We Loved Not Enough

dad and me

A Daughter’s Longing

Dear Dad,‎

You left abruptly. Although you made every effort to let us know that your ‎time was limited, I chose to let your words pass over me. Your doctors ‎warned of severe arteriosclerotic heart disease with an exceptionally ‎enlarged heart. A prompt heart transplant was your only hope, otherwise ‎you had but a few months to live. ‎

We were oceans apart: you in the golden state and me in the land of milk ‎and honey. Not yet thirty, I was a young mother with two toddlers and I ‎preferred to suppress this depressing news and bury it deep. In the past, ‎you had been known to over exaggerate on occasion, and I found comfort in ‎believing that this was but another inflated disclosure.‎

In retrospect, it should have come as no surprise, all of the warning signals ‎were there: obesity, depression, high blood pressure, a diet rich in fats and ‎sugars and a lack of physical activity. At the time heart transplants were ‎innovative and the surgical teams were pioneering their way. Against all ‎odds, you hoped that your case would pique the interest of UCLA’s medical ‎transplant team. For it was very clear that without medical insurance or ‎financial means, you had no hopes of financing the costly procedure.‎

We were penniless “kibbitzniks”. Even if we had wanted to come to your ‎aid, we had nothing to contribute.‎

Dad, you were a gadget freak, innovator and computer pioneer. How in ‎character would it have been for you to have gone under the knife at the ‎forefront of medical technology! You were always the first on your block to ‎have the latest electronic device. This last time lady luck was nowhere to be ‎found. You never made it to the operating table.‎

Your prophecy came to life as a few months later you left this world. You ‎were but 54 years in your passing!‎

At the Forefront

It was 1989. While the surgical elite perfected the cutting edge and ‎complicated surgery, a handful of lone healers, in search of "whole hearted ‎health", walked the unbeaten path towards their nonetheless innovative ‎vision.‎

About this time, an American surgeon became aware of areas in the world ‎where heart disease was virtually nonexistent. Peoples such as the Papua ‎Highlanders of New Guinea, central Africans, Rural China, and the ‎Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico who were strangers to heart ‎disease.‎

The correlating factor appeared to be a vegan diet based on plant based ‎nutrition.‎

Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.‎

Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. was one of those lone pioneers. He was ‎frustrated that modern medicine seemed unable to prevent the next patient ‎from knocking on his door. In search of true healing and prevention of the ‎western chronic disease epidemic, he envisioned himself doing more than ‎just disease management.‎

He decided to devote his time and efforts to tackling the number one cause ‎of western deaths: coronary heart disease.‎

In addition to his surgical workload, he asked to take on a group of ‎critically ill patients. Thus he found himself leading a group of 24 “walking ‎dead”, coronary heart disease patients. The “walking dead” had failed ‎bypasses, triple bypasses and angiograms had no further viable surgical ‎options available.‎

Understanding that if the problem had been created on a plate, then there ‎too the solution was to be found, Dr. Esselstyn decided to establish a ‎nutritional focus. His patients were instructed to maintain a vegan diet: no ‎meat whatsoever, eggs, dairy or oil of any kind (even plant based oils).‎

Nothing with a mother; nothing with a face!‎

The objective was to reach and maintain a total serum cholesterol level ‎below 150 mg/dl a LDL or bad cholesterol level below 80 mg/dl.‎

Esselstyn, while well aware that heart health was dependent not only upon ‎nutrition but also physical activity, stress reduction and relaxation, chose ‎not to fight his battles on all four fronts. He knew that from a physiological ‎perspective, creation of sustainable change on the nutritional front alone ‎would be challenging enough. He had his work cut out for him.‎

Esselstyn was very strict with his patients. There would be no leniency, no ‎rounding of corners and no excuses. During his initial meeting he would ‎meet his patients for a five hour seminar. He would utilize this time to ‎explain the science behind heart disease and make sure each patient ‎understood how the SAD (Standard American Diet) had created the disease ‎and how whole plant based foods would heal and create whole healthy ‎hearts. Afterwards, for the first few years he met with patients on a ‎bimonthly basis and later continued on a quarterly basis.‎

Dad, you always loved a good story. You are probably well acquainted with ‎the Nazi pillage and plunder. During World War II, the Nazis confiscated ‎livestock from the lowlands of Norway, Belgium, Denmark and Holland to ‎feed its troops. I bet that you are unfamiliar with the following anecdote. It ‎was precisely during this time that the death rate from heart disease in ‎Norway plummeted. When the war ended, it was business as usual as the ‎former average rate of death from heart disease returned to its former ‎‎“glory”.‎

Forks Over Knives

Did you know that Dr. Esselstyn began his work in 1985? How is it that ‎you missed out on this incredible opportunity???‎

Of the 24 patients who began the original study, six dropped out in the first ‎year. They were unable to meet the basic qualifying conditions. The ‎remaining 18 patients entered the study with a total of 49 coronary events. ‎Only one of the 18 patients suffered an additional coronary event when he ‎strayed for a time from the study. When he returned there were no further ‎coronary events.‎

