Featuring: Rip Esselstyn


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Download the Seven-Day Rescue Road Map

If you’ve never had a chance to see Rip Esselstyn live at your local market, this is a chance to hear him riff on the seven pillars, dispense myths and rumors about the foods we consume, and inspire change in his no-nonsense effective way. 

This special episode is a primer on the Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Program and the seven pillars that go along with the program. It's the program outlined in Rip’s third book, The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet and it’s also the speech Rip gives on his Whole Foods Market tours around the country.

The Seven-Day Rescue is also the roadmap used during the Engine 2 seven-day medical immersion programs, where we do a serious deep dive into the seven pillars while building the daily habits that will allow participants to sustain this lifestyle and the results that it delivers over the long haul.  Anyone can follow along!

This episode literally is a “how to” on the Engine 2 Diet. Rip lays out exactly what foods to enjoy and which to avoid in this handy download. Consider this your roadmap to plant-strong longevity. 

Who is this episode (and the Seven-Day Rescue Challenge) for? 

  • Anyone that's looking to aggressively reverse symptoms that have been caused by the standard American diet. 

  • Anyone who feels buried under excessive weight, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, etc. - lifestyle diseases which can be reversed.

  • Anyone who is avoiding a trip to the Doctor because they know a prescription awaits.

  • Or, anyone who is already on a stack of prescriptions and wants to get off of them.

Anyone who has gotten off track - perhaps they are already eating a “plant-based” diet, but want to clean it up and get back on track without oils and processed foods. (Guilty! -- Summer travel and vacations do make it hard to stay on track)

What are the Seven Pillars?

  • Why we love plants 

  • Why we love whole plant-based foods - no processed junk and no oils

  • Why we do not want to drink our food - we want to chew, more satiety, nutrients

  • Why we want to be mindful of calorie density

  • Why we want to limit protein

  • Why we limit the amount of salt, sugar and fat we consume -- read labels!

  • Why we want to move

As Rip says in the episode, this is the VARSITY program so that you can yield the greatest results in the shortest amount of time. We’re with you on this journey to health and vitality.


Support for this week's episode comes from Nutramilk - the easiest and fastest way to make your own plant milk at home!  Enjoy a $50 discount and free shipping with code PLANTSTRONG.

Seeking a solution for making the plant-strong lifestyle convenient and inspiring?  The Plant-Strong Meal Planner offers 1000s of recipes customized to your preferences, an integrated shopping list and grocery delivery!  Our Engine 2 Coaches are on hand to offer support and answer any questions - all for $1.90 a week when you sign up for a year.  Visit our Plant-Strong Meal Planner today!

Rip Esselstyn

Rip Esselstyn

Engine 2 Founder 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.

Rip left his job as a firefighter in 2009 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. As the founder of Engine 2, Rip develops and implements a range of programs and events geared toward education, inspiring and nurturing plant-strong living for individuals, families and organizations across the globe.

He has appeared on hundreds of radio and national television shows, including the Today ShowCBS Sunday MorningGood Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. Rip is a New York Times Bestselling Author who has published four books. His most recent book is The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet.

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

Rip Esselstyn: If there's one key element to my success in eating a plant strong diet for all these years, it's my breakfast. I start every single day with Rips Big Bowl Cereal. It's a concoction that I created to fuel my performance as a professional triathlete going back 32 years. It's commercially available at Whole Foods Market or on Amazon. Or you can make your own mixing a quarter cup of raw old fashioned oats, a quarter cup Ezekiel 4:9 nuggets, a quarter cup bite sized shredded wheat, and a quarter cup Uncle Sam's toasted cereal. After adding chia seeds and fruit, I then hose it down with oat milk.

Rip Esselstyn: Lately, my big bowl has taken a turn for the better ever since the NutraMilk came into my life. It's a super efficient high speed blender designed to make alternative milks in less than two minutes. I take great pride in making my own oat milk now and I can't believe how it's freshened up my breakfast bowl. You can grab one too, visit thenutramilk.com and use the code "Plantstrong" for a $50 discount and free shipping.

