Carrot Dog Recipe, Plant-Based, Low-Fat (Vegan Carrot Sausages)

These carrot sausages don’t taste exactly like the heavily salted, greasy meat sauces, but they are delicious and heart healthy.


  • 4 large, thick, unpeeled, washed carrots
  • 1 sliced, peeled yellow, red or white onion
  • 2 sliced red bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • Mustard
  • 8 large partially sliced hot dog buns, heated
  • ¼ cup drinking water to sauté the vegetables


  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup drinking water
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • Dash chipotle powder
  • 1st each: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika
  • A few twists of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sesame oil*
  • 1-2 tsp cornstarch

Remove ends off carrots. Boil carrots in salted, boiling water in a medium-sized pot 8-10 minutes until you can easily pierce a fork through each carrot. If carrots don’t fit inside the pot, lengthwise, break the carrot(s) in half.

While the carrots are cooking, place the onion and bell peppers in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan, stirring every few minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and soft.

Mix marinade ingredients in a small bowl until no cornstarch chunks are visible. Pour marinade ingredients into the pan with the vegetables and stir with a spatula, with the heat on until the marinade thickens, then turn heat off, and pull the pan off the heat element.

Drain carrots after they are cooked and tender. Add drained carrots to the pan with the vegetables, making sure to coat each carrot with the thickened marinade.

Plate the vegetables, and one half of a carrot inside a hot dog bun. Add your favorite mustard onto the carrot sausage or add the mustard to the inside of the bun, using a butter knife to distribute the mustard evenly. Serve warm.

Serves 8.

*Omit the sesame oil if you are trying to lose weight, if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. There will be a lot of marinade left over so you won’t be consuming that much oil if you decide to keep the sesame oil in the recipe.

Watch the video below to see exactly how I make these (and how I got carrot dog in my hair).

The best CLEAN plant-based groceries (best clean vegan foods to buy)

different dry pasta in containers on table

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published March 7, 2023

Since I have food allergies, sensitives, and autoimmune conditions, I make sure to buy only certified organic, gluten-free foods, free of preservatives and inflammatory ingredients. Many people are searching for anti-inflammatory, alkalizing foods so I created a list of my favorite, healthy, plant-based, vegan foods to share with you.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps offset my blog domain and website dues. Please use the links provided to support me.

The best tasting organic vegan teas

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Best CLEAN chocolate tea

My favorite all-time dessert was homemade chewy brownies, but I don’t consume sugar, oil, or flour anymore, they just don’t make me feel good. I can make raw vegan brownies, but there is just too much fat (from the nuts) and I only eat dates if my blood sugar is low because dehydrated fruit is highly glycemic. Numi Chocolate Pu-erh tea has a subtle chocolate aftertaste with zero calories and zero guilt, which reminds me of my favorite treat.

Best CLEAN mint tea

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Mint bamboo tea is refreshing, it makes me enjoy filtered water that much more. Bamboo contains naturally occurring silica, which supposedly removes aluminum from our bodies; this is important because aluminum is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s.

I pop a tea bag into my room temperature or cold water, and let it steep about 10 minutes (I don’t even heat the water), that’s it. I gave it to my mom, husband, neighbor and an acquaintance to try, and they all loved it (my neighbor even bought a box for herself). For people who don’t like the taste of water, this tea is just what you need. Just pop the tea bag in your water bottle and go!

Best CLEAN spice tea

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Good Earth Spicy tea reminds me of a spiced orange soda, but without the bubbles, it’s delicious!

BEST superfood powders

Amla, also known as the Indian Gooseberry, has been shown to lower inflammation, blood sugar and cholesterol levels; it’s the highest antioxidant known. Amla tastes both bitter and tart, and downright awful so I put mine in a capsule and down it with water. Some people put 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon their smoothies and say they don’t notice the amla flavor (I do). The amla powder I like best so far is shown below; it’s certified organic, priced well, vegan and gluten-free.

