Zach’s Take on Rip’s Big Bowl for Breakfast

At least once a year, everyone at work does “The Engine 2 Diet,” a diet based on the book by Rip Esselstyn, a former triathlete and Texas firefighter based on the findings of his father, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, a cardiologist, and T. Colin Campbell, PhD, a research scientist.

Over the past four years, I’ve done other methods of weight loss, including busting my butt working for UPS and doing Sean T’s insane Insanity workout and P90X. But I didn’t check out “The Engine 2 Diet” for that reason. I did it because of the fact that my own father, when he became primarily vegan (eliminating meat, dairy, and all animal products), reversed his heart disease. It’s heart wrenching for me to think about losing out on future memories like graduations and marriages with my kids and potential grandkids, all because I chose not to be healthy and take care of my body. As my father set a good example for me, I want to set a good example for my own kids, and give them the gift of life and health.

Rip's Big Bowl

This is how Rip’s Big Bowl looks if you buy it pre-made at Whole Foods Market.

So last summer, I decided to get serious about following Rip’s advice. I began eating his famous Rip’s Big Bowl every morning. So good. I could literally eat this every day for breakfast. And I do, unless I run out of something or I’m out of town.

Here is a link to an ABC News segment on Rip’s Big Bowl recipe where he goes over the serious stuff about heart disease and cholesterol, and how you can get a good protein-filled breakfast without all the risks involved in animal-based foods.

Then, I decided I wanted to cut extruded cereals out of my diet as well. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry on extrusion. Without getting into the controversy of whether or not extruded food is really toxic or bad for us, just read about what it is and make up your own mind. But you can’t argue with replacing an item (in this recipe’s case, the shredded wheat) with a more raw, whole food, like seeds and nuts.

So here is how I’ve modified Rip’s Big Bowl into becoming Zach’s Big Rip Bowl. I call it that because, as Rip says in like every interview, it will make you “as regular as a Swiss commuter train”. Any guy who can make fun of bodily functions like poop and farts is hilarious to me. And to quote Johnny, “Dude! It’s air coming out of a butthole. How is that not funny?”

Back to the recipe:

  • 1/8 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/8 cup Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal
  • 1/8 cup Uncle Sam Cereal
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal (buy pre-made or make in your Vitamix)
  • 1 tablespoon raw hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground raw almond meal (make in your Vitamix) or chopped raw almonds (use a chopper)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • However much of whatever fruit you can get your hands on. Hint: red grapes and fresh pineapple chunks will make it sweet and yummy for you and your kids when you transition to this sugar-free cereal. Apples and pears add crunch. Bananas, berries and kiwi add more flavor. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are awesome, but can wreak havoc on your teeth and cause them to chip if you start eating them all the time.
  • 3/4 cup milk substitute of choice. I would recommend when you start a milk substitute to go with oat milk, because it’s thicker like cow’s milk. Once you get used to a milk substitute, you can switch to rice milk because it’s usually more readily available and sometimes cheaper. I stay away from soy because of the controversy on phytoestrogens. I might be metro, but I’m still a dude, and I don’t need that!

Measure everything out in your bowl, chop up the fruit, add the milk, and crush it.

If you want to be really cool and organized, get these 8 ounce canning jars from and pre-pack them for 1-2 weeks at a time. It’s so convenient to just dump it in a bowl and add your fruit and milk each morning without having to bust out a million packages and all your measuring cups. Plus, it looks really cool when your sister comes over and her eyes get big at how awesome it is that you look insanely organized and prepared even though you’re a dude.


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