NutraGen Plant protein review

Nutragen Plant protein


At the gym, I got a free sample of Nutragen’s Pure Plant chocolate and vanilla protein powders. What I like is that it’s certified organic, vegan, and it doesn’t have rice (since rice has naturally occurring arsenic). What I didn’t like is that it has sugar, in the form of coconut sugar (it’s still sugar), and it’s high in calories.

I blended the chocolate flavor with 1 ½ frozen bananas, and one cup of water. It tasted chalky and the sweetness from the monk fruit was overwhelming and unpleasant. I added one level teaspoon of coco powder and some raspberries to balance the sweetness, which helped, but it wasn’t a smoothie I’d ever want to drink again. It’s 130 calories, which is on the high-side, and just 3 grams of carbs which is nice and low.

The following day, I blended the vanilla flavor with 1 frozen banana and one cup of water. The final product was a very thin consistency (I should have used coconut milk instead of water), with an unpleasant synthetic vanilla flavor, and the sweetness from too much monk fruit was intolerable. I added a few large frozen strawberries, and blended it again, which improved the taste of my smoothie, but the overall flavor and texture gives this protein powder a big thumbs-down. This is one of the worst flavors of protein powders I have tried. It’s also ridiculously high in calories at a whopping 145 for 21 grams of protein. A protein powder should be around 100 calories, unless you’re trying to bulk and gain weight.

There’s better tasting vegan protein powders out there that have fewer calories. My favorite to date is the from the brand Tone it Up which I get from Target.

 Here’s the link if you want to try it, but after reading my review, I’m doubting you want to:

P.S. Take a look at my website product page and take a peek at

get more protein without eating more of it

eggs.a good source of protein

Seems like everyone is trying to eat more protein to build muscle and to get lean, but more protein means more calories. And if you’re getting your protein from animal sources, that means additional saturated fat and cholesterol. For someone eating a low-calorie, vegan diet, getting enough protein can be a challenge. A probiotic, BC30, helps absorb and utilize protein; it might even reduce muscle damage and increase recovery (1).


  1. Source: Runestad, Todd. “The Pros of Probiotics. 6 Health Benefits of Probiotics Beyond Digestion.” Delicious Living. June 2017. Pages 37, 39. Print. 

Mediterranean Diet isn’t always healthy


We’ve been told the Mediterranean Diet is healthy and that we should all try to follow this diet, but it’s actually unhealthy if people aren’t eating quality olive oil, are consuming too much olive oil (regardless of quality), if the food contains pesticides, if people aren’t eating whole grains, and/or are consuming too many calories (1). This study, from the Italian Research Institute IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, of 18,000 people from southern Italy from 3/2005 to 4/2010 also showed that those who ate more fish and drank a moderate amount of alcohol were the healthiest of the bunch (1).

P.S. The recent revelation in the news about a flawed Mediterranean study’s results being retracted, was a different study (not the one mentioned above) in Spain with only 7447 people. The results from that study revealed that a Med Diet reduces heart disease. Even though that study had quality-control issues, it is still generally recognized that a Med Diet is good for heart health (2).

Sources: (1) Scutti, Susan. “The Mediterranean Diet Doesn’t Benefit Everyone.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Aug. 2017. Web. 19 June 2018.

(2) Kolata, Gina. “That Huge Mediterranean Diet Study Was Flawed, but Was It Wrong?” The New York Times [New York] 13 June 2018, Health sec.: n. pag. Print.

add’l sources:






Your diet is working, but this is why you need to change it.

white shirt leaning against wall.jpg

Since I have a certification in fitness nutrition, and published a diet book, and a healthy dessert cookbook, people tell me what they eat, or what their diets consist of. Just because a diet is working, i.e. they are losing weight, and maybe their cholesterol and blood sugar is down, doesn’t mean their diet is healthy. Whenever calories are reduced, weight loss and numbers typically go down, but being healthy is more than just pant size and scores.

A certified fitness trainer told me about her high protein, low-calorie, low-carb diet. She gave me the amount of calories, total number of carbs, and total grams of protein she was told to eat on her new diet to see what I thought about it; I was shocked, because the proportions were totally out of whack. For her size, the protein (all from animal sources) was much too high, and the amount of carbs was much too low. I told her that much protein will increase her cholesterol, and tax her kidneys. I suggested she lower total overall protein, and to make sure some of that protein was from non-animal sources.

The amount of carbohydrates she was told to eat was also off; it was way too low for the type and amount of exercise she did daily. Extremely low carbs, usually means low energy since food is fuel. After a few months on that high-protein, low-carb diet, she looked leaner. She lost body fat and people were complementing her, but she felt terrible. Sometimes she had so little energy, that she couldn’t exercise at all. Her weight loss stopped too. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with extremely high cholesterol, and was told that her kidneys were not functioning as well as they could. She finally stopped eating so much animal protein, cut out red meat, and increased her carbs, but it took a doctor’s lab work before she made the changes.

