I just returned from Plant Stock 2018 recharged, inspired and motivated to continue my whole food, plant based lifestyle. Plant Stock was a three-day event held at the Blue Ridge Assembly in the Black Mountain area outside of Asheville, North Carolina. It was hosted and presented by the incredible team from the Engine 2 program, and most notably, Rip Esselstyn. Rip is the founder of the Engine 2 program as well as a member of the Esselstyn family, who are all plant based crusaders.
My dear friend Lisa Gianvito and I made our reservations for this event way back in January of this year. We both are members of several Facebook groups that are under the wing of Engine 2. There is a 7 Day Rescue Challenge group, which is an online support group that follows Rip’s Engine 2 7 Day Rescue Program. We joined this group in its infancy in 2017. At the time, there were just a couple hundred members. The group now numbers in the tens of thousands. The other (less stringent) group is the Engine 2 Plant Based Community group. We had both heard of previous Plant Stock events and we agreed to book for this event, which very quickly sold out.
We arrived Friday afternoon at the YMCA camp property. When we turned off the main road, we were greeted by various signs in the road: “Honk if you pooped (twice) today” and “Kale yeah, you made it.” As we drove up to the registration, we were greeted by staff in bright tie-dye shirts and a giant sign that said “Welcome to your Tribe.” We were home.
I was a little uncertain about what to expect and what I’d come away with from the weekend. I had been following a plant-based way of eating since the beginning of 2017. I was excited that all the food we would be eating all weekend was Engine 2 plant strong and that there was no need to worry about asking for any modifications like I do at practically every restaurant on the planet!
After checking into our modest accommodations, we had free time before the welcome assembly. We had choices of yoga, hiking, swimming and gym workouts. After a fabulous yoga session with Martha of Black Mountain Yoga studios, we headed to the welcome program. It’s hard to describe the spirit of the room when over 700 people who eat “just like you” are gathered together! It was simply overwhelming. The next stop was the dining hall for the first of a weekend full of plant strong meals.
After a fabulous first dinner, we joined together once again to watch the premier of a new film, “The Game Changers,” which has not yet been released. Imagine a movie about elite athletes that follow a Plant Based Diet! This is a must-see movie, especially for all the people out there who constantly ask: “Where do you get your protein?” It dispels all the myths that animal protein is essential for strength and endurance. It was truly eye-opening for the entire audience.
Day 2 was filled with inspiring speakers and panels. We listened to Dr. Michael Greger from NutritionFacts.org and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, (patriarch of the Esselstyn family),who detailed the benefits of a plant based diet and the reversal of heart disease. Every medical professional that spoke this weekend gave their insights and experiences and proof that this way of eating and lifestyle can reverse obesity, reverse diabetes, slow down the progression (or eliminate the risk) of dementia and improve health like no pill can do. Each speaker emphasized that the way out of the health crisis that this country is in is as easy as what you put in your mouth. All you need are whole foods — specifically minimally processed, plant based food. We were entertained by Rip’s sister, Jane Esselstyn, as well as their mother, Ann. Jane and Ann are YouTube sensations!
This brings me back to my why. I am fortunate to not be suffering from any of the common chronic diseases that plague our society. I just want to avoid them. I enjoy this way of eating. It’s not hard. The food is delicious. I have a community of people who think like I do, and I really hope that I can convince more people to join our tribe.
If you’re curious about the Engine 2 program, check out their plan. You can sign up for the 7 Day Resuce challenge here. It is completely free! The support from the Facebook group is absolutely amazing.
In my next post, I’ll show you how to make a mango and corn salsa that is so easy that I made the entire recipe while I was on hold with John Hancock insurance, waiting to be connected to a “live” person.
Until the next time,