Turmeric is another superfood. The magic is the curcumin which is part of turmeric. Don’t bother spending more money to get curcumin, because it is usually cut with other ingredients, sometimes harmful, to make more money off of you. The other problem with getting curcumin, which is an isolated ingredient, is that the body may not recognize it as food, since it’s processed and causes inflammation.

Get the whole food in the powder form, it’s less expensive and safe. I sprinkle turmeric in soups and pour some into clean vegan capsules.

Simply Organic Turmeric Root powder contains one ingredient: organic turmeric powder.

Boswellia is a bitter ayurvedic anti-inflammatory Indian spice that I scoop into vegan capsules and down with a glass of water.

Boswellia by Banyan is certified organic and assists with detoxification and pain relief.

Watch the video below on how I pump up the benefits of Boswellia by adding a few additional common household spices.

Best sources of omega 3’s

The best sources of omega 3s are in plants in their whole form, not in the form of oils or powders. The highest concentration of omega 3’s are in chia seeds and flax seeds.

I make chia eggs by adding 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to three tablespoons of water, let it sit for five minutes and stir. Some people like to make chia pudding, add chia seeds to smoothies or oatmeal, to add additional healthy fats to their diet, or add it to foods as a natural thickener.

I like to grind up one tablespoon of flax seeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkle it on top of oatmeal or berries with cinnamon, which gives my breakfast or snack a satisfying crunch.

Store whole chia seeds and flax seeds in the refrigerator and grind right before eating as pre-ground seeds can go rancid quickly.

If you cannot tolerate chia or flax seeds, even in small amounts, you can apply small amounts of refrigerated flax oil to dry skin, such as the arms or legs (don’t apply to the eye area).

Do not eat any oils as oils as all oils damage endothelial cells and lower immunity.

Best B-12 supplement

This B-12 organic spray from Garden of Life is my top-pick because it doesn’t contain any GMOs or any other vitamins. This spray tastes like punch so it’s a pleasant flavor. It contains 500 mcg of B-12 in one spray. Per Dr. Greger on his site,, most adults need 2000 mcg of B-12 per week, so one spray of this B-12 supplement, every other day, will supply all the B-12 you need.

Many products, like almond milk, and multi-vitamins contain B-12, so may need less.

Most B-12 supplements are a B-complex, and contain other B-vitamins, which is completely unnecessary since all vitamins and minerals, except for Vitamin D, which is a hormone, can be found in whole plant foods.

Many vitamins are synthetic and are GMO, which means they act more like pharmaceutical drugs with unknown side effects, potentially increasing risk of allergies, autoimmune conditions, headaches, and cancer.

I make sure everything I purchase is either non-GMO or certified organic.

Best detoxifying products

Activated charcoal is given in hospitals to patients who have consumed something harmful (a poison). Everyone should have activated charcoal at home in case of emergency (but call 911 too!).

Because activated charcoal removes toxins and minerals, it’s important not to activated charcoal before or after eating, so I take one to two capsules with eight ounces of water in the middle of the night (every night) when I get up to use the bathroom.

BEST digestive enzymes

If you avoid beans and/or cruciferous vegetables because of gas, bloating and digestive pain, try these digestive enzymes from PlantFusion. Dairy, sugar and animal products cause gut dysbiosis and bad bacteria to grow, so make sure to avoid those foods and to only buy vegan digestive enzymes.

PlantFusion’s vegan digestive enzymes work best when I swallow them right before eating. Over time, you will be able to eat a lot more beans and other gassy plant foods if you eat them consistently and increase the volume over time, while also avoiding inflammatory foods.

Best tasting CLEAN organic vegan chocolate protein powder

While I advise people to eat whole foods, and inform them that only way someone has a protein deficiency is when they are eating pure sugar, or aren’t eating enough calories, people will consume protein powder anyway, so I might as well let people know of a delicious tasting vegan protein powder with mostly organic ingredients, which is Orgain’s Simple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup which I pair with my homemade hemp milk and 1 1/2 frozen bananas.

Orgain’s Simple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup protein powder non-GMO and contains sugar in the form of coconut sugar. It has 140 calories, 7 net grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein for two scoops. This protein powder is delicious on it’s own with a cup of unsweetened plant milk.

