392 of 399 people found the following review helpful.
I had the good fortune to get a head start on the rest of the world by meeting Rip in person. He is one of the good guys. I have shared countless ‘plant-strong’ meals with Rip over the last five months. He lives and breathes this diet every single day.
This is the first time in my life I have practiced any discipline with my diet. It’s important to note changing my diet was not easy at first. The book remains an invaluable tool that guides me through the process of choosing the right ingredients at the grocery store – which is over half the battle. I have to set myself up for a win before the hunger sets in (rhyme). It also provides a nice array of fast recipes (tackle the lasagna later in the diet – it takes a bit of work).
Eating out is tough on this diet. You will find the vast majority of restaurants are not run by people who want you to live a long, healthy, balanced life (not yet anyway). I would suggest forgoing the restaurant scene while you find your bearings. I’ve certainly saved a fair amount of money cooking my own lunch and dinner – and it’s not that I don’t go out to eat – it’s just less often.
Rip relates the detailed science behind this way of eating in terms all of us can understand. It’s important to note he was raised in the household of a plant-devouring cardiologist – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Rip’s data and experience driven understanding of how our bodies react when fed a plant based diet is proof that this IS NOT another fools errand for all of us looking to lose weight and return our bodies to health. It is a diet of the truth. What would you expect from a firefighter?
Stick to it for 28 days. Get some blood work done before and after. I’ve been able to watch twenty or so men and women start the Engine 2 diet. I can say with certainty that the average person will see dramatic numbers change with their cholesterol. Everyone will lose weight. We will all feel better and ready to take on this new uncertain world.
Best of luck to everyone who wants to live a longer more comfortable life.
295 of 299 people found the following review helpful.
My motivation in doing the diet was threefold; to learn more about nutrition, understand what was going on with my lipid profile and just generally experiment to see if I FELT better by eating this way. Weight loss wasn’t my goal, though that came as well. After four weeks on the diet I had answers:
My experience has yielded the promise of the book – I am now a very plant strong eater that feels GREAT. I have sustained this for over two years. To interrupt our western ways of eating and look critically at the cause and effects of disease in our society is what this has become about for me. The discovery has been tons of delicious foods I never knew existed or ate very infrequently. These foods are now my staples. I appreciate and honor food like never before.
So what do I get for writing this? My two young sons will have a healthy father for their lifetimes. My wife will have a healthy husband for our lifetime together. My kitchen will have a lot less grease in it.
Bravo Rip for telling your story and empowering what I hope will be tens of millions of people to make “self care” their personal solution to the “health care” crisis in this country. You have shown the way. And the way is really tasty.
319 of 339 people found the following review helpful.
Esselstyn’s “plant-strong” means vegan. Engine 2 adds strict limits on sodium, fat, and sugar. It may be smart to avoid the vegan label. Engine 2 is aiming for the mainstream. There’s no mention of saving animals, just a healthy lifestyle saving people. Another thing you won’t find, there’s no advice to limit how much you eat. The diet focuses exclusively on what you eat, claiming you can eat as much as you want of the allowed foods, be healthier, and lose weight.
I love many things about Engine 2. It gives people excellent goals for better health and explains in detail how to achieve those goals. I found the chapter on reading labels extremely helpful, especially the specific criteria for the grocery store aisles. The large recipe section includes many simple everyday dishes and few elaborate dishes. It offers replacements for animal-sourced high-fat workhorses like mayonnaise, salad dressing, and sandwich fillings. The book’s strength is showing how to live this lifestyle every working day.
The recipes are easy to follow, instructions are clear, and I usually end up with what I expect. I had trouble finding ingredients for some of the recipes, especially on the first trial, and had to substitute and omit. Substituting firm tofu for soft in the mousse was unsuccessful. The result was grainy and runny–edible but not appealing. With the right type of tofu, this was very nice, not as rich as a high-fat dairy version but nearly the same consistency, very tasty, and totally acceptable to my household. Omitting nutritional yeast from the salad dressing changed the consistency only slightly and made an acceptable dressing. The black bean sandwich spread, on rye with the fixing, will be a regular lunch. The curry-seasoned tofu sandwich spread was good with rice and chutney in a tortilla. The simple sweet potato fries didn’t last long. I really liked the meat-less loaf, although the rest of my household was less enthusiastic. The sloppy joes were easy and tasty, with nice serving suggestions.
Coming from a former professional triathlete, I expected exercise would get more coverage. Esselstyn gives a basic workout, fine if you aren’t already exercising regularly. He emphasizes that anyone can exercise without joining a health club or installing a home gym. I really loved this; I am living proof. Aside from one basic chapter on exercise, this book is about the diet.
Many readers will encounter real difficulties adopting the Engine 2 plan. The book glosses over difficulties and makes a couple of rather silly recommendations. Readers are to empty and refill their kitchens over a weekend to immerse themselves in the Engine 2 plan. I laughed out loud. What working family can afford to throw or give away hundreds of dollars worth of food? Not mine. Engine 2 recommends that you get several medical tests to compare before and after results. What insurers will pay for medically unnecessary tests just to see if a new diet works? These put me off.
Readers who can’t or won’t mostly buy fresh and cook from scratch will find it hard to adhere to the Engine 2 plan. Finding Engine 2 approved packaged prepared foods as well as some specialty ingredients is a significant difficultly. There’s not much at my local Safeway. At My Organic Market (MOM), I find only a few canned and frozen foods that met the Engine 2 guidelines, even among the brands and products mentioned in the book. (And the stuff at MOM is pricey.) There are other stores and the internet but this is starting to eat up considerable time and money. As an environmentalist, I object to extra miles driving from store to store.
Most readers will have to give up many foods we are currently eating. Even with strong motivation, it’s hard to give up favorite foods cold tofurky. The promised benefits are great enough that my household will adopt as much of the plan as our resources and willpower permit. But, it will definitely take much longer than 28 days and we will certainly make compromises between what Engine 2 recommends on one hand and what foods we can find, how much time we can devote to extra shopping and cooking, and what we can bring ourselves to give up on the other. Instead of a 28-day sprint, this will be a longer journey for us.
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