How Diet Can Affect Arthritis, Heart Disease, Type II Diabetes & Asthma

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in June of 2017. 

 For the original video go to

Bob: It’s kind of cool that we have this apple here today, Brad.

Brad: Yeah, because it’s an apple, a plant-based diet. We’re going to eat it after this for lunch and we’ve got Craig here, who is basically you would consider him an expert in the field. Craig, do you want to introduce yourself? 

Craig: Hi, I’m Craig Martin. I’m currently going through a master’s program at UW LaCrosse. I am focusing on heart disease reversal in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Bob: You were saying that the same principles also apply to diabetes type II and also arthritis, that some of these things would benefit that.

Craig: That is correct. We are looking at a whole foods plant-based diet which does not contain animal products. No fish, no foul, no turkey. You name it, if it has a face or a mother, don’t eat it. We are also looking at removing refined oils such as olive oil, even extra extra extra virgin olive oil. Studies have shown that extra virgin oil olive does contain trans fat and trans fat negatively impact cardiovascular health. So, avoiding olive oils, can reduce your risk of increasing LDL cholesterol level, which leads to a heart attack.

Brad: So, we’re talking pretty true plant based.

Craig: Yes, very true plant based. 

Bob: I think we had this discussion before we went on air here, that is we know that a lot of

people will not be able to do this strict diet. But I think even movement in this direction, towards some of these foods, is going to help you overall without a doubt. 

Craig: You’re definitely right. The more we can move to a Whole Foods plant-based diet, the more it will help everyone in all aspects of their life. The reason we preach a Whole Foods plant-based diet without any of the added oils, without any of the animal products, is that some people, even a small amount, can adversely affect their health. I personally experience benefits. I used to have asthma. I had asthma for 30 years of my life. When I started following a Whole Foods plant-based diet, my asthma disappeared. 

Bob: Wow, that’s interesting. 

Craig: I noticed that when I have a little bit of dairy, my asthma comes back, so I avoid it. I was able to complete a marathon, I almost qualified for Boston, my first marathon ever, in my life. I could barely run before. I would be wheezing for days because my asthma would flare up. Just removing that dairy product was all it took. My asthma disappeared.

Bob: Okay, I always heard about how good salmon is, what about that? I eat a lot of salmon and the omegas, so there’s something negative about salmon too? 

Craig: Well, we have to realize that when we eat food from the ocean, what is in the ocean? We have PCBs, we have mercury. These animals are like sponges. They soak up all that PCB and mercury and there are warning labels on fish that say you have to be careful of the mercury level in fish. As we know, mercury adversely affects the brain, it adversely affects the immune system. Every system in the body. So, yes, as fish may have omega-3 fatty acids, we also have to realize that omega-3 fatty acids actually occur naturally in plants. They aren’t made in fish themselves. The fish eat smaller fish, which eat algae, and that’s how they get their omega-3’s. 

Bob: Can you name some other plants that have omega 3 that we might have access to?

Craig: Yeah, definitely. Flax seed, for example, contains a lot of omega 6. Chia seed contains a lot of omegas.

Bob: I’m writing these down. I guess I could watch the video later too.

Craig: You can get it from broccoli, kale, spinach. 

Bob: I eat spinach.

Craig: There you go. Cantaloupe, musk melon, there’s a lot of foods that have a lot of omega-3 fatty acid, even cauliflower. 

Bob: Great, I’m on that route Brad.

Brad: Getting back to this bigger picture of this diet or shifting, what are some suggestions you want to make to viewers. 

Craig: Yeah. What research has found is when you cut these foods out the Institute of Medicine, one of the most prestigious bodies in the U.S., says that there’s no safe level of cholesterol consumption to consume in the diet on a daily basis. There’s zero. So, anytime you consume an animal product, that’s the only place cholesterol is found in the diet. So, if you’re consuming any animal, you’re consuming cholesterol. The Institute of Medicine also says that you should not be consuming trans fats. Trans fats are found in oils and animal products and partially and fully hydrogenated oils. Another thing that we’re not suppose to get is a lot of saturated fat. Those three components, increase LDL cholesterol production in the liver so avoiding those, will essentially decrease that production. So, where are major sources of saturated fats and trans fats? They’re found in oils, animal products, coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut milk, coconut cream.

Bob: Which is interesting because it seems as if they are really pushing coconut milk as a healthy alternative now. I had never read any of the research on it, so I had no idea, I saw it this morning in fact and thought, now is coconut milk really good for you or not? 

Craig: Yeah, and it’s interesting that there’s studies that show that really has no effect, it’s really not good for you. Most of the studies, they compare it to butter. They say, well it’s better then butter. Well, come on.

Bob: Sure, it’s all relative. 

