a different kind of coffee break with Gerry and Ray Coffey

Disease-Free Living Through Fitness and Nutrition


Heart Disease and Diet:
An NBC Dateline Monday Feature - June 1997
By: Gerry Coffey

Last week on NBC’s DATELINE MONDAY, Reporter Maria Shriver featured a young couple who invested a year of their lives to participate in Dr. Dean Ornish’s program to reverse heart disease without drugs or surgery.

The husband, a pastor, was diagnosed with major heart blockage at the age of 34 and under-went Angioplasty: surgery to insert a tiny balloon through the clogged artery to enlarge the opening.

But the results would be only temporary they were told, so on learning about the Ornish Program both husband and wife enrolled. Although the wife showed no disease symptoms, they felt unless it was a way of life both endorsed, it would have little chance of success.

From Day One they were told to eliminate ALL fat from their diet (including Olive Oil, which many mis-informed health providers still recommend), along with meat, fish, fowl, eggs and dairy products. Also refined sugar, caffeine, chocolate, decaf and carbonated beverages.

A daily exercise and stress reduction session was also part of the regime.

Seven months into the program, the pastor suddenly experienced chest pain again and was rushed to the hospital.

THE BAD NEWS was he had 95% blockage and required immediate by-pass surgery.

THE GOOD NEWS was, the damage occurred in the same area where the Angioplasty was performed and the tissues had been weakened. All other areas that had previously shown blockage, BUT were not "treated," had dramatically improved.

Far from being "dis"heartened," (pun intended), the couple was more convinced than ever they were doing the right thing.

While learning a completely new way of life was not easy, when they looked at each other across the table, and smiled at their two young children, they knew it was a small price to pay. Postscript: A few months after the surgery, with the blessings of his physician, the pastor ran a 26 mile marathon and finished in a very respectable time of a little over 4 hours. (: - )
–Gerry Coffey

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