Dave Willits on Plant-Based Life After Death: PYP 175

dave-willitsOn March 28, 2014, Dave Willits suffered a heart attack at work, and died at the hospital later that day.

Several times, in fact.

Luckily for him (and us), he was revived every time, and awoke from his surgery vowing never to take another day for granted. Dave had thought himself in good shape at the age of 53, so he quickly realized that all his assumptions about how to have a healthy heart were flawed.

He immediately began searching the Web for information. He checked out vegetarian diets, the Mediterranean Diet, and on a tip from his sister, looked up the raw vegan Hippocrates Institute.

He soon discovered that the best heart health diet – indeed, the only one ever shown in a clinical setting to reverse heart disease – was the one promoted by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic.

He viewed every talk given by Dr Esselstyn on YouTube, watched Forks Over Knives, and ordered Esselstyn's book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease via amazon next-day delivery.

After reading it cover to cover, Dave penned a short note to the email address given at the back of the book.  Later that morning, Dave's cell phone rang with an Ohio number. “This is doctor Caldwell Esselstyn,” the resonant voice said.

And the rest is history.

In our conversation, we explore Dave's conversion to a plant-based running lifestyle, and the lessons it holds for the rest of us. We covered:

  • his Day 1 “leafy green disaster”
  • why he refused a widow-maker stent (and his cardiologist's warning)
  • the outrage of doctors predetermining patient non-compliance
  • “you're healthier than I am; see you in a year”
  • lessons from 25 years in the pizza business
  • how he learned plant-based eating by trial and error
  • from Egg McMuffins to daily oatmeal
  • the benefits of lack of variety
  • Dave's staple go-to meals and menu items
  • a couple of simple and delicious Instant Pot soups
  • food as fuel (vs getting triggered by every billboard and advertisement)
  • the value of listening to his body
  • taking up running on the one-year anniversary of his death
  • the importance of 100% commitment
  • Dave's running life
  • Dave's impact on his friends, family, and co-workers
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


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Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD

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September 22, 2016 by Healthy_MindBody

Howard's line-up of interviewees touches on every aspect of the whole-food plantbased lifestyle, really driving home the message that — now more than ever — what we put in our mouths every day affects not only our own health, but also the health of our planet and the wellbeing of ALL our fellow Earthlings. A must-subscribe for everyone, regardless of where you are on the plantbased continuum.


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Check out my online TV show, Triangle Be Well. This week I talk about nothing, because I had a nasty head cold and I stayed in bed and made pitiful noises until someone brought me tea.

My stuffed nose made it easier to watch the debate, however, as I was able to play a sniffing game with the Republican nominee that took my mind off the actual words being spoken.

I can help you navigate the medical system and adopt a healthy lifestyle

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.


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5 Responses to “Dave Willits on Plant-Based Life After Death: PYP 175”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. LOVED this podcast. What an inspiration he is. Seeing himself about to get shocked with the paddles….woah.

  2. Cara O'Sullivan says:

    I am going to listen to this as I have a husband who could really benefit from this. I am so grateful to this community–going plant-based turned my health around as well. I still have a ways to go, but I already enjoy a better life. Thank you.

    • Howard says:

      Thanks, Cara, for your kind feedback.

      You and your husband may want to check out the Big Change Program that Josh LaJaunie and I will be running in November. It might be just the ticket. Are you on my mailing list? If so, you’ll get notified soon. If not, there’s a signup box on the right of every page on PlantYourself.com!

  3. Vicki Reesor says:

    Howie, your podcast seems to have a brain-altering effect. After listening to this today (one of the many plant-based-athlete transformation stories I have listened to here), I just impulsively registered for my first 5k race ever and first footrace of any kind since grade 7.

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