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Day 28

Dear Engine 2 Challenge Participant!

A big, huge and hearty, healthy E2 congratulations and hug to all of you for toeing up to the starting line. You decided it was time to take your health into your own hands and you are off to a roaring start. You have effectively taken the equivalent of a disease prevention SMART bomb and you have dramatically reduced your risk of many chronic western diseases that are plaguing every city and family in America. Remember, for those of you who followed the Engine 2 Diet and finished plant-strong you’ve successfully planted the seeds that can last a lifetime. I would encourage you to continue eating this way as much as possible so you don’t lose everything you’ve gained.

Make no mistake about it, you are earning your health and I am so happy for those of you who have made this a priority in your life. It is well worth any short term sacrifices you’ve made and the longer you do this the more it will become a natural extension of who you are and what you value. There are no shortcuts when it comes to health and you are bucking all of the preconceptions and stereotypes of how we should eat.

For those of you who never started the diet, started and quit, or started and did it modestly, the Engine 2 door will always be ajar so don’t bother knocking. Just let yourself in the door whenever the time is right and you’ve decided to make health a priority. For those of you who would like continued support please join our Engine 2 Extra support site at engine2extra.com. The other 3,000 members look forward to meeting you and spreading the message of health.

Thank you for giving all of us the opportunity to help you as you protect your number one asset…your health!

Keep it real and always keep it…plant-strong!

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 27

Frequently Asked Question:

“What’s the scoop with Sodium?”

Sodium is one of the most pervasive ingredients in food products today. Salt (sodium chloride) plays a role in functionality and food safety, extending shelf life, enhancing texture and of course, flavor.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sodium is 1,500 mg or less.  (If you are breastfeeding, your needs may be higher).

The average intake of sodium in America is more than 3,400 mg per day, nearly 50% more than what is recommended.

To put this into perspective, 1 teaspoon of salt = 2,300 mg of sodium.

Let’s play a little guessing game:

Which has more sodium: a small blueberry muffin or a serving of potato chips?
If you guessed the blueberry muffin, you are correct!

Because the salt is baked inside of the muffin (or a slice of bread or any baked good), our taste buds do not immediately (if at all) notice the added salt.

Yet with a handful of potato chips, the salt is sprinkled on the outside (and not baked in) and our taste buds pick up on this immediately.

What food is one of greatest sources of sodium intake for Americans?
Bread.

Typical sodium content of a 1-ounce slice of bread is 130 mg.

Processed foods and dining out also contributes greatly to our sodium intake.

Is sodium important to the human body or should we aim to avoid it all together?
Sodium is in fact essential for the body. It is an electrolyte that is crucial for nerve function and muscle contraction (did you know that your heart is a muscle?).

So how do we get enough sodium to perform it’s important functions without consuming too much?
Following a plant-strong® diet can keep your sodium intake in check.

Plants are naturally low in sodium yet will deliver adequate amounts of sodium as long as you are consuming enough food to suit your body’s needs.

(Exceptions do exist, such as tomatoes & celery –which are higher in sodium compared to other plants. Tomatoes and celery are still fabulous whole foods to include in your diet!).

Caution: when transitioning to a plant-strong® lifestyle, if you lean on “transitional foods” such as soy-based cold cuts/deli ‘meats,’ understand that such processed plant-based foods are also high in sodium.

As you move toward a plant-strong lifestyle made of whole plant foods, give your taste buds time to acclimate. Your taste buds will adjust to how much sodium you consume. Therefore, the more salt you eat, the more you will crave it. The less salt that you eat, the less you will crave it.  Try it!

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 26

Are you ready for this one?

Calorie Density: How to Eat More Without Weighing More!

Calorie density? Where in the world do I find that on a food label?

First, a little history:
Nutritional studies have demonstrated that over a day or two, an individual will eat about the same weight of food1. (Now keep in mind, there will be some variability, of course. For example, if you are celebrating a holiday or anniversary, you may indulge and eat more. If you are traveling by plane, you may eat less due to accessibility of food throughout your travel in the air).

Most people who are concerned with diet or body weight focus a great deal on calories. Yet does anyone really know how many calories he or she should be eating each day?

Research suggests that the weight of food an individual eats is more similar from day to day than the number of calories an individual eats1.

“But wait, I’ve been counting calories all along!?”

You are not the only one.

Nutritional scientists also suggest that we have learned how much food it takes to satisfy our own hunger and that is what we decide to eat.

For example, an individual will help him or herself to equal amounts of similar foods regardless of calorie content.

So, what exactly does this mean?

Let’s take a closer look.
Calorie density is defined as the amount of energy in a given weight of food (calories per gram). “A food that is high in calorie density provides a large amount of calories in a small weight” (think small donut here).

A food with low calorie density has fewer calories for the same amount of weight (think 1 baked Russet potato here. This compares to the same weight as donut above).

Which one will fill you up more: small donut or baked potato?

With foods that are lower in calorie density, you can eat MORE (larger portion) for the same amount of calories!

Foods that are low in calorie density contain the least number of calories within the biggest portion size. Such foods also help make us feel full!

Guess what has the calorie density of zero?
Water.

Water contributes weight (have you ever tried to carry a bucket full of water long distance?) yet it does not contribute any calories (calorie free)!

Therefore, foods with high water content (think fruit, vegetables, cooked grains & legumes here) impact how full we feel because the water content of whole plant foods dilutes the calorie content and adds weight and volume.

This weight helps us feel full.

1. Rolls, Barbara. The Volumetrics Eating Plan. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 25

Weekend Special Recipe!

Here we go, Engine 2 Team!

The final weekend of our Engine 2 Challenge!

Take this upcoming weekend to reflect on all that you have accomplished in your Engine 2 Challenge.

Also take the time to imagine who you would like to be next weekend…

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Spelt Blueberry Pancakes

Rip and his family generally make pancakes on Sunday mornings when things are slow, which gives the family time to cook up and eat these great pancakes!

This recipe is for a double batch!

Makes 25 to 30 pancakes

Ingredients
2 cups spelt flour
2 cups oat flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
4 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
½ teaspoon salt
3½ cups Engine 2 Plant-Strong® Almondmilk
4 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries

Instruction

Whisk the flours, baking powder, flaxseed meal, and salt together in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir the batter just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened; it will seem very thin, but it will thicken.

Let the batter rest for 15 minutes (spelt flour takes a little longer to absorb liquids). If you can’t wait, your pancakes won’t be as crisp. After the batter has rested, fold in the blueberries.

Heat a dry skillet until a drop of water dances on its surface. Spraying the skillet with Pam spray once should allow for three batches of pancakes.

Ladle a large scoop of batter into the pan. Several pancakes can be cooked at once if using a large skillet.

Cook until the batter begins to bubble and the bottom pancake is golden. Flip and cook on the other side until both sides are golden.

(Source: The Engine 2 Diet book)

Rip’s Tip: Go wild! Add bananas and walnuts to boost your plant intake! Freeze any leftovers for your next quick breakfast or late night snack!

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 24

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Rockin’ Reuben on Rye

As Rip describes it, “This was a shocker! My mom does not like tofu, ketchup, sauerkraut, pickles, rye bread or tempeh. So when my brother-in-law, Brian, made her a Rueben on rye with tamari-roasted tempeh, tofu, ketchup-based Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut, she was shocked to find she not only liked it but ate four halves!”

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients
8 ounces tempeh
½ cup low-sodium tamari sauce
8 ounces silken tofu
⅓ cup ketchup
⅓ cup pickle relish
1 loaf rye bread

1 jar sauerkraut, your favorite!

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

Instruction

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the tempeh in half vertically and then horizontally, to make 4 thin, square patties. In a shallow dish, pour the tamari over the tempeh and marinate for 5 minutes, or more if time permits. Place the tempeh on a nonstick pan or on a pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the tofu, ketchup, and relish until it looks like a tofu-based Thousand Island dressing.

Toast the rye bread to the desired crispness. Spread with tofu-based Thousand Island dressing. Add a layer of sauerkraut, then tempeh, then spinach. Cut the sandwich in half and serve.

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 23

Have you ever been told or told someone else yourself, “You have to eat more fruits and vegetables!” (Insert pointer finger waving here)

Thought so.

