Engine 2’s Rip Esselstyn on No Meat Athlete Radio

Podcast Radio2You can’t get far into the plant-based world without hearing Rip Esselstyn’s name, and seeing the ubiquitous Engine 2 brand he’s created to help people eat Plant-Strong.

Walk through any Whole Foods, and you’ll see Engine 2 foods everywhere.

In those same Whole Foods stores and any Barnes and Noble, you’ll find Rip’s books, The Engine 2 Diet, which started it all, and his newest, My Beef With Meat.

And if you’ve watched Forks Over Knives, you’ve seen Rip there too, using his arms to pull himself up a firepole. (You know — “Real men eat plants, real men eat plants …”)

The Engine 2 story is well-known by now. The son of whole-food, plant-based diet advocate Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Rip challenged his fellow firefighters in Austin, Texas, to try a 28-day challenge on a plant-based diet. The results were spectacular, and the Engine 2 engine was set in motion.

What’s less known, though, is that Rip was a “no meat athlete” long before it was cool (it is actually cool, right?). Before Scott Jurek starting winning ultras, before Brendan Brazier wrote Thrive, before Rich Roll burst on the scene — and long before some chump started selling running carrot t-shirts — Rip was a professional triathlete, fueling his career with what would become the Plant-Strong diet.

I had the immense pleasure of hanging out with Rip for a day when my book tour brought me through Austin, where co-author Matt Ruscigno and I gave a lunch presentation at Whole Foods headquarters before eating E2 bowls from the store with Mr. E2 himself.

For a giant in the movement, Rip is laid back and a ton of fun, making this lifestyle seem not just appealing and energizing, but approachable. It comes through in this latest episode of NMA Radio, where he’s our guest.

Enjoy!

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Rip convinced a group of firefighters to go plant-based
  • The best way to adopt a plant-based diet
  • How the Engine 2 Diet resonates so well with men
  • Rip’s career as a professional triathlete
  • The Engine 2 food philosophy
  • How Rip is spreading the plant-based word with recipes and food products

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In Defense of Inconvenience (and Why I Ditched My Smartphone)

Three days before I left to start my book tour last fall, I begrudgingly traded in my old phone (the one with the huge extended-life battery that always falls out, and that I usually hold together with a rubber band) for a smart one.

I had resisted for years, fearing that with 24/7 access to email, Twitter, and the like, I would become a miserable drone of a dad. Of a husband. Of a person.

But I needed the iPhone for the book tour. To use that nifty Square card swiper to sell books and shirts, to navigate from one state to the next, to book hotels on the go, and (crucially) to stay in touch with my wife and kids via Skype. In this case, the phone would help us to feel closer, not more distant.

I asked the sales rep at the Verizon store what my options were for when the book tour was over and I wanted to go back to my old phone.

“Once you get used to a smartphone,” he laughed, “you’ll never want to go back.”

The Inconvenience of a Plant-Based Diet

Something I often say about a vegan diet (that many other vegans seem not to like) is that it’s inconvenient — but that its inconvenience is its strength, when it comes to health.

I’ve come to believe that the best diet for any person is the diet that will cause him or her to make the best food choices. And that, far more than the replacement of animal products with plants, is why this diet has made me the healthiest I’ve ever been.

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Cream of Tomato Soup from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

ohsheglows 822x1024The day the long-awaited Oh She Glows Cookbook showed up on our doorstep was an exciting one indeed.

My wife and I do a lot of cooking at home, and time permitting, we make as much as we can from scratch — staples like almond butter, hummus, almond milk, and vegetable stock. Foods that of course you can buy, but it just feels better (and it’s usually cheaper, too) to make them ourselves.

And if there’s one blog that has helped us find our way along this less-trodden (these days), do-it-yourself path — and one blog that seems to turn up whenever we Google “how to roast pumpkins” or “oil-free vegan pancake recipe” — it’s Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon.

Though we haven’t met in person, Angela has become an online friend of mine. I jumped at the chance to get a review copy, knowing major points would be scored on the  home front (as they always are when advance copies of cookbooks show up) but also genuinely excited to see how Angela would distill her considerable natural cooking chops and hundreds of recipes on her blog into a cohesive, comprehensive book format.

To nobody’s surprise, she has done it beautifully, with rustic, DIY elegance.

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