Go Plant-Strong!
The Daily Beet: Tips, Advice and Stories

Guest Post by Lani: Fire Cadet or Firefighter? Giveaway! PLUS Advanced Nutrition Study Weekend

Lani is back from teaching at the McDougall Advanced Study weekend and shares with us a few thoughts, PLUS a giveaway! See Lani’s post for more details:

(did you tiptoe or jump?)

1) Fire Cadet or Firefighter?

As you know, in the Engine 2 Diet book, two approaches are described.  The ‘Fire cadet’ tiptoes in, working their way up gradually.  At the ‘Firefigher’ level, you jump into the Engine 2 Diet with both feet.

What YOU think is the best approach for success?  Perhaps it does depend on the individual.  Wouldn’t it be great to see a study that researches which method – one-step-at-a-time or quickstart all-at-once, has the highest success rate? The best record of long term compliance.

It may well depend on personality type.  Think back to your own experience.  Which approach has proven the most successful for you in changing your diet?  What do you recommend to others as the best method for success?  Please share your thoughts in comments below.   (Giveaway prize drawing winner selected those who do:  there’s gold in them thar hills!  Keep reading)

2)  McDougall Advanced Nutrition Study Weekend

The ‘fire cadet or firefighter?’ question  was an important point of discussion at the recent Advanced Nutrition Study Weekend at the McDougall Health and Medical Center.   You might be interested to read my notes from the LIVE debate between Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Joel Fuhrman.   Fascinating!

We also enjoyed lengthy presentations from each of these movers and shakers in the healthy plant-based diet world.  I’ll be reporting in on all the details in upcoming articles published on the plant-based fitness blog, or if you’re in a hurry I’ll be dishing direct from my jam-packed notebook from the ASW on the Success Club call scheduled for Wednesday, February 29.  Kathy Freston and Melanie Joy gave powerful presentations and we also had the pleasure of a cooking demo by Lindsay, the Happy Herbivore.

Doug Lisle, one of our favorites, also presented and spoke quite a bit about the motivational question that I present to you.  Dr. Michael Klaper shared the history of his life as a physician and received the first standing ovation of the weekend!  John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market (he also moderated the Fuhrman-McDougall debate) and Dr. Matt Lederman (you may recognize him from Forks Over Knives) presented regarding all the developments with the Wellness Centers at WFM.

And of course, who can complain when all your meals are prepared for you and you don’t have to ask “What’s in that?”  A huge McDougall-E2 style buffet was presented 3 times a day.  Worth the price of admission alone!

2)    Motivation GIVEAWAY! As the theme today is what motivates you for success,  let’s throw something juicy in and make things even more interesting, shall we!  Boot Camp Mind:  My Top 10 Motivational Tools for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness Success has been flying out the door.  These are tools and tips that I have used successfully to lose – and keep ‘lost’ – 50 lbs. and a whole lot o’ mental baggage as well.  We’re giving away a free copy of this 10 week course right here. To enter, simply share YOUR thoughts about ‘tiptoe in vs. jump in with both feet’, aka ‘fire cadet vs. firefighter’ in comments below.  We’ll randomly draw from the entries.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!  Thanks for stopping by to read and for sharing if you get a chance.

To your health and happiness!

Lani Muelrath is a plant-strong fitness expert! Lani is the creator of The Body Transformation Formula and Fit Quickies™ 5 Minute Workouts. She has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education and over 30 years of experience as a teacher, coach, and trainer. She has received awards for her instruction, created and starred in her own CBS TV Show, and her expertise in the area of health and fitness is called upon by examiner.com, as Fitness Expert for Dr. John McDougall’s Health and Medical Center, coach, Dr. Neal Barnard’s 21-Day Kickstart program, and Health and Fitness Lifestyle Expert for Vegan Mainstream.com. She is Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University.

About the author

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!

163 Responses to “Guest Post by Lani: Fire Cadet or Firefighter? Giveaway! PLUS Advanced Nutrition Study Weekend”

  1. Cecilia says:

    I’m a believer in the “all in”/firefighter approach. Changing my diet is too hard in small increments – it’s been easier for me to embrace the change and go all the way. The first few days (okay, maybe weeks) were a struggle, but after that it was smooth sailing (with an occasional slip up)!

  2. Andrea says:

    I have to go all in. If I stop and eat a bite of a dessert, it is hard to stop. I end up craving and fighting cravings for a while. The slip up, or giving in, leads to a lot more cravings. I try to set up habits. If buying a candy is off limits at the check out, then I don’t have to work through the decision every time that situation arrives.

    • Andrea, your ‘rules’ idea sounds great. It reminds of of one of the Star McDougallers that I met at the Advanced Study Weekend. She started labelling things in her mind with ‘that’s food’ and ‘that’s not food’ and it really helped her!

      So, if you DO get off track, what’s your secret for getting back on?

      thanks for your post!
      Lani

  3. Carol Loftus says:

    I jumped in totally BUT it was sort of a process. I was vegetarian for about 6 months and then decided to try being a vegan. Then I ran across Engine 2 and wham it was easy to just transition over to Firefighter. :)

  4. Jennifer Clement says:

    Totally went Firefighter as far as no meat/no dairy. Have been much more of a cadet when it comes to the oil and processed foods (like potato chips, etc.). Still working on it. I like the idea of mentally labeling things “food” vs “not food”. Maybe that will help.

  5. Candyce says:

    I would say “jump!” but be prepared by using the resources provided through this blog, and have safety nets, like the easy meal ideas presented on this blog. Even after following a vegetarian diet off-and-on for a few years, I can tend to over-complicate healthy plant-based meals when, in reality, it could be as simple as a bean, a green, and a sweet potato! It also saves so much time and money at the grocery store, to just focus on the perimeters, and my preschooler appreciates the simplicity of basic meals, like kale, roasted sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. This blog is a great motivator, and I really appreciate it!

  6. Li says:

    Jump in. Both feet. Body. Hands. Head. Everything. Why prolong the process? In order to get the full effect you need to fully commit. You wouldn’t want anything less from your own kids or students or athletes.

