The Engine 2 Blog

Sam I am. Sam I am. Do I like greens and beans? Yes I do!!!

Here is a huge Engine 2 shout out to Sam who went on a cruise and lost 13 pounds!!! He is an inspiration and is living proof that you can take a cruise and get healthier and lose weight while living the life of luxury. Thanks, Sam for sharing your E2 story!!!!

Sam went on a cruise and lost 12 pounds!!!!

Sam went on a cruise and lost 13 pounds!!!!


Thanks for the awesome book. While I’ve always heard you shouldn’t eat this or that, and totally understood why, no one ever gave a GREAT “do this and eat this” option. It was always “just don’t eat the bad stuff!” So besides the great science and suggestions you shared, your menu options and grocery list IS THE STUFF! Seeing that, had me sold and I jumped on board “cold turkey” (or cold asparagus if you rather)!

So the real kicker is this…I downloaded your book to my eBook before jumping a flight to Europe for a 10 day cruise. You know, one of those “I don’t know how I put on 20lbs in 2 weeks?” cruises! So instead I ordered and ate as directed, had a fantastic cruise and in 10 days dropped 13 pounds and feel like a million bucks. A funny note there, when I landed in Barcelona I went for my, what’s become my normal laboring 3 mile run…after the cruise and 10 days and losing 13 pounds, I did the same run and felt like a whole new person! (Duh I’m not carrying what’s equal too a backpack filled with 13 steaks on my back!)

I’ve got 1 more week to go, and then will definitely keep up most of the practices…with the exception of an ice cream splurge when necessary! :)

Interesting note….besides the cholesterol drop, I wouldn’t consider it a weight loss diet, but rather a weight normalization diet. After my 13 lbs. which took me to my normal weight I had been for years, there has been no more loss. It is the correct weight for my height and age. Obviously I didn’t have that much to lose weight-wise but for some this diet could be shocking! (in a good way)

All the best….GO GREEN!
Sam Stanton

Engine 2 Success Story from Virginia!!!


You are living proof that it is NEVER too late to change lifelong habits, especially if it means moving your health up a rung on the fire ladder of living large. You are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for sharing and keep up the fantastic work. Go get em, Ron!!!!


Plant-strong E2'er Ron Pierce

Plant-strong E2'er, Ron Pierce


Dear Rip,
At 73 years I have eaten herds of cattle, flocks of fowls, and schools of fish, but this spring when I heard about “The Engine 2 Diet” and Rip Esselstyn on CBS Sunday Morning, I decided to change my eating habits.
Coming down from 225 pounds, I had hit a wall at 210 pounds. A change of eating was definitely called for. I decided that I could do anything for 28 days so I bought Rip’s book and started living off plants.
At the end of 28 days I did not want to return to meat or dairy. For the first time I was eating for my health, not just for my pleasure, and I was feeling better than I had in years. My weight started to drop along with my cholesterol, and I began my daily walk again.
For 15 years my doctors have tried every kind of cholesterol medicine, but every one caused my legs to hurt so painfully that jogging had become impossible, and even walking subjected me to falling down. After two months of eating plant food, I take a third of the prescribed medication, my cholesterol count is under control, and walking is no longer painful. Today I even jogged a little. Of course, your doctor’s close supervision is important, but my doctor is happy with the improvements in my body.

Ron Pierce
Luray,  VA

More exciting E2 Food Logs!!!

I  just love seeing the wonderful variety of plant-strong foods people are eating out there. I also am interested and amused with all of the observations people are making.  Here is a sampling of more fun E2 food logs.




Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Raymond,  Japan
Submit Date: 6/18/09
Breakfast: 1) One Fuji apple. 2) Steamed vegetables: carrots, spinach, red peppers topped withBob’s Red Mill organic flaxseed meal.
Lunch: 1) Hummus-Guacamole mixed with fresh tomatoes, onions, & garlic. 2) Quinoa 3) Tossed salad with fresh romaine lettuce, Japanese daikon, carrots, tomatoes, & red peppers topped with E2 Basics Dressing 4) Baked potatoe 5) Frozen blueberry & fresh mango desert
Dinner: 1) Steamed vegetables: carrots, spinach, red peppers topped with Bob’s Red Mill organic flaxseed meal. 2) Black beans 3) Quinoa
Daily Activity: 45 minute jog doing dumbell exercises off & on and 10 minutes of Carl Sandberg Stretches.
Snacks: Grapefruit
Daily Observation: I have lost almost 2 kilos in 5 days of the E2 Diet & exercising. I also released weight several times today on the throne.
Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: judy,  United States
Submit Date: june 21, 2009
Breakfast: lemon cornmeal pancakes, blueberries, tomato juice
Lunch: red lentils, brown rice, kale, TVP, cantalope
Dinner: whole wheat pasta, TVP, carrotts, squash, green pepper, onion, broccoli medley, pineapple
Daily Activity: active, walked 4 miles, gardened 1 hour
Snacks: 10 almonds, 4 fig newtons (healthy)……6 regular choc chip cookies!!!!!
Daily Observation: had a good day until after supper when the cookies came calling!!!!! one just called for more.was not hungry and don’t know why i ate them


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Toni, United States
Submit Date: 06/16/09
Breakfast: oatmeal with soy milk
Lunch: homemade Macaroni and “cheese” with lentil and bean chili
Dinner: Triple delight from local Chinese restaurant (part of their vegan menu) I also had tofu veggie soup.
Daily Activity: walk
Snacks: watermelon, raisins, tangerine
Daily Observation: I loved the vegan menu at the local Chinese restaurant. It had veggie beef, chicken and shrimp in a wonderful sauce. I wish I had the recipe. I am happy I have leftovers for tomorrow.


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Tresha, United States
Submit Date: 06052009
Breakfast: 6:15 a.m. Rip’s big cereal bowl, with water, dried cranberries, walnuts, wheat germ, ground flax seed, cinnamon.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. Leftover garden salad (with avocado) from Upper Crust Bakery. Small conainter of mixed fruit (blueberries, grapes, pineapple, strawberries) for dessert (fromWhole Foods Market).
Dinner: 6:00 p.m. Gnocci with 365 pasta sauce. Salad: organic romaine lettuce, organic grape tomatoes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, some crushed crackers (Dr Kracker 3-seed crackers). No dressing. One Kashi chewy oatmeal chocolate cookie.
Daily Activity: 15,846+ steps (not yet finished), 11,756 aerobic (105 minutes), 611 calories burned, 8.5 miles
Snacks: 10:00 a.m. 2 pieces of Ezekiel Cinnamon and Raisin bread, toasted with peanut butter. 3:30 p.m. 1 piece of licorice
Daily Observation: still want sugar

What is the REAL skinny on cholesterol lowering drugs?

This article is from the Whitaker Wellness Institute newsletter. I like the whole article but especially  how Dr. Julian Whitaker explains the ACTUAL statistics on the benefits of statins. It’s called “number needed to treat,” or NNT, and it explains the number of patients who would need to be treated with a medical therapy in order to prevent one bad outcome. This is must reading for all those taking statins or thinking about taking statins. 

Our Cholesterol Obsession
Our obsession with cholesterol began in the 1950s when studies linked high consumption of animal fat with high rates of heart disease. This opened the door for clinical trials that laid the foundation of a new paradigm: the cholesterol theory of 
cardiovascular disease.

This theory has had profound ramifications. It changed the way we eat (fats bad, carbohydrates good) and contributed to our problems with obesity and diabetes. It wormed its way into clinical practice guidelines–cholesterol management has become a “standard of care” that doctors are expected to follow. It spawned the invasive heart surgery industry, based on the presumption that cholesterol-laden blockages must be bypassed or propped open. And it led to the creation of the best-selling class of medications in history: cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, which generate more than $15 billion in worldwide sales every year.

But it’s all a house of cards. No matter what you’ve been led to believe, a high cholesterol level is not a reliable sign of an impending heart attack. In fact, growing numbers of experts question whether cholesterol matters at all. As for statin drugs, for most of the 40 million Americans recommended to take them for the rest of their lives, they’re an ineffective, expensive, side effect–riddled fraud.

