CARIBOU, Maine — Heart disease remains the number-one killer of Americans and Aroostook County has a heart disease rate higher than state and national averages. Heart disease is a silent killer with few obvious signs until a major cardiac event. Having regular checkups, monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are critical components of prevention.
Evidence also is mounting that plant-based nutrition can help prevent and even reverse heart disease. Cary Medical Center will present a four-hour seminar on Sunday, Feb. 25, in the Chan Center that will review the benefits of plant-based nutrition based on the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a noted physician and surgeon who demonstrated the health benefits of the diet based on research he completed at the famed Cleveland Clinic.
Tammy Smith, a registered nurse, will present the seminar with the assistance of her husband, Dr. Wayne Smith.
Wayne Smith transitioned to plant-based nutrition after a family and personal history of heart disease. The seminar will begin with a plant-based, heart-healthy lunch at 12 noon.
Bill Flagg, director of community relations and development at the hospital, said that the support of the Smiths in continuing to provide the seminar and follow-up educational sessions has made it possible for the program to continue.
“We began this journey in 2011 with a major grant from the AstraZeneca Healthcare
Foundation,” said Flagg, who coordinates the program. “When the grant ended we reached out to Dr. Smith and his wife Tammy, and they have been very generous with their time and talent. They have made it possible to offer the program over the past several years.”
In addition to instructing the seminar, Tammy Smith will also prepare the heart-healthy meal and the meal samples that will be provided in the follow-up weekly sessions. Flagg said she makes eating plant-based delicious.
“Tammy is a wonderful cook,” said Flagg. “She is very creative and has developed many of her own recipes. She clearly demonstrates that eating plant based can satisfy almost any appetite.”
The cost for the Healthy Hearts seminar is $40/ person or $60 for couples. Participants will be eligible to take part in the follow-up sessions that present various recipes, food substitutions, cooking appliances and other important steps as one transitions to a plant-based lifestyle.
Pre-registration for the seminar is required. To register visit carymedicalcenter.org or call 498-1112.