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Dr Chad Teeters on Becoming an Infamous Cardiologist: PYP 188

Dr John “Chad” Teeters grew up eating a good old meat and potato diet in his home state of North Carolina. An active kid, he looked and felt healthy and fit; his diet started catching up with him only when combined with the rigors of college, medical school, and medical residency.

For his entire adult life, Chad struggled with weight, gaining and losing pounds as his activity levels and self-control waxed and waned. After competing in a couple of triathlons in 2005, he let go of the struggle and gained roughly 10 pounds a year for the next 10 years.

In April of 2016, Chad achieved the dubious distinction of hitting 300 pounds for the first time in his life.

Did I mention that Chad is a cardiologist?

So it was that Chad found himself at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting that same month listening to lectures by Kim Williams, the former president of the college and a vegan lifestyle advocate, and Caldwell Esselstyn.

Not about weight per se, but about the very disease Chad had devoted his life to treating: heart disease.

Their talks peaked Chad’s interest, but he felt that the presentations were a bit heavy-handed in their praise of a low-fat, plant-based diet. After all, if this way of eating was so good, how come he had never heard about it in medical school or in the years since?

Still, a good scientist (and Chad is a good scientist) keeps an open mind. So he hit the medical journals, and discovered that it was true. There was ample, incontrovertible evidence that heart disease need never exist or progress in 99% of patients, if they were to follow a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet.

Our conversation covers what happened next to Chad, professionally and personally. We discussed:

  • Chad’s personal dietary transition
  • what happened to his reflux, headaches, blood pressure, dizziness, and other symptoms when he changed his diet
  • what nutrition education looked like in medical school
  • the medical model of disease treatment (“I can fix that with a pill when it gets bad enough”)
  • the burden of hypocrisy
  • evaluating diets for health and weight loss
  • medical reductionism – pills to fix cholesterol that can’t help with anything else
  • doing the research and the Esselstyn “holy shit” moment
  • talking to patients now
  • obstacles to medical reform
  • working with his family to improve their health
  • Chad’s current health status
  • daring to become an athlete again
  • 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.

Links

Dr Chad on Twitter: @chadteeters

Dr Chad's professional page: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/people/23434950-john-c-teeters

Kim Williams' profile on Forks Over Knives

Dr Caldwell Esselstyn

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Music

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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Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – for your generous support of the podcast.

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2 comments on “Dr Chad Teeters on Becoming an Infamous Cardiologist: PYP 188

  1. Sue says:

    This was a great Podcast! I am always most inspired by every day people who followed the science and transformed their lives!! Thanks!

    1. Howard says:

      Thanks, Sue. I just started reading The Upside of Stress, by Kelly McGonigal, who coined the term “science-help” as opposed to “self-help.” I love the concept of transforming our lives through scientific exploration and curiosity.

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