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Teachers take on the plant-based challenge ADVERTISEMENT

Teachers take on the plant-based challenge

DUNDEE, PENN YAN--Eat plants, lose weight, save your health.
That's the promise of the book "The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet" by Rip Esselstyn.
That promise has propelled the book to a New York Times bestseller and the healthy-eating plan has become a teacher and staff challenge in Dundee and Penn Yan along with 23 other school districts in the BOCES region with some 1,300 educators participating.
The concept is pretty simple. Adopt a plant-based eating program and avoid any animal produced foods along with avoiding refined sugar, salt and oils to help lose weight and also improve a person's overall health.
The school districts have customized the program somewhat to include a 10-day period (as opposed to the book title of seven days) but also strictly following the book's food choices.
A typical day with the plant-based diet can include dishes like: oatmeal (without milk or sugar), vegetables steamed, grilled or baked, fresh salad (with no sugar, no oil dressings), whole-grain bread and pasta, potatoes, fruits and beans.
Kelly Houck, Dundee school superintendent said, "Some people get pretty creative with recipes. I am planning to make a whole-grain vegetarian lasagna. It just takes some extra time."
Houck said 60 teachers and staff are participating in Dundee. In Penn Yan Becki Bailey said 50 people are taking the diet challenge.
Bailey said, "We're on day five and starting to experience some increased energy and our taste buds are beginning to adjust. It's a pretty drastic change to only eat plant-based whole foods with no oil. Makes you realize how much sugar, salt, etc. is in processed foods (which we can't have). We can only have black coffee and tea during the challenge (in addition to water) and some people are really missing their diet and regular sodas and coffee creamers and sweeteners. We are already seeing weight loss too. We're spending more time thinking about having the right ingredients and prepping food, because we can't rely on fast food, processed snacks, etc. It is getting easier as we go. We are learning to adapt the foods we already fix and enjoy so they meet the guidelines. We're sharing recipes and ideas with each other that we've tried and like. We're also part of the larger group (25 school districts with some 1,300 employees) in the area and have our own Facebook support page. We get daily emails from Doug Schmidt, the Wellness Coordinator at Victor, who is leading this challenge."
The challenge time frame ran from Monday, Jan. 8 to Wednesday, Jan. 17. After the 10-day challenge has been completed, results of the tested participants will be distributed to all of the dieters including weight loss and cholesterol levels. Across the country, in just 10 days on the diet plan, some people have recorded 5-8 pound weight reductions along with significant decreases in cholesterol levels.

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