Engine 2 Diet - Lowering Cholesterol and Fighting Heart Disease

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Like lots of people in this country I have high cholesterol. Not so high that I need to panic but it could definitely be better.

My coworker is twice my age and can probably run circles around me. She found out that her cholesterol was a little higher than the normal, but like mine, nothing to panic about. She is very in to living a healthy lifestyle and gets newsletters and all kinds of stuff that she shares with us from time to time. Her latest newsletter had information about a plant based diet. She is not a vegetarian and neither am I, but for about a month, you gradually take things out of your diet until you are strictly on plant based foods at the end. She was not trying to lose any weight and managed to lose 5lbs in the first week just by cutting out the dairy in her diet.

I am on day 4 of week one and so far so good. I don't feel hungry all the time. Rather than going and getting the big tasty burger, I am snacking on things throughout the day. I still eat 3 meals but they are much healthier and much smaller and have the snacks in between. By being on a schedule like this I am finding myself hungry for dinner before I even get home from work which is not the norm for me. Normally I eat dinner around 7 or 8pm because I am not hungry when I get home. But following this plan has put be back on schedule and I am now not eating after 7 or 8pm because I am not hungry. I don't know if I have lost any weight, it is only day 4 and I don't own a scale but I know I feel better, I have more energy and my face has cleared up some. I don't feel the need for the caffeine kick every morning even though I can still drink coffee if I want to. Instead I replace it with a small cup of lite chocolate soy milk on the way to work, and then drink water or Crystal Light when I get to work until I am hungry at which point, I make breakfast. Anyway, I am babbling now and this blog is getting lengthy so read on to check out the plan. If you have questions about my experiences, just shoot me a message.

The original plan was created by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. from the Cleveland Clinic. His plan cut everything out all at once. His son, a firefighter named Rip Esselstyn, created a version that goes over a 4 week period and gradually takes things away to make it easier. You can order a copy of the article by clicking on the link below, but I have listed below the details of the Engine 2 Diet. Give it a shot, even if you don't lose weight, by following it you can make yourself healthier.

Also, keep in mind that by following it for the 4 weeks, doesn't mean you have to stay a vegetarian but you definitely shouldn't go back to your old poor eating habits either. I am using it to give myself an opportunity to broaden my horizons when it comes to cooking healthier meals and shows me how to use things in moderation. And we all know that we lack the "moderation" skill because if we didn't we wouldn't be overweight and unhealthy. Best of luck to anyone who tries this.

WEEK 1: No dairy of any kind - No milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream, or sour cream. No processed or refined foods - No white rice, white flower, white pasta, white breads, or anything else that is processed, including cakes, cookies, chips and sodas.

WEEK 2: Continue with the rules from WEEK 1 as well as stop eating meat, chicken, eggs and fish.

WEEK 3: Follow WEEKS 1 & 2 and eliminate oils, including, canola, olive, coconut, and any other kind of oil. No baked goods, salad dressings, or cooking with added oils.

WEEK 4: Continue with the total Engine 2 Diet - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts & seeds.
"I find that after four weeks on the diet, you look better, sleep better, have more energy, and can eat as much food as desired without gaining weight. You feel so good that the diet becomes a natural way of life." - Rip Esselstyn

For maximum health, Dr. Esselstyn recommends, in the article that you use the following supplements:
Multi-vitamin/mineral supplement
Vitamin B-12 - 1000 micrograms (mcg)
Calcium - 1000 mg (1200 mg if you are over age 60)
Vitamin D-3 - 1000 International Units (IU)
Flaxseed meal - One tablespoon in hot cereals or cold for the Omega-3's it provides. I believe these also come in pill form. For anyone that has never had Flaxseed meal, using it in oatmeal or whatever cereal you eat, does not change the taste of what you are eating. At least not enough for me to notice anyway.

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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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