Pumpkin Protein Powder Review

I found a vegan protein powder that looked promising because it’s low in fat, with zero grams of fat; doesn’t contain probiotics, sugar, synthetic flavors, and contains only one ingredient, pumpkin seeds. It’s certified organic and low in carbohydrates…zero net carbs!

This pumpkin seed protein powder, when added to a fruit smoothie is barely noticeable, and adds a touch of creaminess, thickening and sweetness. The brand is Probase Nutrition’s unflavored Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder. It’s currently $24.65 for a one-pound bag from Amazon. I was really happy with how it improves my smoothies, but was surprised when my blood sugars raised about 30 points after I added this protein powder to my fruit smoothies.

Even though this protein powder contains zero net carbohydrates, it’s not just carbs that can make a person’s blood sugar rise. Excess protein, fat, and processed foods can elevate blood sugars. What can make one person’s blood sugar go up, even if both people are diabetic, is sometimes dependent on how that person reacts to certain foods.

Even though I love the way this protein powder tastes and makes my fruit smoothies even more delicious, I won’t be using it again because it raises by blood glucose levels; since I’m a Type 1.5 diabetic, I have to chose foods that stabilize my blood sugar levels. Instead, I’ll continue using Complement Protein powder, which is a lot more expensive at $59.00 a bag, does contain pumpkin seeds, but also includes chia seeds, sunflower seeds, yellow peas and almonds, which doesn’t taste as good, but it doesn’t affect my blood sugars negatively.

Morning Gentle Stretch Workout

These 19 gentle stretches will increase mobility, flexibility, promote relaxation and a sense of calm. These exercises are perfect for beginners, seniors, kids, and for those that are not flexible. Do this workout in the morning, after work, or any time you need to unwind.

Below are the stretches, in order:

  1. stand with wide feet, arms down at your sides. While performing a calf raise, going high on your toes, bring your arms over head to clap at the top. As you bring your arms back down to your sides, lower your heels to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times.
  2. double-leg deadlift stretch
  3. standing cat-cow
  4. side leg swings (you may want to hold onto a chair)
  5. rope pull-downs
  6. standing knee-hug with ankle rotations (have a chair or a wall nearby)
  7. shoulder rolls with palms on shoulders
  8. standing chest opener, clap palms together in front, arms straight (see video below)
  9. finger flicks across and overhead
  10. neck rolls, clockwise and counterclockwise
  11. neck tilts
  12. neck turns (left, then right
  13. glute bridge (8-15 reps)
  14. downward dog with pedals
  15. child’s pose with rotations
  16. cobra pose
  17. reclined spinal twist (see video for this unique variation)
  18. seated rotating cat-cow
  19. butterfly stretch with movement

Tofu Salmon recipe (it’s vegan)

If you are vegan, or are trying eat healthier and love salmon with teriyaki sauce, this easy recipe will have you loving this salmon recreation with tofu even better than the original with fish. Fish contains cholesterol (tofu has no cholesterol), microplastics, pollution, mercury and PCBs, so fish is something you shouldn’t eat.

Pair this tofu salmon with rice noodles, yakisoba noodles, or rice; pickled cucumbers, chopped cilantro, diced water chestnuts, sautéed yellow and green onions, and top with a drizzle of coconut aminos (which tastes like teriyaki sauce, but without the sugar).

Purchase organic firm tofu. Drain water out of box of tofu. Put tofu block in a tofu press to drain out any water for about an hour. Dry with paper towels if tofu is too wet. Divide tofu evenly into three sections (watch video at the bottom of this post to see the steps and to see if my cat thought I was eating fish). Cut each of the three new cut blocks of tofu into wedges by cutting them diagonally with a knife.

Marinate the tofu up to 24 hours, but at least for 3 hours. Keep in refrigerator until ready to bake. Cut nori seaweed sheet into six pieces to fit on one side of the tofu “salmon.” Bake 350 to 375 degrees until firm and to your liking.

Serve hot with warm rice noodles, yakisoba noodles or rice; a side salad with peanut or miso dressing, pickled cucumbers, chopped cilantro, diced water chestnuts, sautéed yellow and green onions, and/or a vegetable stir-fry. Top everything off with sesame seeds, or umeboshi seasoning, after you add the teriyaki sauce or coconut aminos drizzled on top of the tofu salmon.

