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The Daily Beet

13 Dec Nick’s Health Rescue Started With Just 7 Days of Plant-Strong Living

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There are many different paths to a plant-strong lifestyle. Maybe you watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix, you stumbled across Engine 2 products at Whole Foods Market or you have read the headlines and research shared across Facebook on the benefits of plant-strong eating. However you ended up here, I am proud that you have taken control of your health!Nick's Plant-Strong Before and After

For Nick Nicholas, his journey to plant-strong living came courtesy of his employer. In Spring 2016, Nick’s employer sent him (along with some colleagues) to one of our seven-day, plant-strong Immersions in Sedona, Arizona. Nick’s doctor “warned [him] of early death if things did not improve” before the immersion.

To say that things have improved since…well, take a look. I had the pleasure of chatting with Nick recently to learn about his experience, his new outlook on life and lessons he’s learned since embracing plant-strong living.

RIP: When you signed up to go the immersion in May, did you have any idea what you were getting yourself into?

NICK: I had an idea but it was wrong. I knew the program was about eating healthier, but I did not know that meant eating 100% plant-based.  

RIP: What sort of predicament were you in with your health?  Did you have any recommendations from your physician on how to get on track?  Or what things had you tried before?

NICK: Predicament is the perfect word to use here.  Earlier this year I was told by my endocrinologist that I was looking at an early death if I did not get my diabetes under control.  Although I had heard her annual lectures about how I needed to lose weight, to eat better, etc., etc., the message did not register until she put it in terms of life and death.  On a happier note, although she will not give me any guarantee, she has changed her mind about my future.  

RIP: Before the E2 Immersion, did you eat out a lot? 

NICK: My family and I ate out constantly.  Unfortunately we are foodies who live in the Galleria area of Houston and are surrounded by great restaurants.  As you might imagine this can be a nutritional and financial disaster.

Planning and cooking at home were infrequent at best for my family – the only planning was deciding whether we were going to eat out or order in!

RIP: What sort of exercise did you do?

NICK: I would occasionally walk on a treadmill, but I am not sure if the right word is occasionally or seasonally.

RIP: How much do you exercise now? 

NICK: I try to exercise every day for one to two hours, and I usually rotate workouts between walking on the treadmill, exercising on the elliptical, and/or weight lifting.  

RIP: How often do you eat out now?

NICK: We usually only eat out one meal on Saturday and Sunday, and one of our standard meals is to eat breakfast at Whole Foods and then do our grocery shopping.  I also eat out at lunch with my co-workers on weekdays.

RIP: How did you convince your wife and family to make this change with you?  Was it instant for them or gradual?

NICK: My family eats the meals I cook (which are 100% plant-based), but they have not made the change to a 100% plant-based diet. On average I would estimate that fifty percent (50%) of their meals are 100% plant-based.

Although they aren’t eating 100% plant-based meals, my family is incredibly supportive of my new lifestyle.  

RIP: How has your family dynamic changed?

NICK: Even though my wife and daughter are not following the E2 program, the change has brought us closer together.  We spend more time together while we discuss what to eat for the week, while we shop for our food, while I am cooking and when we sit down and eat together.  Moreover, sitting down at the dining table in your own home is closer and more familial than sitting down together at a restaurant.

RIP What improvements did you notice early on with the plant-based diet?  

NICK: The most noticeable and most important change was the dramatic reduction in my glucose readings.  I went from readings of 200 to 300 mg/dl (which are high), to routine readings at or near 100 mg/dl (which is normal), and that is even with a decrease in the amount of Insulin I take through my pump each day.  

RIP: What motivates you each day to stick with it?

NICK: The fear of back-sliding, the fear of blowing all this hard work, the fear of becoming complacent, and/or the fear of dying an early death.  I know that fear is usually perceived as a bad thing, but I think it is a good thing since it motivates me to keep doing a good thing. I quit smoking 4 ½ years ago and the fear of what would happen if I took that first puff still helps me when I get an urge to smoke.

RIP: What’s your favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner?  Your go-to meals that you love and always have on hand?

NICK: Black-Bean Tacos.  I can eat them morning, noon and night – and sometimes have.  I make them plain, with a small amount of avocado and/or with sweet potatoes. I also play around with the spice combinations and the amount and type of peppers to change the flavor, and the amount of heat.

Many thanks to Nick for taking the time to share his story with me (and with all of you). Seven days doesn’t seem like a long time, but it is enough time to rescue your health and transform your life – just like Nick!

Plant-strong living can help you take control of YOUR health!

We’re launching the Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Challenge on January 4 to help YOU rescue your health, just like Nick. Get the details and register for the challenge here, then join our private Facebook group for Q&As with myself as well as a superstar lineup of plant-based thought leaders. The Engine 2 team will help you kick start a plant-strong 2017 – come join us!

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Rip Esselstyn

As a firefighter for the Austin Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin ’s Engine 2 firehouse ate in order to save a firefighting brother’s health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, Rip is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health.

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