Church silence promotes violence to humans, to animals, to our
environment, to our economy, to our education, to our finances, and to our health.
By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
We need to ask ourselves, "What are we doing to prevent heart disease (heart attack and cardiovascular disease) in ourselves and in the people of our community?" Our investigation has shown that we are doing very little in the way of prevention, and in most cases, we are actually promoting heart attacks and clogged blood vessels. Even our prayers seem to have been ineffectual in most cases, at least in the long term.
We may not be doing this intentionally, but our silence and lack of knowledge of the truth is nevertheless furthering heart disease. Our silence promotes violence to our cardiovascular system.
What can we do about reversing our past silence?
First, let's look at the Biblical example of Solomon's prayer when he became king, for his prayer should be the beginning of ours: "So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, to discern between good and evil." Solomon's prayer pleased the Lord and He gave him great wisdom. (1 Kings 3:9-12). The beginning of our prayers should be to seek the wisdom and knowledge to be able to discern the truths from the distortions and lies, that we can help prevent this chronic health problem, and that our words would be truly heard by others. If we are the temple of the living God, as Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 6:16), then we have an obligation to keep it healthy and free of the evils that can destroy it.
Now, let us look at some of the facts about preventing and actually reversing cardiovascular disease:
The well-known and respected Dean Ornish, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, has been successfully using the following five-step program to reverse cardiovascular disease:
1. A very low-fat, whole foods, vegetarian (near-vegan) diet
2. Half an hour a day of walking or other exercise
3. Half an hour a day of stretching, meditation, relaxation, stress reduction, etc.
4. Psychological and emotional support groups
5. No smoking
Another well known and respected physician, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, M.D., general surgeon and researcher at Cleveland Clinic, achieves comparable results using a low-fat vegan diet without requiring the exercise, meditation, and support groups (steps 2, 3, and 4 above). We have attended two of Dr. Esselstyn's seminars and have been impressed by his work, which has also been published in the American Journal of Cardiology. In his words:
"In this study, patients become virtually heart-attack proof. We achieved these excellent results without structured exercise, meditation, stress management, and other added lifestyle changes."1, 2
Dr. Esselstyn's results are especially impressive when one realizes that his 12 year study included patients with severe cardiovascular disease. After twelve years, 95% of them are alive and well. Prior to joining his study, 48 of his patients had experienced serious cardiac events. In the twelve years of the study, there have been no cardiac events. To us, this proves a low-fat vegan diet not only prevents, but also reverses, cardiovascular disease.
In his lectures, Esselstyn showed slides of clogged and blocked arteries and how they began to open, once a person changed to a low-fat, plant-based diet. He also showed slides of totally closed blood vessels obtained from autopsies, and compared those with "clean" arteries.
Some people may think that a totally low-fat, plant-based (vegan) diet is too "extreme". We have been on this type of diet since 1988, and it is anything but "extreme". To us it is exceptionally extreme to crack open someone's chest for by-pass surgery, or to run a "roto-rooter" through a person's blood vessels (angioplasty).
We torture and kill animals for food, and by eating their flesh and by-products, it appears almost as though they are taking revenge by slowly killing us.
As the Church, we are to care about the whole person (body, soul, and spirit). It's time we stop closing our eyes and ears to the truth. It's time we speak out about the things that will help improve both the health and longevity of our fellow human beings. For too long a time our silence has been doing violence to our health.
1. Esselstyn, C. B. Jr., "Updating a 12-Year Experience with Arrest and Reversal Therapy for Coronary Heart Disease", American Journal of Cardiology 84 (1999): 339-341.
2. Robbins, John, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World, Berkeley, CA, Conari Press, 2001, 23-26.
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