by Christel Swasey
Could society’s idea of how to feed a He-Man be changing from hamburgers-and-fries to hummus-with-kale?
Could a macho fireman with a name like Rip persuade people to step away from the standard die-of-a-heart-attack-diet to a more nutritious standard, and maybe even save a few of us from the near-inevitable heart disease and diabetes so many Americans reap after years of bad eating? Maybe. Just maybe.
Meet Rip Esselstyn. He’s one very healthy firefighter.
Rip’s been a professional triathlete, as well as a fireman, for many years. On the advice of his famous father/doctor/researcher, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, he’s been on a plant-based diet for years. But it’s not often that an ordinary, healthy, athletic firefighter makes the news like Rip Esselstyn has.
Why? He’s done the impossible: he’s converted a bunch of beefy firefighters all around him to his purely plant-based diet.
Here’s how it happened: when one of Rip Esselstyn’s friends, another firefighter at Engine 2 in Austin, Texas, found out that he was in dangerous physical condition with a cholesterol level of 344, Rip worked to motivate the entire Engine 2 firehouse to join him in a cholesterol-zapping, plant-strong diet to show how much they cared, and to help their friend’s dieting morale.
Because Rip’s father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, had discovered through medical research that a plant-based, low fat diet could reverse heart disease and diabetes, all of Engine 2 changed their eating dramatically– with impressive results. Every Engine 2 firefighter in Austin lost weight and lowered his cholesterol (The firefighter with the cholesterol level of 344 dropped down to 196).
Rip wrote a book, The Engine 2 Diet, which became a New York Times bestseller. This plant-based eating program is based on whole foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, fruit, legumes, seeds and nuts.
So, I checked out a few of his recipes. For breakfast, Rip was serving a bowl of mixed grains, walnuts, and plant milk (your choice: almond, soy, or rice); for lunch, Rip was serving garlic, kale and hummus sandwiches. He recommends removing many items from the kitchen to completely overhaul the way you cook and eat.
He says to remove:
Meat, animal fat, meat stock, food products containing meat; dairy Products, including cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream, etc.
- Jams with any refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup
- Oils, Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings
- White Flour
- White Pasta
- White Rice
- White Sugar
- Baked Goods with any of the above ingredients
- Packaged Foods containing more than 2.5 grams of fat per 100 calories
He also tells Engine 2 dieters to avoid processed oils, glycerin, hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil, mono and diglycerides, fructose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and refined sugars.
Rip’s ideas show that quality of life, length of life, good nutrition, and good flavor can go hand in hand. His ideas are available online as well as in the bestseller. If you check out the website, ( http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet/ ) –you’ll find ideas you’d never thought of to add to your cooking repertoire, like collard-green wraps, portobello fajitas, and zucchini (cut skinny and treated like pasta.)