Rip Esselstyn: If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, and if you've been considering adopting a plant-based diet, or if you're currently eating a plant-based diet, today's episode is 100% for you. I'm going to give you a primer on the Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Program and the seven pillars that go along with the program. It's the program that I outline in my third book, The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet. And it's the roadmap that we use during our seven day medical immersion programs, where we do a serious deep dive into the seven pillars while building the daily habits that will allow you to sustain this lifestyle and the results that it delivers over the long haul.

Rip Esselstyn: This plan is derived from my father's research over the last 30 plus years, along with the best practices that I learned hosting over 19 of these seven day medical immersion programs for over 2000 people over the last nine years. And it matches his no nonsense approach that he details in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. This is quite simply the varsity program and it is not for everyone. Who is it for? It's for anyone that's looking to aggressively reverse symptoms that have been caused by the standard American diet. It's for anyone who has been avoiding going to the doctor because they know a stack of prescriptions is waiting for them. Or it's for anyone who is currently taking a stack of medications that they want to get off of. And it's also for anyone who feels buried under excessive weight, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, etc.

Rip Esselstyn: I want to invite you to give this lifestyle a test drive. I love the tire kickers, I love the skeptics. And all my years of leading these seven day immersion programs and educating people the truth about plants, it's usually the folks who begrudgingly accept the challenge that most of the time net the biggest rewards. The talk that I'm going to give on this podcast is going to be the cliff notes version of the talk that I give when I travel the country visiting whole food market stores. And the goal is to really empower people while shaking their commonly held beliefs upside down. I have some people that after they hear this lecture, they come up to me and they say Rip, you know, coming into this lecture, I thought that the sky was blue and the grass was green. And what you're basically telling me is that the sky is green and the grass is blue.

Rip Esselstyn: But when we take people away on these immersion programs, we do before and after biometric screenings to demonstrate the real and measurable results that can happen in just a few short days of going all in with this plant-based lifestyle. And when you do this and you see the jaw dropping results that can happen in just seven days, you will go, wow, I guess that the sky is green and the grass is blue.

Rip Esselstyn: When I wrote the Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet book, I also conducted multiple pilot studies to make sure that I could attain the same results at home by folks who were going to work each day managing their kids and going to the gym. And I want you to know that the results were the same, and in many cases, better.

Rip Esselstyn: If you're wondering what a week of eating this way can do, these are the results that are very typical in seven days. Weight loss is typically on average three pounds, we have some people that lose upwards of 10, 11, 12 pounds in seven days. Blood pressure, typically 10 over five, 10 being the systolic, five being the diastolic. Cholesterol, total cholesterol, the average drop is 26 points. We've had many people drop over 100 points in just seven days. The LDL which is the lethal cholesterol, 24 milligrams per deciliter is the average drop. Triglycerides, which is a function of the amount of fat in your blood, the average drop is 23 milligrams per deciliter. And then when it comes to medications, we find that people typically are either titrating down tremendously off their medications or they're going off them completely. And we like this to be in conjunction of course with your medical provider.

Rip Esselstyn: And then of course you have all the intangibles, like increasing energy, better sleep, reduction, if not elimination of acid reflux, inflammation being reduced, joint pain being reduced, back pain being reduced, and constipation going away. So, these are all exciting things that can occur in just seven days of you test-driving this lifestyle and following these seven simple pillars.

Rip Esselstyn: So, let's dive into the seven pillars. Here they are. Buckle your seat belts. Let's tackle the seven pillars. And my promise to you is that if you follow these seven pillars to the "T," you will be stunned and amazed at where you are at the end of the week, when it comes to your numbers, when it comes to your weight loss, when it comes to how you're feeling, your energy. All these things will be enhanced tremendously in just again, seven days.

Rip Esselstyn: So, let's jump in. Pillar number one is why we love plants. This is where the true deep dive in nutrition lives. This is where all the glory is found. The genesis of everything that is bountiful and wonderful and honorable in nutrition is found in plants. It's not found in a piece of red meat chicken, fish, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, what have you, right? These are the true weak foods that are going to wreak havoc on your health. The true superheroes are the plant-based wondrous foods.

