As mentioned during my 30-Day Raw Food Vegan Challenge back in May, I attempted the Engine 2 Diet Challenge, sponsored by my local Whole Foods Market, earlier this year and truly benefitted from it in multiple ways. The Engine 2 Diet Challenge involves eating a diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Ideally a challenge participant will cut out all added oils, alcohol, and caffeine as well. I decided to jump in with both feet and cut out all of the suggested ingredients and felt cleaner, lighter, happier, and energetic during and after the challenge. I was reflecting on the challenge earlier this month and realized that I never read the original book that inspired the challenge, so I picked up a copy to give it a chance.
Rip Esselstyn's The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan That Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds is a practical book that is easy to read and understand and could prove invaluable to those wishing to improve their health through diet.
The book begins with a foreword from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD (Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York and co-author [with Thomas M. Campbell II] of The China Study) that advocates for the exact type of plant-based diet that Esselstyn recommends in the book and touches on many of the benefits that patients have experienced from the diet. This type of diet has been shown to cure most Type 2 diabetics, greatly reduce insulin needs for Type 1 diabetes patients, reverse and cure advanced heart disease, cure or at least cause cancers to go into remission, control obesity, reduce migraine headaches, alleviate arthritic conditions, and more.
The main body of the book offers a detailed explanation of the diet itself, the backstory of Esselstyn's life and career as a firefighter, debunks crazy myths about food, provides medical proof that supports this type of diet, outlines an effective exercise program, gives advice for making the diet work in everyday life, and serves up an entire section chock full of recipes and meal plans.
I enjoyed the book immensely and found it to be a quick read. The scientific evidence provided throughout its pages should provide any naysayers or doubters of the plant-based diet with enough information to listen to the truth. I have made several of the scrumptious recipes in the book so far and will continue to stay on the diet for the foreseeable future, although I will most likely make rare exceptions for eating oils and consuming caffeine and alcohol outside of the home or for celebrations or special events. I plan to start the exercise program soon as well. For now, I consider myself to be an Engine 2 Diet devotee, and have noticed a lot of health benefits ranging from weight loss, skin clearing, increased energy and vitality, a more positive mood, and better sleep.
Now I just need to convince everyone I know to read this book so they can benefit as well! Seriously, you should check out a copy as soon as you can and learn about the incredible power of a plant-based diet for yourself. It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach, either—you could start by simply increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables (and other whole plant-based foods) that you consume each day, and work on gradually decreasing your consumption of meat, dairy, eggs, oils, alcohol, and caffeine. I really appreciate the effort that Esselstyn put into this book and would love to see the rest of the world become healthier by following his advice.
5/5 stars. 273 pages.