Go Plant-Strong!
The Daily Beet: Tips, Advice and Stories

Adventures with Ami: Chicago Farms 2 Forks. Plus A Giveaway!

photo (70)

I had the honor of speaking at the Farms 2 Forks event in Chicago this weekend.  I was speaking about our amazing online community Engine 2 Extra and the services we offer there.  Farms 2 Forks is always an amazing event.  I always look forward to all of the incredible speakers like, Jeff Novick, Doug Lisle, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. McDougall, Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn.  This time I had another big reason to be excited about Farms 2 Forks.  Sixty-two Engine 2 Extra members were going to be in attendance!

As one of the three Engine 2 Food Coaches on Engine 2 Extra, I have had the opportunity to get to know so many people over the past 9 months.  Our online community of plant-strong people has grown to over 2000 members.  From daily check-ins to monthly challenges, food journals and blogs, you really get to know people in this rich community.  I was so looking forward to meeting the members that I have the privilege of working with every day.

On Engine 2 Extra, we have 28 day challenges that help people get started on the Engine 2 plan.  We also have fun weekly challenges, all about stretching your boundaries, trying new foods, getting some fitness and sharing with the community.  We also have some serious star power in the plant-strong world drop by for interviews and chat sessions.  In addition to the feature packed e-books that we distribute exclusively to our members every quarter.  Engine 2 Extra provides personal coaching in addition to a creative and talented pool of members who make fantastic meals, post photos and recipes and act as a cheering section for all of E2X.  We are there to help you out when you are falling down, and there to keep you going when you are going strong.

At Farms 2 Forks, we arranged to have special yellow buttons made for all the E2X members in attendance, so we could spot them and other members could too.  We also had some tables reserved so Engine 2 Extra members could sit together if they wanted to do so.  I had the opportunity to be at registration so I could personally welcome so many of our members.  It was really neat to see everyone in person!  On the first night of Farms 2 Forks, Rip Esselstyn said good night to the over 300 people in attendance and then called all of the Engine 2 Extra members to the front of the room.  He had everyone form a circle and introduce themselves and talk about their milestones.  It was pretty cool to get to hear from everyone and put a real live face with the profile photo we see on E2X.

Over the course of the weekend, we had a chance to chat and some of us shared a table together at dinner on Saturday.  We talked and talked until they had to kick us out so they could clear the room. :) On Sunday I had the opportunity to speak about E2X and the great membership we have there.  I also got to present awards to the two winners of our Captain’s Challenge last month, Sue and Susan! Several of our members presented Dr. Esselstyn with a Chicago Cubs shirt signed by Engine 2 Extra members as well.  If you are looking for a plant-strong community, extra help to get started or stay on plan, recipe ideas and more, come see us at http://engine2extra.com

Would you like to win a free E2X membership for a year? Just enter a comment and tell us why. You get immediate access to over 30 interviews, our 3 Ebooks (each 75+ pages), coaching, resources and more.

About the author

Ami Mackey
Ami Mackey is a food coach at Engine 2 Extra and has been plant-strong since 2011. She is also the Program Director at St Louis All City Boxing a nonprofit youth program. She earned certificates from eCornell in Plant-Based Nutrition & Fitness Nutrition from NASM.

66 Responses to “Adventures with Ami: Chicago Farms 2 Forks. Plus A Giveaway!”

  1. Leah says:

    Nothing more inspirational than an individual’s story! Thank you for providing, creating, nurturing, and inspiring such beautiful community!

  2. Holly Jeanne Cha says:

    That’s amazing. I always enjoy gatherings of like minded individual’s. It helps renew your motivation to be surrounded by those who think like you do.

  3. Michele says:

    I already considered myself plant strong, but the weekend motivated me to really check labels and do this to the best of my ability!

  4. mia harmon says:

    I recently saw your page on Facebook and look forward to your posts everyday. Its great to have a supportive community just a few keystrokes away :)

  5. appifanie says:

    I would like to win an E2X membership because I am a vegan with junk food tendencies, and I want to get into better shape, cut way down on my migraines, and have more energy, and I can use all the help I can get :)

  6. Deb Hollimon says:

    I am watching for an event to come to the Twin Cities. E2X does have a lot of great info for new and old plant strong members.

