After writing a popular nutrition book and being featured in the documentary "Forks Over Knives," Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn has become an icon for people who shun meat and dairy and believe in the benefits of eating a plant-based, whole-foods diet. Now he is coming to Medford.
Esselstyn will speak Friday, May 18, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater and Saturday, May 19, at Rogue Valley Medical Center.
Esselstyn, a former surgeon at the renowned Cleveland Clinic who published "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" in 2007, refers to heart disease as a "completely preventable, food-borne illness" that is neither natural nor inevitable.
Esselstyn's book details how he took a group of heart patients from the Cleveland Clinic in 1985, who were no longer considered candidates for medical intervention because of numerous previous heart attacks, surgeries and failing health, and helped them reverse their heart disease with diet alone.
"Forks Over Knives," released in 2011, features some of Esselstyn's test subjects more than 25 years later. The film is based on the premise that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict Americans can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. The film traces the personal journeys of Esselstyn, a former Olympic athlete who is now 78, and T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist who wrote the best-selling book "The China Study" following a 20-year China-Oxford-Cornell study on diet and disease known as the China Project.
A trailer for the documentary will be played at the May 18 Craterian event, and then Esselstyn will give a one-hour talk, says Josephine "Joz" Lee of Medford, who is helping to coordinate Esselstyn's visit.
The Craterian talk is open to the public. Tickets cost $12 through the Craterian box office and will go on sale April 1, Lee says.
Esselstyn's May 19 visit to Rogue Valley Medical Center will be for health care providers only.
For information, email Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 541-779-2804.