The Engine 2 Blog

Medical Bills responsible for 60% of U.S. bankruptcies

Incredible as it may seem, 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies are due to medical bills. This is distressing and makes a seminal statement on the health of individuals, families and the whole health care system. While listening to NPR yesterday I heard that health care now accounts for a WHOPPING 18 percent of America’s GDP. Ladies and gentleman, health care is a thing of the past. In todays climate of rampant obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, a more appropriate term would be sick care. What is the answer? The answer is the United States UNITING in a show of solidarity and embarking on a whole new concept called “self care”. SELF CARE  with everybody taking responsibility for their health and wellness starting with the foods at the end of their forks and spoons. Start a plant-strong bucket brigade at your house and in your city and get everybody to eat more plant-healthy foods in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. A trite old saying which needs repeating is ” You are what you eat”.  Let’s all put our best forks forward and start taking back the health of our citizens and our country. Now go out there and get the job done! Break!!!!!!

Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts: study (Reuters)
Reuters - Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track.

Watermelon Salsa, perfect for summer!!!

A hearty thank you to Judy from Independence, Ohio for sharing this E-2-licious Watermelon Salsa. Down here in Austin, Texas the temperatures are already in the mid-90’s and it’s gonna get close to 100 by the weekend. This cool and light salsa will be a real winner as a complement to healthy chips, breakfast tacos, migas especiales, enchiladas, or portobello mushroom fajitas. A big E2 shout out and thank you to Judy!!!

Rip, the vegetarian lasagna is great. I’ve experienced GI problems for months now (partly lactose-intolerant), so decided to fix the lasagna and freeze it in sections for a series of meals. It was so good I ate nothing but that for a week. My stomach felt so good after eating it, it was satisfying and delicious.

But, I’m here to give you a recipe I came across that your buddies are sure to like. I took it down to Independence Fire Station 2 and they enjoyed it.


2 cups fiinely chopped:
canned pineapple chunks

2 (or more) seeded jalapenos
1 bunch green onions
1 small yellow pepper
1 small red pepper
3 peeled kiwi

Mix together and chill at least 4 hours. DRAIN before serving.
I served it with chips and the salt was a perfect complement to the sweet. Make sure you chop all this stuff FINELY.

Hope you enjoy.


Judy Sturgess
Independence MO


A watermelon and cherry tomato salad with cilantro. I can't wait to try the watermelon salsa!!!

S’more E2 Food Logs

Here are s’more (no, not s’mors) Engine 2 food logs. I have a sense June will be a popular month for people to jump on board the Engine 2 plant-strong fire engine. Here’s to everyone who’s keeping a food log and staying strong…plant-strong!!!


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Toni K
Submit Date: 6/01/09
Breakfast: 1/4 C oatmeal, with added bran, ground flax seeds, raisins and sunflower seeds covered with 1/2 C soy milk. 1 Med banana cup of decaf coffee
Lunch: Large bowl of home made veggie soup with slice of quinoa bread water
Dinner: boca burger on a w/w hamburger bun (lettuce, tomato, dill pickle, ketchup, mustard) decaf iced tea
Daily Activity: not today work, work, work The school year is almost over!
Snacks: peach
Daily Observation: 1 week + 1 day - easier than I thought to eat like this. My hubby brought home fudge last night - not tempted at all.


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: judy b
Submit Date: june 1, 2009
Breakfast: oatmeal, flaxseed, wheat germ, fiver 1 apple, 1/2 cup skim milk
Lunch: black beans, brown rice, salsa, cantalope
Dinner: vegetarian sloppy joe on whole wheat pasta, steamed squah, peas, yellow pepper, onion, quinoa, cantalope
Daily Activity: walked brisk 2 miles, 15 min lifted weights, 4 hours gardening
Snacks: 10 almonds, handful walnuts
Daily Observation: felt energic most of the day


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: cavanaughmm c
Submit Date: Sun 5/31/09
Breakfast: Cantaloupe Sm bowl wheat flakes w/blueberries & almond milk
Lunch: Salad & cantaloupe Whole wheat flakes w/banana & almond milk
Dinner: Vegan chicken salad Pita chips (a few, store-bought, not oil free. Too salty!) Tabbouleh salad (store-bought, not oil free. Too oily!). Roasted sweet potato salad (not oil free. why the oil, it just masked the flavor!) Cantaloupe
Daily Activity: AM - Walked from coffee to office - 17 mins, fast AM - Walked circle plus Eloras - 32 mins, hard PM - Swam 2 hrs (est 60 mins lite exercise).
Snacks: Dessert - homemade fudge sauce over wine sorbet. Oh yeah, also 1/2 pc vegan carrot cake (WAYYY too rich & sweet, gotta stop doing that!).
Daily Observation: I feel great when I eat like this, except the oily stuff. DANG I WISH THESE DUMB HEALTH FOOD STORES WOULD MAKE OIL FREE FOOD TO GO! And the dessert really was too much.


