Our Story?

THE ENGINE 2 DIET was created and implemented by Rip Esselstyn, a former world-class professional tri-athlete and the son, grandson and great-grandson of renowned physicians, after he discovered the dangerously high cholesterol level (344!) of one of his fellow firefighters at the Austin (TX) Engine 2 Station. The results of his revolutionary, plant-based diet were so dramatic – and the food so delicious and easy-to-prepare – that Rip’s program received media coverage on NPR, in the New York Times and in several newspapers across the country.

Rip saved countless lives as a firefighter. Now he is saving millions more with his New York Times best-selling book, THE ENGINE 2 DIET. His groundbreaking nutritional program with indisputable, dramatic results allows you to lower cholesterol and lose weight in just 4 weeks by eating foods that are plant-based, nutrient-dense, naturally low in calories and high in fiber.

The program has been vetted by Esselstyn’s father, a physician who is a pioneer in the study of the connection between heart disease and diet.  The diet is also endorsed by:

  • Dean Ornish, MD and Founder and President of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute;
  • Neal D. Barnard, MD and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine
  • Whole Foods Market, for which Rip Esselstyn is a Healthy Eating partner.

The book features dozens of easy-to-prepare, mouthwatering recipes (including pancakes, pizza, Tex-Mex favorites and chocolate desserts) as well as family-friendly meal plans and menu choices for whenever and wherever you decide to eat out.  There’s also a simple firefighter-inspired exercise program that will help dieters to boost metabolism, build strength and endurance, and melt pounds away.

Meet Our Team

Rip Esselstyn

Laurie Kortowich

Diana Mitchell

Ami Ann Mackey

Engine 2 Founder Rip Esselstyn was born in upstate New York, raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and educated at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a three-time All-American swimmer. After graduation, Rip spent a decade as one of the premier triathletes in the world. He then joined the Austin Fire Department where he introduced his passion for a whole-food, plant-based diet to Austin’s Engine 2 Firehouse in order to rescue a firefighting brother’s health. To document his success he wrote the national bestselling book, The Engine 2 Diet, which shows the irrefutable connection between a plant-based diet and good health.

Rip left his job as a firefighter in 2009 to team up with Whole Foods Market as one of their Healthy Eating Partners to raise awareness for Whole Foods employees, customers and communities about the benefits of eating a plant-strong diet. As the founder of Engine 2, Rip develops and implements a range of programs and events geared toward education, inspiring and nurturing plant-strong living for individuals, families and organizations across the globe. 

He has appeared on hundreds of radio and national television shows, including the Today ShowCBS Sunday MorningGood Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. Rip is a New York Times Bestselling Author who has published four books. He will be touring the US in support of his most recent book, The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet, in early 2017.

Rip lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Jill, and their three beautiful children, Kole, Sophie and Hope.

Laurie serves as director of all Engine 2 programs including week-long immersions, Plant-Stock, and the Seven-Day Rescue. She is also responsible for cultivating corporate partnerships and exploring new business development. Born into a dairy-farming family in Western New York, Laurie managed events for more than 17 years, then spent seven years as a high-energy lifestyle director for Del Webb. She founded Plant-Based CLE, a support group in Northeast Ohio dedicated to helping people find the joy in plant-based living. Laurie lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, Todd, their three active kids and one snoring dog. Her favorite vegetable is broccoli!

Diana is responsible for the oversight, creation and implementation of Engine 2’s marketing and public relations efforts. She has worked with some of the world’s top brands in a marketing and PR career that spans more than 15 years and is excited to be a part of the Engine 2 team! Diana became plant-strong in 2014, and after discovering a 99% blockage in his right coronary artery in September 2015, her husband also adopted a plant-strong lifestyle. Diana lives with her husband, Todd, her stepson, Brandon and their two cats in Buffalo, New York. She is obsessed with acorn squash, oatmeal with banana, and finding shortcuts to cook delicious, plant-strong meals.

Ami Mackey is the Curator of Creative Content and Food Coach at Engine 2. Ami and her husband have both been plant-strong since 2011. When she is not creating new recipes or photographing her creations, she can be found on the beach in California with her rescued pit bull.  She volunteers her time with at-risk youth and specializes in helping teens and athletes go plant-strong. She has earned certificates from eCornell in Plant-Based Nutrition & Fitness Nutrition from NASM.

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