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Red meat, chocolate, coffee, among the foods doctor recommends

THE TIMES: MANDY FEDER-SAWYER - Dr. Miles Hassell gave a preview last Thursday of an upcoming series that addresses lifestyle and diet changes that can potentially reverse disease. It's about what people put in their bodies and what they put out that could mean the difference between life and death, according to Providence St. Vincent Dr. Miles Hassell.

Hassell said that diet and lifestyle changes can change the trajectory of a person's life.

Hassell is the doctor and medical director of Zidell Center for Integrative Medicine at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and he has made a case for an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on whole foods. He said his patients have reversed their diabetes and been able to go off blood pressure and cholesterol medicine by following his advice.

Last Thursday, Hassell held a free, one-hour preview of his upcoming class series that starts Tuesday, March 21, at Basecamp on the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center campus.

He will be teaching in this series, the connection between food and exercise — and out-of-control diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Betty Groesbeck, 73, of Hillsboro was one of the attendees at the presentation.

Groesbeck was diagnosed with heart failure in 2015 and she said it was a wake-up call. She intends to attend the classes. "This is something that is in my control, so I am going to take control of my life and well-being," she said.

Basecamp also will offer a four-part series of evening cooking classes with Hassell — a Beaverton resident and author of a best-selling cookbook that he co-authored with his sister, professional cook and writer Mea Hassell, titled "Good Food, Great Medicine."

The cookbook boasts 185 recipes and offers tips on using food, exercise and sleep to prevent or reverse heart disease and type 2 diabetes, control weight and address other health problems without relying on pharmaceuticals. The evidence-based diet featured in the book is the best for reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, as well as controlling high blood pressure.

Hassell said red meat, chocolate, coffee, fish, fibers, cheese, fruit and vegetables — and even alcohol — are good for patients.

"Foods that are eaten throughout human history are probably good," he told the approximately 70 attendees during his speaking engagement. "Anything is better than the standard American diet. The only truly bad foods seem to be the ones manufactured in the past century," he said.

Hassell said that the foods people have been eating for thousands of years are generally good. "The more processed the food is, the worse people do."

He said the diet and lifestyle change is one solution for many problems, but he urged attendees to use their critical thinking skills and employ facts that apply to their unique situations. He said the sustainable program also has better results in treating depression than anti-depressants.

For more information, visit providence.org.

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