George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Archive for the tag “engine 2 diet”

So You’re Ready to be Vegan?

the panSo you want to be a vegan, great! We highly recommend it. First of all, don’t think of it denying yourself things, just consider the vegan life as your new personal food normal. Here are some benefits I ‘ve experienced right off the bat as a vegan. I always hated fish and it was always around. Now I don’t need to make excuses for not eating someone’s scrumptious fish they took all day to prepare and I don’t have to pretend to like sushi. The same goes for my grill-master friends and their charcoal smoked sausage, steak and pork. These cheap meats taste like I licked an actual grill top. “Awe, sorry grill-masters, wish I could but I’m vegan.”

I know there will be animal products that you will miss. The more you learn about it, the less you’ll crave it. I’m talking about chicken being covered in feces, pink slime, the hormones in milk working to give you cancer. Then there’s the beautiful animals we torture and kill. The poor defenseless animals. Yes, I went there. Carnivore conflict? I know Julia is always ready with facts about being a healthy vegan and standing up to those artery clogged Paleos. I usually say I feel great and leave it at that. All the heart disease you will avoid, blood that flows fast and free, that’s what it’s all about. Oh yeah and you’ll look younger.

sun tampa bodie julia

When you start, you can eat tasty but not necessarily nutritious fake meat and cheese to ease into it. Julia and I have some staple meals that are not always healthy: Pasta with broccoli and red sauce, chick pea/vegetables with curry sauce, guacamole, brown rice (we have a rice cooker), vegetable stir fry, tacos/burritos, cheese-less pizza, green smoothies, frozen bananas, buffalo “chicken” made with tempeh, organic oranges and apples, large salads with plenty of bright vegetables, lentil soup, chili, Dr. McDougall’s soups (we have boxes shipped to our house), peanut butter and jelly, whole grain cereal with rice or almond milk, and the list goes on and on.  We even made vegan protein powder  a part of our day.

If we are going out to eat (or ordering in) we recommend pizza without cheese, vegetarian Indian dishes, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Mediterranean, Turkish, delis, burger places that have a vegan burger, and salad at almost any place. When ordering out, make it very clear that you can have no dairy, eggs, butter, cheese or animal products. You’ll find out which restaurants are extremely accommodating.   If they don’t seem to care, take your business elsewhere. We have had a pizza delivered to us with cheese and we had to send it back.

G and J Tampa

Want to be super healthy? There are so many routes to go. Most of the nutritional vegan diets are based on starches, vegetables, fruit, low-fat, nuts, seeds, no oil uncooked (raw), unprocessed, rice, and grains.   There are so many version of the vegan diet.  Here is a great example of some of the best vegan diets listed by John McDougall, MD.

Barnard Diet (by Neal Barnard, MD, founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine): Based on starches, vegetables and fruits. Diet is low-fat. Emphasis is on no animal foods, ever.

Biblical Daniel Diet: More than 2500 years ago a diet of vegetables and water was found to improve the health of men in 10 days, compared to men eating meat (the king’s food).

China Study Diet (by T. Colin Campbell, PhD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Animal foods may account for 10% or fewer of foods consumed.

CHIP Program (The Complete Health Improvement Program by Dr.HansDiehl): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis is on eating low-fat.

Esselstyn Diet (by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. No nuts, seeds, avocados, or other fatty plant foods are allowed. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

Engine 2 Diet (by Rip Esselstyn): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

Fuhrman Diet (by Joel Fuhrman, MD): Based on green and yellow vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. Not always low in fat. Small amounts of animal foods allowed. Emphasis is on eating “nutrient-dense” greens.

Hallelujah Diet (by Rev. George Malkmus): Consists of 85% raw, uncooked, and unprocessed plant-based food, and 15% cooked, plant-based foods.

Kempner Rice Diet (by Walter Kempner, MD): Based on rice and fruits. More plant foods and a few animal foods are allowed after recovery. Emphasis is on eating very low sodium.

Macrobiotic Diet: Based on grains (rice) and vegetables. Fish, seafood, seeds, and nuts may be eaten occasionally.