  7. Timothy Minton says:

    All Out firefighter approach for me .. Thought it would be hard .. I was a cheese and meat lover. But 2 months into a plant strong diet. @ age 44 stepped on the scale yesterday and was under 200 lbs for the first time since being in High School. I made the change with my family. We let the kids choose when they are out to eat. But at home they eat what i make. Feel great and attempting the warrior dash in June!!

    One of the best changes I have ever made!!!

  8. I did the tiptoe approach back in October of this year and fell off the wagon over the holidays because I never felt totally committed to it. But this month, starting on the first, I just jumped full in…cleaned out the cupboards, and have given it my all, and have stuck to it with no problems at all. So for me, the tiptoe approach left me feeling a bit like sitting on the fence, waiting for a good wind to blow me back to my old ways. This time, its for good ! The results in just a months time have been fantastic. Feel great, look better and feel defined in some way by the changes I have made. A good definition !

  9. I am definitely the “Firefighter” level! It’s an all or none approach that works best for me, and I’ve given too many years of my life to the “none” category! I’ve been plant strong for just over a month now, and I will not go back to being any other way! This is a complete lifestyle change for me, a journey and not a fad diet! My goal is to reach optimal health, renew my body, mind and spirit, and to completely rid myself of having to take cholesterol lowering medications! I WILL be victorious because I have God on my side and He is seeing me through this every step of the way! I am living a completely vegan life, and I haven’t ever felt better! Exercising daily and I’ve lost 18 pounds in 28 days! It’s not about the number on the scale for me though…it’s about being plant strong and a new lifestyle! I am grateful to all involved with Engine 2, and all the wonderful people who are posting their sites and info along the way! Very helpful and great motivation! I need all that I can get and I’d love to get a copy of the E2 book! Keep up the great work, and Power to the Plant life!!
    Deanna

  10. Judith DeZinno says:

    I’m all in…about 99.9% of the time. Sorry, but every now and then I just crave broccoli sauteed with olive oil and garlic. Really anything with olive oil and garlic.

  11. Heidi says:

    When my husband and I first decided to start eating plant strong we thought we would tip toe in and make a gradual change. With three kids and a freezer full of meat we thought it was the best idea. After one week of not eating any meat or dairy we decided it was crazy to not just jump in(since that is what we had done anyway)! We haven’t thought twice about our decision…best choice for the health of our family ever!

  12. Tammy says:

    It’s all or nothing with me – and my kids! I’ve tried the 90/10 percent way (only allowing animal products as a flavoring or garnish) and that just kept my addiction that much longer. For me, the first several days are not pretty but then the clouds start to clear and you start feeling better and thinking better and sleeping better and LIVING better – and you realize just how horrible you felt before. I think that’s an important feeling to have and I don’t think you get quite the same results if you wean into it. That being said, I think some people NEED those baby steps or it seems to huge of a commitment. I’m definitely in the fire-fighter group!

  13. Peggy says:

    For hubby and me, “all in” was the only option. We cleaned out the cupboards and stocked the good stuff. This has been a blast. We started with the 28 Day Challenge at Whole Foods and have not stopped. 5 weeks later-cholesteral numbers are way down and weight is steadily falling. I could not be nore energized and happy.

    Cooking has been sooo easy. I think that is the biggest reason some folks start with the Cadet program. Our group found making the leap to all in was not that hard after the first week. Just a mental adjustment most of all.

    Thanks to all who support us and provide so much information for our Plant Strong journey!!

  14. veggie365 says:

    I tend to jump in with both feet – probably more than my hubby would like me to sometimes! I always do really thorough research first, but once I make up my mind, I’m ‘all in’! :-)

  15. Jeannine says:

    I’m an all in kind of person. I need to quickly feel and see results to keep me motivated. Though I have to admit when I started this plant based journey I somehow didn’t get the message about the “whole food” approach. Well I sort of did. I eliminated all animal products, but still ate baked potato chips, and other animal-free junk foods. Once I got rid of those I felt even better. And now I know what it’s supposed to feel like: sound sleeps, lots of energy. That’s my compass. When I stop sleeping well or my energy dulls… I know I’ve gotten off track (example: lately I’ve been sneaking sugar into my tea, snacking on Happy Herbivores yummy baked goods (but too much) instead of fruit & veggies).

    To me the most important thing is to really listen to your body, and find your compass, find your north, so you know where to go when you sway off track.

  16. Allison says:

    watched Fork/Knives, then Kips kitchen transform on Netflix. Just purchased Engine2 diet book. Pretty much all in Firefighter style but haven’t given up my coffee (did reduce to 1 cup per day) or my evening glass or 2 of wine. Never have cared for dairy much and never really enjoyed red meat or chicken but felt I had to eat it for the “healthy” protein. But to quote Oprah “when you know better you do better”….I feel better already. Traveling to London and Paris in a month and am a bit concerned about staying plant strong during the trip.

  17. Shannon says:

    If it were just me I would jump right in, but I have two younger children and a husband who’s not all the way on board. I am in charge of all the food and preparing also, so I’m trying to find new things that everyone likes which can be challenging, but give me some time and I’ll get it figured out.

  18. Lisa says:

    I went firefighter all the way and let me tell you it wasn’t easy. I had been addicted to caffeine for a large number of years. It was a painful two weeks in the beginning for that reason alone. Leaving the meat/dairy wasn’t a big deal as I’d been moving away from it. But my beloved coffee? That was a different story. I am glad now (9 months later). I would never go back to something that gave me that much pain! I’ve lost 80 pounds in the last two years and am now working on the fitness. I would never go back to the “American Diet”.

    • Lisa, in my thinking the coffee is the least of the problems and would be the last to worry about when it comes to the lineup of meat, dairy, eggs and oil! Unless of course one is a drink-it-all-day kind of coffee person.

      80 lbs? Marvelous! Would love to hear what your fitness program looks like!

      • Lisa says:

        I do a lot of different things. I follow the exercises on the E2 website. I do yoga, walking, just starting doing Tae Bo. I’m trying to keep it from being boring!

  19. Anita Williams says:

    I jumped right in and believe in firefighter all they way! I had no choice as I am a female heart disease survivor since the age of 31. I have had numerous stents, bypass, etc.. and was told “it’s hereditary”. I read Dr. E’s book and Engine 2 and I became a firefighter! The proof is in my numbers! My cholesterol is the lowest it has been since I became aware at the age of 31 that I had heart diesease and needed to focus on cholesterol. Thank you Dr. E. and Engine 2!!!

