What is the Engine 2 diet?
Rip Esselstyn was born in upstate New York, raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and educated at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a three-time All-American swimmer. After graduation Rip spent a decade as one of the premier triathletes in the world. He then joined the Austin Fire Department where he introduced his passion for a whole-food, plant-based diet to Austin’s Engine 2 Firehouse in order to rescue a firefighting brother’s health. To document his success he wrote the national bestselling book, The Engine 2 Diet, which shows the irrefutable connection between a plant-based diet and good health.
With this groundbreaking plan anyone can lose weight, lower cholesterol, reduce their risk of disease, and become physically fit– in just four weeks. Professional athlete-turned-firefighter, Rip Esselstyn is used to responding to emergencies. So when he learned that some of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, Texas were in dire physical condition he sprang into action and created a life-saving plan. By following Rip’s program, everyone lost weight (some more than 20 pounds), lowered their cholesterol (the biggest drop was 344 to 196), and improved their overall health. Now, Rip outlines his proven plan in The Engine 2 Diet.
A low-fat, “plant strong” diet can prevent and often reverse the diseases caused by the so-called Standard American Diet, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer, according to Engine 2 Diet creator Rip Esselstyn, a firefighter, former professional athlete and medical scion. (His great-grandfather co-founded the Cleveland Clinic, and his father, Caldwell Esselstyn, a former Olympic rower and Cleveland Clinic surgeon, led landmark research on the prevention and reversal of heart disease through a plant-based diet.) In addition, you’ll lose weight, increase lean muscle mass, sharpen your mind and energize your body.
How does The Engine 2 Diet work?
First, decide whether you’re a “firefighter” or “fire cadet.” If you’re the former, you’re ready for an immediate lifestyle overhaul, slashing all animal products, processed foods and vegetable oils from your diet. If you want to gradually change your diet, you’ll go with the fire cadet plan, aka the 28-Day Challenge, to go from “dietary extravagance to dietary excellence.”
Engine 2 diet review: pros & cons
Reviews of the Engine 2 diet have noted the plan can contribute to weight loss because it is low-fat and high-fiber. A low-fat diet that helps lower cholesterol is also beneficial for cardiovascular health.
However, there are some potential drawbacks to this diet. It can take quite a bit of adaptation to switch to a vegan diet. Bear in mind that vegans don’t eat any animal products – that includes eggs and cheese. The typical vegan recipe may require a bit more prep work. Dieters would have to become accustomed to working with new ingredients, such as nutritional yeast, to ensure that they meet their vitamin and mineral requirements. It can also be more challenging to dine out or attend dinner parties as a vegan.
Dieters who have trouble devising a nutritionally complete meal plan may be at a higher risk for health complications, including osteoporosis (due to low calcium intake), anemia (due to low iron intake), and damaged nerves (due to low vitamin B12 intake). The potential health risks of an unbalanced vegan diet are a compelling reason to seek the dietary guidance of a physician.
How much does it cost?
You may pay more for fresh produce, but you’ll save by skipping the butcher. The book costs $27, and you can pay an optional $9.99 per month for additional support – beyond what’s available for free on the website – through the “Engine 2 Extra” online support community.
Healthy Engine 2 diet recipes
Ingredients to make Migas Especiales:
- 1 onion, chopped
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 lb. firm tofu, drained and mashed
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 3 corn tortillas, cut in 1” squares
- 1 can fat-free vegetarian refried beans, warmed in skillet
- 4 whole corn tortillas
1. Saute onion, add vegetables and cook for about 7 minutes. Add tofu, turmeric, and tortilla squares and cook until warmed.
2. Place a large spoonful in a whole tortilla and top with salsa.
Sample daily menu
Here’s an example of what an Engine 2 dieter might eat on a typical day:
- Breakfast: Vegan migas (breakfast burrito) with tofu and veggies
- Lunch: Sweet potato bowl with black beans
- Dinner: Lentil “meatloaf” with tofu and ground walnuts
- Dessert: Date and nut fruit pie
Will you lose weight?
Probably. Like all plant-based diets, the Engine 2 plan is low in fat and high in fiber, which helps keep you feeling fuller longer. Also, you’ll be getting rid of vegetable oil, which is highly caloric.