Medical Journals Promote Lifestyle Changes For Cholesterol and Heart disease

You would never know it by watching the TV commercials for the cholesterol drugs but medical reports overwhelmingly recommend lifestyle and dietary changes before the drugs are prescribed. Here is a sample of a few of those articles:

American Journal of Cardiology in 2004, “National guidelines have promulgated therapeutic lifestyle changes as a standard of care in the management of conventional (coronary heart disease) risk factors.”

Journal of the American Medical Association 2003, “Managing diet is the key to treating all common lipid disorders.”

New England Journal of Medicine 2002, “Lifestyle changes and treatment with metformin (a diabetes drug) both reduced the incidence of diabetes in persons at high risk. The lifestyle intervention was more effective than metformin.”

Journal of the American Medical Association 2003, “For most patients, dietary intervention should be the first line of therapy (perhaps for 6 to 12 weeks) before introducing pharmacotherapy for hyperlipidemia.”

Many primary care doctors do not trust their patients to follow recommended dietary or lifestyle changes and will insist that the patient take a cholesterol medicine. It takes significantly more time for the doctor to discuss lifestyle changes than it does to write a prescription. In fact many doctors are unaware of the articles mentioned above and are just as influenced by pharmaceutical promotion, as are their patients.

The low cost treatment of a Mediterranean diet consisting of poultry, fish, minimal red meat, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes has been well documented in the medical literature to be effective for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. The components of these foods have effects that no medicine can match for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, blood sugar and inflammation. Often, if this plan is followed, many medicines can be lowered or even stopped.

These same lifestyle changes are now recommended immediately following a heart attack and are to be prioritized as high as prescription medicines according to the journal Circulation in February of this year.

The low technology approaches documented in the medical journals do not get the exposure of the drug treatments and both doctors and patients continue to be influenced by the advertising especially the tagline, ”when diet and exercise aren’t enough take…” In fact diet and exercise ARE enough in the majority of people if they are given a chance.

Hunter Yost M.D. has a private practice in NW Tucson.

Forks over Knives – the Film

Forks over Knives

This entertaining and informative documentary makes a very persuasive case for a plant based diet to decrease heart disease risk, cancer risk and many of the degenerative diseases that are called “aging” such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Based in part on the China Project by Dr. Colin Campbell Ph.D. and the medical studies of Caldwell B. Esselstyn M.D., it tells you everything the food industry doesn’t want you to know about how to stay healthy by following a plant based diet.

When the average person, including doctors, hears the word “protein”, it’s like a word association game and almost everyone responds “meat”. This is so deeply ingrained in our culture it is taken for granted that some type of meat will be the centerpiece of every meal and everything else is planned around that. The beef and dairy industry spend millions of dollars each year to make sure we keep thinking that way. Family traditions and meat based cooking habits passed from mothers to children are hard to break. However after watching this compelling film you may begin to rethink those habits and beliefs and start on the road to a healthier life.

View the trailer on the Forks over Knives site


“A great film.” – Sanjay Gupta, MD, CNN chief medical correspondent

“A film that can save your life.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“I loved it and I need all of you to see it.” – Dr. Oz, The Dr. Oz Show

“Convincing, radical, and politically volatile.” – John Anderson, Variety

Mediterranean Diet MUSHROOM, OKRA, TOFU

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

2 tbsp Earth Balance Spread*
2 cups frozen cut okra
2 cups oyster mushrooms, sliced length wise into rough strips
1 cup broccoli
7 oz extra firm tofu, drained and sliced into about 1 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch blocks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp yellow miso paste
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup almonds roughly chopped

In a large pan, warm 1 tbsp of plant-derived margarine spread and stir in the frozen okra. Stir on medium-high heat for a few minutes until okra starts to brown.

Pour okra into a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining tbsp of plant-derived margarine spread to the pan and stir mushrooms, broccoli, and tofu until they begin to brown. Stir in the garlic. Cook about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the okra back to the pan, stir in the miso paste and combine well. Toss in the almonds, then give it one more good stir and remove from heat. Serve over brown rice, quinoa or pasta. Or enjoy on its own

Best Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol

Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol

I just saw a woman this morning who has lowered her total cholesterol by 73 points, triglycerides by 226 points and LDL by 34 points in just six weeks! How did she do it? She followed our program of the Mediterranean diet in combination with a specialized soy based medical food drink and increased her physical activity level. She had received a phone call from a nurse at her insurance company a few months ago saying that because her cholesterol numbers were so bad she was at risk of heart disease and stroke. My patient asked her if she could see a dietitian and the nurse told her it was not covered by her insurance but Lipitor was covered (with a co-pay). The woman knew I specialized in nutritional medicine and wanted to know the best natural ways to lower cholesterol.

If only insurance companies were truly concerned about our health. They say in expensive TV commercials and fancy newsletters to their customers that they believe in “healthy lifestyles” but then only offer prescription drug treatments. What if someone wants natural ways to lower cholesterol without drugs? They gladly reimburse cardiac bypass surgery without any hesitation but won’t pay for nutritional treatments which medical studies have proven to best the best natural ways to lower cholesterol and treat existing heart disease.

My patient was very motivated to decrease her risk factors through dietary and lifestyle changes. She is thrilled to learn that these changes are more powerful than drugs and taste better. She is thrilled to not have the side effects associated with the statin drugs like muscle soreness and fatigue. She can’t wait to show her primary care doctor the improved cholesterol numbers and to tell the nurse the next time she calls. Our office program offers the best natural ways to lower cholesterol. See our video on success stories and give us a call.

Mediterranean Diet – Lemon Chicken

Mediterranean Diet


  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup diagonally sliced carrots, (1/4 inch thick)
  • 2 cups snow peas, (6 ounces), stems and strings removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic


1. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon zest and set aside. Juice the lemon and whisk 3 tablespoons of the juice with broth, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with tongs. Add mushrooms and carrots to the pan and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add snow peas, scallion whites, garlic and the reserved lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Whisk the broth mixture and add to the pan; cook, stirring, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add scallion greens and the chicken and any accumulated juices; cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.