A wonderful paradigm shift in Health!
by Enrica Sacca
It’s a bittersweet time in the world of health and wellness. Bitter, in that, Covid is taking a toll on us. Those with comorbidities, also known as chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity run a higher risk of complications. Time is also sweet in that a major paradigm shift is happening here in NYC and in the world of medicine. The Food as Medicine movement is showing us that we have more power over our health than we think. Board-certified doctors now realize that we cannot keep maintaining this DISease and are getting certified from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Interestingly, this new health paradigm’s pillars consist of the healthy eating of whole food plant-based nutrition, physical activity, managing stress, avoiding risking substances, improving sleep, and forming and maintaining relationships. This conscious shift in food is one of the most powerful pillars because there is now evidence that whole food plant-based nutrition is reversing heart disease, diabetes, and stage 2 prostate cancer.
The big change has come to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which has determined that the “Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease” meets the intensive cardiac rehabilitation (ICR) program requirements set forth by Congress in §1861(eee)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act and in our regulations at 42 CFR §410.49(c) and, as such, has been included on the list of approved ICR programs.
To summarize, the US government is now paying to reverse heart disease through whole food plant-based nutrition via certified medical centers throughout the United States. We get to know that this is an alternative to heart surgery and stents.
The nutrition consists of a high fiber diet of whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables as that of the Mediterranean diet. The major distinction is that it is free of salt, oil, and sugar. But no oils? Yes, this was a big surprise. In learning more, I understand that in 1998 three pharmacists discovered the vascular gas called Nitric Oxide.
Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas that transmits signals in the organism. Signal transmission by this gas, produced by one cell, penetrates through membranes and regulates another cell’s function, representing an entirely new principle for signaling in biological systems. The discoverers of NO as a signal molecule were awarded the Nobel prize in medicine.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., surgeon, clinician, and researcher from the Cleveland Clinic describes it so well in the famous documentary Forks Over Knives. Pioneer doctors, like Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish, T. Colin Campbell, Michael Greger, Neal Barnard share the evidence – a whole food plant-based diet is truly the science of nutrition for prevention and reversal of disease.
And, as for athletes … it’s now raising the bar!