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Mom had a heart attack...

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  • Mom had a heart attack...

    I am sitting in the hospital room with my 58 year old mom who had a heart attack 2 days ago. She had a stent (sp?) put in and just got out of the ICU. My mom was not overweight and had no idea her arteries were clogged. I am scared to death for her. She is entrenched in CW. The people who are with me, namely my dad, and my mom are in the school of thought that what the doctors/nutritionists say is gold. The menu here has MARGARINE on it, along with many other disgusting things-- low fat this and that. My dad is still things anything low fat = healthy. Pretzels? Sure! Turkey sandwich? You can't get any healthier! I plan to give them copies of the PB and maybe they will watch Fathead with me. It's just.... this is a passion to me, but to them, it's not. Plus, I am scared to tell my mom to get healthier she should eat fat. That sounds absurd to tell a heart patient that. I have to get the point across that it's not just more fat, it's fat in place of carbohydrates. Has anyone been through this? What do I do? My head is spinning.
    31 yrs old
    5' 1"
    started: 113.5
    current: 109.7
    goal: my only goal right now is to get pregnant... 14 cycles and counting.
    exercise: Body by Science - loving it.

  • #2
    Question.....has she been eating low fat and high grain up until this diagnosis?
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    • #3
      Well first off, sad news. I watched my Dad die from the basic SAD 14 years ago but then he was 74. You should focus on the situation at hand and worry about the diet changes later when you head is more clear and not emotionally charged. IMHO. THe main concern is Mom and keep her calm. Then I would say you gather the evidence and slowly try to change them both! You at least have a great opportunity now to get her and your Dad to renew their ideas about what is good and what is bad for them. After all Mom look where your diet got you so far! Time for a change! :-)

      Good Luck and best wishes!
      Living the dream, inside a myth


      • #4
        I'm so sorry.

        The one thing that helped me get through to my mom about the doctors is by asking her a simple question. "What do you call the guy that graduated last in medical school?" Answer: Doctor. Doctors are people and they make mistakes and can be completely wrong about everything. I work with doctors (specifically surgeons) and I'm shocked by how many times I'm watching a procedure and thing "God why do they let this person touch people with sharp things."

        I hope that you can get through to your parents. I would say leading by example is always a good idea.

        Good luck.


        • #5
          Sorry to hear that. My dad has had two heart attacks and stents put in and he's not even 50 yet. He knows that his diet is not good and he knows how I eat, but I haven't really pushed him to change because I don't think he would.


          • #6
            Sorry to hear about your mom. I hope everything works out for her.

            I agree with Littlesigh, focus on the now and worry about your Mom's diet when this is over.
            There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

            My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

            The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!


            • #7
              Originally posted by mcsnick View Post
              I am sitting in the hospital room with my 58 year old mom who had a heart attack 2 days ago.
              I'm so sorry to hear it. I've no real suggestions. These situations are so difficult, because people are told the wrong things.

              I'm not sure Mark's book is the right place to start. I gave one to my nephew, and I don't know whether he'll read it, but he might. Someone who's older and ill isn't necessarily going to start a reasonably hefty book that looks like it might not be aimed at them. I mean it mentions diet on the cover, but she's not actually looking for a food-plan. And, anyway, what more comes over is a ripped-looking guy on the cover that talks about what "you thought you knew about ... exercise".

              I think you might try an approach along the lines of "do you know they think sugar might be the problem now?" I think you might suggest that and hand her a copy of Gary Taubes' article "Is Sugar Toxic" from the New York Times.


              I think if you can grab someone with something short that doesn't ask much of their time you can sometimes, as it were, "get a foot in the door". Taubes' article does directly address her problem:

              If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.
              I would try that myself.


              • #8
                I feel for you. My mom's husband (thin and active) had his first heart attack a few years ago and had a stent put in. He was instructed to eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and to take Lipitor (and some other pill, can't remember the name right now). After doing all that, he had another heart attack last year. I gave him info that goes against CW about heart health, but he is stuck on listening to his doctor.

                Don't give up trying to help your mom and gently showing her the research. Maybe one day PB and its dogma will "click" for her.
                I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.


                • #9
                  I'm so sorry! It's deeply frightening when someone you love is hit so hard. Your mom has my best wishes for a speedy recovery.

                  I echo what people have said about taking it slow. If you end up showing her the Taubes article that Lewis linked and she responds well to it, you might also show her Lustig's lecture: ‪Sugar: The Bitter Truth‬‏ - YouTube

                  Lustig does a good job of laying out the physiology and biochemistry behind what sugar does while still keeping it fairly accessible. Good luck to you and your family!


                  • #10
                    I think that things change after a cardiac event.

                    There is significant, legitimate doubt placed on conventional wisdom in regarding diet and cholesterol and PREVENTION of heart disease.

                    Conventional wisdom states that lowering your cholesterol, and eating low fat diets helps reduce your risk of developing heart diesease.

                    However, a lot of these assumptions, regarding PREVENTION of heart disease are based from extrapulating data about prevention of future cardiac events from patients who already have heart disease.

                    SO... while the data about conventional diets and PREVENTION of heart disease in healthy people may be on shakey ground... The conventional wisdom about people who already have heart disease is on firmer ground.

