Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another through worship, by the word to the world.
Dr. Richard Furman is a vascular surgeon with over 30 years experience saving lives and addressing the problems that kill over half of all Americans. As two term governor of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Furman has performed surgery in the finest operating suites.
As co-founder of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan's Purse, he has also operated under difficult third world conditions. Today Dr. Furman travels the world on behalf of World Medical Mission helping to assemble teams of physicians, dentists, and other medical specialists where they're needed most.
He recently served in Nepal lending his expertise in response to the recent massive earthquake that killed and injured several thousand people. Dr. Furman also serves on the board of directors of Samaritan's Purse. During his many years of surgery, Dr. Furman has literally held clogged arteries and diseased hearts in his hands and wondered why the person lying on the table hadn't been more careful.
In response, Dr. Furman has authored the popular book, "Prescription for Life." In it he offers expert advice on how to live a vibrant, healthy, and long life and be active for the Lord for many years to come. So prepare to be challenged and please give a warm Calvary welcome to Dr. Richard Furman.
Thank you for having me. I especially thank Skip and Lenya for putting up with me for another couple of days. But I'm glad to be here. Skip and I go back a long ways, as he said. We're both on Samaritan's Purse board. Skip has been a very active part in World Medical Mission, which is the medical arm of Samaritan's Purse.
And he even sends me his CDs of his sermons, so I get to keep up with him that way. But the best part is we get to ride our motorcycles together. And I always like to ride behind Skip because he does such strange motions that the thought that keeps running through my mind is he doing that on purpose or is he about to wreck.
So anyway I want to ask you a question about Skip. I wasn't going to do this, but I think you ought to know what kind of person he really is. When I got here last night I had a fruit bowl basket in my hotel room. And there was a note in it from Skip. I think it's from Skip. It had his name on it, but somebody had written something in it.
I'd never gotten a fruit basket with so many plums. There were plums everywhere. And I thought that's a little strange. But when I read this it says, "Dick, Welcome to Albuquerque. Thanks for being with us. I hope your stay is enjoyable. And please let us know if you need anything at all." And then hand written-- and I think this is his handwriting-- says I had them put plums in your fruit basket because I heard you were plum crazy.
So I don't hold that against him but I don't doubt that he had part of that. But, anyway, in a few minutes we're going to be speaking about three lifestyles that you can control. And that's the food you eat, exercise, and your weight.
You're going to learn that you can add 8.7 years to your life expectancy. And we'll go over those numbers with you as we go on. But the big thing is you can become 7 to 12 years physiologically younger. And we can get into that also.
But I feel like the main part of "Prescription for Life" begins on page 313. And I would like for all of you listening tonight to get a book. Just like you're in medical school, you've got to study. You don't just read it but study it.
From the little things that I say here, I want you to learn how we become a Steward of our bodies for the Lord. But on page 313 is a big part of it where I invite the reader to come into my examining room where I examine a cancer patient. And what I would do is I'd ask them if they would like for us to discuss eternity. And knowing that anyone who has cancer has to be thinking what's going to happen to me.
Every patient I've asked that to says yes, that they would like to discuss eternity. So I would point to my examining room door. And I'd say, OK, let's say that's the door to heaven and you were to die right now. And then I say it has nothing to do with your prognosis, but we're just going through this. They would smile. I'd say, OK, say you died, you knocked on that door to heaven, and they open it. What would you say that would make them let you in?
And I'd say about 80% of them-- and there was one deacon of a large church there in our town-- would say, well I sure hope I've done more good than I've done bad. And I would have to explain to them that that's not the plan of salvation.
And I'd give them a Bible. I'd have underlined John 14:6, and I said, this is the answer. This is what Jesus said about eternity. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no man comes to the father except by me. So I would give them that book. And it just would make me think about Vance Havner, a great evangelist, years ago he told a sermon one time about the theology of the thief on the cross.
And he said that that thief spent eternity with Jesus. He never did anything good. He never got off the cross to do anything good. But if he had gotten off the cross, he would have done a lot of good. And I wanted my readers to understand that doing good has nothing to do with salvation, but you do want to do good once you get off that cross.
But I feel like that is important. And so that's why I ask you tonight-- we want everybody to get a book. And like Skip said, write an IOU or just tell him I just want it. But we want everybody here to have one. And here's what I ask you to do.
When you finish with it, I want you to give it to somebody so they can read it. And I'd rather you give it to a non-believer because I really think that afterwards says a lot after it builds the respect of the medical aspect of the book.
So we'll go to see who is this book really for. And there's all kinds of people. Some are diabetic. Some are overweight. Some exercise every day. But who is the book for? And I look at it as it's a big prevention plan.