Rip Esselstyn: Let me riff for a second on animal products and animal byproducts because they are so pernicious in nature and so insidiously destructive. They're not strong foods, they're not smart foods, they're weak, weak fuel. They contain just all the building blocks that promote chronic Western disease, whether it is dietary cholesterol, whether it is saturated fat, small amounts of trans fats. Whether it is a weak jenky clunky form of protein that just does a number on our bodies.

Rip Esselstyn: You've got heme iron that promotes oxidative stress. You've got carnitine and lecithin that promote Trimethylamine N-oxide TMAO that drives your LDL cholesterol that much deeper into your arteries causing plaque formations. You've got something called HCH hetero cyclic amines that are formed when you cook any muscle, red meat, chicken, fish, turkey, and these are carcinogens. You've got the accumulation of pollutants and heavy metals that are there in the fat that's in these animal products. So just not a smart strong food.

Rip Esselstyn: And then when it comes to dairy products, you know, I refer to dairy products as having the exact same DNA as meat. So, I want you to start thinking of cheese for example as hardened meat. Cheese is really, it is dairy crack, and it is loaded with saturated fat. In fact, it's the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet, it's loaded with cholesterol and problematic protein in the form of casein, that is the number one tumor and cancer promoter in the American diet. So cheese, throw that out the window.

Rip Esselstyn: Next we've got yogurt, I refer to yogurt as runny meat. Everybody's reaching for the Greek yogurts that have twice the amount of protein, it's twice the amount of insidiously destructive, cancer promoting casein that is a carcinogen. So, let's not be doing the, and falling for the Greek yogurts, the Iceland yogurts, any of these new fangled twice the amount of protein yogurts.

Rip Esselstyn: Ice cream is frozen meat. It is just fat and sugar. And of course, we adore it, but it does not adore us or our health. So, that's frozen meat. And then, you know, liquid meat is, these are all your cow milks, your whole milk, your 2%, your 1%, your skim milk, your no fat milk. And these really should be relegated just to baby cows. As Dr. Michael clapper likes to say, cow's milk is baby calf growth fluid. And it was never meant for us as human beings and it's just a cocktail of estrogens, growth hormones, the wrong kind of protein, the wrong kind of fat. We want to do our best to stay away from all iterations of cow's milk.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number two is why we love whole plant-based foods. So, just because something is plant-based doesn't make it healthy. And there is such an absolute slew of plant-based junk food that is literally littering our grocery store shelves that it's making it easier to eat plant-based, but also at the same time, not be healthy at the same time. So, we want to be really judicious with the plant-based foods that we are eating. I like to keep it very simple. Let's eat food as close to grown as possible, that is minimally processed, that contains all the fiber, all the water, all the vitamins and minerals, the phytonutrients, the antioxidants, the water, the protein, the carbs, and the fats.

Rip Esselstyn: So for example, plant-based junk food that is out there that has a real grip on so many of us, french fries. We take the almighty amazing potato that's 3% fat, we dunk it into oil and then we bring it out and it's now 51% fat. Not a smart plant-based choice. We've got all these fake cheeses that are out there that are littering the shelves. Your diet cheese, for example. That is 70% fat and the second ingredient is canola oil. You got donuts that are just basically oil, white sugar and white flour. It's vegan, is plant-based, but it's not a healthy food. You've got all these plant-based ice creams now that are making the rounds, including Ben and Jerry's that came out with 11 different flavor profiles but they're not healthy.

Rip Esselstyn: You got all the veggie burgers including the Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burgers that are insanely delicious and tasty, but they are just a frankenburger and they don't have one whole food ingredient in them. And yes, they're healthier than a ground meat hamburger but they're not going to get you to where you want to be if you're trying to reverse heart disease, type two diabetes and lose weight. Alcohol, yes, it's plant-based but it's a known toxin to every organ in the body and we really want to be judicious around alcohol. All the cereals adorning the shells are just loaded with fat and sugar.