Any guess as to why that suggestion is still important today as it was the very first time your loved one suggested (ok, maybe demanded) it?

That’s right…because fruits and vegetables are “good for you.”

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals.

And fiber.

And water.

And energy.

And phytonutrients!

Phyto-what?!

Phytonutrients.

Fruits and vegetables and other plant foods -including legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains are powerhouses that deliver thousands of phytonutrients to our bodies!

The term ‘phytonutrients’ literally means, plant (‘phyto’ is Greek for plants) nutrients.

Phytonutrients are naturally occurring, biologically active compounds created by plants for their own survival and protection.

Smart plants, huh?

Such naturally occurring plant nutrients interact in a number of ways to protect the plant AND to prevent disease and promote health in humans who eat plants!

The best way to take full advantage of these phytonutrients and their symphony of interactions is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and other plant foods.

Think rainbow here…

The darker & deeper the color of the plant, the more power of phytonutrients your body will experience with each bite.

So the next time you step into the produce room at your local grocery store, pause and take a look around…

See the purple cabbage over there? The deep green kale & broccoli over there?

Over on that wall of produce, do you see the orange & yellow peppers? The blue, purple and magenta colored berries?

The red onions and the white garlic caught your eye?

All of those colors, aromas and textures of the fresh fruit and vegetables are there for a reason.

The reason: protective phytonutrients.

And so now you know exactly why,

“You have to eat more fruits and vegetables.”

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 22

Three weeks down, one to go!

Today we begin week 4!

During this last week, Fire Cadets have graduated to become Firefighters!

Firefighters, you keep doing what you’re doing!

Volunteer Firefighters, how are you feeling? Keep up the good work!

Can you believe how fast the time has flown by?!

The finish line is in sight (if that is what you are looking for)!

Give it your ALL straight to the finish line!

Looking back, we have SO MUCH to be proud of!

We have thrown to the curb dairy, meat and refined foods (including oils)!

In their place, we have picked up powerful super heroes: vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes –that support and restore our health with friendly plant protein, wholesome complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fabulous fiber and powerful phytonutrients!

Make no mistake about it, you are earning your health and Engine 2 is SO HAPPY that you have made it a priority in your life at this time.

It is well worth any short-term sacrifices you’ve made and the longer you are plant-strong, the more it will become a natural extension of your lifestyle.

There are no shortcuts (or magic pills) when it comes to stellar health and you are beating all of the preconceptions and stereotypes of how Americans should eat.

Again, Engine 2 truly appreciates each of you for having an open mind and allowing E2 to become a way of life for a country whose health is coming apart at the seams.

Right before our eyes.

Thanks for showing up in life!

WHO IS FIRED UP!?

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare

professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 21

Frequently Asked Question

“I am an athlete interested in becoming plant-strong. What are plant-strong choices to support exercise?”

Exercise is crucial for health and healthy food helps you get the most from exercise. Poor eating habits and nutritional deficiencies can impair physical performance and recovery from exercise. Take a look at some general guidelines that each athlete, recreational or competitive, should follow when aiming to maintain a desirable level of fitness:

Dietary Balance
For body weight maintenance, energy (otherwise known as calories) consumed must equal energy burned. Therefore, athletes who burn fuel to perform have to consume more calories (energy). Low energy intake for high-intensity exercise can result in loss of muscle mass, menstrual dysfunction, and loss of bone density.

Calories should come from a wide variety of foods high in carbohydrate, low in fat, and adequate in protein. Because of its high carbohydrate and low-fat content, a plant-strong® diet is an optimal sports diet. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients –important nutrients that help the body use energy and protect it from the stress of exercise.  

Carbohydrate
In general, carbohydrate is the primary fuel utilized during high-intensity exercise. On a per-calorie basis, carbohydrate needs for athletes are similar to the needs for anyone else (at least 55% of total daily intake of calories). Whole grains, fruits, beans and starchy vegetables are excellent sources of carbohydrate.

Depending on how strenuous the exercise, carbohydrate should be consumed during recovery –between 30 minutes and two hours post activity when carbohydrate (glycogen) synthesis is at its maximum.

If exercising for more than 90 continuous minutes, the best recovery drink or food delivers 4 grams of carbohydrate to 1 gram of protein.  

