From enthusiastic grins to some nervous skepticism, the first day of a week long immersion begins. Rip rallies the crowd with a warm welcome, ensuring them that they are in for a week filled with life-saving information, fantastic food, fun activities and the support they need to change their lives. The Engine 2 Team is on deck to help guide them along their plant-strong journey. This is my first immersion as part of the Engine 2 Team. It’s like being welcomed in to a wonderful family. The most genuine group of folks you have ever met.
Dr. Esselstyn explains the care and keeping of endothelial cells and other issues that have reached crisis level in our society and how we can prevent and reverse the effects of the standard American diet. Dr. Esselstyn is the captain of this ship. His wealth of experience in how this program works, shines through. He cares about the outcomes of the people attending the immersion, taking time to meet with several attendees over the course of the week.
Jeff Novick explains calorie density, labeling and food in such a way that by the time he is done, you are a plant-strong detective when it comes to grocery shopping. On another day, he teaches everyone how to make 5 meals in just an hour, so easy that kids can do it. In addition to keeping us in stitches all week, Jeff breaks down some of the marketing myths we’ve all been exposed to over the years.
Doug Lisle gives us the tools we need to understand why we eat the way we do, how to change our habits and how to maneuver in a non plant-strong society. With dry wit and amazing artistic talent, he entertains us through some of the most valuable lessons we need to learn regarding overcoming the hurdles of The Pleasure Trap.
Jane Esselstyn, breaks it down with visual aids, humor and hands on cooking demos all week. Jane makes everything fun. From learning about how to make nori rolls to erectile dysfunction, we laugh and learn all the while. We get to sample several new recipes from Engine 2 as well!
Ann Esselstyn shares her plant-strong wisdom gathered over two and a half decades. Sharing with us her favorite meals, products, tips and more, we all hope to have her vivacious energy later in life. Natala and I share our stories about our health and weight loss with the group as well. Nate Turner keeps us moving and motivates us all week with Cross Fit before dawn. Dani instructs some in yoga while Jane leads a morning walk through the hill country.
Rip is our cheerleader, our motivator, our tour guide on this plant-strong journey. His wife Jill, talks about plant-strong kids, keeping it simple and gives everyone great tips for meal planning. The group is rounded out by the support team of Adam, Dani, Jillian, Natala and me – plus the immersion mascots – Walker and Tug – the dogs.
From a quiet group of strangers to a boisterous bunch of new found friends the group has absorbed a lot of information, sped down a zip line, bounced off the blob into the water, traversed the grounds on horseback or the sky on the ropes course, paddled past the retreat in canoes, conquered the hill, overcame their fears, showcased their talents, opened their hearts to new ideas, and shared their hopes and fears with us all.
It’s been an incredible week. Some walked in as skeptics and had a life changing experience. Others had their beliefs in the power of good nutrition reaffirmed. The guidance offered was welcomed and embraced by all over the course of the week. The group lost nearly 300 pounds over the course of their stay!
With amazing food and inspirational speakers like Dick Beardsley and the talented Darden Smith, we leave the week long immersion nourished, with a smile on our faces, joy in our hearts, enthusiasm in our voices, and faith in our souls, dancing all the while to Ride The Bull!