Rip Esselstyn: The buttery spreads like the Earth Balance spread that people are so fond of, this is, you know, it's 100% fat. One tablespoon is 100 calories and fat. Not a smart choice. Fried chips. All these energy bars that are loaded with fat, sugar, salt, again, not whole wonderful plant-based foods. We're talking about potatoes, we're talking about oats, steel cut oats, mangoes, kale, broccoli, butternut squash, strawberries, bananas, black beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, you get the picture.

Rip Esselstyn: The number one processed food that's out there that accounts for close to 360 to 520 calories per day per person comes from oils, plant-based oils in the form of canola oil, olive oil, safflower oil, coconut oil, and these are the most concentrated sources of calories on the planet. And they contain almost no nutritional oomph or value to speak of. They are a black hole of nutritional nothingness and we want to get all of our fats and all of our oils from whole plant-based foods. Have some olives instead of having olive oil. Have some corn instead of having corn oil. Have some walnuts instead of having walnut oil. Have some ground flaxseed meal instead of having flaxseed oil. I know that you guys get the point.

Rip Esselstyn: All right, our next pillar, pillar number three is why we do not want to drink our food, we want to masticate, we want to chew our food like the other thousands of mammals that are on the planet right now. What are we going to drink? We are going to drink water, good old H2O for this week. And if you got to do coffee, let's make it black, don't add the sugar and don't add the creamer. But if you look from sunup to sundown how most people eat or I should say what most people drink during the course of a day, it is, it typically adds up to 750 to 1250 calories, which is in some cases accounts for 50% of your caloric consumption.

Rip Esselstyn: It starts with your coffee with sugar and creamer, then our juices, whether it's apple, orange, V8, pineapple, mango, you name it. Then we have that soy mocha frappuccino. We have a little soda pop as a little pick me up later in the day. Maybe we have a green juice after a little workout. We have some muscle milk or we have some other form of a protein shake or powder. We're drinking some coconut water, which is basically just sugar water. We've got a glass of wine to unwind at night. All these add up, right? I mean, it's 100, 200, 300 calories per pop. And the problem is is that each one of these, these liquid calories, they're not registered by our brains or our stomachs as calories and you will invariably consume the same amount of solid food on top of any liquid calories you're consuming. So, chew your food, masticate. You're going to love it and it's very satiating as well.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number four. This is a biggie, it's why we want to be mindful of calorie density. And calorie density is how many calories are in a given pound of food. And once you can master this, you can basically kiss goodbye to portion control, counting calories, starving yourself, measuring your food, counting points, all that can go out the window, because when you're focusing in on pillar number two, which is why we love whole plant-based foods, you're eating foods that are so bountiful in water and fiber and bulking capacity that these foods have this wonderful ability to fill you up before you've had time to take in too many calories. And at the same time, you get to eat an abundance of food. This is not in any way shape or form about deprivation.

Rip Esselstyn: So the beautiful thing, when you're eating whole plant based foods like fruits and vegetables and potatoes and whole intact grains like brown rice and quinoa and amaranth and pearl barley, and you're eating legumes, like lentils, and split peas, and black beans, and pinto beans, all these foods have a calorie density somewhere between 100 on the low end for your green leafies and about 600 on the high end when it comes to your lentils. And because the calorie density is so low, that you literally have to eat five, six, seven, eight pounds of food a day just to meet your 2500 calories per day, which is the recommended daily allowance.

Rip Esselstyn: When you're focusing in on animal-based foods, refined carbohydrates like white sugar, white bread, Oreo cookies, donuts and bagels. When you're doing a lot of junk food like fried chips, ice cream, nuts, nut butters and all the processed oils that are out there, all these have a calorie density of 1200 to 4000 calories a pound. And this is where 94% of Americans are consuming their calories, from processed refined foods, from dairy products and animal-based products. And that is why 75% of this country is now considered overweight or obese.

Rip Esselstyn: So if you can pivot from these foods that we're so traditionally comfortable with and we're so fond of, if you can pivot from those and exclusively focus on again, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, limited amounts of nuts and seeds, it's a complete game changer. And now you're eating copious amounts of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner again without having to measure, count, starve yourself.

