One of the most well-known plant-based powerhouses came to Atlanta last week to talk about his new book, “My Beef with Meat.” Rip Esselstyn is a guru on eating in a healthy and compassionate way. The setting was very intimate where I felt like we were having a private conversation with Rip opposed to listening to a lecture. We were in the corner cafe of Whole Foods in Sandy Springs and there were about 30 people in attendance. The audience was so interactive that he didn’t even get through all of his talking points. He had a very sincere demeanor and was so personable when people asked questions; he made everyone feel quite at home even though he was the visitor. My husband, Kevin, and I are very familiar with the type of philosophy he follows because of the work of Rip’s father and T. Colin Campbell. So, to us, it felt like we were in church nodding our heads to the preacher spouting out the gospel.
Although Rip started his career as a firefighter, which is where the “Engine 2 Diet” stemmed from, he is now traveling, spreading his message about following a plant-based lifestyle. Rip described his job as “gallivanting around to different cities, pushing plants on people.” His plant-powered talk started off by telling us that we don’t have to be victims to our genes and that our genes are not our destiny. It was such a breath of fresh air to hear him say that, especially since our family doctor told my husband that his high blood pressure was genetic and he wouldn’t be able to ever come off his medicine (which is not true considering he’s down in the dosage level and he’s close to coming off of it for good, all thanks to a plant-based diet).
Rip went into the myths of eating plant-based foods, and unfortunately he only had time to go through 2 of the 6 points he wanted to make. We were having such a great conversation with him that we kept getting off topic and he never got back to his original speech. At one point, we even started talking about how Oreos have been proven to be more addictive than cocaine in recent studies. Rip wound up covering the myths about protein and calcium and how he isn’t a fan of any kind of “muscle,” which includes fish. Rip was so knowledgeable, and Kevin and I were so impressed by the number of statistics that he knew off the top of his head.
Because of the intimate setting, we were able to shake hands with Rip and have him sign our book. I got a chance to tell him that I loved his documentary, “Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue,” because it helped me figure out how to reorganize my pantry in a healthy way after watching Forks Over Knives. I’m looking forward to reading his book, which includes recipes that we were lucky enough to try thanks to Whole Foods.