Dr. Mario E. Torres-Leon, of the Telly award-winning Health, Spice, Life Show has worked with thousands of patients. When it comes to improving health, he urges everyone to pay attention to cardiovascular health. Note, it’s not only about your heart. Minor modifications to your diet will change your overall health, and plants are the healthiest source of vital nutrients.
Nicole Astra: Joining me today is the host of bilingual TV show, the Heath, Spice, & Life Show with Dr. Mario. I am so glad you're here. I have so many questions, but to start, I want to know, as it pertains to your own practice and the patients that you've seen over the years, what ailments would they have had to exhibit for you to suggest more plants in their diet? Then, a bigger question, how in the world do you empower them to make those lifestyle choices that can really change their life?
Dr. Mario: Seeing is believing. As a radiologist, that's what we do every single day, whether we're looking at a CAT scan, an MRI, an X-ray, an ultrasound, nuclear medicine studies. In my particular case, being Harvard trained interventional radiologist, I've actually had the opportunity and the privilege to operate on thousands of patients over the past 26 years, Nicole.
Now, what's really essential is a following. I've seen this over and over it again. Cardiovascular health is at the core of everything that touches every single corner of our body. People tend to think of cardiovascular health just as the heart, but the fact of the matter is arteries and veins are part of that circulatory system, that cardiovascular system. Everything is touched by the blood as it's actually moving through the body. When I think about this, and I think about diet, and I think about what can plant protein diets do for people, I didn't immediately go to what I know best, what I've seen best, what I've treated and operated on.
You see. When we have diets that have high cholesterol levels, in other words, high contents of fat or diets that have a high level of sugar concentrations, something really bad, if you will, detrimental to the overall quality of health starts to happen. All the arteries, they start to get plugged and blocked off inside. Everybody has heard about heart attacks. Everybody has heard about strokes in their brain. Everybody has heard about angioplasties, dilating blood vessels in putting sense in them. When we start to think about what dietary elements are being part of our lifestyle that are impacting what's happening inside, we really have the capability and the power to start creating change in our overall experience of health.
In other words, we have, for example, protein that is coming from red meat. It's not just the protein, pure plain protein. We pretty much are bringing the fat with that, whether it's actually beef, whether we're talking about pork, or, in some cases, when we even talk about dairy products that also have high concentrations of fat. I have seen this over and over and over again. When we think about a plant protein-based diet, we have the advantages of not bringing along with it some of those detrimental elements that, when they're consumed in excess like it's the case in our society, we're talking here from the United States, you get to see this quite often. I can tell you. It's not just the heart. Like I said, this is all over the body. We do have the capacity to change that internal world through which blood is going through and nourishing all the different organs of the body.
Another important thing here, and it is something to think about, we also have a very sedentary society. We were pretty much in the outside world, if you will, working on the fields. Now, we've moved more into being our homes and the offices and so on. The combination of a poor diet or imbalanced diet that is not in harmony, and also the sedentary lifestyle, and along with that, some of the things that we do, which is alcohol consumption in high levels or smoking, for example, those things potentiate the negative effects that we can bring into our lifestyle through the diet that we're consuming.
When I am facing patients, and we're having this conversation, I recognize that it's very overwhelming to just think that I have to stop everything I've done for however long I have lived on the planet and suddenly start changing my life completely. What I have found over almost three decades now of doing this and really communicating, and understanding, empathizing with the patient, going into what their lifestyle is, what is it that is impacting the way they think, the way they believe is to start gaining small goals and small wins.
The combination, the aggregation of those small wins over the course of time creates an upsloping swing, if you will, where they can start seeing that changes are happening. For example, one of the first things, when I see somebody who's overweight and said, you know what, let's look into what you're consuming because if you tell something you got to lose weight, it's almost like, "Okay, you got to go to Everest." Well, if you've never even taken a step or two or actually hiking in your backyard, how can you even think about climbing Everest? So being able to see that one step after the other is really what takes us there is super essential. It completely becomes an underwhelming process.
When we ask what they're consuming, what is their diet like, we can start making small modifications and start introducing some of the other elements. Whether it's, what kind of green are you having in your life. What are you consuming? Are you consuming nuts, which we know have tremendous effect on cardiovascular health? Really, walking them in such way with subsequent interventions and communication and, above all else, compassionate education really creates a change that they can feel. They can see. When the pounds start to be shedded, that's when they say, "Oh, this is really working." That completely, now, allows that individual to embrace a new way of doing it because they're seeing the results as opposed to go to a local hardware store and get yourself climbing gear and start training to just get to 27,000 feet of elevation. It's never going to happen. That has been extremely powerful with my experience and seeing patients, particularly those who have had severe cardiovascular diseases.
Nicole Astra: What you said first about seeing is believing that really does encompass the whole thing. As we start to make those small changes, it really fuels our body, and our body is designed to respond to those healthy nutrients. Really, truly some small steps can make a big difference. It's a great plan. I'm sure your patients have had great success.
Dr. Mario: They have. You know what, ultimately, when one of our people that we are having the privilege of caring for is winning in their lives, we're all winning. We have a happier society, longer lives, and ultimately better quality of life for them and those around them.
Nicole Astra: That's right. Thanks, Dr. Mario.