The 21 DAY PLAN to prevent and reverse diet-related heart disease

| March 3, 2014
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21DaysHeart_Cov21 Day Plan is based on the successful clinical experience of Dr. Robert Atkins, cardiologist and family doctor, who – during over 30 years practicing medicine – reversed obesity, type II diabetes, and coronary heart disease in thousands of patients. [The 21 Day Plan was originally published in 21 Days to a Healthy Heart – now out-of-print.]

  1.  Most of us need 30 grams of protein before noon. One large egg = 6-7 grams of complete, high biological value protein. For your morning meal, consider having 2-4 eggs and/or add bacon or sausage. Omelets and egg scrambles add variety. If you eat a high fat, moderate protein morning meal, you won’t be hungry or snack-prone the rest of the day.
  2. No matter how well you eat or how many supplements you take, mental and emotional stress can

    Eggs from foraging chickens are best, but any egg is better than box cereal for breakfast!

    kill. Call it what you like:  Live and let live – letting go – relaxation of internal tension is a primary way of reducing your risk of a heart attack.

  3. Elevated homocysteine is an independent risk factor for heart disease and all cause mortality. When certain B-vitamins are deficient, especially B-6, B12 and folic acid – homocysteine can build up to unhealthy levels. A B-complex supplement may help, but emphasizing Vitamin B-rich animal foods is best. A weekly meal of liver (fried in lard) and onions will do the trick.
  4. Fat is premium fuel for the heart. L-Carnitine delivers fatty acids to metabolically active cardiac cells. Lamb

    Lamb and beef – red meat – are best sources of Carnitine. As a supplement, I prefer Swiss-made Lonza brand

    and beef (red meat) are the best food sources of L-Carnitine. If you are overweight, have unstable heart disease, or want extra protection to prevent a heart attack, consider supplementing with L-Carnitine (up to 4 grams per day). L-Carnitine is best taken between meals. For stability, best in a capsule or liquid.

  5. Your body makes antioxidants (like glutathione). A whole foods diet is best for providing the necessary precursors. Primary antioxidants to consider: (1) mineral ascorbate Vitamin C (with rutin and bioflavonoids) and (2) natural Vitamin E emphasizing Gamma tocopherol – containing all 8 members of the Vitamin E family.
  6. Pasteurized/homogenized modern milk is not fit to drink! If you like milk, there is no substitute for fresh raw milk – with all the nutritious fat. If you are a “milk-drinker,” search for fresh raw milk (however hard it may be). Fat is the best dairy component. The lactose-intolerant usually do not have a problem with butter, yogurt, cheese and sour cream (sources of fat and protein).
  7. Magnesium – not calcium – is the number one mineral deficiency. If you supplement with one mineral, make image_25468_original_x_450_whiteit magnesium – electrolyte band leader. You need sufficient magnesium to absorb and utilize calcium. For me – ConcenTrace Ionic magnesium from the Trace Mineral Research Co. is a first choice, but there are other good options: consider Jigsaw Magnesium and NOW Magnesium Aspartate (with L-taurine). Avoid cheap difficult-to-absorb magnesium oxide.
  8. Optimum fasting blood sugar is about 85 mg/dL (4.7 mmol/l). As Dr. Robert Atkins emphasized, no later than age 40, begin monitoring your fasting blood sugar. Elevated levels predict an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Fasting blood sugar has a narrow healthy range. Levels over 95 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/l) represent increased risk of heart disease. At 110 (6.2 mmol/l) you are “pre-diabetic.”
  9. For carbohydrate choices, emphasize vegetables (fruit in season). Sulfur-bearing cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are especially important. Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin C and promotes sound intestinal health. Include fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and Kimchi in your diet. Avoid easily-digested grains, starches and sugars – especially highly processed products that contain flour, sugar and vegetable oil.
  10. Elevated triglycerides (TG) are the most predictive risk factor for heart disease – especially for women. Reduce elevated triglycerides by restricting carbohydrates and replacing them with foods high in natural fat. Triglycerides – blood fats made in the liver from excess carbs – and HDL – the cholesterol recycling lipoprotein – exist in a teeter-totter relationship. You want your TG below 100 (5.6 mmol/l); HDL over 60 for men (3.3 mmol/l) and over 70 (3.9 mmol/l) for women. Ideally, your ratio of TG-HDL should be as close to 1:1 as possible.
  11. Don’t be a couch potato and don’t over-exercise. Your circulatory system depends on movement. (Movement “pumps” your blood.) The best exercises include stretching, walking and swimming. Gardening and other outdoor activities are exercise too. (Bend at the knees!) On the other hand, extreme exercise – like marathon running – can predispose you to an enlarged heart and heart failure.
  12. If you tolerate grains, eat whole grains that have been properly prepared. Grains, nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, a chemical that, among other things, interferes with mineral absorption – especially zinc. Soaking and low heat roasting neutralizes the phytates and other anti-nutrients found in grains, nuts and seeds. (Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon provides instructions and recipes.)
  13. Do not confuse warnings about questionable supplements with the use of whole herbs or herb extracts (liquid
    Capsaicin, which makes cayenne pepper hot, also makes prostate cancer cells commit suicide, a study suggests.

