Straight to the Heart of Raw Foods

June 18th, 2008 by Tonya Zavasta

I was lying on an operating table with two heart surgeons hovering over me. I was still awake but nervous. I’d been vegan for the past 25 years and 90-100% raw for about seven years, yet a small abnormality had shown up on a recent cardiac stress test. I was waiting for a nurse to give me a twilight anesthetic so I could forget where I was, but the surgeons were impatient to start the procedure.

Perhaps thinking of the many sick people still left to see that day, the busy doctors finally decided to move ahead without anesthesia. They made an incision in my groin so they could run a catheter to my heart and determine if anything was amiss. The stress test I’d taken was supposedly 90% accurate in diagnosing a problem, so chances were 9 out of 10 that there really was something wrong with my heart.

Maybe a raw diet doesn’t really work, I thought, although how was that possible? I had done everything right. I couldn’t really believe that my dietary fastidiousness amounted to nothing. I told myself the abnormality indicated something, but not necessarily something serious. The doctors wouldn’t know until they could see for themselves. The catheter had a miniature camera on it so they could look directly inside my heart chambers on a screen hanging directly above me.

I’d already had countless good results from eating 85-90% raw foods. A breast cyst had disappeared. My complexion turned translucent and glowing. My hair had a healthy sheen. Body growths were absorbed and liver spots had disappeared, as did aches and hot flashes. I no longer had migraine headaches or colds. Best of all, my hyper-thyroid condition was slowly improving (it has since reversed).

The groin incision didn’t really hurt, just a pinprick, and then the doctors moved the catheter quickly up an artery. I felt nothing, but the gruesomeness of the situation made me yearn for some kind of dope – to calm my nerves and cushion the alarming thought that I might actually have a “heart condition.”

At last, a nurse arrived with a pill. I hated needing it, but swallowed it anyway. A minute later my mind and senses went numb. Then I heard my Pakistani-born surgeon say to his colleague about the inside of my heart: “Looks pretty clean, huh?” Even in my groggy state, that was an exhilarating statement. Wanting to say something, I uttered the only phrase I knew in my surgeon’s native language, Urdu, and he laughed. Ten or fifteen minutes after it began, the procedure was over. The doctors bandaged up my incision and I was rolled into the recovery room.

Afterward, my surgeon told me that I had a good heart and dismissed the spot on my stress test as nothing to worry about. At a follow-up appointment, he discharged me from his care. I take all this to mean that either the initial stress test fell in the 10% inaccuracy rate, or the stress test is not appropriate for measuring the heart health of someone on raw foods. I don’t know much Urdu, so I’ll say this in good English: “Thank God for raw foods!”

- Starr Spencer

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