Statin-Free Zone
When a patient taking Lipitor, Zocor, or another statin drug comes to
Whitaker Wellness, we discontinue it at once. “But my cholesterol level is 240.” “My doctor told me I’ll have a heart attack if I don’t take this drug.” “My father died of heart disease, so I have to take it.” I’ve heard all these justifications and more, and I still recommend that my patients get off statins. Here’s why.

First, they’re not very effective. These drugs do lower cholesterol, but so what? We’re not treating lab numbers. We’re treating patients, and the ultimate goal in cholesterol management is to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Except for a very limited number of people, there is absolutely no evidence that statins protect against heart attack or premature death.

Are you over age 65? Not a single study suggests you’ll receive any benefits, even if your cholesterol goes down substantially. A woman of any age? Same story. A man younger than 65 who has never had a heart attack? Ditto, no help at all. For middle-aged men who have had a heart attack, statins may lower risk of a repeat heart attack, but that’s the extent of it.

I know this is hard to buy in light of the multiple drug advertisements and glowing endorsements from doctors. But keep in mind that pharmaceutical companies do a superb job of pulling the wool over the eyes of consumers and physicians alike by withholding unfavorable study results and making false, misleading, and often deceptive claims.

A Statistic We Can Understand
That’s why I want to step around confusing statistics and tell you about an easy-to-understand measure that you’ll never hear about in drug ads. It’s called “number needed to treat,” or NNT, and it describes the number of patients who would need to be treated with a medical therapy in order to prevent one bad outcome.

Lipitor ads claim that it reduces risk of heart attack by 36 percent. Sounds pretty good until you look at the fine print, do the math, and figure out that the drug’s NNT is 100. This means that 100 people must be treated with Lipitor in order for just one heart attack to be prevented. The other 99 people taking the drug receive no benefit.

To put this into perspective, the NNT of antibiotics for treating H. pylori, the underlying cause of stomach ulcers, is 1.1. These drugs knock out the bacteria in 10 out of 11 people who take it, making them a reliable, cost-effective therapy. At the other end of the spectrum are statins, which as a class have an NNT of 100, 250, 500, or higher depending on the study you look at. What a deal for drugs that can cost more than a thousand bucks a year and are almost guaranteed to cause problems.

Goodbye Drugs, So Long Symptoms
Statins lower cholesterol by suppressing the activity of an enzyme in the liver involved in the production of cholesterol. But this enzyme has multiple functions, including the synthesis of coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is a key player in the metabolic processes that energize our cells. No wonder statin users often suffer from fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, and even heart failure–the cells are simply running out of juice.

The second most frequent adverse effects of statins are problems with memory, mood, suicidal behavior, and neurological issues. Other common complaints include sexual dysfunction, and liver and digestive problems. Symptoms range from minor (achiness, forgetfulness) to serious (complete but temporary amnesia, permanent memory loss) to lethal (congestive heart failure, rhabdomyolysis or complete muscle breakdown). One statin drug, Baycol, was taken off the market a few years ago after it caused dozens of deaths from rhabdomyolysis. Several studies have also linked statin drugs with an increased risk of cancer.

Because physicians rarely warn of these side effects, few patients suspect their drugs may be the reason they begin feeling bad–and it’s often a revelation when they put two and two together. Simply discontinuing these medications can result in tremendous improvements in health and well-being. Texas cardiologist Peter Langsjoen, MD, published a study showing that when symptomatic patients got off their statins and started taking 240 mg of CoQ10 per day, they had significant decreases in fatigue, myalgias (muscle aches), dyspnea (shortness of breath), memory loss, and/or peripheral neuropathy.

E2 Success Story from State College, Pennsylvania

A big E2 shout out to Svend Pedersen from PA! Svend decided to buck the meat, dairy, cheese, and eggs and now has the vitality of men half his age. Go Svend, go!!!!

My journey to a plant strong lifestyle likely mirrors others who’ve started their path before me … my epiphany came when going through initial station training as a volunteer firefighter where I learned that the majority of firefighter line of duty deaths were due to cardiac disease. While an interesting tidbit in and of itself, coupled with turning 50, retiring after a 24+ year career as a Naval Flight Officer, and establishing myself in a second career, and beginning to enter the fire service, I took a good look at myself and noted with some dismay that I needed to make changes in my lifestyle choices if I wanted to enjoy the quality of life I was used to. No longer representing my country every time I put on my uniform and the requirements of finding and establishing myself in a new career, I found less and less time to exercise, eat properly, and started putting everything else, big or small, before my family and myself. It was time to change.

