Is your cinnamon the healthy kind?


I know there’s different types of spices, but I didn’t know that the type of cinnamon that’s abundant in grocery stores, cassia, contains a dangerous “…compound called coumarin, which may be toxic to the liver in high doses.” I put cinnamon on my oats every day. Yikes! Luckily, the cinnamon I buy, Ceylon, is the healthy kind. If your cinnamon doesn’t state that it’s Ceylon, toss it and order, Ceylon.


Here’s the organic cinnamon I get directly from Amazon. It’s only $3.02 for a little over 2 oz:

Want more healthy information on nutrition? Check out my book at book cover front.jpg

  1. Source: Greger, M.D., Michael. How Not to Die. Book. New York: Flatiron Books. 2015 pg. 368.

10 Steps towards your health goals


Many people lack motivation to start an exercise program or just don’t know where to begin. If you are serious about reaching your fitness goals, you need a plan.

I have designed this questionnaire below to assist you in meeting your aspirations.

Define your goal.

Example: My goal is to build muscle.

Your goal should be crystal clear. If your goal is to lose weight, also specify how many pounds you want to lose.

2. Action you will take to meet that goal.

Example: In order to build muscle I will start weight-training.

If you want to gain strength, list which exercises you plan to do or what classes you plan to take.

3. How often will you need to do this to meet your goal?

Example: I will weight train four times a week.

You want to specify out how frequently you will exercise. Running once a month isn’t going to get you towards your objective.

4. For what period of time?

Example: I will weight-train for 1 hour straight with minimal breaks.

Some people go to the gym. They warm-up on the treadmill for five minutes, walk around the gym, do a few machines and leave. If you decide ahead of time how much time you will exercise and what exercises you will do, you will more likely get what you want accomplished.

5. List the exact date when you will begin working on your new goal:

Example:  I will start my weight training regimen Wednesday of this week.

If you don’t set a start date, you may never get going. I always hear people say, “I plan to workout. Maybe I’ll start next week. Oh…wait…this week is bad. Probably the following week.”

Since the person didn’t set a start date, s/he kept procrastinating although the plan was always to start tomorrow.

6. What time will I work on my goal?

Example:  I will start my workout at 7:00am.

If you don’t decide beforehand what time you will need to get going, you might never start the workout. If you try to get everything else done before your exercises, it may not be until the evening is almost over, and by then it may be too late or you may be too tired to exercise. I exercise first thing in the morning so it’s done and out of the way.

7. What are the benefits of reaching your goal?

Example:  The benefits of weight training are increased strength and stability, weight-loss, toning and improved body image.

Don’t forget to list the benefits of meeting your goals. If there are no benefits, then what’s going to motivate you to start a challenge?

8. What are the consequences of not working towards your goal?

Example:  If I don’t work out with weights I will have muscle wasting, possible osteoporosis, and injuries.

Make a list of the negatives of doing nothing. Sometimes the hard reality is what gets a person to action.

9. What are the challenges to meeting your goal?

Example:  In order to build muscle I will need to spend more time exercising. The challenge will be finding the time.

Making changes is hard. Write down what may impede your progress so you can find a solution.

10. How are you going to remedy that challenge?

Example: I’m going to wake up earlier, go to bed earlier, and cut back on work hours.

If you don’t have a solution to what’s stopping you from doing what you need to do, then you won’t meet your goals. Sometimes you have to give something up to get what you want.

If you’re serious about losing excess body-fat, order The High-Five Diet today at book cover front.jpgand print out this questionnaire, write down your responses to the questions. You now have a complete system for success.

photo: That’s me doing a handstand, and something I’ve been working on for quite some time. To obtain this goal, I took yoga classes, and practiced headstands against a wall, built up my shoulders with weight-training, and finally went for it!



Raw Mushrooms are toxic

large mushroomsbutton mushroomsmushrooms






Call me weird, but I don’t like cooked mushrooms; they taste slimy to me. They’re okay-tasting raw, with some salt and pepper, but I’m never doing that again because I just learned that raw mushrooms contain a toxin called agaritine (1). This “toxin is destroyed by cooking…” except in morel mushrooms, where, “the toxin levels appear higher and may react with alcohol even after cooking (1).” Morels are expensive, and I’ve never seen them in grocery stores, but some places do sell them.

 Go ahead and cook your favorite mushrooms in butter and wine, or simmer in a tasty sauce. I’m going to avoid them, and if they’re served to me, I’m going to remove them from my plate and toss them in the trash. 

  1. Source: Greger, M.D., Michael. How Not to Die. Book. New York: Flatiron Books. 2015 pg. 326.

Fit Girl Coleslaw recipe w/vegan dressing

low-calorie vegan coleslaw dressing

Coleslaw dressings are usually made with a lot of oil, or an excessive amount of mayonnaise, which means: too many calories. This dressing is creamy, with only 204 calories and just 21 grams of carbs for the entire batch, and has just the right amount of punchy-flavor.

Fit Girl Coleslaw


  • ¼ cup light mayo (I used Spectrum’s light vegan canola mayo)
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1 small green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • ¼ cup cilantro, washed and chopped

Optional add-in:

  • Cashews, salted, roasted, chopped

Mix dressing ingredients until creamy and pour over coleslaw. Mix dressing into coleslaw with a large spoon. Keep cool in refrigerator, but it’s best when eaten right away.

Can you trust food labels?