Rather than waiting for symptoms, you want to do something to prevent things happening to you. Two thirds the time the first system of a heart attack, a blockage in the arteries in your heart, is a full blown heart attack. You don't want to wait on that. We want to prevent that ever happening.
According to that, this is just a review of the medical literature written in layman's terms. And I was shocked the more I read the more I realized that the aging process is dependent upon the health of your arteries.
And you think about. That, if your heart is the engine and is pumping blood to every organ, well, yeah, the heart is the most important organ. And the health of the heart and those arteries, that's what's going to determine your physiological age as well as your chronological age. But the bottom line is that 85% of everybody over the age of 50 has some significant blockage of the arteries in their heart without any systems.
You're just going along fine one day and all of a sudden you have a heart attack. So this is a should read for everybody here because of that potential blockage. But I look at it it's a must read for some people. If you've ever had a heart attack, if you've ever had a stint put in your heart or if you're on a statin. If your doctor has put you on a statin drug, you're in a category of pre-heart attack.
So it means your LDL cholesterol has gotten too high. So those you want to stop that in its tracks. You don't want another heart attack. You don't want it to happen again. You've already had that first symptom. It's also a must read for anybody who has lost weight and regained it.
I would ask for a raise of hands, but I won't do that. But most of us have lost weight and regained it. We'll get into that as to why. If you've never had an exercise program, a personal exercise program-- and I'm talking about where you've got a time set down, five days, six days a week, that you're going to do something. I don't care whether you're doing brisk walking or running eight minute miles or whatever.
It's also a must read for the ladies here to have it pointed out that there are things you can do to prevent breast cancer. The American Cancer Society points out that you can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 38% by lifestyle changes. I'm a doctor, I didn't really realize that until it came out everything is on detection rather than prevention.
The last part of who it's for that's a must read is for anyone here who knows anyone who has had Alzheimer's disease or if you fear ever getting Alzheimer's disease. And we'll go into this in a minute too. Lifestyle changes can prevent Alzheimer's disease, can reduce that percentage, by over 50%.
So those are things that we need to realize. You need to understand a little bit, OK, we're talking about the arteries, we're talking about the health of our arteries. I want to take you back to like a medical school class for just a minute to teach you about the warning lights. Because you have to understand this to be able to go through the three lifestyle changes to understand why you're going through them and why it gets easier and easier to do it.
But we have warning lights on our cars. If a warning light starts flashing, we get the oil changed or put air in the tires or whatever it is. Most people take better care of their cars than they do their bodies. But there are Warning lights that we have. And when you go to the doctor, I'm sure you've had your blood drawn for your cholesterol. And what you get back are the warning lights.
You need to understand the basics of what that total cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol, and the HDL cholesterol means. Now stick with me just a minute because I'm going to explain it where you'll never forget it. Even Skip understood it when I went through it with him. And these are your warning lights. You'll get the paper back and the doctor may tell you one thing or another that you're OK or whatever. But you need to understand that the total cholesterol is just made up of two basic cholesterols-- the LDL, which I think the L stands for lethal. The lethal LDL cholesterol. And the hero HDL cholesterol. So that's your total cholesterol. And the reason the doctor tells you your cholesterol is too high, is that the vast majority of that total cholesterol is the LDL. That's about as deep as I'm going to take you, but you need to realize that when we're talking about total cholesterol in general they're talking about the LDL, but it's really the sum of the LDL and the hero HDL.
Now I want you to think of the lethal LDL, think of that coming from food. The foods that you eat. And think of the LDL as a splinter, that these little splinters are floating around in your bloodstream. And if you get a splinter stuck in your finger it swells. The body pours in fluid, it pours in cells that will attack that splinter.
And one of two things happens, it either ruptures and drains out or it heals with scar tissue in an enlarged scar tissue area. Same thing happens in the wall of your artery. That LDL splinter gets into the wall and the body starts pouring in fluid, the cells that fight it, it'll even pop open and it'll cause a clot right then, block the artery and you have an immediate heart attack. Or it'll heal and you'll start forming plaque in that area. And that's what I was talking about a while ago that 85% of everybody over 50 has some of that plaque blockage without symptoms.
So think of that splinter as the LDL. Now quickly the HDL, the hero, you think of that as a little patrol car going around in your bloodstream. And it pulls up to the wall of the artery and it takes out four or five of these splinter LDLs, put them in the car, takes them to jail, which is your liver. Your liver disposes of it and then that HDL goes back and gets some more.
So you want as many of those patrol cars as you can. And you want as few of the splinters as you can-- the LDL. So the hero HDL increases when you exercise and when you lose weight. So you want to increase those and you want to avoid the LDL from the foods that we eat.