As a former college athlete, I am used to eating for performance, or, more accurately, thought I was. The standard paradigm of ‘more protein, more better,’ and a workout regime required to compete at the Division I level appeared to work well and ingrained what I know now to be unsustainable eating habits - especially when combined with the demands of a family and a career. Every year, the squadon’s flight surgeon would caution me about my cholesterol levels and borderline hypertension, and every year I would make the changes required to remain cleared to fly but, not unlike my eating habits, those changes were unsustainable and designed for the short term. My current family doctor gave me the same warnings and fortunately no longer looking at my physician as the person who could ground me, but a partner in my health, and along with the other milestones mentioned earlier, I finally listened. After a few fits and starts, and seeing the necessity of change while going through the state’s Fire fighter I certification training program, I happened upon the E2 Diet. Frankly, the ‘firefighter’ and ‘world class athlete’ thing caught my initial attention, and the menu examples in the article held it long enough to order the book. After my initial read I was convinced a plant centric diet made sense - and with much to gain and little to lose I committed to the 28 day challenge.

The start of the 28 day challenge occurred at a ‘perfect storm’ of increasing job requirements, ramping up training for the FF I test, and several major family events that took a great deal of my time and precluded me expending much effort and thought to preplanning my diet, weekly meal schedule and grocery shopping. By following the general rules outlined in the book, I was able to ‘ala carte’ my way through 28 days with tasty meals and snacks that were satiating, easy to prepare and only required a little thought and care to prepare.

I’m pleased with the results of my first step on this journey. Objectively, I Iost a total of 17 pounds over the 28 days - without ever measuring portions, feeling hungry, or dramatically changing my workouts. My cholesterol levels went from a total of 265 (HDL 49/LDL 164/Triglycerides 262) to a total of 199 ( HDL 46/LDL 131/Triglycerides 111). Subjectively, I feel better with noticeably increased energy levels while exercising or performing the duties of a firefighter. During my FF1 certification test (ironically on the 28th day of the challenge) I performed equal to, or better, than firemen half my age while spending 8+ hours on the training round, routinely in full turnout gear and SCBA, while performing physically and mentally challenging tasks/scenarios. A sobering reminder occurred that day when a fellow firefighter, a man in his 30’s, experienced chest pains while performing a ventilation station/roof cut test. It’s not always the ‘other guy’ and this one hit home in a way aviation mishaps or tales of former athletes with health issues did not.

Bottom Line: By eating tasty, satisfying, easily prepared foods, I took control of my health, improved the quality of my life, and embarked on a plant strong lifestyle and journey … one I look forward to continuing.
Thanks Rip!

Is Eating Meat Natural??


Is meat a natural?

Meat. A natural?

Below are some great talking points and ammo you can fire back when that obnoxious uncle tries to justify his meat eating ways with a silly comment like, “why else were we given canines.”

Here is an article by Kathy Freston on why she thinks, “Eating meat is a relatively recent phenomenon in human evolution. And our bodies have never adapted to it.”

Going through the reader feedback on some of my recent articles, I noticed the frequently stated notion that eating meat was an essential step in human evolution. While this notion may comfort the meat industry, it’s simply not true, scientifically. 

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus at Cornell University and author of The China Study (please check out the link), explains that in fact, we only recently (historically speaking) began eating meat, and that the inclusion of meat in our diet came well after we became who we are today. He explains that “the birth of agriculture only started about 10,000 years ago at a time when it became considerably more convenient to herd animals. This is not nearly as long as the time [that] fashioned our basic biochemical functionality (at least tens of millions of years) and which functionality depends on the nutrient composition of plant-based foods.” 

That jibes with what Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine President Dr. Neal Barnard says in his book, The Power of Your Plate, in which he explains that “early humans had diets very much like other great apes, which is to say a largely plant-based diet, drawing on foods we can pick with our hands. Research suggests that meat-eating probably began by scavenging — eating the leftovers that carnivores had left behind. However, our bodies have never adapted to it. To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems.”  