Amy's Vegan PizzaCan’t believe that delicious low-calorie ice cream is only 150 calories for the entire pint? Well, your taste buds might be right. “According the FDA labeling laws, a 20% margin of error is allowed in regards to calories, sugars, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium (1).” If the majority of your calories comes from packaged foods, you might be consuming a lot more calories than you want or need. Buying snacks is easy and convenient, but they also have a higher risk of cross contamination with other ingredients that may not agree with you, contain bug parts, or be recalled from salmonella poisoning. Make your own treats whenever possible.*

I remember going out to a Chinese restaurant and feeling really full after having only a quarter of the my meal, and thought it was odd because the menu said the meal I ordered was under 500 calories. Well, it turns out, restaurants ESTIMATE the calories on the low end (1). No wonder I feel stuffed when I eat out. Let your stomach tell you when you are no longer hungry; don’t rely on the estimate, and don’t feel obligated to clean your plate.

• P.S. My next book, Slimming Dairy-Free Desserts and Smoothies will be out soon!

1. Source: Larue R.D., Kristina. “7 Reasons you’re underestimating calorie intake.” Blog Post Type. My Fitness Pal Blog. My Fitness Pal. 13, Jul. 2017. Received: 7, Aug. 2107. Retrieved from:

PIYO exercise DVD video set review

PIYO cover photoPIYO is the new craze in no-impact exercise videos; it’s described as combination of cardio, yoga and Pilates, although I can only recall one Pilates exercise in the entire set. The three DVD’s include lower body & buns, upper body, sweat & drench (cardio), core, and strength & sculpt. The distinction between each workout video is unclear because some of the same moves are in each video. The repetition of many of the exercises are both good and bad. It’s good because I’m mastering some of the moves, but the bad part, is that it’s not as fun when you’re doing the same thing over and over again.

 The instructor, Chalene, is cheerful and motivating, but she’s not always accurate when explaining what the movement is. For example, she’ll say “rest,” when she means “child’s pose,” or “reverse” when she means “cow pose.” She also calls a side plank with a twist, a “PIYO pike,” which is confusing. I frequently have to stop to look at the video to see the movements to understand what she really means.

 I bought this set because I wanted to do more yoga, which it offers, but there’s no advanced yoga poses and not enough variety. I was also disappointed that there wasn’t enough stretching exercises, or even a separate stretching video, since I want to work on flexibility. All in all, they are fun, short, challenging workouts, and despite my criticisms, I rate it a “B” and recommend PIYO.

Want more good stuff? Check out my other website:


Cold-brewed tea is better

Chocolate Pu erhI don’t drink coffee, not only because it’s too acidic, but because, over time, I’ve become allergic to it. I like hydrating first thing in the morning by having tea, but I don’t have much time to wait for the kettle to brew, or the hot tea to cool down, so I usually heat double-filtered water in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then add the tea bag to the warmed water. So, I got excited when I found out that I can just pop the tea bag in cold water, no other steps. “This method has been found to reduce the caffeine content and is said to reduce bitterness and improve the aroma…” (1). Cold-brewed tea may even have more antioxidants, because water that is too hot, can destroy some of the wonderful powers of tea (1).

  1. Source: Greger, M.D., Michael. How Not to Die. Book. New York: Flatiron Books. 2015 pg. 387.

photo: one of my favorite teas

If you eat sea salt, you may be deficient

best sea saltI stopped eating iodized salt years ago because I read that sea salt is less processed, has more minerals, people tend to consume less because it’s thicker than regular salt, and I think it tastes better (1). Iodine is added to table salt so most people get plenty of iodine, “a mineral essential for thyroid function…” (2). You don’t have to worry about being iodine deficient if you eat seafood, drink dairy milk (which I don’t recommend), or consume seaweed. You don’t need much though. “Too much iodine can cause excessive thyroid gland activity.” A good rule of thumb for eating is, a little of this, and little of that.



  1. Zeratsky R.D. Katherine. “What’s the difference between sea salt and table salt?” Web blog post. Mayo Clinic.  4 May. 2016. Web. 2017, 23 Jul. Retrieved from:
  2. Greger, M.D., Michael. How Not to Die. Book. New York: Flatiron Books. 2015 pgs. 409-410.

How many calories in chicken skin

chicken drumstickWhenever I pick up a rotisserie chicken, I remove the skin, even though it’s the tastiest part. The reason why we’re advised to remove the skin is because it’s mostly fat. If you’ve ever wondered how many calories you’re saving from removing the skin from a chicken breast, it’s 50 (1). If you eat four pieces of chicken breast meat with the skin, that’s an additional 200 calories; now, that’s a lot!

  1. Source: “The Truth Behind 6 Big Food Myths.” Consumer Reports, On Health. Apr 2017. Page 8. Print.


Want to know all the facts on how to lose weight and keep it off, with low-calorie delicious dairy-free recipes, all in one book? Go to and check it out.

P.S. I know this is a chicken leg, but it’s the only photo I could find with the skin on since I buy skinless chicken breasts.

Don’t sniff your food. It can make you fatter!

IMG_3547I sometimes joke that just being around food makes me gain weight, whether or not I eat it. Surprisingly, there might be some truth to this. Just smelling food can make you fatter. In a study with mice, those that couldn’t smell the fatty food they were eating, didn’t get fatter. Seems crazy that this can be true in humans, but, there are connections between “…the smell system and regions of the brain that regulate metabolism…” (1). We aren’t mice, but “humans who lose their sense of smell….often become anorexic…” (1). We don’t know why this is, “….perhaps the lack of smell tricks the body into thinking it has already  eaten…” (1).  Before you run to your doctor to kill your sense of smell, don’t, this can increase a hormone called noradrenaline, which can increase the chances of a heart attack (1).

With this knowledge I’m not going to sniff food I’m not going to eat, and I might plug my nose if I eat something fattening.

Source: Sanders, Robert. “Smelling your food makes you fat.” Web blog post. Berkeley News.  UC Berkeley. 15 Jul. 2017. Web. 2017, 13 Jul. 2017. Retrieved from:

add’l sources:


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