Being a vegan and a cardiologist, Dr. Joel Kahn develop a way to prevent and even reverse heart disease. This is a approach that is an internal prevention (watch what you eat and do). Read below in an interview with Dr. Kahn himself and how you can achieve a balance healthy life.
Dominika Perek: You write a lot about heart disease prevention – what are three top tips that you could give to a healthy person to prevent heart disease in the future?
Dr. Joel Kahn: Fork, Feet Fingers: Use your fork very carefully, largely in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Never in processed junk food. Feet: Walk 30+ minutes daily, stand every hour, cardio, strength and flexibility training 30 mins a day, 6 times a week if you can. Fingers: Never smoke, quit now.
Dominika: What’s your best advice for those who want to achieve a balanced life, combining healthy diet with activity?
Dr. Kahn: My advice is moderation in everything is wrong, it kills. Moderation in the Western diet promotes cancer, heart disease, obesity and death. My motto is Extreme in Diet, Moderate in Exercise and Sleep, Abundant in Gratitude. Your body is a chemistry lab and you kitchen is farmacy if used wisely.
Dominika: We live in a super busy society – how can we keep ourselves active if we don’t have the time to hit the gym?
Dr. Kahn: The gym is a luxury. The key to long term health is to walk even if broken up into 2 15 minutes sessions, stand at least 5-10 minutes an hour to spike your metabolism, and learn about 7-15 minute high intensity interval routines for training on days you can’t make the gym. There are many free apps to guide you on these. Dominika: Nowadays, everyone who lost weight writes a book about it. There are a lot of misunderstandings when it comes to nutrition and sport. Do you think that we live in nutrition-obsessed society and what do the bloggers bring to the table?
Dr. Kahn: Yes, surviving a house fire does not make you a fire chief and losing weight might prompt a blog but not a book. There are serious nutrition experts who have done research, presented academic reviews and such and they should get the upper nod. Dr. Colin Campbell comes to mind, Professor at Cornell and author of the China Study. He has spent his whole life researching optimal nutrition and when he speaks, I listen. When a 20 something blogger attacks him, I laugh at the futile effort.
Dominika: How do you evaluate the importance of a proper balance nutrition to stay healthy and young?
Dr. Kahn: Aging can be slowed by proper nutrition, largely or exclusively plant based. We know this from the Blue Zones, pockets of longevity, we know this from long term studies with the Adventist Health Study group, and others. For example, advanced glycation end products (AGE) activate a receptor that promotes inflammation and aging. Avoiding foods that drive our blood sugar up like donuts, and avoiding heavily grilled and charred meats is anti-aging.
Dominika: If you could eliminate three things from everyone’s diet, what would they be?
Dr. Kahn: Processed meats. Goodbye bacon, sausage, hot dogs, salami, bologna, and pepperoni. The strong association with heart disease, obesity diabetes and death is overwhelming. 2) Processed baked goods like in cafeterias (including hospitals) and gas stations. Donuts kill, they actually double the risk in the elderly of dying of heart disease 3) Sugar sweetened beverages and energy drinks. They are making kids obese and they are causing rampant disease and suffering. Dominika: What are the worst health habits have you encountered from your patients during your practice?
Dr. Kahn: All of them, smoking after a heart attack, eating Egg McMuffins a week after open heart surgery, quitting cardiac rehab programs because it makes them sweat….I love them all but take no excuses.
Dominika: Is there any particular fitness and nutrition program that would fit everyone?
Dr. Kahn: Everyone can eat over 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day. No excuses. Everyone can walk 30 minutes a day unless they have a medical condition like a stroke. Everyone can stand 10 minutes an hour. Everyone can quit smoking. That would redefine health in the Western world dramatically.
Dominika: Do you think working out at home is as effective as exercising at the gym?
Dr. Kahn: Yes, home workouts can suffice with a minimum of equipment like barbells, a jump rope, and bands. With online programs, on your smart phone, DVDs and such, everyone can find something. It does not take a killer work out every day to make import health strides.
Dominika: Do you think we live in a unhappy and unhealthy society?
Dr. Kahn: We are all striving for happiness so we must be somewhere other than there at this time. We see so many things to be, do, buy that accepting our lot in life and celebrating the small victories like waking up each AM get diluted. Gratitude is the basis for all health, not envy. Yes, our society is unhealthy Dominika: Can you tell us more about your friendship with best-selling author and iconic triathlete Rich Roll? Did you work with him on his nutrition plans?
Dr. Kahn: Rich and I met through MindBodyGreen, I have been a guest on his awesome podcast twice, and have had the pleasure of visiting his house with his wife Julie. He is the consummate health hero, major changes, major inspiration, major health hero. I do not give him health advice but I would take some from him! I am filming a pilot for a new health TV show and he is my first guest.
Dominika: In conclusion, can you share one wisdom to all our MESS readers to inspire them to live a healthy and happy life?