  20. Holly says:

    Jump in feet first and never look back! For myself, making the decision to be vegan was not hard. Once I read China Study I instantly knew my path had been laid out in front of me. My kids began to eat meals that were plant strong and realized that you don’t need animal product to have a good eating experience. After my husband watched FOK he was ready as well. This morning my son (12) asked why people need Weight Watchers (commercial on). I told him that some people need to learn how to eat healthy. He told me he was lucky that we already knew how to and that he helps his friends out with information some times. That is all I can ask for.

  21. Valerie Irizarry says:

    I like the jump in method…weeding out all oils is the hardest part. Who knew there was so much oil in foods! My husband and I have been on the whole food plant based diet for 5.5 weeks now and we have never felt better. I’ve reached my goal weight in 4 weeks and my hubby has lost 15.5 lbs so far!! It’s so great that we haven’t even craved the meats or dairy at all! All we need to find now is whole grain oil free tortilla chips (if such a creature exists!)

  22. Jeremy McQuay says:

    I think that if you wade into these things you give yourself the option of self delusion. Look I am being healthy I am mostly eating plant strong except for the big steak on the weekend.

    For myself I did the 28 challenge full force and it worked really well. I felt great, lost weight and it seemed easier than trying to be moderate. Since then I have fallen off the wagon (Christmas Vacation to Dominican killed me). I have been trying to get back to my vegan ways. This time around I have been trying a moderate approach for two weeks and it is not working. I need to jump back in again.

    All the best

    Jeremy

  23. Michele P says:

    I think the approach depends on the individual.

    For someone like me, its got to be all or nothing. I have to jump in with both feet, so I would advocate that approach. I had my mind made up and that was it for me.

    But I think some people need to gradually work their way up to that commitment level and that’s ok too.

    It works as long as you work it your own way.

  24. Carla says:

    JUMP!! JUMP IN!!
    I’ve jumped in with both feet and never felt better! Three of us – myself, son, & son-in-law – started with a juicing reboot after watching “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and then once we watched “Forks over Knives” we knew plant-based would become our lifestyle not just what we juiced! Slowly bringing the rest of the gang on board! The weight loss has been incredible – the guys have lost 35 and 40 pounds each – I am down 20….in just six weeks! But more than the weight loss is the renewed energy, the “clean” feeling, and the new way of cooking! Ordered & read Rip’s book – love the stories and the recipes and the website/blog/Facebook page are all so encouraging and the recipe/shopping list generator makes meal planning SO, SO EASY!
    Thank you ALL at Engine 2 for what you are doing – SAVING LIVES – on the clock and OFF!

  25. Jean D. says:

    At first I thought I would take a long transition into plant-based foods, since I had a freezer full of meat and other groceries too expensive to abandon. Within a few days, however, I realized I was so motivated, I needed to jump in as a firefighter. I donated the food and read as much as possible to educate myself. I try now to be 100% the firefighter.

  26. Patti says:

    I am a “jump in” kind of person and I tend to take the “all or nothing” approach. What I have learned is to be kind to myself. My commitment is strong but there are areas where my knowledge is very weak. So, I may make mistakes and buy the wrong item. As I learn more, I am better choosing good foods.

    Another issue for me is where I live. In my part of the world, meals are meat and fat. Shopping can be challenging and finding good products takes time. I have to travel to another state to get better options. Still, in spite of the challenges, I feel so much better than I did before. So, bottom line… JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET. The water is good!

  27. Elizabeth says:

    I am a jump in person which is not such a great thing sometimes because I am also an all or nothing person and when I mess up I spiral out of control. I am working on that mental aspect but it is really tough for me,

  28. Debbie says:

    I’m definitely a cadet right now. I’ve been a “junk food” vegetarian for 14 years, but getting away from the sugar, dairy, and oils and getting more vegetables is a process. With a husband (who isn’t really into this sort of thing) and two small kids, finding new recipes and planning are so important. Sometimes we fall back on less-than-perfect standbys when I’m not on top of things. But, I feel really good about the changes I have made so far, and I think as I continue to learn more, research, and put it into practice, it will become easier to complete the transition. AND, I’ve already got a freezer full of veggie/bean soups, cooked beans, cooked rice, and veggies, which makes quick meals much easier.

  29. MizzB says:

    When I transitioned from Vegetarian to vegan, I dived in with both feet. Going ‘deeper in the pool’ so to speak, having been inspired by Dr. Esselstyn’s PREVENT AND REVERSE HEART DISEASE to eliminate oils, and go heart healthy and prevent heart disease, going all the way made sense. Moving on to plant strong E2, had to be a firefighter; anything else would not have felt right and made it more trying by making it take longer to arrive.

  30. Pamela says:

    I have a severe “all-or-nothing” personality and think like a Vulcan. So, when something is presented to me that is clearly pure logic, I’m in, 100%. I recognize that not everyone is like this; everyone needs to find the path that suits them best. However, I will make a specific reccomendation to avoid the “transition foods” path. I truly believe that trying to make substitutions for the “bad” stuff you crave will only make you want the “real” thing more. Often, substitutions are not much better than their yuk-food counterparts, and are rarely worth eating. Just accept that some things are bad for you and you simply don’t need them. Case in point, I thought I would die without greek yogurt and irish cheese. I was wrong. In fact, I don’t miss them at all. One major benefit to the “all-in” approach: my “mess-ups” are usually just eating too much of one thing (usually nuts!) and not enough of another (typically greens), instead of having an ice cream binge (I don’t even think about ice cream any more!). I also label things in my head as simply “food” and “not food”, which saves SO much time in the grocery store! No more standing in the aisle analyzing product labels and ingredient lists, since I buy very little processed/ packaged foods now. My only regret is that it took me 41 years to get here! But it’s never too late to start!

    • “One major benefit to the “all-in” approach: my “mess-ups” are usually just eating too much of one thing (usually nuts!) and not enough of another (typically greens), instead of having an ice cream binge (I don’t even think about ice cream any more!)”

      You bet! This is huge and I’m glad you point it out.

      thanks!

