Eating Out…

One of the discussions we have most often with those who are new to this nutrition plan is centered on the challenge of eating out. The two books we are using for education, reference and recipes, Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD and The Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn, are indispensable resources for how to make this lifestyle work in a practical manner. The websites for both of these men also have a wealth of advice. We’ve successfully used many suggestions out of their experiences and won’t try to reiterate here.

We are sending lunches from home quite often. However, I did think it might be useful to share which restaurants have items on their menus which are “Esselstyn-safe”. My three current favorites are:

Kyoto Sushi: Vegetarian Sushi (though they do not yet have brown rice, we’re hopeful), Miso Soup, Edamame. Their green tea is lovely, too.

The Smythe House: Veggie Delight Salad (minus cheese) and Baked Potato (minus all but the fresh chives). This is the best salad I’ve eaten out in a long time…very fresh and a great combination of vegetables. Note: The scoop of guacamole is legal with E2, but not for heart patients.

Duncan Regional Hospital, Atrium Cafe: I know what you’re thinking, but our young Chef is really outstanding and has produced some dishes which are at the top of our list. So, check out the Re:Fresh food station. They always include E-safe items. and monthly menus are posted on their website. Additionally, the Director of Food Services, Jimmy Fetters, has priced the vegetarian and vegan items below the rest of the menu to encourage diners to try these new plates!

Do support our local merchants and feel free to share any other local restaurants you are frequenting which have approved foods!

Let’s Talk Salad

Salad is the answer to so many questions. Pie is the answer to many of the questions which cannot be answered with Salad.


Loving your Salad will come with time invested in this lifestyle. And it won’t take as long as you think. The Esselstyn men know this and teach it in their respective books. What is impossible to convey to the newcomer is just how drastically your tastes will change. So hang in there and eat your Salad. Lots of it.

Some women have told me they are not losing weight, even though they are not “cheating”. What I have noticed in my own experience is exactly what Mrs. Ann Crile Esselstyn has said. If you are not losing weight, you are probably indulging in too many carbs. Simply bump up your intake of vegetables. Eat them first. I think the tendency, particularly in that first adjustment phase, is to compensate the loss of meat with carbs. My personal recommendation is to prepare your plate with 3/4 vegetables and 1/4 carbs. See, the answer is… Salad.

Another question is that of cost. Some have been disappointed to see their food bill go up. Take inventory. You are likely purchasing too many ready-made products. Now personally, I do not buy what I will refer to as “substitute products”… Generally tofu pretending to be something else. If you must have a hot dog, then make that tofu dog a once a month treat. These types of foods are expensive. I recommend for daily meals you simply purchase greens or grains you’ve never tried. It’s an adventure and far less expensive. Once again, the answer is… Salad.

A big concern for many of us is the issue of time. Friends and patients from many different walks of life have expressed the difficulty of keeping within the parameters of the diet amid their busy schedules. This has certainly been true in our home. I find that three things help us immensely. The first is keeping lots of raw vegetables shredded in separate containers in the refrigerator. They can be easily tossed together to play a major part in meals at home or away. The second is that I try to keep an item high in protein with those. Thirdly, I keep a bottle of the 321 Dressing going at all times.  Answer to question #3? Yes, that’s right…Salad.

So, be creative with your Salad. Set yourself up for success by thinking ahead. You got involved in this because you started thinking about what you were eating.

My Favorite Salad

(The Salad currently being exploited as my header is a variation of this Salad)

Mache and Spinach

Red Quinoa, prepared according to package directions

Shredded Cabbage

Shredded Carrot

Shredded Beets

English Peas (I keep frozen peas on hand)

Campari Tomato

Fresh, Steamed Green Beans

321 Dressing

You know how this works. Arrange the vegetables beautifully, with respect for their amazing colors. Sprinkle on a bit of 321 Dressing, and dig in!

To the Rescue!

As requested… Here are a few recipes we enjoy and may or may not have tweaked to accommodate our taste preferences.

321 Dressing

This is the dressing and it’s varietals which we use daily. I saved a pretty vinegar bottle and take it with me when I eat out. We keep one at the office.

3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, or Champagne Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard (I use only 1 TBSP if I am making this with White Wine or Champagne Vinegar)

1Tablespoon Maple Syrup

Mix it. Dress your salad. Yum.

