Well, folks. I did it. I survived yesterday, our first day of LIFE CHANGE - by which I mean, following the Engine 2 Diet for a plant-based, whole-foods approach. And, let me tell you, it's every bit as exciting as it sounds. Sunday I made a lengthy list of items the book recommended I'd need to pick up. Being the good, obedient girl that I am, I added things to my list being careful not to think too long and hard about a) what they were or b) what the hell I was supposed to do with them.
However, as Sunday slipped away, I became increasingly gun shy about the whole thing. What was I doing? Why was I doing it? Amazing how quickly I can forget. At Whole Foods, I tossed items dutifully into my cart, fighting a feeling of doom with each addition. Liquid amino acids? I don't know what ANY of those words mean. NUTRITIONAL YEAST FLAKES? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
But I promised myself I'd make this change. And so I came home Sunday night, put away all the evidence that I was about to embark on a brave new journey, and then promptly ate McDonald's and a big slice of chocolate cake. If I gotta go down, I'm going down fighting.
Then Monday rolled around. D-Day. I woke up refreshed and ready to meet the challenge with this attitude: I'm not doing it and you can't make me. I was facing the first of many moments of panic-induced catatonia as I thought: what the hell am I supposed to eat?
Starting off gently, my husband handed me coffee with almond milk. Well, that'll take some adjusting.
As the day progressed, Chris kept saying, "Look at us, being all vegan." Until I told him that if he didn't stop using the word vegan I was going to punch him in the face. Now that I'm actually doing this thing - as opposed to flapping my mouth about it - there's something about that label that gets me panicked, makes me think I'm doing something impossible or undesirable. Yes, it's shorter than saying, "Look at us, trying to eat a whole-foods, mostly-plant-based diet." But that version doesn't seem quite as scary.
Not quite, anyway.
I decided that the only way I'll survive the days ahead is to stop looking at this as some overwhelming, foreign change - and focus instead on what I'd normally eat and figure out how to adapt it. Morning, then, wasn't that tough. Usually I just have coffee and fresh fruit-and-vegetable juice and, except for the fat-free creamer I like to mainline, there's not much to alter there.
Then lunch came around and because I hadn't wanted to think too much about it, I delayed it to the point where I was shaking with hunger. I almost cried at the realization that I would have to make some food. And while I wasn't up to tackling a recipe from the Engine 2 book, I know enough about what I'm supposed to be eating to throw something together. Into a bowl went some cold brown rice, a rinsed can of chickpeas, some chopped cucumbers, asparagus and peppers. A small handful of walnuts and dried cranberries.
I made a quick dressing of fresh lime juice, garlic, and agave. And, here's where I have to confess my first serious departure: I added a little grapeseed oil to the dressing. I KNOW! The Engine 2 police would have confiscated it, but it made it a little more tasty for me. While I'm wary of giving myself too much rope, I'm also trying not to be too rigid about this. Success will be if I incorporate most - or even many - of the nutrition lessons into my everyday life. I'm not going to freak out about a tablespoon of oil split across a giant salad. (Although clearly I AM freaking out a bit, since you can HEAR the rationalization, can't you?)
The rest of the day progressed okay. Ditto today so far. I won't pretend that it isn't tough. Again, the biggest thing I'm battling is this voice inside me that screams "YOU CAN'T EAT ANYTHING," when, clearly, that's not true. It's just that I'm going to have to try. Put forth a little effort. Get creative.
I know. It sounds exhausting, doesn't it?
And a final observation: if there's such a thing as the Chickpea Council of America - and I like to think there is - then all I can say is they are going to owe me BIG TIME. They are fast becoming a mainstay of my diet, and if they're casting for Miss Chickpea USA, I guess all I'm saying is I'd like to, at least, be considered.