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True Stories From Our Readers presents: Marco’s Story – Part 2

My name is Marco Klaassen and I live in The Netherlands. Next month, it will be 3 years since I suffered a near fatal heart attack which was unrecognized at first. Please see my previous blog on this site for the prelude to this post.

Although I lost 44 lbs and changed my lifestyle, improper medical treatment caused permanent damage to my heart. I immediately took to action and did a lot of research about food and exercise.

I am a firm believer that nature provides us everything we need: shelter, clothing, food and even naturally derived medications. Food is the primary source of our wellness. After my health issues, despite beliefs that meat is bad for you, now my diet is mainly based on meat, fish and of course, fresh vegetables and fruits.

My recovery was “amazing” and “the success story of the cardio ward” according to my cardiologist. My anemia, obesity, cholesterol (and many more issues) were all solved by changing my diet. When you take your pet to the vet for help, a good veterinarian will ask first what food you give companion. In contrast to humans, most doctors do not inquire about our eating habits!

I was a strict vegetarian (no meat, seafood or poultry) for 12 years. At the time I was suffering from ulcerative colitis and my GP at the time told me that I needed Omega 3 and 6 (natural inflammation inhibitors) which are mostly found in fish. You can of course, take fish oil pills for the omega values, but I believe that every diet that needs supplements to fully nurture your body is nota healthy diet. Considering the pharmaceutical industry’s dishonest practices, you’re never 100% sure what by-products are in over the counter supplements; another red flag.

After my heart attack I discovered how much nutrients the human body obtains from meat and fish. Animal protein gives me the energy I need to exercise and do my Tai Chi. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is involved in the development of red blood cells, maintenance of nerves and normal brain function. Vitamin B12 is not found in any plant or vegetable.

 An important part of our diet includes what is known as heme iron.

According to, “plant foods are definitely different from animal foods when it comes to their iron content. In animal foods, iron is often attached to proteins called heme proteins, and referred to as heme iron. In plant foods, iron is not attached to heme proteins and is classified as non-heme iron. Heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 7-35%. Non-heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 2-20%.

You can see that even though there is better overall absorption of heme iron, there is also a fairly large range for absorption regardless of the iron form involved. This absorption range is large because iron absorption is influenced by many different factors. For example, our bodies absorb more iron when we are iron deficient, and they cut back on iron absorption when plenty of iron is already available. Dietary factors are among the many factors that affect iron absorption. However, dietary factors appear to play a greater role in non-heme iron absorption from plant foods than they do in heme iron absorption from animal foods.”

Heme ironis only found in meat, especially red meat. Heme-iron is better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron. Heme-iron, unlike non-heme iron is not affected by anti-nutrients, like phytic acid often found in plants, this has had a positive effect on the healing of my anemia.
I was so surprised how many nutrients there are in meat and fish that simply can’t be found in plants or in such low quantities that I decided to take a critical look at my lifestyle.

It’s been 3 years now and although I suffered permanent heart damage the changes I made to my eating habits alone have had a huge impact on my body.

A well-balanced diet of meat, fish and vegetables will keep your body healthy.

I stay away from mass produced products, instead I try to get as many freshly sourced products as possible. When I eat meat, I choose meat from animals that had a good life and weren’t injected with any substance to speed up their growth. It’s better to eat good and healthy meat once or twice a week than meat from animals that are given all kinds of growth hormones. In the end the saying “You are what you eat“ is absolutely true.

By doing my own research and listening to my own body I went from being almost dead, to a wheelchair, then to a walker and now I can enjoy my life again albeit with limitation. I look forward to completely healing with proper nutrition and mindset.

There is so much more to tell but do your research and listen to your body, you’ll be surprised, I know I was!

Marco Klaassen

The Netherlands


This entry was posted in: Blog


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