Triathlete joins health forum panel

Okanagan Health Forum comes to Penticton’s Shatford Centre on March 1

Rip Esselstyn leads fellow competitor Lance Armstrong out of the water at the 2011 Xterra World Championships in Maui

Rip Esselstyn leads fellow competitor Lance Armstrong out of the water at the 2011 Xterra World Championships in Maui

Rip Esselstyn has always been a high-achieving, competitive guy. A pro triathlete for over 10 years with numerous accolades such as eight-time winner of the Capital of Texas triathlon. At age 43, he was named one of Austin, Texas’ 10 fittest people.

He credits much of his success to the fuel he gives his body, which is inspired by his father’s research on reversing and curing heart disease.

When he changed careers from triathlon to professional firefighter, he found himself challenging his firefighting team to prove how fit they were for their job of saving lives. It turned out that their 33-year old buddy JR had dangerously high cholesterol. In solidarity with JR, each member of the team adopted a healthier diet to help ‘rescue’ JR.  Within one month, they saw remarkable results, and thus began Rip’s journey to writing the New York Times best-seller The Engine 2 Diet.

Rip’s story is but one of many showcased in the feature film Forks Over Knives which the Okanagan Health Forum is bringing to the Shatford Centre in Penticton on March 1 and the Creekside Theatre in Lake Country on March 4.

The film traces the personal journeys of Rip’s father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., author of Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease, and Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, a book which reveals that cancer as well as other common diseases in the Western world can be dramatically reduced with dietary changes.

The film also follows ‘reality patients’ who have chronic conditions and the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed.

The evening is much more than a documentary. There will be free food samples from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., with the film Forks Over Knives starting at 6:30 p.m. Following the film and a short intermission, Esselstyn will join the expert panel (via Skype) to answer attendees’ questions. Also on the panel are Brenda Davis, dietitian, author and international speaker, and Roger Crittenden, family practice physician.

Tickets are $5 and are available in Penticton at Nature’s Fare and Whole Foods Market and in Kelowna at Choices Markets and Nature’s Fare. For further information visit www.okanaganhealthforum.com.