  31. Star Norris says:

    Jump in! A little bit of commitment means a little bit of results.

  32. Cathey says:

    Definitely jump in! I think you set yourself up for failure with the attitude that a little is alright. That little becomes bigger and bigger very easily.

  33. Katie Loss says:

    I’m a jump-in gal…except for one food area: sweets. It was easy to overnight give up meats, dairy products, oil, most processed foods, but much harder to give up sweet things since I have an incurable sweet tooth. When I tried the jump-in method I just couldn’t handle it or the 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. sweet cravings and ended up eating more sweets than before. So I decided to be a step-at-a-time fire cadet for this one food area and shifted initially to unlimited dates, raisins and other dried fruits to satisfy my sweet tooth. Then I started to limit the amount of dried fruits and upped the fresh fruit in my diet. Now I will have an occasional date or mini box of raisins as a treat. The key for me is that as long as I really fill up on veggies (8-12 servings a day), whole grains, and legumes at my meals, I no longer feel the call of the sugar bowl. But it is a tightrope–one step in the wrong direction (a cookie or two at a party, for example…a chocolate or two on a holiday….) and I tumble of the wire and back into the sugar bowl. Then I have to scramble hard to get back on track. So with me constant vigilance is required.

  34. David Shipman says:

    Vegetarian here for over ten years. I always thought that making the jump to vegan would be very difficult. After trying the Engine 2 diet, I found that it IS possible to live without eggs and cheese! Scrolling thorough all the posts, I would concur with the majority that “all in” is definitely the way to go. My last remaining obstacle is to get rid of the olive, coconut and other various oils inhabiting my kitchen cabinets!

  35. Kerry says:

    I jumped in, straight fireman mode. Maybe it’s because I have an affinity for Firemen…or maybe it’s because a drastic measure was needed for me to save my own life. I’ve also been lucky to have a great group of people around me supporting my new lifestyle. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle is my mantra these days. I feel better, I have more energy and I’m happier. What’s not to like?

  36. Pat says:

    I think my husband and I are in the tiptoe ’til we’re ready to jump category! We spent a day or so watching videos and talking with relatives who are on this eating plan. Then we talked about it. I ordered the DVD and Engine 2 book for overnight delivery and we have given ourselves until the beginning of next week to finish easing our way in. We went food shopping last evening and shopped very carefully. I was a little shocked at how much we will need to avoid. We decided to look at it from a “what we can have” viewpoint, rather than “what we can’t have.” We’re excited to see what will happen after 28 days.

  37. Jackie says:

    Firefighter 100% any other way is too hard. For me I went from a meat eater to vegan in one day which from what I have read most people go vegetarian then vegan but for me I was either in or out. So after reading Prevent & reverse Heart disease then Engine 2 diet. I did the same, I was in. There is no guessing, I simply want to be healthy & I always knew that processed foods were unhealthy. For me I guess that is just how I am wired. It is definitely more of a challenge, I mean I love sweet potatoes with vegan butter or Tofuky sandwiches slathered in Veganaise but I had to decide which I relish more food or health. There are still so many yummy options out there & it is fun discovering them! Firefighter!

  38. Ed says:

    Having been “tip-toeing” most of my life with nothing more than a vague inclination to eat more vegetables constantly nagging me, I finally jumped in after second heart attack and second stroke.

    The tip-toeing started with an introduction to Professor Arnold Ehret’s “Mucusless Diet Healing System” back in the 70′s. Then in the 80′s I picked up Dr. McDougall’s “The McDougall Plan” . The 90′s brought Super Blue-Green Algae and lectures about hydrogenated oils and other evils.
    All the while, the barbecue was loaded with lamb kabobs, the chili NEVER included beans, and the tuna melts with fries were an every other night affair at the local coffee shop.

    Had my last cigarette the day of my 2nd heart attack.

    The last few years have been a cooking and eating adventure always discovering new real flavors available. Just ignore the pro dairy hype, or laugh at it and ignore the Twinkies and T-bones, and buy a celery root.

    It’s been about 7 years since the jump- in and the water is fine yet.

  39. KelseyF says:

    I went the firefighter route! This experience has been great for me, too, since I am learning how to cook while learning what’s best for my body. On the first night, I cleared out 80% of my pantry. And now 15 days later, I’m feeling great, cooking like crazy and oohing an aahing at every new dish!

    Either route is great. Cutting down on meat/dairy products no matter how it happens is beneficial (almost immediately). I’ve truly enjoyed this experience.

  40. Gayle P says:

    For my loved ones that eat the Standard Ameerican Diet, I would be thrilled if they tip toed because I believe then they would continue and end up jumping in.

  41. Corinne says:

    I think it depends on individual personality. For me….I jumped right into vegan when learned what went on with the animals. As far as getting out the refined grains, oils, and sugars- that took longer and was gradual. It’s all about education and values. The animals came first; that part was a no-brainer. It took some time for the nutrition aspect to sink in but when it did everything made sense and just got easier. Now after almost 12 years (vegan), I can’t imagine eating any other way.

  42. Kathleen says:

    For me my initial thought is “all or nothing” but I reliezed that this is a completely new way of thinking and eating. It is going to take time. Tonight I cook my first veg meal and plan my meals for the week. Tomorrow I shop and go on from there. For now I am going veg w thoughts of vegan in progress!

  43. Becky says:

    All in. It’s too easy to let little things sneak in – if one bite of cheese, why not 2? or more likely, a whole bunch.

  44. Kriss Young says:

    I think it’s better to ease into a diet. In my experience, when I have tried to dive into a diet, I always fall off the wagon, because it’s too many changes at once. I find that I am restricting myself too much, and once I mess up once, I give up.

    This is the story of my life. Even as a vegan, I have found a lot of processed foods that are vegan, but not healthy.

    I’m going to try the opposite approach- slowly cut out my favorite junk food items while replacing them with healthy alternatives. Hopefully I have more success, I’d love to lose 30 pounds!!

  45. Meaghann says:

    I think the all in approach works best. with that said I think it is important to get your self educated; where to shop, what kinds of foods you can eat, stock your pantry, get some cook books, blogs, find a friend, before you go all in. It can be hard and frustrating to try and tackle all of that with a hungry stomach and if you “cheat” then you feel worse about it.
    Once you commit to doing it, I think the fire fighter approach works best. less time to linger and torture yourself with both feeling guilty about what you are eating (that eventually you are going to give up anyways) and it is easier to just get in the mind set and know that the food and recipes that you are getting will work for you long term, instead of only partially working.