When Dr. Esselstyn began the study the mean total serum cholesterol for ‎the group was 237 mg/dl. The following is the average data for the 5 year ‎and 12 year respective periods.‎

esselstyn averages

One can see here an amazing angiogram image from one of Dr. Esselstyn’s ‎patients, before and after the nutritional intervention. This picture is indeed ‎worth a thousand words… ‎

esselstyn angigram

Dr. Esselstyn and his wife Ann continue his work to this day. He treats and ‎guides his patients while she demonstrates how to cook easy and ‎sustainable oil less whole food plant based meals. The diet’s guidelines are ‎based around eight central principles:‎

Eight Plant Perfect Principles

‎1 Eat rolled oats daily.‎
‎2 Eat greens, leafy greens and a rainbow of colored vegetables.‎
‎3 Replace meats with beans and lentils.‎
‎4 Eat whole grains.‎
‎5 Eliminate all oils, even virgin olive oil!
‎6 Drink water.‎
‎7 Avoid sugar and salt.‎
‎8 Read labels well, especially the list of ingredients. ‎

Dad, your tragic story continues to sculpt my path. Did you know that ‎Mom began her last two decades with multiple strokes? Although she ‎developed that dreadful disease (Parkinson’s), it was her weakened heart ‎which lead her way to the next world.‎

Happily conventional western medicine is beginning to acknowledge that ‎SAD (Standard American Diet) disease and chronic disease are one and the ‎same. Healers who choose forks over knives are no longer crucified as ‎heretics (at least not on the spot…). The correlation between coronary heart ‎disease and nutrition in particular is quickly become the accepted norm. ‎News that heart disease can not only be cured but prevented via nutritional ‎means is making the headlines.‎

Dad, you had an uncanny knack for extraordinary investments. I would so ‎like to enter into a partnership with you and invest in a healthier future for ‎our children and grandchildren. Imagine, for example, how huge savings in ‎national healthcare could be created and directed towards a better ‎education…‎

Dad, can you imagine a sea of investors knocking on our door to invest in ‎‎“101 different types of legumes, vegetables which are red, yellow and green ‎leafy, and fruit but especially the green leafy vegetables: buck choy, Swiss ‎choy, kale, collards, collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens, Napa ‎cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cilantro, parsley, spinach ‎and arugula?" ‎

Too bad that it’s not going to happen anytime soon… There is a gold mine ‎waiting to be discovered!‎

With a broken heart which no amount of kale will heal,‎
We loved not enough,‎

Your loving daughter Heleneie BeaNiE Cherubinie Wiskerinie ‎Rooterinie

I would like to thank you for your patience in reading this post to its end.‎

If you liked what you read and you are not on my mailing list, you can sign up ‎here.‎

Finally I would like to request that you please share my post which precedes the ‎release of my animated clip (soon, I promise). I am so excited! Please share this ‎post…

Thank you and have a great week!‎


You tell your future! The power is ours!

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Hila Gozani
Hila Gozani
6 years ago

Thank you Paula for your praise! If I have managed to educate, inspire, amaze and bring beauty into this world, that is no small feat! I would gladly settle for one of the four♥
Beanie Girl ☺

Paula Graham
Paula Graham
6 years ago

What an amazing and beautifully written story. It takes courage to nourish our cells and care for our bodies. I appreciate your encouragement and skill in educating and inspiring us all Helene .

Love you

Casaundra Bennett
6 years ago

What a beautiful tribute to your dad, and also a powerful expression of your commitment to do things differently, so that others' suffering can be alleviated. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with those of us in your community. Be well, Casaundra

Hila Gozani
Hila Gozani
6 years ago

I am grateful to have you as part of my community and appreciate your support. When the flame burns within one can't help but act. I so want to educate and empower but am reluctant to climb on a soapbox. I was very pleased with the weave between a letter to my father and the science at hand. Thanks once again for your support…

One tooth Ruth goose
One tooth Ruth goose
6 years ago

A beautiful read sweetheart. I did try…Julie was fierce in his stayputness. I begged him to come live with me where I could get him back on his feet. That wonderful basement apartment was his to have as long as necessary (the same place that I was so happy to give to Jeffrey after he was airlifted from Granada). Dad wouldn't do it. I'm pretty sure Scott put dad on his armed services health plan though. Dad just wasn't really a top candidate…the waiting list was selective. Never forget that you and your family were what kept him alive as… Read more »

Hila Gozani
Hila Gozani
6 years ago

Dear Ruth
We cannot help but have regrets. Next time around we would all do things differently. Of course, Dad was stubborn. He was a Kosofsky after all! I know that Dad is proud of me where ever he is watching from. Still, I cannot help but be saddened by all that he has missed and is missing still. Thank you for your warm embrace. You have brought tears to my eyes. I love you dearly One Tooth Goose☺
Heleneie BeaNiE♥