My Plantcentric Journey

Archive for May, 2013

Interview with Rip Esselstyn – My Beef with Meat & 2 Recipes


About the book:

For the millions who are following a plant-based diet, as well as those meat-eaters who are considering it, MY BEEF WITH MEAT is the definitive guide to convincing all that it’s truly the best way to eat! New

York Times Bestselling author of The Engine 2 Diet and nutrition lecturer Rip Esselstyn, is back and ready to arm readers with the knowledge they need to win any argument with those who doubt the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Esselstyn reveals information on the foods that most people believe are healthy, yet that scientific research shows are not. Some foods, in fact, he deems so destructive they deserve a warning label.

Want to prevent heart attacks, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s? Then learn the facts and gain the knowledge to convince those skeptics that they are misinformed about plant-base diets, for instance:

 • You don’t need meat and dairy to have strong bones or get enough protein

• You get enough calcium and iron in plants

• The myth of the Mediterranean diet

• There is a serious problem with the Paleo diet

• If you eat plants, you lose weight and feel great

MY BEEF WITH MEAT proves the Engine 2 way of eating can optimize health and ultimately save lives and includes more than 145 delicious recipes to help readers reach that goal.

About Rip:

Rip Esselstyn 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 order to rescue a firefighting brother’s health. To document his success he wrote the national bestselling book, The Engine 2 Diet, which shows the irrefutable connection between a plant-based diet and good health.

Recently Rip left his job as a firefighter to team up with Whole Foods Market as one of their Healthy Eating Partners to raise awareness for Whole Foods employees, customers, and communities about the benefits of eating a plant-strong diet. He has appeared on hundreds of radio shows as well as national television shows, including the Today show, CBS Sunday Morning Show, Good Morning America, and The Dr. Oz Show.

Rip lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Jill Kolasinski and their two beautiful children, Kole and Sophie.

Why did you write this book?

I’ve discovered that there is a HUGE disconnect between what people think is healthy and what medical science knows to be healthy; for example, people have been bamboozled into believing that olive oil, Greek yogurt, chicken, and fish are healthy. Many people think the diet of the day is salmon, low fat dairy, and olive oil, washed down with a glass of red wine and a Lipitor pill for good measure. This is how confused, distracted, and off-course we have gotten–because this is

NOT a good diet!

This book explains to plant eaters and meat eaters alike why a whole food, plant-strong diet rocks on a jillion different levels, hence the subtitle: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet. The primary driving force behind the book was to delve deeper into the major myths that keep surfacing about eating plants, such as: “You won’t get enough protein”, “You won’t get enough calcium”, “Eating plants is too expensive”, “Real men (and women) eat meat”, “Olive oil is heart-healthy”, and “Moderation in everything.”

The book shows how wrong each of these myths is. It gives the reader real science, not fad-diet talk. One of the titles we thought about was “How to Win an Argument with a Meat-eater” and believe me, after reading this book, you will never lose another argument with a carnivore again.

By the way, once you’ve won the argument, you can start cooking up any one of the 140 lipsmacking, rib-sticking outrageously good recipes to prove your point with food as well as with words.

There are some controversial things you tackle in this book, like The Paleo Diet. Why did you decide to address that specific diet?

The two big dueling diets right now are paleo and planteo. I believe that the paleo diet is just a good gimmick. The paleo people have taken the South Beach/Atkins diets and put a little spin on it. There are some positives with paleo, such as no refined or processed foods, and no dairy products. But any diet that promotes animal products with saturated fats, and animal protein isn’t promoting health. The consensus among the researchers who have studied the diets of humans in paleo times have said that at least 80 percent of their food was plant-based. Yes, they ate some animals, but we’ve evolved since then, we’re smarter; we do not need, want, or get healthy from animal products. Back in the day, you would do anything you could to get calories into your body–it was a matter of survival. But in this day and age, you can go down the street to any grocery store and get all that you need without resorting to animal flesh. An interesting article in US News & World Report in 2011 reviewed many different popular diets and decided that the one people should avoid is the paleo diet.

What about the people who say that they get results from a paleo diet?

That’s because the Standard American Diet (SAD) is such an abomination you will get good results when switching to any diet that is even remotely healthier. If you want to get to the next step, cut out the meat!

There are a couple of chapters that talk about how plant-strong can make you stronger in the bedroom. Why do plants help in that department?

Plants help in a number of ways. When you are eating meat/dairy/processed foods, your arteries clog up. Believe it or not, the smallest artery men have is the artery to the penis, so it’s not surprising that one of the first signs of heart disease is erectile dysfunction (ED). When you start eating a plant-strong diet, you begin to metabolize away some of the fat/cholesterol that you’ve built up, and you start to restore your endothelial lining. As my dad (Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn) likes to say, “Endothelial cells are the life jacket of your vascular system.” They are the inner lining of our 65,000 miles of vessels. When you bring them back to life, they produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide allows those vessels to open up. When that happens, it allows for more blood flow, which is key to a great erection.

Interestingly, the one area that we have more endothelial cells per unit volume is the male penis. It’s amazing how many guys e-mail us and tell us about their ED going away. Likewise, women experience similar success. When they cut out the animal products and processed junk foods, they have increased blood flow to the clitoris and surrounding tissues, which creates lubrication. We’ve also received hundreds of e-mails from women telling us about their new, healthier sex life as a result of going plant-strong.