    Capsaicin, which makes cayenne pepper hot, also makes prostate cancer cells commit suicide, a study suggests.

    or powdered). Herbs require study; your payback is increased longevity. As an example, herbs like cayenne, garlic and hawthorn help stimulate, cleanse and nutritionally support healthy blood circulation. Milk Thistle Extract – a German invention – supports liver health. Ginkgo Biloba Extract (GBE) – another prominent herb in the German pharmacopoeia – is a first choice for circulation in the brain! Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory.

  14. Don’t be fooled by highly processed imitation products such as Country Croak or I Can’t Believe It’s
    Butter fat or cream is the most complex food fat of all - containing 12 different fatty acids including 8 different saturated fats.

    Butter fat or cream is the most complex food fat of all – containing 12 different fatty acids including 8 different saturated fats.

    Not Butter. Do not eat margarine, partially hydrogenated vegetable fat, or highly processed vegetable oils like soybean, safflower and canola.  Margarine, vegetable shortening and vegetable seed oils provide excess omega 6 linoleic acid. Americans in particular are consuming excess omega 6 (while not getting enough omega 3). Step one: Avoid all restaurant deep fried food – especially fast food French fries and products like chicken nuggets prepared in highly processed, rancid vegetable oils.

  15. Use butter, lard, coconut, palm oil, or olive oil for cooking (high quality sesame for stir fry). These are the safe traditional fats humans have eaten for centuries. Our traditional fats provide chemically stable saturated and monounsaturated fat and less chemically unstable omega 6 linoleic acid – which reacts to light, heat and air.
  16. For omega 3 EPA and DHA fat – include wild caught fatty fish in your diet, including herring, sardines, and salmon. Plant sources of omega 3 – like walnuts and milled flaxseed – are no substitute for omega 3 in fish, eggs from foraging chickens, and in organ meat such as liver.
  17. Along with tasty fat, eat protein at each meal, especially 30 grams before noon. Properly raised animal foods provide complete protein. Emphasize wild game, fish, and pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork, and chicken. As an example, purchase higher fat hamburger (80-20) – if you know the farm it came from. Remember too that organ meat such as kidney and liver provide vitally important fat soluble nutrients – plus nutritious fat and cholesterol.
  18. Test for, monitor, and, as necessary, restore health-promoting hormone levels, especially Progesterone (for women) and Progesterone and/or DHEA (for men). These should be topical creams for absorption through the skin. Progesterone is safe for most women and men (without testing). Other hormones, such as DHEA, Estrogen and Testosterone require study, testing and monitoring. Life Extension Foundation is a good source for comprehensive hormone testing.
  19. Replace soft drinks with organic coffee, different types of tea, and uncontaminated pure water. For most people, coffee is a morning beverage and dosage – as with alcohol – matters.  Alcohol in small quantities (1 or 2 drinks daily) promotes so called ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Several credible studies indicate that moderate drinkers have an edge in longevity over those who abstain!
  20. People who live in sunnier climates have less heart disease. Deliberately exposure yourself to sunlight. (Avoid harmful sun screams.) Sunlight reaching cholesterol in the  skin produces Vitamin D and cholesterol sulfate.
  21. Ask your doctor for a complete lipid evaluation. Understand all of your coronary heart disease risk factors.

“A stitch in time saves nine!” Don’t wait any longer to implement your own life-extending 21-Day Plan!




Category: Diabetes/Heart Disease

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  1. Bob Givens says:

    Great article Al. Keep up the good work of telling America the truth about nutrition.

  2. Nigel Tanner says:

    An excellent, up-to-date guide to achieving a healthy life. Corrections: “expose” and “screens” (not “exposure” and “screams”) are needed here – “Deliberately exposure yourself to sunlight. (Avoid harmful sun screams.)”

  3. Peter B. says:

    Hi Al:

    Nicely done. This update is very helpful, even to those of us who’ve implemented the “21 Days” plan some time back. I’m now well into my 2nd decade of “21 Days” healthy dieting, and still need reminding.

    As an example, Marsha and I have recently added a deliciously buttered slice of Trader Joe’s Sprouted 7-Grain Bread (WAPF “Best” recommendation) to our breakfast of farm fresh eggs, bacon and sausage (also locally farm raised – no additives). Based upon your first point, I am going to tweak my diet by eliminating that slice of bread (as tasty as it is!). I’ll have it with dinner instead, while aiming to keep within the late Dr. Wolfgang Lutz’ suggested 72 usable carb daily total (ever a challange, but the wisest pieces of advice ever).

  4. Alan Watson says:

    Thank you Peter! Sprouted Bread is okay for most people in the A.M. (Not for me. I have even tried to eat Irish oatmeal with tons of butter but I get hungry a couple hours later.) When I completely skip the carbs and load up on eggs and sausage, I am a happy no-snacker until the evening meal at which time I eat some carbs (sometimes sourdough and/or potatoes – always a salad or vegetables. Individual variation still prevails; trial and error with whole foods is needed. Thanks again for your thoughtful response. Al Watson

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  8. CoQ10 Fan says:

    Don’t forget CoQ10 levels lowered by either statins or an age-related deficiency as endogenous production slows with age. The late Dr. Mortensen was the lead researcher on the acclaimed Q-Symbio trial showing tremendous results on heart health with ubiquinone supplementation. For those who are unable to eat sufficient amounts of organ meats or brazil nuts to make up for a declining CoQ10 level, supplementing with ubiquinone CoQ10 can boost heart health, energy and reduce aging-related trends.