Vegan desserts, low-fat, plant-based, gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, no dates | Apple desserts

These baked apples 🍏 with a vegan 🌱 creamy tofu whipped topping is reminiscent of apple pie without the butter, sugar or flour.

I used firm tofu in the video (below) because I couldn’t find silken tofu at my nearby markets, but it’s best to use silken tofu to get the perfect creamy texture. I’ve made this with raw apples and baked apples, but soft baked apples are sweeter and go better with the pudding-like topping. Another tip to make this low-fat dessert taste decadent is to splurge on alcohol-free vanilla extract. If you use the inexpensive vanilla extract that you will typically find in stores, it contains alcohol, and your dessert will have a sharp and overpowering alcohol flavor. It’s still good without vanilla extract.

If you have ten minutes, watch the video on how I make this dessert for best results.


4-5 large apples box silken tofu, drained

1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract (I forgot to mention in the video)

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

1-1 1/2 bananas

balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon per serving)

walnuts or granola (approx. 1 tablespoon per serving)

Thinly slice, core and seed five or more of your favorite types of apples and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes.

While the apples are baking and softening, prepare the whipped topping.

Drain the silken tofu, also known as soft tofu, and gently spoon the soft tofu into a small food processor. Add one banana and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of alcohol-free vanilla extract and blend until creamy. Taste the whipped tofu cream to see if it is sweet enough, if not, add half a banana. If you want more cinnamon, you can add one half to one more teaspoon of cinnamon at this time . Blend again; make sure there are no chunks and the tofu pudding mixture is completely smooth.

When the apple 🍎 slices are soft to your liking, take them out of the oven and let cool completely. Keep the apple slices and the whipped cream in the refrigerator in a covered glass container until ready to eat.

Plate the apple slices and add a dollop or more of the whipped tofu banana cream. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top. Add desired amount of dry toasted walnuts, or raw walnuts or granola on top.

Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Caroline Girvan’s Diet (what does Caroline Girvan eat?)

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published December 20, 2022

Caroline Girvan, a pretty, thin, 37-year-old muscular bleached blond fitness model, who has a dark spray tan, has close to 2 million subscribers on YouTube, where she shares her exercise weightlifting and cardiovascular workouts.

It appears that her bodyfat percentage is in the single digits, since she’s shredded, so I wondered if she was vegan, she’s not.

While her workouts are well-thought out, her diet, or at least, what she recommends, is terrible for health, as it promotes heart disease, and will make it difficult to lose weight since it’s high in fat and low in healthy carbohydrates.

Avocado toast is a healthy meal, but if you are trying to lose weight, limit avocado consumption to no more than 1/4 per day because avocados are high in fat, and fattening foods cause weight gain
Photo by on

She calls herself a “nutrition expert.”

When I googled, “What makes Caroline Girvan a nutrition expert?” My search didn’t come up with an answer to that question, so I tried a different question. I typed, “What are Caroline Girvan’s credentials?” Answer: She’s a “certified personal trainer.” Certified trainers do have to read a chapter about nutrition, but it’s incomplete and usually inaccurate; that doesn’t make her an expert in nutrition.

If you want to watch the video I made instead of reading this post, scroll down towards the bottom of this article.

(I am a certified personal trainer and have a certification in fitness nutrition; I am a certified strength and conditioning coach, a certified plant-based grassroots Ambassador, a published author of four books, one is a cookbook and the other is a book that teaches nutrition and weight loss).

I found a video she made about what to eat. She doesn’t state how much of each food to consume so I cannot determine the calories or macronutrient ratios; but I can tell you that her diet is better than the standard American diet, but her diet will still elevate cholesterol levels and increase inflammation.

In her diet plan, she recommends people eat, the following.

Breakfast: eggs, toast, avocado, and fruit.

Fruits are extremely nutritious and contain fiber, nutrients, and water so that’s a fantastic food choice.

She recommends eggs and avocado for breakfast. For anyone trying to lose weight, they should avoid or limit avocados which are high in fat (the higher the fat, the higher the calories). Eggs are high in fat and cholesterol and should not be in any diet plan.

She recommends toast for breakfast. Toast is a processed food, but if it’s whole grain and is gluten free, toast is fine for most people to eat.

eggs are high in cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. No one needs to eat eggs.

(I eat a salad with fruit and balsamic vinegar almost every morning for breakfast)

close up photo of a cherry fruits
fruit is excellent for weight loss and hydration
Photo by Pixabay on

Snack: protein shake or Greek yogurt.

She recommends a protein shake as a snack. Protein shakes are usually made with chemicals, toxic sweeteners, and isolated soy or dairy protein. Dr. McDougall says all protein powders, even vegan protein powders are toxic because the protein has been isolated (molecularly taken apart, the fiber, carbohydrate and fat removed).

