Sunday, May 13, 2018

Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue, Days 5-7

The Seven Day Rescue Diet challenge is over! Saturday was my last official day on this plant-strong, oil-free, low-salt, low-sugar meal plan. I embarked on this challenge as a sort of spring reboot after several weeks of junk food binging left me feeling in need of some serious nutrition. I've done many reboots and meal plans over the years (usually in January), and I love that I always learn something about nutrition and adopt a few new healthy habits.

This time, I learned more about sodium than I've ever cared to know before. And now that I know what to look for on labels, I'll definitely be seeking out low-sodium options when they're available. I've also learned to love the taste of food without much (or any) salt — in just a week! I plan to cut back on salt just a little because I was a bit of a salt-aholic. I'm also learning that I just don't need oil when I cook at home, so I'll be cutting back on that at the house (though I won't worry too much when I'm eating out or eating someone else's cooking!).

Anyway, here's a recap of what I ate over the last three days. All recipes here are from Rip Esselstyn's Seven Day Rescue Diet book. Thursday morning started with Cinnamon Stick Oatmeal, which was supposed to be cooked with a stick of cinnamon. But I didn't have any, so I just added ground cinnamon. Plus, ground flax, banana, and blueberries.

Morning snack at my desk was Engine 2 Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Carrots & Celery. I've been eating so much hummus this week, but I will never tire of hummus. 

Lunch on Thursday was Rip's Bellissima Pasta Salad. This had whole wheat penne pasta with spinach, cannellini beans, roasted red peppers, tomato, onion, and steamed broccolini. The dressing was just plain red wine vinegar, and I have to say, I didn't miss the oil here. BUT I did actually miss salt in this. Pasta salad just needs a little bit of salt. If I made this again, I'd add some.

Dinner on Thursday was Rip's Red Quinoa Bowl and Steamed Kale. This bowl was REALLY good. It had a base of romaine lettuce topped with quinoa, bell pepper, pineapple, cannellini beans, and Jane's Dancing Dressing (an oil-free maple-balsamic vinaigrette).

I had a lot of fruit Thursday night as well. We had girl's night at my friend Shara's house, and I brought cantaloupe, and Becca brought berries and apples. 

On Friday morning, I had my favorite breakfast of the week — Savory Spinach Oats! This is steel cut oats with nooch, spinach, ground flax, mushrooms, turmeric, and hot sauce. Perfect! Didn't need salt at all. I would eat this again and again.

Morning snack was more hummus and veggies, and then for lunch, I had Rip's Chopped and Cubed Salad. So big I had to eat it out of a mixing bowl! This had mango, sweet potato, corn, romaine, kidney beans, and a homemade sesame seed dressing. That dressing was FANTASTIC, and it only has three ingredients — toasted sesame seeds, maple syrup, and low-sodium soy sauce. You don't miss the oil at all since sesame seeds add some good fat, and the soy sauce — while light on sodium — provides plenty of flavor.

Dinner on Friday night was Quinoa Cali Rolls. Fun! These little veggie sushis are stuffed with quinoa, brown rice, mango, bell pepper, carrot, and cucumber. They didn't stick together as well as I would have liked since neither brown rice nor quinoa is ideal for sushi rolling, but they tasted great. I used less soy sauce for dipping than I typically would.

I went grocery shopping on Friday night, and by the time I returned, I was a little hungry again. My sushi just didn't stick with me. Luckily, I'd just bought Engine 2 Triple Berry Cereal at Whole Foods on my shopping trip, so I had a small bowl of that with oat milk for a late-night snack.

Saturday was the last day! So I treated myself to Rip's Oat Pancakes. These fluffy pancakes are made with oat flour (which I made by grinding oats in my coffee grinder), and they're sweetened with mashed banana and applesauce. Rather than smother them with maple syrup, I made some quick blueberry topping by cooking down frozen berries with some fresh-squeezed OJ.

Lunch was leftover pasta salad, and then I made banana bread! The recipe for Badass Banana Bread is actually from the new Engine 2 Cookbook, not the Seven-Day Rescue book (more on that Engine 2 book in a few). The bread is oil-free and sweetened with maple (though I didn't have enough maple left so I subbed a little agave too). I also added walnuts and raisins. I'll admit that it's not quite the same as regular banana bread with oil. It's lacked the moistness, but it was still really tasty. And after a week with no dessert, it felt like a treat.

After my snack, I hit the road to head to Arkansas for my 20-year high school reunion! But before the party, I made a stop at my parents' house to heat up my very last Rescue Diet meal — Sloppy Joe Tostados with Steamed Kale. I'd made this earlier in the day and packed it with me since I knew I'd be in Jonesboro around dinner time. The sloppy joe mix is made from lentils, mushrooms, green peppers, and a little BBQ sauce. It's piled high onto corn tortillas that are crisped up in the oven. I'm not sure why I don't make tostados all the time, but I really need to. So easy and fun!

After dinner, I headed over to meet up with my best friend Sheridan, her partner Drew, and our friend Brittany. We all went to school together (except for Drew), and we're all still close! They live in Little Rock and had driven in that morning as well. 

The reunion was at a bar called The Brickhouse. Of course, I had some beer there. I hadn't drank in seven days since I've been on this reboot, so it was fun to kick back and enjoy a few beers with my old high school buds. 

After the reunion, the four of us went back to Drew's dad's house for a slumber party! I brought Roots oil-free hummus (it's better than the Engine 2 hummus!) and baby carrots and some low-oil, low-salt popcorn for snacks. I knew I'd want snacks, and I wanted to have options that were best for the plan. 

But I also knew Sheridan would have some more decadent snacks, so I planned to eat a little of those too! And I did! She made vegan sour cream & onion dip, which we had with Ruffles. And I had some Zapp's Voodoo Chips (my fave!). I'm proud that I didn't just totally binge on junk food though! I had a little of each thing and didn't go crazy. I'm usually the girl at the party standing by the food table all night and just shoving food in until it's all gone. Working on that.

So there ya have it! I felt great over these seven days, sooooo I'm planning to stick the Engine 2 plan for a couple more weeks. I'll be graduating to the Engine 2 Cookbook, rather than using the Seven-Day Rescue Diet book, and I'll probably deviate from the plan here and there. I know I'll eat out a few times, and wine is definitely in my future. I'll keep y'all posted daily with more food recaps!


Unknown said...

That savory oatmeal sounds fantastic! And there’s something amazing about nooch, it’s the best seasoning ever even though it hardly had any sodium.
The reunion sounds like fun! My high school is back in CA and i’ve actually not been back for a reunion (they do a reunion of several years at a time because classes were just about 60 per grade). How fun to have a slumber party!! I miss those...!

vegan peace said...

The quinoa sushi rolls look amazing! And also the pancakes. I rarely eat pancakes but when I do, I prefer them with fruit. Also the savory oats look really amazing too. It all does actually. I can't wait to see what else you have!!

Susan said...

I have been impressed with your meals over the last week, they look so good. The savoury oatmeal sounds seriously tasty, I love warm savoury things for breakfast.