Book review: My Beef with Meat

Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style, Hachette Book Group

Review by Steven E. Greer, MD

What do all of these extremely athletic and strong professional athletes have in common? Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, Heisman Trophy football star and MMF fighter Herschel Walker, Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, new NFL running back sensation Arian Foster, 9-time Olympic gold medal sprinter Carl Lewis, tennis greats Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, and the now-fit-and-trim President Bill Clinton, have all turned to a “plant-strong” (or vegan) diet replacing animal protein with vegetable protein.

Following up on his first best-selling book, “The Engine 2 diet”, his second book, “My Beef with Meat”, Rip Esselstyn explains why giving up meat will make you healthier and more energetic. Rip is currently a 49-year-old triathlete and firefighter in Austin, Texas, and consultant to Whole Foods.

Rip is the son of Caldwell Esselstyn, MD: An endocrine surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and Olympic gold medal winner in rowing. The 2011 documentary “Forks Over Knives” was based on Dr. Esselstyn’s work, and influenced President Clinton to adopt the meat-free diet after his heart surgery.

“My Beef with Meat” is an easy read and gets straight to the point. Rip dismisses many myths about meat-derived protein, explaining how plants provide ample protein and calcium. More importantly, he explains the toxic components of our modern meat supply, with the animals being pumped full of antibiotics and steroids. In fact, just recently, in April of 2013, the FDA issued guidelines warning that the antibiotic overuses in animals is leading to resistant organisms in humans. The steroid hormones in meat and milk very possibly are also contributing to the early puberty and other changes seen in modern America. Also, the book explains how barbecued meat creates chemicals called heterocyclic amines, which are carcinogenic.

Mr. Esselstyn pulls no punches and calls out the food industry lobbyists for biasing the USDA, creating bogus “food pyramid” recommendations with meat and dairy overly weighted. He explains how the meat and poultry industries collect more than $160 Billion in revenue, and employ approximately 500,000 people, wielding tremendous power in Washington.

In his second book, “My Beef with Meat”, Rip provides 140 more recipes for his plant-strong diet (He avoids the vegan label). Not all of them are easy to make, for someone unaccustomed to a vegan diet.

After seeing more and more strong athletes, such as Mike Tyson, convert to vegan diets, then reading “My Beef with Meat”, this book review author decided to try it out for himself. As of this writing, I have been making vegetable juices and eating meat-free for about two weeks. I feel great, have almost no hunger spells, lost several pounds, and am sleeping much better. That is the best “book review” I can give.

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