The Daily Beet

19 Aug A Firefighter Success Story from Detroit!!

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My firefighting helmet goes off to Gene Butcher of Detroit, Michigan for taking control of his health and saving his own life without a pick-head ax or the jaws of life but with a spoon and a fork. These were the only tools necessary to reverse his high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. More effective than a pill or a procedure eating a plant strong diet is the holy grail when it comes to true health and wellness. Thank you, Gene for sharing your inspirational story with the Engine 2 community.




My name is Gene Butcher and I am a professional Firefighter in Michigan and I started the E-2 Diet on April 19, 2009. Below is a small story I wrote for a online cycling website and it outlines my success and continuing work on getting back in shape and getting healthy. I was told in January of 2009 that if I wanted to live to see 40 I needed to change the way I ate and I needed to start taking care of myself. Petrified at the possibility of only living 5 more years and leaving a wife and two small kids behind I switched to the E-2 diet after much research. It has been the best experience I have ever had with a diet or as I like to call it “A Lifestyle Change” I also have started a blog telling the story of my weight loss and struggles. I call it “100 Pounds Ago”. http://100poundsago.wordpress.com

And There the Bikes Hung  By Gene Butcher

There they hung, on the wall of the garage like some form of carbon fiber and aluminum art. Two bikes covered in the dust and grime as a result of years of neglect. I would look in the mirror at myself and see that I too was a victim of neglect, and it was all my own doing.

I was 34 when the doctor let escape from his mouth that on top of my laundry list of physical ailments I can now add Type 2 Diabetes. I took two different medications for high blood pressure, one for high cholesterol, two for a heart rhythm abnormality and now two more for diabetes. I was a train wreck of a person. One-hundred pounds overweight, a growing list of medical conditions, and a two pack a day smoker…..all at the young age of 34.

I set a goal in April shortly after my 35th birthday-a goal that my doctors scoffed at and one even laughed at. The goal was simple: lose 100 pounds and get off all medication by July of 2009. The two pieces of art came off of the garage wall and were attacked with tools to get them in riding order. I started-slow at first and short distances-and even riding 2 miles my lungs burned and my legs throbbed. I quit smoking cold turkey after day one of riding and have not touched a cigarette since. I pushed on and kept increasing the distance. I would only ride at night because I was sure people would laugh and point if they saw a man as large as I riding a bike. The distances increased daily and my endurance rose by leaps and bounds. Ten pounds, then 20, then 30… I completely changed my diet to strict vegetarian… 40 pounds, then 50. I rode daily like it was a religious obligation through blinding rain and cold I had to ride.

The first medications to go were those taken for high blood pressure. Then went the medications I took for diabetes. The thinner me no longer suffered from the disease of diabetes and it was like someone had unshackled me from a weight. After an EKG and some testing they found that my heart no longer required the medication to stabilize its rhythm, so I was able to cast aside the heart meds. The last to go was the medication for cholesterol- that disappeared from my medicine cabinet once I lost 65 pounds.

My goal was to lose 100 pounds and be off all of the medication by July. Part one of the goal is complete. I am off all of the medication I once took. Part two is coming along like I could only dream it would. Pound after pound lost somewhere on the roads and trails of where I ride, on bikes that may not be as fancy as those ridden by others. Only 35 more pounds to go!

The reaction from family, friends, and my cohorts at the fire department have been supportive if not curious. I was until April a self proclaimed “Meatatarian” which meant I took great pride in eating only meat and would loudly proclaim that the cow or pig I was eating ate plenty of veggies, so I was eating veggies by proxy. Strange how a trip to the doctor the threat of certain death and a handful of pills to combat medical issues can change your outlook on your diet and life in general.

My wife has been incredibly supportive, like she is in all aspects of my life she read the book as well and was quite shocked when I initially announced I was switching to a Vegan diet. The initial shock wore off quickly as she stepped in helping me plan menues and making shopping lists. You want to talk about an award winnning Fire Fighters wife….she takes the prize in that competition. The guys at work gave me a lot of really odd looks and followed with a lot of questions about it and when the results started to show I believe all doubts were put to bed. The rest of my family has been very accepting though which is a huge help especially when you show up to a family function and have concerns about what, if anything, you will be able to eat when your there only to find out they have gone out of their way to prepare a veggie tray or some nice veggie burgers.


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Rip Esselstyn

As a firefighter for the Austin Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin ’s Engine 2 firehouse ate in order to save a firefighting brother’s health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, Rip is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health.

  • debi
    Posted at 23:35h, 12 October

    Way to go, Gene- Way to go!

  • Toning My Body
    Posted at 16:34h, 29 December

    The web is full of misleading information. Thanks! for covering this subject in a truthful manner.

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