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The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,403 ratings  ·  307 reviews
Lose weight, lower cholesterol, significantly reduce the risk of disease, and become physically fit--in just 4 weeks.

Professional athlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn is used to responding to emergencies. So, when he learned that some of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, TX, were in dire physical condition-several had dangerously high cholesterol levels (th
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 25th 2009 by Grand Central Life Style (first published 2009)
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Start your review of The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds
Corinne Severn
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the second "diet" book I have read about the vegan lifestyle. The first was "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman. This book by Rip Esselstyn is very good for providing information about health benefits of following a "plant-strong" diet, but does not overdo the preachiness. In addition to laying out two options for following a 28-day vegetable-based diet (one with meat-based protein allowed in the early portion of the diet), he also provides a good set of exercises that require no special equip ...more
Jenn Hovis
Jun 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I think a plant based diet, or at least incoperating veganism into meals on a weekly basis is an important step towards health, healing individually and even environmentally. I found this book to be more geared towards dieting and weight loss. His stance differs than many vegans in that he advises no oils, no fats-including fats from avocados and nuts. He states that when his clients aren't losing weight he usually finds out they are still consuming oils/nuts, and when they stop they lose weight ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
THE ENGINE 2 DIET is NOT another fad! It's not a diet either. It's an eating regimen that promises to prevent and/or reverse heart disease;
prevent and/or reverse cancer; prevent and reverse obesity. Watching FORKS OVER KNIVES introduced me to this information while this book drives home the emphatic realization that I must now decide...

do I choose the final third of my life (currently 66) to be vitally healthy and active right up through 100 or do I choose to spend these next 25-30 years ingesti
Just finishing up Day 5 of a 28 day Engine 2 Challenge that I am doing with Whole Foods--employees and customers and read the book to get familiar with the concepts. Author Rip Esselstyn is a firefighter and triathlete and came up with the plan after a fellow firefighter had dangerously-high cholesterol levels. The Engine 2 shift went on the "plant strong"(basically vegan) diet/plan for 4 weeks and had dramatic changes in their weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. Although he is not a docto ...more
Linda B
Aug 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Engine 2 Diet is written by a firefighter who, following studies done by his medical doctor father, did a study of 13 firefighters and 2 civilians with the twenty-eight day plant-based Engine 2 diet. All were able to reduce their cholesterol, some significantly.

The book covers food myths, case testimonials, target BP & BMI, and how to read food labels. There is a section with basic cardiovascular exercises such as jumping jacks and step-ups. The exercise section is short, but covers all bod
Linda Hart
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for anyone who wants to lower cholesterol, build strength and endurance, lose weight and improve overall health. The recipes are very short, with some new but easy to find ingredidients, and I have prepared several of them which we've enjoyed and which I'll prepare again. Even if you don't want to do the 28 day diet, you can still use the basics to eat healthier every day. ...more
Apr 19, 2011 rated it liked it
3 and a half stars and rounding down even though I know it's not mathematically correct....3 for the "diet" part of the book; 4 for the recipes, which are pretty good. I really enjoyed the mac n no-cheese recipe and the quinoa and kale recipe. I got this book out at the library so I copied a few more recipes for later use :)

I don't think this book does a very good job of explaining how to lose weight. If you are currently eating McDonalds everyday, yeah, you'll lose weight using this book. The a
Caryn Boyd
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
My mother is a vegetarian and we both decided to try this diet after seeing it on Thee recommended diet changes have had a positive impact on her cholesterol levels and insulin requirements plus we're both losing weight.

My only critique is specific to a few recipes we didn't care for, however, we like most. Also, the portion size on many recipes is too large but we simply cut it down. We like to eat 5-6 times a day so Rip's snack recommendations are incorporated.

