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Aug 13th 2017, 09:41 PM   #1
 Transported's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

  2006 FZ1, 1999 R1
Where I've been, and a story that may save your life — long

I used to be a very frequent rider and active member on this and the former forum. Even when I was riding frequently — spending one or both weekend days on group rides and hitting a lot of the Wednesday standing rides — I was conflicted.

I have been very physically active my entire life. I raced motocross in my teens and road bicycles in my twenties. So, while I enjoyed the thrill of and expertise required to ride a sportbike, I did not like spending so many hours essentially sitting and then eating at restaurants or 7/11s. I have been a vegetarian since my 20s and I was frankly getting very tired of eating the afterthought meal on most restaurant menus: the dreaded dry veggie burger.

Then, about five years ago, while playing racquetball, I felt nauseated. I bent over to stop the spinning, but the feeling increased. I fell to my knees and began throwing up. Paramedics arrived quickly and took me to OHSU where I was given an angiogram, an inspection of my heart arteries. They thought I might be having a heart attack and were looking for blockage. But, what they found was what my cardiologist described as “dirty pipes”: atherosclerosis, increasing plaque on my artery walls, aka heart disease.

When I heard this, I was pretty shocked, and I determined from then on I would be a vegan, eschewing all animal products, the only food that contains cholesterol (which is, if not the cause of heart disease, then a marker of it).

I had read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, probably the largest study of the effects of animal products on the major human diseases (heart disease, diabetes and cancer), and how a plant diet can stop or reverse all of them. I figured if I followed his advice and eliminated animal fat and protein from my diet, I would be reversing my heart disease. Images of the arteries of people with advanced heart disease before and after switching to a plant diet showed vessels cleaned of plaque within months to years.

I also went from about one hour of daily exercise (both cardio and weight lifting) to an hour and a half, as studies showed that going to 90 minutes a day lengthened life and made it less likely to die from all causes.

Three years later, at age 54, I was doing my daily half hour bicycle ride to work when I felt a sudden heart burn come on going up my first hill. I stopped sprinting and soft pedaled, hoping it would go away. I rolled down the other side and the burn did not subside. So, I pulled over and called a friend to take me to the hospital. I had pretty much figured it was some sort of heart obstruction by then and it was confirmed when I checked in at the OHSU emergency room.

They took me right into a stall and surrounded me, preparing for an angioplasty as soon as their angiogram confirmed it was a heart attack. Within minutes, they slid two stents into the obstructed heart artery and I was placed in an ICU room a few minutes later, where I awoke.

I was kept for a few days as they made sure I was healing OK and to try to figure out why my heart rate would drop into the upper 30s and lower 40s, and sometimes completely stop beating for many seconds. I told them I had been living with atrial fibrillation for years and it caused my heart to beat erratically, and I also tended to have a slow heart rate due to my athletic lifestyle.

One doctor visited me a few times, trying to convince me to get a pacemaker to help with the low heart rate and erratic beating for safety reasons, but I was skeptical and put him off.

I was released and given several medications: Plavix (the most popular blood thinner), aspirin (another blood thinner and anti-inflammatory), Lipitor (the most popular statin) and Lisinopril (the most popular blood pressure reducer).

I had quite a bit of recovering to do. But, in a couple of weeks, I began to ride my bicycle to work again. But, I was not like I was. In the couple of years prior to my heart attack, I had been feeling fatigued and felt lactic acid buildup in my legs more and more. I think that was my heart disease restricting my blood flow. But, after the attack, it was much worse. I had to use two or three easier gears on any hill I would climb.

After a particularly taxing ride home from work three weeks after my heart attack, I felt the need to lie down to recover. In five minutes, my head began to swim in a new way. I got up and felt woozy. I walked into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I moved my funny-feeling jaw and noticed that one side of my face refused to move. I thought, “Oh, fuck. This is bad.”

So I called 911 and I found that I could think of what I wanted to say, but was unable to get the words past my lips. I blurted out “stroke! stroke!” She got the idea and said an emergency crew was on the way and would be there in a few minutes.

They arrived within four minutes and by then I was beginning to feel normal again and was even able to slowly talk to the firemen who had come in. When the ambulance arrived, they took me out and the EMT ran some diagnostics on me. By then I felt pretty normal. He said he was going to call it a stroke and had the driver take me to OHSU yet again, but he said to him it looked like a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or mini stroke. They are temporary and have no lasting effects. But, they may signal a more permanent stroke to come.

