Category Archives: From the Heart

Why I Eat a Plant Based Diet

In about April 2015 I decided to stop eating animal products.  For the previous year or two my son had become a vegan, and I listened to his reasoning for his life-style changes.  At first I was turned off by what I thought were his overly extreme positions on animal cruelty, environmental concerns, and initially his advocacy of an all-raw vegan diet.  As time went by though Kay and I cut more and more meat and dairy from our diets, and finally we decided to make the plunge.  My reasoning was two-fold. By far the most important was health.  I am  convinced that eating a plant based diet that is low in fat and highly processed foods is the healthiest way to eat.  I am convinced that this way of eating can reduce the risk of and prevent many cases of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.  In addition I am convinced that one of the primary causes  (arguably the primary cause) of our current environmental crises with global warming and the ozone layer shrinkage is animal husbandry.  Clearing vast swarths of our planets natural areas to produce food for cattle and to graze livestock, the huge methane release from ungulate feces and belching, the overfishing of our oceans, and the disaster that is mass-pork production has significantly contributed to the current state of our planet.  I was prompted to write this post after reading about Dr. Kim Allen Williams advocacy of a plant based diet.

Dr. Williams was the president of the American College of Cardiology in 2015-2016, and is the head of the Rush University School of Medicine.  He has been eating plant based since 2003 when he noted his LDL cholesterol was getting higher, and when he stopped eating animal products it dropped dramatically.  More recently he has been an outspoken advocate of plant based eating, and in a speech to the Food=Medicine Conference in 2015 he stated:

“There are two kinds of cardiologist: Vegans and those who have not read the data.

For more information see a link to “the data” on a blog post by Dr. Williams in the American College of Cardiology In Touch Blog.

For a good summary of his positions see the NY TImes article, Advice from a Vegan Cardiologist.

If he, in his position, can strongly advocate for plant-based eating, then I can too.  It is not difficult to eat a plant based diet. The trick is to substitute healthy plant-based foods for animal products.  That too is not complicated, but requires some degree of discipline.  Try to eat more fruit, vegetables and unprocessed grains, nuts, and seeds.  Use the convenient more processed foods as add-ins to the diet rather than a primary source of caloric intake. Most of all do the best you can.  Any steps toward major reduction in animal product intake is a step in the right direction.  Consider flexitarian eating, where you eat plant based most of the time but occasionally consume animal products if you are not ready for the commitment to eat fully plant based.  as Nike would say, Just Do It!

It takes more than Ankylosing Spondylitis to Keep Guti Down

One of the very few good things about my beloved Seattle Mariners this year, besides Nelson Cruz crushing the ball, has been the call up of Franklin Gutierrez. Guti has been one of my favorite M’s over the years, and to see him struggle with his health concerns since 2011 has been really sad and… Continue Reading

Personal Experience on a High Plant Based-Low Fat Diet

This post is unlike any I’ve put up over the years of DrPullen.com  It is largely anecdote and not based on enough hard data that I will convince my physician friends.  Intrigued?  Read on. My son Brett has been on a journey with his diet and health over the last few years.  He has become… Continue Reading

You- Yes YOU Can Save a Life by Using an AED

This week Sound Family Medicine purchased a replacement AED (automated external defibrillator) for my clinic. I underwent a training session for use with the new device. It took about 1 minute. Open the container. Apply the pads. Turn on the machine. If it says to shock the patient make sure no one is touching the… Continue Reading

Should Deer Populations be Reduced to Control Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease has reached epidemic proportions in America, especially in the East.  An estimated >30,000 cases of Lyme disease will be diagnosed and reported in the U.Sl this year and many more cases will go undiagnosed or unreported. This issue is close to my heart because the daughter of a good friend continues her battle to… Continue Reading

Cancer Care: Redefining the Best We Can Do

Sometimes it seems like in cancer care the lag between bench science breakthroughs and clinical care is painfully long.  In addition information on the latest therapeutic modalities is fragmented and proprietary between competing research and clinical centers of excellence.  It can seem nearly impossible for a patient or a practicing oncologist to both be informed… Continue Reading

Individual Health Insurance Premiums In WA Increase 50% in 2014! Here’s Why?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) effective 2014 will make insurers unable to exclude Americans with serious health problems from enrolling in insurance plans. This is among the most popular aspects of Obamacare. It is also the most likely explanation for huge premium increases in plans for individuals not on employer group policies. Persons employed by… Continue Reading

Doctors Own Feelings, Empathy, and Objectivity

I read a fine article in the NY Times Opinionator column titled “Medicine’s Search for Meaning.”  The primary focus of the article is the way the education process of physicians routinely encourages, even demands the physician-in-training to learn to emotionally detach themselves from their patient’s feelings.  This is potentially related to physician burn out, dissatisfaction,… Continue Reading