My Gratitude List: 2016 Thank You
In recent weeks there have been many comments about how rough 2016 has been, at least to celebrities who died unexpectedly. Although I am not certain if the number of deaths exceeds the norm, the passing of Prince, Garry Shandling, Alan Thicke, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and Ricky Harris can be moments to appreciate our own health, love, friendships and success that might otherwise be taken for granted. While all of us can make a top 10 list for 2016, here is mine and hoping that 2017 will be even more impactful for sharing messages of health and compassion.
1) The Whole Heart Solution: After nearly 2 years of behind the scenes maneuvering, The Whole Heart Solution, my first book published by Reader’s Digest, was released as a public TV special by the same name playing in dozens of markets hundreds of times and now released as a paperback too. I am grateful for all those that made it happen.
2) Sexiest Male Vegan Over 50: If you cannot laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? I continue to chuckle after being selected by PETA for this award along with the very sexy Victoria Moran. The platform is an opportunity to spread the message of kindness and animal welfare, mixed with sexy overtones, that makes PETA so impactful. I am grateful for the chance to teach that nothing is sexier than a clean, vegan body and spirit.
3) GreenSpace Café: The decision to open GreenSpace Café over a year ago with my son Daniel in Ferndale, MI was a leap of faith of huge and expensive proportions. The fact that we celebrated a year anniversary and have served over 60,000 cruelty-free, healthy and plant-based meals, and easily the same number of conscious cocktails, is a victory for the growing recognition that plant-based diets are a must on a crowded and sick planet Earth. I am grateful for my family particularly my hard working wife Karen, son Daniel and daughter-in law Yany, our amazing guests, and our staff who make the journey worth it every damn day.
4). Kahn Longevity Center: Another leap without a net was at the end of 2015 opening the only dedicated preventive cardiology clinic staffed by a university professor/board-certified cardiologist combining traditional and integrative practices in the Midwest. The fact that with the help of Jennifer Dowd, RN, MSN our schedule was full all of 2016 is remarkable. There have been so many stunning examples of heart disease reversal, weight loss, and improvements in biomarkers. It is a humbling testimony to the power of the human body to heal itself if you learn how to get out of the way by adding toxins. I am grateful to Jennifer and the amazing patients of the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity.
5. HealthCare Hero: The selection to the honored list of awardees by Crain’s Business Detroit as a HealthCare Hero in recognition of the opening of my clinic was an unexpected but touching recognition that only by taking risks will progress occur. The fact that an article the last week of 2015 on the clinic remained one of the most read articles of 2016 was gratifying too. I am grateful for the media recognition of efforts to offer the highest quality integrative and holistic heart care with the primary goal of early detection and reversal of heart disease before tragedy strikes.
6. Ban Hospital Food CarcinNOgens. After the World Health Organization announced in late 2015 that processed red meats cause cancer like smoking, I appealed to local Detroit hospitals to ban these foods on ethical grounds as healers. Those efforts were rebuffed so I launched a Facebook page to protest this objectionable practice. With daily postings calling on hospital CEO Joe Mullany to break the contract with Wendy’s at Harper University Hospital and to all CEO’s to ban processed red meats at Detroit area hospitals, the effort has gained attention and fueled interest nationwide. In early 2017 a major hospital system will announce that they are enforcing such a ban, a major victory that should be followed by all hospitals. I am grateful to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine for keeping this topic at the forefront of medical ethics.
7. Health messaging. I had the opportunity in 2016 to use many platforms to discuss heart disease detection and prevention and raise awareness for the public. I am grateful to MindbodyGreen, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Jane Velez Mitchell, Pedram Shojai, Julieanna Hever, Food Babe, Thrilist, Fox 2 Detroit, Forks Over Knives, and many others for this opportunity.
8. PBNSG. When I helped Paul Chatlin start the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group in early 2014 we had no idea that it would grow to over 3,000 members with an active website, social media platform, small groups, and a lecture series of the world’s leading experts in plant-based disease reversal. The year 2016 was amazing for PBNSG and its wonderful members and volunteers. I am grateful to Paul Chatlin and so many hard working warriors for health.
9. Sounds True. I was given a chance to write my 4th book, but my first plant-based one, by Sounds True and it was just submitted for release in 2017. The Plant-Based Solution includes a 3-week recipe program with bonus recipes from GreenSpace Café. I am grateful for this opportunity to offer a simple formula to power health and the health of the planet and animals to a higher level.
10. Ancel Keys, Ph.D. I read a lot of diverse materials and learn from many people. Along the way I read many important science contributions by Ancel Keys, Ph.D. but could not understand why he was reviled by many bloggers in the Paleo and low-carb movement. His science from the 1930’s to the 1970s and beyond was groundbreaking. After his death at age 100 in 2004, he became the whipping boy of Gary Taubes, Nina Teicholz, Aseem Malhotra and others. After researching his work with the assistance of his son Henry Keys, MD and his longtime colleague Henry Blackburn, MD, I wrote a defense of Dr. Keys that should silence the rude noisemakers. I am grateful for the opportunity to study and defend the reputation of a great scientist, even if posthumously.
I wish you and your family a healthy and happy 2017 full of fulfillment and meaningful communion. When it comes to your heart health, “Test not Guess”, eat plants not animals, sleep, relax, stand, fidget and sweat. To life!