And, again, I won't ask how many of you are on a statin drug here, but the statin-- to prove how serious this LDL cholesterol is-- is think of the number one drug-- really in the world-- in the United States is a statin to get that LDL down. That does help, but that's just part of the picture. It's about a third of the picture we're going to go into why if you're on a statin you need to listen real closely what else you need to be doing.
As a physician I always hated to hear a patient say, if I had only known they wouldn't have done something. Or if I'd only known I wouldn't have done this. I remember my best friend in grammar school, his name was Johnny Bob-- so you know I'm from down south. But we'd go over to Johnny Bob's grandfather's house. And he would he be sitting in a chair leaning forward [INAUDIBLE] and there was a big fan on a stand blowing into his face. He had emphysema. He'd smoked all of his life.
I remember at least three years going over and watching him sit in front of that fan. And he'd say, if I had only known what smoking was going to do to me at this age, I would have quit long ago. So the idea is I want you to know that these lifestyles can really help you with your heart-- heart and stroke, same situation, same arteries.
You cut out a void of what kills over half the people in America. The same thing with cancer. The American Cancer Society says that the third of cancers can be avoided with lifestyle changes. Now you know that.
And then, again, like I said with Alzheimer's disease, more and more studies are coming out showing that what we're doing in "Prescription for Life" to say what's good for the heart is good for the brain. And you're in the 50% to 60% on that.
Let me quickly tell you the first lifestyle is eating-- the food that you eat. Think of that as the LDL cholesterol. And when you go to a restaurant and you look across the menu and you look at what the price is on things, and I encourage my children to get the lower price, but just think certain foods are going to cost you 8.7 years off your life expectancy. And that's a big price to pay.
Why's food so difficult? It's difficult because it's an addiction. In one of Skip's messages he talked about that God loves the addict, someone who has an addiction. But he also points out that you have to abstain. He also pointed out that you need to go not to a higher power but to the highest power. But it's serious. Food as an addiction you've got to beat the desire for that food. It takes about two months to get that desire out.
And you can't do it by moderation. I've had many people say that I just eat moderately or I just eat that kind of food moderately. I explain this to a fellow one time and the next day he said, you know, here's what I've decided-- I mean, I guess he was proud-- here's what I've decided. I am only going to eat steak on Saturday night. Just one night a week. That's all I'm going to do? He said, you think that's all right?
I mean, it doesn't matter to me what they eat, but it's like I was going to give him permission. And I said, are you crazy? I said, I just told you food was an addiction. Now, say you smoked and you come to me and you say, I'm just going to smoke on Saturday night, is that OK? No, you've got to get rid of the desire to beat it.
I'm going to give you a quick picture of six foods not to eat. And it's not that it's going to be a bad situation, it should be a positive situation because you're going to understand after you study that "Prescription for Life," you're going to understand why it's so important not eat these foods.
First one, just picture a waiter coming to your table with a steak on a platter. And that stands for red meat, pork. Just think of grilled fish, grilled chicken instead of steak. On top of that steak is a fried egg with the yoke about to break.
Egg yolk has the highest cholesterol content of any food. But more than that, and this is the food that was my favorite food. And more people I think if they had rocks in their hands they would throw at me, but it's cheese. You see the waiter put a big piece of cheese on top of that egg and the yoke breaks and it runs out over the meat.
Cheese has the most amount of saturated fat. That's one of the two bad fats-- saturated fat, trans fat-- of any food that we eat. It was my favorite food. But I realized one article I read that pointed that out, and I knew what it was doing to my arteries and I just decided, OK, I'm not going to eat any more cheese.
To the right side of the plate is a glass of milk. Whole milk has 4% butter fat. Think of milk as cream. A good picture on that too, just picture it in your mind, think of it as five strips of bacon is equivalent to that in the glass.
That's an easy way to look at it. But think of cream-- that's ice cream, cream based soups, the cream sauces that they put on our food. On the left side of the plate is a patty of butter-- butter, margarine-- again think of olive oil or canola oil. And then the last part of it is the waiter brings a bowl of grease. So you think of that as the fried foods.
You just don't eat anymore fried foods. You eat grilled foods because most of what's fried here they use animal oil to fry them in and that's going to increase those splinters. But when you realize that food, what it's doing to you, it'll get easier and easier for you to give up some of these foods that you are addicted to. And you'll start substituting other foods, especially when you think that you can avoid that heart problem, the stroke problem that's going to kill over 50% of Americans.
But there's a study done in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And it was on Alzheimer's disease. Now listen up just a minute on this because there are more and more reports coming out on Alzheimer's and relating it somewhere in the reports it usually says what's good for the heart is good for the brain.