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Ashley H.
Submit Date: 5/30/09
Breakfast: kashi cereal with rice milk
Lunch: black bean burger on a whole wheat sugar free bun with tomatoes, pickles and ketchup. veggie chicken nuggets
Dinner: brown rice with chili beans, grillers crumblers, tomatoes, and ketchup
Daily Activity: played an hour of basketball with the guys before shift
Snacks: carrot sticks and a pear
Daily Observation: Awesome day! We started playing basketball again before shift and it is sooo much fun! Too bad we all suck.. haha But still feeling great and looking forward to tomorrow too


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: David A.
Submit Date: 6/31/09
Breakfast: coffee, T Flax seed, Banana, 1/3 C strawberries, 1/2 C oatmeal, t maple syrup, 1/4 C organic soy milk, home made ww toast w 1 T honey and 2 T organic peanut butter
Lunch: C hp lentil soup w/wild rice.
Dinner: Large avo, tufo fajitas, grilled onions-green & red peppers, 2 central market flour tortillas, 15 home made corn baked chips w/hp hot sauce.
Daily Activity: biked 6 miles, kayaked 4 miles, lifted weights.
Snacks: No Response Given
Daily Observation: losing weight and feeling stronger!

A Soup Recipe from New York

Thank you, Rich Tarpinian for sharing this very special veggie soup with the Engine 2 community. We hope you are doing extremely well in Long Island and staying especially plant-strong!!!! Go Rich !!!!!


½ cup chopped onion
½ cup water & ½ cup white wine
3 Tablespoons of Liquid Aminos
*** Sautee’ the above til onion is soft
¼ cup Fennel & Carrots chopped
1 cup Beet tops chopped
½ cup Cauliflower
1 teaspoon or more Hot Cajun sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
***Blend all together

½ CUP Brown Rice
14 cups Water and 1 Tablespoon Gravy Master
*** Bring all to boil and then simmer for ½ hour

E2 Quote of the Week

The American author Upton Sinclair, “It’s hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding.”

This quote is particularly applicable when you consider that close to 95% of heart procedures are not only unnecessary but actually do more harm than good. Employ a plant-strong diet and get stellar results without any associated morbidity, mental compromise, or cost. The answer lies at the end of your fork, not with a pill or a procedure!!!!


An actual cross section of a healthy artery on the left and a disease riddled one on the right. Which would you prefer? The choice is yours!!!

Seabrook’s 3 Alarm Blackened Portobello Mushrooms!!!

Seabrook Jones(an Engine 2 warrior for almost one year) introduced everyone at the recent Engine 2 potluck dinner to his patented Seabrook’s 3-Alarm blackened Portobellos. They were absolutely incredible. I am NOT a big fan of mushrooms and these were the best fungi I’ve had in my life. No joshing. Try this recipe out and then post your comments. I think you’ll be amazed. Thank you Seabrook!!!

Seabrook’s 3-Alarm blackened Portobellos

Take whole portobello Caps - remove stem( save it for a salad stir fry or soup or something!) - wipe clean with damp cloth or wet paper towel wet enough to make the blackening spice stick.

Dust/sprinkle liberally both sides with blackened spice aka blackening powder, Optional - I like to add a hefty sprinkle of hot curry powder to gill side

Cook in hot dry skillet 2-3 minutes per side should start to brown and maybe burn a tiny bit - cut in Quarters.

OR Cook on Hot Grill 2-3 min per side until toasty & grill marks are evident

The mushrooms will be fairly al dente and can be served like this - DONE!


If you like em more tender and well done - place the quarters in a baking pan and sprinkle lightly with mirin ( sweet rice wine) and tamari OR flavored or balsamic vinegar - or just a few tablespoons of water.

Cover pan and place in preheated 300º oven for 30min.

Garnish with chopped green onions, chopped basil leaves, crasins, parsley, mint or whatever floats your boat !!


Can’t find blackening powder at your local store?