A bodybuilder with bodyfat in the single digits, (that’s really low, which is why he has an 8-pack) told me that he eats ground beef, rice, ice cream, milk and chicken breast, that’s it. While he looks really fit and healthy, he admitted that he has to take energy drinks to get through his day, and fiber in order to have a bowel movement. I told him he needs to swap out the rice and dairy with fruit and vegetables instead, but he’s sticking to his diet because it’s “working.”

Your diet is NOT working if you are tired, grumpy, hungry all the time, have trouble sleeping, are breaking out with blemishes, and/or are constipated. A good weight-loss diet doesn’t require supplements, energy drinks, fat burners, or fiber pills. You shouldn’t eat the same foods every day. A diet shouldn’t be limiting, and should include a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

My seemingly endless amounts of energy isn’t hereditary, neither is my clear skin (I don’t even wear foundation). I have lots of energy, and my skin is clear because I eat fruit and vegetables every day, sleep 7-8 hours each night, and am always trying new recipes with different ingredients.

Diets have a negative connotation because there are so many terrible ones out there, but you don’t need to starve yourself, or eat a restrictive diet to lose weight. Nutritional deficiencies from inadequate diets cause disease. Just because a diet is working, doesn’t mean it will keep you healthy.

P.S. For my diet plan, my favorite recipes, and everything you need to know about nutrition for healthy, sustained weight-loss, order your copy of my paperback book from

Photo: me


Vegan Peanut Butter Protein Review

PB protein powder

I love peanut butter, but, like all nut butters, it has a lot of calories for such a small portion (2 tablespoons is 180 calories). Tone it Up has a vegan peanut butter protein powder, with 90 calories, 15 grams of protein from peas, and pumpkin seeds; with just 2 grams of net carbs. It doesn’t contain sugar, rice, dairy, stevia, or sugar alcohols. The sweetness comes from Monk fruit extract. They didn’t have a sample, so I bought the tub at Target.

I added the scoop of protein powder to one cup of coconut milk and one frozen banana. The texture was grainy, and the peanut butter flavor was subtle and overly sweet. I tried it the next day with one cup of cold water, and one frozen banana; it tasted much better, but the sandy texture was still noticeable. The third day I added ice, a few drops of lemon juice and a teaspoon of tahini, and it tasted delicious.

Target Stores sell Tone It Up Vegan protein powder in tubs for $22.99 for 14 servings. Since the smoothies are thick, you can save money and calories by omitting milk. The cheapest store to buy Tone It Up protein powder is at Target for $22.99. Amazon sells the same one for $38!

P.S. If you are looking for carb-controlled, whole-food, vegan smoothies, check out my cookbooks: Slimming Dairy-Free Smoothies & Desserts, and The High-Five Diet at

Why I don’t eat ground turkey anymore

meat sauce from The High-Five Diet

I love ground turkey, and I know it has more fat and calories than ground turkey breast, so I was shocked to learn that the difference between the two is 200 calories for 16 ounces. If I eat ground turkey at every meal, which I sometimes do, I’m going over my calorie budget by at least 200 calories. Even though 200 calories is not a lot, that would be one explanation for not being able to lose bodyfat.

 turkey calories

There’s even a more stark contrast in calories and fat between chicken breast meat and chicken thigh meat. There’s 357 more calories in one pound of chicken thighs, compared to chicken breast. Even if you have one, four-ounce serving of chicken thighs, that’s 89 calories more than chicken breast.

 chicken calories.jpg

Calories add up fast, and those small additions are typically the reason the weight won’t come off, or why people continue to gain weight. More protein intake can mean more bodyfat because excess calories turn into fat. Choose lean proteins every time, and weigh and/or measure all your food. In general women should aim for 3 ounces of lean protein with every meal (but most people eat much more), and men should have a goal of 4 ounces of lean protein with every meal. Protein comes in many forms, like grains, nuts, seeds, and beans so keep that in mind too.


Photo: Ground turkey with green olives and zucchini noodles. Now I make this dish with ground turkey breast. The trick to make it taste just as good, is to add more spices.

Source: MyFitnessPal


two types of probiotic pills for fat loss


Could there actually be a non-toxic pill that allows you to lose bodyfat safely? “A….probiotic strain, called Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055, makes sure the body excretes fat…” A small study, with this strain…found that 5 billion CFUs a day for just one week reduced belly fat and promoted weight loss.” In another study, 10 billion CFUs of a different probiotic strain called B. lactis 420 (B420), reduced caloric intake, body fat and waist size in overweight adults. After six months, they lost three pounds and reduced their waist size by one inch.