Rip Esselstyn: Let me give you a couple examples here. So, a pound of grapes is right around 250 calories. A pound of raisins where we've removed the water is now right around 1600 calories. Almost a six-fold difference. And that is why on the Seven-Day Rescue Program, we are not a fan of dried fruit, it's just too calorie dense.

Rip Esselstyn: Let me give you another example. Pasta. Pasta is about 550 calories a pound. We don't mind pasta. The problem with pasta is typically what are you putting on your pasta? Is it the meatballs? Is it the Alfredo sauce? Is it the cheese sauce? This is where all the calories are really coming from. But you have pasta that's 550 calories a pound. And then, on the flip side, you've got bread that is about 1500 calories a pound. Why is there almost a three fold difference between pasta and bread? And the answer is because we cook pasta in water, and the water actually brings down the calorie density almost threefold to what bread is. So, we got to be really careful with bread, and I recommend, if you're going to do bread, you do open face sandwiches without the lid.

Rip Esselstyn: Another example, potatoes. Potatoes are about 350 calories a pound. They are one of the most satiating wonderful foods on the planet. But you take the sweet potato and you cut it up into little sticks, you dip it down into oil and now you have a calorie density that is closer to 2000 calories a pound. Your oils, all your oils are 4000 calories a pound on average. Your animal products, you red meat, your chicken, your fish are between 1000 and 1200. Ice cream is closer to 2000. It's a game changer. Keep this in mind.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number five is why we want to limit protein. Now, the reality is, I'm not asking you to limit protein. But for the first time in your life, you're not going to be protein toxic, you're not going to be swimming in too much protein. And the fact of the matter is, I want you to know that more protein doesn't equal greater health. In fact, more protein equals more heart disease, more type two diabetes, more insulin resistance, more cancer, more inflammatory diseases, all these things. And when you're eating a whole food plant-based diet, the protein that you're getting is a much smarter, wiser, wonderful form of friendly protein. It's very alkaline in nature.

Rip Esselstyn: So, two myths that I want to clear up here. One is that you're not going to get enough protein. And two that the proteins you're going to get from plants aren't complete because they're both complete bogus. Number one, as human beings, we need between five to 10% of our calories coming from protein. You cannot, you will not get below that eating a plant-based diet. And that is because almost all of your plant-based foods have between five to 50% of their calories coming from protein.

Rip Esselstyn: Just to give you some quick examples, your average vegetable is 25% protein. Your average green leafy vegetable is 35% protein, on the high end spinach is 51% protein. Your average bean is 25% protein, on the high end you got edamame that is right around 40% protein. Your average whole intact grain is 14% protein, on the high end we got quinoa that's about 18, on the low end we got rice, brown rice, that's right around 9% protein. Your average potato is right around 10% protein and your average fruit is 6.5% protein.

Rip Esselstyn: Nobody listening to this podcast will be hospitalized for kwashiorkor, which is the medical term for protein deficiency. If you do this for seven days or seven years or seven decades, it's not going to happen. As long as you're consuming enough calories, you will be getting enough protein.

Rip Esselstyn: The next thing I want you to know is that when you're eating plants, you're getting all nine of the essential amino acids. Proteins are just, they're chains of amino acids that are connected together. And there's right around 20 amino acids, of those 29 are considered essential amino acids, meaning we have to get them from our food, our bodies can't synthesize them on their own. And whether it is black beans, strawberries, kale, mangoes, Swiss chard, each one of these contains all nine of the essential amino acids, whether it is isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine or histidine. Okay? In the perfect proportion and composition, it is not lacking.