McDougall Diet (by John McDougall, MD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Healthy, trim people can eat some nuts, seeds, and avocados. Animal foods for holidays, at most. Emphasis is on eating starches.

Natural Hygiene Diet (by Herbert M. Shelton, ND): Advocates a raw food diet of vegetables, fruits, and nuts; and also periodic fasting and food combining.

Ornish Diet (by Dean Ornish, MD): Based on starches, vegetables and fruits. Low-fat dairy, some fish, and fish oils are used at times. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

Popper Diet (by Pam Popper, PhD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

Pritikin Diet (by Nathan Pritikin): The original diet was based on starches, vegetables and fruits. Small amounts of meat, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy are allowed. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

George Sponge bob

So have fun! Victoria Moran, the author of the book “Main Street Vegan” told me that the trick to staying vegan is when  you take something you like out of your diet, put two things you like, in. We’ve been vegan for a year and a half and feel great! Sluggishness, stomach upset, and so much more disappears. Some vegan diets claim to reverse heart disease and diabetes. There is so much to gain. Be a vegan, it’s fun!


Gluten-Free Zucchini Boats

I’ve returned to Connecticut after spending a few weeks out on the road, and when I came back the garden was overflowing. When I went foraging I saw some of the peppers were ready for picking and the cherry tomatoes were coming in like gangbusters. I also came across a massive zucchini, which left me entirely stumped on what to do with a vegetable the size of a toddlers leg.

The perfect ingredients to make a primavera… but where’s the creativity in that?

I had a bad case of cookers block. So I did what anyone with any kind of mental block would do… go on facebook and then google random stuff. That’s where I got my inspiration to make a zucchini boat (aka zucchini pizza). I’m using quinoa and sunflower seeds as the protein and the cool thing about quinoa is that it’s a complete protein, which means that it has all nine amino acids. Sunflower seeds offers the amino acid Lysine and increases protein to any dish. But use sunflower seeds in moderation because although they do contain heart-healthy fats, they are high in calories.

Too much talking, grab a spoon already and start scraping!

So first things first, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and start making your quinoa (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water). Then go grab a spoon and gut the zucchinis. Don’t go too deep when scraping because you want to keep the shape of the zucchini while it bakes and not get mushy. Set aside the insides to be used in the filler. You can coat the inside of the zucchini boats with oil or vegan shortening. I used sunflower spray oil sparingly.

Place gutted zucchinis on a pan with foil.

Chop up your vegetables. This recipe can be varied any way you want it to be, but I’ll list what I used:

  • 1 cup oregano and basil mixture chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 hot peppers diced
  • pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup kale chopped
  • 1/3 cup mango minced (set a tablespoon or so aside)

    From top left and going clockwise: Kale, cherry tomatoes, zucchini innards, basil/oregano mix (mostly basil), hot peppers.

In a skillet spray a little oil or use 2 tablespoons of sauce as oil replacer (like tomato sauce or peanut butter, depends on what kind of flavor you’re aiming for). I used vegan pesto as my oil replacer.

Hello Pesto!


On medium to low heat, add your minced garlic first, cook for a minute or two. Then add your peppers and cook them for another minute. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs. Stir in for another minute then add quinoa, sunflower seeds, mango and kale and stir together for another minute or two. Then salt and pepper to taste.

What fun colors and textures

I didn’t use the entire pot of quinoa. I actually used less than half of it. I used as much as I cared to use, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way on this. I used about 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds. Once the filling has reached my desired texture (I didn’t want to overcook the kale), I spooned it into the zucchini boats and topped it with mango bits so it looked like cheese.

Fill ‘er up!

Close up before it heads to the oven

Place the pan into the oven and cook the zucchini boats for about 15-20 minutes. I would personally keep them in for closer to 20 minutes but not much more than that. Don’t want the boats to capsize and break.

When done cut in half and serve

Have fun when you make your version of a zucchini boat! This is a dish I could see in the Engine 2 Diet

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