  46. Amy says:

    All in! 28 days gives you time to learn new habits. And, doing it with friends and having such great resources that are provided made it fun and SO much easier. I feel absolutely driven to share my new health with others. Looking to change careers to find a way to help other people aware of how they can get off medications, feel so much better and live stronger and happier!

  47. Lori says:

    I think it depends on the person. I have been following a vegan diet for five months already so I would jump right in, however I think a good transition period makes a difference in the success of permanent change. A gradual transition makes things seem not so overwhelming and easier to embrace. If I have to pick which one would have a better success rate I would say cadet for sure. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so, and moving my life in an even healthier direction! I’m starting out by going to hear Rip speak in Providence, RI tomorrow night, can’t wait!

  48. Margie Whitling says:

    Jumping in with both feet is the way for me. It’s seems easier then I thought it would be too. My son is reading Engine 2 with me so we also support each other also as we try different recipes. We motivate each other because we know how important it is to have a support team. Thanks Engine 2….

  49. Jocelyn says:

    The only way change sticks with me is if I jump in the deep end. I put on the mindset of the change already having happened, the commitment is in place and I work within those parameters. I have tried the ease-in approach and I just can’t do it. If I try and take the change a step at a time it’s as though I am “trying” rather than “doing,” hoping to get there rather than already having arrived.

  50. Tiana Duart says:

    Firefighter all the way. I’m an all or nothing kinda gal. Also if I don’t do something completely I will revert back to my old ways.

  51. Leah says:

    I had to jump in with both feet. Had I not, I would have given in too easy. i had very high cholesterol and about 30 pounds overweight. I had an awesome girlfriend introduce me to the E2 idea and Forks over Knifes. Around the same time, I had a dr appt and found out my cholesterol was too high, and my dr recommended I watch FOK. I am so glad I did. I then picked up the E2 book, spent about a week reading, getting my recipes ready, shopped and then went cold turkey. I am so glad I did. It has only been 2 weeks, but I have lost 10 pounds, enjoying the food, and now my husband is even thinking maybe it’s not a bad way to go! My daughters eat alot of my food, so I think if my husband jumps in, my girls will too very easily. Cooking has become a treat again, I am experimenting with new recipes, keeping a daily food log, and feeling good!

  52. Tina Vassil says:

    Ok, is there such thing as choice A AND choice B? When I decided to change my eating (immediately after watching Food Inc. mind you), I felt that what I was doing WAS jumping right into it. Having been a meat eater all my life, an animal lover, a planet lover, but never having connected it all, was mind blowing for me.

    So to stop eating animal meat was, to me, a huge jump. As I joined various online communities, I soon realized there was a wide divide. Was I “good enough” eating dairy and eggs? Then I did more research and decided to eliminate those foods. But I never even considered the health risks that I was bringing into my life still consuming the fats and sugars. This is where I’m at now….

    So the long answer to your question is, I felt as though I jumped in head first, but realized there was so much more out there to discover about my health and the world. I’m still on that journey, but certainly not tip toeing! Eyes wide open now!

    Let the journey continue!
    Tina

  53. Paul Berry says:

    I went ‘all in’. After spending several months reading, watching, and learning, it was the only thing for me to do. I knew too much to continue with the SAD. My make-up probably leans that way anyway. Oh, and I’ve been a real firefighter for two decades, so this career lieutenant wasn’t gonna be a lowly cadet again!

  54. Deanna South says:

    I was 1/2 in for 11 years. Due to a long struggle with migraines, I figured out that it was dairy that was causing them. So for the past 12 years I stayed away from dairy. I read E2 and put it on the shelf, but always having it in the back of my mind that this was what I wanted to do. A friend needed help with health issues so I told her to read E2, she wanted to do it. I told her I would do the E2 plan for a month to help her get rolling and I would go back to being a carnvore. Seven months later I’m still off meat and I’ve never felt better.
    Whatever pace you do, do it for you and your health. Good Health To YOU!

  55. Sharon Miller says:

    I’ve adapted to the eating changes very well & because of that my cravings are at minimum. though I’ve lost 27 lbs since 8/11 I still have 30 to go What I struggle with is the excercise, the time & MOTIVATION, I do well for 2 weeks & fall off the face of earth for 2 weeks…I can’t stay consistent – I love walking, but lose momentum @ lunch to do it. I can’t afford a gym membership, so I rely on walk/jogs & my Wii & treadmill at home. My motivation needs motivation!

    • Sharon, it sounds like you are doing great and I like that you are working in activity. It is a HUGE help in physical confidence, actually promotes your willpower by strengthening the pre-frontal cortex of your brain (true story!) and delivers physical confidence. Far more than about ‘burning calories’, exercise is about being well – being a good animal. Thanks!

  56. Jenn says:

    This is a hard question for me to answer! I jumped straight in for 2 months but then went on vacation and got lazy! I have been a vegetarian for 15 years… But I do find myself slipping up at social occasions or on vacations. I think I need to plan better when we go away. I also have a hard time with the bad mindset of eating too many carbs(even good carbs) and feeling like my choices are limited. I also have 3 kids and a husband who do not follow a vegan diet completely, although they eat really healthy! I think to be successful I need to plan out my meals for the week so I know exactly what I’ll be eating!

  57. Lynnette says:

    I did a little of both. I TOLD myself I was starting to make better choices bit by bit. BUT, I ended up making plant strong choices more often than not and was proud of myself when I did- Going to a wedding reception and just having salad, fruit & vegetable, (OK- a little dessert too); cooking BBQ dinner for family, but skipping the meat myself, making similar choices when eating out. As I do the shopping, I shuffled what I bought and the family ended up eating what I brought home. I surprised myself with how few bad choices I made. This encouraged me to continue being “good” rather than being frustrated with myself for bad choices.

  58. Rachelle says:

    I am definitely an all or nothing person, so I jumped right in. I feel so good eating of plant based, that I haven’t looked back. I wish I could convince everyone tha this is the way to go.

