The Engine 2 Diet

A couple of weeks ago the folks who run the Engine 2 Diet Facebook page posted some nutrition labels and asked if the foods were good to consume. I got the answers wrong. The one that stood out to me was coconut milk. It’s completely plant-based and is chock full of wonderful nutrients, so I figured it was great to drink, but the fat content is more than 60% fat. According to the diet’s creator Rip Esselstyn, that is bad. He tells us that fat content should be less than 25% of calories. I wanted to know why, so I read the book. And I’m glad I did.

If you are struggling with your weight; curious about the benefits of a plant-based diet (or “plant-strong” as Rip likes to call it); at risk for or currently have diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, or obesity; looking for a good exercise regime; or just want to know more about nutrition, this book is for you. It’s an extremely fast read as Rip has a friendly, conversational tone, and the last third of the book is comprised of recipes. I never thought a diet book would be a page-turner, but this one was. I couldn’t put it down. I actually set Stephen King aside so that I could devour the Engine 2 Diet.

As I hoped, the book delivered as promised in educating me on how to determine what canned, bagged, or boxed foods are good for me. I had simply read the ingredients and calories in the past, but now I understand so much more. One lesson that resonates for me regards sugar content. Four grams of sugar equals a teaspoon, so now when I look at my cereal box and it reveals 24 g of sugar, I know that if I ate one bowl, I would eat a whopping eight teaspoons of sugar. Would you ever dump eight teaspoons of sugar in anything? I immediately threw out my Fruity-Ohs and replaced them with Familia Muesli (no sugar added). If I throw in some fruit, I get all the sugar I need for a tasty and healthy breakfast. Not only do I feel stronger after breakfast because my blood sugar stays level, but my body doesn’t need to secrete extra insulin to lower my blood sugar after a big spike.

The book reminded me that insulin is a cancer-promoter. I fuel cancer when I consume that much sugar, and as you know, part of my life’s mission is to make my body as inhospitable to cancer as possible. I’m grateful to Rip for the reminder. Sorry, Nightly Cream Soda — you and your tasty 10 teaspoons of sugar have to go. Cancer likes you too much.

On the fitness side, I’m reminded once again why I need to get moving every day, and I’m excited to try the book’s workout routine. It is designed for at-home use, and it incorporates both cardio and strength training — a gem of a find for the winter months.

My only complaint about the book would be the recipes. To be fair, I haven’t tried any yet, but I’ve been cooking long enough to know what I like and don’t like. There are a lot of mock meats and jarred sauces included in the recipes, and even if Rip does tell you which ones are healthy to eat, my palate prefers simple dishes completely made from scratch. I plan to make a couple of recipes this week, however, and will let you know my thoughts.

Overall, I loved the book and highly recommend it. It’s hard to make the argument that only hippies and scrawny people eat plant-based diets when you have a world-class triathlete and firefighter talking about the success that he and his buddies in the firehouse have had from their plant-strong lifestyle. Great book, Rip. Thanks for sharing your secrets for a healthy life with us and for giving me additional tools to make Cancer’s life more miserable.

Eff you, Cancer!

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  1. Lori Luza says:


    Your only drawback was my only one, too. After chapters and pages about eating better, I didn’t want recipes for “pizza” or “hamburgers”. I wanted good/hearty veggie dishes.

    …and then I realized that those recipes are what you can’t get when you eat out or make any vegan dish you have a recipe for. The recipes in The Engine 2 Diet are there to let you “fix cravings” for the things you’ve given up. Fake mac & cheese, pancakes, lasagna, etc. So, with that in mind, I look for real dishes elsewhere and only use the book’s recipes when I need a fix.

    Two years and counting since I read the book and went vegan….


  2. Tracy Krulik says:

    Very interesting take. That makes sense. Has your health improved any since you started the diet? And I’d be curious to know how quickly you saw improvements if so.

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