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Gravely-ill patients choose to reverse their deadly destinies

/ 11:05 PM November 01, 2013

Here’s a story that almost ended with the subject joining the ranks of the dearly departed. Garments businessman and choreographer Ronald Allan Jumamil suddenly suffered a heart attack in September 2010 at the age of 40.

He was rushed to the hospital and chose to undergo angioplasty over the more extreme heart bypass. What made his condition more dangerous was that he had been diabetic for eight years, had three stents prior to the attack, and took 10 drugs a day, on top of his insulin shots that cost him P30,000 a month.

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On the verge of a medical and financial disaster, Jumamil decided to follow a lifestyle and plant-based diet modification plan supervised by a group of nutritionists and doctors. The initial results were promising; his insulin levels went down by 50 percent.

Inquirer Science/Health first learned of Jumamil’s story in March 2011, and was featured as a health success story in this section on that same year.

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This week, Inquirer Science/Health touched base again with Jumamil, who happily shared that this was his third year on the plant-based diet and lifestyle modification program.

Jumamil’s lab tests have repeatedly yielded the same happy results. He is clear of all the lifestyle diseases that nearly killed or impoverished him (whichever would have tragically come first). Upon his doctors’ approval, he had chucked all his medications (including the P30,000 insulin shots), and he has been able to resume an active lifestyle.

“I am a vegetarian, and very active in promoting a healthy lifestyle. I am leading zumba and dance aerobics as ministry for three years, and have been leading 400 factory workers to a healthy lifestyle.”

More stories

There are more stories of people almost lost forever, but came back to the land of healthy living just in the nick of time.

An athletic, 53-year-old community health educator in the Visayas area suffered an ischemic heart disease. He decided to undergo the same supervised lifestyle and diet modification program that saved Jumamil. He took out all animal sources—beef, chicken, fish, eggs and milk—and white bread from his diet. His cooked food was sauteed only with water, and ate only a plant-based diet of beans, grains, brown rice, vegetables and fresh fruits.

After five days on this diet, his triglyceride level went back to normal. After three months, a medical checkup revealed the patient was free of the disease.

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A 63-year-old nurse aide was rushed to a hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga, after suffering from chest pain and difficulty in breathing. The cardiologist, after seeing the patient’s angiogram, prescribed eight medicines to manage his blood pressure and the three blockages in his heart. He was advised to undergo coronary bypass surgery—a procedure that would have set him back over P700,000. While struggling to raise funds, he discovered the program that Jumamil underwent, and decided to go for it.

After just three months into the program, the chest pains were gone; the 2D-Echo, triglycerides, blood cholesterol, blood sugar readings and blood pressure were at healthy levels. The patient felt good enough to walk at a brisk pace of 6 kilometers an hour every day.

The nutrition protocol that Jumamil and the other successful patients followed was plant-based (vegan), low in fat and high in fiber. Using locally-grown produce, these patients and their caregivers were taught how to eat raw vegetables, or cook them without using oil and sauteed only in water. Their staples became malunggay, tomatoes, tofu, brown rice, crushed corn and beans such as mung, white, red and black.

The patients were also encouraged to sleep as early as 7 p.m. and walk at least 30 minutes every day.

Common denominator

The common denominator for all these cases, aside from their lifestyle and diet changes, is a group headed by nutritionist-dietician Blecenda Miranda Varona, DrPH, MPH, RND.

Varona will be on hand for the Vegetarian Congress slated on November 11 to 13 at the Crimson Hotel, Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa. She will also be at the Weight Management and Health Improvement program by the Pacific Health Education Center set on Nov. 14 to 17 at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in Silang, Cavite.

The congress, which will feature cooking demos during lunch, will highlight plant-based diet for the prevention and control of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, strengthening of immune system, healthy aging, pregnancy and lactation, among others.

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