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A Whole New Way to Eat
A Whole New Way to Eat

A Whole New Way to Eat

Rip Esselstyn is passionate about eating plants. And he wants all of us to eat more of them. A former world-class professional triathlete and firefighter, Rip is the son, grandson, and great-grandson of renowned physicians. “I grew up in a family where we ate everything under the sun—ice cream, soda pop, pork chops,” Rip says.

“Then my father started researching how to prevent and reverse heart disease. He found that cultures in rural China, Japan, and Central Africa that didn’t have heart disease and stroke all had one thing in common: they ate a primarily plant-based diet. No meat, no processed foods, no dairy.”

Is plant-based right for you?

The idea of not having hamburgers and chicken can be difficult for many people to consider. And when you need to give up cheese and other dairy products too…well, it can be easy to dismiss the idea completely. But there are really good reasons to try it—or to make plants and whole foods a bigger part of your diet.

Well-established studies have shown that eating plants is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. If you already have one of these health issues, a whole foods, plant-based diet can help you control it and possibly even reduce your need for medication.*

Eating plants pays off!

Rip wrote a bestselling book, The Engine 2 Diet, about introducing a whole foods, plant-based diet to his fellow firefighters in Austin, Texas and the dramatic effect it had on their health. The book outlines a 28-day challenge that you can try to see if a plant-based diet works for you. Earlier this year, almost 100 Blue Cross employees tried the diet and the results were great:

  • Over 50% of participants reduced their LDL (bad) cholesterol between 10 and 53 points.
  • Over 75% of participants lost between 2 and 14 pounds.
  • 65 percent of participants are still following the diet now that the challenge is over.

If you try the 28-day challenge, we’d love to hear your story! Use our feedback form.

Enjoy delicious Engine 2 Diet recipes

What to eat on a plant-based diet

  • Vegetables
    All kinds, from spinach and broccoli to squash and potatoes
  • Whole grains
    100% whole-wheat breads and pastas, quinoa, oats, & more
  • Legumes
    Beans, lentils, soy-based foods (such as tofu), & more
  • Fruits
    All kinds, from apples and oranges to watermelon and kiwi
  • Nuts (not more than a handful a day)
    All kinds, plus nut-based yogurts and milks
  • Seeds (sparingly)
    All kinds, from sunflower to flaxseed

What not to eat on a plant-based diet

  • Red meat
  • Chicken/poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Processed foods (such as white bread and crackers)
  • Oils
  • Alcohol

*If you have a medical condition, please check with a healthcare professional before trying a plant-based diet or making any other major changes to your diet.