Naturally awoken, energized, eager to greet yet another day full of unlimited potential. Soon, two days worth of nutritious smoothie is blended while three days of inexpensive, nutrition-dense lunches seem to prepare themselves the habit has become so rote. Morning meal preparation (along with dishes and cleaning) is a relaxing, enjoyable, almost meditative way to start each morning.
While this scenario may not represent the typical American’s morning experience, this reporter was fortunate enough to discover it’s incredible benefits on his own, earned though a lifetime of hard mistakes. However, those who discover the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group (PBNSG) may skip some painful steps and fast-tract themselves to optimal living. In three short years PBNSG has grown from a small group of plant-based enthusiasts to an organization capable of attracting nationally recognized plant-based celebrities with best-selling books and crowd-pleasing motivation to spare. Last night was no exception.
Before Rip Esselstyn took the stage, Adam Sud described his tragic journey in emotional and visceral detail. From a young, enthusiastic student driven to succeed, who, though no real fault of his own (doctor prescribed), used Adderall to propel himself to new academic and physical heights. Unfortunately, this also led him to eventually become an incredibly unhappy, overweight, drug-addicted adult. His most compelling and useful advice was that we should “be comfortable being uncomfortable,” and Will Durant’s insight, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” In his dramatic climax, he delivered an extremely heartfelt apology, voice cracking—audience on the edge of their seats—to his parents for never giving up hope in their once hopeless, son, and gratitude to Rip Esselstyn for, essentially, saving his life.
Although this reporter may have been ignorant of Esselstyn’s storied career before last night, he is no longer. From professional triathlete, (eight-time winner of Capital of Texas, and six-time winner of Escape from Alcatraz triathlons), to life-saving firefighter, in more ways than one. His life’s purpose took an unexpected turn when he became aware that just ten percent of all emergencies that firefighters were called for were actually related to fire. The other ninety percent? No less a terrible mistake and tragedy than any fire, they are the victims of the standard American diet (SAD), self-induced suffering and bodily destruction from a lifetime of consuming garbage food. In other words, entirely preventable medical emergencies.
It began when he discovered a fellow firefighter’s cholesterol was off the charts. He formed a small pact with him and a few others to start eating a wholefood, plant-based diet. The incredible progress made in the first week served to propel their motivation. Soon, they were getting media coverage and Esselstyn was inspired to start writing about his successful diet.
What followed was Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds, Plant-Strong: Discover the World’s Healthiest Diet, and The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health, to name a few. Each book earned 4.5+ starts on Amazon, an impressive feat for any book, let alone one based on the controversial topic of optimal nutrition.
His message culminated in the Seven Pillars, comprised of excluding “weak foods” like meat, in favor of “strong foods” like vegetables, the importance of eating whole foods like olives, not olive oil, or coconuts, rather than coconut oil, calorie density, and the importance of physical activity. He specifically addressed the number one concern of everyone on a SAD seems to have, “but where do you get your protein?,” detailing with numerous charts the protein contained in all plants, and how no one even knows the term for protein deficiency because it is so incredibly rare in this country (unlike where people are starving to death). But the “more fun” way he explained where plant-eaters get their protein? “We get our protein where your protein gets its protein.”
This reporter can’t wait for PBNSG’s next ground-breaking presentation from Dr. Kim Williams, the first African American president of the American College of Cardiology, and current Chief of Cardiology at Rush Medical College in Chicago.
Each event is packed with a collection of devote vegans, their guests, and open-minded individuals attempting to recover from the SAD who are looking for a way to improve their lives, and everyone in between. Even if you are unfamiliar with the presenter before the event, you will soon become inspired to purchase his or her book afterward. While books are often available (they sold out last night), authors routinely enjoy meeting their readers afterward, signing books, and having pictures taken. The line moved slowly last night not only because it was long, but mainly because he took the time to make everyone feel that they mattered as an individual.
This grateful reporter looks forward to seeing you at the next event, so secure your tickets now before they sell out.
Story written by: Jim Stange