Rip Esselstyn is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who is one of the two doctors who are the driving force behind Forks over Knives. Dr. Esselstyn took heart patients who were given a "6-month-to-live notice" and put them on his eating program. All of his patients are still alive 20 years later. His son, Rip, was a top-ten triathlete in the US, making his living from this sport. He started eating plant-strong in 1987 and took his life-style to his first "real job" of being a fire fighter. His story is related in his book "The Engine 2 Diet." He told us that 10% of his job was actually fighting fires and that 90% of his job was fighting the effects of "western disease" (heart attacks, etc.)
Rip began his talk with a picture of a Jiffy Pop package (the kind one holds over a camp fire by the wire handle on the package) and asked anyone if they knew what that represented. The answer: a redneck smoke detector! LOL He then stated that when we eat the SAD (standard American diet) we are playing with fire. The SAD is comprised of: 58% processed foods--no nutrient integrity to it. 30% animal products, 12% plants, 1/2 of which is french fries. Summary--We as a country are plant weak and riddled with disease because of the SAD.
Rip described the 5 major diseases that plague the American population--he called it a 5-headed dragon:
1. Heart disease, which comprises 50% of disease of adults in the US. He said that82% of vegans can heal themselves.
2. Prostate cancer and
3. Breast cancer
4. Type 2 diabetes--a life-style created disease
5. Obesity crisis
He discussed some of what we eat in the US as follows:
•Red meat contains 70 mg. cholesterol per 3 oz.
•Fish and chicken contain 50 mg cholesterol per 3 oz.
•Eggs-- 1 yolk has 212 mg. cholesterol per egg, the same as 2 Whoppers
•He called yogurt "runny meat"--said it leaches calcium and it contains casein which is a problematic protein
• Milk he called "liquid meat" and showed us how 1% mile really has 25% fat and that whole meat is 50% fat.
He concluded by asking us to "Make Health a Habit." To do so we need:
•and to Surround ourselves with Great Food
Rip's talk set the stage for the rest of the weekend. By then we were drawn in to the fact that eating "normally" in the US is a factor in the insidious weight gain so many of us are dealing with, not to mention the health issues. The snacks we were eating while he was talking were plant-strong and very yummy! The meal that we had right after his talk was terrific and not weird--no tofu, no "stick and twigs," and not dry or tasteless. So we were ready to consider seriously what was to come next.
BTW, here's a photo of a dinner that I fixed recently that is plant-strong, meeting all the parameters of Forks over Knives, with no oil, whole grains and lots of veggies. This easy meal--taking 10 minutes to prepare--was demonstrated at the weekend immersion.