The Daily Beet

19 Apr Engine 2 Series: Easier Done Than Said!

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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!
We hope that you enjoy this series. We will be posting answers over the next several months, so stay tuned!
Please leave a comment on your experiences about letting go of something that you never thought you could.
1. What was your biggest fear about becoming plant-strong?

My biggest fear about becoming plant-strong was the protein and key nutrient (Calcium, iron, Vitamin B12, fiber) fulfillment for my personal needs.

2. How did you overcome that fear?

Into my journey to becoming plant-strong, I knew I had to do some of my own personal research. I immersed myself into reading about plant-based diets- online articles and books. I bought the Thrive Foods book by Brendan Brazier in early February. I also signed up for the Thrive in 30 program online. I later discovered Engine 2 Diet website. Without those 3 resources, I wouldn’t have known where to start. The more I read, the more I realized that I can get all my protein and nutrient requirements from plant-based sources.

3. What was the hardest thing for you to give up?

Fish, eggs, and oil were definitely the hardest things to give up. I cooked fish more than any other animal product. I didn’t have difficulty with eliminating other animal products because I didn’t eat much red meat or chicken. My daily breakfast usually consisted of scrambled eggs. Of course, I used olive oil for most of my cooking.
4. What were some ways you coped with getting rid of the fish,eggs and oil in your house? Did you read or watch anything that helped you make that decision?

I had read about the mercury and cholesterol levels in fish, so that was the first step that led me to no longer buy fish. I remember I bought a frozen bag with 15 tilapia fillets, but never opened it. After reading about avoiding tilapia sourced from China on a Seafood Watch app, I gladly returned the tilapia and have not bought fish since then. That was around the time I started becoming plant-strong. Also, I know eggs have cholesterol, so that was another factor that led me to eliminate them. Oil will have to be the most difficult item to get rid of. I still have a bottle of olive oil sitting next to my stove right now, but have not used it. I would add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to stir-fry dishes but I realized there is not much nutrition gain except allowing a coating to the pan. I looked up recipes online that do not require olive oil, so that has helped a lot.

5. How did you feel about giving up fish, eggs and oil?

I felt relieved. Once I learned that you can get omega-3 from plant-based sources, I no longer felt that I needed to consume fish. Plus the cholesterol from fish and eggs are another factor that led me to stop consumption all together. In the end, now I can remember my consumption of fish, eggs, and oil were only for my taste buds. I

6. Did you have a hard time learning to cook without using oil?

I did not have much difficulty. I cook with a lot of onions already, and did not know that adding oil with chopped onions are a great substitute.

7. Do you miss or have cravings for oil, eggs or fish?

I am glad to say I have no cravings for those food items. They seem foreign to me now. In the case that I get a random craving for them, I just look at the effect that it will have on my body and that I can get the same high-quality nutrients from vegetables, grains, and nuts.

8. How long did it take for you to feel comfortable in your plant-strong life?

It took me about 2 weeks before I got comfortable. I have been thinking about transitioning to a plant-strong diet since the beginning of the year, but needed guidance. Since then, I don’t even have to think twice about what I will eat throughout the day. I know variety is key, so I experimented with a lot of different vegetable and ingredient combinations.

9. Did you have any success?

After I reached the 30 day mark of being plant-strong, I have never felt more alive. I wanted to become healthier this year and incorporating a plant-strong diet into my active lifestyle was one of the best decisions of my life. I have lost 10 pounds within those 30 days and increased my muscle tone. My energy levels are higher than ever, better metabolism, I have less stress, and happier. I have also noticed how it has impacted my fitness. As a runner, I have noticed I am running faster and not as sore after intense workouts. Lastly, as a busy college student, I feel more productive each day and noticed I have been able to control my stress better.

