The Vegan Heart Doctor’s Guide to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease – An Interview with Cardiologist Heather Shenkman, MD

Heather Shenkman, MD is a preventive and interventional cardiologist and author of the book, “The Vegan Heart Doctor’s Guide to Reversing Heart Disease, Losing Weight, and Reclaiming Your Life which is a primer for  any patient with prevention in mind, but also patients with heart and related diseases.

One of Dr. Shenkman’s intension in writing this book was to empower patients to take control of their heart disease and risk to heart disease. She has been an interventional cardiologist doing procedures such as stents and angioplasty in appropriate patients which can be lifesaving (i.e. heart attacks, unstable angina). In those with chronic stable angina the data appears to show no benefit or at least be inconclusive.

Dr. Shenkman has been a vegetarian since age 16 because of her love for animals but began to eat whole food plant-based diets in her cardiology fellowship about 13 years ago.

She has been influenced by the diet and heart disease reversal studies of Drs. Dean Ornish and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, which complemented her love of animals and her vegan lifestyle, which makes it all the more rewarding to practice plant-based medicine in the cardiology setting.

Dr. Shenkman states the causes of heart disease are 1) smoking, 2) sedentary lifestyle 3) poor diet 4) stress and 5) possibly environmental toxins.

The dietary causes of heart and vascular diseases are 1) consumption of animal products  including meat, egg and dairy foods 2) increase salt consumption 3) processed foods and 4) increased sugar intake.

Whether Dr. Shenkman’s patients have had an interventional procedure or not she recommends a low-fat, whole food plant-based diet (WFPBD) for their optimal health journey.

To get her patients started Dr. Shenkman reviews the benefits of a WFPBD rich in fruits and vegetables, and the benefit of those interactive phytochemicals in whole plant foods, and she gives out the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s ( “Vegetarian Starter Kit”.

You can get Dr. Shenkman’s book “The Vegan Heart Doctor’s Guide to Reversing Heart Disease, Losing Weight, and Reclaiming Your Life” on Amazon. You can contact Dr. Shenkman at

You may call Kirk Hamilton PA-C Monday thru Friday 8-9 a.m. PST at 916-489-4400 for brief medical questions at Health Associates Medical Group. (for information about Health Associates go to

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