The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet

There's not much crazier than starting a diet plan a week before Thanksgiving. It has a higher chance of epic fail than going on the wagon right before your New Year's Eve party. But my husband and I did it, and have maintained; perhaps our strategy is the key to making perennial New Year's diet resolutions stick.


We didn't want a traditional diet--we just wanted to change the way we'd been eating, and Rip Esselstyn's The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health (Grand Central Life & Style) looked like a good choice: Lower total cholesterol? Check. Lower blood pressure? Check. Lower weight? Check. Plant-based diet? Uh... not so fast. Kale, brown rice, lentils, broccoli? No olive oil, no dairy, no donuts? What could be more boring than brown and green food? But we can testify: Esselstyn's plant-based ("strong food") plan works; surprisingly (to me), it's delicious. A breakfast of homemade muesli (oats, rye and barley) topped with blueberries, raspberries, banana slices, pomegranate seeds and almond milk--scrumptious, and even pretty.

Triathlete and former firefighter Esslestyn isn't doctrinaire, but wants you to know what you're doing when you add brown sugar to oatmeal, or whole milk instead of soy to your latte. A glass of pinot with your Red Quinoa Bowl (with cumin, lime juice and red bell pepper)? Sure, but know that it's not just empty calories, it inhibits your body's ability to burn fat. We had turkey and stuffing and gravy for Thanksgiving, with pumpkin pie for breakfast the next day; then we went back on the Rescue Diet because it is tasty and satisfying, as well as being healthy.

"When you eat strong food, your cholesterol nosedives, your blood pressure bottoms out, your blood sugars even out, and your energy increases." You can't ask for much more if you want to jump-start a change in your food habits. --Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

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