It has been an interesting and informative journey for nearly 3 months, now that I have changed my diet, which is really more a lifestyle change. I added another Forks Over Knives documentary today called The Engine 2 ‘Kitchen Rescue’ with Rip Esselstyn, which is available on Netflix. Rip is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, surgeon, who “completed one of the most extensive studies on the relationship between the heart and diet–proving that a plant-based diet can reduce and even eliminate heart disease” (source). Currently Rip is employed as a firefighter with the Austin Fire Department.
I was introduced to Rip in Forks Over Knives, as his story was used as an example at the firehouse he works at. The fire fighters at Engine 2 had a peer who’s total cholesterol was 344. In a challenge they decided to move to a “plant strong lifestyle.” This documentary explores two families who decide to take the challenge and learn about a plant based, whole food diet.
Much like FOK and The McDougall Program, Rip is introduced to the families and prepares them for the change they will experience. The refrigerator and pantry are open and foods that make up the “standard American diet” or SAD are removed. The families are introduced to reading the nutritional facts, as opposed to the label to see what they are eating. A trip to the local market for vegetables and a little education make these families eager to see what flavorful recipes Rip can cook up.
As a “SAD” eater I have experienced what these families were going through, looking for recipes that are filling or “having substance” as my wife calls it, as well as having good flavor, while avoiding those foods, such as meat, dairy and oil that are not healthy. Having cooked for 3 months now my library of recipes continue to grow. Initial it was difficult or found it time consuming to put together a good tasting meal that my wife and 6 year old would enjoy and look forward to eating.
With the help of the families rip put together a daily menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner for both. Needless to say the meals were quick, easy and from the comments of the families very tasty. For example, the Wali Family was introduced to Ann’s Panani Sandwich with Hummus, Mushrooms and Spinach while the White couple were introduced to am American favorite, which has been made heart healthy, a vegetarian burger with potatoes cut into fries. Both meals made with plant based, whole foods and introducing both to a “plant strong lifestyle” in the kitchen.
The Engine 2 Diet ‘Kitchen Rescue’ also has a supporting web site that provides some good introductory recipes that are quick and easy for people wanting to take control of their healthy and eat differently. Rip also authored The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. This book is similar to what Dr. John McDougall outlined in The McDougall Plan. Unlike Dr. McDougall’s 12-day program, Rip provides readers with a 28-day plan to better health.
Overall I enjoyed the documentary, which I took as more supporting evidence for a “plant strong lifestyle.” It’s a bit quicker and easier to follow than Forks Over Knives and doesn’t include the numbers, science or studies behind the diet. Rip does a good job of keeping it simple for the family members, while providing them introductory information to what the lifestyle change constitutes. I do have his book on my want list and look forward to reading it. While I am promoting a plant based, whole food diet I won’t push others to join me. It’s a personal decision and one must make a strong commitment and have the desire to change your lifestyle for the betterment of your health.