The New Sun

Getting Better

Aloha, my name is Lee Eisenstein. I live near the ocean, on the Windward side of the Koolau mountains, on the island of Oahu.

As a youngster, I was drawn to three things: surfing, science fiction and the guitar. One of my first role models was a cartoon character named Remo Guitar, who with his scruffy beard and harachi sandals, graced the pages of a book of chords that my folks got me. Early on, I decided that to become a surfing, beatnik guitarist, surely represented the attainment of lifes highest goals. To these ends I dedicated my life.

In 1980 I moved to Hawaii, where I've performed and have recorded six guitar and recorder albums on the Revere Records label. In 1992 I began working on the album that became, "Songs For A Dreamer."

All my pieces are autobiographical in nature. The desire to express my life story and share my particular vision through "Songs For A Dreamer," was given a sense of urgency by the following. During the recording stage of the album, my doctor discovered that over the years I had developed what appeared to be severe arterial blockage. This had been caused by the combination of a genetic predisposition to heart disease and the American diet.

It was during this time that I used to pray that I'd live long enough to finish my album.

Luckily for me, further tests showed that the blockage, although serious, was treatable and with a combination of drugs, a mostly vegetarian diet and exercise, not life threatening. My doctor told me to read some of Dr. Dean Ornish's books. He explained that Dr. Ornish's ideas worked and that I should follow them.

Becoming a vegetarian, (a little fish, no other meat or animal products of any kind), required me to do a paradigm shift; a hundred and eighty degree change of perspective. It was easy. An even easier dietary maxim to remember is this, "No chunks of animal carcasses or their secretions." Food for thought before biting into a "Big Heart Attack on a Bun burger." Like I said, given the real choice, it was easy.

Dr. Ornish recommends meditation and yoga. I don't have the patience to do yoga but for me meditation (transcendental) works great. I imagine that prayer, done in stillness, would center a person too. Becoming a vegetarian, meditating, excercising and taking cholestoral lowering drugs has stabilized my cardiovascular condition. What I learned is that much heart and cardiovascular disease is now treatable, some of it is reversable, and much of it is preventable.

I like to think that a national debate on the relationship between our food producing businesses, the media and our health as a nation is overdue.We could all do with less heart disease.

Everybody's got a story (and good ones they are).

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by Lee Eisenstein

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