                    I am not saying that it's right... Not saying that it's wrong... Just saying that the application of conventional diets to people with heart disease is probably wiser (not necessarily wise... just wiser) than application of conventional diets to healthy people.

                    All that aside... I am not really sure that this is a battle you want to fight.

                    You will likely be standing alone against cardiologists, nutritionists, other relatives bringing over printouts from the web sites of the Mayo clinic, AMerican heart association, numerious education and research facilities... Not to mention your mom's long held beliefs and fears.

                    Is this a battle you think you will win?

                    And even if you DO win it and your mom starts following a 100% primal lifestyle... And even if, contrary to all conventional wisdom, this is the best thing for her... It's still not going to be a cure for everyone. God forbid: Dispite all these efforts, and even if EVERYTHING is done 100% right (whatever that may be), additional events may still happen.

                    Under those circumstances, do you want to be the one who stood against the advice of everyone else?

                    Maybe you do. I cannot answer that.

                    Please don't think I am telling you... or... really... advising you on what to do. This is a personal decision. Right or wrong: I am just providing you with a few more points of view for you to make your decsion.


                    • #11
                      The Heart Scan Blog | Measure, track, and reduce coronary atherosclerotic plaque

                      Thats a blog by a cardiologist who advocates low-carb, low sugar diets to curb or reduce arterial plaque buildup. Even the south beach diet was created by a cardiologist. Its not ideal, but it may be a part of what you can show your mom.

                      Its not just athletes like Mark who advocate low carb. Plenty of heart doctors are realizing that carbs and sugar are major factors in heart attacks, heart disease, diabetes, and other 'diseases of civilization.'


                      • #12
                        @waskydiver I think that you absolutely have to do just that. I was worried when my MIL asked for help. I thought man what if I steer her away from the SAD and all her medications and something happens to her. How could I live with myself. Then she told me about her quality of life and I thought how could I not help to change it. She was miserable and has trouble getting around so I had to stop the insanity of trying the same thing and hoping for a different result.

                        All those professionals are absolutely wrong about cholesterol being bad. They have been living years and years of dogma and will not back down from it while the country gets sicker and sicker. I am a broken record but high cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease oxidation and inflammation cause heart disease. It is time to break the cycle.

                        Not only that but doctors that prescribe medications to fix what other medications are doing. All in the name of improving quality of life when it is doing the exact opposite. The viscious cycle has got to stop at some point because I am tired of watching people slumped over in nursing homes barely able to function due to the wonderful american diet coupled with the parade of drugs that are pumped into them. It has to stop because it is not working.
                        Check out my primal blog:


                        • #13
                          Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses. I am going to read the articles people suggested and think long and hard about my approach. Like someone said, is this a battle I even have a chance of winning? I don't see my mom going 100% paleo/primal ever. My mom has never really had to think about what she eats because she is not overweight. She is good about (naturally) eating only when she is hungry. She eats things like peanut butter toast for breakfast, tuna salad with low fat mayonnaise sandwich for lunch and a "normal" dinner with frozen yogurt for dessert. She drinks one soda a day. She eats snacks like "healthy" almond granola bars (hello high fructose corn syrup). Anyway, thanks everyone for the thoughts and letting me ponder these things out loud.
                          31 yrs old
                          5' 1"
                          started: 113.5
                          current: 109.7
                          goal: my only goal right now is to get pregnant... 14 cycles and counting.
                          exercise: Body by Science - loving it.


                          • #14
                            Sorry to hear about your mom, 58 is scarily young for a heart attack.

                            Although Mark's book is a great resource it's better read by someone who is interested and actively wants to know about the PB lifestyle - it's pretty long otherwise!

                            Maybe just try introducing the idea of PB to her in conversations and see if she becomes interested. Definitely agree with other people on the Bitter Truth video and the Taubes article.

                            Have you thought about possibly writing something up for your mom with the basics of PB and how it can help her? Maybe include something like a week long meal plan of things you can have on PB (with a shopping list) as a suggestion for her to follow and see if she likes it?

                            It'll be hard though seeing as people think fat = unhealthy.
                            My Primal Journal


                            • #15
                              First thing my cardiologist told me when I met him, in hospital having had a significant heart attack, was that I'd lost the genetic lottery. I was at the top end of normal BMI, ate well by conventional standards and got some, but not enough, exercise. I smelled bullshit. But I was in no position to stop him inserting 5 stents!

                              However, after discharge and taking time to think about it, it was absolutely clear to me that I had to change my life. And if I'd been doing it right by conventional standards to that point, there was something wrong with those standards. You might ask her to think about that.

                              heartscanblog is a good place to start. I read the books of another cardiologist Dr Ross Walker. This brought the Lyon Diet Heart Trial to my attention. The stunning thing about this trial is that it had to be stopped early because the participants on the recommended diet for cardiac patients were dying too quickly. Stephan Guyanet's analysis if Lyon is worth reading. This then brought me to MDA.

                              Forger all the caveman shit, you can sell this to you Mum as an anti-inflammatory diet. Also, an emphasis on whole foods (meats and vegetables) is important. For this approach, I like the books of Michael Pollan and Cate Shanahan. Perfect Health Diet is a great resource too.

                              Good luck
                              Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                              Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine