People Watching: ENGINE 2
Think well: what is the most unlikely environment to see people consuming vegan meals?
A gym? Ok, the guys on steroids are not very likely to gorge on tofu, but gyms are full of healthy conscious individuals, no? And within those, there must be vegans... Plus, we have proofs of the exhistance of vegan body builders if you thought making it a body builders gym would have done the trick. No, a gym does not sound like a good bet at all.
A poultry farm? I am pretty damn sure there are vegans in there! With what people must see everyday, who would not become one? Plus, there always is that occasional undercover animal right activist (who receives all our love), on sight to tape a shocking documentary.
A police station? Uhm... this seems a tough one. But we have faith there are some vegan policemen since at least one made it to on-silver-screen glory (Christopher Walken in the 2001 movie titled Scotland, Pa., in which he acts in fact as a vegan policeman).
A firefighter station? This must be it: one of the most unlikely environment on the planet to see people eating vegan. Firefighters, a bit like policemen, are those donut eating people with sky high cholesterol level and a friendly smile, no? No doubt they are heroes, but they are definitely not known to be the kind-on-the-animals type.
Yet, we are so glad to discover we were totally wrong! Thanks to a link from What Do Vegans Eat, we landed on the super nice Engine 2 website, collecting the bios, press articles, recipes of... 4 vegan firefighters located in Austin, Texas!
Almost unbelievable, right??? Yet, Lieutenant Scott Walters, Specialist James Rae, Firefighter Matt Moore, Firefighter Derick Zwerneman and Firefighter Rip Esselstyn are the living proof that stereotypes are false and that vegans are already to be found in every working environment and are soon to conquer to world!
These initially four, now five firefighters two years ago started an adventure that finished in press glory: motivated to cook for each other by their schedule, which sees them working a 24 hours shift every three days and pushed by alarming facts about cholesterole related health problems running in their own families (James Rae's cholesterol level was then sitting at an allarming 344 and he was coming with a family with a long history in heart diseases), they started a plant-based, whole grain diet.
Originally our heroes' wagons (this is the word used for meals in a fire station) were flexitarians, with the occasional chicken and fish, but in a year time they had turned to a strict vegetarian diet, based on the 4 foud groups, in their own words, "the fantastic four"(which is also a nice alter ego name for our firefighters heroes!): fruits, veggies, whole-grains and legumes. Now, in the name of their quest for health, they avoid all animal products! The perfect way to become heart attack proof, as it was in their intent!
Their adveture, which has turned Engine 2 into The House of Health (as you can see in the picture here), paved the way for many welcomed recognitions: not only the New York Times and National Public Radio wrote and talked about them, but they started reciving free meals from vegetarian restaurants, not to mention the great deal of interest they caused in the female population... Their collegues are stopped by attractive women asking if they are the 'vegetarian firefighters' and with requests for a calendar and their recipes!
(apparently the most popular one is Paul McCartney Enchilladas! Engine 2 has been so nice to publish recipes on their website)
Despite all this fame, Engine 2 cannot afford to forget about their duties: on the contrary, to promote their quest for health, they have developed the Engine 2 High 5 Challenge, to inspire all of us to follow a healthier life avoiding useless risks (in the end it is often up to them to come and rescue us from troubles we caused ourselves!):
5 pieces of fruit each day
5 different colored vegetables a day
5 helpings of brown rice, whole grain breads, or whole wheat pastas a day
5 glasses of water each day
5 people to join you
1 mile per day, 5 days a week
the batteries in your smoke detector the 5th of each month
As they say:
FIGHT FIRE - FIGHT CHOLESTEROLE - FIGHT FAT
and if we can add: