The Engine 2 Diet suddenly became a very hot trend on the Internet yesterday, right after it was featured on a Today show “Take It Off” segment with Amy Robach.

The Engine 2 Diet by Rip EsselstynThe story is that professional athlete-turned-Austin-Texas-firefighter Rip Esselstyn learned that some of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters were in “dire physical condition,” so he “sprang into action” and designed a healthier, heart-disease reversing diet which reduced one guy’s cholesterol from 344 to 196 in just 28 days.

The gimmick behind the eating plan is that it concentrates on healthy, low-fat, vegetarian foods like whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Think brown rice, whole grain pastas, oats, Portobello mushrooms, kale, spinach, Romaine lettuce, mangoes, apples, oranges, bananas, berries,and sweet potatoes. Crazy, huh?

Esselstyn points out that his regimen contains plenty of soluble fiber to make you “as regular as a Swiss commuter train.” We know all about soluble fiber from the Good Eats oatmeal episode (read Scene 11 of the transcript).

The only thing that concerns me is the “28 days” aspect, because returning to bacon burgers after a month will quickly wipe out all of the heart-healthy benefits of the whole foods. Maybe the idea is that after the four weeks, you’ll feel and look so much better that you’ll want to incorporate this way of eating into your diet for life.

Rip Esselstyn’s book is called The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds, and it comes out tomorrow, but you can order it right now from Amazon.com. The Today show has also put an excerpt online.

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