Myself, along with a group of fire service members decided to try out the much touted Engine 2 Diet.  It’s kind of a competition of sorts and also a research project to see if what the Author claims in his book is true.  Rip Esselstyn is a firefighter in Austin, TX, whom after learning about a fellow firefighter’s severe health issues, put his whole shift on a diet to help them shed weight and drop cholesterol numbers.  Apparently it went well…very, very well and now he has a book out to encourage others to make a lifestyle change.

img_1645(My first vegan pita.  It was actually pretty darn good!)

When it was discussed that we should all test his claims, I was a bit skeptical because I don’t like diets all that much.  They never seem to work, but because this was a firefighter writing the book, I had to check it out (firefighters love anything other firefighters are doing).  I went and bought the book and did some research on the author.  I was mixed with excitement and fear from what I read.  His suggestions are hardcore.  No, you don’t understand!  Like going vegan hardcore!  If it has a face and/or a mama, you can’t eat it.  We are also supposed to give up anything that is refined.  So no cute, sweet cuddly Peeps for me (which by the way, are now in new flavors and colors for the season!).  I am up for the challenge though and decided to give it a go.  I can do this for 28 days.

I gave up red meat almost a year ago.  I have read quite a bit about the connection between animal protein and cancers and that was enough to get me to step away from the steak.  Such a sin in Texas!  However, I have a huge family history of kidney disease and so it’s important that I try to keep them functioning.  My kidney’s have a hard time digesting protein and so kicking the meat habit will help alleviate some of the stress on my kidney’s.  Since I gave up the hard part, red meat, I figured giving up the turkey and the chicken would be easy.  It has been so far but what I have found to be my ‘food crack’ is cheese.  Every time I hand my daughter a stick of string cheese I just want to rip it out of her cute little hands and suck it down.  It taunts me when I open the fridge door.  I hear it mocking me at the restaurants.  Aack!

img_1458(John eating his first vegan sandwich)

I have been on the diet for almost two weeks and I have lost almost 8 pounds.  John, who realized that if didn’t join me in this challenge, would not be able to make fun of me for being a vegan for 28 days, has lost 10 pounds.  I told him that when he lost 12 pounds I would cook him the crawfish ettouffe stuffed chicken that’s in the freezer.  He’s on that scale every hour dreaming of that darn chicken.

I have to say that after living on this diet for almost two weeks that I haven’t missed the meat so much.  I have missed my cheese products and I have missed a few items that are made with eggs.  I have decided that once the 28 days are over that I will probably not be a vegan but rather an ovo-lacto vegetarian.  Basically that means that I won’t be eating meat but I will be eating some dairy and eggs.  Every once in a while I might throw some fish in there because I can’t give up my sushi.  And I like my turkey stuffed puffs, so that might be a treat too.  The vegan diet is a little too hardcore for me but I have learned a lot about eating healthier, whole foods.  I think trying this diet has stretched my way of thinking about food and health and so I can appreciate the words this author has written. And I am totally excited about trying something new.  This year is all about reflection and inspiration.  I find Rip’s book to be inspirational.  I also find that my husband inspires me because I know how hard it is on him to have to give up so many things that he loves.

I recommend the book if you are looking for a way to kickstart a healthier eating plan.  It’s not easy by a long stretch but it is doable.  Just ask my steak, cake, and butter addicted husband!

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