If you crave a chocolate shake, give this a try. It appears that Orgain no longer makes this exact formulation, which is why the cost is around $2.60 a serving. I don’t like the ingredients in the newest formulation of their Chocolate Peanut Butter protein powder (the word “cup” is no longer on the package to differentiate it from the original) because it contains stevia, oil and gums. You can sometimes find this protein powder at Costco.

Best CLEAN vegan organic vanilla protein powder

This creamy vanilla protein powder by Orgain is what we sometimes use to make smoothies, high protein oat cookies, and oatmeal (add this protein powder, walnuts and coconut flakes to make the most delicious vanilla oatmeal).

Orgain’s Simple Plant Protein Powder in Creamy Vanilla is gluten-free, vegan, certified organic, and stevia-free (I don’t like the metallic taste of stevia). It does contain sugar in the form of coconut sugar, but not too much, as two scoops (I use one or less) contains just 9 grams of net carbohydrates.

Best CLEAN vanilla extract without alcohol

When I’m making a raw dessert, like a fruit smoothie, where the food isn’t cooked, I don’t want the taste of alcohol to overpower the flavors, so I choose a non-alcoholic vanilla in glycerin. The other brands that are less expensive are synthetic, a combination of chemicals that smell and taste like vanilla. Simply organic has the most natural flavor of vanilla I’ve tried.

Best priced CLEAN thick balsamic vinegar

This Napa Valley balsamic vinegar is thick, an excellent price and versatile. It has a tart and sweet flavor that can be used in a variety of dishes. I use this on almost all of my salads, on strawberries, and on drizzle it over my blueberry oatmeal.

The BEST gluten-free teriyaki sauce (oil-free and sugar-free)

Coconut Secret’s Teriyaki Sauce is not only delicious, but also gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free and certified organic. The only downside is that it is much more expensive that other teriyaki sauces, but well worth the splurge.

The BEST gluten-free, organic, soy-free sauce

Coconut Secret has the best tasting low-sodium, gluten-free, soy-free sauce. It’s also organic, kosher and sugar-free. It contains just two ingredients: tree sap and sea salt. It is the perfect blend of salt and sweet that can turn most meals from bland to yummy. Coconut Secret costs more than other coconut aminos but it tastes better and contains less sodium than the other brands I’ve tried.

The BEST gluten-free, organic penne pasta

red lentil pasta with pumpkin sauce

This red lentil penne pasta is delicious paired with a rich, sticky sauce like my potato and carrot vegan cheese sauce (recipe in The High-Five Diet paperback book), or my pumpkin sauce (recipe found on my blog, to find go tothe search bar).

You can also find Sedanini’s Red Lentil Gluten-Free penne pasta at most Trader Joe’s markets.

The BEST gluten-free, organic ramen noodles

pasta dish
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I wish these ramen noodles were around when I was in high school because these are healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free and certified organic. It takes just a few minutes to cook. It’s best with soups and Asian dishes.

Best CLEAN nutritional yeast

I use nutritional yeast on pasta, to make soups and stews thicker, or to give food a “cheesy flavor.” I used to buy fortified nutritional yeast because I thought it was great that it had added Vitamin B12 until I got my B12 blood work back and saw my B12 levels were extremely high.

High B12 has been correlated with lung cancer, but it could be that those individuals were consuming a lot of meat and that was why their B12 levels were high. Even so, vitamin levels can be dangerous at high levels which is why I only buy non-fortified nutritional yeast now.

I’ve tried several different brands of nutritional yeast and I like Anthony’s non-fortified nutritional yeast the best as it’s consistent and non-GMO. It has one ingredient: yeast

Best priced CLEAN organic oat groats

Oat groats are the whole form of the oats that most people eat as oatmeal. I use them in place of brown rice because brown rice has too much arsenic.