  7. Nancy Beagle says:

    I watched the movie and have had this book on my coffee table for at least 6 months. I NEED to do the challenge! Thanks for another push!

  8. Niftyfifty says:

    Did someone say “win a free membership”? I certainly could use the support. Doing this by myself, with no support, is very challenging at times…pick me? :0)

  9. Bonnie Hudson says:

    Received the Rip’s new book My Beef With Meat. I just saw he will be about 45 mins north of me on Tue June 4th for a talk and book signing…I cant go! Ugh!

  10. Kelly @ Leafy Not Beefy says:

    I would love to win because I have been trying to be better with being plant strong. I’m already pretty good about being vegetarian/vegan, but I don’t always get in enough veggies and everything in the right amounts that I know I should.

    ~Kelly
    leafynotbeefy(at)hotmail(dot)com

  11. Twyla Summerford says:

    I would love to win a membership. I am 10 weeks eating plant based food. I have lost about 17 pounds but have a long way to go. I have many questions so I would love to win the membership

  12. Connie Busch says:

    Sounds like an excellent gathering. I would love to attend a plant strong event, and spend time with like minded people in person, not just on-line. Keep up the great work!

  13. Susan H says:

    I really need encouragement with plant strong eating. And yesterday, my daughter and son-in-law asked for help in beginning to eat this way. Help!

  14. Jackie McAdams says:

    I would love to win as I’ve been frustrated with support and idea’s. I’ve been vegetarian for about 4 years. Then went vegan for the 21 day challenge. I ended up sticking with it for over 60 days. I was thin, lost muscle and scared myself back into a poor diet. After a month or so I wanted to get back to feeling fantastic and energetic. I recently bought Rips’ new book and have been Plant strong for over 30 days. I don’t’ want to fall off or take step backwards again. I want support and to educate myself so I can stay on track for life!

  15. Heather Wellman says:

    I would love to win because as a vegan, I am trying to get healthier and fitter. It would be awesome.

  16. Marie Merritt says:

    I’ve been eating plant strong the past couple of weeks after reading Engine 2. Wow, I didn’t know food could taste so good!! I’m no spring chick (61) so didn’t know how hard it would be to transition, but other than a couple of slips, I’ve done great. Joints aren’t hurting, sinsus drainage is much improved and I’m expecting….hoping….my cholesterol level drops as Doc says it must! Tks Ami for this great post, and Rip for sharing your expertise and knowledge. An EX2 membership would help me stay focused and on task while training for my 3rd half marathon.

  17. Raniya Ray Lueth says:

    My sister recently complained about always being hungry, and then even after feeling full…still feeling hungry and eating more! I tried to explain to her that even though there is plenty of food in her stomach, her body is screaming out for nutrients she is deprived of. Anyone can feel this way. This is also why a plant based diet can be difficult. I am constantly striving to eat well, but sometimes I eat more filler than nutrient dense foods. I then turn to dark leafy greens, rice and beans, and citrus! I always feel much better after recharging with these foods! Keep up the good work!

    • Kirsten says:

      I find a plant based diet is actually very easy to follow. I fill up with more nutrient dense foods, which are lower in calories…they fill my stomach up with volume, take longer to digest, and keep me satisfied. If your sister is hungry, then she should eat more plants! I find potatoes make GREAT snacks :)

    • Start your mean with soup or a salad. Both help fill up the stomach.

  18. Marsha Alexander Fischer says:

    I would love to win. My year is nearly over mad I desperately want to continue being part of e2extra. Please please pick me

  19. SFBayou says:

    I’m already an E2X member, and have been plant-strong since attending the 1st public Engine 2 Immersion in Austin in 2011. It was a life-changing event for me & having the support & resources of the E2X online community has been invaluable. Winning a year’s free membership would be fantastic!