Craig: There was another study they were pitting Hostess Twinkies against another twinkie, from angel soft twinkie and it’s like, you know what, so what? They’re both not good for you. So, there’s a lot of studies out there that aren’t necessarily great studies.

Bob: I’m sure the one that maybe throws people off a little bit is how diet can actually affect arthritis. I’m sure they’re thinking, “You’re kidding, isn’t arthritis just a deterioration of the joint and why would your diet affect that?

Craig: Right, right. Well, there’s two types of arthritis. There’s osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. What researchers have found is when you remove these inflammatory foods from the diet which are high in omega-6 fatty acids, omega-6’s are found in meat products, refined oils, well I guess that’s really about it. They increase inflammation of the airway, I’m sorry, that’s in my asthma. Because with my asthma, I was consuming these omega-6’s high amounts and it was causing inflammation. The same inflammation happens in a joint as well, so we’re removing those products from the diet which removes the inflammation and then can relieve the symptoms or the pain that you’re experiencing. 

Bob: What are your thoughts on turmeric? 

Craig: That’s a spice that actually has a very positive beneficial effect for the body. Some of the research I’ve read is actually that if you use turmeric with black pepper, you can actually get the benefits longer inside the body. The liver wants to filter out the turmeric but for some reason the black pepper doesn’t allow the kidneys and the liver to filter out that turmeric. It stays in the body longer so it’s a beneficial effect over long term. 

Brad: I think other people are going to be thinking this, because a big thing in the last few years is eliminate the fats and the carbohydrates and now you can eat meats with all the fats because there’s certain fats that harbor a lot of good nutrients, vitamins and stuff and so this is kind of confusing me a little bit. I’m sure I’m probably not the only one. 

Craig: Yeah, you’re absolutely right, so what’s interesting is if you go back in to 1930s, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the name Walter Kempner. He’s a researcher from Duke University. What he did was, he took patients who were dying of kidney disease. They had extremely high blood pressure. What he did was he put them on an all-white rice, fruit juice and sugar diet. Some of these patients were able to regain their eyesight, there heart size shrunk, they reversed their diabetes. They reversed their heart disease. 

Brad: How is that possible? 

Craig: The diet consisted of about 5% fat and the rest of it was pure carbohydrates. He had patients that lost weight that 300-400 lbs. and they would be back to normal weight.

Bob: You’re not suggesting this, though right?

Craig: I wouldn’t suggest it. I would suggest a variety of fruits and vegetables. I would suggest, not white rice but brown rice or other types of rice. But the diet just shows the miraculous power that diet has at impacting the body. So, the diet consisted of about 90% carbohydrates and these people were getting well. So to think that carbohydrate’s the villain, it’s actually not the carbohydrate, it’s the food. The food is what carries the carbohydrates because carbohydrate isn’t a food group. Fruits and vegetables are food groups, carbohydrates are in those food groups.

Bob: I cut out carbs in my diet. The carbs that I was cutting out was like spaghetti, breads, and I dropped ten pounds without trying, so I’m seeing the other end. It seems like carbs were the culprit for me. Was it because of the vehicle that I was getting them in? 

Craig: It can be. There’s great work by Dr. John McDougall who his whole premise is starch-based diet. When you look back in time and you look back through the years, individuals are consuming starches like rice, potatoes, beans, corn, oatmeal. Populations all over the world have found that when they follow a starch based diet, they’re trim, they’re healthy, they’re not sick. In my mind, if we move back to that, that’s a diet that I think we can all recognize as being excellent for us. 30 years ago, China was full of trim, young, healthy looking people. Now that, KFC’s and McDonalds have gone over there, people are becoming ill. So, we have to look at the food as the major vehicle as causing disease. So, I guess what I’d like to tell the viewers if we are going to wrap this up here, there’s a great book by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn called Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. There’s another website you can check out; it’s run by Dr. Michael Greger. It’s called and he provides little five-minute video clips and a blog every day on nutrition news that you can use. He links all of his sources under there so you can go through and you can read them. They are all peer-reviewed. He tries to give you the best medical literature he can because his grandmother had heart disease and she ended up reversing her heart disease. She had been wheeled in the Pritikin longevity Center in a wheelchair, unable to walk with crushing chest pain, and ten days later she walked out without her wheelchair and she lived another 31 years by following a plant-based diet. It’s amazing. She was sent home to die and she ended up living another 31 years. 

Bob: So, I think we just touched upon this just barely, so you really are going to need to check resources here in order to become more educated on this.

Brad: I really think this is one step closer,

Bob: To fixing that broken heart.

Brad: You better believe it. 

Bob: If you’re new to the channel, Brad and I can fix just about anything, 

Brad: But that broken heart. But we’re working on it. Craig is doing great. So, once again, thank you Craig for your helpful information!

Craig: Your welcome. 

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