At OHSU, they observed me for a day, did lots more tests, charged me another $10,000 on top of the $300,000 the heart attack cost me (insurance (and all of us in the insurance risk pool) paid all but about $11,000) and they released me with a need to get on Coumadin, an anti-stroke medication (decoagulant).

But, my cardiologist was very concerned because I was on two blood thinners already. He said that if I got cut or had an impact injury that causes internal bleeding, I was probably a goner. I did cut myself slightly a few times (shaving, paper cut) and the wound would not stop seeping for hours.

I was finally convinced after more consultation that I should get a pacemaker. So, back to OHSU for another procedure and more days in the hospital bed, plus another $10,000 bill. However, a couple of weeks after, I passed out — the thing that the pacemaker was supposed to prevent. So, I am not really convinced I needed it. (Or not as much as the surgeon needed a new boat.)

But, one so-called advantage of the pacemaker is that they could put me safely on a beta blocker, which lowers your heart rate and is supposed to be heart protective. The pacemaker was to provide a steady beat, or at least keep my heart from beating too slow, and the beta blocker was to keep it from beating too fast. But, the effect is you feel depressed, and about 10 years older, and you have total lactic acid buildup just walking up two flights of stairs. Riding my bicycle became painful and I was being passed by women in flip flops and skirts. It was humiliating and depressing.

Their next solution was to do a heart wall ablation, where they use a laser to burn the wall of the heart around the valves, where they find that the afib electrical impulses are causing my heart to beat irregularly and not allow me to get a strong pump of blood on each beat. My heart in afib sort of flutters and goes very fast, like 160 beats per minute resting rate and up to 220 when I am exercising hard.

I did not want another procedure, even if it was promised to work in most cases and to last at least 10 years. So, while considering it, I read The End of Heart Disease by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who advocates a whole-food, plant-based diet with as little sugar, oil and salt as possible (WFPBD no SOS).

He cited case after case where a diet of only vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains and nuts (raw, steamed or perhaps stir fried without oil) has been shown to stop and reverse heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. No other diet, medication or procedure has been shown to achieve that.

So, I tried it, eating his recommended huge mixed-greens salad every day and also eating all the items recommended on Dr. Michael Greger’s Daily Dozen app. (Dr. Greger wrote the best-selling How Not to Die and he studies the medical literature each year for the studies that show what causes disease and what leads to longer lives.)

I felt better almost immediately. And, it wasn’t just a feeling. I began checking my heart rate and blood pressure and they both improved a lot. I began to be able to speed up on my bicycle, adding gears and not feeling as fatigued.

I read more about my meds and determined that the blood pressure med and statin could be got rid of because my un-medicated blood pressure (115/70) and cholesterol (85 total) were in the super good range. I had been taken off the blood thinner Plavix after my first year already. And, I stopped the aspirin. But when I stopped taking the beta blocker, things improved big time. I was almost normal again. Almost like before the damage from the heart attack.

I had found from reading that the heart is an amazing thing. It can form new capillaries to go around blockage to maintain the blood flow and, with a pure plant diet like mine, within five years, studies have shown the plaque within the artery walls can decrease 7 percent (sort of like when smokers stop smoking they have lungs almost as healthy in 10 years as if they had never smoked). Seven percent may not sound like much, but it happens all over the body and represents a 30 percent increase in blood flow. That would probably give me better blood flow than before the heart attack. And, increased blood flow also means no ED and no Alzheimer’s, which they now strongly believe is caused by the same capillary blockage in the brain that occurs in the heart.

So, that is where I am. And, partly why I spend my time in the gym or on bicycle rides or walks rather than on a motorcycle. I am now doing up to two hours of exercise every day and at least 20,000 steps. I have gained a lot of muscle mass and lowered my body weight from 175 to 150. My visceral (organ) fat is way down and my body fat is about 10 percent, which is borderline athlete level.

I stopped eating in restaurants and eliminated processed food consumption. All of that stuff is calculated by sensory food scientists to be irresistible and addictive. They want you to indulge, because they make tens of billions of dollars—from your consumption to treating the very expensive diseases that result in surgeries, hospital stays, and medications. There is no money to be made if you eat raw fruits and vegetables and remain disease free.

And that is why I say that processed food is our age’s opiate of the masses.

Anyway, I hope you can perhaps learn something from my experience and maybe you’ll consider acting now, before you get to the point that you feel sudden, unrelenting heartburn, or worse (1 out of 3 first-time heart attacks result in death).

And check out What the Health, if you have Netflix.

