Meet A Recovering Cardiac Patient

Meet my father-in-law, David!  Last July, something very scary happened in our family.  One afternoon, my mother-in-law called and told my husband that his father was in the hospital with some “minor” heart trouble.  We, of course, were very worried about Dad and immediately drove the eight hours to be with family as they gathered around my mother and father-in-law.  The minor heart trouble turned out to be total congestive heart failure, major artery blockage and fluid-filled lungs.  The hospital check-up turned into a quadruple by-pass. 

We are a very lucky family, because he came through the surgery miraculously.  Even better . . . his cardiac surgeon recommended that he start following the “caveman” diet right away.  I had started Paleo just a few months prior, so I was naturally super excited about his progressive doctor’s advice.  David is a successful lawyer, husband, and father in his 60’s and doing straight Paleo.  Recently, I asked him some questions about going Paleo, since I thought readers who have not yet “made the switch” would be interested in a his mid-term Paleo perspective.  If you are older and don’t think you are up for a big dietary change, think again.  It is totally possible. 
My father-in-law is not a fan of pictures.  Rest assured, he's a handsome dude.
1)  When did you start?  How long have you been doing it?
Approx. Aug 15, 2012, about 6 months.

2)  How did you learn about it?
My cardiac surgeon, who said, “Go on the Caveman diet,” and my cardiologist who said, “Go low carb.”

3)  What motivated you to give it a try?
I was highly motivated by recent events.  (Don’t you love his understated dark humor?)

4)  Before you began, what seemed the most difficult?
Nothing seemed that difficult, it made sense to me, but of course not being able to eat “fun” things like cheese & bread . . . I don’t really miss them actually.  I see someone else eating it & it looks good, but I can’t say that I really want it.

5)  After beginning, what are the greatest challenges?
Consistency, I guess.  But also not getting too carry away with it, if I eat a little something out of course, I feel overly guilty.

6)  What has been the greatest benefit? 
Weight loss.  I have lost 47 lbs!  I had been trying to loose weight for a year prior to my surgery, counting calories.  I would count for five days a wk & I lost a little weight, but it was very slow.  I obviously needed other things.  I don’t know how it is affecting my cholesterol, as I am currently back on a low-dose statin.  It is very, very low dose though, so I suspect the diet will have more effect.  In about a month & half I will have a check. 
7)  If you have great test results will you want to continue?  What if the results are not as good as you hoped?
Absolutely, I will be even more motivated if I have good test results.  The opposite though, bad results, I will still keep it up.  I will be a little depressed if my cholesterol is still where it was six months ago.  I don’t want to go back though, it is not a sacrifice for us. 
 
8)  What new info about nutrition surprised you the most?
Eating so much meat, eating eggs.  Eggs are delightful, but we heard so many bad things about them.

9)  Do you plan to continue?
I am happy with it.  I plan to do this forever.

10)  What is your new favorite Paleo dish?
Kale, I didn’t eat Kale before and salmon.  I also like pico de gallo with avocado. 

11)  What non-Paleo food do you still miss?
Good bread.  We had lunch yesterday at a restaurant.  They had very good bread & with a little butter . . . it was hard to watch.

12)  Have you learned new skills in the kitchen as a result of cooking so much more?
We cook a lot more & I help in the kitchen.   I like that, it is nice to help Veronica out.  We don’t miss eating out, because we go out to lunch every weekday & I find it easy to find Paleo things to eat.  Occasionally, I see something I want to eat, but bottom line is I don’t miss the non-Paleo foods at all, especially the sweets.

13)  Have there been any unexpected changes? 
My energy level is higher. 

14)  Who would you encourage to try Paleo?
Obviously there are people we see who are heavy.  Weight loss would help them.  This diet seems to really help and I would encourage them.  It is stupid to say, “I will try that when I die.”  That is the kind of person I would encourage to try Paleo. 
15)  How do you feel about variations of the Paleo diet, like 80/20?
I am not one for a “free” day.  The next day is a free day too, I find.  I allow myself occasional corn chips or a half a cup of corn flakes and I do have my wine at night.    

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