Monday, May 7, 2018

Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue, Day 1

As you may have noticed from my posts as of late, I've been seriously pounding away some junk food. I love junk food. Nothing makes me happier than pizza and tacos and anything smothered in vegan cheese. But I also know that when I consume too much of that stuff, I'm left feeling kinda blah. Too much fatty, processed food makes me sluggish and gassy, and when I start to feel that way all the time, I know it's time for a reboot.

To top it off, I'm pretty sure I'm treating my boredom from not running by shoving in even more junk food than usual. And that's not healthy. I want to feel good! I decided it was time for a little spring cleaning, so I decided to try the Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet. They sent me the book for review last year, but I just wasn't ready to embark on such a big change. And then, earlier this year, I was sent the new Engine 2 Cookbook for review. I wasn't ready for either at the time! But now I am.

In case you're not familiar, Engine 2 is an oil-free, low-salt, low-sugar plan that focuses on whole plant foods (and very little processed foods). It was started by Rip Esselstyn, a former pro triathlete-turned-firefighter who managed to turn the health of his Austin fire station around by converting co-workers to a plant-strong diet. The Seven-Day Rescue is the more intense version of the program with very limited fats. I'm doing that for seven days, and then I'll switch to a couple weeks of regular Engine 2. All recipes this week are from Seven-Day Rescue Diet Cookbook, but you can get the guidelines and some recipes for free here.

I started my 7-day journey yesterday with this bowl of Easy Blueberry Oatmeal — just oats, flax seed, blueberries, and banana.

Since the plan is low-sugar, there was no added sweetener, which isn't typically how I eat my oats. I would have normally drowned this in maple or agave, but you know what? I noticed, while eating this, that oats have a natural sweetness, and they're actually really tasty on their own! Interestingly, the oil-free part of this plan isn't the hard part for me (I don't tend to miss oil on oil-free plans), but I am a little concerned about cutting back on salt and sugar.

Since yesterday was Sunday, I slept in so my breakfast was later in the morning. I skipped a morning snack and had lunch around 1 pm. That was a Hummus & Avocado Rescue Flat.

The rescue flats are the 7-day plan's version of a sandwich. Rip recommends eating them open-faced with only one slice of bread, but that didn't seem like enough food for me, so I had two flats (so basically, I had a sandwich. Ha!). The plan calls for only whole wheat bread or sprouted grain, so I used Silver Hills sprouted grain bread. The flats were topped with oil-free hummus (the Engine 2 "Our Hummus" recipe), which didn't have any tahini or oil, just chickpeas, garlic, lemon, and mustard, which added a nice twang. Atop that is avocado, tomato, cucumber, and romaine, plus a drizzle of balsamic instead of salt. I didn't even miss the salt!

One thing to note: The regular Engine 2 diet does allow for avocados, olives, nuts, and nut butters, but the 7-day plan only uses small amounts of avocado, no nuts (except walnuts), and no olives or nut butters. It's really designed for people who have serious health conditions and need some strict guidelines to get on track, but I figured it be good for me to try this for a week before adding back in those more fatty (albeit good fatty) foods.

For my afternoon snack, I had an Anjou Pear. Snacks on the rescue diet are just whole fruits or veggies with hummus.

Dinner was awesome! The Brown Rice Bowl from the 7-day book has a base of romaine topped with seasoned black beans, brown rice, cherry tomato, salsa, cilantro, and green onion. It tasted like a burrito bowl, and thanks to all the chili powder and other spices in the beans, it was fine without salt.

The rescue diet recommends greens at every meal, and I will definitely make sure I do that at lunch and dinner (breakfast would be a little hard since salad for breakfast sounds weird, and I don't have time to prep that many cooked greens daily). But I will be sure and do salads at lunch and cooked greens at dinner. Last night, I steamed some Turnip Greens and topped them with Rip's Sweet Fire Dressing (almond milk, cayenne, smoked paprika, and balsamic). I also bought some salt-free Mrs. Dash to add extra flavor, and it really helped!

That's it for day one! I'm feeling great so far. Will post my meals daily over the seven days!


Unknown said...

Hummus without tahini sounds..... sad! I love this idea but the no salt thing would kill me. (I use my low blood pressure as my excuse for salt cravings)
I’ve actually had a few of the engine 2 products sold at whole foods- i think you would like the frozen veggie burgers, they’re really sturdy things. I and really liked the cereal too.
Mrs dash is a good idea, and lemon pepper is great to add a kick to stuff too.
Hope this gets you back to feeling awesome :)

vegan peace said...

I'm with unknown, the no salt would kill me as well. I also have low blood pressure so I've never really worried about my salt intake but I know it can help with weight loss and water retention.
Your food looks delicious which always makes getting back on track easier. I hope you feel amazing again so soon!

Sarah said...

I love following your reboots and cleanses and this one honestly sounds so doable to me. I don't usually add salt to most of my food and everything you've shown here looks seriously delicious.