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

Author and founder of The Engine 2 Diet

Dani Little

Program Director

Ami Mackey

Engine 2 Extra Coach and E2 blogger

Char Nolan

E2 Blogger and E2X Coach

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.

Recently Rip left his job as a firefighter 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. He has appeared on hundreds of radio shows as well as national television shows, including the Today show, CBS Sunday Morning Show, Good Morning America, and The Dr. Oz Show.

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

Dani began her commitment to nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition. She later went on to refine her education at Bastyr University, where she received a Master of Science degree in Nutrition. Following her higher education, Dani pursued her Registered Dietitian credentials through a practical and academic internship throughout the greater Seattle area. After spending six years in the hospital setting, Dani walked away from the clinical setting of the hospital to work in the world’s healthiest grocery store and eventually join the powerful Engine 2 team! Now’a days you will find Dani spreading the plant-strong word as the Engine 2 Program Director…and loving life while doing it!

Ami Mackey is the Communications Director at Engine 2. She is also a food coach at Engine 2 Extra and has been plant-strong since 2011. When she isn’t attending to all things Engine 2, she is the Program Director at St Louis All City Boxing, a nonprofit youth program. She has earned certificates from eCornell in Plant-Based Nutrition & Fitness Nutrition from NASM.


Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She’s been plant-strong for more than five years. From Philadelphia, Char is the “vegan features writer,” for the “Town Dish.” She’s lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health from Temple University, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell, and recently earned a certification as a plant-based chef from the Rouxbe Cooking School.

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