How to make oat groats. One minute YouTube video demonstration

Best CLEAN gluten-free, organic graham crackers

These graham crackers from Mary’s Gone Crackers are so delicious, they taste like cookies. They are organic and gluten-free, but they aren’t vegan because they contain honey. They do have other ingredients I don’t like such as palm-fruit shortening (a saturated fat), coconut sugar (it’s still sugar), and sunflower oil (all oils are inflammatory). If those ingredients don’t matter to you and you’re going to eat cookies and crackers anyway, these are a much healthier choice than the majority of others in the marketplace. All three flavors, honey, chocolate and cinnamon, are delicious:.

The best CLEAN gluten-free, vegan seed crackers

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Mary’s Gone Crackers has gluten-free seed crackers without sugar or that weird salty-film that is on the top of a lot of gluten-free crackers (yuck). I like the Super Seed Everything crackers the best. Pair these seed crackers with your favorite spreads or crush them and sprinkle on top of soup or salads for a savory crunch.

the BEST vegan chocolate bars

I don’t like chocolate with spices or different flavors; I like my chocolate to taste like sweet chocolate candy and this one by Enjoy Life is my favorite (and the only one I eat). It contains just three ingredients unsweetened chocolate, cane sugar, and cocoa butter. While sugar is inflammatory, it’s probably the healthiest of the chocolate bars that aren’t raw. I’ve seen these for sale at Jimbo’s and at Sprout’s markets too.

The best VEGAN chocolate chips

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People who have tried these chocolate chips by Enjoy Life are surprised they are vegan because they are rich, chocolatey and melt in your mouth. They contain just three ingredients: cocoa, brown sugar and cocoa butter. They are also gluten free, so those that cannot eat gluten, can eat these.

Sugar is inflammatory, so limit your consumption of foods containing sugar.

I have also found these delicious chocolate chips at Trader Joe’s markets.

Best CACAO nibs

Cacao nibs is a true healthy chocolate because it is in its purest form without added ingredients like sugar. I like sprinkling cacao nibs on top of a banana smoothie, or I will blend them into a smoothie for a little crunch throughout.

Cacao nibs are also delicious with granola and on top of vegan ice cream. Cacao nibs are bitter which is why it’s best with a sweet desert and only add a tablespoon or less.

These cacao nibs by Nativas are my favorite because they are fresh, crunchy and have a pure chocolate flavor.

The BEST CLEAN vegan fruit and nut bars

These Peanut Butter and Jelly fruit and nut bars by LaraBar are my favorite; they taste like a candy bar and contain whole plant foods. They are gluten free and contain just three ingredients: nuts, salt, dates, cherries and peanuts.

This PB&J Larabar is not organic and high in fat at 10 grams of fat for one bar, but it’s preferable to a low-fat, high-protein bar with isolated proteins or dairy.

Mastering Diabetes recommends no more than 10 grams of fat per meal, and no more than 10 grams of fat per day.

The BEST plant-based fruit and nut bars

These KIND plant-based, gluten-free, Almond and Coconut fruit and nut bars are truly decadent. They are not technically vegan because they do contain honey.

The KIND Almond and Coconut bars are high in fat at 14 grams of fat per bar. Mastering Diabetes recommends no more than 10 grams of fat per meal to prevent insulin resistance. The ingredients aren’t organic and it does contain sugar, but it’s better to eat one of these treats than a dessert or bar that contains lactose, butter, tropical oils or whey protein powder.

Best CLEAN organic canned black beans without salt

appetizing black bean stew with rice serves on table
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I drain and rise S&W black beans to make black bean soup or a Mexican corn and black bean salad. The ingredients are just black beans. You can find salt-free black beans at most supermarkets.

The BEST vegan pizza

The best premade frozen vegan pizza I’ve tried is Amy’s Roasted Vegetable made with Artichoke Hearts and Organic Vegetables.

Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza without Cheese contains wheat so it’s not for people who are celiac or sensitive to gluten. I’ve tried Amy’s vegan gluten-free pizzas, but the gluten-free pizza crust doesn’t taste very good.

Amy’s Frozen Roasted Vegetable Vegan Pizza is delicious but it does contain wheat, sugar and oils, but it’s a huge upgrade compared to the cheese and meat pizzas most people eat.

