Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet

Rip Esselstyn has a new book and program out called The Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet. You can see the details of it in this PDF file. Note that although it's on a Dropbox site you DO NOT need a Dropbox account to download it, nor to you even have to sign in with the suggested Google or FaceBook account. The last option is to just continue without signing in. That will open the PDF file in your browser and you can then just click the Download button on that page to save it.

For those of you already quite familiar with the whole foods plant based, Plant Strong way of eating, there is no new material here. For those who own any of the other Engine 2 or any of the Esselstyn Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease books, neither the info nor the majority of the recipes are new. Also, like what happened in The Healthiest Diet on the Planet, some of the recipes are old ones just released under a new name.

The purpose of the book and and Rip's in-person 7 Day Rescue programs are to convert SAD eaters to the WFPB way of eating. But many of us are completists and want to read, probably own, not only every McDougall book ever published but anything the Esselstyn family puts out, too. Well, with the exception of the book Plant Strong, which is just the paperback & Kindle version of My Beef With Meat released with a new title.

Rip and his sister Jane put together this nice introductory program, and in the book Rip explains all the whys and how-to's of the program. Jane contributes all the recipes and cooking preparation advice. If you like the recipes in the other Engine 2 books and web site, you'll like these. Older recipes have been slightly updated to recommend the Engine 2 food products sold exclusively through Whole Foods, but they do also suggest what can be used in place of them.

Bowls and Flats are the main categories of recipes, and they each come with their own handy dandy chart, which you can see in glorious color in that PDF I link to above. Breakfast Bowls, Salad Bowls, Flats (a.k.a. open faced sandwiches), Dinner Bowls. There are also soups in with the flats, but no Soup Bowl chart for those. With these charts and once a week batch cooking you can have a plethora of meals on hand without having to even think - just open the 'fridge, grab a few ingredients, nuke what needs to be reheated, put it all together, and grab a fork. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not very inventive in the kitchen - I like to have someone tell me what combinations go well together. The most improvisation I've done lately is substitute romaine lettuce instead of bread when making sandwiches because I can no longer have gluten and winter squash or turnips for the potatoes I continue to react to.

I think I'll even print out those full color charts from the PDF file and hang them on my kitchen cabinets. It'll make grocery shopping and meal times so much easier.

My only complaint about the book (Come on now, you all know me. You know I have to gripe about *something*!! LOL) is the small serving sizes suggested in some of the recipes. In the intro to the breakfast section, they write: "Wow yourself with the size of your cereal bowl. Pile it so high that you are still eating it in the carpool lane at the pre-school drop-off, on the train to work, in the midmorning meeting at the office, or on the way to your 10am yoga class!" All the oatmeal breakfasts come out to a cup to a cup and a half, cooked, per serving. That wouldn't hold me for long, much less still be eating it at 10am! What do they plan, we eat a bite an hour? While watching this video where Rip talks about the program in Sedona, notice the size of the food served on the plates. Most are pretty small servings on smallish paper plates. Desserts are served in paper cups. Now, that might be a sample from a cooking demo, but then again, maybe not. Coming from the McDougall and Ultimate Weight Loss programs, where you're told to pile up your plate high with veggies and starches, going for these smaller portions will take a bit to get used to. Then again, there are still a lot of people out there who aren't losing as much weight as they want eating those large UWL and McD portions, so this may be exactly what's needed.

When people on the Facebook community show their batch-cooked meals and how they're portioned out, they're usually shown in pint-sized (2 cups, 500 ml) jars.

So, if you were on the fence about getting this book and like all the Engine 2 recipes you already have, like to put together meals on the fly from what you already have in your fridge, like to cook just once a week, and don't mind "bowl" and "flat" meals, this is the book for you.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Watch Your Cuisinart Replacment Blades!

I just finished sending an email to the Cuisinart/Conair people telling them of a serious problem I have with the replacement blade they sent me last month for my food processor.

When making a batch of hummus a little while ago I'm watching the blade start to spin up the spindle, about to fly right off!


I quickly turned it off, emptied the processor bowl, washed everything, made sure the blade was 100% seated correct on the spindle, put my half-blended hummus ingredients back in, closed the top, turned it on, and it starts to spin up the spindle again!

