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Eradicating Lifestyle Disease with Cardiologist Robert Ostfeld, MD

By April 12, 2015January 18th, 20247 Comments

“Outside of an emergency medical condition that requires an urgent intervention, I have never seen anything come close to providing the breadth and depth of benefits that the plant-based lifestyle offers.”

Robert Ostfeld, MD

Newsflash: heart disease is still America’s #1 killer.

Despite groundswell interest in all things wellness, the incidence of atherosclerotic disease is at an all-time high. One out of every two people in the United States will suffer some form of cardiac ailment. And one out of every three people will actually die of heart disease. Meanwhile, we are exporting the standard American diet overseas like it’s the next blockbuster installment of The Avengers. The result? The developing world is now facing rates of lifestyle-related illness unprecedented in the history of humankind.

This is a disaster.

The great irony of course is that 80-90% of chronic illnesses like atherosclerosis, type-2 diabetes and obesity are preventible and oftentimes even reversible via simple diet and lifestyle alterations.

I can preach all day, but to truly capture the attention of the mainstream, catalyze seismic cultural change and put an end to avoidable disease, we desperately need more highly qualified medical professionals who understand the complicated mechanisms that lead to these diseases and are compelled to implement the preventive measures required to combat and avoid them.

This is where cardiologist Robert Ostfeld, MD comes in.

A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a medical degree from Yale and a Masters in Epidemiology from Harvard, Dr. Ostfeld did his internship and residency at prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital and his cardiology fellowship and research fellowship in Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – both teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School.

An insanely smart dude with mad skills and a bulletproof resume, Robert had his pick of the litter when it came to choosing where to hang his professional hat. Most would have chosen the highest paying, most coveted cardiology department in the country. But this guy had different plans. Instead, Robert headed north of Manhattan to The Bronx to work with underprivileged populations at Montefiore Hospital, while also serving as Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

That right there says a lot about what kind of guy Robert is. But there’s more to the story.

Despite training with the best at Yale and Harvard, Robert was nonetheless left with little understanding when it came to nutrition. For years thereafter, he applied evidence-based medicine, recommended a “healthier” lifestyle (which typically included a Mediterranean-style diet), and watched somewhat helplessly as his patients’ diseases all too often progressed. Frustrated and dissatisfied with his patients’ consistent inability to achieve true health, he started to search for alternative means of combating chronic disease.

This search led him to  The China Study* by T. Colin Campbell;  Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease*,  by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn; and the documentary Forks Over Knives*— all of which irrevocably altered his medical world view. A thought:

What if I really invest myself in the lives of my patients beyond the prescription pad?

So he did, a journey that ultimately led to founding and directing the  Montefiore Cardiac Wellness Program  — an immersive, holistic, preventive, team-based approach to patient care that promotes a whole-foods, plant-based diet and intensive lifestyle habit accountability. A program that changed everything for both Robert and his patients.

The results of Dr. Ostfeld’s epiphany have been nothing short of extraordinary, radically and permanently improving the health and wellness of thousands. Patient tears of joy abound, buttressing a renewed love for the practice of medicine.

The stories are profound and many.  So I am thrilled that my sagacious and quite perspicacious friend took the time to sit down with me in New York so that I can share his powerful insights and experience with you today.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,


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Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. Thanks boys!

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


Connect with Robert: Facebook | Twitter

Cool stuff by and about Dr. Ostfeld and his work:

Some interesting case reports:

Recommendations from Dr. Ostfeld:

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Additional Web Resources Recommended by Dr. Ostfeld:

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  • Tommy F says:

    Such a beautiful, educated, calm, poised, passionate message. I could listen all day long. Great questions by Rich. Weakest link in the chain will undermine all of our strong efforts. Diet and lifestyle are key. 90% of people over 50, at risk for heart disease. That’s an epidemic!! Can’t keep eating the foods we did in our teens 20’s and 30’s, if we expect to be around to help our children to grow up.

  • Kevin says:


    In nearly every podcast episode related to diet/health, you bring up the the name Denise Minger and the China Study debunking, have you ever asked her to be a guest on the podcast?

    Thanks for all your work, really enjoying the podcast!

  • Such a powerful tour de force of why a plant based diet is going to take over the world! Thanks for bringing such amazing guests to our attention who have such a powerful and inspiring message to share. You are changing lives and changing the future. Thanks Rich, love and respect.

  • simonep says:

    hi rich. I’ve just listened to the interview with Dr Ostfeld, while I was cooking a roasted tomato, lentil,kale soup for my families dinner, and some “leftover muesli” cookies are cooling on the bench. Living a plant-based life is possible and completely achievable with a family and the myriad of health benefits the four of us have achieved since beginning this journey 4 years ago, is too great to list. From eliminating chronic sinus congestion to curing ezcema, to controlling chronic arthritis and bowel disease, we are all different, healthier people now. Check out my instagram page @simsfoodstore if you’re interested to see a real “normal” family living the plant power way! thanks for the podcast and for the inspiration you and your family provide…

  • Colin P. Müller says:

    It’s never been proven that eating animals causes cancer or heart disease. The China Study is simply bad science. The reason why people often improve on a plant-based diet is because they’re leaving an awful diet of soda, sweets, highly refined garbage. Of course there’s going to be an improvement.

  • richroll66 says:

    Your statements regarding the link between animal products and disease is simply untrue, as is your blanket dismissal of “The China Study” as “bad science”. I suggest checking out my latest podcast with Dr. Garth Davis as well as my conversations with Joel Kahn, MD, T. Colin Campbell, Howard Jacobson and Dr. Michael Klaper.

  • Andrea Smith says:

    Hello! I found your site and podcasts when advertised by FullyRaw Kristina. I LOVE your interviews. I listen to them while I’m working and I’m learning so much! After listening to Dr. Garth Davis and this interview I was wondering if you could touch on a topic for me (keep in mind I haven’t finished this one!). Both doctors have discussed saturated fat, coming from animal products and how bad it is for our health. BUT, doesn’t saturated fat come in other oils also, like coconut oil? I think vegans use oil, but raw foodist do not (correct?) Do you know the reason why or the research behind what each believe on this topic? Thanks!!

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