The typical Western diet, Dr. Esselstyn asserts, is at fault for all of our heart disease woes. Eliminate fats, animal products and processed carbs and we can live healthily without the aid of surgery and, often, drugs. Free of not just cardiovascular disease but also type 2 diabetes, many cancers, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and such autoimmune disorders as lupus, MS and rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases, he points out, are virtually nonexistent in populations that follow traditional, plant-based diets. Introduce Western foods into these cultures -- as has happened with some Asian countries -- and the numbers start to climb.