  20. Amy says:

    Would love advice & tips on how to be a better plant strong athlete & offer better variety of meals for young kids & hubby. Thanks!!

  21. Laura Haney says:

    After watching Forks over Knives 4 months ago I’ve enjoyed the benefits of eating a plant-strong diet. I have two young children, and I love the challenge and reward of providing them with a solid nutrition foundation. I look forward to continuing my involvement in this wonderful community, hopefully with this membership as well as other events I hope to attend such as the E2 My Beef with Meat potluck in Oakland next month.

  22. Kat says:

    I just need the discipline!!! I see this plan as a great step in that direction. I am stuck in a rut and need to get out. I would love to win this in helping to get out of that rut. I have a IBS and every thing I have tried has not worked. A year of disciplined help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you =}

  23. Kdominy450 says:

    I would LOVE to win the E2X membership for a year!! My sister and I are the only two people I know that are completely plant-based, and she gets most of her ideas from me! Would love to have a community of people to talk to and share ideas with!!

  24. marineofficer says:

    To win would be the culmination of a year of overcoming medical issues by nutrition as well as the enlightenment of the self education I have pursued. From the Gerson Therapy to Dr. Esselstyn’s many video interviews and his authored works, I’ve become a student of a plant based regime. I became intrigued by Rip’s books, primarily because we are both Fire Fighters, and was surprised when I realized who his father was the same man I had studied. I’ve become a major advocate to my family, friends and coworkers in a plant strong diet and as I stated, to win would be the culmination of a year of lifestyle change and education.

  25. Jon Rife says:

    I would love to win since I have been plant strong for eight months now. I really enjoy E2 and buy all the products weekly. I would really like to get more tips for being a Vegan athlete.

  26. Marina Muñoz says:

    I would love additional support since I am the one doing all the supporting. I do all the shopping, planing and cooking for my hubby and I. I push him to make this change and share all the reasons why. It would be nice to get some support by others that believe in plant strong especially being surrounded by muscle eaters. I am trying to encourage my in laws. My mother in law has heart disease.
    Thank you

  27. Sharon says:

    I’d love to win a free year!!! After reading Engine 2, the first book, back in Aug 2012, I made the switch to being plant strong and dairy free! I could not be happier, but I am sure that you guys have tons of good information that I am missing out by not having joined yet. A free year would really get me revved up and onboard so that I can totally drive my meat eating, dairy loving friends and family totally nuts!!! :O)

  28. Sarah Grubbs Rabideaux says:

    I watched Forks over Knives via recommendation from my acupuncturist. So enlightened on this whole new way of life. Taking it one baby step at a time so I can get it right and it sticks for life. Just as excited to find Engine 2 Diet and all the other resources that are spreading the news of health. Keep it coming!

  29. Cori says:

    It would be wonderful to win a membership full of support. I, unfortunely, am the only one trying to eat a plant based diet and I can’t get past a week. Hubby wants nothing to do with it and I’m all alone. :( it’s extremely difficult because I really want this.

  30. linn says:

    Totally amazing that this online community provides that extra oomph to attend events, and further our nutritional education. Even when we know, it is a lot easier when you are in a community that are all trying to “do better” together. Of course I want in! It will help me stick to the plan and continue to clean up our eating.

  31. Joy says:

    I teach and coach hundreds of people every year in a raw food detox residential 3 week program and refer them to Forks Over Knives, The China Study and the Engine 2 Diet for their transition to including some cooked food in their vegan diet. I am not 100% raw and enjoy cooked food. I am inspired by Rip’s story and share it to inspire others. I love love love the Engine 2 Diet recipes, but I have not yet let go of olive oil and coconut oil. I eat too many almonds and could use some coaching to cut back on oils. Thank you for the wonderful healing work you all are doing.