Marinade:

¼ cup or more of Coconut Secret Coconut aminos

1 T rice vinegar

Few dashes of paprika for color or cayenne pepper (If you like it hot) (both are optional)

1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Toppings

½ sheet of nori seaweed

Sesame seeds or Umeboshi seasoning https://www.amazon.com/MUSO-Organic-Sesame-Shake-YUZU/dp/B07C42R74W/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwzaSLBhBJEiwAJSRokr57DgbrGaorVMzYXxnXCf_n3BgEzG55JB7ygYEemYaBBxAhODIaihoCJzUQAvD_BwE&hvadid=214515468848&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9061201&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=3411192297413102454&hvtargid=kwd-345364249894&hydadcr=28233_10169492&keywords=umeboshi+furikake&qid=1634338847&sr=8-15

Coconut Secret Teriyaki sauce

Side dish options:

Rice noodles, yakisoba noodles or rice, with a side salad and pickled cucumbers

pickled cucumbers

Vegetable stir-fry with shredded carrots, steamed broccoli, green onions, sautéed yellow onions, diced water chestnuts, salt, pepper, dash of five spice

Why aren’t I losing weight on a vegan diet?

If you aren’t losing weight on a vegan diet, you’re not doing these five things:

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Not drinking enough water. Within about 30 minutes after waking up, I want to eat right away, and I start feeling sick and lose energy if I don’t consume some food, but what my body wants is hydration, not food. Once I drink 16 ounces of water, I don’t feel hungry for an hour or two later. We frequently confuse hunger with thirst. If you’re drinking enough water, your cravings should subside, and you’ll probably eat less.

(you can watch the video at the end of this post, instead of reading this, if you prefer)

Drink, at a minimum, your weight in ounces. If you weigh 125 pounds, you should drink 125+ ounces of water per day. To figure out how much that is visually, get a scale and put an empty glass pitcher on a scale. Clear the number on the scale to zero and change it to ounces. Next, fill the pitcher with drinking water and put the pitcher back on the scale. That will give you an idea how much to drink, which is most likely more than 1 ¼ pitchers of water each day.

Photo by Ponyo Sakana on Pexels.com

Not eating enough plants. If you’re eating processed vegan “foods” like vegan pizza with vegan cheese, vegan ice cream, or vegan sausage, those vegan substitutes are high in fat and salt, contain chemicals, flour, sugar, and/or oils. Processed vegan foods are typically highly glycemic, have lots of calories, and not enough fiber and nutrients, and won’t fill you up, make you eat more, will derail weight loss, and usually lead to weight gain.

The grains you want to eat are whole grains, like quinoa, millet, sorghum and oat groats. Bread and whole wheat pasta are processed products because the grains are not intact. Once you crush a grain, it becomes processed, more glycemic, and more problematic to our health.

The other foods you want to eat are fruit (especially berries), beans, peas, lentils, cooked mushrooms, raw and cooked onions and garlic, all vegetables, seeds, a variety of greens, and sprouts.

If you have a fruit smoothie with ground flax seeds, a large salad with beans and sprouts; and a vegetable soup with peas, lentils, mushrooms, onions, garlic and grains, you’re covered.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Not reducing your fat intake. If you’re eating too much fat, either from oils, avocado and/or nuts, that could be the reason you cannot lose weight. Unlike protein which converts into amino acids, or carbohydrates which turn into glucose, fat just stays as fat (fatty acids).

Avoid oils, as they are 100% fat and are not healthy. Olives are fine in moderation if you don’t have high blood pressure, a salt sensitivity, or if you’re diabetic. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats but keep the amount you eat lower if you need to lose weight. Nuts like walnuts contain omega 3s and fiber but are extremely caloric so don’t exceed one ounce of nuts per day.

You’re not fasting. The 16/8 fasting method is the easiest to do every day, will help you lose weight quickly, and will allow your body more time to repair itself. You eat within an eight-hour window and fast for 16 hours. This fasting method reduces the window for consumption and reduces the likelihood of overeating at night. I try to eat my last meal at 5:00pm and my breakfast at 9:00am, which gives my body a 16-hour break from digestion.

Not exercising enough. You lose bodyfat through heat and respiration. Exercise increases body temperature and heart rate. With challenging exercises that contract our muscles, we strengthen and lose extra pounds. Those stronger muscles burn calories, even when you’re not exercising.