Because of these findings, we will probably be seeing a lot more probiotics with one of these strains, with the label listing it as a weight loss probiotic.

Here’s two probiotics I found with one of these strains:



Runestad, Todd. “The Pros of Probiotics. 6 Health Benefits of Probiotics Beyond Digestion.” Delicious Living. June 2017. Pages 37, 39. Print. 

“Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 suppresses fatty acid release through enlargement of fat emulsion size in vitro and promotes fecal fat excretion in healthy Japanese subjects.” US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. 20, Mar 2015. Blog. Retrieved 12, Jun 2018 from

Non-toxic self-tanner

True Natural Self Tan products

I stopped letting my face get any sunrays because I don’t want wrinkles or sunspots, but I love the look of a bronze glow.  I also stopped wearing foundation and blush because, no matter what brand I tried, my skin would break out. I also stopped going to automated spray tanning salons, since it was impossible not to inhale the airborne particles. I have tried custom spray tans by a professional, but at $50 a pop, that adds up.

So, I’ve been using True Natural Self-Tan lotion, and the end result is a very natural looking bronze tan. For my fair skin, I use their Dark Color, Vanilla Coconut, but I use that only on my body, because it makes my face breakout. Since my skin is so sensitive, I use their face tanner, Facial Moisturizer, which goes on smoothly and evenly. It doesn’t streak, is easy to apply, and looks like a real sun tan.

They are both stinky, but all tanning products I’ve tried have an unpleasant scent. Maybe it’s the active ingredient(s) that make it smell weird. The True Natural brand scent fades after your first shower, and the smell is almost unnoticable after 48 hours.

If you’re looking for a creamy self-tanner that works well, looks natural, lasts about a week, and is certified organic, give these a try. The body lotion bottle lasts me 6-8 weeks, and the facial tanner lasts me about three months, so don’t freak out about the small size.

Here’s their website (but you can get their products on Amazon too):

A skinny diet can make you fat for life


Very low calorie diets are brutal and can actually make people fatter. While most people go back to their old ways of eating, when calories are reduced “a person’s metabolic rate slows down to accommodate semi-starvation.” When trying to overcome a plateau, or to lose weight after coming off from a low calorie diet, it was originally thought that adding more calories would increase metabolism, but metabolism stays at the lower rate forever. Just to maintain that smaller size, a person “must restrict calories for life-a state of deprivation that, as it turn out, few humans can sustain” (1).

This is why I tell people to reduce calories slowly. Cutting 250 calories a day will result in steady weight loss. Adding more exercise in the form of cardio, and weight training will aid in fat loss and will boost that metabolism. When that plateau occurs, lift heavier, switch up your exercises, and reduce daily calories a bit more.

P.S. My book the High-Five Diet, will walk you through all the steps to lose weight and get healthier. To read some of the book, go to

1. Source: Teicholz, Nina. “Calories on menus won’t slim down America.” Los Angeles Times. May 20, 2018. Page A17. Print.

Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powder Review

Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Vanilla

Broth made from skin, fat and collagen from animals just sounds gross, and protein powder made from bone broth seems even less appetizing. Nevertheless, I wanted to try a Paleo-friendly protein my friend, who is into CrossFit, uses, so I purchased a sample of Ancient Nutrition’s Vanilla flavored Bone Broth protein powder. The 20 grams of protein per serving comes from chicken bone broth protein concentrate. It has only 1 gram of sugar, 100 calories, and only 1 gram of fat per serving. The sweetness comes from stevia and monk fruit. It’s not certified organic so I don’t know if the “natural vanilla flavor” is something I need to be concerned about. They do have an organic vanilla flavor on-line, but they didn’t have a sample packet of it at the grocery store.

The directions say to blend with water, juice or a vegan milk. Since many protein powders I’ve tried are extremely thick, I blended one cup of cold filtered water, one frozen banana, and the entire sample of vanilla bone broth protein powder in my Ninja. The end result was a very thin, watery, overly sweet drink that tasted like old iced coffee. I didn’t noticed any vanilla flavor at all. It had a weird taste, and not unique-weird, but yucky-weird. I gave the drink to my husband who finished it, but he said he didn’t like it either. He gave it a grade of “C.” I give it a grade of “F.”

My friend that likes this brand buys the chocolate flavor (she said it tastes better than the vanilla) so I might try that one out, but even so, it’s $40 for a bucket for 20 servings. Their certified organic bone broth protein powders are even more expensive at $49 for 17 servings so that’s just under $100 a month for protein powder. There’s lots of protein powders out there that are better priced and much-better tasting.

 Here’s the link to this protein powder:


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