When he came to this country in 1949 from China, Anthony Yen abandoned the diet with which he was raised and started eating American food. As a businessman who owns several overseas manufacturing plants, Yen ate the typical American businessman's diet--"a lot of roast beef, chocolate mousse, fried chicken and pork chops."
In his 50's, this diet began to catch up with him. While dancing on New Year's Eve with his wife, his chest tightened and he got very sweaty. Within the week, Yen learned he had experienced angina because five of the arteries to his heart were blocked.
In 1988, Yen had open-heart surgery to bypass the clogged arteries. However, he knew the operation was not a cure, and sought out Dr. Esseistyn's experimental therapy--the combination of a low fat diet and cholesterol lowering drugs. As a result, he adopted a diet akin to that his parents ate in China, which he hopes will lend him their longevity. After all, his parents died at ages 95 and 98, with no evidence of heart disease.
When traveling overseas, Yen now carries 3 by 5 inch cards, on which are translations of his diet, just in case a waiter or waitress does not understand his order. As a result of the diet, Yen says, "I feel rejuvenated." Not prone to exercise, Yen says his blood pressure is, at age 73, that of an athlete.
Evelyn Oswick suffered two heart attacks in her fifties. After an angioplasty and a triple bypass operation failed to keep her heart disease from returning, Oswick's doctor told her there was nothing more he could do and that she ought to "go home and wait to die."
Dr. Esselstyn had stopped by her room when Oswick was hospitalized after the surgery to suggest she would be a good candidate for his experiment. But when Oswick heard she would have to eliminate all but 10 percent of the fat from her diet, she told Esselstyn, "No way."
Later Oswick reconsidered. "I realized I wasn't ready to die," she says. After talking it over with her husband, Oswick embarked on Dr. Esselstyn's study, giving up her beloved "chocolate donuts, ice cream and beef livers."
Yet, Oswick says, she has never looked back. Although Esselstyn told her she was the last person he expected to change her mind, Oswick has been with the program for 21 years. When she isn't teaching public speaking and interpersonal skills at a university, she instructs business executives etiquette and speech making, and is even considering going to law school.
"Few Murphys lived beyond the age of 55," says Murlan Murphy (the owner along with his sons of he company that manufactured Murphy's Oil Soap), whose family has been decimated by a congenital problem disposing them to heart disease. At 88, he said. "I've never felt better."
At 40, Murphy started jogging, five miles three times a week, to prevent the arterial disease which had left his father an invalid. But at 65, having paid no attention to his diet, Murphy found he would get exhausted after only a quarter mile. Murphy was diagnosed with heart disease and received an angioplasty.
Nevertheless, Murphy's disease returned. Scheduled for open-heart surgery, he decided against it and opted to try Dr. Esselstyn's approach. Within six months of maintaining a regimen of a plant-based diet and cholesterol-lowering drugs, he was jogging again at full strength. He did so until about ten years ago when at 78, he opted to start working out in the gym instead.
"Exercise alone would never have worked," says Murphy. "The diet is what made the difference."
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