Rip Esselstyn
Rip Esselstyn
Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Plant-Based Eating Author Rip Esselstyn at Whole Foods Coral Gables Wednesday

Rip Esselstyn is a lot of things: son to legendary heart surgeon Caldwell Esselstyn; former firefighter; professional triathlete, New York Times bestselling author, manly man — and plant-pusher.

His first book, a runaway bestseller called The Engine 2 Diet, was all about how he introduced his Austin ladder company to a plant-based diet — and helped save their lives in the process. Rip's tome sparked an avalanche of interest in plant-based eating and got a lot of people looking at the idea of eating fruits and veggies in a whole new light.

His newest book, Plant-Strong: Discover the World's Healthiest Diet, runs through 36 powerful facts about a plant-based diet — and it's undeniable ability to save lives. Both books have made the New York Times bestseller list, and Rip's now internationally known for his plant-powered expertise. Next Wednesday, February 10, he'll be popping into the Miami area for a meet and greet at Whole Foods Coral Gables.

Since 2009 Rip has also been a Healthy Eating Partner with Whole Foods (the stores carry an exclusive line of Engine 2 Plant-Strong products). His visit will include a Q&A, photo ops, and book signings, too. He's also visiting Whole Foods Markets in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Davie.

Since Rip started publicly championing a plant-based diet seven years ago, the world has changed. Vegan eating has made it into the mainstream, and he's helped make it so.

"I have seen perceptions change dramatically since I wrote The Engine 2 Diet," Esselstyn tells the Miami New Times. "The documentary Forks Over Knives came out in 2011 and substantially moved the needle in the number of Americans considering stepping into the whole food, plant-based lifestyle. People and physicians are waking up to the realization that the true deep dive in nutrition is rooted in plants and all of their glorious attributes."

So what holds people back from getting on the better-living bandwagon? Rip says he frequently hears one misconception in particular: "The most dangerous myth on the planet is that men and women need meat to get their protein. The best, safest, and complete protein sources come from plants, not animals or animal byproducts."

Regardless of whether you're still eating animal products — or you're already on the vegan train, this event is for everyone. It's a great way to get an intro into the herbivorous lifestyle, and learn from one of the movement's foremost experts and champions. Eat plants, look like Rip. Sounds pretty good to us.

The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10 at Whole Foods Market Coral Gables, 6701 Red Road. Admission is free. To RSVP, visit eventbrite.com

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