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Health + Fitness

September 13, 2019 - The Vegan Authority


Heart attack survivor thrives after transition to vegan plant-based diet

Heart attack survivor thrives after transition to vegan plant-based diet
Dave WillitsCredit: H.O.P.E The Project

Dave Willits, shares his transition to a whole food, plant-based diet and the impact it's had on his heart, health and life, in this new Plant Powered Story from H.O.P.E.

Prior to his heart attack Dave thought he was a pretty healthy guy. He had just lost 40 pounds, was exercising regularly and believed he was eating better. So his massive heart attack was a real shock. After being rushed to hospital, Dave found out he flat-lined 3 times, had to be shocked 11 times and had 3 stents inserted. He was extremely lucky to survive. He thought of this close encounter with death as a wake-up call. It was an opportunity to make a change, that not everyone gets.

"During his recovery Dave started looking into changes he could make to better his health, particularly that of his heart. Through his research he discovered the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet for heart health and ordered Dr. Esselstyn's book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Whilst browsing his website, he saw a contact email for Dr. Esselstyn and sent him a short emailing outlining his recent ordeal. Several hours later, Dave received a call from Dr. Esselstyn. Following their conversation, and prompted by the research he had already done, Dave adopted a whole food, plant-based diet that day and has never looked back."

People often say I could never give up meat or cheese, but really more than giving something up you learn about new foods that you never really knew existed. You get to try so many new things that are just as good as the things you used to have, you just forget all about the animal-based foods.

If I had not gone through what I went through and someone tried to get me to switch to a plant-based diet I probably would have had a few choice words for them, Dave admits.

The first thing he did was clear out his refrigerator of all the 'junk' and stocked up with plant-based whole foods. It was an 'experience' because these new ingredients did not come with instructions. But from that day on, and it has now been almost 4 1/2 years, Dave has remained on a plant-based diet, eliminating any animal food or dairy products.

A lot of people think I am extreme with I did, but my experience was an extreme thing to me and so it was worth taking a chance.

Knowing that I am doing everything within my powers to be as healthy as possible, brings an incredible peace. This is one of most powerful things about the whole-food plant-based way of eating. "It is just a peace that I wish everybody could experience."

Dave says he has never felt better. "Feeling what it is like to die, just gives you a total different perspective. Knowing that you made some adjustments to hopefully prevent that from happening again."

To mark the first year after his heart attack, his rebirth, Dave wanted to do something significant, he wanted to do something special. So he looked for a 5K to participate in, hoping he would not find one because he hated running, but found one he did and ran it successfully with just 4 weeks training. Four weeks later he ran a 10K, 6 months later a half marathon, a year and a half later a marathon.

I did not want to have one heart attack, followed by another. "Thank goodness I came across the whole-foods plant-based diet, because the alternative was death, in my mind and I did not like it and I did not want to do that again, so I was determined to make this happen." Five years on and he is in the best shape of his life. 

View the story of Dave Willits Part I and Part II.

H.O.P.E.'s vision - Healing of Planet Earth - is to create mass awareness about the vital importance of a whole food, plant-based diet, ideally organic. The Project aims to inform and inspire people about the benefits of a plant-based diet and a conscious lifestyle.

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