Under the White Top

Under the White Top

And so it begins!!!

And so it begins!!!

Well, it was amazing, uplifting, informative and hopeful. I don’t know any other way to describe it.

In my quest to be the strongest, healthiest person I can be-the best me, I have done quite a bit of research on plant based eating. We already know that one can love junk food and still be vegan. This is not what I want for myself or anyone else who lives on this planet, vegan or not.

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Engine Station 2

Dr. Esselstyn

Dr. Esselstyn

In watching Forks Over Knives one evening, I was introduced to Dr. Esselstyn and Rip Esselstyn  (Engine2Diet). I then read a bit about Dr Esselstyn and his research into the causes of heart disease, how it can be prevented and even reversed. I checked into Rip and his story as a Texas firefighter and advocate for strong plant based eating. I set the info aside and let it percolate in my mind for a little bit. I was interested, but not blown away, because, after all, heart disease is for others, not for me.

I don’t have angina, I don’t eat any nonhuman animal products and I did not think that  heart disease was in our  family. So, with my supposed get out of jail free card safely stowed in my pocket, I moved on to other researchers and other programs . But something kept nagging at me and I kept going back to the Engine2Diet website until I saw that there was an upcoming Plant Strong weekend retreat at the Esselstyn family farm in Claverack, New York. I decided to go, asked my husband if he would like to join and reserved our spots.

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The Venue

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Nice Touch

It was a sunny, cool morning when we arrived at seven thirty for breakfast at the family farm. There was a lighthearted energy in the air as we drove up the lane way and were directed by smiling folks into a grassy field to park our car. Dr Esselstyn was tooling around in a  little golf type cart and stopped to offer us a lift to the house. This one gesture felt very open and personal to me and, as it turned out,  set the tone for the entire weekend.

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Kale for Breakie…!!

Mighty Muffins

Mighty Muffins

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Engine2 Cereal

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The Buffet Table

We found some spots under a huge white canopy, put down our stuff and headed over to the breakfast table. There was an interesting variety of plant based options from which to choose-steamed kale, homemade salsa, oatmeal, mini muffins, cold cereal, plant milks, fruit and so on and so on. It was a refreshing and filling breakfast that we both enjoyed as we waited for the seminar to begin.

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Opening Remarks

 

 

 

 

Plant Strong!!!

Plant Strong!!!

And start, it did, when Rip Esselstyn bounded up onto the stage (right on time, I might add), welcomed all of us and invited us to take back our palates which, he says, have been high jacked by big business.

  • “There is no glory in moderation”, he exclaimed. Whole food, plant based, no added fat, high starch diet is the secret to good health.
  • “Your genes are not your fate”. – Dr Dean Ornish
  • “Enlightenment is the absence of suffering” -The Buddah
  • “Our good  health can just be.”

At this point,  there was no doubt in my mind that I was there for a weekend of discovery, delivered in a fun filled, energetic and hopeful way.

What followed was a varied lineup of stars in the field of plant based eating and living. They all delivered engaging, informative, and sometimes funny presentations..  I encourage you to check these people out. They  come from all walks of life and perspectives and there will certainly be someone  with whom you can relate in your own search for healthy living.

Rip Esselstyn  -Engine2Diet

Neal Barnard,M.D.- Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Dr. T. Colin Cambell -Whole

Dr. Calwell B. Esselstyn – What Causes Heart Disease? and Curing and Ending Heart Disease

James Wilks – The Game Changers

Jane Esselstyn – Cooking Tips for Plant Strong Success

Ann Esselstyn – Living Plant Perfect

Doug Lisle, Ph.D. – The Pleasure Trap and Getting Along without Going Along

John Joseph – A street surviving, punk rocking, vegan advocate!

Robert Cheeke – A health and fitness vegan advocate

During breaks, we did funny little dance and exercise  routines with members of the Esselstyn family,  and wandered around the venue. We chatted with others, had our books signed and enjoyed the hands on presence of all the speakers. I met a fellow vegan who runs a Facebook page, Vegan Pro of which I am a member. Kimatni P. Rawlins  is a welcoming, open individual who promotes exercise, healthy eating, and respect for nonhuman beings. It was  a pleasure to touch base with him and I invite you to check out his Facebook page. If you join, you will be part of a forum that promotes peaceful discussion of all things vegan.

Saturday Lunch

Saturday Lunch

Saturday Supper

Saturday Supper

And what can I say about the food, other than it was varied, delicious, plentiful and plant strong.. I saw many people going back for seconds, so there is no doubt that it was enjoyed by all.

 

 

Rip's Thoughts...