Oh, and as Lance Armstrong said, if he had simply gone to his regular doctors in Texas when he found out he had testicular cancer and not sought out the best medical advice available, he would have died, I believe that if I had simply followed the advice of the OHSU cardiologists, surgeons, nutritionists and therapists and had accepted the standard operating procedures for a heart attack patient, I would have been on a steady decline.

If you don’t fix the cause of heart disease (a preventable food-borne illness), then no amount of cutting, devices, therapy, exercise or drugs will help you improve. Those things simply allow you to manage with your disease, not get better.

Edited by Transported on Aug 13th 2017 at 11:12 PM
Aug 13th 2017, 09:53 PM   #2
 
  Jan 2016
  puyallup wa.

  1990 katana 1100
I juice every day and try to stay away from processed food, my dad had his first heart atack at 30 died at 57. And he ate healthy, but smoked cigarettes.
Aug 13th 2017, 11:22 PM   #3
 Transported's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

  2006 FZ1, 1999 R1
Heart attack at 30. Wow, that is really young.

But, The China Study told of autopsies done on soldiers who died in the Korean conflict. The average age was 21 and their arteries already had significant plaque buildup. And, that was in 1950, I believe, long before our huge consumption of meat, cheese and processed foods at fast food restaurants and grocery stores that we have now. Other autopsies done on children who have died in auto accidents show that even 12 year olds have scarring in their arteries indicating the beginnings of heart disease. It is not genetics. It is the food.

And, juicing. Have you seen Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? I think juicing is OK. But, I prefer smoothies, where you aren't throwing away any of the important fiber. But, as long as you are getting the nutrients from a large variety of colorful vegetables and especially berries, you are on the right path.
Aug 14th 2017, 04:26 AM   #4
 ZXtasy's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Moses Lake, WA

  2013 Kawasaki Concours C-14, 2005 ZX-10R Kawasaki (Nekkid), '99 Yamaha TW-200
Quite the read there...glad you are still with us. I watched What the Health a month ago, quit eating anything not plant based, and one month later I feel better than I have for years and have lost weight and have more energy. So yeah, try it your body may like it.

The food and medical industry seem to be the 2 biggest evils who work together to create addicts and patients and make themselves 'Meelions' of dollars. But to each their own I suppose. I still am addicted to riding motorcycles, so I guess I should fit exercise in somewhere. thanks for sharing.

Oh, and two books everyone should read, Candiya's "On Grief Hope & M/C's", and "One Second After". (The death toll in just a few days after the big EMP takes out the grid just due to McDonald's alone is staggering!)
Aug 14th 2017, 07:54 AM   #5
 Transported's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

  2006 FZ1, 1999 R1
I think What the Health may finally be the catalyst for people to wake up. When I mention it to people, quite often they have seen it and are convinced, even if not quite ready to switch it up.

And I still ride. But if it comes to getting my daily exercise in or sitting on a motorcycle basically sedentary, I will choose the former.
Aug 14th 2017, 08:00 AM   #6
 ChopperDr's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Buckley

  BMW R1100S '98 HD FXD 08 CBR600RR-track
Save your life as in never die? Food for thought, we all will go at some point.

I would like to think quality of life is one of the most important things.

Chop
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Aug 14th 2017, 08:13 AM   #7
 Naza's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Rent'n

  2002 Honda RC51, 2005 Honda RC51
I just turned 45 at the beginning of the month and I DO think more of getting back on a daily exercise track. I do love to eat high quality food and I balance greens and meats and drink wine daily.

I have been following the teachings of Vinnie Tortorich https://vinnietortorich.com/ and I have read The End of Illness (Dr. Agus)

Buuuut...I believe (like Chop said above) in quality of life knowing there is risk in my vices.

Also, @Transported
"I stopped eating in restaurants and eliminated processed food consumption. All of that stuff is calculated by sensory food scientists to be irresistible and addictive"

I have a B.S. in Food Science and Technology and was a sensory scientist for SBUX. We are not all evil

However, my career has been in beer brewing, coffee making, and wine making... so in theory maybe I am evil
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Aug 14th 2017, 08:15 AM   #8
 larsvons's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  PDX

  '15 KLZ1000BFF (BEST FRANDS 4EVER!)
Had a blockage and infarction at 39. No bueno, but could have been a lot worse; I was already in the process of getting in shape, which I think is how I knew something was wrong early during the attack.

