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Archive for May, 2014

Camaraderie and the Holistic Holiday

Adhering to a holistically healthy lifestyle these days can be difficult. Every moment, convenience and social convention encourage and reinforce unhealthy behavior, tempting us away from our wellness goals.

That’s why the camaraderie that permeates the Holistic Holiday at Sea is so important. Board the ship and you’ll sense it right away: people get each other. Presenters and passengers all know what it’s like to pursue personal wellness in a society less similarly inclined. Wherever you are on your journey towards good health, to be among so many other like-minded people—exchanging ideas, information, and stories of failure and success—is an uplifting experience with the power to sustain you far after the cruise is over.

Guests enjoy eating and socializing in the dining room aboard the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise. The program brings its own chefs and ingredients to specially prepare vegan cuisine.

Lynn Rivers follows the macrobiotic lifestyle and has enjoyed several Holistic Holidays. Rivers says, “When I come back here and I listen to the speakers again, it reiterates why macrobiotics makes so much sense to me and then I kind of pull myself back to that.” Another cruise-goer makes a similar observation: people “come back every year just to get that kind of boost again to keep them on track.” Hearing from the authorities on plant-based diet and eating plant-based food at every meal helps refine and reify one’s dietary beliefs, refocusing and fortifying one for the day-to-day challenges of sticking to a wellness plan.

Guests enjoy dancing to live music at one of the nightly socials aboard the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise.

During the 2014 Holistic Holiday, first-time cruiser Justin Beck wanted to find a way to better incorporate relaxation and meditation into his daily life. For Beck, it was a talk by Dr. Howard Jacobson about motivation that inspired the necessaryconfidence. Jacobson suggested the setting of small goals—to “floss one tooth everyday or write one sentence in a journal,” as Beck remembers—in order to avoid discouragement and build momentum towards larger achievements. Beck left the cruise with a helpful strategy for enacting changes in his life.

For a boost of inspiration, cruise-goers can look to Holistic Holiday mainstay, Chef AJ, who cooks her meals with no sugar, oil, or salt. Hers is a diet that, to many, seems extreme. Can she eat at restaurants? What does she do at parties or when travelling? Isn’t the food bland? Yet Chef AJ makes it work, “pre-eating” before going out, bringing a pressure cooker with her when far from home, and learning to appreciate the natural saltiness of a piece of celery. Chef AJ proves that with ingenuity, motivation, and a sense of humor, even a radical diet is fully possible to follow.

The cruise is, in the words of chef and author Bryant Terry, an “opportunity for people to recommit to their health and wellbeing.” It takes determination and self-assuredness to find and stick to a lifestyle that you believe in. The Holistic Holiday at Sea has the meals, the classes, and, most importantly, the people you need to strengthen your resolve and remember why you care about plant-based food.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. is Back!!


A ground-breaking pioneer in preventive and restorative cardio-vascular medicine and a world class athlete, Dr. Esselstyn will be presenting his revolutionary program backed by the irrefutable results from his landmark 20-year study proving that changes in diet and nutrition can actually cure heart disease.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women. But, as Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., a former internationally known surgeon, researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic, will explain in his presentation, it can be prevented, reversed, and even abolished. Dr. Esselstyn argues that conventional cardiology has failed patients by developing treatments that focus only on the symptoms of heart disease, not the cause.

Based on the groundbreaking results of his 20-year nutritional study, the results of which are published in his best-selling book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Esselstyn will show how we can end the heart disease epidemic in this country forever by changing what we eat. Dr. Esselstyn convincingly argues that a plant-based, oil-free diet can not only prevent and stop the progression of heart disease, but also reverse its effects.

The proof is in the results. The patients in Dr. Esselstyn’s initial study came to him with advanced coronary artery disease. Despite the aggressive treatment they received, among them bypasses and angioplasties, five of the original group were told by their cardiologists they had less than a year to live. Within months on Dr. Esselstyn’s program, their cholesterol levels, angina symptoms, and blood flow improved dramatically. Twelve years later seventeen compliant patients had no further cardiac events. Adherent patients survived beyond twenty years free of symptoms.

If you consider for a minute that before he left the operating room to devote himself to research on diet and heart health, Dr. Esselstyn was an internationally known surgeon and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic, you get a glimpse of the character and integrity of this courageous, compassionate and determined leader.

Dr. Esselstyn’s experiment started at home. He and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, adopted a plant-based diet, cutting out oil, meat, fish, fowl and dairy. “It means a lot to patients to know their doctor is making the same changes they are,” he says. The Esselstyns have followed a plant-based diet for more than 26 years.

Here are just a few of his many accomplishments: Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.D. from Western Reserve University. In 1956, pulling the No. 6 oar as a member of the victorious United States rowing team, he was awarded a gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

In 1991, Dr. Esselstyn organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Coronary Artery Disease, which was held in Tucson, Arizona. In 1997, he chaired a follow-up conference, the Summit on Cholesterol and Coronary Disease, which brought together more than 500 physicians and health-care workers in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. In April, 2005, Dr. Esselstyn became the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association in 2009. Dr. Esselstyn received the 2013 Yale University GEORGE H.W. BUSH ’48 LIFETIME OF LEADERSHIP AWARD.

His scientific publications number over 150, In 1995 he published his bench mark long-term nutritional research arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients. That same study was updated at 12 years and reviewed beyond twenty years in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

Dr. Esselstyn is featured in the popular plant-based diet documentary Forks over Knives and appeared in the CNN special, “The Last Heart Attack” and other CNN programs. He presently directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

The Esselstyns have four children and ten grandchildren.

Lectures for the 2015 Cruise

1. Keynote Lecture: Making Yourself Heart Attack Proof by Treating the Cause of Coronary Artery Heart Disease, Part 1

2. Keynote Lecture: Making Yourself Heart Attack Proof by Treating the Cause of Coronary Artery Heart Disease, Part 2

3. Q&A: Cruisin’ for Knowledge with Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Greger, Hosted by Sandy Pukel

See Dr. Esselstyn’s lecture descriptions here…

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