If you don’t have time to make your own vegan pizza, Amy’s Roasted Vegetable prepared pizza will not disappoint even the most picky pizza lover. You can sometimes find this product at small and large grocery stores.

I will be updating this list regularly, so save a copy of this link when you are looking for new, healthy, plant-based, vegan grocery items.

Check out my CLEAN cosmetics list by clicking the image below

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How to lose weight on a vegan diet (20 vegan foods to avoid becoming a fat vegan)

basil leaves and avocado on sliced bread on white ceramic plate

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published March 14, 2023

It is true that there are fat vegans, and a vegan diet may not be healthy. People who have complained that they couldn’t stick to a vegan diet, is because they were doing it wrong.

Vegan diets can fail and vegans may not lose excess weight and get sicker because they are consuming too much of certain vegan foods.

The following list of foods will not only contribute to weight gain, but also lead to a decline in health.

Alcohol. Alcohol is highly caloric and toxic and may lead to weight gain. Since alcohol is a poison, the body will stop metabolizing fat into order to metabolize alcohol because its priority is to remove toxins.

Not all alcohol is vegan. Some beer, wine and cider manufacturers use animal products in the filtration process, such as isinglass (from fish), gelatin (from cows or pigs), or casein (from cows or sheep).

The following alcoholic drinks aren’t vegan, so if you are vegan make sure not to drink Baileys, White Russians, Irish Coffee, and Bloody Mary’s (contains Worchester, which has fish as an ingredient).

Oil is 100% fat, processed and contain very little nutrition and can cause weight gain. Per Dr. McDougal’s book, The Healthiest Diet on the Planet, “Vegetable oils are the strongest promoters of cancer of all commonly consumed foods; they make people fat, cause bleeding and suppression of the immune system and severe damage to the arteries (p 123).

In addition, oil consumption increases insulin resistance, and inflammation, so all oils should not be consumed, even in small amounts.

Vegan spreads are made primarily from oil and are high in calories and may cause weight gain.

Hummus is high in fat because it contains oil and tahini and may cause weight gain. Make your own hummus without oil with small amounts of tahini (crushed sesame seeds. Seeds are high in fat).

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Mock meats and vegan cheeses contain oil and can lead to weight gain. Some fake meats and cheeses contain isolated soy protein (aka TVP), which increases IGF-1, a hormone that grows fat and cancer cells. A Beyond Meat Patty’s third ingredient is canola oil. The fourth ingredient is coconut oil. One Beyond Meat patty contains 14 grams of fat, 25% is from saturated fat. Per the Mastering Diabetes experts, they recommend no more than 30 grams of fat per day.  

Nuts and nut butters are healthy, concentrated delicious high fat snacks, but can lead to weight gain. One ounce of dry-toasted almonds contains 170 calories and 15 grams of fat. By eating one ounce of almonds, you’ve already eaten half the amount of fat that day.

Coconut is a high fat food and 13% fat and can lead to weight gain.

a smoothie bowl with raspberries and strawberries
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Smoothies can be a healthy meal, but it can also be a high calorie drink and can lead to weight gain. Online you will find high calories smoothies to help people gain weight. One vegan smoothie’s ingredients that add up to 1000 calories contains 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, protein, powder, 4 dates, 1 cup of coconut milk, one tablespoon of chia seeds and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. All those little ingredients add up fast.

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Soda is a sugar bomb that will make people crave more sugar and isn’t filling. Chose water or add your favorite tea bag to your bottle of water if you want to flavor it.

Sweeteners like sugar, agave, maple syrup, stevia, and monk fruit make us crave sweets more, and can lead to weight gain, so limit sweeteners. Avoid fake zero calorie sweeteners as they contain chemicals and increase harmful gut bacteria

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Bread can lead to weight gain since one slice usually contains over 100 calories , and most sandwiches use two slices, add some peanut butter and your sandwich can easily contain over 400 calories. In addition to paying attention to calories, make sure to read ingredients. Wonder Bread contains HFCS, soybean oil and sugar. Dave’s Organic Whole Grain bread contains cane sugar as the third ingredient. Many breads are not vegan as they may contain eggs, butter and/or non-fat dried milk.