They took a diet like the "Prescription for Life" diet versus the diets that's high in the saturated fats, the trans fats, and they took the extremes. The ones who ate the best versus the ones that ate the worst. There was a 40% less likelihood of Alzheimer's disease with the ones that ate the good food.
We'll leave that at that point. But let's go to the second lifestyle, and that is weight. Just in general it's bad for you to be overweight, whether we're talking about a little bit or a lot. But, in general, there's a study where they did 3,000 autopsies in Kentucky just going by the weight, 71% of them were overweight or obese.
So just the weight in itself is enough to cause that problem of death. But, remember, weight and the hero HDL. You lose the weight, that HDL is going to go up. And there's some unusual numbers about weight, some sad numbers about weight, that 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. And only 12% of Americans are at their ideal weight. 12%.
Being overweight takes six to seven years off of your life expectancy. But here's what I think is the worst numbers of all. Only 2% to 20% of people who lose weight are able to sustain it. And I just want to make that statement, and I'm getting ready to make one statement that I think that's more important than anything that I've said or anything that I will say.
But the reason that people regain the weight is because that their losing weight diet is different than their sustaining weight diet. All these fad diets where you can just eat the protein or you can order shakes through the mail, the problem is most of them work, but as soon as they get their weight off they go back to their old way of doing it.
It's like putting new wine in old wine skins. You've got to learn what to eat and how to eat, how to diet as you're losing your weight. Then you can keep that same diet and sustain it. And you say, well, why wouldn't I just keep losing weight?
Well, in the book you're going to see about weight loss 101. You're going to read about the 10 minute factor. It tells you how you're going to lose that weight, but all that time-- we're not counting calories-- you are losing the weight, you're empowering yourself that that's your standard way of eating, and you're going to continue eating. You'll get to snack after you get to your ideal weight. And you'll get to increase portions, things like that. But I want you to study that, but to realize that that's why there's only 2% to 20% of people that keep their weight off once they lose it.
That's the most important thing that I want to tell you. You develop the way you're eating lifestyle as you lose the weight and you hold it on from there. And, again, I want to go back to the ladies just a minute. Breast cancer. The American Cancer Society points out that if you had to look at one thing that you have control of that causes more breast cancer than anything else, that's being overweight.
And it has something to do with the hormones and the fat tissue and all that. But you need to realize there are things you can do to help prevent breast cancer. They showed that if you took someone at 18-years-of-age and they gain two pounds a year until menopause-- if they gained 50 to 55 pounds-- they were 45% greater chance of them developing a breast cancer than someone who stayed at that weight of when they were 18.
But there's a good side of that story too, is that they also showed that if women lost 5% to 10% of their weight, they could decrease their chance of having breast cancer by 25% to 50%. So I'll just leave that with you. That's why I want everybody to not just read this book but study it because it's a review of the medical literature written in layman's terms.
And I think it's written where you can understand the significance. You will want to do different. And like the thief on the cross, you'll want to not eat certain foods. It won't be a negative, it'll be a positive. I'm not eating that because I know what it'll do to me. I'm going to eat this because I know how it will help me.
The last lifestyle is exercise. Most people think of exercise as, well, that's a good way to use calories. Burn 100 calories a mile whether you're walking or running. And that is true, but that is very minute to what exercise really does.
First of all, it shows that you're committed. It tells yourself that you're committed. If you don't exercise, the chance of losing weight and sustaining it are very slim. And that's not a play on words. I meant that.
But it's important to convince your mind that you're serious about what you're doing, and exercise will do that. The problem is that over half of Americans are completely sedentary. They're couch potatoes. They just watch television at night and that's it.
But here's an unusual statement in one of the articles. And I don't know where they got all of these numbers together, but it makes good sense. If you can't walk a quarter of a mile in five minutes-- that's one lap around the football field-- if you can't walk a quarter of a mile in five minutes, you're 30 times more likely to die in the next three years than someone who can.
That in itself says a lot. They also study on people who jog. It extends their life expectancy six years. Now not everybody in here is going to end of jogging. There's a chart in "Prescription for Life" that you can fit into it if you're a couch potato, you can start there. If you're an 8-minute miler, you can start there in the chart.
I encourage to get started though because it's a thousand fold more significant and important to be out doing a brisk walk five days a week, 30 minutes a day, than it is to be sitting there on the couch.
And I'm going to close by explaining why exercise is so important to your heart. And this is especially if you know anybody that's on a statin. And even if you're not on a statin, this is significant because there's no medicine, no pills are going to strengthen the heart. Just like lifting weights, it builds that heart muscle. Getting out and getting your heart rate up is going to build that muscle up.
You get someone that does jog, their heart muscle is going to be a lot thicker than someone that's just sitting on the couch. We saw this in medical school-- examples of this. But the idea is that you're going to increase the strength of your heart. You're also going to increase those HDL, those hero HDL, particles.
