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When love conquers junk food: one woman’s mission to save her husband’s heart

Last month, I got a call from Dr Aseem Malhotra, consultant cardiologist and best-selling author of The Pioppi Diet, asking me if I’d like to team up with him to make a video about an interesting case study. Step forward Lynda Sackett, a fabulously engaging research nurse with a lovely Irish lilt. She’s since become not only the star of my latest video, but also a firm friend of mine.

On 12th September last year, Lynda got a call from her junk-food addict husband, Mike, who was feeling nauseous after a particularly punishing session at the rowing club (he’d mistakenly believed that exercise was the way to reduce his overly generous belly). Fearing the worst, she drove to get him and found her husband of 27 years having a massive heart attack on a bridge. Thankfully, he survived. Lynda, determined to keep her husband alive and well, dragged him “kicking and screaming” to overhaul his diet. Using The Pioppi Diet as her guiding star (her copy is food-splattered from daily use), she has single-handedly brought Mike back to health. He’s lost two stone since September and is not only slimmer than she’s ever known him, but looks ten years younger than before the heart attack.

In the interests of keeping this video short, I reluctantly had to leave out much of what Lynda shared. Like the fact that her son’s acne improved vastly when the family switched to following The Pioppi Diet – or how their Cockapoo, Alfie, has lost weight and has more energy now that the leftovers he enjoys are Pioppi-inspired.

And then there was Lynda’s refreshingly honest account of the challenges of getting Mike to change hard-baked eating habits. For the first three months, Mike had a face “like a slapped arse” (Lynda’s words!) every time she placed dinner on the table, having spent hours cooking delicious fresh food from scratch. There were many heated rows, during which Lynda would scream: “Is eating a xxxxxxx kebab more important than staying with us?” And also this, rather unforgettable, line: “If I was told it would help me stay alive for just one more week with my family, I’d eat a spoonful of ALFIE’S POO every day!!!! And you won’t even eat this xxxxxxx gorgeous food I’ve made!” Honestly, I just love this woman.

One of the things that touched me most about this story was the sheer dogged devotion that Lynda showed to the husband she loves. Lynda is no stranger to tragedy. This week marks the 22nd anniversary of the day her seven-month-old son, Thomas, was killed in a car crash. The crash, on her and Mike’s wedding anniversary, also left Lynda in intensive care for months, with a shattered body and massive damage to her organs. She said: “Mike understands that I simply couldn’t handle losing him too. He knows he has to make an effort to get through this. I’ve had enough s***t in my life. No more.”

I challenge anyone to watch this video and not be inspired by her. You’ll find it here. 

Have a read of the accompanying article in the Daily Mail’s You Magazine  – it will tell you more about what eating Pioppi-style encompasses and the chronic conditions it’s been proven to prevent and treat. Also, if you’ve not yet seen my video on the truth about fats, do watch it – we can’t reclaim our health without appreciating the role fat plays in it.

There are thousands upon thousands of Mikes out there in the UK alone – if just one of them sees this video and is inspired to follow Mike’s cue, it’ll be a win. But that’s setting the bar pretty low – so please do share this video widely. This is life-saving, simple information that should be mainstream advice…but, tragically, is not. As Lynda says: “We have to make it mainstream”.

I for one am not going to argue with Lynda. Are you?


Leave a reply

very moving article thanks 22nd May 2018 Reply

truly a moving story do hope that they are both in good health now

Suzy 22nd May 2018 Reply

They certainly are! Yes, I found this really moving too.

Stephen T 22nd May 2018 Reply

This is an excellent video. As the nurse says, you have to fight the system to be healthy.

Suzy 22nd May 2018 Reply

Thanks so much for the feedback. Hopefully the system will change soon – in the meantime, we just need to spread the word to as many people as possible.

Dr Lisa McGrath 22nd May 2018 Reply

Hi Susie,
I met you about a year ago at a small evening meeting.
I’m a very busy mum, wife and GP and passionate about trying to bring this sort of eating to as many patients as I can in my day to day practice. I know it’s the way forward and I am keen to join forces with people like you, Dr Aseem Malhottra and Dr David Unwin.
This is a great story about Mike and Lynda, the sort of thing that hits you between the eyes. In the past few years I’ve changed my family’s eating bit by bit, absolutely convinced that low carb high healthy fat is the way ahead for everyone.
I live in the North West and would be keen to meet up.
Great work Susie.
Best wishes
Dr Lisa McGrath

Suzy 23rd May 2018 Reply

That’s fantastic Lisa – and would love to meet up. Drop me a note at and we’ll hook up. The more the merrier!!

Heather Sharma 23rd May 2018 Reply

What a woman! I feel similarly to her with the wife/ medical professional guilt, about my husband who has diabetes. Thanks to the public health collaboration and it’s courses, I fell across the information a couple of years ago. With just a few changes to our diet and lifestyle, the results at home have been amazing and so empowering, and I’m seeing positive changes at work too. I absolutely agree with her it needs to be mainstream accessible information, hence a change in direction with my career too. Looking forward to studying about it all more through lifestyle medicine and Functional medicine this year, and then hoping to change the world with you too! I love reading your posts, they’re so inspiring. Please keep them going!

Suzy 23rd May 2018 Reply

Brilliant – good for your Heather. Good luck with your studies and thank you for the lovely feedback!

Debbie Hilton 30th May 2018 Reply

A very inspiring wonderful lady. I find it terrifying that the current medical guidelines are so way off and I applaud your determination Suzy to share this very important information.

Suzy 31st May 2018 Reply

Thank you Debbie – yes, it’s pretty scary!!

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