As Karen Reed has learned, just cutting meat from the food equation does not contribute to a truly healthy diet.
– We ate very little red meat. We made fresh vegetables. But we loved the cheese and liked the butter. It was a lot of fat and it really is the culprit for many problems, "says Karen Reed.
By the age of 60 she packed pounds and heart problems.
"I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol and very high lipids, triglycerides," Reed said.
"The diet really affects a number of cardiac risk factors," says Dr. Brian Tashner, a cardiologist with Lee Memorial's health system.
Cardiologist Brian Tashner is Karen's specialist. He believes that a typical American diet can use a healthy lifestyle.
"We eat very little fruit and vegetables. So, on average, about 10% or less of ours, calorie intake is from fruits and vegetables, and when we look at consumed vegetables, about half of them are potatoes. And most of them are fried, "says Dr. Tashner.
It strengthens the point that all fruits and vegetables are not created equal. Adopting a green diet means that 50-60% of calories come from plant sources. Most of these are leafy vegetables that are on the top of the food pyramid.
– So everything that spinach and kale, blackberry, lettuce, these things and then really include all the other types of vegetables in your diet. So it really should be the basis of the pyramid. And then other things: whole grain carbohydrates. Like brown rice, cinema, headlight. And then beans, so the different kinds of beans should be the next level. Healthy fat, so things like avocado, nuts, olive oil, this must be the next level of the pyramid. And then realizing that most people will still consume some animal protein, it really has to be the next level when you can limit it to about 10% of your diet, "says Dr. Tashner.
The switch took a big bite from Karen's health problems.
"That just changed our lives in the last year. My blood pressure is much better, I'm on fewer drugs. I lost twenty pounds, "Reed said.
The right plant plan may be the beginning of a health transformation.
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The Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Florida is the largest network of healthcare facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly esteemed for its experience, innovation and quality of care. For almost a century, we have provided our community with everything from primary treatment to highly specialized care and robotic assisted operations.