  32. Carrie says:

    I was at the Farms to Forks event in Chicago and I really enjoyed seeing people in person. I’ve watched Forks Over Knives several times and I’ve read many books and articles written by the presenters. I feel pretty knowledgeable at this point and I’ve been plant strong “in moderation” since New Year’s Day 2013. I have not had a radical change in health and wondered why I hadn’t lost weight or felt better like others I’ve read about. Now I know that moderation is not what I need – I need total immersion! I’ve remained plant strong since the event, and plan to continue. I really look forward to better health – I already feel quite good! It was well worth spending the time and money on the immersion and I’m now thinking about joining the E2X program. The community support sounds like it would be just what the doctor ordered!

  33. Gary says:

    As a 58 year old male, I could benefit greatly from this kind of support. Diagnosed with heart disease, clogged arteries I have chosen to forgo the stations and eat a plant based diet from now till my maker takes me home. I have been eating plant based since 1-3-13 and have lost almost 50 pounds since I changed my lifestyle and thinking about food and its effects on my body, mind and spirit. Would love to win, but if not, I appreciate all I read on this and other sites.

  34. Caroline says:

    I have been vegan for the last 3 1/2 years, doing my best to be whole foods plant based for most of it. It’s the sugar/fat combo that kills me every time I’m under stress. I read E2 when it first came out and am in the middle of My Beef With Meet (awesome and even hilarious at times!). I’m trying to take off 19 lbs. I put on during a stressful sugar/fat period (my drugs of choice are chocolate chip cookies and sourdough bread). I finally had to go back to Weight Watchers (I’m a lifetime member) to pull myself back on track. I’m doing it the whole food plant based way though which doesn’t make my leader too happy. It has taken me 3 1/2 mos. to lose only 7 lbs. I think E2 Extra would give me the support to take my eating and exercise to the next level. Stress eating is my downfall…

  35. Sherri Williams says:

    Reading this made me want to join this fantastic community. I am just getting started by trying to decide which book to buy first and what exactly to eat. Too bad I can’t afford it all at once! With how sick my family is (immediate and extended), we could sure use the coaching and support. We will be flying blind for a while but I have high hopes in this plan. It’s a shame with all the money we spend in doctor visits that not one of them has shared this much information about diet and our bodies ability to heal itself as I have found in the last couple weeks researching this diet. My son (he just turned 18) had heart surgery almost two years ago and not even the dietician that works with his cardiologist gave us this information. Such a shame. I’m so excited to get started!!!

  36. kathleen says:

    I think it would help my husband. We attend the LA Farm2Forks and took away a lot of information. E2X would be extra motivation.

  37. Marcie says:

    I went plant strong over a year ago and now my husband and son are also plant strong. The started 1.5 weeks ago and I would like to keep up the momentum with the extra resources an E2 membership would offer. My husband is 35 and has had 2 back surgeries within the last year. He needs to lose weight or his chances for another within 5 years is great. We are all on a great journey and want to keep it going to better health and longevity.

  38. Stephanie Helgeson says:

    I would love the community! It can get awfully lonely being plant-strong in the heart of dairy (and beer and brat) country. Still, today I got my labs back from employee health and realized it’s completely worth it. They checked my LDL, HDL, triglycerides and fasting blood glucose. The highest number on the page was HDL cholesterol. So yeah, I’m definitely motivated to keep going, even if I am on my own. Thank you for everything! Now I”m off to celebrate with a big old bowl of E2 black beans and rice. :)

  39. I will be at next year’s F2F in Chicago !

  40. Janda says:

    I need help! I have been a food addict my whole life and am really struggling! I have two grandchildren and don’t want them to grow up like I did. I want to help teach them how to be healthy, to carry it forward for the next generation!

  41. It would increase my knowledge base and support.. I’ve just finished My Beef with Meat this week and ready to learn something else. I have the DVD and the first book also.

  42. Diana says:

    I could really use the support! I struggle with compliance…my hardest time is when I get home from work and I’m tired and need to feed four hungry people. I love E2, I have the first book and am looking forward to getting My Beef with Meat! Thanks for all the recipes, support, etc.