  59. Sherri says:

    I believe it the jump in with both feet approach. I started a fitness and health group at my church at the beginning of the year, after doing Eat to Live. I couldn’t get them to get on board, so I showed them Forks Over Knives. It helped them to see the big picture, but Eat to Live was too hard to read. A friend came across E2 book about a month ago and suggested it to me. We loved it so much and decided to try to get our group to read and start the 28 day challenge. I am pleased to report that most of the group has read the book and we are starting the challenge on March 1st. Can’t wait to see the results of the group.

    • Leah, I’d love to hear more about the contrasting experience of ETL vs. E2. Can you name some specific elements about E2 that made it easy to jump into and follow? Would love to hear about it!

  60. Katie says:

    I jumped full force from a paleo type diet to plant based. It was not difficult for me…the hardest part at all was learning a whole new way of cooking but I never missed the animal products or junk food. My diet is 99% oil free. I am a total all or nothing kind of gal….sometimes it fails but this life style change has prevailed and will be here to stay! 6 months strong!

  61. Lorretta Legan says:

    I have to go with firefighter. Anything else makes it to easy to cheat and not stick with a program. I have tried all kinds of different programs and have had friends do the same. For everyone I know firefighter is the only approach that works.

  62. Wanda Swensen says:

    I think the firefighter approach is the best. When it comes to weight loss, it has to be all or nothing. IF now, you will not lose the weight. The immediate results is what motivates you to keep going.

  63. BklynHeart says:

    I’ve tried both approaches, and I find that I am way more successful if I just jump right on in and do it! I want the whole experience, and I tend to be a “run-before-I-walk” type of personality. Fortunately, if I trip and fall, I pick myself up and get moving again!

    Came to the realization today that E2 is something I want to do more than 28 days. Basically forever. So I’m very happy for this.

  64. GoForIt says:

    As a retired cop I can’t let a firefighter show me up…it’s all the way and don’t look back! :)

  65. Susan says:

    I think jumping right in is best. As soon as you get your kitchen ‘clean’ of things your shouldn’t eat the easier it is. Making fresh food each day is a challenge but one I can live with (for a long time). I have heart disease and nothing I would love more than to be off ALL my meds and never have to think about anymore surgery. Thank you for sharing your vegan ways with us and your enthusiasm. You have changed this life and the life of my husband. Thank and God bless you.

  66. I jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back. I was a non-red meat eater, but still regularly included poultry, seafood, and dairy in my daily cooking. September 15th was my “rebirth” as my husband jokes. I became a new person with more energy, a definite new glow to my complexion, lost 15 pounds (over 4 months), dropped a pant size, and got rid of a slew of other health issues. I just can’t understand why EVERYONE is not doing this. :) I talked my parents trying a plant-strong diet… my father has been overweight for 20 years and is on Lipitor. He stumbled a bit at first, but is now working out every day and eating meat/dairy-free. He is so excited to visit his doctor in April and see what his new numbers will be! I could not be more proud.

  67. Julie Chagnon says:

    I’ve had to do a little of both. With family, its a tip-toe. With just me, its a full on firefighter jump. People will freak at home if you just come in one day like a General and wipe out everything they’ve known. A little at a time, the family is coming on board… my sweet little cadets. ;)

  68. Cheryl Morris says:

    Jumped in with both feet from full carnivore to vegetarian…a month later vegan/plant strong after reading The Veganist. I’ve lost 25 lbs in the last 11 months and feeling much better. My husband went vegan with me after two months when he saw I lost 16 lbs and cholesterol dropped 50 pts. He has lost 35 lbs. Our blood pressure is perfect. We’re continuing to learn more to become the healthiest possible. Thanks for all the good information, books and recipes!

  69. Kim says:

    I’m someone who eases into a swimming pool agonizingly, inch by inch. After learning that my triglycerides were over 250, I had the good luck to get to see Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn speak, which led me to Rip, then to Forks Over Knives, and Happy Herbivore, and so on. I was grateful for the non-judgmental cadet options in the E2 book; I think I might have been scared off if it had been all-or-nothing from the beginning. At my 1-year follow up doctor appointment, my triglycerides were down to 89 (they couldn’t understand how that had happened since I had refused their prescription meds), so that gave me even more motivation to swim deeper into the plant-based pool. :)

    • Kim, I appreciate you sharing these details. Overwhelmingly the response has been “jump all the way” yet perhaps these are the same personalities who are more likely to share their experiences? I guess we’ll never know. Perhaps it’s best to leave the door open for both styles, while at the same time making it clear that if one is ‘tiptoeing’ to avoid taking a stand or just stall, it can become problematic. Thanks!

  70. mary says:

    I jumped in last October, right after watching Forks Over Knives. It just made sense and I felt so much better so soon, it has been easy. I had watched my sister die of colon cancer last summer and had been looking for the info you offer. I first tried plant-based -vegan many years ago and had come back to it many times and always felt my best. I had not learned about the huge difference that organic produce makes. That was a whole new ballgame as now I was really nourishing my body. I advise people do a clean sweep of their kitchen and jump in with both feet! Just like swimming in cold water…..tiptoeing is only torture!

  71. jan bonnivier says:

    Uncharacteristically I jumped in with both feet. I have had some falls backwards and I am still learning. I tiptoed tho with letting others know what I was doing as I did not have answers for them that I felt confident in, but that part is getting easier for me.

  72. Julia Silka says:

    Firefighter, full tilt boogie. Calling myself an E2 vegan was a good doorway for me because I gained access to a structure; rules to live by. P.s., a friend of mine went “vegan” this year, but bought goat cheese the other day and ate chicken soup because she caught a cold. This makes no sense to me. You can’t negotiate this stuff. I cant’ anyway.

  73. Martha says:

    I’m on tip toe for right now having just spent 2 months on vacation. I eliminated any meat from my diet as of Christmas and learned about Engine2 only recently. I think I do betterva little at a time!

  74. Walter Hummel says:

    I did the firefighter and jumped right in, I think it is a great way to just get rid of all the bad stuff and clean your system. You do have your setbacks sometimes, but you have to be strong and think of how far you have come. I am so glad I became the Firefighter!!!

