The Engine 2 Retreat was in Portland, Oregon last weekend; a friend and I decided to make the trip from Philly because it seemed as good a reason as any for a long weekend in the Pacific Northwest. The Retreat was wonderful! It was a very well organized weekend and I think the content was such that whether you are 100% plant perfect or an omnivore interested in learning more about the impact of diet on health you could comfortably enjoy the discussions and stay interested throughout the days. There were so many interesting speakers I’ve had a hard time deciding how to post about the weekend adventure. I finally decided to split up my Retreat posts into a few mini posts. I’ll keep today’s post focused on the most important parts of the weekend – the food, and the dancing.
Yes, there was dancing! Natala Constantine is the Communications Director at Engine 2. Her story is beautiful and inspiring and the brief paragraph on the E2 website doesn’t do it justice, but I urge you to give it a read. I won’t get into her story here because I won’t do it justice either; Natala in her humor, her presence (and hotness that clearly surpasses that of Rip), are what make the story so inspiring. I will share three lessons learned from Natala:
- 1 Minute Dance Parties daily should be incorporated into your routine. It’s true. Rough day, feeling sluggish, a little down? 1 minute…dance like nobody’s watching and you will immediately feel better. They went with Pharrell’s Happy for their dance parties at the Retreat; I prefer P!NK myself. Whatever you choose just get up and get your running man on.
- An abundance of fat stores is indicative of strong genes. Consider evolutionary survival, those selected to survive famines, droughts, etc survived due to an abundance of fat stores. To adapt to these environmental influences populations developed “thrifty genes”. There has been substantial work on this topic as it relates to the Pima Indian population and the incidence of obesity and Type II diabetes. In the absence of famine with unlimited access to an overabundance of calorie dense foodstuffs rates of obesity and Type II diabetes increase substantially.
- Do Normal. Go about your health in a practical way.
I enjoyed Natala’s talks tremendously. She has an important message to share with people and I think the key is that Engine 2 Diet is a lifestyle change not a diet in the 15 lbs in 15 days sense.
Of course, there was food! You’ll have to excuse my iPhone/instagram photos here on the blog this week but that’s all I had with me under the fluorescent hotel lights. The food was awesome. The coffee was half-caff, and there was not a sugar packet to be found anywhere though they did leave a couple of salt shakers out if you were so inclined. I admit the Starbuck’s guy across the street knew my friend and I pretty well by the end of the weekend, but other than my morning fully caffeinated Pike’s Place (black no sugar) I stuck to green tea. Other than the need for my morning cuppa, I was fine without added sugars or salt. Breakfast was steel cut oats with fresh fruit, chia seeds and cinnamon, steamed greens with fresh tomato and hot sauce, and a muffin (which I saved for a mid-morning snack).
Lunch the first day was black beans and rice, and a salad. You can’t actually see my black beans and rice because there are so many veggies loaded on top but trust me they’re under there. This is a very simple and satisfying meal that I’ve come to make often.
Day 2 lunch was a burger, baked fries, and a salad.
Dinner Night 1 was Raise the Roof Lasagna. I’ve made this a few times myself and really enjoy it. It’s definitely a weekend meal due to all the chopping and prep, but it’s well worth it and makes a lot.
The second dinner was a pasta bar with a choice of sauces. We skipped the second dinner to go touring around Portland and eat something local (sorry no pics, we ended up at a Thai restaurant and by the time we got our food we were starving and dug in).
It didn’t occur to me to ask for a picture with Rip but I did buy Engine 2 Diet and had him sign it for me.
I read it on the plane trip home. I think the take home message is “Don’t eat bear balls. Eat healthy, delectable, plant-based foods so that you will never fall over on your cat.” Kidding aside, if you don’t get a chance to hear Rip tell the Engine 2 story in person, I would highly recommend the book; it’s a fast read and has a nice balance of stories, science, recipes and health tips.