Monday, June 17, 2013

My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn

My Beef with Meat by Rip Esselstyn
My Beef with this book.
My main beef with this book is that Rip Esselstyn has sold out. He has partnered with Whole Foods and advertises on his web sites for many different products. He even has his own food product line now sold in Whole Foods. That is fine for him and I have no problem with him making money. However, profit driven advice is not necessarily the healthiest thing for you. I got Rip's books because I am reading "Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition" by T. Colin Campbell and he advocates strongly for a plant based whole foods diet. I have also read books by Michael Pollen who shares the same viewpoint and since Rip's first book, "The Engine 2 Diet" has a forward by T. Colin Campbell, I thought that they shared the same views.
Rip, however includes lots of highly processed foods in his recipes and diet suggestions, things that have more than 5 ingredients, many of which are unpronounceable chemicals. Michael Pollen would not approve. Furthermore, Rip replaces fats with sugars. Many of his salad dressings include maple syrup. I personally don't like sweet salad dressings. I make my own salad dressings with EVOO and vinegar - usually balsamic, red wine and apple cider vinegars all mixed or perhaps with some fresh garlic, ginger, lime juice or lemon juice. I do not think that is any less healthy than a salad dressing made with maple syrup.
Rip does explain that large amounts of oils are unhealthy, but I think that in moderation, they should be fine.  Rip also includes tons of soy in his recipes. He tells us not to believe everything we believe about soy, but admits that "there is not yet conclusive evidence" about it, and it "may in fact both help and hurt us" but, "like most natural ingredients...don't do anything bad to you if you don't eat too much of them." I feel the same way about EVOO and coconut oil thank you.

I have made some of the recipes from this cookbook which, by the way, are not made up by Rip himself, but by his friends and family. I made the "Crispy Polenta Strips" which are coated with "corn flake crumbs (from a canister, not from your old cereal boxes!)" - definitely a highly processed food. They were ok.
I also tried to make the "Spicy Italian Eat Balls" which lists 1 cup wheat gluten as an ingredient. I looked up wheat gluten online and it was listed as seitan, so I bought that and used it in the recipe. That was the wrong ingredient. What is needed in that recipe apparently is vital wheat gluten, a dry wheat flour rather than wheat gluten aka seitan which is a lumpy moist wheat product. Rather than meat balls, I had mush, which I put in a loaf pan and baked like meatloaf. It still did not stick together and was just mush, but it tasted ok. I will try to make it again using vital wheat gluten and see how it turns out.
Lastly, I made the "Lime-Ginger Tofu Cubes", soy - and I used Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of low-sodium tamari sauce because the low sodium sauce still has 710 mg of sodium per serving as opposed to the over 900 mg in the regular sauce while the Braggs has 160 mg of sodium per serving. The Lime-Ginger Tofu Cubes were very good.

I do think that Rip brings up some good issues about healthy eating in his book and many of the recipes seem good as well. I continue to be skeptical about all of the soy ingredients and the egg replacer and many of the highly processed foods that he includes. I don't think that is truly a whole foods diet and I am not sure that replacing meat and dairy with processed soy and other processed items is the best diet. I think it would be better to leave the soy and processed foods out and stick to just whole foods.

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