She recommends Greek yogurt for a snack, but doesn’t explain why yogurt is a good food choice. The probiotics in all yogurts are usually inactive, and what little remains is worthless.

We don’t need to add shakes or yogurt to our diets since Americans generally eat excessive amounts of protein.

Unless someone is underweight, I advise people to try not to snack between meals as snack calories add up fast.

salmon is a high-fat, toxic food choice

Lunch: salmon, brown rice, and broccoli.

In her food plan, she advises people to eat Salmon for lunch. Salmon is a high-fat food. All fish contain mercury, PCB’s, microplastics, cholesterol and toxic chemicals.

Fish is poor protein choice. I used to eat salmon too, but now, when I want salmon, I make baked tofu “salmon” with nori. Tofu is high in protein, and the nori seaweed contains iodine and omega 3s.

Caroline recommends the whole grain, brown rice, to pair with the salmon for lunch. Brown rice contains quite a bit of arsenic so I would choose another grain, like quinoa instead.

Caroline recommends adding a vegetable like broccoli to the lunch with salmon and brown rice. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and something everyone should eat often.

I eat oat groats instead of rice, since rice is high in arsenic

Mid-day snack: rice cakes, peanut butter, apple.

Caroline recommends eating rice cakes smeared with peanut butter and an apple. I’m not a fan of rice cakes since they taste like cardboard and puffed rice is processed.

Peanut butter is a high fat food, which is not recommended for people trying to lose weight.

She recommends eating an apple for a snack. Why just one? Apples are awesome and contain healthy phytonutrients. People should eat more apples!

close up photograph of rice cakes
You don’t need to eat rice cakes to lose weight
Photo by Eva Bronzini on

Dinner: chicken breast, lentil pasta, marinara sauce, spinach

A dinner with chicken breast, spinach, and lentil pasta with a marinara sauce would have been a good choice except for the chicken breast, which contains saturated animal fat and estrogen hormones, which makes it hard to lose weight. Leave out the chicken breast and it’s still a high-protein meal, and gets a thumbs up from me.

Pasta is not optimal for weight loss as it’s high in calories, contains little fiber and isn’t filling.
A good substitute for spaghetti is to use zucchini noodles.
I use beans instead of animal products, which are heart healthy and absent of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Snack: cottage cheese (gross, that’s what my grandma used to eat)

It appears Caroline’s choosing cottage cheese due to its high protein content, but most people have digestive issues with dairy because us humans weren’t supposed to consume baby bovine fluid. Any excess protein doesn’t turn into muscle, it turns into fat!

What does trainer Caroline Girvan to eat to stay lean and muscular?
Cottage cheese is what a lot of trainers eat for protein, but dairy causes digestive and hormonal problems, and triggers autoimmune conditions, and should be avoided. People should eat less protein, not more protein.
Photo by Pixabay on

Another snack option she recommends is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is delicious, but chocolate bars are high in fat, and contain sugar, which is inflammatory and additive, and can lead to overconsumption.

A diet so low in whole carbohydrates, which is what she advocates, would make it difficult for most people to gain muscle, feel full and satisfied, and have enough energy to complete a difficult workout.

Her diet is lacking in in fiber, and those fibers are essential for good gut health, so I recommend she add more fruit, definitely berries, and more vegetables, like sweet potatoes and beets, to her food plan, add in beans and lentils for heart-healthy protein and carbohydrates for fuel, and get rid of the dairy and animal products, which are acidic and inflammatory (not ideal for building muscle or losing weight).

She recommends eating six times a day. Eating more frequently can lead to weight gain, not weight loss, and frequent eating doesn’t allow the body enough time between meals for repair because it’s spending more time digesting food.

I recommend people eat less frequently, limiting their meals to no more than three times a day if they need to lose weight.

To sum up Caroline’s diet, it’s a high-fat, high-protein diet, low in carbohydrates, low in fiber, low in micronutrients, high in mercury, hormones, and toxins.

The reason why she isn’t fat from eating all this fat is that her portions aren’t huge, and she doesn’t eat more calories than she burns off.

Fatty foods are not nutritious; fat doesn’t contain fiber or nutrients (the exceptions are nuts, seeds and avocados which should be limited, or avoided by people who are overweight).

Being slim, muscular and/or beautiful doesn’t mean someone’s diet is healthy.

Even if you or I exercised and ate exactly like Caroline, we wouldn’t look like her.

Proper nutrition, consistent exercise with progressive overload is key for a fit, muscular body but genes play a huge role in determining how one looks.

Caroline’s diet plan is better than most out there, but it not health promoting, will leave most people hungry, and have trouble following. All-in-all, I would grade her diet a “B-.”

If you are looking for a HEALTHY, sustainable diet, check out my plant-based, whole-food diet and nutrition book: the High-Five Diet.

