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Adventures with Ami: Planning to Succeed


I wrote this blog on New Years Day 2012.

I wanted to share it with you here.


So we dabbled a bit with this last year.
All was going well and then we were thwarted by life and Chicago deep dish pizza.
Here in 2012 we’ve made a resolution to live more consciously.
We are working on our fitness, nutrition and fun!
We aim to:
Eat better in every way.
Improve our stamina, increase muscle mass and flexibility.
(weight training & Bikram Yoga to start)
Golf more (which shouldn’t be hard compared to last year)
And have more left over at the end of the day for fun.

As a personal aside, I aim to learn something new.
A skill, a wealth of knowledge perhaps, a hobby.

So far I have been working on my whole foods plant-based no added fat cooking.
We are formulating a life plan based upon the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. with some help from Rip Esselstyn and Lindsay S. Nixon.
We are huge fans of The Happy Herbivore and The Engine 2 Diet.

I’ve come up with a few dishes of mine own as well.

I am considering taking a series of courses at Cornell University about Plant Based Nutrition. It’s an online series that is offered as part of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.
It’s going to be a great year!


Those were my intentions on the first day of 2012.  We had been eating on the firefighter plan for less than a week at this juncture.  I used to visit Happy Herbivore’s blog daily and I was glued to the Engine 2 Facebook page awaiting new recipes and ideas.  I couldn’t wait to ‘play’ in the kitchen with new ingredients and figure out how to make stuff I liked more plant-strong.  I had not the SLIGHTEST idea what I was doing. I was a former low carber who could only cook meat, married to a wonderful vegetarian who loved to cook but no longer had the time to do it.  We were getting fatter and sicker and someone needed to DO something!

So I gathered the best resources I could and set out to make it work.  I read everything I could get my hands on and googled the heck out of ingredients and techniques for replacing things like eggs. I googled Jeff Novick a bazillion times to find his recipes, videos and more.  What is farro? I googled it.  How do I use nutritional yeast? I googled it.  I also searched pinterest and instagram for ideas on what to cook. Not sure about a product being E2 compliant? I googled it.  Nutritonal information/labels are often available online.

When I first started this plan, I was clueless, but I learned a lot.  Like RINSE the quinoa before you cook it! :) I screwed up a bunch in the beginning, tossing more than one dinner in the garbage.  Over time, I worked out the kinks, settled into a groove and really discovered how simple and easy this can be.  Like watching the figure skaters compete at the Olympics, they make it look so easy… what you don’t see is the practice and hard work that came first.

Being successful at any new thing you attempt to do takes a bit of time to LEARN (The Engine 2 Diet, My Beef With Meat, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, online articles, blogs, research studies, video lectures and all of the wealth of information available to you). Knowing how our plan works and the details of how you should apply it to your life is important to your success.  You can’t expect stellar results if you are only half following the plan or don’t apply all of the guidelines because you didn’t read all of the directions. For some this requires major lifestyle changes, for others it’s not so tough, we are all different and we all have room in our lives to learn new information and skills.

It takes a bit of PATIENCE, numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight) don’t change overnight, it takes some dedication to get there and it’s not a race: slow and steady is what you should seek.  Your taste buds are accustomed to being assaulted daily from the Standard American Diet, so give them time to adjust. It will happen.  Not everyone in your family is going to love this idea, give them time to deal with it.  Learning how to navigate dining out, parties, holidays and other social situations requires patience and planning on your part.  It gets easier with practice!
It does take EFFORT.  Plant-strong meals aren’t going to appear like magic in your fridge.  It is going to take some planning and preparation on your part.  Meals can be as simple or as complicated as you make them. In the end, a reheated baked potato topped with black beans and salsa with a side salad that took 5 minutes to assemble and heat can be as good as a fancy recipe that took an hour to assemble and cook. Planning ahead when it comes to snacks, menus, a well stocked pantry and days when you don’t feel like cooking is all worth the effort you put forth. It’s your time, you decide. Ultimately whether you choose to learn karate, crocheting, yoga, a new language or becoming plant-strong, you will reap the benefits of the time, effort, patience and hard work you put in to it.  In the time it takes to watch an episode of Dancing With The Stars or The Voice, you can prep some veggies, a whole meal for an emergency back up in the freezer, learn more about the Pleasure Trap or discover how Ann Esselstyn strips kale and more.  We all took the time to figure out how to surf the internet, we might have made some calls to tech support in the beginning, but ultimately, we learned a lot, grew a bunch and learned more than we ever imagined we would.  To that end, Engine 2 Extra is here to help. Your one stop information source for all things plant-strong. http://engine2extra.com Come learn with us!

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.

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    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!
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