Rip Esselstyn releases updated ‘Plant-Strong’ book

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Rip Esselstyn, the former Austin firefighter who promotes a “clean eating” lifestyle through his Engine 2 Diet, is releasing a slightly different version of his last book, complete with new recipes and a new title.

“Plant-Strong: Discover the World’s Healthiest Diet” (Grand Central Life & Style trade paperback; $15.99), a paperback version of “My Beef With Meat,” includes 150 “Engine 2” recipes, along with tips and anecdotes to encourage readers to eat a diet that’s more plant-based than processed.

The book hits store shelves Dec. 29. Esselstyn, a former professional triathlete who swims on the same swim team I do at Western Hills Athletic Club, will make appearances Jan. 4 and 5 at Austin Whole Foods.

If you’re not familiar with it, the Engine 2 program isn’t about quick weight loss. It’s about eating a plant-hearty, meat-free diet without added oil. Esselstyn says it helps protect against cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

I wrote about the diet years ago, taking blood tests before, during and afterward to see how it affected my cholesterol levels. The short answer? My cholesterol levels dropped significantly the first two weeks after I started following the program, then leveled off.

My problem, though, was sticking to the program 100 percent. I did take away some really good tips, like sauteeing in veggie broth instead of butter or oil and making my own hummus.

Esselstyn teamed with Whole Foods Market in 2009 and now travels the world promoting the Engine 2 lifestyle.

The book includes recipes for savory shiitake and cheese oats, Toby’s Thai spring rolls, kale bruschetta, butternut barley soup and apple-cardamom flapjack crumble.


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