This plan could help save your life, according to author and former Texas firefighter Rip Esselstyn.
There are two 28-day diet plans -- The Fire Cadet and the Firefighter. The former is a more gradual approach; the latter is the more extreme version.
The Fire Cadet plan gradually cuts out foods deemed unhealthy, while adding whole, nutritious foods to your diet.
- Week 1: No dairy, processed, or refined foods (white bread, pasta, chips, soda, etc.)
- Week 2: Build on Week 1 by cutting out meat, chicken, eggs, and fish.
- Week 3: Build on Weeks 1 and 2 by cutting all added or extracted oils, such as olive, coconut, and canola.
- Week 4: Keep building on Weeks 1-3 by eating even more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
The Firefighter plan jumps right in by eating only whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes for all 4 weeks. You’ll cut out all animal products and refined foods right from the start.
What You Can Eat and What You Can't
You can have plant-based foods, such as:
- Vegetables, greens, and fruits
- Meat substitutes: tofu, seitan, and tempeh
- Milk substitutes: soy, rice, almond, hemp, oat milks
- Soy yogurt with low sugar
- Cooked brown rice
- Nut butters
- Ground flaxseed meal
- Fresh herbs
- Undressed salads
- Raw nuts and seeds
- 100% whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta
- Dried and canned beans and other legumes with no added fat or salt
- Low-sodium, low-fat soups
- Canned tomatoes
- Pasta sauce with no added oil
- Baked chips
- Dried fruit with no added sugar or sulfites
- Fruit spread with no added sugar
- Sweeteners such as agave, black strap molasses, and pure maple syrup
- Low-sodium, low-sugar condiments
- Cheese substitutes
- Refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup (mixes, sauces, soda, candy, cookies)
- Processed grains (white flour, white bread, white rice, white pasta)
- Any canned or packaged food containing more than 2.5 grams of fat per 100-calorie serving.
Esselstyn encourages you to give up alcohol, at least for the 4 weeks of the diet. Limit yourself to one glass of wine per day if necessary.
Because this is a vegan diet (no animal products), you will need certain supplements or fortified foods to meet nutritional needs including vitamin D and vitamin B12. You may also need fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.