Exercise alone is usually not enough to lose enough weight, so incorporate all five steps into your daily regime to improve your health and minimize your waistline.

Watch the video below so you can see how I measure my water intake, what I’m referring to when I say “plants” and vegan junk food, what some high fat foods are, and several intermittent fasting options:

How to change your diet and eating habits when you don’t want to

A lot of us have heard that the path to weight loss and disease reversal is by eliminating all animal products from the diet, but a good number of people don’t want to make that change. Read the sequence of what typically goes on inside someone’s head when they learn they must change their diet because it’s affecting their health in detrimental ways. Then, watch the video on how my mom pushed herself to change the diet she was accustomed to, her suggestions to help others, and how those changes benefited her.

How to make dietary changes:

When we are first told that we can no longer eat the foods we enjoy, the first reaction is usually anger.

I don’t want to give up ice cream!

Then you may be in denial.

A little bit of ice cream won’t hurt me (when in fact, it will).

Then may come depression and/or sadness.

I won’t be able to enjoy my favorite foods. My life is over. I’m going to have to eat boring, yucky, bland foods.

You will need to change your mindset first before you will make changes to your diet. Get rid of negative thinking and be willing to change. Try to be positive and open-minded about what these dietary changes will bring about.

Eating differently will help you lose the extra weight you’ve complained about and hated seeing in the mirror. Image how wonderful you’re going to look by eating this new way and the attractive clothes you’ll be able to wear.

Your new diet will mean no more pain, more energy, lowering or getting off medication. You’ll feel happier and be healthier. You’re going to move better and feel younger. You’ll be able to do the things you couldn’t do before.

You’ll be able to sleep fully and breathe better.

Your skin will look radiant and more youthful.

You’ll be able to eat larger portions and consume more carbohydrates (yes, you can eat more potatoes and rice and pasta).

How to make vegan tasty

Have you made recipes with chicken or beef, and it didn’t taste good? There are tasty and terrible tasting vegan recipes too. Don’t give up. Keep trying different recipes, but sometimes the simplest recipes are the most delicious.

Most people don’t realize that they have been eating vegan foods they love, but didn’t think of them as “vegan” like fruit, bread, nuts, pasta, smoothies, French fries, minestrone, and salads.

Stay away from negative people who push unhealthy habits and will cause you to eat toxic foods and drinks.

If you are a social person, you may want to be part of the crowd and do the same things and eat the same foods as everyone else, but you are harming yourself and are acting like a follower instead of a leader. If everyone is smoking crack, are you going to smoke it too? Crack is harmful and addictive. Dairy and animal products are harmful and additive too. Cheese contains casomorphins (caso, pronounced queso: cheese + morphines: additive like the drug morphine). The foods you love to eat are the foods you are addicted to and those are the foods that are harming you.

It’s time to be a leader and stop eating addictive foods. See if you can convert your friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family into vegans. See if they will join you in your endeavor to improve health. Tell everyone what changes you are making and why. Bring a vegan dish to potlucks so you have something healthy you can eat and share with others. Vegan foods when prepared right are delicious, satisfying, and filling.

What to do, when you’re not ready to become vegan

While changing from an omnivore diet to a vegan diet is a drastic change, some people do better with incremental changes, but the more you adhere to a low-fat, plant-based vegan diet, the quicker you will improve your health.

Watch the video below of the interview with my mom to find out what she was eating, what changes she made to her diet, why she was reluctant to change her eating habits, why she finally agreed to change her diet, and how dietary changes affected her health. Then, keep reading (see below) to modify your favorite foods when you go out to make them vegan and still delicious.

You don’t have to give up your favorite foods, but you do have to modify them. Here’s some easy ways to veganize your favorite foods:

Pasta with marinara sauce topped with nutritional yeast (similar taste to parmesan). In place of meat, lentils are a good add in with certain herbs and spices with pasta.

Pizza. Just omit the meat and cheese and ask for more veggies. Pizza is all about the crust anyway and you’ll be surprised how good pizza is without the fat. I like to add pineapple to my pizza.

Bean burritos. Just omit the cheese and the sour cream. You can use coconut yogurt instead of the sour cream.

Tacos. You eat bean burritos; tacos are delicious with beans and lentils. I like to add sautéed zucchini slices to my tacos.

Chili already has beans it in, just omit the meat and sour cream. Then you can double the portion. Enjoy with a dollop of guacamole.

