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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegan Books

Discover the World's Healthiest Diet-
with 150 New Engine 2 Recipes

By Rip Esselstyn

Grand Central Life & Style, 2015
Paperback, $15.99


Rip Esselstyn has a fire in his belly. That fire took him from Engine Company 2 fire station in Austin, Texas to become a worldwide ambassador for eating plant-strong. Rip is a member of the plant-strong Esselstyn family that began its dietary adventure in 1984.

Father Caldwell Esselstyn, MD led the family in this health-saving journey by deciding to follow a plant-based regimen (no animal protein) with no added oil. He, his wife, and family followed this program for the entire year in 1984 before he began his famous life-saving study described in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. The book became a national bestseller.

Since that year the Esselstyns have become the Plant-Strong Royal Family. Rip described his work in improving the health of his fire brigade in The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. In 2010 Whole Foods Market enlisted him to be their Healthy Eating Partner as he travels around the world promoting his plant-strong diet.

Rip's mother Ann and sister Jane have combined their talents to create The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook: Over 125 Delicious, Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes. Ann has had over 30 years experience in creating plant-strong recipes. Her recipes were also included in a section of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

In Plant-Strong, Rip presents 36 brief chapters, each between two and six pages that discuss the facts and myths of this lifestyle. "By the time you've finished this book, you'll be an expert on everything you need to know to win any argument with a meat eater. And you'll be more convinced than ever that your plant-strong diet rules!" he writes.

Some of the provocative chapters include:

  • Plants Are Plentiful in Protein
  • The Bugs in Your Gut Dig Plants
  • The Problem with Paleo
  • Chocolate! You Bet!
  • Plants Light Up Your Love Life: Men and Women
  • Poops from Heaven
  • Carbs Are King!

The second half of the book is The Recipes featuring 152 recipes divided into Breakfast, Sides and Appetizers, Pizzas and Flatbreads, Sandwiches, Warm Comfort Foods, Cool Comfort Foods, Tacos! Burritos! Quesadillas!, Pasta Creations, Burgers and Fries, Dressings and Dips, Hummus and Spreads, Pasta Sauces, Salads, Salsas, Soups, Desserts and Chocolates, and Bonus Engine 2 Recipes.

To help him with this section, Rip recruited his sister Jane, who is a registered nurse, wellness instructor, and cook. They sorted through recipes provided by a number of people including family, friends, cookbook authors, and firefighters. Jane personally kitchen-tested each recipe.

One of the ingenious recipe segments focuses on flatbreads and the numerous toppings to enjoy as an accompaniment to a salad or soup meal or as the centerpiece of a tasty meal. Featured on a 2-page spread of hunger-enticing color photos are six mouth-watering flatbread variations.

Rip Esselstyn The flatbread dough recipe, that also doubles as a pizza dough, was contributed by firefighter J.R. Rudberg who uses some standard ingredients like whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and warm water, but incorporates unsweetened applesauce in place of vegetable oil. For the toppings, there are eleven unique variations including The Freudian Slip that puts peanut butter and peaches in the spotlight. The Hot Shot begins with a layer of Rachel Safran's Fire Hummus topped with orange and red bell pepper, fresh spinach, and jalapenos "(if you dare."

To enjoy a delicious soup, one of the all-time favorite comfort foods, turn to Ann Esselstyn's Sweet Holy Deliciousness featuring sweet potatoes and kale with a generous measure of spices, or Andrew Casesse's Thai Carrot Soup seasoned with plenty of ginger, garlic, and cilantro.

The volume includes 30 pages of colorful, eye-appealing food photos in two sections. Each color photo lists the name of the recipe and its page number for quick reference.

The overriding message of Plant-Strong comes in Part 1 when Esselstyn states, "Plants can heal. Plants can nourish. Plants can nurture. Plants can give you everything you need to be the healthiest person you can be and live the life you deserve to live." In this book Rip Esselstyn not only gives the health reasons for following a plant-based lifestyle, but also by providing the delicious recipes, he gives readers the basic tools that lead to great health and vitality.

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