  43. Blasa Y says:

    We have been following the plan for 3 months now my husbands cholesterol went from 285 to 175 he is doing great. I have only lost 5 pounds in that time. I am not sure what I am doing wrong and would love to join the community so I can be coached. Thank you for sharing your inspiration and knowledge Rip and Dr E. In health Blasa Y

  44. Michelle Rufenacht says:

    Wow! This sounds great. I am trying to get my husband and kids to go plant based, but it is hard. My husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes and we are both overweight. It would be wonderful to have some support, especially here in the meat & potato capital (aka Midwest).

  45. Anne says:

    In March of this year, within 1-weeks time, I had 3 friends who had major heart attacks and 1 who had a blood clot… 2 lived and 2 died…ages range from 35 – 65. That is when the light bulb went off for me… It has to be what we are eating!… Nutrition has always interested me, but I just wasn’t “getting” it until then. I looked to YouTube and the internet and literally watched every Fuhrman, Barnard, Esselstyn and Novick video I could find. THAT is when I truly got it. I now have progressed to the books written by these great men and tell everyone I know about eating plant-strong. When I finally found Rip on line, I was truly excited. He brings boundless energy to this subject and makes it so understandable. My dream is to gain enough knowledge and schooling to be an effective advocate for this life style. I’m on fire and proud of it. If we can not be sick and feel good and strong as we gracefully age by eating differently than the SAD diet we have grown up then… then let’s do this thing. :) Thank you Engine2 and thank you Ami !!

  46. So THAT’S what those yellow badges meant!

  47. Deb B says:

    Have been back and forth the last year with vegan/vegetarian. Would enjoy the information and the extra support. My husband and I both have health issues and getting him on board would be great. I have both books and am in the middle of the 2nd one.

  48. Emma says:

    I was at the last F2F event in my hometown Chicago and I am ready to learn more, start the 28-day challenge, eat more STARCH and more plants, and start a revolution, especially in raising awareness among the Latino populations, English and Spanish-speaking. As a dual language reading teacher, I see the growing need to spread the good word on health. Who’s with me?

  49. faye says:

    I want to learn more so that I can help others with their plant strong
    walk…

  50. Liz says:

    I have been plant strong for nearly three years. There are still times when I do not include enough nutrient dense foods. I feel I would do better with the E2X membership. Actually it is my health that is of more concern to me than my weight which is 125, down from a previous 230.

  51. VeggieSue says:

    Hmm, looks like my entry vanished when I made the account. Oh, well, try again.

    As a long-time McDougaller who also has a love of the Engine 2 Team info, membership to the Engine 2 Extra site would be a fantastic asset.

  52. JWin says:

    I would love to win a membership to E2X to help with a few of the tiny mishaps I have weekly.

  53. Beth Lammes Bruner says:

    Just received My Beef with Meat in the mail–made the Adonis cake and brought it in tho work for breakfast! 5 carnivores agreed to taste it knowing it was GF vegan and all of them liked it! I influenced one coworker to join the farm market CSA and he and I trade meal ideas weekly. Little changes every week is helping me continue my weight loss since going plant based in November, almost at 40 lbs loss!

  54. Maggie says:

    Why? More literature to support my diet choices, and more recipes & inspiration!

  55. Emily says:

    I would really like the extra support that this membership would provide. My husband and kids were initially on board for going plant-based a year ago, but have since rebelled. As a busy working mom, I can use all the help I can get!

  56. Jcass7 says:

    I am very new to making plant-based recipes and following this type of eating. I really want to turn my eating habits around and follow this. I would love to get off my high-blood pressure medicine. Really looking forward to learning more!

  57. Tonya says:

    Just finishing up with 8 months of breast cancer treatment. In my journey, none of my doctor’s EVER spoke to me about nutrition (even though I inquired many times). Through my own investigations, I have purchased the Engine 2 book and would like to get started. I believe that this lifestyle change will greatly increase my health, keep my body strong and keep cancer from ever coming back. I will admit…..I am clueless as to where to begin. Any guidance, support and encouragement you would be willing to offer would be greatly appreciated.