  75. Julie Slate says:

    i did a wean… years ago… i watched a youtube video titled, “Slaying Rosie O’Donnell” [youtube removed since] They slit the throat of a pig and she squealed and she squealed, and she squealed, and she squealed some more. I instantly gave up all land animals…because i could NEVER EVER EAT ROSIE O’DONNELL.” But i had no clue about nutrition. :-(

    I did survive though. i still ate seafood, and cheese. :-( Because i had no clue on nutrition. Back then…the VA Nutritionist told me, being a Vegetarian is a choice. [she did not even recommend my B-12 level or protein be tested]

    What other choice did i have? That video combined w/ Ro on TV, yelling “stop the war, stop the war” on “The View” triggered my PTSD. I witnessed and administered first aid the best i knew how, to someone whose throat was sliced w/ a broken bottle. I eventually weaned off seafood and cheese.
    Why did the VA Medical want to try to KILL VETS, w/ psyche meds, because they do not want Vegetarians Vets? FDA approved psyche meds possible side effect: sudden death. I already had TEN/SJS. No seperate Big Pharma testing for VEGANS/meat eaters, for prescription psyche meds.

    LOL, no mention of PTSD in those entries, just “Delusions: Rosie O’Donnell,” in my VA Medical Record. ..however comma … i was prescribed Zyprexa for my “Delusions: Rosie O’Donnell.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LawoRsypQNA <—my weaning years…[those chip bags, for the solar cooker, were found on our four mile walk.]

    It was a totally unbelievable journey to finally get to 100% Plant based [it's what movies are made of, smirk]…but knowing what i know now, and the info available…i think i might suggest just jumping. See, because i did not jump… i know that when i try to take on an Alpha meat eater …i, PERSONALLY, need to ingest NUTS to try to remain calm… something i would not have learned, by just jumping.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_s1i5RQF3M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7DURyF0QlE

    Is the VA Medical still allowed to try to murder Vets w/ psyche meds, by presausion to ingest psychee meds…when the VA "now knows" that all they need to do, in trying to get their nutritional intake corrected?

    -peace

    • Julie Slate says:

      oops… typos: Is the VA Medical still allowed to try to murder Vets w/ psyche meds, by presausion to ingest psyche meds…when the VA “now knows” that all they need to do, is* try* to get their nutritional intake corrected?

        • Julie Slate says:

          P.S.S. just had another CBC done on monday….results next monday… i laid off as many nuts/peanuts as i used to eat… Dr Esselstyn, i believe, recommends tri’s under like 83, i think and 145 total…and my tri’s were a few points higher, and total cholesterol 161… 4 months ago.

          Anyway, truth be told, within this last week, i ordered “Engine 2 Diet” book…i ordered it, because i want to read [Fire Cadet or Firefighter] everything to do w/ all of the branches of “forks over knives” and then i’ll pass it on to someone…if i get it soon, i will have it, in hand, next monday at my VA doctor’s appt…along w/ “forks over knives.” i had “The China Study” in hand, 4 months ago… [i want to give my VA doctor ALL of the copies i have] Four months ago…While he listened to my heart, he asked, “you don’t even eat eggs?”… i thought, “do eggs grow on a plant, or out of the ground?” i answered, “not anymore.”
          [I hope that i did not eat too many nuts, and drank decafe coffee instead of , in the last 4 months.]
          He ordered more tests this time….even the blood tech, whatever her professional title is…commented on how many tests my doctor had ordered… are there omega 3/6 tests?!? [i totally hope i didn't mess up]
          LOL, last blood test, for the two weeks before, i only ate VEGAN cheesecake and cakes. [smirk] and my blood test should i was lacking a little bit of leafy greens… I LOVE KALE!!! And i even got a KALE engine 2 shirt, before i got the book…because i already know it’s an awesome book…walking billboard.

          Pick me, pick me… i wanna win. I totally confess, i ordered the “KALE” Egine 2 plant strong tee, before i ordered, last week, the “Engine 2 diet” book. However comma… i was already “Plant-based.”

          However comma .. i want to be totally motivated to help motivate others…. and me talking about Vampires, only works on a certain group of people…Vampires! ;-)

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brjBwnDOzxg

  76. I am definately a “fIREMAN”.. DID NOT READ IT CORRECTLY SO DID AND STILL DO IT 100%.. 20 lbs off and working hard to fine tune the new way of life..Love your site Lani it helps alot too!!!Doing an immersion at Whole foods in
    Deerfield, Il. but will miss rip next week as he is coming to the store and I am off to Marco Island..boo hoo!!He is tre’ cute…

  77. Jenelle says:

    I jumped firefighter into vegetarianism, then when I learned more I jumped into veganism. I am still easing my way into E2 as cooking without oil is very foreign.

  78. mary says:

    Firefighter. It’s too easy to overdo it on the junk when I even allow a little bit.

  79. pauline waterreus says:

    Firefighter! The benefit far outweighs the few days of misery as you cleanse your body. I started 9/18/11 and convinced my neighbor to start on 10/1/11 after seeing my immediate results. Between the 2 of us we have lost 90# and have become gym rats. Looking at a 1/2 marathon in Nov!!!!!!
    My results have influenced many at work. One girl has lost almost 20 and another 11#. My boss just bought Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease.
    Loving how I feel! This transformation has been wonderful.
    How do I get back on track?? Large green smoothies!.
    But truly, it is wonderful to go to bed at night and not regret anything that you ate that day. Before I would spend countless nights regretting what I ate and “why did I eat that” but no more.
    Wish I would have done this years ago!

  80. Sheila says:

    Transistion for me. Income too limited to just throw out food, but as items run out they haven’t been replaced. No more cheese, dairy yogurt, sour cream, butter, milk or white bread in the house within a couple of days of going plant based. Yesterday I shopped and never left the produce section of the store. I’m 2 and a half weeks now and have already lost 7 pounds (only a beginning as I’m morbidly obese) and have more energy. The most exciting part though is that I’ve had to taper down to almost no insulin as my blood sugars are nearly normal. This is really strange because before switching to this way of eating my glucose readings were always high despite taking ever increasing doses of insulin. Oh, and all the food cravings have ended! That feels like a miracle to not be continuously hungry no matter how much I ate. I think I may not only live (which I honestly couldn’t say a few weeks ago), but actually feel good enough to even enjoy life again. Who knew, eating plants cures everything and it tastes good too!

