Hi this is Danielle Bussone again from Veggin Out And About! and I’m here with the second part of my interview with Sherry Shrallow who is a certified a professional coach, a licensed clinical social worker and she’s also a graduate of Cornell’s Plant-based certification program. Welcome Sherry. Hi, Danielle. [Danielle] Hi how are you I’m good how are you. I’m very well. [Good] I want to go back to our discussion that we were having and talk to you a little bit about what you’re doing now. I understand that you have a heart-healthy meetup group that you’re working with. I do [tell me about that] yeah I started at about two years ago because I have been teaching a course called how to heart attack proof yourself with the whole foods, no oil plant-based diet. And I thought that the class was great and I have great students coming in. But transitioning to a plant-based diet is not a one-time thing it’s a process and so I wanted to offer something that my students could come to afterwards to learn how to cook this way and have a community that they can belong to and so that’s why I created the cooking class. So we meet once a month in my home and we have a theme each month and we I think we’ve met oh my gosh maybe 20 sometimes already. We’ve done everything from Italian cooking Chinese, Mediterranean, comfort foods, just a whole host of foods. So we have a great time. We limit it to 16 people because my house can’t hold all 200 members of the meetup group that belong to the group and we just have a blast. We have stations where everybody has to be working. You have to work for your supper when you come to these classes. And we do. I think people have built up their own repertoire of plant-based dishes that they take home and share with their family and friends so it’s a way for them to sort of pay it forward as well. [Danielle} That’s right now I understand you have a gourmet kitchen that I’m absolutely envious of. I do have a nice-sized kitchen and I’ll tell you when we came back to Chicago after leaving Houston that was the only thing I cared about in houses that we have a large kitchen so that I could teach some classes because it was very important to me. [Danielle] I would love to have that too. I would have to tear my house down and start over to have the room to put a big kitchen in. But I that has been forever but I don’t see it happening for me. So, you also are writing book. Tell me about that. I am and you know it’s a very slow process and I’m not putting pressure on myself right now to hurry up with it. I’m sort of letting it unfold as it should. I decided that I wanted people not just to know about what happened to me and how I’ve been able to change my life to prevent and reverse heart disease in it, but to take a look at sort of the institutions that exists currently and how they are advising people about the the treatment of heart disease. So when I say the institution’s i’m looking at the institutions of medical providers physicians and nutritionists and then the larger institutions that have been set up like the American Heart Association and what I found on my journey that has been of concern to me is that the American public is not getting all of the information about the best way to prevent and reverse this disease. You know I shared in my last interview that my own cardiologist the first person that I went to knew nothing about Dr. Esselstyn’s work or about the foods that I could be transitioning to so that this doesn’t happen to me again. And I think that we have a right as patients to know this. I’m not saying that every person will embrace the whole foods oil-free plant-based lifestyle but at least give us the option to know what works and we know through the studies that have been done from Dean Ornish out in California and Caudwell Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic that the success rate for those who really stick to this way of living is phenomenal. There is no other procedure or medication or diet that will give you the results. You know for example Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn did a recent study I think it was in 2014 that was just published in the Journal of Family Practice I believe that’s what it was called and in this study he had something like a hundred nineyt-eight participants who stuck to his diet for almost four years and after four years only two-point-two percent of those people had a further cardiac event. Now if you compare this with the Mediterranean diet and this study that was done in France the nineteen nineties which was the Lyon diet heart study. In that study those participants who stuck to the Mediterranean diet that included things like olive oil fish, a little bit of chicken, eggs. More healthy than the standard American diet for sure but not a whole foods oil-free plant-based diet. And in that group of 300 participants who stuck to that Mediterranean diet after four years 25-percent of them had a further cardiac event or had died. And see too me that’s just not good enough and it’s not acceptable when we know the science tells us that we can do so much more. Not to slow the progression of the disease but to actually prevent and reverse it. So that’s what motivates me to keep teaching and to keep teaching people how to cook this way because I never want another person to have to go through what I went through which was totally unnecessary. Had I known it wouldn’t happen to me. [Danielle] That’s right, and you can’t beat almost ninety-eight percent success rate. [right] That never happens in anything do you get a result that’s that powerful and that cut and dry. Esselstyn is just a marvel. [yes] And you can reverse all sorts of diseases you can reverse diabetes. You can reverse… you can almost entirely eliminate the symptoms of MS. You can reverse kidney disease as shown with the rice diet. Its… and this information has been around for a very long time over 30 years and people are just waking up to it and the reason is money. You know it doesn’t… you know it costs a lot less money to buy broccoli than it does a handful of pills. It sure does, it sure does. So you know as I write my book I feel that I’m having the opportunity to not only talk about the problems but to offer solutions as well because I think it’s you know it’s not good enough just to gripe about something. We have to