  58. Barry Honeycombe says:

    The Chicago event sounds great. I was at the one in Orange County and loved it. Coming from the UK, it’s a long journey to join you all, but i was there in spirit. I have been plant-strong since that weekend and despite a hectic lifestyle where i travel for business and eat out a lot, my health has gone from strength to strength. I am working towards changing my life and creating a business that develops and makes plant-strong foods. The UK is going the same way as the US with our standard British diet and we need to do something to change this. Having undertaken the certificate course in Plant Based Nutrition, from E-Cornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation i was so excited to meet some of my plant-strong heroes. I was disappointed not to have been able to attend Chicago as i really want to meet T. Colin Campbell and Dr Esselstyn. There are local vegans in the UK, and in London where i live but i am yet to meet any other plant-strong folks! Please consider bringing your wonderful event to the UK – You would be warmly welcomed. I understand it is a huge logistic and costly event to put on, but please give it due consideration as there are many people here who could benefit from such an event. All the very best – Barry J. Honeycombe, London. UK.

  59. Tammy K. says:

    At 54 years old (on 6/3!!) and needing 120 pounds off, I would love the extra support! I recently saw Rip and Jane on his book tour stop in Cleveland, and am ready to commit to the switch in lifestyle. I’ve gone back and forth since January 2012, but not knowing too many plant strong folks–I easily totter right out of it and back to the sorry excuse of eating substandard food. I’m ready to dive in to a new me, a better-healthier me, one without high blood pressure, high cholesterol, painful herniated disk issues in my back, achy knees, cramping legs and feet… I am ready to live Plant Strong!! I would love to win and have the opportunity for a great kick-off to a healthy life, and have a support team to keep me on track! Thanks for the opportunity to enter to win!!

  60. Jen G. says:

    Two months ago, my husband and I started on our plant-based whole foods journey and we are already seeing results!! My total cholesterol came down 79 points and I have lost about 7 pounds! Heart disease runs rampant in my family. All of my family members over 50 are on a statin for cholesterol and many have had stents, including my own father who is only 59 and just had his second stent put in 3 weeks ago! I am 40 and have no desire to have stents or medication when I know the facts are that my diet can control my health for either the better or worse! I would love to win the E2X membership so that I can share my experience and gain knowledge through the experiences of others! I have both the E2 Diet book and My Beef with Meat. I have made many of the recipes in the books and look forward to living the rest of my long and healthy life PLANT STRONG!!

  61. veggie365 says:

    I’d love a membership! I attended the F2F in Chicago last year and it was amazing! But it is hard to keep the same spirit when surrounded by naysayers once I came back home…I’d love the support of the E2 community!

  62. Janet says:

    I love the support and give and take that E2X offers. Sometimes being plant-strong is a struggle and sometimes it is such an adventure. Great to share the journey with friends…..

  • About Engine

    The Engine 2 blog will feature tips, plant-strong success stories, how to make plant-strong work, answer your questions and feature special guest experts. Our goal is to provide you with the tools to help you become and stay plant-strong. Please be sure to jump in the conversation by leaving comments on each post!
  • Categories

    • No categories
  • Contributors

    John Robbins Chef AJ Michelle M
  • Recommended read

  • Plant-Strong™ Kids Week 6!

    It’s out! Plant-Strong™ Kids Week 6! Many thanks to Lindsay from Happy Herbivore and Cathy from Straight Up Food for their recipe contributions! Catch up [&hellip

    Air Travel in the Plant-Strong Mode

    The first time I ever boarded an airplane, my mother insisted that I wear a navy blue, linen suit. It was a time in air [&hellip

    Plant-Strong™ Kids Week 5!

    We are really loving hearing about your kids getting plant-strong! Kathy wrote to us: “My two sons had been resisting for a long time. They [&hellip

    Finding Engine 2

    We all have a back story to the beginning of our own plant-strong-journey. Mine began in a Whole Foods Market when I saw a copy [&hellip

    Engine 2 Summer Kids Series: Week 4!

    Hard to believe we are already in week 4 of our Summer Kids Series! How are your kids doing? Plant Strong Kids™ Week 4 And [&hellip

  • Twitter