Stopped eating fatty meats (grass-fed beef/elk is grrrreat, though!), upped my veggie intake, cut carbs across the board. That, plus a statin and continued fitness, and numbers are looking great. Crossing my fingers!
Aug 14th 2017, 08:45 AM   #9
 VeritasImageryNW's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Allyn, WA

  '06 HD Street Bob, '85 Yamaha FJ600, '99 Honda CBR600f4
I think it's important to remember that we are designed to be omnivores, eating both animal and plant. Eliminating either is not the healthiest. The key is being aware of where both come from. Chemically enhanced vegetables are just as bad as chemically enhanced animal products. This is why home grown vegetables and wild game are the best ways to get your food.

I'm glad that it is working for you.
Aug 14th 2017, 08:48 AM   #10
 MikeMikeMike's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Seattle

Very interesting story Vaun. I'm glad you were able to find a diet and lifestyle that worked well for you in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transported

...

When I heard this, I was pretty shocked, and I determined from then on I would be a vegan, eschewing all animal products, the only food that contains cholesterol (which is, if not the cause of heart disease, then a marker of it).

I had read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, probably the largest study of the effects of animal products on the major human diseases (heart disease, diabetes and cancer), and how a plant diet can stop or reverse all of them. I figured if I followed his advice and eliminated animal fat and protein from my diet, I would be reversing my heart disease.

...

So, while considering it, I read The End of Heart Disease by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who advocates a whole-food, plant-based diet with as little sugar, oil and salt as possible (WFPBD no SOS).

He cited case after case where a diet of only vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains and nuts (raw, steamed or perhaps stir fried without oil) has been shown to stop and reverse heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. No other diet, medication or procedure has been shown to achieve that.

So, I tried it, eating his recommended huge mixed-greens salad every day and also eating all the items recommended on Dr. Michael Greger’s Daily Dozen app. (Dr. Greger wrote the best-selling How Not to Die and he studies the medical literature each year for the studies that show what causes disease and what leads to longer lives.)

I felt better almost immediately. And, it wasn’t just a feeling. I began checking my heart rate and blood pressure and they both improved a lot.

...
One observation I had while reading your story, and I wanted to get your opinion on it, was that it seems like you tried at least 3 or 4 diets before you found one that worked optimally with you. All of the diets seem pretty similar, started vegetarian, went vegan, removed processed foods, and finally removed sugar.

Were you doing blood workups along the way? Did any health metrics or key indicators perhaps, BP, BPM, cholesterol, change along the way?

Also one of my favorite new books; The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes. It seems like a lot of vegan's don't like his message, but he has the biochemistry correct and I think ultimately his conclusion is correct.
Aug 14th 2017, 09:29 AM   #11
 DocB's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Poulsbo, WA

  Aprilia RSV Mille, CB77, CB750K, CB750F
I find the comments about moto riding being sedentary kind of funny, because I had to get into a daily exercise program (weights, core, balance, jogging, intervals) to be able to ride with any comfort. I agree that sugar is the big problem. Exercise and a better diet focused on reducing sugar intake have really helped my cholesterol, arthritis, weight and perhaps above all my mental state.

Regarding the maintenance drugs the AMA pushes - I was prescribed Lipitor, as my cholesterol was one point over acceptable. After a week I couldn't remember the names of employees I work with every day. I talked to a friend who we had rushed to the hospital a few years back. He had a massive heart attack even though he was exceptionally fit like the PO. He said he had quit the Lipitor he had been prescribed after the attack, for the same reason. So I quit. Memory came right back. Did my doctor mention this side effect? Don't remember him saying anything but that the AMA thinks I should take it because it might reduce the risk of heart disease.

Meantime I worked the diet a little harder, upped the daily exercise with a little more focus towards fat burn routines. Last checkup Cholesterol is now "perfect", based on this week's AMA standards (which is, cholesterol may or may not be an indicator of increased heart attack risk). The doctor didn't even raise an eyebrow when I told him about the memory loss. Just sort of "oh yeah, that's common". Cripes. Wish I could remember his name.
Aug 14th 2017, 10:46 AM   #12
 Sentinel's Avatar
 
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2015 Kawasaki Concours 14 - The Origame Sea-Dragon
it is the heart attack that cures most people of their suicidal diet.

imagine if you put everything you eat in a day into the soil of your favorite house plant.

what do you think would happen to it?
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Aug 14th 2017, 11:16 AM   #13
 Transported's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

  2006 FZ1, 1999 R1
I have evolved in my diet, based on new studies and my own perception of my health.

I became a vegetarian in my 20s partly because my girlfriend/wife became one (it saves on average 100 animal deaths and untold suffering each year) and partly because I thought it was generally healthier.