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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vegan pasta cream sauce (low-fat, plant-based pumpkin sauce)

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published January 31, 2023

This low-fat, plant-based, oil-free, sugar-free, vegan pumpkin cream sauce is silky smooth with a touch of sweetness, and is delicious on both wheat and gluten-free pastas. There’s a video demonstration at the bottom of this post to see exactly how I make it.


One box drained, firm organic tofu, sliced into cubes

One can of pumpkin purée

One ripe banana, broken into 1-inch pieces

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp garlic powder

freshly ground white or black pepper to taste

Red chili flakes to taste

1 tsp + coconut aminos

Directions: add Tofu cubes, pumpkin puree, banana pieces, cinnamon, garlic powder, and coconut aminos into a large food processor. Blend until creamy.

Cook pasta as directed on package, drain water from pasta. Place cooked pasta back on the burner and add desired amount of pumpkin cream sauce (usually a few dollops will do). Turn up heat on the burner to warm the pasta with the sauce to the temperature of your liking.

Pour pasta with sauce into a bowl and top with freshly ground black pepper, red chili flakes, and a splash of the coconut aminos or salt. It’s ready to eat and enjoy!

Store the remaining sauce, covered, in the refrigerator.

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

How to change your mind (A psychologist’s perspective to improve healthy eating habits)

man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky

(if you are viewing this on email or on social media, please visit site at for the most updated version of this post; it looks better, and it shows me an accurate count of views)

written by Nina Shantel, blog:, published January 31, 2023

Changing one’s diet starts with mentally accepting change, giving up foods one enjoys, and putting changes into actions. Making big changes is hard, which I understand, but what I don’t understand is why some people won’t even make small changes to improve their health, when they are sick.

Why do sick people ignore health advise and allow their health to deteriorate, when others are proactive. To seek answers to these questions and others I have, I asked licensed clinical psychologist Marcy Witkin-Lupo, author of “The Embrace of Spirit, A Woman’s Guide to Mind/Body Healing,” if I could interview her and record the conversation for my YouTube channel. She agreed to the 30-minute video which you can watch below.

healthy food can taste delicious

Dr. Witkin-Lupo said there is no one definitive thing that makes one person amenable to change, but pain, a disease diagnosis, or a medical incident, is usually the driving source for change. For some people, a medical diagnosis will not make them change their diet or prompt them to exercise. Some people will have to have the heart attack before they start taking their heath seriously. Then, there are other people who still won’t make any changes to reduce their pain and exacerbate their symptoms and make them more susceptive to cancer and disease.

A healthy diet doesn’t just mean you have to eat salads

Reasons for avoiding exercise and refusing to give up processed foods, sugar, fatty foods, red meat, dairy and animal products are varied and can include one or more of the following reasons:

Denial – they are in denial of their medical condition, refusing to believe the diagnosis

False information – Some people don’t believe that diet and exercise can reverse disease and pain (in most cases, it can)

Negative attitude – they don’t believe they can change because other people tell them they can’t

Lack of confidence – they don’t believe they have the strength to change their habits

Pain is tolerable – the pain isn’t bad enough to make changes

Prefers instant gratification – would rather eat the burger now than put in the effort and time to look & feel good six weeks, six months or a year from now

Change is hard – changing ingrained habits is challenging

Unsupportive family or friends – having people around you that push you to eat unhealthy foods and engage in unhealthy habits makes it that much more difficult to make changes that you don’t really want to make

Unclear consequences – If the consequences of one’s actions or inactions aren’t clear, a person may not be motivated to make lifestyle changes

Undefined Why – To make permanent lifestyle changes, one needs to define why they are making these changes. Everyone’s reason for why they are making drastic changes varies from person to person, so your reason for giving up pizza and milkshakes, which may be weight loss, is different from another person’s reason for avoiding dairy, which could be to stop painful rheumatoid arthritis attacks.

People don’t exercise, don’t eat healthy foods, and continue harmful habits due to denial, false information they believe, a negative attitude, a lack of confidence, pain being tolerable, changing habits is difficult, having unsupportive family or friends, not connecting the consequences to one’s habits, and/or not defining why specific changes are needed.

To listen to the entire interesting interview with psychologist Marcy Witkin-Lupo, play the YouTube video.

Let me know why you exercise, why you choose to eat healthy food, or why you haven’t made changes to unhealthy habits.

If you have additional insights as to why some people will make positive changes and others won’t, please write in the comments below; multiple perspectives can be enlightening.

You can order Marcy Witkin-Lupo’s book, “The Embrace of Spirit, A Woman’s Guide to Mind/Body Healing,” directly through an on-line retailer, or you can contact her directly, $20 includes shipping, by emailing

Her book is about her personal story of abuse, how to acknowledge the past while living life without toxic fear and anger, and moving forward to live a happy, healing life.