Rip Esselstyn: Look around the globe. Look at some of the greatest athletes on the planet now. Whether it's Novak Djokovic that just won his fifth Wimbledon, his 16th Grand Slam title, all plant-based. Look at Nehemiah Delgado, bodybuilder, was on the cover of Muscle and Fitness April 2018, has never had a piece of meat his whole entire life. He is incredibly plant-strong. Look at Alex Honnold who free soloed up El Capitan, over 3000 vertical feet in three hours and 58 minutes. He does not do meat, he is plant based. So you too can thrive eating plant-based foods that are loaded with all the protein you need and all the complete essential amino acids that you need.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number six, this is going to make you a label reading ninja warrior. And it's why we got to limit the amount of salt, sugar and fat that we are consuming on a daily basis. We are overdosing on salt, sugar and fat like it is our jobs. And it is not doing anything to help us out when it comes to our health. There was a book that was written several years ago by the head, the former head of the FDA, Dr. David Kessler, and it's called The End of Overeating. In it he talks about how these food manufacturers, these food companies, these restaurants, they put salt on top of sugar on top of fat, and then they put more salt on top of sugar on top of fat. And then they have the unmitigated gall to put more salt on top of sugar on top of fat. And they do this to get you addicted to their foods.

Rip Esselstyn: So one of the things that we want to do during the course of this Seven-Day Rescue and beyond is we got to down-regulate those receptors that we have in our brain for salt, for sugar, and for fat. And in order to do that, we got to learn how to read labels because these food companies are very, very tricky. So, we want to bring our daily consumption of salt, of sodium down below 1500 milligrams. Most Americans are getting between 3000 to 5000 milligrams of sodium on a daily basis. It's one of the reasons why close to a quarter of American adults are on some sort of a hypertensive medication. So, we got to read labels.

Rip Esselstyn: There's only two things I want you to look for when it comes to salt. And the first thing you want to do is you want to look at the number of calories per serving and then you want to look at the number of milligrams of sodium per serving. And you want those to be in a one to one ratio or less.

Rip Esselstyn: So, give you a quick example. You got a can of Amy's Soup. You've got 200 calories per serving, you want the milligrams of sodium to be bingo, 200 or less. You're not going to believe how jacked to the gills so many of these products are when it comes to sodium.

Rip Esselstyn: The next thing is sugar. On average, most Americans are consuming 30 added teaspoons of sugar a day, which comes to 160 plus pounds of sugar a year. It's absolutely ridiculous. We want to bring it down to two teaspoons of sugar a day or less. And in order to do that, you want to do one thing when it comes to reading a label when it comes to sugar. Just go straight to the ingredient list and I want you to make sure that there's no sugar in the first three ingredients. All right. By law, these manufacturers have to list in descending order by weight each ingredient in that product. And so, if there's no sugar in the first three ingredients, that's a great start. The next thing you want to do is you want to make sure that there's no more than three added types of sugar below that, and then you're in good shape.

Rip Esselstyn: And the last thing is fat. When it comes to fat, most Americans are getting 35 to 50% of their daily calories coming from fat. And most of these fat calories are coming from the unhealthy saturated fats, trans fats and the like. So, during the Seven-Day Rescue, we want you to focus in on the polyunsaturated omega threes and omega sixes that are essential for us to turn our health around.

Rip Esselstyn: So to make sure that we're not overdosing on the wrong kind of fats, I want you to do this when you're reading a label. You want to make sure that no more than 25% of the calories are coming from fat. You got to do a little math there. And then the next thing you want to do you want to look at the ingredients and you got to look through there, and we want to make sure that there's no hydrogenated oils, there's no palm oils, there is no processed oils like olive, safflower, sunflower, coconut oils. We want to make sure that the fat it is in that product is just naturally occurring fat from the whole foods.

Rip Esselstyn: Those are the three. Okay? For salt, sugar and fat. I learned those from Jeff Novick, an absolutely spectacular and amazing nutritionist that really took me under his wing and taught me well.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number seven, why we want to move. Sitting has become the new smoking. It's amazing how much time Americans now spend sitting. We sit on the way to work, during our commute. We sit at work, we sit at lunch, we sit in the afternoon when we're at work. We sit on the way home on our commute, we sit at dinner. And then we're so exhausted from sitting that we then sit and we put our legs up and we either watch TV, surf the net or chill out that way.