Pasta is tasty but extremely high in calories and can contribute to weight gain because most people consume more than the measly two ounces listed as a serving size on the package.

Flour tortillas are high in calories and can lead to weight gain. A Mission flour tortilla contains 140 calories and that’s without the filling or guacamole. A better wrap choice are lettuce cups or baked or microwaved plain corn tortillas.

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Pizza Crust can be high in calories, contain unhealthy ingredients and lead to weight gain. Pillsbury Pizza dough contains hydrolyzed vegetable oil, which is a trans-fat. A manufacturer can list zero under trans fat if the amount of trans fat is less than .5 grams per serving. No amount of trans fat is acceptable. Chose thin crust pizza dough. A low-calorie pizza crust I like to use for pizza is lavash that I buy from Trader Joe’s market.

Dried fruit is easy to overeat, lead to tooth decay, and contribute to weight gain. Dried fruit can also include added oil and preservatives, such as sulfur dioxide. Chose whole fruit, not dried fruit.

Juice should be avoided because it doesn’t contain the fiber from the fruit, can elevate triglycerides and contribute to weight gain because it’s easy to overconsume. Eat the whole fruit, not just the juice.

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Cacao nibs are healthy chocolate but are 47% fat and can lead to weight gain. If you are trying to lose weight, avoid cacao nibs. 

Avocado and guacamole are delicious healthy fats, but should be avoided if you have heart disease or are trying to lose weight. One California avocado is 228 calories and has 21 grams of fat. A California avocado is 83% fat.

The more fat you consume, the fatter you will be. Even thin individuals can be overly fat. Excess fat on the inside is unhealthy, leading to poor blood sugar control and heart disease.

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Nut, seed and fruit bars are high in calories due to nuts being high in calories, contain oils, and lead to weight gain. Some bars also contain soy to boost the amount of protein as a selling point but adding protein to foods just means excess calories and excess protein is consumed. High protein diets tax the kidneys and liver, which is why doctors recommend a low protein diet.

a delicious bar of nuts and honey on a plate
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Medications all have side effects and some of those side effects may include weight gain or muscle damage. Make sure to read the entire list of side effects on all drugs and supplements before buying or taking them. There may be medications that have less harmful side effects that you can ask your doctor to prescribe. A whole food, plant-based diet may allow you to get off medications.

A vegan diet may lead to weight gain, but a whole-food, low-fat, plant-based 100% vegan diet results in weight loss and improved health.  

The video below goes over what causes vegans and non-vegans to weight gain and how to lose excess weight for good. We also discuss other strategies, go into more detail, and talk about the psychology of food and diet. Press the play button to watch the video and share this post and video with anyone you think may be interested in these topics.

If this post is located on any other website other than mine, which is, it’s been unauthorized, plagiarized (copied without my permission). The other social media sites where my articles and videos are approved to be published are on my YouTube channel (Nina’s Nutrition & Exercise Videos), my Fit Girl Facebook page and my Twitter account

Vegan Coach (Where to find a vegan coach?)

vegetable salad

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published March 7, 2023

If you are trying to navigate a vegan diet but aren’t entirely sure what to do or what to eat, there are wonderful books to read (listed at the end of this post), but you may have additional questions and need someone to walk you through the process, and be there to support you.

Dr. McDougall is plant-based doctor that advocates a vegan starch-based diet, and offers an extensive 12-day program, where you attend live on-line lectures eat day (sometimes as long as 4 hours), can get your questions answered, and give you support. The downsides are the amount of time to commit to the program each day, that you need to rearrange your schedule for 12 days straight, and it’s costly, at $2995 for the plan.

Plant-Based TeleHealth offers medical advice and nutritional guidance. You fill out a questionnaire, include medical blood work, and speak to a doctor who specializes in plant-based nutrition. The minimum investment is $175 for a 30-minute consultation. An hour appointment for a new consultation is $350. These costs are not covered by insurance.

