(18 Months Ago) Rip Esselstyn and John Stewart had a Talk about PlantStrong / Engine 2


Photo by Angelica Nelson

 If you don't know the names in the title, let me introduce, Rip Esselstyn, the son of a cardiologist who began to educate his patients on eating a radically low fat diet, based on whole grains, beans and fresh fruits and vegetables, back when it wasn't as well known as it is today.  He published the book Engine 2 and now runs a website PlantStrong. 

John Stewart needs no introduction in the US.  He's known as the first host of the "Daily Show" a Comedy Central experiment with a news satire show that is still wildly successful, and now hosted by the brilliant Trevor Noah.  After John Stewart went traveling, soon after he seemed to loose a lot of weight and I thought, OMG he's not sick is he?  But no, he just became vegan and lost a lot of weight.  

Without judging people's choices I will say that I worry more when men become vegan than when women do.  I think they're affected differently.  But he's healthy and happy and I won't say anything against it.  I just want him to be well and I want to be hearing his insightful point of view when he and I are in our 90s.  

During the two part interview (it says part 2 and 3 but I don't see part 1 anywhere), many subjects are discussed.  The connection between politicizing food and culture wars is very good.  The section on compassion and developing a connection to rescued animals is important.  And the acknowledgement of how important, yet in the big picture, ineffective, it is to start a rescue operation.  It's great for opening up the dialogue, but the economic forces will not be reorganized until we come up with a better idea than our harmful and hurtful ways of producing food.  

What I thought was fascinating was the many times I've seen people make eulogistic comments like this when they switch their diet to keto, paleo, carnivore, steak and egg, low fat, vegetarian, fruitarian, vegan, or engine 2 diets.  And then later, the truly sincere way that they may, 10 years later, break that diet and decide, oh this other diet... that's the REAL way, I was wrong all along.  But what's the truth?  IMO, the truth is that the human body is not a cow or any other ruminant.  And it's not a carnivore.  It's an omnivore.  So a single diet plan settled forever will be elusive for us.  

Best plan:  don't judge, do right.  Use self control.  Use fresh real food. Learn to cook.  Use one of the diets if it helps you.  For instance if you are dealing with breast cancer, a very low fat vegan diet will shut off estrogen production and help slow the cancer, this is a scientific fact you can find in pubmed.  But don't get so dogmatic that you think you will never eat any meat ever again.  That strikes me as a promise too far.  If you eat vegan for the rest of your life and you're fine, then GREAT!  But if you feel the need like Jamie Alexander to eat some fish sometimes, that's OK.  (She was in the movie Supersize Me, and then publicly ended her veganism, then was the target of hatred and death threats even.)

I think the only rule is be well.  

So Episode "2"  is "Part 1" (shrug)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAvwl3AYNB4

Episode 3 has a point in the middle where they talk about the politics of food and how people just go back to their old habits.  At that point John brings up his son, who has Celiac, and how people just go back to the old habit of ridiculing and dismissing Celiac even though the person has no control over the illness.  And connects that to the politicization of food.  Great scene, don't miss it.  


 These videos are not actually instructional, they're more motivational, once you already know what the eating plan is like.  If you want to know more about the eating plan developed by this cardiologist, there is more free information than is available here on this channel on another channel run by Ann and Jane Esselstyn.  They demonstrate a lot of great recipes that are simple to make. 

Here's the basic philosophy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HA2lbA9Sp4 

Yes, it's very restrictive.  You can ease into it by adding boiled fish or other meat in the beginning.  But the goal is to have radically removed any sources of fat in your diet. Your body can make almost all the fats that it needs.  In my opinion the human body gets into trouble when fat, carbs and salt are all abundant together.  Protein can be abundant and you will remain healthy.  

Browse Jane Esselstyn's channel for more recipe ideas.  Also consider reading "Back to Eden" an old book from the turn of hte 19th century in the US when the Kloss family were running a health center that advocated radically low fat all plant food dieting.  

Note that this kind of eating often comes from a health philosophy called Natural Hygeine.  And that it usually uses sprouted whole grains including gluten grains.  Be careful with convenience foods designed for this diet.  They will not be likely to be safe for Celiac.

Vegan food is delicious, especially when made with an Indian flair.  Don't let anyone fool you, try it. Some high nutrition real food is always worth learning to make.  Even if for a while it's just a side dish, it becomes a familiar part of your life and a prompt for further thought.  

Our food system certainly needs more insight and thought.


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