If you need help transitioning to a low-fat, plant-based vegan diet, order my book, the High-Five Diet, below

Are you a vegetarian, an omnivore, or a vegan? Are you trying to eat more plant foods? Are you trying to reverse a medical condition or get off medication by changing your diet? Did you find the information in this post helpful? Do you have any questions for me? Let me know by writing below.

Additional sources: https://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/12/cheese-has-morphine-like-qualities-can-be-addictive.html

Plié Workout (beginner ballet workout)

Ballet is really challenging, which is why, if you’re a beginner, it’s hard to find ballet classes that don’t frustrate or trip you. In this beginner ballet workout, we focus on plies, and then add some arm movements at the end. It’s easy to follow, fun, and will still get your heart pumping and those legs and arms moving.

Below is a list of the exercises in this 15-minute beginner plie ballet workout, in order:

  • prances (warm-up)
  • hip rotations, also called hip cleaners or figure-eight’s (warm-up)
  • leg swings (warm-up)
  • 1st position plie squats, heels together, toes out. Two-sets of eight reps.
  • 2nd position plie squats (see video for form)
  • grand plie squat (don’t go too low and hold onto a chair, ballet barre or counter)
  • 1st position plie with calf raises
  • 2nd position plie, moving side to side
  • grand plie. 4 reps
  • 1st position plie with arms moving to the side, overhead, and back in front (like a front raise)
  • 2nd position with swan arms
  • grand plie. 8 reps

Stretches: calf stretch, quad stretch, figure-4 stretch, hamstring stretch

Press play to start the video from YouTube below:

Do your squats suck? (Why your legs & butt are not strong)

Do your squats suck? Is your butt high in the air when you squat? If so, you are pulling on your lower back, and may end up with back pain. You are not strengthening your legs or your glutes, if your butt is not down.

(to skip right to the video, scroll to the bottom of this post)

Do you have a flat butt? You need to squat, but not ass-to-grass. You want your butt to be around 90 degrees, in line with your knees.

To get your glutes stronger, start with easier squat exercises, like:

  1. TRX squats. These allow you to lean back without fear of falling backwards
  2. Goblet squats. You can do these with or without a kettlebell. Try to get your elbows to touch your legs (the quads).
  3. Elevated squats. Do you have back pain when your squat? Elevate your heels when you squat.
  4. Box squat. If you don’t have a box, use a chair. Put your arms in front of you as a counterbalance.

Are your knees caving in when you squat? Then you need to strengthen your side butt (the medial glutes) by doing lateral exercises, by moving your legs to the side, like:

  1. Lateral band walks. Start with a light resistance band, and then move up to a fabric band as you get stronger
  2. Bent-leg lifts, or hip lifts
  3. Leg lifts with controlled eccentrics, which means to lower your leg with control.

My 15-minute side-butt workout will strengthen your hips and medial glutes, and my 3-minute butt-burning workout will target all areas of your glutes. I’ve attached both of those videos at the end.

Wall-sit workout | 7 variations | cardio + strength

A wall-sit is an exercise that strengthens the core and the legs (specifically the quadriceps, the large muscles on the front of the legs). It’s an exercise that can be performed by all levels and ages. Another benefit to a wall-sit is that it is a good exercise for those with knee pain because there’s little pressure on the knees, the knees never bend more than ninety degrees, and you can adjust the amount of bend in the knees by sliding up higher or lower on a wall.

In this wall-sit workout, I’ve combined low-impact cardio marches with strength, to keep the heart rate up, and to burn more carbs (which lowers blood sugar) and calories (which helps with fat loss).

Each wall-sit is held for 30 seconds, followed by marching in place. The workout starts with a basic wall-sit and progresses with more difficult exercises by adding a resistance band, movement, a yoga block, and weights. These progressions will enable you to hold a wall-sit longer and gain strength.

You can perform this workout once a week for four weeks straight. After that, you can add time, instead of 30 seconds, shoot for 45 or 60 seconds, or you can add a tighter glute band and/or heaver weights, or go lower in your wall-sit.

The exercises are listed below in order. Watch the video for form and to start this short workout.

The first wall sit, is sitting against a wall at 90 degrees for 30 seconds.

For The second wall-sit, a glute band is added.

For the third wall-sit, external (abduction) pulses are added with the glute band.

For the fourth wall-sit, the glute band is ditched for a soft yoga block which Is placed in between the thighs for an Inner thigh workout.