Dr. Neal Barnard has a medical center that offers virtual appointments, that may or may not be covered by insurance.

I’ve had people contact me to complain that they cannot afford the above high fees, the doctors approved in their medical insurance plan don’t understand the correlation between nutrition and disease, and give bad advice, like “cut out carbs,” “eat less, exercise more,” or “try a keto diet.” So, I started offering whole-food, plant-based, nutrition counseling at an hourly rate of $65.

I teach whole-food, plant-based, 100% vegan nutrition.

I am a Certified Plant-Based Grassroots Advocate

a published author

a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (CPT) and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach (SSC) from the International Sports Sciences Association (both include nutrition education components)

I am Certified in Fitness Nutrition from the American Council on Exercise   

I also offer Diet Analysis, where I review the foods you eat, what time you eat your meals, how many times you eat per day, to help you maximize nutrition, reduce inflammation, lose excess bodyfat (if necessary), and boost overall health.

A female client asked me to analyze her diet and right away, I identified what was causing her gut dysbiosis: she was putting zero calorie sweeteners in her coffee and plant milk in her oatmeal. The synthetic sugars and the thickening gums in store-bought plant milks damage gut flora.

If you are interested in whole-food, plant-based nutrition counseling on a vegan diet, a Diet Analysis, or are looking for a Vegan Fitness Trainer, fill out the contact information below.

I am located in San Diego, California, but we can train and talk virtually via Zoom or Facetime too.

If the $65 hourly consultation is not in your budget, order your copy of my complete book on nutrition, The High-Five Diet.

Yes, the YouTube videos on this page, I created; and photos are of me.

If this post is located on any other website other than mine, which is, it’s been unauthorized, plagiarized (copied without my permission). The other social media sites where my articles and videos are approved to be published are on my YouTube channel (Nina’s Nutrition & Exercise Videos), my Fit Girl Facebook page and my Twitter account

Plantar Fasciitis exercises for seniors (hip & thigh exercise for seniors)

woman walking on pathway under the sun

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published February 28, 2023

Plantar fasciitis is extremely painful. I ended up with plantar fasciitis shortly after taking up running because my form was incorrect, I was mostly running on the front of my feet without letting my heels touch the ground. I got rid of plantar fasciitis and the pain that accompanied it with the following exercises. I also helped a marathon runner who had to stop running due to plantar fasciitis pain at a gym I worked at. Her plantar fasciitis pain was gone and she was running again after only three weeks of working with her.

Many seniors also have weak hips with limited mobility and difficulty getting up and down so I’ve also included exercises to target the hips, glutes and thigh muscles. (Watch the video below to follow along and see the proper way to perform the exercises).

Here are the stretches I use for myself and my clients to get rid of plantar fasciitis pain and increase overall mobility and strength.

Perform 10 repetitions of each of these simple exercises for all ages, three times a day, every day.

If you follow this exercise plan and eat an anti-inflammatory diet by avoiding oils, sugar, dairy and animal products, and adding lots of greens, vegetables and fruit to your diet, you will see quicker improvements because you will have less inflammation and the nutrition necessary for healing.

Perform these exercises three times a day, every day:

  1. Standing cross body front toe taps for balance, hip strength.  10 reps, each side.
  2. Standing calf stretch.  10 reps, each side.
  3. Downward facing dog. This is most effective when performed on the floor but you can also modify this pose by holding a chair while hinging backwards. Make sure to keep your feet flat on the floor.  10 reps.
  4. Lift toes while keeping the rest of the foot flat on the ground. You can do this exercise seated or standing.  10 reps.
  5. Lift front of feet while keeping the heels on the floor. This exercise can also be done seated or standing.  10 reps, each side.
  6. Not shown in the video: point and flex the feet while seated or laying on your back with your legs up in the air.  10 reps.
  7. Chair squats.  10 reps. 
  8. Not shown in the video:  While holding onto the back of a chair, lift one foot an inch off the floor so you are standing on one leg (don’t allow either of your hips to drop). This single-leg exercise will strengthen the hip that is bearing the weight, a technique called loading. Alternate from one side to the other. Perform ten repetitions on each side. 
  9. Bent leg standing side leg lifts to strengthen the hips.  10 reps, each side.

