Looking back on my first year being plant-strong, I’ve given a lot of thought to the things that really helped me reach my goals and thrive this year. Some of them are accessories, books, some are ideas, all of them made a difference. I thought I would share them with all of you.
1. The knowledge and support of The Engine 2 Diet Team
Long before I was part of Engine 2, I followed Engine 2 on Facebook and on Twitter as well as subscribed to the Daily Beet blog. It was the guidance of Rip, Dr. Esselstyn, Jeff Novick and Natala that really made all the difference in understanding the plan and making it work for me. Now in addition to all of the above, Engine 2 Extra now exists to offer even more support and guidance in the form of weekly phone interviews with the stars of the plant-based world, videos, challenges and exclusive content to help you reach your goals. With over 1000 members, this vibrant community is has a lot to offer.
My weekend at the Farms 2 Forks immersion weekend was unforgettable. I learned so much information, while laughing and eating amazing food. I had a chance to talk to the amazing Ann Esselstyn, get my Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease book signed by Dr. Esselstyn and I even got to sit next to Rip at dinner! The entire Farms 2 Forks team was so welcoming, it felt like a reunion of great old friends. This in depth, information filled weekend will give you the tools that you need to go home and make permanent changes to improve your health. I left reeling with so much information, so inspired to do better and a few new friends…hi Linda and Jenny!
This three course series really takes things to the next level. If you are inquisitive like me, enjoy learning and just want to know more, this course series is amazing! Lectures from all the greats in the plant-based world, incredible instructors, interesting discussions with your peers and thoughtful assignments that really get to the heart of the matter round out this educational opportunity.
4. A good cutting board and a great knife
Cutting boards come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and materials. The one I fell in love with is from a Minnesota company called Epicurean (http://www.epicureancs.com/) – they come in many shapes and sizes. Made from eco-friendly materials and manufactured in the USA, the one I love most has a handle for easy transport to a saute pan or the compost jar. I use one knife 90% of the time. It is a Wusthof Classic Ikon Santoku, Hollow Edge 5 inch knife. It fits my small hand perfectly and works for just about anything I need to prepare. This is one of the items I splurged on for my kitchen. http://www.amazon.com/Wusthof-
5. A good non-stick saute pan
Whether you choose Calphalon, Scanpan, La Creuset, Sur La Table or another brand, one good pan can make all the difference in cooking without oil. I have a few different brands that I use between my kitchen at home and on the road. My favorite for cooking everything from pancakes to stir fry is the Sur La Table® Hard Anodized Nonstick Ultimate Pan. http://www.surlatable.com/
6. The Happy Herbivore Cookbooks
Everything and anything you wish you knew how to make plant-based, oil free, Lindsay has put together in her cookbooks. Any one of the books are great, the three books together create a compendium of all you need to get started in your own kitchen. Lindsay’s contribution to the plant-based world is huge. Especially when cooking for those who may not be as thrilled about your plant-based lifestyle as you are, the recipes will delight one and all. The Happy Herbivore , Everyday Happy Herbivore, and Happy Herbivore Abroad
7. Mason Jars
I love using wide mouth canning jars for storage. Leftovers, dry goods, bulk cooking, on the go in a cooler, a lunchbox or even in your purse. I have several sizes of straight sided, wide mouth jars to use in my kitchen. Easy clean up, visual identification in the fridge or pantry and straight sided for space saving, mason jars are great!
8. The Pleasure Trap by Douglas J. Lisle
This book has made the difference between this lifestyle being temporary or being the answer for me. Doug made me understand the nature of how and why I eat. How I perceive food, how others perceive this information as threatening and how to thrive knowing what I know. If you read only one book in 2013…it should be this book.
9. Reynolds Non-stick Foil
LOVE this stuff! Any time I am baking something on a cookie sheet – red bean burgers, steak fries, roasted veggies, you name it…this foil lines the pan now. For absolute non-stick baking, easy out lentil loaf, super quick clean up.
10. An Adventurous Spirit
This more than anything else will see you through the tough days, the moments of indecision over what to make for dinner, the times when you need to navigate ordering out or making the best of a low options situation. Keeping things simple and finding the beauty in a heaping plate of steamed veggies or a undressed baked potato can make the difference between feeling successful and feeling deprived. Changing your attitude is as important as changing your diet. Enjoy the process of learning new foods, or old favorites cooked in new ways. Find the adventure in every part of your new plant-based life.