To read about my story of illness and how I regained my health and lost excess bodyfat, and try my low-fat, plant-based, anti-inflammatory healing vegan diet, click the image below to order your copy of my paperback book, revised and re-published October 2022

Exercise is good stress for the mind and body; it doesn’t have to be grueling, it can and should be fun

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

full body dumbbell and cardio workout, no repeats (28-minute strength & cardio workout video)

In this 28-minute, full-body workout, you’ll gain strength and get in a cardiovascular workout. All you need is a mat, a set of light dumbbells, and water. I’m drinking zero calorie mint tea.

I’m using three different sets of dumbbells, 8’s, 10’s and 12’s, but one set is sufficient, just do a few more reps or squeeze the muscles more if the exercises are easy (I’m guessing they will be more challenging than you realize).

If you have difficulty with balance, have a chair nearby to hold on to.

Stop at the first sign of pain. Go at your level. Don’t hold your breath on any of these exercises.  

Here are the exercises in order:

Warm-up: fast marching


  1. Leg lifts and lowers to work the hips and gluteus medias (aka the side butt). Lay on your side, knees bent. With a pointed toe, lift the top knee upwards to the ceiling, leaving the top toes pressed against the bottom foot. Reverse the rotation by bringing the top knee down to the bottom thigh, while bringing the toes up to the ceiling this time. Perform a total of 20 reps. (see video below to see the exercise and to follow along)
  2. Reverse short and long lunges with or without dumbbells, your choice. 8 or more reps on each side.
  3. Bridge hold with alternating heel lifts. 30 seconds
  4. Bridge hold. Lift both heels up and down. 10-30 seconds
  5. Glute bridge with heels up the entire time. 30 seconds
  6. Quadruped leg lifts. Get on all fours. Extend one leg with toe pointed down on mat. Lift leg up no higher than your back, tap leg down. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  7. Same as #6, but don’t let the toe touch the ground. Perform exercise for 20 seconds or until failure
  8. Same as #6, but pulse the same leg at the top for 10 seconds or until failure.
  9. Same as #6, but hold leg at the top for 10 seconds.
  10. Two push-ups, then stand up, perform 5 lateral shoulder raises. Repeat for 3 sets.
  11. Triceps shoulder crushers. Lay on your back. With dumbbells in each hand, flare the elbows out to the sides; the triceps should touch the floor. Bring dumbbells towards the shoulders. The dumbbells do not need to touch the shoulders. Repeat for 8 reps or until failure
  12. Pull-overs in a bridge with 5-count eccentrics and 1-count concentric. 8 reps. Lay on your back. Bend your knees with feet flat on the floor. With one dumbbell in each hand, press the weights over your chest. With straight arms, lower the weights to the floor, then bring the weights back up over your chest. Repeat.
  13. Narrow shoulder press with dumbbells. 8 reps. Jump up or pop up, for the last 7 reps, for a total of 15 reps. Land softly.
  14. Calf raises with 90-degree dumbbell biceps hold for 20 reps.
  15. Biceps curls for 8-10 reps with calf raises.
  16. Ten plank jacks, or tap the outer toes if this plyometric exercise is not suited to you.
  17. Lay on your back, legs extended with a slight bend in your knees. Put your hands behind your head and perform 10 small circles with your upper body. This strengthens the upper abdominal muscles. Then lift one leg and perform 5 more upper body circles. Repeat this sequence on the other direction. This strengthening the upper and lower abdominal muscles.
  18. Cobra or upward dog abdominal stretch
  19. Downward dog stretch with calf pedals
  20. Standing quad stretch
  21. Standing hamstring stretch
  22. Lateral lunge to stretch the inner thighs
  23. Cross-body triceps stretch
  24. Overhead shoulder stretch with also stretches the lats (the large back muscles)
  25. Forward and reverse windmills for the shoulders
figure-four glute stretch

I forgot to add a glute stretch. To perform a figure-four glute stretch, lay on the floor with knees bent and cross one leg over the other with the elevated shin pressed against the thigh with the foot on the floor. Lift the leg up that has the foot on the floor. Interlace your hands behind the thigh that you just lifted and hug the leg towards you. Perform this stretch for 30 seconds. Switch sides.

best CLEAN vegan cosmetics, groceries & nutrition books

For many years I have been searching for the cleanest cosmetics, certified organic vegan foods, and best books on plant-based nutrition so I have compiled them into lists. Click on the photos below to see which foods, books and cosmetics are my favorites. I have also provided direct links to these products so you can buy them and have them shipped directly to you.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases,

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BEST PLANT-BASED VEGAN NUTRITION BOOKS for weight loss, disease reversal & recipes
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I will be updating these lists regularly so keep this page link to you can refer back to it whenever you are looking for new cosmetics, books on health and nutrition, and disease prevention & reversal; and healthy plant-based vegan groceries.

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