Of course I immediately turned it off again, emptied the food processor bowl and told my husband he's going to live with chunky hummus until this problem is solved, and immediately found my email with the service number, a customer service email address, and wrote to them telling them of this problem and asking for a replacement for the replacement blade.

So, keep an eye on your Cuisinart blades, and let them know if this is happening to you, too.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chef AJ's SPecial Guest, Dr. Alan Goldhamer

Now THIS is what a Q and A SHOULD be like!

Chef AJ holds a 4-week program in LA now and then, a live version of her Ultimate Weight Loss program. This time around she had Alan Goldhamer, DC (and Doug Lisle, PhD, too) as a special guest, and a highlight of his appearance was this one hour question and answer period, where people at the program submitted questions in writing and (Gasp!) AJ actually asked them and (Double gasp!) the doctor actually gave answers to them!

How I wish all doctors who did Q and A's followed the same format.

And how I wish I lived on the West coast and could go to True North! It's on my bucket list, right behind attendance at a McDougall 10 Day program. I can't fly, thanks to my lousy ears, so it would be a really long train or car ride to get there and back.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

As a Star Trek:TNG fan I just couldn't pass up sharing this.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

No Webinar This Week

Once again, Dr. Lisle couldn't log in, and this time Gustavo couldn't get Dr. McDougall on the phone to pitch hit. There's a 10-Day program going on right now, so perhaps they're all off on a field trip.

Hopefully next week somebody can log in. There's no registration info up yet so no idea if it'll be Dr McDougall, Dr Lisle, or someone else chatting with Gustavo.

And hopefully I'll be here next week. My computer died and not even replacing the hard drive helped - my son said it's something with the motherboard, so kiss it goodbye. I'm using a borrowed laptop right now, but do have to get out to Best Buy one of these days to pick up a new one. I still have that lousy cold and my head still isn't working right, so want to wait to get a new machine until I can think straight. Last thing I need is to buy the wrong machine for my needs, or mess up setting it up, registering Windows, setting up the virus scanner, making the recovery discs, etc. It's hard enough to do when bright eyed and bushy tailed!

Jill McKeever and AJ Cook-Along - Slow Cooked Pasta Free Lasagna (aka

Gee, it only took AJ 2 months to post this video. She told us about doing it way back in November and we've been waiting for it ever since.

The recipe is in Jill's book, O M Gee! Good, which is based on the McDougall Pizza Potatoes recipe from various newsletters, the McDougall mobile cookbook app, and more recently in the Starch Solution book. She had previously done a video using the original recipe.

So, here AJ is calling this side-by-side video by the name of her former Foody TV web show, Healthy Living with Chef AJ, but it's nothing but a self-recorded YouTube video and the self-produced show series seems to be dead now.

On with the show:

Friday, January 6, 2017

Webinar with Mary and Dr. McDougall

Calling this webinar "Dr. McDougall's Wishes for 2017 and Q&A" is a total misnomer.

It starts off with the couple talking about their early years of marriage - how they met, the cruddy apartment they lived in, their years in Hawaii during his internship and years as a plantation doc. Eventually he gets around to the hippie vegan couple who introduced them to the veg way of life and how they slowly turned to plant based eating.

25 minutes into this thing and they're still reminiscing.

Finally, he mentions that they changed their diet in 1977 about 28 minutes in, the same story about doing research then telling Mary what to remove from their diet - first meat, then dairy, etc. An old story oft repeated.

35 minutes and still rambling. Again mentions how Mary was forced to develop recipes to give their patients in 1977.

Finally made to to St. Helena hospital and their move to Santa Rosa at the 40 minute mark, and how he left to go on his own around 46 minutes.

51 minutes in and they're talking how great the Flamingo cooks make their food for program participants. Not as great as home made, but close. Um, okay. 

What happened to the Q&A? Before Gustavo closed the chat there were at least a dozen questions already, and I'm sure he had a bunch that were written in to the webinar@drmcdougall.com address.

56 minutes - they mention how Heather is now in charge of the programs at the Flamingo and how he brought in Dr. Lim to help examining the patients.

Elvis Presley's birthday?? Same day as their anniversary. Of course, blame his diet for his death, not the tons of drugs he did.