Rip Esselstyn: It is amazing the amount of research that has come out as of late showing that not exercising may be worse for your health than smoking. And this is an expansive study. It actually was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network open published last October. And researchers at the Cleveland Clinic studied over 122,000 patients from 1991 to 2014. So 13 year period putting them under treadmill testing and later recording mortality rates. And what they determined is that being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis as far as death is concerned than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker. The lead researcher said, we've never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.

Rip Esselstyn: So listen, there's numerous reasons that we got to get off of our butts and we got to start moving. It is one of the best mood enhancers out there. It's the best antidepressant. It gets those happy endorphins rushing, serotonin levels up. A great reason to wake up early and do a little exercise. And when I say exercise, I'm even including five to 15 minutes of walking. It improves your brain health, you get blood flowing to the hippocampus, which helps prevent Alzheimer's and brain shrinkage. It also boosts your immune system. You'll be that much better at fending off colds and the flu when you get in your daily dose of exercise. It will increase your appetite.

Rip Esselstyn: And if any of you are having a hard time with these foods, all of a sudden, you start doing a little running, a little biking, a little swimming, a little walking, dancing, CrossFit, whatever it is, and all of a sudden, you're going to wake up and that bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and some chia seeds in a little bit oat milk, it's looking mighty fine.

Rip Esselstyn: It is absolutely fantastic for bone health or osteoporosis. Again, we sit way too much. And the best thing you can do for bone health because we're getting all the calcium we need, the best thing you can do is you want to do some weight bearing exercise. Your bones are living, breathing, dynamic structures just like muscles. If you don't use your muscles, what happens, they atrophy. If you don't use your bones, they're going to become weak and brittle.

Rip Esselstyn: So, let's do some sort of weight bearing exercise three times a week. You won't believe what happens to your bones. It will enhance your energy. Sometimes the last thing you want to do when you get home at night or in the morning is to wake up and put on those shoes and go out the door for a walk or run or jog or a bike. But you do it and it will give you so much energy back that you'll be that much more productive during the day, you'll be that much more productive when you come home from work at night. And you want to be with your wife, be with your kids. Now you can be with them and be present and play with them. It always makes it easier to get out of bed when you've had a nice day of exercise. You sleep that much more soundly and peacefully and you get up, and all of a sudden, before long, you realize wow, I don't need that alarm clock.

Rip Esselstyn: And then the last thing I want to talk about is sarcopenia, and that is something that happens to every one of us over the age of 30. It's a medical term for the wasting away of muscle mass. And so, in order for us to preserve our muscle mass, that's in our thighs, it's in our biceps, it's in our bodies, we want to exercise. We do not want to lose muscle mass. It increases our resting metabolic rate and that's the rate at which we burn calories when we're at rest, when we're sleeping, when we're chilling out, when we're sitting. It can also help prevent spills and falls that can then prevent a downward spiral especially when we get into our 60s, 70s and 80s.

Rip Esselstyn: So, for all these reasons, I want you to get out there, get your move on, get your groove on, you will not regret it.

Rip Esselstyn: Okay, let's do a quick review of the seven pillars in less than 90 seconds. Pillar number one, why we love plants. This is where all the honor and all the glory and nutrition is found, it is in plants.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number two, why we love whole plants. Process refined plant-based foods, animal products, this is not where all the glory is found. We want to make sure we're getting whole plant-based foods that's close to grown as possible that are swimming with the perfect balance of macronutrients and micronutrients. All the fiber, the water, the phytonutrients, the antioxidants, the vitamins, the minerals, these are what are going to allow you to reverse chronic Western disease and be the healthiest version of yourself.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number three, why we're only going to be drinking water for these seven days. We're not going to be drinking our calories, we're going to be masticating all of our food and you're not going to believe the difference.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number four, why we care about calorie density. This is a number of calories in a pound of food. And the reason why this is so relevant is because as human beings, we are hardwired to consume between three to five pounds of food a day. It's a principle called volumetrics. And if you are consuming whole plant-based foods, if you're following pillar number two, you're consuming foods that are calorie light, nutrient dense loaded with water and fiber and bulking capacity and now you get to eat five, six, seven pounds of food a day and you still have the capacity to lose weight without counting calories, without worrying about portion control.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number five is why we don't care a hill of beans about protein. You just need to know that when you're eating whole plant-based foods, you're getting not only complete set of proteins, you're getting an abundant amount of proteins in the perfect composition proportion and balance. So, don't fret it, you're getting the Goldilocks version of protein.

