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Food change enlightens and dismays retired GP

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I was briefly introduced to a food-based lifestyle change five years before my first life-threatening heart attack. But I dismissed that because I was a doctor and was expected to know better.

It was my second cardiologist who introduced me to nutrition medicine when I first consulted him. He recommended the book by Dr Caldwell B Esselstyn Jr, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, which changed my future.

I, a general practitioner, believed I was living a healthy life, at normal weight, normal cholesterol, non-smoker, non-drinker and healthy family history. Then I became a chronic disease sufferer from April 2001.

From that day for 17 years, I was burdened with multiple chronic medical conditions. Then, on the last day of October 2018, while reading the recommended book, I experienced a ‘Light Bulb’ moment, still shining brightly as ever.

Since that day, I have been enlightened, dismayed and almost obsessed with my discovery of whole-foods, plant-based nutrition medicine.

Enlightened, when my many chronic diseases, either slowed down, improved and even reversed, allowing me to disown them. I was taught at medical school and throughout my post-graduate education, these conditions were permanent, and had to be treated for the life of the patient.

Dismayed and at times exasperated by the universal disregard, for this almost miraculous, disease prevention and reversal treatment for most chronic diseases, by simply changing what one eats.

I have become gripped with educating myself about nutrition medicine. Making people aware of saving themselves from preventable medical disasters and lifelong burden of disability, has become my goal.

Those who adopted this healthy lifestyle have experienced benefits to share with others. One lady successfully avoided coronary artery stents while her husband was able to reduce his insulin dose and regained his energy, avoiding residential care. Another avoided a bowel operation by reducing animal foods, particularly cheese.

Sadly, some of those I have introduced plant-based nutrition to, have either been unimpressed, dismissive or ignored the information, even by my professional colleagues.

Since the day of my dietary transition (November 1st 2081), I have experienced the following amazing changes.

1. Stopping heart disease progression

 I survived a severe heart attack and quadruple bypass in 2001. Following that first heart attack I struggled with the disease until November 1st, 2018 – the first day of excluding all animal, processed and oil-based foods.

Prior to that period of my life, I was treated by specialists prescribing the latest medications, which failed to prevent my episodes of angina pain and even a second heart attack 15 years later.

2. Claudication – ceased overnight

Claudication was caused by cholesterol blockage narrowing the arteries supplying my legs. I was living with a real possibility of an amputation.

Two vascular surgeons predicted that I would eventually need an amputation. For eight years I lived in fear of losing a leg every time I suffered an episode of pain. Eight years living with the fear of facing radical surgery.

Now, after four years of being fully plant-based, I am yet to experience an episode of calf pain.

3. Kidney failure reversed

Over ten years, my kidney function slowly deteriorated to stage 2 of 5 of kidney disease. On progressing to stage 5, I would have needed dialysis – a life-shortening burden that would occupy two to three days of my life each week.

Within four months of being fully whole food plant-based, my kidney function returned to normal and has stayed the same till this very day. I successfully disowned kidney disease.

4. Renal colic from kidney stones gone

I suffered three episodes of renal colic over two years. Anyone who has experienced this would understand the excruciating recurrent pains it produces. Having changed my food choices, it’s unlikely that I will ever have a recurrence, along with risky treatment procedures and complications from the disease.

5. Osteoporosis reverses after four months

Reduced bone density of my hip bones was shown on a DEXA scan. After just four months of my lifestyle change, a repeat scan demonstrated a 10 per cent improvement in my bone strength. It is accepted that bone strength deteriorates 1 to 2% a year.

I was ecstatic by the reversal in such a short time. This is despite a family trait I inherited from my mother. She fell and was subsequently shown to have fractured her hip from osteoporosis.

Following emergency surgery to her hip, she deteriorated and died within twelve months. She was otherwise in reasonable health for her age of 76. My risk of a similar fate now seems very unlikely.

6. Glaucoma fully reversed

My wife, Christine, who changed her lifestyle as I did, was being observed for low-grade glaucoma for about 20 years.

Despite her sister suffering the same, her pressures returned to normal and have remained so for four years. Her ophthalmologist continues to retest her pressures yearly.

By the use of a dietary change, this condition is controlled and unlikely to require medication or procedures.

7. Other improvements

  • Constipation resolved. One of the first improvements that came to my attention. This has never recurred after many years of suffering this very common condition.
  • Gum bleeding ceased. My gum bleeding commenced with taking aspirin and clopidogrel, blood-thinning medications, following my first heart attack. Since I commenced plant food, I haven’t noticed bleeding for over four years.
  • Tinnitus improved. Known as ringing in the ears, it has reduced enough not to be noticeable after decades of suffering.
  • Combined weight loss of 16 Kgs. We are both within the healthy BMI range of 18 to 25.
  • Noisy snoring ceased for both of us after decades of living with it.
  • Dental caries, none over the last four years. A fact that surprised my dentist.
  • Rosacea, a common skin condition affecting the face and troublesome over the last 15 years, has resolved.
  • Milia, an itchy skin condition related to the sweat glands, fully reversed.
  • Erectile dysfunction, a problem for over 20 years, but now functioning normally after becoming fully plant-based.
  • Essential intentional tremors of the hands, troublesome over 25 years, have substantially improved.
  • Our moods have improved to make our relationship vastly better.
  • Our sleep, energy and physical activities have all improved.

Ralph Koelmeyer
Ralph Koelmeyer
Dr Ralph Koelmeyer is a retired Melbourne GP. He is one of the few health professionals worldwide who can personally attest to the value of whole plant food nutrition of which he has become an enthusiastic student. He holds a Certificate of Nutrition from eCornell University, a prescribing nutrition certificate, and is a regular attender of medical conferences.

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