Rip Esselstyn, a former professional athlete and firefighter for Austin’s Engine 2 firehouse who now applies his passion for saving lives by teaching the connection between what you eat and the ability to prevent chronic disease, acknowledges that fires account for merely 10 percent of any given fire department’s call volume.
“Last year in Austin, Texas, we had a little over 100,000 911 calls that were made,” Esselstyn explains. “Almost 80,000 of those were medical calls where we’re responding as EMTs, paramedics, emergency first responders. We see up close and personal the devastation that is being caused by the fork, the spoon and the knife.”
In “Forks Over Knives,” Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist from Cornell University, and Rip’s father Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic, explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal-based to plant-based can help eliminate or control many health conditions.
“It manifests itself in all of these kinds of chronic Western diseases. Whether it is heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, the major cancers or rampant obesity,” Esselstyn says. “As firefighters, that is really unfortunately what we’re fighting. We’re fighting Western disease more than we are fires.”
In addition to appearing in “Forks Over Knives,” Esselstyn has written a New York Times best selling book – “The Engine 2 Diet” – as well as teamed up with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Partner to raise awareness for team members, customers and all of America about the health benefits of eating a plant-strong diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Dr. Suneil Jain of Scottsdale’s Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics, 9977 N. 95th St., supports Esselstyn’s diet and “Forks Over Knives,” admitting to using many of the film’s theories in his own practice. He believes that the documentary is capable of changing the lives of many people – and in a relatively short period of time.
“It’s very hard to tell the Western world not to consume meat because of the harmful effects which is based on years of substantiated research,” Dr. Jain explains. “I tell [people], ‘Give me 6 weeks. If you don’t feel better, continue doing what you have been.’ And 9 out of 10 times they’re hooked because they feel remarkably better than before.”
Leading up to the release of “Forks Over Knives,” Dr. Oz devoted about half of one of his shows airing during the last week of April to the film and Esselstyn’s plant-based diet. When asked to sum up the reason Valley moviegoers should see the new documentary, Esselstyn referred back to the diet’s most popular supporter.
“I’m going to quote Dr. Oz, now one of the leading three most influential people on TV, who tells his viewership, ‘You need to see this movie,’ and, ‘You never have to die of heart disease and cancer,’” Esselstyn explains. “Now who doesn’t want to know more about that.”
Esselstyn notes that most Americans are, unfortunately, completely illiterate when it comes to issues of nutrition. He challenges people to see “Forks Over Knives,” a movie he believes that in 90 minutes makes an exceptionally compelling case for changing what goes in your mouth.
“You really are what you eat,” he adds. “And you can avoid many of these Western diseases.”
“Forks Over Knives” (PG – 96 minutes) opens Friday exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5. Visit NCM.com for specific showtimes. Visit www.Engine2.com to learn more about Rip Esselstyn’s diet. Visit www.WeRejuvenate.com to learn more about Dr. Suneil Jain’s clinic.
Listen to Joseph J. Airdo’s “Movie Maverick” radio segment, every Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. during “The Daily Blender with Jeffry O’Brien” on KBSZ – NBC 1260 AM and 96.1 FM.