Chain eatery Panera recently debuted six-part docu-series Food Interrupted as part of its campaign to help consumers make informed food choices. One portion of the series—dubbed “Plants Interrupted”—features vegan activist and firefighter Rip Esselstyn who created the Engine 2 Diet brand to promote plant-based foods for optimal health to firefighters across the country. “One of my biggest challenges when I come into fire houses is that I am fighting a culture where if you don’t have a big slab of meat, you don’t have a meal,” Esselstyn explained during the episode, as he prepared recipes such as a three-bean chili, salad, and dark chocolate brownies for a group of firefighters in Los Angeles. “If I can connect and change the life of one of these firefighters,” Esselstyn said, “then today has been worth it.” While other episodes of the series—which feature renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson, The Office star Rainn Wilson, and Top Chef alum Sam Talbot—promote transparency in the food industry and are not focused on a plant-based diet, Panera will parlay the docu-series into a promotion of its meat-free options. “We believe plant-based eating can have a positive impact on people’s health and the environment,” the company stated, “so we offer plant-based options across our menu.”
Photo courtesy of Rip Esselstyn/Facebook
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