Book review: The Engine 2 Diet

I read a lot of books. Most aren’t blog-worthy, though I’ve been known to rate books and write reviews on Goodreads from time to time. This particular book is part self-help and part cookbook, and I enjoyed it overall.

The first part of the book reads very conversationally; it’s full of information that serves to convince you why you need to follow a plant-based diet and forego the animal proteins. The second half is full of recipes to help you achieve this. There is also an exercise section included if you’d really like to burn some pounds in 28 days, but it wasn’t anything I haven’t already been taught to do. (Actually doing said exercises, of course, is a different matter.)

Cute Husband started watching Forks Over Knives a few nights ago, and I ordered this book (with others) the next day. As the ending credits rolled, he acknowledged that he needed to change his diet, and I was eager to help him. After all, I’ve been trying for years to sneak extra vegetables into his diet, and for that same length of time, he’s insisted that a vegetarian diet wouldn’t work for him.

“I never feel full when I eat vegetables,” he would say.

Well, Forks Over Knives got his attention, and after he flipped through The Engine 2 Diet, he was still dubious but more willing to try a gradual transition to the whole-food plant-based lifestyle.

I’ll say this much for the content: it’s full of some great information (the kind of stuff that you wonder why you didn’t read in the papers years ago), but his approach to the diet isn’t as straightforward as one would think. Esselstyn gives two options: a full-blown, no-holds-barred approach that would mean tossing out half of the food in the house (and leaving The Boy wondering where all of his food has gone) or a more gradual approach that would cut back a few things the first two weeks.

Now, since the book touts a 28-day diet, I understand the two approaches. But I guess since I’m planning on taking a more gradual approach (I disagree with Esselstyn’s assertion that slowly scaling back would ultimately be less successful than going cold turkey), I was hoping to get some advice on how to ease into the program. But again, the cover touts a 28-day plan, and that’s what Esselstyn delivers.

The recipes in the second half are good. There was a dressing that I tried (and enjoyed with tonight’s dinner of baby lettuce fresh from my garden, mostly from the plant I purchased at the farmers market), and Cute Husband said he was full after eating a meatless dinner of Brussels sprouts and some macaroni and cheese. (Like I said, this will be a gradual transition for him.)

So if you’re looking to add more veggies to your daily eating habits, or if you want to cut back on eating meat and need some ideas beyond carrot sticks and apple slices, I would definitely recommend this book.

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