(Susan with Rip)
We asked you what you had the hardest time letting go of in your plant-strong journey, and BOY did you respond! We got a few 100 responses from people letting go of everything from coffee to steak!
1. What was your biggest fear about becoming plant-strong?
When I first saw Forks Over Knives, I had my doubts about how much protein plants could provide. Surely plants could not possibly be as protein-packed as lean meats, fish, eggs, cheeses and milk—these were protein powerhouses and as a runner I depended on them at every meal. After almost four full months on the Engine 2 Diet, I saw first hand and solid evidence on how beneficial a plant-strong can be and how much protein I was actually getting.
2. How did you overcome that fear?
I had my doubts up until about two and a half months into the diet. Yes, I know, sounds like a long time to carry doubt around but I kept at it, hoping I would somehow see some “proof.” Soon after the two and a half month mark, I notice something astonishing. I noticed that my weak brittle nails were stronger than they had ever been. I was completely blown away by my little discovery. The only way I was ever able to achieve strong nails in the past was through a daily regimen of prenatal vitamins and biotin. My previous diet of lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy were never enough to make give me visibly strong nails—hence the need for additional supplements. They always broke easily, split in half and I could pick and peel them back rather than clip them—ugh, awful. But on a diet of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and other plant strong whole foods I was able to achieve the same strong nails I had while on supplements—sans supplements.
3. What was the hardest thing for you to give up?
I was never a huge milk drinker as an adult. I actually enjoy water and always avoided sodas and juices. But once I gave birth to my son about seven years ago, I started incorporating more milk into my diet thinking it was a healthy and nutritious component to add. Heck, my son was drinking milk, so why shouldn’t I drink it as well?
After a short while, I was hooked on milk and soon found myself drinking 3-4 glasses of skim milk every day. I’d have one for breakfast or with cereal, as a pre-workout and post workout snack and then another glass before bedtime. I absolutely loved the taste of ice, cold milk and really thought it was a healthy drink. Once I watched Forks Over Knives and The Engine 2 ‘Kitchen Rescue’ with Rip Esselstyn DVD, I stopped immediately. There was no weaning necessary—I just stopped cold turkey. I knew I was done with milk once I heard Rip refer to milk as “liquid flesh.” I had just bought a whole gallon of milk and thought there was no way I was going to drink another drop of milk ever again and as much as it pains me to throw food away, I dumped it down the drain and I never turned back.
Although I had committed myself to making the switch I didn’t impose it on my family—yet. I wanted them to make the switch on their own. The happiest moment of this diet was the day my husband called me from work and told me he had finally had it with milk. I was overjoyed and in disbelief. He told me he sat down at his desk a bit early to have some cereal before his day officially started and all of a sudden he could not bring himself to pour cow’s milk over the cereal. The FOK information and Rip’s “liquid flesh” analogy kept echoing in his head and at that moment he made the switch and finally agreed to make the switch for our young son as well. Joy!
4. What were some ways you coped with getting rid of the milk in your house? Did you read or watch anything that helped you make that decision?
After I watched The Engine 2 ‘Kitchen Rescue’ with Rip Esselstyn DVD, I listened carefully to the part when Rip suggests milk alternatives. The entire DVD is full of super alternative plant strong foods but having poured my milk down the drain I listened carefully to the milk alternatives listed and headed straight to my local Whole Foods to purchase new milk.
I had never tried any milk alternatives—I’d heard about them of course but I never had the need, never mind interest, in trying them, so I honestly had no idea what any of them tasted like—completely clueless. I looked at my choices and brought home several containers of new milks—almond, rice, soy, and oat. I gave my family a blind taste test and we found out that we all preferred almond and rice—specifically Almond Breeze and Dream Rice milks. And for me personally, the former milk freak, I find and highly recommend Original Rice Dream, as it comes closest to milk in taste and consistency. I made the switch first and my family consumed the alternatives on occasion. When my husband finally gave up on milk, we all made the permanent switch to almond and rice milks.
Cheese was my other weakness but it was easier to give it up compared to milk. I was surprised and thought I’d have a harder time getting rid of cheese but it was rather easy. It was especially easy replacing my favorite topping—parmesan cheese—with nutritional yeast. When I first heard Rip mention it I thought, “oh boy, that doesn’t sound tasty at all,” but that didn’t stop me from trying it. I took myself directly to the bulk foods section at my local Whole Foods and purchased a bit of large flake nutritional yeast. At first it was so-so, but then after about a week I was sprinkling it on pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and veggies. It was delicious. My family was not convinced at all but after they tried it a few times they were hooked as well.
Have you given up milk? What non-dairy milks do you enjoy?