Make your own - doesn’t have to be perfect just something like this:

All fine ground -

1-2 tb Paprika
1-2 tb Cayenne
1-2 tb Chili powder
1 tb White pepper
1 tb Black pepper
1 tb Sea salt
1 tb Garlic powder
1 tb Onion powder

mix well store in a dry sealed container!

My son Kole, at the entrance to the Austin,Tx Whole Foods with The Engine 2 DIet looming in the background.

My son Kole, at the entrance to the Austin,Tx Whole Foods with The Engine 2 Diet looming in the background.

E2 Success Story from Seattle, Washington

It’s time for an E2 shout out to Laurel Disbrow who has taken control of her health one bite, one meal, one day, one week, and one month at a time.  You go get em, Laurel!!!!!

Laurel Disbrow, plant-strong teacher

Laurel Disbrow, plant-strong teacher-librarian!!

I bought the book and started the eating plan on Mother’s Day. I’ve been plagued by sinus problems and asthma for years. My body was producing so much mucus that I was always coughing and my chest was always congested. A friend once said I sounded like I had a 3-pack-a-day habit.

I noticed a marked change in my body’s mucus production by the 3rd day. It was so dramatic I thought it must be a fluke but after 17 days, I’m sold on this eating lifestyle! I’m still wondering about what I was eating
specifically that made me so sick. Whatever it was, I’m not going back. I cough very, very little and my chest is clear.

I really think that one of these days I’m not going to need my asthma meds at all. I’ve been able to cut down on the amount I take. I can work in the yard and I’m no longer huffing and puffing!! I have energy. I feel clear

I’m an obese, 58 year old female. I’ve dropped 5 lbs and feel like I’m
actually going to beat this weight problem without starving.

The food plan is easy. I still don’t like to exercise.

Thank you!!!
Laurel Disbrow

Plant-Perfect or Plant-Strong?

This post was on the general forum yesterday under the topic; BACKSLIDING by GayleW.

This happened yesterday. I’m the only one in the family trying to eat fat free plant food. I’ve been diligently keeping a food log. All’s going well enough. Yesterday, being Memorial Day, I tried making some traditional picnic style foods. I made potato salad, using tofu and vinegar and herbs and spices for the dressing. I made cole slaw using as the dressing a mixture of almond milk, lemon juice, maple syrup for a little sweetening, and other spices. I made baked navy beans with black strap molasses, hickory smoked liquid, spices, mustard, etc. No fats so far. We had fat free vegan hot dogs. Ezekiel 4:9 buns. Very nice. I sent my husband to the store for an ingredient I needed and he came back with that as well as two bags of potato chips I did not ask for. I don’t keep them in the house because I have an addiction to three things: potato chips, pretzels, and crisp cookies. Those are not to be brought in. Jim was feeling rather in a festive mood. There he sat on the porch just crunching away. I was enjoying the afternoon, waiting for the baked beans to finish cooking when I was seized with desire for potato chips. I made my way over to the bag and dug in like a thirsty person crawling across the desert. And I couldn’t stop.

Like all of us, Gayle is very much human. I, too, have occasionally felt like crawling across the desert for some chocolate ice cream or a vanilla shake. The lesson that I would like to leave with everyone is this: Do not let plant-perfection become the enemy of plant-strong. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect. Yes, I ask you to be as close to plant-perfect as possible over the course of the 28 day Engine 2 Diet. This is so you can witness first hand the dramatic effects that will occur on your whole body and your psyche (”Oh my gosh! I haven’t had meat or dairy for 28 days and I feel great, I’ve lost 10 pounds, and my cholesterol has gone from the attic to the basement). Consider how you ate before E2 and how you’re eating now. I bet the differences are a universe apart.

When you have a moment like Gayle’s, think of it as a special treat and DO NOT beat yourself up. Do not feel like all is lost and that you are a loser. I am here to tell you that EACH and EVERYONE of you on the E2D is a WINNER. Big time!!! Life is always teaching us lessons. Think about what you can learn from each experience and then call it good. Engine 2 is inclusive; we embrace everyone who wants to take the bull by the horns and become plant-strong. Forget about plant-perfect. So stop, drop, and roll in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes and douse the flames of Western disease. Ya!


Me about 30 minutes before going on The Today Show. I was super duper nervous.

Me about 30 minutes before going on The Today Show. I was super duper nervous.

Are You Keeping a Food Log?

In my book I stress the importance of keeping a food log while you embark on The Engine 2 Diet. It creates a sense of accountability to yourself and it helps you to understand the relationship you have with food.  Below I have randomly chosen several food logs from people who are currently doing the 28 days. I want you to see what different food logs look like and how fun they can be. If you are doing the E2D, get after it and start that food log today!!!!

Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Karen Stickney
Submit Date: 5/24/09
Breakfast: scrambled tofu, OJ, 1 decaf, 1 reg coffee, 1/2 grapefruit, 2 pcs whole grain GF raisin toast with apple spread
Lunch: large spinach salad with E2 dressing, baby carrots, PB on corn thin strawberries
Dinner: brown rice spaghetti with black beans and mushroom sauce; salad with vinegar, water sm pc no fat vegan chocolate cake
Daily Activity: 40 minute walk, ab workout
Snacks: GF crackers, cannellini dip, 2 decaf coffees, 1 prune, 1 pc Dove dk chocolate
Daily Observation: not quite as hungry as I’ve been. Will have to skip the logs for a few days while I’m on my marathon 24 hour work binge. Will get plenty of exercise tomorrow to make up for getting no formal exercise for a few days.


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Sharon J.
Submit Date: 5/21/09
Breakfast: Whole grain waffles, maple syrup Promegranite juice coffee
Lunch: Matt’s enchiladas Green salad - no dressing
Dinner: Pizza Supreme Used barbecue sauce rather than tomato based pizza sauce
Daily Activity: Walk 30 minutes; stretch 5
Snacks: Apple
Daily Observation: I feel good! So good. No meat since 10May09


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Andrea D.
Submit Date: 5/22/09
Breakfast: orange juicewhole wheat english muffin, peanut butterblack coffee
Lunch: whole wheat muffin, garden burger, carrots,
Dinner: pasta primivera, steamed spinach
Daily Activity: opps!! Marathon food shopping session to stock up!
Snacks: banana, dried apricots (3), stawberries, several walnuts
Daily Observation: Feeling satisfied with food choices….off to a good start.


Results From: Food Log
Submitted By: Brad Pitassi
Submit Date: 5/21/09
Breakfast: Rip’s Big Bowl
Lunch: 4 Smart Dog Chilli Dogs with apple sauce
Dinner: Veggie shepards Pie
Daily Activity: On shift, lifted and plays frisbee foot ball against other stations
Snacks: apple, bananna
Daily Observation: Day one of the diet!!!! What a start, good food, didn’t feel hungery all day and had steady energy. The toughest part was selling the crew on it and not eating with the boys at dinner.

E2 Success Story from Cleveland, Ohio

The Engine 2 team wishes everyone a happy and healthy Memorial day.


Connie with her one of her three daughters

Connie with one of her three daughters

Here’s a big, hearty, and joyous shout out to Connie Sheetz from Cleveland,  Ohio. Connie grabbed the bull by the horns and started getting healthy from the inside out. With four children, two of whom are young twins, Connie is proof positive that anyone can do Engine 2 and become plant-strong, plant-smart, and plant-savvy. Way to go, Connie!!!! Keep it up!!!

What can I say, the diet was definitely hard, but when I got the results (lost 9 pounds, total cholesterol down 61 points to 143, LDL down 53 to 86) after my 28 days, it was well worth the effort. I really had to reinvent the wheel, I was eating so much dairy, meat and oils, especially dairy. But after a couple weeks- I got into a groove, and ate a lot of my favorites over and over: oatmeal, fruit and cider for breakfast, spinach and non-fat hummus panninis for lunch, and a lot of rice and beans for dinner with veggies. One of the biggest differences I noticed was how my energy level was more steady. Before I crashed and burned and then ate sugar and fat to build me up cycling like this all day, but after about 4 days on Engine 2, I wasn’t craving caffeine, sugar or fat at 4:30pm to get me through the witching hour with my kids.

I am glad I went hard core for 28 days because it did two things for me. It forced me to come up with other food choices-not saying I’ll just have a little mayo on my sandwich, you had to come up with other options. The other thing this program did, was force me to come to terms with how much I was eating for comfort and pleasure vs. eating to fuel my body. Before Engine 2, I was a 100% pleasure/comfort eater. During the month on Engine 2,I was about 100% fueling. I am going forward with the intention to eat most of my meals with fueling in mind. Thanks Rip, for the how-to-eat manual. I’ve known about the Esselstyn way of eating for over 20 years, but your book gave me the knowledge to implement it.

Connie Sheetz Searby

Thank you, Connie for sending us your success story. If you have a success story you’d like to share with the E2 community please email me at [email protected]


I hope your Memorial day burger is a healthy one!!!!

I hope your Memorial day burger is a healthy one!!!!