So here’s the skinny on the Engine 2 Diet…
For the best results, GET THE BOOK!!
The diet offers two plant-strong, 28-Day Challenges, the “Fire Cadet” and the “Firefighter.”
The “Firefighter” challenge hits the ground running by eliminating meats, dairy, and processed oils from day one. You live a plant-strong diet from the get-go and start to substitute your old favorite ingredients with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes which will become your new favorite ingredients.
The “Fire Cadet” challenge is a less rigorous program where you slowly eliminate the three food groups week by week.
WEEK ONE: Challengers remove dairy from their diets. That includes all forms of cow’s milk as well as cheese, which Rip describes as “the greatest source of saturated fat.” Best recommended substitutions are nut milks, (almond, rice, soy, and coconut) hemp milk, and rice milk. If you add nutritional yeast flakes to any dish, there can be a slight resemblance in taste to cheese.
WEEK TWO: It’s time to exclude meats, including fish and and all kinds of seafood. This by far was my hardest exclusion in the entire diet. Animal protein, however good you think it is for you, is the worst kind because of its highly acidic levels and it’s cancer causing traits.
WEEK THREE: The elimination of processed oils, even olive oil, are next. I make sure I talk about olive oil because up until now we have all been told that it’s the source of the least amount of monounsaturated fat. As least the amount is, we have to remember that it is still pure fat! One tablespoon contains 120 calories from fat. Can you imagine how much we actually use in recipes that we make? I know I used to use it as much as I could, why not? It’s olive oil right? Think again!
WEEK FOUR: This week is the time to reflect on everything you’ve given up and understand why it has changed you for the better. This is the transition period where you change from “dietary extravagance to dietary excellence!” This is also the time where you start to see how “plant-strong” you want to be for the rest of your life.
Both these 28-Day challenges are accompanied by plenty of support material online including a 28-Day Meal Plan that literally breaks down each day with a meal guide, recipes, and shopping lists. It’s practically fool proof. Along with all three food groups being eliminated from your diet, you are going to have to stray away from processed foods and products that are high in sodium and added sugar. When shopping you want to look at the ingredient lists for that key word “whole.” Whole wheat, whole oats, whole quinoa, and whole everything. The less processed the better!
Like I have been constantly stating, THIS IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS diet, at least primarily. Will you lose weight? Of course you will but this diet doesn’t target weight loss initially. It targets lowering your cholesterol levels and reducing your chances for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. So you have to exercise in order to see the best results. Just like my pediatrician always told me, “EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE!” Whether its a daily walking regimen in the morning and a brisk walk in the afternoon or a yoga session and a Zumba workout at your local gym. Supplement this diet with physical activity.
Now I know that in order to really survive this challenge or live this lifestyle you are going to have to rely on cooking for yourself a lot more. Was it hard for me? Of course not but it was still challenging and time consuming for me. But in order to see the best results, we really need to try. The book includes 100+ plant-strong recipes that are all delicious and especially easy. There are plenty of other plant-based cookbooks out there but just be mindful of everything you are to eliminate and watch out for. I have plenty of recipes I developed myself that I’ll be posting so keep posted with my blog if you so dare.
Lastly, FIND A PARTNER OR SUPPORT GROUP! If you want to make it easier on yourself, try your best in finding a partner to take on this challenge. Trust me, it’s hard enough to do it with 20 other team members at my Whole Foods Market, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do it alone. You need someone to help you destroy those cravings as well as give each other uplifting support. If you need one, I am here for you. I’m only a click away on FACEBOOK or a tweet away on TWITTER or comment me here on my blog. I can provide you with recipes, cooking tips, advice, and even motivational talks if you need. I know how much support from family and friends help so if I can be any of that, I wouldn’t mind a bit. This is how much I believe in this diet.
Recommended reading: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole by Drs. Matthew Lederman & Alona Pulde, and the movie Forks Over Knives (available on Netflix)