So remember guys and gals plant-strong makes you pant-strong!

Do your kids like eating this way?

My kids, Kole and Sophie, do not like eating this way–they LOVE eating this way! They have no interest in eating anything from animals. If they find out that cake and ice-cream offered to them has things like eggs, butter or milk they politely decline. Kole and Sophie love mangoes, grapefruit, brown rice, baked tofu, peanut butter on whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, cheese-less whole grain pizza and banana ice-cream. Kole was hungry, and I told him I’d give him anything he wanted. Guess what he asked for…. he asked for broccoli!

What about athletes–can they be plant-strong?

Yes they can and should be plant-strong. It is the absolute dope when it comes to taking your athletic performance to the next level. When I was a full time triathlete, I was guilty of taking performance enhancing…… foods. They are nature’s legal performance enhancing drugs! Plants give you an abundance of protein, water, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that support your body after training. Plants are loaded with clean, unprocessed carbs that will replace depleted glycogen stores in your muscle and liver–allowing you to train harder, adapt faster, and improve quicker.

Plants give you a dose of alkaline, and anti-inflammatory substances that protect you from the stresses of long training days. Plants give you a clear head that will allow you to focus like a laser beam. Plants give you youthful arteries that will improve blood flow to all of your working muscles for maximum oxygen uptake. Plants strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy and free from illness. Plants give you a lean and muscular body that doesn’t carry excessive weight. When you are eating plant-strong, you are getting unprocessed carbs, healthy fats, plant-proteins, fiber and anti oxidants — all of the things that your body relishes and craves and takes your performance to the next level.

What else do you have a beef with?

The huge disconnect with what people think is healthy and what we actually know to be healthy. This creates confusion and distraction. The answer is so incredibly simple. Eat more whole plantbased foods!

I have a beef with dairy.

I have a beef with processed/refined foods.

I have a beef with the Mediterranean diet.

I have a beef with drinking your calories.

I have a beef with olive oil and ALL other extracted oils.

I have a beef with supplements.

I have a beef with the belief that carbs are the devil.

I have a beef with the myth that soy is evil.

I have a beef with “everything in moderation.”

But — I have no beef with plants!

Bri Guy’s Reuben on Rye


Prep time/Cook time: 30 minutes

Makes: 4 sandwiches


8 oz. tempeh or for lower fat version, use Portobello mushroom slices.

. cup tamari

8 oz. silken tofu

1/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup pickle relish

1 cup fresh spinach

1 jar sauerkraut, your favorite

Rye bread, one loaf or for gluten free version use brown rice bread or millet bread.


1. Preheat over to 350 degrees

2. Slice tempeh in half vertically and then horizontally, thus making four, thin square patties

3. Pour tamari over tempeh and marinate for a few minutes, time permitting

4. Place tempeh on a no-stick pan or on parchment paper and cook for 15 minutes

5. In a bowl, mix tofu, ketchup and relish until it looks like a tofu-based 1000 Island dressing

6. Toast rye bread until desired crispiness

7. Spread with tofu-based 1000 Island dressing

8. Add a layer of sauerkraut, tempeh, then spinach

9. Cut in half and serve


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

photo (40)-L (1)-Ti

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Makes: 4 large quesadillas


1 large sweet potato

1 cup brown rice, cooked

8 oz. vegetarian, no added oil, re-fried beans

1 cup of salsa

1 cup fresh spinach

8 oz. black beans, drained and rinsed

. teaspoon onion powder

. teaspoon chili powder

. teaspoon cumin

1 jalapeño pepper, diced (optional and HOT)

6-8 whole wheat tortillas



1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper

3. An hour before you plan to eat, peel and

quarter the sweet potatoes

4. Bake sweet potatoes in the oven for 45

minutes to one hour, until soft

5. In the meantime, prepare rice in a rice

cooker or on stove top as directed

6. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and toss

into a mixing bowl

7. Mash sweet potatoes with the salsa, rice and

fresh spinach

8. Place sweet potato mash in a sauce pan and

mix in black beans and refried beans,

heating mixture thoroughly over medium


9. Add onion powder, chili powder and cumin

to taste and stir

10.Place a tortilla in a frying pan on medium

heat, and slather the side facing up with

sweet potato and bean mixture

11.Add jalapenos if desired

12.Place another whole wheat tortilla on top

13.Press down on top tortilla with spatula with

pan on medium heat for about 3 minutes

14.Flip with spatula and cook for another

three minutes

15.Voila! Cut into desired number of sections

16.Serve topped with salsa.

Tip: also try this with black-eyed peas instead of

the black beans or any other favorite beans.


What the world eats — a week’s worth of groceries –

Take a look at the pictures of what others eat around the world, compared to what the average American eats.

Millions rally around the world in March Against Monsanto – photos from Austin, Texas

Has anyone seen coverage of this in the mainstream media? I have not, but have been so busy that I haven’t been watching the news.

Watch “Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much is Safe?” on YouTube

When Vegan Is Not Enough! Jeff Novick, RD

Boy, is this interesting!  Read Jeff Npbick’s take on why eating vegan doesn’t work to improve everyone’s health.

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