When I mentioned a while ago about not losing weight unless you exercise, they did a study at Brown University where they took two groups of women and they put them both on the same diet. One group exercised, one group didn't.
The ones who exercised lost almost twice the amount of weight as the ones that didn't exercise. Back to the breast cancer. We've talked about it by weight. Exercise also decreases the chance of getting breast cancer 20% to 25%. And even with families that had a history of breast cancer, women who exercise even there had a fourth less chance of getting it.
And then I'll close where Skip and I can have a few questions. I'm afraid he'll try to get back at me. But I'll close by saying on Alzheimer's disease, on the exercise-- remember that group-- I said that ate proper against the ones that didn't had a 40%. Now I want you to remember these numbers. Food was 40%, they took the same group. The ones that exercised the most against the ones that didn't exercise at all, 48% less likelihood of developing Alzheimer's.
And then the third number I want you to remember is when some of the group did both, they ate the right foods and they exercised the most, the ones that did both had a 60% less likelihood of Alzheimer's. So I'm going to close with that. You'll never be able to say, if I had only known, like Johnny Bob's granddaddy, because now you know. And just remember that you are the Steward of your body.
And, to me, it's how you thank God for giving Him the gift He's given you of your body. And I don't want to point any fingers, I just want to be encouraging that let's be as good a Steward as we can. And that may take going to the highest power to ask for help.
But, Skip, let's get up.
All right. OK. Dr. Furman, no steak, no eggs. It sounds so unpatriotic, you know? Like, un-American. How do you go to a restaurant? You've told me before that you could get something at just about any place? Is that right? What do you do when you go to a restaurant and that's all that's there?
Well, the idea is to realize what foods are hurting you. And you just avoid those. And you can avoid those at most any restaurant. If you're going out to eat, they always have a salad. Of course you have to ask them not to put cheese on it, because they're going to put cheese on it.
But if you're in a situation like that, you can always get a salad with grilled salmon or grilled chicken. Something like that.
OK. So, fair enough. You mentioned cheese. And there's a lot of it in the American diet, is that correct?
OK. So some people that I've talked to they go, oh, well, you lost me there. I could follow it but if you say no to cheese, I'm out. Is it an addiction?
It is definitely an addiction. And as I tried to explain, it's like some lady asked me, well, what if I eat low fat cheese? And didn't tell her about the cigarette on Saturday night, but as long as you keep that desire for cheese or whatever, you're going to stay addicted. You've got to beat the desire.
Ice cream is the same way. I used to like cheese and ice cream--
You just got some "oh" there. I heard it.
I hope there's no ice cream people here. But cheese and ice cream are my two favorite things.
Are you kidding? No ice cream people here?
No, I mean that sell ice cream.
Oh, OK. OK.
But I thought, hey, fat free yogurt had just come out. I said, OK. I'll just start eating fat free yogurt. And so every night we'd go and get some. And then we were at somebody's home and they brought some ice cream for dessert. And I realized the same desire for that ice cream hadn't changed at all.
So, like I said, for two months abstain. I quit eating even the fat free yogurt. I quit anything related to the ice cream I quit. Then it got where, OK, if I wanted fat free yogurt I go get it.
So you're saying the desire can go away? You're saying you can actually lose the craving that you have for things? Is that correct?
Exactly. I'll give you a quick example. I told you about the 10 minute factor. You can do this on losing weight. You do it on certain foods.
What does that mean, the 10 minute factor? Just explain that really quick.
I'm going to explain. I learned it from a fellow in Alaska who had beat the addiction of drugs and cigarettes. And he said that he did it 10 minutes at a time. And alcohol. He had three addictions. And you can control an addiction for about 10 minutes.
So we switched this over to losing weight or not eating something. When you want a snack, you want an Oreo-- which they've got new little thin Oreos now-- but when you want one you say, OK, I'm not going to eat that for 10 minutes. You go get a non-caloric drink. I don't care what it is. you drink it. You fill your stomach, and then you get doing something else.
I had a patient that I operated on. We thought he had lung cancer, but he didn't. He was a smoker and I was explaining to him, if you don't quit smoking-- he smoked two packs a day, he had brown fingers-- I said you're going to get lung cancer.
And I said if a truck was coming down the hill in the road and you were standing in the road, you'd get out the road wouldn't you? And he said, yeah. So, anyway, I explained that 10 minute factor. When you want to smoke, don't smoke for 10 minutes. I said, it works.
A year later, I'm in the hall between patients and the nurse comes over and says there's a gentleman here who wants to see you. He had on a baseball cap and work clothes. I was busy and I said, OK, he doesn't have an appointment. I'll see him in the hall.
