First, we have a lot of winners to announce! We have had 5 giveaways in the past week, and today we are announcing all of them!
The Plant-Strong Poetry winners: (Our judges could not pick so we had to pick random winners, the judges all said that everyone deserved a copy of Kitchen Rescue, sadly we could not do that, but we did pick 3 people)
The winners of Kitchen Rescue are:
Joyness Sparklers (poem submitted by her 10 year old son!)
The winner of “The Starch Solution” is:
and the winner of Lani’s “Fit Quickies” is:
All of you should get an e-mail from Natala today, if you do not please e-mail her at: email@example.com
Now, let’s talk about Susan’s journey!
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!
E2: 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.
E2: 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.
E2: 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!
E2: What were some ways you coped with getting rid of dairy? 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, oat, and coconut. 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.
E2: How did you feel about giving up cheeses, milk and eggs?
I don’t feel like I’ve given anything up with milk or cheeses. I found a great substitute for milk in Rice Dream’s Original and I simply don’t miss cheese at all. Eggs are a little harder to let go of but I do not consume nearly as much as I used to in the past. Although when I do have one egg, it is usually with some guilt—a very similar feeling to having just indulged in a yummy decadent dessert you know you shouldn’t have eaten. I miss eggs so much but I am learning to live without them.
E2: Did you have a hard time learning to cook without using cheeses, milk and eggs?
I was always a great cook so I don’t seem to be having a difficult time adjusting to cooking without these products. Same way I have learned to cook without oil, I find myself not missing them at all. The natural flavors of foods are so delicious to me know and so strong that I find myself craving them on their own. Using cheese, milk, eggs or oil to cook with somehow masks the natural flavors I’ve rediscovered in foods rather than adding or enhancing them as I previous felt before Engine 2. My parents, who are both in their 70s, watched FOK with us but had their doubts big time. But once they started tasting my cooking sans these ingredients, they were prese
E2: Do you miss or have cravings for cheeses, milk and eggs anymore?
I don’t crave milk or cheeses anymore. Surprisingly, I developed an aversion toward these foods quite quickly. Once of my previous cheese weakness was for ricotta cheese. I could eat it as is from the container—a concept I find pretty gross today. I knew I was over my ricotta love affair when I recently made vegetable lasagna for distant relatives who were coming over. I made one large lasagna with nutritional yeast and no dairy cheeses and just for me and my family and the other with shredded and ricotta for our meat and potatoes visitors. In the past I was always tempted to sample the ricotta by the teaspoonfuls as I assembled the lasagna, but found myself a little turned off with the idea of doing that again. I was so proud of myself I immediately told my husband, “Hey honey! Guess what? I have absolutely no desire to eat ricotta anymore. Can you believe it?!” It was great. At that moment I felt sort of felt free from milk and cheese.
Eggs on the other hand are so difficult to let go of, although since January 1, 2012, I’ve only had about six eggs. This is a huge difference compared to having two eggs about three times a week—and two eggs every day when I was pregnant years ago. I’ve yet to venture into the realm of egg substitutes and admittedly do need help with this one.
E2: How long did it take for you to feel comfortable in your plant-strong life?
It was rough the first six weeks of my plant strong diet. I run 3-4 times a week and depended on eggs, cheese, milk-based fruit smoothies, turkey, and other lean meats for protein. Finding protein-rich foods other than the ones listed was difficult. Food shopping was proving to be difficult as well. My family and I were already health conscious eaters—avoiding overly processed foods and all—but finding substitutes or simply learning to live without dairy or meats was a bit tricky indeed. Once we approached the one and one half month mark, I realized it became easier.
E2: Did you have any success?
After watching the Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, reading helpful links and resources at engine2diet.com and visiting my local Whole Foods Wellness Club, I was encouraged at finding alternatives to foods I once included in my diet. It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around a whole new way of living but I was determined to stick with it.
E2: What advice or encouragement would you give someone in a similar situation?
A lifestyle change is difficult no matter what the change may be. I personally went from 236 lbs/size 16/18 after the birth of my son in 2005 (bed rest and processed high caloric foods is not the best way to maintain one’s weight) to a lean 140 lbs/size 6 now. It wasn’t easy but it also wasn’t impossible. As with any habit, it took about six weeks to get into a groove where I was looking forward to exercising and used to eating healthier. I was so hung ho about the new me that once I reached my pre pregnancy weight, I kept at it and lost an additional 30-35 lbs. I’m healthier and fitter now than I’ve ever been in my life and having that weight loss success was encouraging enough to keep me on track to a healthier plant-strong me. Change like this doesn’t happen over night, but through hard work, determination and above all patience, it does happen. Don’t expect to be perfect and compliant 100% of the time—moments of weakness where you take a bite of a non-plant strong food—like, ummmm, an ice cream bar—may happen. It happened to me. The key to getting past it is not to beat yourself up over it and to keep trying to control those moments. With time they eventually subside and those moments become are far and fewer in between and easier to ignore.
Thank you Susan! We want to help Susan get past her egg cravings! Let’s hear from fellow E2-ers. What helped you stop craving eggs? Was there any knowledge that helped? Did you find good substitutes?
If you’d like to contribute to this series, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org