There is no more authoritative source on anthropological issues than paleontologist Dr. Richard Leakey, who explains what anyone who has taken an introductory physiology course might have discerned intuitively — that humans are herbivores. Leakey notes that “[y]ou can’t tear flesh by hand, you can’t tear hide by hand … We wouldn’t have been able to deal with food source that required those large canines” (although we have teeth that are called “canines,” they bear little resemblance to the canines of carnivores).  

Click here for the full article:

Obama pledges to quickly sign anti-smoking bill

Below are the main things the anti-smoking bill would do to diminish cigarette usage and help the health care crisis. Let’s brain storm and think about what we could legislate with a similar  bill with meat, dairy, eggs, and refined foods. Food for thought and health??

Excerpts from JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer 

Under this bill:

• Cigarette packages will have warning labels that cover 50 percent of the front and rear. The word “warning” must be included in capital letters.

• Any remaining tobacco-related sponsorships of sports and entertainment events will be banned, as will giveaways of non-tobacco items with the purchase of a tobacco product. A federal ban will be imposed on alloutdoor tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.

• Point-of-sale advertising will be limited to adults-only facilities, and remaining vending machines will disappear except in places restricted to adults. Retailers who sell to minors will be subject to federal enforcement and penalties.

• Smokers, particularly the younger crowd, will find they can no longer buy cigarettes sweetened by candy flavors or any herb or spices such as strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon or vanilla. Cigarettes advertised as “light” or “mild,” giving the impression that they aren’t as harmful to health, will no longer be found on store shelves.

With an estimated 3,500 young people smoking their first cigarette each day, the ban on flavorings alone could have significant health benefits, said Dr. Adam Goldstein, director of the University of North Carolina Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program.

He said it was not inconceivable that adult smokers, now more than 20 percent of the population, could be reduced to less than 5 percent in 20 years.

Other factors that could cut into tobacco use include the sharp rise in prices — Congress earlier this year approved a 62-cent a pack increase in the federal cigarette tax to pay for a children’s health program — and measures by the states to ban smoking in public places.

New FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said the agency was ready to “roll up our sleeves” to meet the new obligations.

The Senate passed the FDA bill on Thursday by a 79-17 vote and the House followed suit on Friday, with a 307-97 vote.

Marlboro maker Philip Morris USA, the nation’s largest tobacco company, came out in support of the bill, saying it was behind tough but fair regulation. Its chief rivals were opposed, saying that FDA restrictions on new products would lock in Philip Morris’ share of the market.

Costs of the new program will be paid for by a new user fee imposed on the industry. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that assessments could rise from $235 million in 2010 to $712 million in 2019.


My interview with Joshua Katcher of The Discerning Brute!

DBTV: Plant Strong! Texas Firefighter, Rip Esselstyn of “The Engine 2 Diet”

Rip Esselstyn lives in Texas. He’s a firefighter, a triathlete, and author of the book “The Engine 2 Diet“, which started out as a 28-day challenge to lower the cholesterol of his fire crew (some with digits in the 340s!), and ended up giving them all (and hundreds of other Austin, Texas firefighters) much more than they bargained for! I chatted with Rip the other day about his book and how it’s changing people’s lives in under 30 days. We talked about everything from amazing pizza recipes, to boners, sports and manliness. Check it out:

The Heart Attack Grill. You won’t believe your eyes or your arteries!!!

“A meal to die for” aired this morning on The CBS Early Morning Show.  This is both humorous and very sad.

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What is the answer to the health care/obesity crisis? Plant-Strong Nutrition!!!



Plant-strong and lean David vs. S.A.D.-weak and tubby David

We will not legislate ourselves out of the health care/obesity crisis. That makes absolutely zero sense. The only way to get ourselves out of this crisis is one PLANT-STRONG bite at a time!!! Spread the word and make it happen…get a friend or family member to jump on board the plant-healthy wagon and we CAN deliver a knock out blow to this ridiculous crisis.

Check out this incredible graph on the obesity epidemic and watch how the graph populates itself over the last 20 years.…