Ok, my four daughters and I are known for our mad baking skills. This diet has nearly driven us mad with what we consider to be extrememly sub-par baked goods. We’ve gone rogue and adapted some decent recipes and invented our own to save our palates and our reputations… This notwithstanding, I’ll dedicate this recipe to Leah Miller, who has definitely missed her bread!

Southern Style Cornbread

This cornbread will stand up to any southern recipe. It is an adaptation of the vegetarian version from Angelica Kitchen in NYC. They serve 25,000 pieces of theirs annually! We don’t eat that many in our house, though it is tempting. That said, we wouldn’t think of making anything but a double batch.

1 Cup Cornmeal

1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

1 Cup Non-Fat Soy Milk

1/2 Cup Applesauce

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 Cup Minced Scallions or 1/8 Cup Minced Jalapeno

1/4 Cup Sweet Corn

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch round pan with parchment. Whisk the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine and add the scallions (or jalapenos) and the sweet corn. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Though I am definitely not a fan of nonstick cookware, we have also baked this batter in a nonstick madeline pan for 15 minutes or so. If I had a cast iron version, I could feel completely confident about those darling little bites we turned out.

Chocolate Layer Cake

For the batter:

2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Cups Unbleached White Flour

1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Cup Cocoa

2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Cup Applesauce

3 Cups Maple Syrup

2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar

4 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Cups  Water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two 9-inch springform pans with parchment. Whisk the dry ingredients. Mix the wet in a separate bowl until emulsified. Combine the dry and wet, being careful not to overmix. Divide the batter equally between the two pans and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not open the oven door for the first 30 minutes or sadly enough, the cake will collapse. Cool 30 minutes before frosting.

For the frosting:

6 Tablespoons Agar Flakes

1 1/2 Cups Water

3/4 Cup Cocoa

2 1/4 Cups Maple Syrup

1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

4 1/2 Tablespoons Arrowroot

6 Tablespoons Non-fat Soy Milk

Place the agar flakes and the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer and stir occasionally for 5 minutes or until agar is dissolved. Whisk in cocoa, syrup, salt and vanilla. In a small bowl, dissolve the arrowroot in the milk. Add to the agar mixture, raise heat to medium and simmer for 1 minute. Pour frosting into a glass pie plate and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Cut frosting into squares and put in the food processor until creamy. Frost the cake. You know how. Cut it, eat it, and share it. Don’t tell your family and friends that it’s non-fat vegan and they probably won’t guess.

Roman Numerals and Bubbles…

Saturday evening …Thanksgiving Weekend 2011

My husband, Jim, came out of the woods. It had been a warm, rainy day with no wildlife moving. While sitting in his deer stand, he had read a book recommended to him by local surgeon, Dr. Robert J. Weedn.  Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. outlines a nutritional plan which has been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol, drop extra weight, prevent and even reverse heart disease.

Jim is an old school family practicioner (with a largely rural patient population) who still delivers babies and performs some surgery. As he related to me a brief overview of the book, he said he felt many of his patients could benefit from the diet, but that he couldn’t recommend it without first living it. He would begin Monday morning and continue until Christmas Eve. I was mildly suprised and considered the proposition for about two minutes before I voluteered to go through it with him.

My man is deeply thoughtful, very logical and practical. One close friend informed Jim his personality was that of Roman Numerals (guess who he called Bubbles).

He is never given to grandiose plans or statements. But his next declaration floored me…

“I want my patients to lose 10,000 pounds. And I want Stephens County to lose 100,000 pounds.”

Since that day, Jim has dropped 25 pounds and lowered his cholesterol 95 points. The cholesterol medication he used to take sits in the cupboard… unused and no longer necessary. My own cholesterol was never too high, but this new eating plan has brought me to the point of my hdl (happy cholesterol) being higher than my ldl (lousy cholesterol) and I am within 2.5 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight of 112.

Our hospital CEO, Board of Directors, and Chef, plus several other local physicians are supporting the effort. Many of these leaders have even taken on this new lifestyle. Our small town is experiencing the beginings of a small revolution. Jim has ordered and reordered copies of the book to supply them for his patients. Friends and patients are participating and taking back their health.

So many have asked for recipes, the adjustments we’ve made to accommodate our personal tastes, tips for success, supply sources... Hence, the reason for this blog.

Step into our kitchen, sit down at our table. Join in the conversation and see what’s cooking!