Overall, a high-carbohydrate diet is most important in ensuring optimal storage of carbohydrate in the body, by fueling the body for exercise and supporting performance.

Fat
Remember, consume healthy fats from whole plant sources such as avocado, walnuts, leafy greens, almonds, beans, pumpkin seeds –just to name a few!

Protein
Protein, composed of chains of amino acids, is used minimally for fuel. Instead, its primary function is for building, maintaining, and repairing the body’s tissues, including muscle. A diet that meets the individual’s energy demands and is based on a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables easily provides all of the essential amino acids.

It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value, a method known as “protein combining,” or “complementing.” We now know that intentional combining is not necessary to obtain all of the essential amino acids.

Plant protein sources are best because, unlike animal sources, they can contain:

  • Fiber (a blood sugar balancer and intestinal scrub brush)
  • Phytonutrients (“phyto” = plant)
  • Complex carbohydrates

Therefore, concentrated protein sources are not needed.

For athletes looking for creative plant-strong protein sources:

  • Top salads with a variety of beans and your favorite Engine 2 Plant-Strong® Grain Medley (found in frozen section)
  • Puree cannellini, great northern or navy beans and add to your pasta sauce.
  • Crumble an Engine 2 Plant-Strong® plant burger on your salad or warm whole grain pasta!

Shake it up! Blend soaked cashews or soft tofu, Engine 2 Plant-Strong® almondmilk with your favorite fresh or frozen fruits for a thick, delicious, creamy shake! Add a handful or two of kale or spinach for an even bigger nutrient boost!

Putting It All Together
A plant-strong diet, which emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, provides the high-carbohydrate content balanced with the protein and fat the body needs for training and competition. When these three nutrients are consumed from plant sources and in recommended ratios, an athlete will get all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to perform, recover, and perform again.

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 20

Sweet Holy Deliciousness!

No, seriously! As Rip says, “Sweet Holy Deliciousness is really insane!”

Rip’s mom, Ann, put a twist on Happy Herbivore’s original version of this soup. Ann turned this dal into soup and was more generous with the garam masala than the amount used in the original. Although conventional curry will work, garam masala is a key spice here.

Get this spice –it’s worth hunting it down in the spice (or bulk) aisle and is a must-have in the kitchen. This soup is delicious for lunch or dinner by itself, or over cooked brown rice, quinoa or Engine 2 Plant-Strong® Ancient Grain Medley

Prep/Cook Time: 45 to 60 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients
2 large onions, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 bunches kale or greens of choice, stripped of spines, spines discarded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper

Instruction

In a soup pot, stir-fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes until the onions are limp. Add the pepper flakes, turmeric, and garam masala and stir to coat the onions and garlic.

Add the vegetable broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, return to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are fully cooked and the sweet potatoes are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the kale and cook 5 minutes more, or until the kale is soft. Season with black pepper to taste.

Rip’s Tip: Here in Texas we add hot sauce for an added kick!

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Day 19

Engine 2 wanted to create the healthiest food line on the planet. Therefore, Engine 2 products are plant-strong®, which means they are made from nature’s best ingredients: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

Engine 2 Plant-Strong® products strive for the following quality standards:

  • Zero animal products
  • No added oils…ever!
  • Made with whole grains
  • Minimal added sugar, if at all!
  • Less than 25% total calories from fat
  • 1:1 ratio of milligrams of sodium to calories (Exception: condiments)

Here at Whole Foods Market®, we want to make healthy eating simple and accessible for you and your family. And we want to make it exciting! That is why we bring to you the Engine 2 Plant-Strong® products –exclusive to Whole Foods Market®.

When you see the Engine 2 Plant-Strong® logo on our shelves, trust that we have done all the work for you –no need to pull out your calculator to read our food labels!

Here are a few images of products that will be ON SALE at some point during the Engine 2 Challenge! Check with your local Whole Foods Market® to discover the SALE details and the other varieties of the delicious Engine 2 Plant-Strong® products that will support you on your plant-strong journey!

* This information is solely for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. Before starting any diet or exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. You should regularly consult a doctor or healthcare professional in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms or concerns that may require diagnosis or medical attention.