This smoothie tastes like a pumpkin pie sorbet that you can drink. It has a wonderful combination of warm spices that come from cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice powder, which goes amazingly well with a creamy frozen banana and a frozen, cooked, sweet yam.
- ½ cup cooked yam, chopped into bite-sized pieces, and frozen overnight
- ½ large banana, frozen, into 1-inch chunks
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract, alcohol-free
- ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cups coconut milk
- ¼ cup collagen protein powder
Place all ingredients in your blender cup until incorporated, stir once with a spoon and enjoy!
Many people are still under the misconception that carbs are the reason they are overweight; that’s just not true. You can be on a high-carb diet, and still lose weight. I’ve actually reduced my body fat percentage by increasing carbohydrates from adopting a more plant-based diet, and eating more beans and grains, while eating less animal protein. It’s the excess calories that turn into fat, not carbs.
Photo: This meal will cause weight gain in most people, not because of the carbs from the bread, ketchup, French fries, and sugar-laden sauce, but because the portion size is huge, not to mention all the added fat. The buttered bread, deep fried potatoes, and fatty meat adds a wallop of calories too.
Some people are afraid to lose weight because they don’t want to look sickly, boney, or emaciated. Not to worry, here’s what you need to do to lose bodyfat, not lean muscle.
Step 1: Reduce calories by about 250 a day; while it’s a slower weight-loss process, you shouldn’t lose muscle. You should lose about 1/2 lb. a week. When you hit a plateau, reduce your calories by another 100-200 calories a day.
Step 2: Make sure to eat nutrient-dense foods, which maintains & builds lean muscle mass. A diet that’s lacking in nutrients, results in a less-than-desirable appearance, such as skinny legs and a belly that sticks out.
Step 3: Do 30 minutes of cardio every day. Excessive cardio will strip off muscle, which will result in loose skin, and a skinny-fat appearance.
Step 4: Weight-train 2-4 days a week. Adding weights will boost your metabolism, and increase dense muscle mass. Lifting weights will give you curves, like shapely legs, toned arms, and a lifted butt. Make sure to strengthen each and every body part to prevent imbalances, and create beautiful symmetry.
Don’t worry about the scale. Check your progress by taking photos, seeing how your clothes feel, by taking measurements, and/or keeping a food log. Your goal is NOT to lose pounds, it’s to reduce bodyfat, which the steps above are designed to do.
Photo: That’s me! I have a customizable diet program with healthy recipes in my book, which you can check out at http://www.thehighfivediet.com (and it’s available on Amazon).
Can you really burn off 1000 calories in an intense workout? It’s unlikely. The people that burn 1000 calories in a one-hour exercise session, are typically very overweight, don’t exercise on a regular basis, are extremely tall, or very muscular, and are working very hard, possibly at maximum capacity for the full 60 minutes.
The bigger you are, and how inactive you are, the more calories you burn. So, if you’re really fit and active, and/or are tiny like me, your body is very efficient, and doesn’t permit you to expend a lot of calories as a safety measure. To get a good idea of how many calories you’re burning, buy a heart rate monitor. With my Polar watch I learned that a 20 minute Classical Stretch Pilates-ballet video only burns between 50-80 calories. I started checking my other workouts and this is what I found: 30 minutes on incline treadmill at 3.3 mph = 105 calories. 35 minute hard hike = 162 calories. 60 minute kickboxing class = 354 calories.
If you’re serious about losing bodyfat, you have to reduce calories in addition to consistent exercise.
I wanted to create a healthy, sugar-free, vegetable-based pudding, and came up with this creamy, filling dessert made with yams. I know that sounds gross, but it tastes like sweet potato pie, but with a lot less calories, very little fat, no sugar, no butter and not one drop of oil. The sweetness comes from the yams, cinnamon, and a little bit of monk fruit from the coconut milk. Make sure to use the brand of coconut milk I suggested below, because it won’t come out quite right with another brand (I tried a few). If you can’t find that brand, use a plain coconut milk and add a little bit of your favorite sweetener. Even though the directions make it appear a lengthy process, it’s actually really easy and I just used one bowl to stir and cook all the ingredients.
Spiced Yam Pudding
- 31 ounces of yams, peeled and cubed (about 2 yams)
- 2 cups water, filtered
- 2 teaspoons each of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups toasted coconut almond milk blend by Califia Farms
Place the yams in a large microwavable glass bowl and add the 2 cups of water. Place bowl in microwave and cover with a paper towel. Cook yams in microwave for 15 minutes. Place a hot pad on the counter. After the yams are cooked, use two hot pads to remove bowl from microwave (because the bowl will be extremely hot) and place on counter to cool. After 5 minutes, remove paper towel from bowl, throw paper towel away, and allow the yams to cool down.