If this post is located on any other website other than mine, which is, it’s been unauthorized, plagiarized (copied without my permission). The other social media sites where my articles and videos are approved to be published are on my YouTube channel (Nina’s Nutrition & Exercise Videos), my Fit Girl Facebook page and my Twitter account

Vegan Banana Bread (plant-based, gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free)

slices of brown bread

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published February 21, 2023

Since I no longer cook with flour, sugar, oil, margarine, or eggs since those foods are harmful to health, I created a whole-food, healthy banana bread. This banana bread is low in fat, sweet, guilt-free, and delicious. (video demonstration at the bottom of this post)

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 medium bananas, peeled
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup pineapple chunks, diced
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is warming up, add dry ingredients, except for the walnuts, into a medium-sized food processor and mix until it resembles flour. Pour the oat flour mixture into a large glass bowl and set aside. Add wet ingredients, except for the pineapple, to the food processor and blend until it’s smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix again until it resembles batter, about one minute. Stir diced pineapple into the batter.

Remove blade and set inside your sink to clean later. If using walnuts, pour batter into a large glass bowl, and gently stir in the walnuts with a large spoon. Pour batter into a parchment-lined glass bread baking dish and place it on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Insert a butter knife into the middle of the bread, about ¾ of the way through to see if the bread is cooked through. If the knife comes out clean, it’s done. If any batter sticks to the knife, put back in the oven for another five minutes, checking each time to make sure it’s completely cooked.

Remove from oven and place on a potholder. Cool on counter at least 20 minutes before slicing and eating. Use a butter knife to divide into four large slices.

To make this low in fat, don’t add the walnuts, but my husband likes the crunch from the nuts. For variations, see below:

Strawberry bread: I don’t care for strawberries in this bread because the texture is a bit mushy, but my husband loves it. Add 1 more tablespoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients before blending. Add ¾ cup of diced fresh strawberries to the batter and mix by hand.

Strawberry Oat Bread

Banana-blueberry bread: Add ½ cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to the batter and mix by hand

Apple Bread with Banana Creme: Add 1 more tablespoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients before blending. Add 1 small peeled, cored and thinly sliced apple to the batter and mix by hand. Drizzle maple syrup on top or add a dollop of the Banana Creme recipe below:.

Banana Creme

  • box silken tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 bananas

Drain the tofu, and gently spoon the tofu into a small food processor. Add bananas and cinnamon, and vanilla extract and blend until creamy. Taste the whipped tofu cream to see if it you want more cinnamon, if so, add one half to one more teaspoon of cinnamon at this time. Blend again; make sure there are no chunks, and the pudding mixture is completely smooth. Put a large dollop on a slice of apple bread.

Apple Oat Bread

Carrot bread: Add one small peeled, shredded carrot to the batter and mix by hand. I like to cut thin slices and make a sandwich with two slices. I’ll put a small smear of almond butter or peanut butter on one side and a small layer of strawberry jam on the other slice to make a PB&J sandwich.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread: Omit the pineapple and add one tablespoon of agave or maple syrup, and two tablespoons of mini chocolate chips to the batter and mix by hand. I use Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips.

Blueberry pancakes: Blend the pineapple, and add ½ cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to the batter and mix by hand. With ¼ of a measuring cup, pour batter onto two large parchment-lined paper baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes on one side, flip and bake 5 minutes on the other side. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired. This batch makes 13 pancakes. Each pancake: 100 calories, 18 carbs, 1 gram fat

If this post is located on any other website other than mine, which is, it’s been unauthorized, plagiarized (copied without my permission). The other social media sites where my articles and videos are approved to be published are on my YouTube channel (Nina’s Nutrition & Exercise Videos), my Fit Girl Facebook page and my Twitter account

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