He walks up, smiles, shakes my hand, and he says, it's been a year today. He said, 10 minutes. He said, after you talked to me about that 10 minute factor, he said, I put my cigarettes on the dashboard of my truck, and every time I wanted one I didn't smoke it for 10 minutes. I'd do something else. He said after two or three months he pitched them out. He said it's been a year today.
It works. But what makes it work is you realize all we've been discussing tonight. You've got to beat the desire. You put the desire on the scale and put actuality-- what it's going to do to your body on the other scale-- and it ought to do that.
You get victory 10 minutes at a time.
OK. I'm going to throw something out at you and it goes like this. We're all going to die. So you talk about life expectancy, a few more years. And somebody will say, who wants to live anymore years on this earth? And we're all going to die. I've even heard this, find out what you like and let it kill you.
Now, that's a great argument, but go ahead.
So respond to that, doctor.
Well, the bottom line is the quality of your years are so much more important than the number of your years. We've talked about it extending your life expectancy. Forget all of that. Forget you're going live one day more. That doesn't matter. What matters is from the quality of your life from now until the day you die.
I had a fellow tell me, he was in his late 70s, he exercised. And I said, why are you doing it? He said, I want to be active when I die. And that's the whole point. It's not the last 10 years of your life you're sitting there staring around at the wall or something.
You're active. You want to be vibrant.
10 years is a long time. It would feel like 100 years I suppose if that's the case. OK. So you made a comment a moment ago. You used a word. You used the word commitment. What about just making a decision. People hear this and go, yeah, I think that's good. I think I'm going to decide to do something about my health. What's the difference between a decision and a commitment?
Well, there's really a lot. A lot of people decide that they need to lose weight. A lot of people decide to lose weight. But until you commit it isn't going to happen. See, a decision is a change in the mind, where a commitment is a change in the heart.
And unless you really have a change in your heart, like when you decided you were going to lose some weight, or when I tried for the third year in a row I'd gotten--
Bigger sized pants.
--bigger sized pants. That day I decided, I committed, hey, I'm going to get back to what I weighed when I got out of high school. So just remember to decide a decision is of the mind, but a commitment is of the heart.
OK. So let me just tell you one of the reasons that I like this book because it's truth straight up. It's like in your face truth. You're not dancing around. You present the medical facts. It's not trying to sell people on a new fad or a new diet. It's kind of like you read it you go, oh, that's the stuff my mom told me. Stay active. Go outside and play. Eat the right kind of foods. Don't eat too much.
And what's interesting about it is it's not about calories, right? It's about choices.
I've never counted calories and I don't tell you to count calories in there, but you need to know which foods. Fruits and vegetables give you the most full feeling of any food with the least amount of calories. I've eaten a couple meals with Skip-- well, three meals-- and we've had three salads. But we've had some chicken on some and some other. But the idea is your whole lifestyle of eating will change.
And it will center around what food you eat rather than how many calories in the food.
Right. You recommend five servings of fruits and vegetables a day?
What does that mean, servings? How much is that?
Well, I'm trying to get somebody to start eating fruit for snacks or start eating fruit on their cereal.
I get three servings of fruit in every morning with my cereal. I put blueberries, strawberries, and bananas. Some mornings a serving of bananas is a half a banana if my wife only has one left or something. And when she's gone it may be a third of a banana would be.
But I don't make a big deal on servings. Just get in the habit of eating fruit, even if it's just a handful of blueberries.
OK. Some people say, well, there's sugar in fruit. I mean, there's fructose in fruit. Sugar's bad for you.
Well, sugar is bad for you and sugar can effect your arteries, but not like those saturated fat and the trans fat. But this type of diet you're not going to have to worry about the extra sugar on that.
OK. You co-founded World Medical Mission some years ago. We have a picture I think we're going to throw up that shows what it was like. OK, so here's a photograph of Dick Furman, Bob Pierce, and that's Franklin Graham on the right with the beard. So how many years ago was that?
That was in 1978. That was the first year we started World Medical Mission. Bob Pierce was alive and kicking. He had cancer but he was still traveling.
So doing what you do, being who you are, you have traveled the world and you've done surgeries and medical work in countries all around the world. Of all the countries you visited-- that means you've held hearts and arteries in your hands on a number of different continents. Is that correct?
What's the healthiest place you've visited when you look inside a human body. Is that a fair question to ask? Is there a diet that you've just been amazed at? Wow, that's healthy. And then what is the most unhealthy place that you have visited?
There are a lot of unhealthy places. Most places that have adopted the American lifestyle of eating, you're going to have unhealthy people in it. And there are reports all over that when they start eating our way they get unhealthy.
