BooksExercisePlant BasedVegan

Two steps forward, one step back. The vegan dance.

making adjustments in our diet are challenging but rewarding. The balancing act, the vegan dance.

I’ve been veganish for a year and a half.  Many of my previous health issues (chronic stomach/intestinal issues, acne, migraine headaches, headaches from too much protein) have either been reduced or disappeared. But, I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t lost more weight.

Initially, I lost about 15 pounds, but gained back 10 of that.  While weight issues can be attributed to many things (stress, lack of exercise, thyroid issues, to name a few), I’m tackling what I think to be the issue I’m facing:  lack of exercise and too much oil, pasta & bread.

Oh, pasta.  My kryptonite.  Oh, how I love hate you so.

To help me out with this, I’m doing two things:  exercising with a local trainer 2 times a week and reading The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn, to help me understand the reasons why oil and white grains are so not good for us.  If you’ve watched Forks Over Knives, you’ll recognize Rip as the uber fit, athlete/firefighter son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

(If you haven’t watched Forks Over Knives, I’d highly recommend it.  Totally worth the 90 minutes of your time.  Those cat videos will be there when you get back.)

I’ve already read Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, the companion book to the movie, as well as the companion book for Fat Sick & Nearly Dead.  And, they were excellent books.  rip esselstyn signed copy of engine 2 dietBut, I hadn’t gotten around to reading The Engine 2 Diet, even though Rip signed our copy last February when we saw him give a talk at Whole Foods.  And, Rip just came out with a new book, My Beef with Meat: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet.  I really want to read that one, so I might as well start with the first one, huh?

Yeah, sounds logical enough to me.  🙂

A few things we’ve started adjusting with our food is eating more whole grains, less white grains (the jasmine rice is still calling my name, though!), less or no oil.  So, that means lots of:

  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • brown rice pasta (try Tinkyada– really nice texture NOT MUSHY)
  • whole wheat pasta (the Jovial brand pastas are all made with Einkorn wheat and taste much better than other whole wheat pastas)
  • using water or broth instead of oil when sauteeing
  • using apple sauce or bananas instead of oil when baking

Pretty simple.  I was seriously NOT looking forward to giving up my beloved white pasta.  Like, seriously.  It is my ultimate comfort food.  But, then I read a few articles about modern-day wheat and what it’s doing to our bodies.  Not cool.  It was enough to motivate me to explore other options.  I’m so glad to report that me, the pasta-queen, has been able to find wheat-free and whole wheat pastas that are quite delicious.

Really. They’re pretty darn good.

I still use olive oil when I make spaghetti.  Old habits die hard.  However, I’ve been cutting back oil use in many other recipes that I typically would have added it in (like chili, sauteed veggies and soups).

On the exercise front, I was shocked when I lost 2.6 pounds after working out just three times over 2 weeks time.  Sweet!  I’ve never been one to go to the gym, so we’re sweating all this pasta off at a local park.  It does feel good to be more active.  Even when Mary wants me to go up the hill.  Again.  For the sixth time.

I wish typing burned calories.


So, tell me:

Have you read The Engine 2 Diet?  What are your favorite oil-free, plant strong meals?



This post contains affiliate links.  That means that if you click on them and purchase something, I may receive a small commission.  This helps support the blog and our family.  We thank you!

Abi Cowell
Abi Cowell is a pasta-slinging food and travel blogger with a cup of tea in one hand and her phone in the other. She believes that making even small changes in what you eat can improve your health and quality of life. Her family of four travel for fun and purpose, homeschooling on the road and love sharing their fun adventures and tips for family travel with you.


  1. I havent read the Engine 2 Diet yet either.. I guess I will have to. I have found awesome success in veganism. However, my husband and were both talking at lunch today about the same thing. He lost 15 pounds initially but then gained most of it back. He is still feeling much better and all of the greatness that comes along with plant based, but its weird he hasn’t experienced the same weight loss I have (lost 27lbs).. especially since normally its women that have the harder time. He still hasn’t incorporated regular exercise into his routine.. which is the next step. So I guess we will also see what happens!

    1. @Ashley Hi Ashley! That sounds like our story, but in reverse. Haha! We feel so much better, but the weight loss isn’t as fast as we’d like. But, then again, exercise is slow coming. Definitely need to make a habit of doing it/incorporate it into our routine. Thanks for sharing your story!

      P.S. – So sorry it’s taken so long to get back with you! Had an issue with the site.

  2. Abi, I’m so proud of you.  I’m just one; I can’t imagine having to go through this with a family; although I have heard some very good reports about your husband’s progress.  One of my favorite vegan books is “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (one of the 1/2 price stores should have it); she is an awesome vegan chef, and low fat, very little oil.  Well, I wish you and your wonderful family continued success.  Love you, Vivian

  3. weissmann Aww, thank you so much, Aunt Vivian!  It’s all good.  I’m so happy that Scott’s back has been feeling better.  It’s a HUGE load of stress off for all of us.  Hopefully, it’ll stay that way (or get even better!).  Thanks for the book recommendation!  I’ll look for it.  Hugs and kisses and lots of love, Abi

Leave a Response