What a weekend! Race recaps are coming, but I can tell you that Brette ran a crazy fast 5K on Saturday and I am thrilled that Willa and I finished a half marathon in the freezing cold and 25 mph winds on Sunday. I am spent.
No rest for the weary, however. Tomorrow, I start a new challenge. A food related challenge.
Whole Foods approached me and asked me to partake in a challenge that they will be promoting in their stores. It is all part of their “Health Starts Here” program. I love the four pillars of this program:
- Whole Food – choose fresh, unprocessed whole foods
- Plant Strong – eat a variety of colorful plants
- Healthy Fats – Choose whole food plants sources such as nuts, seeds and avocados
- Nutrient Dense – Eat foods that are rich in nutrients compared to their caloric content
These pillars are what I strive for in my diet. This really became even more important during vegan lent as I was not interested in just eating a bunch of packaged fake meat products. I feel like I succeeded at that am excited to continue. Although lent just ended, I’m thrilled to participate in a new challenge.
The challenge is based on the book, “The Engine 2 Diet”. The book, written by Rip Esseltyn, challenges you to eat a plant based diet to help be at your best health. The author’s father happens to be one of the researchers featured in the “China Study”, which I’m loving. Seriously, this book is changing how I look at everything.
So, what’s involved in the challenge? It is a 28-day gig where I will focus on eating a vegan diet (no animal products of any kind, although honey is okay – yay!) while limiting my oils and sodium intake.
Why 28 days? In the book, Rip talks about that ideally he’d like people to adapt to this as their regular diet, but that can be a bit much to take in. By starting with 28 days and then seeing how you feel and how your health has changed, his hope is you will continue eating this way for the long term. He even has an ease-in version where you slowly eliminate animal products from your diet. Because I’ve been eating vegan for the past 6 weeks, I’ll be jumping right in.
Rip is a retired professional athlete and current firefighter. This plan was developed to help his fellow fire fighters lower their cholesterol and improve their health. It was a huge success. I’m guessing they are the healthiest fire station out there. What makes me really get behind it is that the plan is based on proven research. The book was essentially a light version of the China Study. It covers the basic findings, but doesn’t get to nearly the detail. I’ll make it even ‘lighter’ for you. A plant-based diet that consists of whole foods can drastically improve your health and prevent chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Kind of hard to argue with, right?
I do have a couple of beefs (pun intended). I loathe that it’s called a diet. The way the term is used just reeks of a quick fix 28-day plan that you can reverse immediately when done. However, I love the actual plan and that it is all about focusing on a plan based diet (this usage is much better). I’ll get over the title of the book, but I just had to get that out.
The other areas that I’m nervous about is limiting my oils and salt. I don’t think I go overboard on either, but I use both of them a lot. Sautéing and roasting will be a bit different without olive oil at my finger tips. I know it’ll take me awhile to get used to life without a sprinkle of salt on my salad. Who knows? Maybe I won’t even miss it. We’ll see. He includes a lot of recipes that look very tasty. I can’t wait to try them and share my favorites with you.
Whole Foods also has some great resources on their website, including recipes, meal plans and shopping lists. The Engine 2 site also has a recipe section. In fact most of the ones from the book are on the site. It’s definitely worth checking out.
I plan on having my cholesterol checked at the end. As I’ve gradually changed my eating habits to mainly plant-based, I’m very curious to see where it’s at. I’ll also be tracking to see if I lose any weight during the challenge. It’s not the reason I’m participating, but it will be interesting to see if the scaling back on oils and salts make a difference.
So, here’s your chance. If you wanted to try vegan lent but were scared of 40 days, this challenge is only 28! It might be just what you need to start off your summer (or spring, if you live in MN).
I’ll be blogging about this experience during the month and there will also be a cool giveaway mid-way through that you’ll want to keep your eye out for. If you have any questions about the challenge or the book in general, let me know in the comments or feel free to e-mail me.
Have any of you read this book? What are you doing to incorporate more plants in your diet?
Note: Whole Foods sponsored my participation in this project by giving me a copy of the book, a gift card and the upcoming giveaway. However, my opinions are my own.