Rip Esselstyn: Pillar number six is why we got to limit salt, sugar and fat. If you become label reading ninja warriors, you don't have to worry about overdosing on salt, sugar and fat, especially when it comes to packaged canned and boxed food products. Now you have the upper hand. And pillar number seven is why we want to move, why we want to exercise even if it's just for five to 10 minutes a day.

Rip Esselstyn: To help you go all in, we have created a one page roadmap that details all the wonderful plants that you can enjoy while also noting the foods that we want you to avoid during this Seven-Day Rescue experiment. This free download is available if you go to planstrongpodcast.com and click on Episode 16 to subscribe.

Rip Esselstyn: In a nutshell, we want you to eat copious amounts of whole plant-strong foods as close to grown as possible. We're talking about fruits, don't care if they're fresh or frozen. Vegetables, again, don't care if they're fresh or frozen. Whole intact grains, the myriad of all them. Potatoes, I don't care what color, what size, knock yourself out. And of course, the amazing world of legumes, split peas, lentils, and beans. This means bowls of oatmeal with blueberries and sliced bananas and peaches with chia seeds for breakfast. This means two sweet potatoes with steamed chopped up kale on top and it could mean a bowl of brown rice with black beans with sliced up bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions and avocado with some salsa and a low sodium tamari.

Rip Esselstyn: Remember, we don't want you drinking your calories during this week. We want you moving even if it's just five to 10 minutes a day. And as an aside, we really love it when you eat green leafies at every meal. They are a nutritional powerhouse calorie for calorie. You're going to get the biggest bang for your calorie buck with green leafies. This is a prescription that I learned from my father and it's so important because it helps you really heal, reverse disease, gets those endothelial cells which are the inner most lining of our 65,000 miles of vessels. It gets those pumping out nitric oxide, which is going to allow those vessels to become youthful and elasticized again.

Rip Esselstyn: If you remember from Episode One, which was me, Joe, where we also meet my father. And although these plant foods are the bomb diggity, I want you to be really conscientious about avoiding the items that are higher in fat, like the nuts, the nut butters, too much avocado, tofu and tempeh. We got to be really judicious with those, and in many cases, we're eliminating those completely during the seven days just because of their calorie density.

Rip Esselstyn: Remember, this is an experiment. We're giving you the varsity program here so that you can yield the greatest results in the shortest period of time. I want you to give it a try. I want you to see what happens. And then, I cannot wait to hear from you. I want you to visit me at Rip Esselstyn on Instagram and Facebook to share your experiment and your results. And for further guided experimenting, I want you to visit engine2.com and you can click on the Rescue 10x Program. You can join the next tribe as they band together and complete 10 consecutive seven day challenges with the help of our Engine 2. Simply use the code "Plantstrong" for a $50 discount.

Rip Esselstyn: All right, it is been real, it's been fun and it has been real fun. Peace, Engine 2, keep it plant-strong.

Rip Esselstyn: I want to thank my co-creator of the podcast, Scott Battishill of 10 Percent Media, Laurie Kortowich, which producer extraordinaire and director of Engine 2 events. Ami Mackey, Engine 2's curator of creative content, Wade Clark with Bumble Media, our audio engineer, and Carrie Barrett for technical production.

Rip Esselstyn: I have to thank my parents Anne and Essey, who have been such guiding lights and inspirations over the years, as well as the great pioneers of this movement who have been pushing this boulder up the mountain. As they say, we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Remember, if you're digging the show, please rate us at Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts. And with that, let me say peace, Engine 2, keep it plant-strong.

Ami Mackey