But I'll tell you, there are two places that I've seen the healthiest. One is in Africa. And one is in New Guinea and the areas in Africa. I'll never forget, the first time I operated over there I opened up the abdomen and I don't even remember what the procedure was, but I remember feeling the iliac artery-- that's the artery after the aorta divides and goes down each leg-- and it felt like a baby's artery.
I mean, it just was soft and pliable. And back in [? Boone ?] you feel down there and it feels like a pipe. It's got all that plaque in it. I mean, it's not unusual at all to feel plaque in those arteries, especially where the aorta divides.
Why was that? Then I start realizing they were eating fruits and vegetables basically. And they'd kill a pig or something a couple times a year for celebrating something, but mainly they didn't eat much of the bad fat.
The other was in New Guinea where they live basically on sweet potatoes, different kinds of sweet potatoes. And studies have been done on both of those, their total cholesterol is 150 averaged out. You don't have heart attacks when it's 150. I never saw a heart attack in either of those places like that.
OK. What's the most unhealthy country you've done surgery in?
I'll say India, but it's just certain people in India-- the affluent. It seems to go with the more affluent the worst people eat.
The more affluent. The richer a person is, they eat rich food. Is that right?
That's correct. And you bring those same people from Japan or wherever to America, and then you study them 15 years later and they're getting the same problems.
So let me talk about that. You said somebody's in Japan and they move to America. So when they come from Japan, is the diet good in Japan?
Mostly it's good in Japan.
OK. So when they come to America you're saying that--
They're changing their diet.
They're changing their diet so they become less healthy?
Oh, yeah. They get into the same numbers I've just been talking to you about. And there are numerous papers especially on the Japanese. I don't know how they got started on the Japanese moving to America and eating American diet.
But the bottom line is that once you realize what food causes those splinters to get into your arteries, you'll have less and less desire. And then the day will come when you've overcome the desire for the bad food that you're actually wanting the good food because you want a healthy body.
So you want to load up your bloodstream with policemen to arrest the bad guys to put them in jail-- your liver. Right?
So the bad guys, that's LDL cholesterol. The good guys is H, hero.
Is that right?
So you want to put as many police officers in your body as you can, otherwise the criminals are going to take over.
That happens. And the one thing that most Americans don't realize, and it gets me that the statin takers-- and I've discussed this with friends that are doctors. They'll take a statin and just keep eating whatever they want. And they get their cholesterol back and it's below 100 so they're OK.
But they don't realize there's more than just that LDL number that we get back. There's a lot of other LDL particles that we're not actually understanding what it is. Plus that statin is not strengthening the heart, it's not raising the HDL that helps the heart.
So you're saying there's a certain kind of cholesterol that you are trying to get into your body, and that's HDL cholesterol.
That's the HDL. Exactly.
That's good stuff. So cholesterol isn't all bad. There's just certain bad types, and that's the LDL.
Did I get it right?
I wanted to say for once, but I wasn't going to say that. But, yeah, you're there.
You said something a little bit ago that you just said it and then you moved on, but it's too staggering to just pass up. You said over half of all Americans will die because of heart disease. Is that what you said?
Over half of Americans will die from heart attacks or strokes.
But the thing is that those LDL particles, they don't pick and choose what arteries they're going in to. So they're going to get in the brain just as much as they are in the heart.
And to me a stroke is worse than a heart attack. And I think Alzheimer's is worse than a stroke because it effects so many other people. Family members and all. But there's a lot of relation to dementia with the arteries and with the arteries of the heart and brain.
Yeah. Over half of Americans that can avoid that. And if they've had a heart attack, they can help avoid having a second one. So that's the significance.
Dick, do you mind if I ask you your age?
OK. How old are you?
Well, in Nepal, we were trapped.
Is this you not answering the question?
You heard about the second earthquake. We were three kilometers from the second earthquake. There were three of us doctors, we were hiking. And we got trapped in this village with rock slides. And we had to stay there two days and one night. We got to know them pretty well.
And so one of the doctors had all the men that the leader said, how old do you think he is? And here was the spread, 55 to 60. So I explained, I'm going to take 58 as my physiological age and I didn't tell them how old I was. I'm 75.
You're 75. Wow. And your physiological--
Chronologically. Wow. You're 75 years young.
But I'm a year younger than Franklin physiologically. Franklin Graham.
You just told on Franklin Graham.
You're a year younger physiologically but chronologically you're--
10 years older. But we went to Cooper Clinic-- I know we're at the risk of running over time, but--
No, no. We're doing good. We're doing good.
This is worth it though. He talked me into going to Cooper Clinic.
That's in Dallas, Texas.
