My sister and I are beginning a month long vegan experiment. While I've been a vegetarian for 5 years, I've never been able to commit to not eating cheese and eggs and making the leap to become a vegan. It really is the next step. Lately, I've felt really bored with what I've been cooking at home and found myself relying on cheese to brighten up a tired meal. While that is at times delicious it is not a healthy alternative. Cheese is always something I've been obsessed and may in fact be heavily influenced by my love of delicious French delicacies. Eggs, I can live without, and do not pose that much of a problem for me.
A few months ago, I watched Rip Esselstyn speak on TEDxAustin via a livestream. I had been toying with the idea of trying a vegan diet, but had been nervous about the logistics of it all. I had the normal fears that the food prep would be too long, and that it would turn into a disaster and something that I wouldn't be able to keep up on. But I could feel that it was something I was going to do and was very interested in. Three weeks ago, I was hanging around BookPeople and I saw that they had The Engine 2 Diet Book. I sat in the cafe with a Vietnamese iced coffee and leafed through it. I knew immediately that the cooking wouldn't be that difficult and that it had solid meal plans so I wouldn't end up lost along the way. I took the book home with me that day.
Rip Esselstyn is a triathlete, Austinite, Firefighter and vegan. His journey to documenting the Engine 2 Diet was started on a bet between beefy firefighters about their cholesterol levels. The results were compelling and convincing enough to start his Firefighting shift-mates to try a plant-strong (his hilarious euphemism for vegan) diet.
The book is peppered with firefighting anecdotes and even an ever-so-random insert about checking your fire alarm. I know that this approach is to help the masses that feel so weird about being called a vegan and I think his approach is tactful and helps the resistant but interested few to try out his program. By making it a 28-day program it also helps those who would be nervous about converting to a vegan get on the program.
My favorite part of everything is that the website hosts a ton of the recipes from the book and also includes grocery lists! I was going through the book this morning and thinking about how I needed to write a grocery list to get started. As luck would have it - before writing a word down - I looked over the website and there, my friends, was the gem of all gems: weekly grocery lists!