A Major Shift - Talking Heart Disease Prevention and Reversal at Missouri Baptist Hospital's Annual Heart Healthy Fair
February has been named American Heart Month not to honor the flush of emotion set forth on the 14th, but rather to bring our attention to our tickers and how to keep them, well, ticking.
I follow a plant-based (AKA healthy (mostly unprocessed) vegan diet) and you may know I began this way of eating in 2008 when I lost my dad to cancer and then I too was diagnosed just 10 weeks after his passing. Though I adopted this way of eating through my experience with cancer, it was actually Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease that was my very first plant based research/cookbook purchase. I still use it today.
There is a lot of research out there supporting the reversal of coronary artery disease (CAD) after transitioning to a whole-food, plant based diet. It is the most conservative approach there is to this #1 killer in America, and in many cases, seems to be the most effective and longest lasting. Not to mention all of the other health benefits associated with popping plants and not pills.
So, when a major hospital system here in St. Louis invited me to be a part of their very popular annual Heart Healthy event, I was excited to say the least. However, that's just the beginning, I had no idea what they were really asking. Several months passed and as we got closer to event day, I called to ask them if I could stop by just to get the lay of the land and see where I would be setting up my table, passing out samples, etc. Thinking I would be nudged between vendors down a hallway, (but still quite excited and honored to be a part of this event nonetheless!), I was led by a team to an open area in the main vestibule and told my stage would be set up in there.
I soon learned that I would be giving not one, but two presentations comprised of a cooking demo, an A/V presentation, followed by a Q & A. My recipe was cooked and prepared by the hospital staff chefs and dieticians and finally passed out to the attendees by dietetic students.
One of the staff members graciously told me that they really liked the STLVegGirl tag line: "A Plant on Every Plate", so they would be using that as a common theme in the event. I nearly fell over.
After what was now a very short deadline to a VERY large event, I created, prepped, practiced and we all successfully executed a great event. My most heartfelt thank you goes out to the kind people of Missouri Baptist Hospital. I thank you for opening your heart and your mind and courageously accepting and inviting me to pass along my plant based education to your patients, members and supporters.