10. What advice or encouragement would you give someone in a similar situation?

I think commitment is the first step to anyone deciding to become plant-strong. Asking yourself why you would want to follow this diet and lifestyle is a very important question. Whether it is for personal health, ethical, or environmental reasons, there is an answer for everyone. For me, I wanted to regain control of my health and get back into competitive running. I did not dive into this overnight, rather it was a gradual process since the beginning of the year. Reading quality, reliable sources of literature about a plant-strong diet is probably the best thing to do when transitioning. Having inspiration is helpful as well. My inspirations are the plant-strong athletes who have proven to themselves and society that it is possible to perform well while eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. Taking a 28 or 30 day challenge from Engine 2 Diet or Thrive in 30 really shifts the mental perspective leading to a healthier lifestyle. There are so many options, recipes, and support that it is difficult to think that eating this way is limiting or restrictive. After 30 days, evaluating your diet and health can be eye-opening. The only discouragement of eating and living plant-strong is if you allow the negative factors and influences affect you.
-Shihlin, E2er
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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • http://gardengateblog.com Cynthia

    thank you for posting this. I think it’s interesting that you keep a bottle of olive oil by the stove – I have some in the cabinet. I’m not using it, but it’s like a “just in case” item…. just in case I need a bunch of calories one day!

    • Shihlin

      I don’t know what I will do with the olive oil anymore, but I definitely have not been tempted to use it!

      • Zipbox

        I keep it around to remove the stickiness from stickers

  • http://www.lanimuelrath.com Lani Muelrath, Plant-strong healthy living

    Excellent column E2 and thanks for the banner image too. Ann Wigmore was a pioneer, she came to town years ago to show her enthusiasm for wheatgrass and ‘rejuvelac’ – we owe so much to these ground-breakers before us!

    Lani

  • Venona Childs

    I don’t think I was getting enough omega-3 from plant based sources from the E2 diet. I have had reoccouring arthritis pain in my hands twice nowwithin 30 days. I had to take my prescribed Lavasa (fish oil) to stop the pain each time.

    • http://thriftyveggiemama.com Jamie

      Have you tried flaxseed and chia seeds? Both are great sources and easy to incorporate into your diet. I like to sprinkle them on my oatmeal and add to my smoothies.

      • thesrnciks@yahoo.com

        Chia seeds are GREAT, they don’t have to be ground like flax seeds do. Costco sells a big bag for a good price :)

  • jack twilight

    What is the closest substitute for half/half in your coffee? That is my current dilemma. It seems that nothing so far, except Coffee Mate, is close to the same delicious flavor as half/half.

    • mary

      so delicious coconut creamer is excellent, they have regular and french vanilla

    • Lisa Billington

      Try making cashew cream! Put 2 cups of whole, raw cashews in a blender and add water to an inch above the cashews. Blend until smooth ( a couple minutes). If you’re not using a powerful blender like a Vita Mix you’ll probably need to strain the “cream” to get the pieces out. Store in the fridge and enjoy in your coffee!

  • Kay

    How about unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk from the dairy section for coffee? Are they permitted foods?

    • Shihlin

      Yes, any alternative milk is suitable… almond, coconut, soy, hemp, flaxseed (yes there is even flaxseed milk), etc.

  • Monique

    I love my morning cup of tea and couldn’t imagine giving it up. My brother-in-law (also plant strong) introduced me to Silk Soy Creamer (http://silksoymilk.com/products/creamer). I’m not following the plan exactly so I can’t say if it’s permitted or not.

  • jan bonnivier

    venona- I also had strange pn in my joints that become worse after starting the plant strong diet. It would go from one joint to another joint and would come and go. It was so painful that I actually thought maybe I had a rotator cuff tear! I contacted Dr. McDougall regarding this and he wrote me back suggesting an elimination diet to see what might be causing this. I found my increase of wheat products seemed to be my problem. You may find this helpful also. I no longer take any kind of fish oil or suppliments and have hardly any joint pain. My mom had the worst rheumitoid arthritis I have ever seen and I work in physical therapy. I am commited to not live my life in pn and have found a plant strong diet is a part of that plan!

  • Kate

    I don’t understand comment #6: “I did not have much difficulty. I cook with a lot of onions already, and did not know that adding oil with chopped onions are a great substitute.” Does this mean that onions are oily? I stopped using much oil years ago when Sunset magazine first published their “Light” eating series. I use water or vegetable broth if food sticks to the pan.

    • Shihlin

      Hi Kate,

      Evidently, it is a typo. It should read “… adding water with chopped onions are a great substitute”. I hope this clarifies your comment. Onions become easily “caramelized” when heated with water, and does make a somewhat thicker consistency comparable to olive oil.

  • Awwen

    Is my fear of not getting B12 from the engine2 diet unwarranted? if so, why?