Some have remarked on how courageous I am to have picked up and moved half-way across the world. It does take some courage but the alternative —stagnation, is a fate worse than death. And memento mori did have a critical part to play. Despite dragging my self to the gym 3 days a week, sitting all day at the computer, I felt the life force ebbing away. Aches and cramps, loss of flexibility, slight dizziness, and losing my balance, compounded by symptoms of BPH (enlarged prostate) were undeniable signs of aging.
An EMI test showed severe blockage of the coronary arteries, an
alarming surprise since I have adhered assiduously to a healthy
lifestyle, being vegetarian for over 30 years, and vegan the last
five (clarification here: I coined the term domestic vegan to
describe being vegan at home, but relaxing restrictions when
traveling or on the few occasions I ate out). My cholesterol readings were
not excessively high but I had been having bouts of tightening of the
chest, palpitations, shortness of breath, and low energy. The
cardiologist prescribed statins. Not favoring drugs of any kind, I
declined, determined to find alternative means of alleviating the
symptoms, if not reversing the condition. I reacquainted myself with
the work of Dr. Dean Ornish whose book “Reversing and Preventing Heart Disease,”
I used to promote after I met one of his recovering patients. I also
discovered Drs. Esselstyn, Fuhrman and McDonald. Ornish's most famous
patient is perhaps Bill
Clinton, interviewed in a CNN documentary by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Dr. Esselstyn is also featured in the documentary Forks
Over Knives, along with researcher Dr Colin Campbell whose book
The China Study provides statistical support.
Having adhered strictly to the no-added oil regime, within two
years I was symptom-free and, as an added benefit, my blood pressure
which had been pre-hypertensive fell to normal levels. Another side-effect of the no-added fat diet is severe weight loss. My weight
dropped from 142 to 120, the same I weighed when I was 18. To stem
any further weight loss I added back avocados and nuts to my diet with no adverse effects, concluding that perhaps only those with severe heart disease need adhere strictly to the no-added fat rule. I add minimal amounts of coconut or olive oil for flavor at the end of making certain dishes, being careful not to heat them as that changes their molecular structure, turning them into inflammatories. I have regained my energy and vigor and realized that instead of an early
death alone in my apartment in DC, I had been given a new lease on
life. What to do with it?
My hermeneutic response (subject of another piece) was that I had
further work to do and though i'm probably good for another 20 years,
I should waste no time winding down but get up and go. The challenge
was how to stretch my limited financial resources to cover this
extended life. The answer was to move someplace with a lower cost of
1 day ago