  81. Sheila says:

    Thanks for you comment Lani Muelrath. Here is the answer to your queston. I hope it isn’t too long winded.

    It was down to do it or die. That’s how miserable I felt only a couple of weeks ago. I could see I only had 3 to 5 years left at the rate I my health was deteriorating. I’ve watched so many family members die from diabetic complications. Amputations, kidney failure, blindness, stroke…. the list is endless. But, the last few years of poor health before they died was pure misery for them. I had an Aunt that was so sick that she intentionally killed herself by going off insulin and eating a 12 pound turkey in one setting. She was just fed up with being blind, sick and on kidney dialysis. In the family we don’t refer to suicide, we call it death by turkey. I didn’t want that anymore and was willing to try anything to change the path I was on. As extreme as vegan sounded to a few weeks ago (I grew up on a dairy farm) it already seems normal to me now. Forks over Knives, the Engine 2 book and clips on You Tube of Dr Esselystyn, Dr Colin Campbell, Dr. McDougall, Rip Esselystyn and several others really convinced me with logic and science. Then it was just a matter of giving it an honest try to see what happened…. after all what did I have to lose. Turns out I had everything to gain (except more weight, ha, ha). Hey, I’ve even convinced my diabetic sister to watch Forks over Knives a few days ago and now she says she is making a gradual switch to plant strong. Maybe I’ll have my sister a few extra years too!

  82. Rachel Durkee says:

    I believe in starting all in. I think it makes it easier to commit to if you jump all in. If the fridge is only full of plants then I am not tempted to make a burger.

  83. sandra says:

    I have been transitioning for a year….I finally figured it out, ITS ALL OR NOTHING! I cant cheat and I have to be 100% committed or I fail. I have been 100% cheat prof for 3 months and feel great. I also have 2 neighbors (2 couples) who started the day after super bowl. These are real meat and potato kind of friends. Can I say they reported to me they have never felt better. Im so excited to have friends join me in keeping our heart healthy!

  84. Katy says:

    I’m more of a cadet in my approach to dieting. I have tried the “all or nothing” approach and what seems to always happen is after a few weeks in, I get bored so I revert back to my old ways. I think that can also be a result of not varying the foods I eat while on a particular diet. For someone who isn’t the greatest cook, I tend to stick to routine and convenience, so I end up eating the same thing every day. I would love to go “all-in” and finally be able to say I eat only a plant-based diet, so this is a good assessment for me to determine why I don’t stick to plans I’ve tried before! Some people just have to let things happen gradually and naturally, and that has been a better approach for me overall!

  85. Erica Ackerson says:

    Getting ready to start the Engine 2 Diet and I really appreciated reading so many of these responses. I think I may have to go cadet mostly because I just have so much to learn and not sure I can make such a huge jump since my family probably will still be eating meat and dairy.

  86. Becky says:

    I think the clean break of the firefighter is easier. Though I have to say that I had already eliminated a number of the unhealthy food groups so I was part way there already.

  87. Connie Mathis says:

    I say jump in with both feet – either you’re totally committed or you’re not. Either I want to see the best results or I don’t. I can’t walk the line between two things and be fully committed. I’ve got to choose and go at it wholeheartedly!! Looking forward to jumping in with both feet and seeing results – loose weight and get off my HBP medicine! Yaaa!!!

  88. Melissa says:

    I like the idea of all or nothing, but my reality is more of an easing in. For example tonight we had a organic greens salad and a vegetable bake with a variety of veggies in it (peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, celery & potatoes), but I did sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on it. It was delicious and was a good way to ease towards a fully plant based diet. We are only buying vegetables and grains now and all organic, but at the same time using up some items in the fridge.

  89. The comments that continue to come in are so enlightening and helpful. I’m getting messages and notes from people reading YOUR comments and finding encouragement! Remember each time you share YOUR story, you unknowingly influence another.

    So thank you everyone for your comments – keep ‘em coming!

    To your health and happiness,
    Lani

  90. Donna says:

    I’d say firefighter but that oil thing keeps tripping us up! We have been cooking without oil about 99.3%. But the tortilla chips are my siren song. I tried the bake it yourself method – I could only eat about 4 and then the dogs got treats!

  91. Marsha Williams says:

    I’m new to the eating plan, and have jumped in up to my waist. I have a question about the Braggs Ammino Liquid used in the recipes. Is the Ammino liquid used to aid in digestion of the plant materials (since one is adding a lot more to the daily diet) or as a flavor enhancer?
    Thanks for you help,
    Marsha

  92. go for it says:

    I started over the summer on the E2 diet. I went all in at home, but when I went to visit family or friends, I went along with their food choices. It’s not easy to make the transition because every time I’m hungry , I have to really think about what I can eat and maybe even look up a recipe and double check what ‘s “OK”.
    I was surprised at how tasty it was; I really didn’t miss meat or dairy (well, I missed cheese a little) but my cholesterol and C reactive protein plummeted in just the 28 days…WITH going off when I was visiting in other’s homes.
    Now that’s summer is over, I’m looking forward to getting a fresh start and learning more so this new healthy way of eating becomes a new way of life for me.

  • About Engine

    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!
  • Categories

    • No categories
  • Contributors

    Chef AJ The College Greens Lindsay Nixon
  • Recommended read

  • Plant-Strong™ Kids Week 6!

    It’s out! Plant-Strong™ Kids Week 6! Many thanks to Lindsay from Happy Herbivore and Cathy from Straight Up Food for their recipe contributions! Catch up [&hellip

    Air Travel in the Plant-Strong Mode

    The first time I ever boarded an airplane, my mother insisted that I wear a navy blue, linen suit. It was a time in air [&hellip

    Plant-Strong™ Kids Week 5!

    We are really loving hearing about your kids getting plant-strong! Kathy wrote to us: “My two sons had been resisting for a long time. They [&hellip

    Finding Engine 2

    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 [&hellip

    Engine 2 Summer Kids Series: Week 4!

    Hard to believe we are already in week 4 of our Summer Kids Series! How are your kids doing? Plant Strong Kids™ Week 4 And [&hellip

  • Twitter