do something and I think that my goal is to have people all over the United States have groups like I do or to do something in their own communities to help people with this transition. You know we all are going to be famous and we’re not all going to be known throughout the country but it doesn’t matter what we do in our communities is what really matters. [Danielle] I saw something… I’m sorry I said we can really make a difference [Danielle] I saw something come across my Facebook page yesterday that I thought was really good that it is every vegan were to try to get one person a year to become… to become plant-based and by plant-based I mean whole foods plant-based. You can have a very unhealthy vegan diet [you sure can] because coca-cola and french fries are technically vegan but you will not thrive on that type of the diet. And I think it’s a very good idea if if we just reach out and and just plant the idea in someone’s head that there’s a better way then holding onto on bag full of pills. Absolutely [Danielle] I went to a doctor one time in every single person in that clinic had a grocery… had a big zip lock bag full of pills [right] and I thought oh my goodness and I remember when I had I had four pill boxes and and I had pills in them to take several different times of day and I and now I take nothing but a vitamin B-12 tabled. Me too. Pretty much yes. yes [Danielle] We were not born to be to live on pills [right] and why we accept that is crazy. I know and you know Danielle I think that a lot of our changes are going to come when medical students are taught about nutrition medical school and taught about plant-based nutrition and the power for its ability to prevent and reverse the disease’s you mentioned and I think also that when physicians start to receive training on this. And it’s happening there are many continuing education … continuing education courses now that will start to teach doctors about this and they’re filling up which is encouraging but we’re gonna… there’s a lot of doctors to educate and again I think you know doctors are rewarded for giving out prescriptions and for doing procedures and they get paid when people are sick you know they keep a sort of sick enough to come back so the whole way doctor’s practice medicine hopefully is going to shift over time from sick care to more wellcare but they’re going to have to be reimbursed for that I mean they went through a lot of years of training and I feel for them you know they were taught one way and now here we are coming at them and saying but there’s a different way a better way and I do feel that they should be financially rewarded for getting people to change their diet and eat this way. And if they can hold classes and give continued support through there through their practice and let’s pay them for that. They deserve it. [Danielle] And I do see that happening Kaiser Permanente with 17,000 doctors on their payroll are directing their doctors, all of their doctors to prescribe a plant-based diet, [I know] and the exciting thing about that is there paid to keep people well not to [I know] so it makes sense to them that OK, if it prevents heart disease it reverses heart disease if it reverses diabetes, if it gets rid of obesity, if it helps with all of these auto immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and MS, you know why in the world wouldn’t you do it. I know so they have such a wonderful model don’t they and I mean I’m just hoping that it will spread quickly to other hospital systems and that they will start to have physicians prescribing this as well, that would be a wonderful start but it’s not just the prescribing though is it Danielle you have to give people community and support afterwards you can’t hand somebody a piece of paper and say here’s how you transition to a plant-based diet. You know I did it on my own and it took a lot of effort and work on my part but I don’t know if everybody can do what I did. So, we’ve got to be there for people we’ve got to help them and I think that’s why I think every community has to have a group like mine where you can come and eat together talk about what’s happening with the research inform people education is it it’s powerful. Once we know what the science is telling us and we can make better choices for ourselves. It really encourages us to do so I think. [Danielle] Yeah, I was giving the class in our… I was giving a talk in Boone North Carolina at their wellness center. And I and I had a discussion with the woman who directed this brain injury group that I talked to and she said that the doctors there are prescribing plant-based diets now. And she said that there’s a disconnect between the prescription and teaching people how to do that. And so she’s trying to start a wellness class within the center so that people can come and take take classes and learn how to create plant-based meals that are simple and delicious. And I think one of the problems is that people don’t get how really delicious is. Right. They’ve gotta taste it don’t they. [yeah] When I teach my classes on how to heart attack proof yourself the second part of the class is a huge buffet of food that I prepare that we all sit down and have this beautiful meal together and I think my success rate in those classes as well about fifty percent of those people start transitioning. That’s pretty good and then they up to my cookie classes and they’re ready to roll so… [Danielle] Well your doing really wonderful work. When do you expect to have your book available do you have any idea? You know I’m not sure. As I said I’m not hurrying. I’m really trying to be thoughtful and going over things and everything so you know I would say within maybe the next year, hopefully. It takes much longer than you think it will. It does take a long time. I’ve been at for a few months now. And I you know the core of the book is there but every time you go through it, you’re tweaking and tweaking it and I’m adding a chapter… my yoga teacher and meditation teacher and dear friend is going to a write a chapter about how yoga and meditation is so critical and such a great part of the whole foods lifestyle. Because is it’s not just feeding our minds but it’s using our souls and be good to the planet and she’s going to talk about all things in her chapter so, its expanding as I go along. [Danielle] And