On a cold February evening at the Michigan Theater, Rip Esselstyn wore a college jersey that said “KALE” (in the “YALE” font) across his chest. The former Austin, Texas, firefighter was in town to promote the night’s advance showing of Forks over Knives, a documentary that claims that heart disease, type II diabetes, and cancer can be controlled or even reversed by a plant-based diet. Esselstyn also was selling copies of his book, The Engine 2 Diet, about how he helped his fellow firefighters lower their cholesterol.

Steve Lowe, a second-generation firefighter, brought a fire truck to the event. He also pointed out that at least in Ann Arbor, dinner at the fire hall is no longer “meat and potatoes and two desserts.” Derek Wiseley concurred. The upcoming menu at Station 3 on Jackson, Wiseley reported, would be “vegetarian soft tacos”–though one of the three firefighters on duty did plan to “have a little chicken with his.” Says Wiseley, “when the time calls, you don’t want to not be able to do what you need to do.”