We may not stric
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read the China Study, which changed my life. Since I stopped eating animal products, many people have been skeptical about whether that is the healthiest thing to do. This book is a reaffirmation to me that a person can be super-healthy and enjoy life and health even more without unhealthy foods. There are lots of easy-to-follow recipes, and I love Rip's quick-read style of writing. I feel like there are tons of people out there trying to live life without eating animal products - Rip includes ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I give this book 5 stars for the message, 3 stars for the writing. My brother, who is a fireman, did the E2 diet at his firehouse and got hooked. After a very stressful year where I didn't take care of myself at all, I decide that I was ready to give this a try. I had read a lot of Michael Pollan's books and Fast Food Nation, etc and this book shows you how to transition to a healthy vegan diet that those books also, more or less, promote. I feel SO much better and am going to stick with this wa ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I would imagine that Rip would appeal to loads of people - and I guess his aim here is perhaps focus more on men who perhaps don't ever think about diet... as a firefighter Rip is fighting fire and bad health!

I like Rip, he seems delightful, and possibly quite forceful and also strong.... his recipes tho seem kinda unappealing (haven't tried any so could be way off) and seem aimed more at people that don't cook, as a recipe for pizza goes something like - buy a pizza base, buy pasta sauce - put
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Love it! I'm encouraged to continue with my veggie ways. What an uplifting book. I feel good just reading it. I think the recipes look reasonable in terms of my limited cooking abilities as well as tasty, which is important to me and to my family. I really like the phrase "plant-strong" rather than vegan or vegetarian or flexitarian or whatever. By saying I eat a plant-strong diet it helps me to keep the emphasis on all the good veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds that I love to eat. I've ...more
Rori Rockman
May 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I volunteer at my local fire department, and ironically, we had some required training regarding firefighter health and eating habits that I went through at the same time that I read this. The training emphasized how firefighters over the age of 40 had large waists and an average BMI of 29, and the doctors suggested that firefighters needed to do a better job of controlling portion sizes.

The reason I mention the training is because it gave me a new appreciation for this book. The suggestion to
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Perfect for : Personal Use

In a nutshell: This is a great book for anyone who needs to lose weight or lower their cholesterol. It is a pretty strict diet, eliminating dairy, processed foods and meat, but the author has provided explanations and the science behind why this diet works (this helps provide encouragement). He even says that if you don't do the entire diet, you can still use the basics to eat healthier every day. In my case, that is what I am trying to do. With two adults and a toddler
Kate Lawrence
Nov 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-issues
In case there is any lingering doubt that vegetarianism is for guys—and not only average guys, but tough athletic guys--here’s a book to dispel it. Esselstyn, an All-American swimmer and long-time professional triathlete, became a firefighter over ten years ago. To help his fellow firefighters reduce their life-threatening high cholesterol and overweight, he developed his Engine 2 Diet plan, based on research about plant-based diets done by his father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D. and Dr. Colin ...more
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Picked this up because it was referenced in a New Yorker profile of the CEO of Whole Foods, who apparently lives by this book but doesn't stock his stores by it.

The E2 diet plan turns out to be, like Skinny Bitch, secretly a vegan diet plan, though it rarely, if ever uses the term. Author Rip Esselstyn (is Rip seriously his real name?) prefers to describe his plan as "plant strong," and emphasizes the diet's compelling benefits for personal health and athletic performance rather than dwelling o
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, health
Rip Esselstyn is a former professional triathlete, now a firefighter in Austin, Texas. He is also the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who studied the relationship between heart disease and diet. When Rip began cooking plant-based meals at the firehouse, his fellow firefighters began to lose weight and lower their cholesterol and blood sugar.

This book provides a 28-day plan to change to a plant-based diet. It also contains recipes and success stories. The plan is fairly strict - it is a total pla
May 01, 2010 rated it liked it
I think this book would be a great start for anyone interested in losing weight. Unlike a lot of diet books, the recipes included are very short, with ingredients not too difficult to find. I didn't get a chance to try out any of the recipes because I checked this out from the library in NC and will be headed back to FL soon; however, the simplicity of the recipes was appealing. They aren't too intimidating for new cooks or people cooking on a budget.

I definitely want to try some of these recip
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had been wanting to read this book since seeing the author in Forks Over Knives, but when I found out he was coming to speak nearby I picked it up and read it up to the recipes. I've read a ton of books on a plant based life, and while I liked this book, I'd say it was a little too beginner for me. This book would be excellent for someone considering removing animal products from their life and want something simple to tell them how. He doesn't get too involved in the science involved, just gi ...more
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I guess you might say this is a book that proves that veganism really is for "people just like you and me." Rip Esselstyn, is a firefighter and athlete who took vegan cooking into the firehouse and dramatically and forever improved the health of many firefighters at his station. Rip, whose father--Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., who famously has done research on the benefits to the heart of plant-based diets--has now gone full-time into health education.

