Optimize Your Heart: A practical guide to lowering your risk of a heart attack or stroke by Andy Beal is insulting to the disabled community.
My family has a large risk of genetic heart attacks and strokes, meaning that I am exposed and have a major risk factor. My grandfather has had roughly 4 or 5 in his life and he is only in his 60s. It’s scary to think that I may have one in my future that requires open-heart-surgery, like most of my family on my Mom’s side has had to endure. I was interested to read Beal’s advice, hoping to ease some of my anxiety and limit my risk factors from health.
The foreword is entitled, plain and simple. Omar Kass-Hout (the author of said foreword) clearly states that a stroke can make a functional member of society a dependent, therefore a burden in his mind. Keep in mind that Beal APPROVED this addition to his book, so he is not blameless for this specific passage. This is incredibly insulting to the disabled community. No one is a burden if they suffer from health issues or have an accident. I’m chronically ill with a rare pain disorder and I am mostly dependent on my family, does that mean I’m a burden? That I’m causing my community financial and social strife? No. No, I am not a burden. Apparently, Kass-Hout doesn’t understand that it takes a long time and a large amount of effort to change the depressive mindset of being a burden due to health issues. I have had to work for years to do just that. It is quite sickening that he doesn’t just think that, he put it in words in a book that was likely edited extremely, but still left this part in. Beal and Kass-Hout have an ableist mindset, there’s no reason to, either. Yes, it’s wonderful that Beal made a “miraculous recovery” and I’m happy for him, but not everyone can. Not everyone can utilize these tips or information. However, if you have a stroke or heart attack and don’t recover, it’s your fault for not taking care of yourself in these ways.
Kass-Hout then continues to say that doctors have to “move mountains” to help their patients if they can’t make a usual recovery or are unable to utilize his advice, again, entitled. If someone isn’t cut out to move those mountains to help patients and people, don’t become a doctor.
As I mentioned, I am chronically ill. This means that I can’t exercise a lot of days and have trouble getting out of bed. Does that mean I calorie count? No. Does that mean I usually only eat “salmon salads” like Beal? Definitely not. It may prolong a life to only eat that or hit the gym hard everyday, but what kind of life is that? Constantly worrying about weight and promoting diets isn’t a good life, it’s not a healthy life because you’re not living, you’re just surviving.
I do not appreciate this book. I don’t find it to hold the truth to a long, happy life. This is simply a survival guide and I would never recommend it to someone. Ableist mindsets cannot be commended or promoted. Professional dietitians would severely disagree with Beal. I am not a fan.