Dallas, Texas. And they study your arteries everything. Treadmill. And so at the end of the day they sit you down and go over it. And so they said, Dr. Furman, we want to congratulate you. They said, you're in the-- and they said, listen to this next word-- above, you're in the above 99th percentile cardiac wise. And physiologically you're a year younger than your body. So I've never let him live that down.
I'll tell you, Skip, that was the moment that I realized that all of this stuff that we've written in "Prescription for Life" is real. Until that time I knew I felt better, I knew I felt younger doing things, but I didn't know physiologically if it was medically sound until I went to Cooper Clinic and they were the ones that said you're a year younger. So that was 11 years physiologically ago.
I've ridden motorcycles with you. And I've been on long rides. You're a good rider. You're a hard rider. I mean, you're on it. And I've done 500 miles on a motorcycle with you, you get off the motorcycle and then you go work out in the gym or you go running.
You need to do three miles a day. That's what I'm trying to get him done. He's only doing three days a week. [LAUGHTER]
But every day you need to do it at least five days a week. I tell you the way I look at it, I don't like to jog. I don't like to run. I don't like to get on that treadmill. But I look at it as taking my medicine. Rather than taking that statin drug or taking something, I look at it I'm going to go get on there for half an hour, I'm going to run, and I feel so good when I get through.
Yes. When you quit.
I look at it as medicine. But we do ride and then run.
OK. So in your book you mention a guy named Jack LaLanne. Have you all heard of him? Jack LaLanne. So he was in his day an exercise kind of a guru, right? He stayed pretty fit.
But somebody asked him an interesting question. I just want you to talk a little bit about it. I think they asked him, so Jack, when did you start enjoying exercise? Is that right?
This was on Fox and Friends. On his 90th birthday he walked on the stage, they introduced him, and he does all of this, and he starts walking over and they congratulate him and talked about it. And they ask him his age and he said, none of your business.
I'm glad you didn't say that to me a minute ago. But at the end one of the girls said, it's good to see somebody that's enjoyed exercising all their life and has done all this. And he said, enjoyed? He said, I hate exercising. He said, I don't enjoy it. He said, but I know it's good for me and I do it.
Wow. That's good to hear somebody like that say that isn't it? It's a little bit freeing.
I hate it too, but I do it. One final thing and then we're going to close, you tell a story about a man, I forget where this was at, but he was standing in front of you talking. He was a little overweight. And he said, you know, Dr. Furman, I get these dizzy spells from time to time and kind of like fuzziness and dizziness. And you said, just stay where you're at and you felt his pulse on his carotid arteries and there was no pulse.
So you knew that his brain wasn't being fed anteriorly but posteriorly from the back.
Now tell us the rest of the story.
Well, this was a politician in Alaska. And Franklin Graham and I had gone over to his house and we spent several hours with him. And we got ready to go and walked down to the lake. And he just started telling me about he was having these little dizzy spells.
While we were talking I just felt in his carotid because I knew that if he had blockage of his carotid I made part of my living by cleaning out those carotid arteries. It's a fun operation and you don't have to go very deep and you do a lot of good.
I thought, well, he's going to need a carotid endarterectomy to get those plaques. And if it's a significant blockage sometimes you can feel what's called a thrill where the blood twirls you can actually feel it. So while we're talking I couldn't feel a thrill, I couldn't feel a pulse.
So we kept talking. Well, he's completely blocked that one. Once it's completely blocked you can't operate on it. So we kept talking and I felt the other side and there was no pulse. And so I knew that the only blood that he's getting to his brain was through two little-- like you know the little straws like you stir up your coffee with-- there's two little arteries back there. The big arteries, the carotids, give 95%.
So I told him you better see your doctor when you go into town. But I knew there was nothing could be done. And I told Franklin as we left, I said, within the next two months that politician will be dead. And about six weeks later he had a stroke and that was it.
He died then.
He died then. But that's the problem. You don't want to wait on symptoms. That's what "Prescription for Life" is all about is about prevention. You don't want to ever have to go to the doctor with symptoms. And this just tells you how to prevent it before it happens.
Well, doc, thanks for coming all the way from North Carolina to share your book and to share that with us and all the years of research and good that you've done this world. Operations around the world and missions, thank you. Thanks for being here.
It's good being here.
We're going to close in prayer. Would you mind praying as we close?
Sure. Now, Father we come to you tonight, we just thank you for every single person here. And we just look to you for your guidance in our lives. And we just pray that we will use you and that you will use us for the rest of our lives.
And I just pray that you will help each of us to stay as healthy as possible for the one reason that we may serve you longer, we can be more active for you longer, and we just want to say thank you--
--for this gift of our health and our bodies that you've given us. And I just hold this up to you in Jesus's name. Amen.
What binds us together is devotion to worshiping our Heavenly Father, dedication to studying his word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.