Finally, after the 1 hour mark:
2017 - Hawaii trip in 3 weeks - not news
2018 - Alaska with NatGeo, another Hawaii trip in January 2018 - If interested in either, write to carol@drmcdougall.com to get on the pre-waiting list, because they expect them to sell out within 48 hours once they open it up for reservations.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Takotsubo Syndrome in BHF Magazine

Back in 2009 I suffered a heart condition known as Takotsubo Syndrome. I was my cardiologist's first patient with it, and as of 3 years ago when my husband became a patient of his thanks to his CVD and subsequent CABG surgery, I was still the only one he treated. Very few doctors and no nurse, including cardiac care unit nurses, I've ever spoken with had heard of this rare disease, either.

I know Takotsubo Syndrome has been in a lot of new reports recently with the death of Debbie Reynolds so soon after her daughter. I'm glad the word is getting out, and I hope this recent tragedy has prompted doctors here in the USA to do more reading and research on it, for their patients' sake.

It was so good when I recently found a Takotsubo Facebook community and had contact with others who have also suffered this cardiac problem. For so many of us, we're the only only people who ever heard of it, much less had it and have been treated. It seems doctors in Great Britain are more up to date on this than docs here in the USA, and they treat it more seriously than my cardiologist did. They actually keep people in the hospital for more than a day and encourage rest for the first few weeks, not push you out the door and force you into an exercise program ASAP.

And they also make the public aware of the disorder outside of tabloid news. The British Heart Foundation appears to be the UK's version of the American Heart Association, and has a monthly magazine. In this current issue they have some articles on Takotsubo Syndrome, explaining what it is, how it's treated, one woman's story, and what the future may bring. For instance, this was the first time I ever saw the warning that TSS recurrence rate is as high as 15%, and that some people never fully recover, continuing to suffer from extreme fatigue for years afterwards, even if all tests show the heart structure has returned to normal. That, along with my diagnosis of MCTD, can explain a lot of my on-going problems. 

There's just one big medical surprise after another lately.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dr. Goldhamer Talk

Since she got a Smartphone last summer, Chef AJ loves broadcasting live videos, and lucky for us, she did a few of Dr. Goldhamer from the 10 days she recently spent at True North.

In this video, he talks at one point of the importance of sleep for weight loss. It's as important as proper diet and exercise. I have found out first-hand how essential it is. For decades I've had insomnia, waking during the night, not able to get back to sleep. It got worse after menopause. I've always had trouble losing weight, and it got worse after menopause.

Then last year, for some reason I started sleeping better. It only lasted about 4 months, but with no other lifestyle changes - that is, the same foods, the same exercise - I lost some weight. OK, maybe only 6 pounds total of the 100 or so I still need to lose, but it was something and I was deliriously happy with it. 

Then my son got a job, a job that required him to leave the house by 5am, meaning he had to wake up at least an hour before that to get ready. We live in a 5-room apartment and noise made in one room is heard in ever corner, so as soon as I heard him get up, I was awake. It got worse 2 weeks later when he caught this cold that we're still passing around and I would hear him coughing in his sleep all night long (then my husband coughing, then me coughing, then the kid again, then - - - you get the picture). So I wasn't getting decent sleep again. On a good night I would get 5 interrupted hours. Not only did I regain the few pounds I lost last year but added a few more on. I started this year 2 pounds higher than I started last year. So depressing! Last night again I was awake every hour, reaching for tissues or coughing. Since my husband has to get up for work this morning, I gave up and got out of bed around 3am so he could get some uninterrupted sleep. 

Hopefully we'll get this cold/flu/Martian flu out of the house by Spring, and hopefully I can sleep for longer stretches again. And hopefully I can finally start shedding pounds - Heck, I'll take OUNCES at this point! - again.

AJ recorded another talk yesterday before she left True North, but I haven't had the opportunity to watch it yet. But whatever the subject, I'm sure Dr. Goldhamer makes it interesting.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Webinar - Arthritis

(Forgive the crankiness. I've been sick again since a few days before Christmas and still not feeling any better, then my computer starts acting up and the hard drive needs to be replaced ASAP, and being the holidays, stores are sold out of the drive I needed, and when I found one, it's going to take a few days to get here.)

I expected so much from this webinar and got so little. I really wish there was some way to reel Dr. McDougall in to keep him on topic.

And I don't know what's going on with his health lately, but his skin coloration has gotten pretty awful lately, especially all the brown splotches on his forehead and yellowed cheeks.