We have been taken over by Netflix food/health documentaries! Started with Food Inc, of course. Then Sick Fat and Nearly Dead, followed by Forks over Knives which lead us to Engine 2!
My husband, who is currently very close to having "high cholesterol" looked into several different ways to lower it. He stumbled across a few studies online (all which reappeared in Forks over Knives) and this guy, Rip Esselstyn. He's a former triathlete, which makes my husband happy that they have that in common (yes, like we know the guy personally now!) That lead us into watching his short documentary on Netflix and buying the book Engine 2 Diet and making the crazy decsion to go "plant-based" for 28days! No animal product of any sort!! Yes, no cheese! Crazy right?!?
The book has a ton of information!! Even a section on "crazy myths about food" which answers those myths- "You cant get enough protein on a plant based diet." "Carbohydrates make us fat" "You need dairy products for calcium". Its a really interesting read and the little personal stories throughout are a nice touch.
On their website Engine 2 Diet there is a ton of resources like a weekly meal plan. We printed week 1 meal plan and grocery list and were ready to go! There are some recipes on their website but not all. The book has a lot more. Though here comes my first issue with the book/program. It will suggest for dinner "Big Salad with brussel sprouts and new potatoes". Which is a perfectly fine dinner.. but the only recipe to pull up is the salad.. no mention how to cook brussel sprouts or new potatoes. Now, at our house we cook often and are comfortable in the kitchen and of course google most things if we don't know how to prepare it. But this diet has a lot of restrictions. He's not one for using alot of oil in cooking. The diet allows pam spray and suggests using veggie broth or a veggie juice instead of oil in a pan, which adds sooo much yummy flavor!! Ok, back to oils- oils are a processed form of the vegetable and instead of using a highly processed form, he'd rather have you chop olives and throw them in the dish in their natural state. So our old method of brussel sprouts was out the window! I could see how someone who is new to certain vegetables or has bad feelings towards certain ones, would be turned off by them not stating how to cook all parts of the meal!
Second thing that I was VERY shocked about was that there isn't a nutritional information guide with the recipes. You're telling me that a certain vegetable has 40% more protein than something else, but how much protein is that? Tell me how much protein the meal I am preparing has! This was a big let down for the book for me.
Even with these 2 personal hiccups week 1 was successful in our household, yes even with our 2 little ones!
Breakfast- breakfast was easy for our family. We've recently turned into a cereal fam. My husband and daughter LOVE oatmeal and they are enjoying the new grainier healthier versions. Lil man still needs some convincing on the real whole grain cereals, but he's made the adjustment from cows milk to soy milk well. It took a few days, but he's eating it in his cereal now. He would drink it from a cup before this adventure, but something about it in cereal just wasn't ok with him for a few days! We don't really do eggs often. I'm not a fan. But we have a container of egg whites in the fridge because with me pregnant and the kids we've made the choice that the 3 of us can "cheat" on the diet for breakfast and lunch if needed. Not my husband though! Our lil man gets really cranky if he doesn't get enough to eat due to low blood sugar and of course his MCAD. We want to make sure we're offering him the new foods but having back up if needed! Bagels/toast with peanut butter, fruit all good for breakfast!
Lunch- We're working on lunch... It's been interesting. I grew up LOVING a good veggie sandwich. Starts with ideally a pita pocket with cream cheese spread on the inside followed by whatever veggies you had as long as sprouts were apart of it! Yummmy!! Well being pregnant is a downer for sprouts! That's a no-no and obviously the cream cheese had to go too. So we've been having pitas and wraps with veggies galore and hummus as spread! I've been enjoying them. First few sandwiches lil miss and lil man were all in but then they wanted pb and j and other staples to lunch! This will be my challenge week 2 is to make some really great lunches! Hubby has been taking mostly leftovers and then sandwiches too. Taking things to work is harder for him since he only has a choice of a microwave and not a kitchen to prepare.
Dinner- We do a big chef type salad probably once a week anyway, so the salads weren't an issue, but the tofu.. It's just a challenge to think that the tofu is going to taste good. But once you have a good meal that satisfies with tofu in it, it kinda changes your mind! There was a dinner this week I kept putting off and putting off.. "meat"loaf... I did not grow up with meatloaf. I know there are people out there that love their meatloaf and I've been told several times that they have a great recipe I should try. Not sure I really want to, but thanks for the offer! But Hubby and I said we'd stick to dinners for the 28 days and that meant fake meatloaf week 1! (split pea soup week 2...) We had it Thursday night so we had time to fix something else if it was a complete disaster. Well it wasn't!! It was good! And flavorful! And the kids asked for seconds!!! Yes, seconds!!! Now it didn't stick together well (learned that old fashion oats aren't quick oats) but it didn't matter it was good! The book's chalupas were good, their portabello mushroom burgers were good! It was an overall good week for dinners. Yes, there was some hiccups with the kids and not wanting to eat fake/pretend looking chicken strips, but I don't blame them!
Overall, I'm excited for week 2! There is some more tex-mex food which we love and some other dishes I'm interested to see how they turn out. Though I am not looking forward to split pea soup...
If you haven't seen the documentaries I mentioned up above, look into them, watch them. Might make you want to do something drastic like us, or maybe just add in a vegan/plant-based meal once a week.