Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back in the fold

One of the most frequent questions people ask about our plant-based diet is, "Why?" Second only to "What do you eat?" The latter always asked in utter amazement, usually with a hint of pity. The blog, by virtue of being, will address the "What?" Allow me to take a moment to address the "Why?"

It all boils down to this guy: Rip Esselstyn; former Austin fire fighter, professional triathlete, amateur nutritionist turned author. We dabbled in healthy eating, whole foods, and vegetarian nibblings, but we had no reason to take a real plunge until Rip. We heard him speak at Book People in Austin, and we took the challenge.

The Engine 2 Diet is like veganism on steroids. Not only does it call you to be "plant strong," eliminating all animal products (meat, cheese, eggs, dairy), it also entreats you to avoid added sodium, sugar, oil, and processed foods. 28 days of E2 eating causes a paradigm shift, a whole new way of thinking about food. I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with new flavors to replace my old stand-bys. I felt more enlightened about my food choices and my whole body felt healthy and somehow more clean than it had before.

I'm not going to lie, sticking to this diet for the long haul isn't easy. No processed foods means you spend a lot more time making things from scratch. Avoiding animal products shortens your list of go-to restaurants, and no added sodium, sugar, etc. makes that list even shorter. I did a decent job while I was single, but then marriage happened. Adjusting to our new life, the holidays, traveling to visit family and friends, my sometimes laziness when it comes to cooking, and our fondness for cheese (and the occasional burger) all added up to us falling off the wagon, multiple times.

Last week we got word that Rip was going to be speaking at Whole Foods on Friday night followed by a plant-strong buffet dinner. After hearing him speak again, we decided to give it another try. We may not be the plant strongest, but we'll figure out a way to stay plant strong; happy to be back in the fold.

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