I think Dean Ornish, Dr. Ornish is a real believer in meditation and yoga because of it calms the mind and lowers blood pressure and yeah and it will be very beneficial in addition to the whole foods plant-based diet. They go hand in hand and I want to make that connection. it’s not just what we put in our body but it’s how we think in our minds and our spirit. [Danielle] Before we go on let me ask you to clarify for people who may not be familiar with a whole food, plant… wholefoods plant-based diet just exactly what that means. Sure, so for me it means shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store it means eating things that come from the ground come from the earth that our whole. Fruits and vegetables whole grains and legumes things like that. Beans are an integral part of our diet. Everything that’s natural that you can… you don’t have a label to read or if you do look at the label it’s what it is, it’s nothing added. I always say if you can’t pronounce it put it back on the shelf. [Danielle] That’s right. And what is your take on organic food. Well I’m a big proponent of it because I worry about what’s being put on conventional produce the pesticides and herbicides and in putting those into my body so whenever possible I buy organic. And you know people say but it’s so expensive. But I say but beans aren’t expensive and so it all balances out. So you pay a little more for your produce but I think our bodies are worth that. That we’re putting clean things into it. [Danielle] And also it’s a whole lot less expensive than having heart surgery or having intestinal surgery because you’re eating something that is… you know they have genetically modified corn and that’s it is designed to make the intestines I guess I’m sure there’s another word for it, in insects explode and what they’ve discovered is it’s doing the same thing to our intestines causing leaky gut syndrome and cancers and that sort of thing and you know why why even go there you know… You mentioned the cost to you know how much my surgery and hospital stay was over a million dollars. [Danielle] I hope you had good insurance. Thankfully we did happen insurance, but we could not believe how expensive this is and this is happening not just to me. I mean this is big business. [Danielle] It is big business It is big business for hospitals and doctors [Danielle] For those of you who don’t know I also had catastrophic health issues and my hospital bills were through the roof and I can’t I couldn’t quote what they are right now it’s been quite a few years since I’ve looked at them but fortunately I have very good health insurance and it didn’t… it could have easily bankrupted us. Yes and I have to mention Danielle, I just finished reading your book Time For Change and I couldn’t put it down. I read it in a day. It was phenomenal. I highly recommend it for anybody who’s starting on this journey. Because you nailed it. You hit every area. How to shop how to make some nice easy dishes and the science. You covered everything as well as reading about your story which had me in tears you were right it was a hard one to read but very necessary to understand that we have such power to take good care of ourselves. So thank you so much for writing your book and I’ve already passed it on to my friend today and we’ll keep it will keep it moving around so we can keep talking about it. [Danielle] Oh good I appreciate that. And for those who don’t know the name of the book is Time For Change: Whole Foods For Whole Health! [Yes] It really is a primer on how to trans… how and why you should consider a plant-based diet and certainly how to go about doing it. What equipment you need what you don’t need what’s a waste of your time and how to how to make several meals from one recipes and so I hope you’ll consider looking at that you can be found on amazon. And so is there anything else you’d like to share with us before we go. Yeah well you know, just one last thought you know I was reading the American Heart Association’s mission statement as I was writing my book. Because I do have a discussion about that’s another institution I talk about in my book and again when I read it I wanted to weep because what they were saying was that they think by the year 2030 they’d like to reduce the rates of heart disease the United States by twenty percent. [Oh… my goodness] and I’m thinking oh my goodness and I looked at what they recommended that people with heart disease eat and it was dairy products low-fat dairy products and chicken and fish and again I wanted to cry because this is an organization that reaches a lot of people and that people listen to that. Again let’s talk about what the science is really telling us is most effective in preventing and reversing our disease and it’s not this Mediterranean diet it’s not olive oil or any other kind of oil those things will add cholesterol and plaque into your arteries and it may slow the progression of your disease if you’re eating more fruits and vegetables that’s great I’m all for that but adding those animal products into your arteries is going to add plaque which will lead to heart disease thirty-six percent of americans have it. Don’t be in that number do something proactive to not be part of that group. It’s not a club you want to join. [Danielle] [laughing] Thats a very good way to in this. Sherry, it has been a pleasure but i’m looking forward to your book and by the way the name of series book is called Stayin Alive and I love that title because it immediately brings to mind John Travolta and and the song Staying Alive but it is it is it refers to what she went through to stay alive and also what being alive is. You know if you’re going to be in poor health why bother. And so I so I’m really excited about that title. I’m actually a bit jealous that I didn’t think of myself. I like yours too. [Danielle] Thank you, so we look forward to having you back when the book is ready for publication and we may have you back in the interim to talk about some of the things you’re doing with your group OK, sounds good thank you so much Danielle. [Danielle] Thank you and have a very happy new year if I don’t talk to you before then which is only in a couple of days This will be published after the new year but I wanted to say that anyway. Thank you and same to you Danielle OK, bye-bye.