Rip Esselstyn, a Texas firefighter, has teamed up with his father who is a retired surgeon to launch his engine colleagues on the path to good health.
Speaking on a recent edition of CBS Sunday Morning, Esselstyn recounted how his fellow firefighters switched to the vegan diet and saw their cholesterol levels and weight fall considerably.
The 46-year-old former pro triathlete is promoting his new book entitled Engine no.2 which extols the health benefits of plant-only diet. He says he was inspired by his father to eat only plant-derived foods as early as 1986, a move he credits with helping him reach the heights of athletic prowess.
Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. was a Cleveland Clinic surgeon for more than three decades and is now active in the Clinic’s Wellness Institute, where he promotes the benefits of a vegan diet to prevent or reverse heart disease, according to Cleveland.com.
Some of the most powerful natural anti-cholesterol compounds include niacin (vitamin B3), omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and red yeast rice extract which have the dual benefit of reducing LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, and increasing the levels of the healthy HDL.