This book, E2D, is direct, easy-to-read,
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
After having read The China Study, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Skinny Bitch, Fast Food Nation, The Veganist, The Kind Diet, and watching Forks Over Knives, this book is similar to these titles. What made this book unique was the fact that it was written by a firefighter who offers plenty of firsthand accounts of how many health-related emergencies he witnesses appear to be related to a bad diet. The author, son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, is very knowledgeable and hopefully this book might persuade s ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Gordon
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
I don't think I was the target demographic for this book, which likely swayed my review. I don't have high cholesterol; my cholesterol is in the low end of the normal range. I like meat. *gasp* So if I like meat and don't need to lower my cholesterol, I'm not sure why I'd start an exclusively plant-based diet.

Sure, he gives all sorts of reasons why a plant-based diet is good for you, but let's admit that he focuses on lowering cholesterol. He also states that humans don't need that much protein
Oct 31, 2011 rated it liked it
The clothes don't fit, I'm tired, my blood pressure is still good despite family history, so it's time for a change before that changes. Also, I've had the benefit of having had genuine Southern BBQ very recently. Delicious, and I'm happy to say that I've had it.

I thought this was good, contained the basic information, and I think it would have been perfect for my brother (oh yeah, I sent it to him, but it didn't work out). Anyway, I can't believe that cutting out ALL animal foods (including egg
Lori Lakin Hutcherson
The plant-based diet advocated in the book is absolutely sound and the recipes included seem do-able and very much based on typical American cuisine (meatloaf, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, stir-fry). The way the information is presented is an incongruous mix of plain "blue collar" style anecdotes and technical health jargon, so it doesn't flow so simply as a read. But the bottom line is it's a good book, it stresses health, good eating and exercise, and doesn't present itself as a "get slim quick" ...more
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
The claims made about the benefits of Esselstyn's whole plant based diet border on the fantastic. The case study reports seem truly amazing.

But the payoff in health improvemnt, if the claims are true, would be truly life changing. What the heck, how hard could 28 days be, for such a great possible outcome. And it not like eating fruit and vegetables is going to hurt me.

After slightly more than 3 weeks, I've lost 13 pounds. Hmmm.....
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best nutrition books I have read in a while. Rip pulls together all of the latest research by all of the best modern nutritionist out there and ties it all together in a nice neat package. For him to nail down the exact numbers that our cholesterol needs to be to accomplish certain health goals is very helpful. There are some recipes in the book too and those are nice. I like the workout and fitness goals he proposes as well.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nutrition, cookbook
* I am reserving the right to change this review in the event that I take on the 28 day challenge presented in the pages of this book*

First and Foremost, Rip Esselstyn should be regarded as an expert in plant based eating. His Father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. is a an expert in cardiovascular health through the implementation of a Whole Foods plant based diet, and as such has past his wisdom down to this family and his patients.

Okay with that out of the way let's get to the book/ cookbook/ "s
Jun 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
this freaking book, with it's delicious freaking diet- has brought about a total of almost 40 pounds lost in our house (combined). so far. yeah, I want a cheeseburger, but my cholesterol was high, so I shouldn't have one anyways. The "voice" of the writer can be a little... irritating... but ignore it and read the recipes. ...more
Mandy Skinner
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this after seeing his father speak at Healthy Dublin seminar. I think the book is very good easy relatable recipes for a change. Most vegan cook books have all these ingredients that I have never heard of and are intimidating and this one was not like that at all. Plus he was an olympic swimmer and triathlete and fireman...... who says really men have to eat meat :)
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Rip Esselsyn was born in upstate New York, raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and educated at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a three-time All-American swimmer. After graduation Rip spent a decade as one of the premier triathletes in the world. He then joined the Austin Fire Department where he introduced his passion for a whole-food, plant-based diet to Austin’s Engine 2 Firehouse in orde ...more

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