Rip’s Thoughts…

The weekend ended as we headed down the lane way. Rip was at the exit wishing everyone well as he ensured that we made it safely onto the busy road that runs along their farm. This gesture alone proved to me that this is a man who is interested in us as people. He has much to offer us  in terms of our health, our vitality and our joy as we continue on this journey we call life. Thank you, Rip!

Annie’s Vegan View

And, what did I learn there about the state of our health in North America and what we can do individually to be the best that we can be? The short answer is, –  Plenty!  I am sifting through all of the info now, so stay tuned for highlights of my fact takeway.

In the meantime, ditch the potato chips,  the soft drinks, the fries, the plant oils and above all, the nonhuman animal products. This one step  will put you on the road to a healthy life, well lived.

As vegans, one can be plant based, but not necessarily plant strong. As non vegans, one is neither.

Be compassionate, be vegan and be plant strong.

Therein lies our salvation.

May all beings be happy and free.

Anne

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Plant Strong at the Engine2Diet Weekend Retreat

  • August 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm
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    These presentations were quite interesting, illuminating and convincing.
    The show was very well done.

    Reply
  • August 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm
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    I get a great deal of information and inspiration from reading the books, blogs, websites, etc. of the people who lead the way and open up avenues for us to explore regarding plant based eating and veganism. But it’s even more motivating and affirming to attend a presentation. I recently had this opportunity when Dr. Will Tuttle came to Toronto. It was such a positive and encouraging experience.
    I tried Rip’s Big Bowl cereal; it was so tasty and very satisfying and one of the best ready-made cereals that I’ve ever eaten.

    Reply
    • August 21, 2014 at 4:26 am
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      Hi Cindy,
      Yes, I also do a lot of reading. I just finished Dr. Esselstyne’s book , How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease as a corollary to what I learned on the weekend. I am now reading Rip Esselstyn’s new book, My Beef with Meat. Both authors inform about the biology of the human body and debunk nutrition myths created by big business.
      Dr. Will Tuttle is an amazing advocate for veganism. He has spent years advocating for the end to nonhuman animal slavery with his clear explanation of how we came to be a herding society, why it is wrong and how we can change it.
      Glad you like the cereal. They also have a l new line of Crispbreads that have just come out. They were giving out free samples at the retreat-pretty tasty, I must say.
      Thanks,
      Anne

      Reply
      • October 23, 2015 at 9:12 am
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        Dear Anne, as a long time fan of engine 2, am so happy ( and a bit envious really) that you and Serge had a weekend filled with such wonderful welcome, information, speakers, and fabulous food. Now a vegan, it was Engine 2 reading and movie, as well as John Robbins’s Diet for America web and movies, along with caring for my mom who suffered from CVD, and hypertension that initially convinced me to adopt a plant based diet. That and Karen’s gentle nudges. I promise to myself to “drag” my own hubby one day. For now, and after all this time, I’m still working on converting him.
        Thanks for sharing,
        Claudie

        Reply
        • October 23, 2015 at 9:41 am
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          Hey Claude Lynn,
          It was, indeed, a wonderful, fact filled and inspiring weekend. I was most taken with the energy at the event-one of hope, of inclusion and of success.
          It is amazing how the sometimes not so easy experiences in our life can lead us to enlightenment that benefits everyone. My mother struggled with so many health issues for most of her life and I have had my fair share as well. These experiences helped me to understand the value of whole food, plant based eating.
          Of course, I am vegan for the animals, but the benefits of eating whole plants are undeniable and wonderful. I salute everyone who adopts this way of eating. Animals are saved, our health as a species improves and the destruction of the planet at human hands decreases. It is a win win!
          Thank you so much for commenting. It helps to raise awareness.
          Take care,
          Anne

          Reply
  • August 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm
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    From your post, it was obvious that it was a welcoming and engaging event! Looking forward to seeing what comes out when you’re finished sifting 🙂

    Reply
    • August 21, 2014 at 4:27 am
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      Hey Allison,
      It was , as I said, amazing!!! Stay tuned for the skinny on smoothies and juicing!!
      Thanks,
      Mom

      Reply
  • October 11, 2016 at 6:00 am
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    Hey Anne
    Thanks for sharing this. Sounds like you had a fun filled weekend. You have inspired me to want to learn more about these people and their views on plant based diets.

    I will be adding these books to my reading list and am “hungry” to learn more.

    Rachel

    Reply
    • October 12, 2016 at 8:33 am
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      Hi Rachel,

      Yes, it was an amazing weekend. The information about the benefits of a plant based diet is overwhelming and readily available to everyone. Let’s hope people start reading more and putting into practice that which is really common sense.

      Take care.
      Anne

      Reply
    • October 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm
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      Hi Rachel,
      Information is power and I love to learn, even though retaining all of the new info is sometimes a challenge for my swirling and twirling brain and mind. LOL!
      Take care.
      Anne

      Reply

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