After 20 minutes, the yams and the bowl should be cool enough to handle, if not, let it sit longer. Pour yams carefully into a colander to remove as much water as possible. Wipe out any water and moisture from the glass bowl. Let the yams sit in the colander 5-10 minutes to drain completely. Put the yams back in the glass bowl, and add the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Mash with a potato masher. To make sure there aren’t any vegetable chunks, with a mixer, blend yams on low speed while adding the coconut milk slowly. While it may appear a bit watery, it will thicken up. Place bowl in the refrigerator overnight, covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure the wrap/foil doesn’t touch the pudding. You want the pudding to cool completely to thicken up.
When the pudding is cool after being in the refrigerator at least 12 hours, use a spoon and mix gently. Pour into 4-6 small bowls, top with dairy-free whipped cream (optional, but much better with it), chopped pecans, and toasted coconut chips.
If you make this dessert, send your photos to me @fitgirlusa to repost.
Since oils aren’t good for us and neither is excess calories, I created this Asian dressing, with just a touch of sesame oil, for salads. It’s light, flavorful and has a touch of sweetness.
Fit Girl’s Asian Vinaigrette
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Few shakes of salt
- Few twists of ground black pepper
Mix all in a small food processor. Great on salads, rice, and/or over your favorite protein.
If you want something sweet mid-day, or something tasty to curb that sweet tooth after dinner that’s healthy and lower in carbs, here’s a treat I came up with which takes a few minutes to mix up with zero cooking. I use carob instead of cocoa powder, because cocoa is bitter, and carob imparts sweetness on its own.
Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Low-carb Chocolate Pudding
- 2 T carob powder, level
- 4 T creamy peanut butter, or almond butter, level
- 4 T Toasted Coconut Almond Milk blend by Califia Farms
- ½ tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract (optional, but much better with it)
- A sprinkle of monk fruit powder, if you like it sweeter
Place all ingredients in a small food processor and blend until thickened, like a pudding. The end result is more like chocolate frosting than a pudding. If you like it thicker, add 1-2 tablespoons of carob powder. If you want it thinner, add 1-2 tablespoons of vegan milk. Place the pudding/frosting in two small condiment bowls, covered, and keep in the refrigerator, but you can eat it right away like I do. The frosting is also delicious on celery sticks.
Calories: 231 Net Carbs: 10 grams Fat: 17 grams Protein: 8 grams
In past posts, I’ve discussed how unhealthy processed oils are and that we should limit them, but people are still putting butter in their coffee and adding coconut oil to their smoothies (people drink soda and smoke cigarettes too, though). Some oils are worse than others. “…an adjunct professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health…who is also the “…director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumor Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg in Germany” calls coconut oil “pure poison” (1). While that’s a bit of a stretch, coconut oil does have more saturated fat than lard (1). Fat is not bad, but saturated fats are definitely bad for our health (1).
Since avoiding processed oils altogether is unrealistic since most dishes just don’t taste good without a little bit of oil in them, better choices of oils include safflower, sunflower, canola, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil (1). Just limit the amount of oils you consume.
1. Source: May, Ashley. USA today. “Coconut Oil is ‘pure poison’ Harvard professor says in talk on nutrition.” Published and retrieved 22, Aug. 2018. Blog post. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/08/22/harvard-professor-coconut-oil-pure-poison/1060269002/
I love fried rice, but the massive amount of carbs and calories moves this side dish into my “not worth it” category. The good news is I recreated it with practically zero carbs and very few calories, and it’s very flavorful even without any meat.
Asian Cauliflower Rice
- 2 cups cauliflower rice (purchased, or grate cauliflower, leaves and stems removed)
- 1 cup stock
- 2 tsps. coconut oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 ounces sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 2 green onions, rinsed and chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, washed and chopped
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp coconut aminos
- ½ tsp each: powdered ginger, salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder
Optional add-ins: salted, chopped peanuts; sriracha sauce; roasted, salted cashews; sesame seeds
Place uncooked cauliflower rice (frozen is fine) in a pot and add your favorite stock until it covers the “rice.” Cook on medium-high for 5 minutes, covered. While cauliflower is cooking, add coconut oil to a large skillet until warmed. Add white or yellow onions, to pan, stirring, until translucent. Add water chestnuts, onions, and cilantro, and stir.
Drain stock from cauliflower, trying to remove as much liquid as possible. Add cauliflower rice to pan and stir. Add sesame oil, coconut aminos, and spices and stir again until fully-incorporated. Serve on a small plate as a snack, or add large garlic shrimp, or your favorite seasoned protein as a complete meal.