For the fifth wall-sit, one dumbbell Is placed on top of the thighs.

For the sixth wall-sit, 2 dumbbells are placed in each hand and held by the sides for 30 seconds.

For the seventh wall-sit, the dumbbells are put aside, and single-leg extensions are held for 15 seconds, each leg.

Stretches: glute stretch, quad stretch, hamstring stretch, butterfly pose (inner thigh stretch)

Steps and Strength (walk and strengthen lower body)

This low-impact cardiovascular walking-strength workout includes marching for 30 seconds in between strengthening lower body sets. You will get your heartrate up, without jumping or putting too much pressure on your joints, and making your muscles work, in one 25-minute workout.

I’ve coined this exercise session a steps and strength workout. It’s cardio with walking and bodyweight muscle-building exercises, that targets the lower body.

Below are the exercises, in order:

  • Warm up by marching in place
  • Leg to the side, arms wide, leg back, arms front
  • Lateral walks. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Bridge, walk feet back to a supine plank, walk it back. Walk in place for 30 seconds.
  • Plie left to right. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Walk laterally on toes. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Walk forward on toes. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Plie squat, alternating heels lifts, lift both heels, hands behind low back for balance assistance. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Side step
  • Pendulum lunges. March in place
  • Cool down stretch

healthy vegan, breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes

What is healthy food, and what’s unhealthy food, varies depending on who you listen to and based on what you read, but the science is clear, a diet that is low in fat, that limits or eliminates dairy, oils, alcohol, processed foods, sugar, flours, fish, meat, and chicken, is what will benefit and heal your body, keep you slim, and protect you from diseases and illness.

So, now you know what not to eat, you may ask, what should I eat? Below are 14 low-fat, plant-based, vegan meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Watch the video below to learn why I don’t use oil, how to sauté foods without oil, which foods are better than others, and why. Then print out the recipes and meal ideas below.

Breakfast options:

  1. Tofu scrambled eggs with onions, red bell pepper slices, cilantro, hot sauce served with a side of baked potatoes. Omit the oil in this recipe: https://realdiethelp.com/2019/11/07/tofu-scramble-with-roasted-potatoes/
  2. Fruit smoothie with unsweetened almond milk and one or more frozen bananas https://realdiethelp.com/2020/08/11/iron-rich-green-tropical-smoothie/
  3. Oat groats soaked overnight and cooked the following day in water. After the oats are cooked and ready to eat, add 1 cup of cooked oat groats, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and a splash of fresh lemon juice. Stir with spoon.
  4. Fruit salad with mixed greens, apple, nectarine, sliced red bell pepper, beans, topped with 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and some chopped walnuts

Lunch options:

  1. Buddha bowl with quinoa, salad greens, baked diced sweet potato, chickpeas, avocado. Drizzle tahini dressing on top.
  2. Southwest salad with black beans, corn, rice, red onions, cilantro, sliced red peppers, hot sauce and a dollop of guacamole.
  3. Black bean soup with red onions, black beans, green chilies, hot sauce, cilantro
  4. Vegetable soup. Use any combination of beans, cabbage, spinach, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, corn, peas, tomatoes, herbs, spices, peppers.

Snack options:

  1. Sugar snap peas alone or with homemade hummus (garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, herbs)
  2. Celery with nut butter

Dinner options:

  1. Spaghetti zoodles with tomato sauce: Zucchini noodles with marinara sauce
  2. Spaghetti sauce puttanesca. Omit the oil and use coconut aminos instead of sugar. Recipe: https://www.sandiegomagazine.com/the-power-of-a-plant-based-diet/article_1f6badc1-3914-5faa-b60b-b1379130b071.html#spaghetti
  3. Tofu and broccoli stir fry with green onions, slivered yellow onions, sugar snap peas, bok choy, napa cabbage, with coconut aminos
  4. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Baked sweet potatoes filled with black beans, red onions. Top with cilantro, hot sauce, sliced red bell peppers, guacamole

Limiting fat is essential to weight loss, heart health, and blood sugar control, which is one of the many reasons why I no longer eat fish, oil, meat, chicken, and processed foods. When people also give up dairy, they lose excess weight, have better digestion, their skin clears up, and their autoimmune diseases go away. If you would like to learn more, and transition to a low-fat, plant-based diet, order The High-Five Diet book by clicking on the image below:

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