However, I was duped by the food industry to think that milk and eggs were fine. If you remember, the industry came out with low-fat milk products to show they cared about our health and then they put all that milkfat into promoting full-fat cheeses on everything, essentially negating any gains in nutrition that may have been achieved.

And, to make the processed food palatable, they dumped sugar and salt into the products that had fat stripped out of them. The government through the USDA actually helped the industry promote cheese, milk and meat and still does.

I had read The China Study, where Campbell found that he could turn on and off the cancer cells within rats by pushing the content of the rats’ diet above and below 5% casein (milk protein). So, I decided that I would cut way back on my milk and eggs, at least below 5%.

But, then I had the fainting episode and was diagnosed with heart disease. This is when I became a vegan—so no cholesterol that wasn’t made by my own body.

I thought I was set. I had learned from my mistakes and was protected. But, three years of not eating any animal products, but continuing to eat “good” oils, some minimally processed foods, restaurant food, and sugar and salt in low amounts did not prevent me from a heart attack.

Which mystified me and the doctors. I was relatively young. I had exercised way, way more than the average American my entire life. I was thin and muscular and very fit. My blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, blood work had always been in the good or very good/excellent range. I never smoked. I had been doing everything the government and health organizations had been saying I should be doing.

So, they chalked it up to “genetics.”

I went through OHSU’s rehab program and it was designed for the lowest common denominator, people who want to improve but really aren’t prepared to make meaningful changes. Their advice was the minimum half hour of easy to moderate exercise and a Mediterranean like diet.

The meds weren’t helping and in fact, I found out that stuff like statins only help one person in 130 who take them each year. Meanwhile, 129 get mild to severe side-effects. And, none of the heart disease drugs have proven nearly as effective as changing to a plant-based diet and doing regular exercise. But, I was on the standard protocol for those who have heart disease: take these prescribed meds forever, and never expect to not need them.

The book by Dr. Fuhrman aligned with things I had heard from other sources: that to reverse a lifetime of food-related illness, one had to go far beyond moderation and to allow the body to repair itself through nutritional food. So, I eliminated all food that wasn’t directly influencing my recovery. Sugar, oil and salt are empty calories which cause inflammation, fat storage, high blood pressure, etc. They are not needed and are in fact detrimental to health.

And, much of this comes through processed food. So, I dropped all of that and went to whole foods. So, steel cut oatmeal instead of rolled oats. Sprouted wheat bread instead of just whole wheat bread. To reverse disease, you can’t be moderate. All things in moderation is bullshit when disease has already nearly killed you.

One example is the study mentioned in What the Health that a woman who has recovered from breast cancer has a 49% risk of getting it again if she eats only one milk product a day. And yet Susan G. Komen has Yoplait Yogurt as a major sponsor and it has promotional offers where women can get bonus points for sending in each yogurt label.

It reminds me of the morning after my heart attack. I called OHSU’s kitchen to order breakfast from their vegan menu (which took an hour for them to eventually find me one). I asked for oatmeal and almond milk, the only items that were healthy, except the fruit. The kitchen staffer asked if I wanted melted butter on that. Like, “Hey, you want fries with that? Supersize it?” Unfuckingbelievable. They want return patients, I guess.

I think we are all still learning what is healthy and what is not. But, it doesn’t help when the food industry dupes us for profit and the government is their enabler and protector.

Edited by Transported on Aug 15th 2017 at 08:24 AM
Aug 14th 2017, 12:45 PM   #14
 paradox206's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Des Moines

  M1200s, VFR800 & GSXR750
Thank you for sharing; it's very inspirational! At age 37, I finally had to accept the fact that I'd likely be dead in a couple years if I didn't quit drinking a half a fifth of vodka a night. With that licked by 38, now I'm trying to prepare 90% of my meals at home instead of eating out 2 out of 3 meals a day. Baby steps, but it's stories like these that help to motivate!
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Aug 14th 2017, 01:47 PM   #15
 Transported's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

  2006 FZ1, 1999 R1
Thanks! It seems pretty important--life or death actually. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the US. I am glad to have started a discussion. Plus a diet like this reverses diabetes and cancer.

And it is true that just making your own real food is the best thing you can do.

I got a Vitamix and make my own nut milks, salad dressings, sauces, soups, smoothies. I am learning, but with three meals a day to make and all the internet resources you Google for vegan recipes, the learning curve is straightened out pretty fast.

And without those adulterants (sugar, oil and salt) you get back in touch with natural flavors again. My food tastes better to me every day.
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