We all have a back story to the beginning of our own plant-strong-journey. Mine began in a Whole Foods Market when I saw a copy of The Engine 2 Diet sitting on a bookshelf through the corner of my eye. Always desperate for a quick fix and an easy diet, I remember thinking, “Gee, maybe this is worth a try.” I was a serial dieter, and nothing ever seemed to work for me.
But, I stopped dead in my tracks, because the first time I picked up Rip’s book, I saw that you couldn’t eat chicken. I had convinced myself that chicken was the perfect diet food, and how on earth could anyone lose weight without eating chicken? Several weeks later, I saw Rip appear on the Today Show. I remember thinking, “Mm, that’s the guy from the red book at Whole Foods Market.” But, I still wasn’t moved enough to even think about living a plant-strong diet.
Several weeks later, I attended a media-training conference. One of the videos highlighted for study was, yes, Rip. My small study group had a conversation about a plant-based, whole foods diet. But I still wasn’t even slightly swayed to give up food as I knew it.
The “seal the deal” moment came in September 2009 when I then went to a meeting. The morning speaker was raving about The Engine 2 Diet. He spoke about the improvement in his overall health and well-being, but frankly, I remember thinking, “Whatever he has, I want.” So, on my way home, I stopped at a bookstore (remember those?) and got my copy of Engine 2.
I was willing to try anything. I was almost 60 years old and knew that my,then, way of eating was a lethal prescription. With a family history of heart disease and cancer, a part of me thought that I was pre-disposed to an unhealthy life. Tipping the scale at nearly 300 pounds, I was tired of convincing myself that I had really big bones.
I was on board for a 28 day challenge. As the E2 diet days were crossed off the calendar, I made a list that I called “Day 29.” It was a developing list with fattening, animal-based meals, sweets and treats. But something really crazy happened. On the tenth day of being “plant-strong,” I got out of bed without any arthritic aches and pains. Could it be that “this plant-strong thing” was working? From that very moment, I have never looked back and have never had any foods that contain animal products, oil, or refined sugars.
I also received the amazing gift of attending the inaugural Engine 2 Retreat (then called an immersion) in March 2010. And it was exactly that, a true gift. I met Rip, his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., his mom, Ann Crile Esselstyn, and sister, Jane Esselstyn. When I returned home, I was empowered and my commitment to a plant-based, whole foods diet was a solid.
There are many benefits to being plant-strong. For example, today, a visit to the dentist had me filling out a new medical information sheet. When I returned the form, the receptionist said, “Ms. Nolan, you forgot to fill out the medication sheet.” And, I love when I say, “So sorry, I do not take any medication, that’s why it is left blank.” I practice yoga, ride a bike, I am one busy lady, and I do not mind telling people that I will be 65 this coming November. Being plant-strong affords me the luxury of excellent health.
So, what’s your back story to becoming plant-strong? Was there a tipping-point that planted a seed for you? The sense of well-being and the positive state of good health is all I need to help me stay plant-strong. What’s your story?
You. Can. Do. This. Words from Rip that motivate me everyday.