Those looking to prevent and even reverse heart disease will be able to take part in a popular program that will soon be offered in Petoskey.
For more than two decades, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, an internationally renowned surgeon and researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, has studied the role diet plays on heart disease.
Through his research, Esselstyn found that a plant-based diet cannot only prevent and stop the progression of heart disease, but also reverse its effects.
Beginning this month, The Harbor Lifestyle Center will begin offering his program through their Petoskey office.
“Our mission here is to empower people through healthy lifestyle changes, so this program is a perfect fit for us,” said Susan Boyko, RN, of the Harbor Lifestyle Center. “Dr. Esselstyn’s program is very simple. It is a very strict eating plan, but that’s all you need to do — no medications and no technology.”
Boyko and Dr. Charles Huebner will lead the program. Both currently follow Esselstyn’s plan.
Huebner, who has had high cholesterol problems in the past, began following the program after his brother died of a heart attack last year at the age of 50.
“I felt after all I had gone through on a personal level and then doing all this research and meeting with Dr. Esselstyn, I was a test case,” Huebner explained. “For me, I feel like it’s been a transformative experience and I believe this type of program isn’t the message that is being spread by many people in the medical field.”
Esselstyn believes that conventional cardiology has failed patients by developing treatments that focus only on the symptoms of heart disease, not on the cause.
“People have a hard time thinking of food as fuel,” Boyko said. “When I see people eating a lot of junk, I tell them it’s like you have a Lamborghini and you’re throwing a bunch of sand in the gas tank. You’re not fueling the tank the way it should be fueled.”
Huebner and Boyko stress that they are not encouraging people not to go to their cardiologist or stop taking their medication. Instead, they want to offer the program as an additional step that may have more powerful and longer lasting results.
Those interested in the program will go through a screening process and will be required to take part in a five hour session on Saturday, Nov. 20 where they will learn more about the program and its benefits, eating and cooking tips, and learn the impact certain foods have on the body. A support group will also be formed.
A second session is planned for January.
Huebner stresses the program won’t be easy, but the results will be profound.
“There can be a significant amount of push back, but if people take time to understand why people are doing this and learn why they are doing it, they’ll learn it’s a very reasonable and rational approach,” Huebner said. “It’s an adventure and there really is a tremendous amount of favorable foods out there that are fun to explore and fun to eat.”
“People always think what they’ll have to give up,” Boyko added. “But what they’ll gain is tremendous. It’s destiny over their own health.”
For more information on the program, call (231) 487-2150, e-mail Susan Boyko at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.harborlifestylecenter.com.