Another Real Life Health Journey from Thrive

plantpower stories HOPE

I’m Dave Willits and in 2014 I suffered a massive heart attack that nearly claimed my life.

It was a typical Friday afternoon at work when, out of nowhere, I felt a tingling feeling throughout my entire body, a sensation I’d never felt before. I took a moment and sat down, but quickly began to feel lightheaded and sweaty. Concerned, I told a colleague how I was feeling, and they called 911. When the paramedics arrived, they told me I was having a heart attack and I was rushed to hospital.

In the months prior to my heart attack I had lost 40lbs, was eating healthier than I had been in years and was working out 3 or 4 days a week, in fact, I hadn’t long been back from a gym session when the tingling sensation started, so I was really shocked to be in this position!

Whilst in hospital, I flat-lined 3 times, had to be shocked 11 times and had 3 stents inserted. When I awoke, I realised I had felt what it was to die, and I didn’t want to feel that way again for a long time.

During my recovery, my sister messaged me to suggest I look into a vegetarian or Mediterranean diet in order to look after my heart. I Googled around a bit and came across a graph on heart health including both of these as well as a whole food, plant-based diet. The whole, food plant-based diet was the most successful out of the 3 by quite some margin, so I researched further.

I quickly found out about Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. and his excellent work on preventing and reversing heart disease through diet and lifestyle. Intrigued, I visited his website and purchased one of his books. I came across the ‘contact’ page and, not expecting a response, sent Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. an email detailing my experience. Within a few hours of sending that email my phone rang and I was shocked to find it was Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. We talked for half an hour or so and with that my mind was fully made up.

I decided that the whole food, plant-based approach was the approach for me – even though I had worked in the pizza business for 25 years! – and got rid of all the unhealthy, processed food, as well as anything that contained animal products, right away. I went to the store and, not really knowing what I was doing, purchased lots of leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Since that day, which was over 5 years ago, I have been eating a whole food, plant-based diet and I’ve never felt better.

I am full of energy, have not been remotely ill or unwell, not even a common cold.

If I hadn’t searched for a solution myself (thanks to my sister), I would not have been given any information about the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet during my recovery. At no point did anyone at the hospital or any doctor mention a plant-based diet to me. It was actually the opposite. When I would tell healthcare professionals what I was doing it raised great concern and I was told I needed to be very careful with things like this… really?!

This important film, highlights the choices we must make to help protect this planet and all of it’s inhabitants [Paul McCartney]


However, I am delighted that there is now a growing awareness around eating a whole food, plant-based diet and the many benefits this lifestyle has. I’ve recently worked with H.O.P.E. The Project, an organisation whose aim is to create mass awareness about the vital importance of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle and am featured in their most recent Plant Power Stories, their excellent short film series which looks an individuals whose lives have been transformed by changing their diet. I recommend checking it out.

I would encourage absolutely anyone to give a whole food, plant-based diet a go. It utterly transformed my health and my life. What have you got to loose?

Real Life Health Journey brought to you from HOPE PROJECT

Watch the film Plant Power Stories here >>