they’re literally hundreds of thousands of protective substances for instance fruits and vegetables and whole grains, legumes, bio-chemicals, [unintelligible] and all anti-cancer and heart disease and even anti-aging properties. The last thing I want to say is that is that I know we have we have a difference of opinion on this but there’s more evidence coming up in animal protein itself is very harmful. Independent of the whole plants verses carbs thing. One study came out and some metabolism they found out that people had a lot of animal protein they had a 75% higher risk of premature death from all causes and a 400 to 500% increase risk from prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And Walter Willet when he was at Harvard looked at 365,000 people in positions and nurses’ health study found the same kinds of changes. So animal protein is inflammatory it also causes oxidative stress. It causes in fact most of the mechanism that we have been talking about are worsened by that. So again it’s not all or nothing the fact is that people are what they are to the degree that move in that direction there’s a corresponding benefit but I think you know it’s good to reduce your sugar intake but it’s also good to reduce your intake of animal proteins as well we find that optimal for most people. I just wanted to refer people to our website which my wife lovely wife Anna is just Ornish my name dot com; everything on there is free also recipes and science and information about what we’re doing so again I hope it gets all about raising awareness and giving people the support they need.
[06:45] REENA JADHAV: Doctor Ornish thank you so much for this incredible insight, for your amazing books. You have a new book coming up and we are going to be doing interviews and for those of you stay tuned we definitely are going to do an interview that’s focused on Dr. Ornish’s new book that’s going to come out but give us a little teaser what’s the book about what’s the big uh?
[7:02] DR. DEAN ORNISH: The book is called ‘Undo it’ and it’s a refund Justin of course but also my teacher who said I am a Hindu you know I am an Urdu. But it’s basically the idea that we’ve been talking about here that with all this interesting personalization. It’s the same lifestyle changes that can prevent and reverse all of these major chronic diseases and why and what ties it all together. It will be coming out in January next year.
[07:27] REENA JADHAV: Really looking forward to it. Thank you so much for the rest of you makes those changes they’re not that hard to make. They just seem like they are hard to make. Check out health bootcamps please check out Dr. Ornish’s site we are going to put a lot of links, a lot of stuff that’s free as well so make sure you check out the show notes and check out Dr. Dean Ornish’s diet thank you so much.
[07:49] DR. DEAN ORNISH: Great pleasure thank you for raising so much awareness in the world.
Dr. Dean Ornish, MD
Phone: 415-332-2525, x-229
Phone: +1 (877) 888-3091
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