If you don’t eat eggs, but miss scrambled eggs with potatoes for breakfast, this vegan variation will satisfy that craving.
Tofu Scramble with Roasted Potatoes
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced
- 7 red potatoes, washed and diced
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 package medium firm tofu, drained
- 2 T nutritional yeast
- 1 T coconut aminos
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 T hot sauce
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp chili powder
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place onions, bell peppers, potatoes, and olive oil in a large rectangular baking dish and toss to combine. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning and checking every 15 minutes.
Drain tofu and use paper towels to soak up excess water. Use a potato masher to smash tofu so that it resembles scrambled eggs. Add coconut aminos, cilantro, hot sauce, Kalamata olives, salt, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Mix until combined.
When potatoes are crispy, portion out ¾-1 cup of potatoes per person with ½ cup to ¾ cup tofu scramble, and toss on plate to combine. Sprinkle more hot sauce on top, if desired. Eat immediately. Keep covered in refrigerator. Heat leftovers in microwave.
A potential client met with me at the gym because she wants to lose 10 pounds, reduce pain, and increase strength. She said she presently strength trains by stretching and walking on the treadmill. I informed her that stretching is great, but it is to be used at the end of a workout to promote flexibility and normal range of motion. Stretching doesn’t make you stronger. I also told her that walking helps with stability, to a point, but it’s not considered a strength-training form of exercise. Walking is low-intensity cardio. She was shocked to learn that walking is a cardiovascular activity that doesn’t make your entire body stronger.
I learned something from her too. Now I know why so many seniors think walking is all the exercise they need to do. Doctors tell their patients to strength train and walk, but they don’t explain that strength training includes using weights, bands, and challenging bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges.
In our computer age, too many people sit for excessive hours at a time, which causes limited spinal mobility, back pain, shoulder pain, rounded shoulders, postural imbalances, headaches, eye strain, and finger and joint pain. This issues can be addressed with specific exercises that cannot be corrected with a walk or stretches.
If your shoulders are rotated forwards from incorrect posture from sitting or standing, you would need to do upper back and rear shoulder strengthening exercises at least twice a week. Sitting less makes a huge different too. You would also need to strengthen your abs with targeted exercises to protect your low back. Stretches and walking won’t help these problems even though you feel good after doing them.
I encourage walking and stretching, but it’s not enough. Everyone needs to do a minimum of 30 minutes of some sort of cardiovascular exercise each and every day, in addition to a challenging (it just needs to be challenging for you) weight training workout two or more times a week, to prevent injury and pain. Don’t make the excuse that you don’t have time; make time to invest in your health! Aren’t you worth it?
Photo: Me. Yoga is great for balance and flexibility, but it’s not great at strengthening your back, glutes or hamstrings. Lots of people cheat at yoga, so they aren’t getting the full benefits. They may not realize they are cheating; they just don’t have the strength to do a chaturanga push-up, or hold a proper warrior pose. Keep practicing yoga, but add weight training to your workout regimen too.
If you’ve tried one or more weight loss programs, and you were not able to lose weight, or keep the weight off, it’s not that you’re a failure; it just means that weight loss program didn’t fit you well. Weight loss programs don’t work for everyone because we all have different jobs, different likes, different work hours, and different medical conditions.
If you try a weight loss program for a week and hate everything about it, then try something else. If you generally do well on a diet plan, but don’t follow it exactly because you went out to eat, or can’t give up that ice cream before bed, that’s okay. Just keep trying. It takes a long time to change eating habits that have been ingrained for years. It takes strong willpower to say no to fattening, delicious foods that surround and tease us on a daily basis.
The trick to turning those failures into progressive weight loss, is to keep trying, but also be aware of the little voice inside you. Does that voice punish you for eating that treat? Don’t do that! Or, does it tell you that you did well throughout the day, and you’ll try to skip that food tomorrow? That’s better. Or, do you tell yourself that it’s too hard and you always fail at everything you do? Don’t do that! That just ingrains your perception that you will never succeed.
The other thing people do that derails them from weight loss is to think of a diet as: awful, punishment, bland, or yucky-tasteless-healthy-food. Vegetables aren’t gross; you don’t have to eat them raw, or boil or steam them, but you do have to eat them daily if you want to improve your health.
Losing extra weight is a gift to your body and your family because you will be happier and feel better. You can get creative and try different recipes to see which ones you like and help get the weight off.
A positive outlook, lots of self-encouragement, really trying, and following steps that will help you progress, like planning and making meals and low-calorie snacks in advance, will lead you on the right track.
First, it was the Atkins diet that was all the rage, then it was Paleo, then it was the ketogenic diet, and now it seems that intermittent fasting is what everyone is trying to lose bodyfat. What you want to know is, does it work, and it is sustainable? The answers to both questions is yes and no because it depends, person to person, how many hours the fast is, the time they allow themselves to eat their first meal, and the time they restrict eating altogether.
Everyone can benefit from a normal intermittent fast, because we shouldn’t be eating, day and night. If you had ice cream after dinner at 7:30pm and didn’t eat again until 8:00am, that’s a fast of 12 ½ hours. At 8:00am, you had breakfast; you broke the fast. Some people extend the fast, such as not eating until 10:00am, or even 1:00pm.
While confining eating between certain hours is a good idea, some people take it to extremes, like eating from 1:00pm to 7:00pm, all the while, suffering from starvation and dizzy headedness in the morning, and stuffing themselves before 7:00pm.
If you wake up hungry, you should eat something. The right foods act as fuel and allow the human body to function properly. People of all bodyfat percentages, some normal and some in the obese category, have told me that they use intermittent fasting, and that it works for them. Maybe, for some of them, it worked for them initially, but it’s apparent, it’s not working anymore.
The key to fat loss is how many calories are consumed on a daily basis, not the time frames food is eaten. Having a flexible range of hours to eat is a good first start, but make sure those hours don’t hinder performance at the gym, or at work. What’s more important than intermittent fasting is food quality, and portion size when it comes to weight loss and improved health.
While not all vegetarians have a higher bodyfat percentage than meat-eaters, many are heavier, and are less healthy than those that consume animal proteins. Not only have I found that vegetarians are fatter than carnivores, to be true, over the years in everyday conversations with those that I meet, but also solidifies my theory, in the gym where people hire me for weight loss and strength training.
I don’t tell vegetarians to eat meat, but I do tell them to eat more protein from beans, and to remove all dairy products and junk food from their diet. When people don’t have enough protein, they are hungry and gravitate towards unhealthy fatty, and sugary items. I asked one of my clients what she thinks she’s eating that’s causing her to keep gaining weight, because the meals she told me she was eating were low in calories and healthy; at work she snacked on foods in the breakroom, like donuts, mini chocolate bars, and Doritos. I asked that she work towards being 100% vegan. She is following my advice, but occasionally slips up, but she’s still losing bodyfat, and she said she feels as if a cloud has been lifted, since she has more clarity and better focus.
While I’m not a vegan (it works great for some, but not for all), I’m 100% dairy-free because dairy makes me violently ill. You will shed a lot more fat, have a lot more energy, have a healthier gut microbiome, reduce belly pain, and have clearer skin by omitting dairy. Give it a try!
There’s a pattern of overweight people who say they cannot lose weight, generally follow, that they may not be aware of. If you do any of the things below regularly, that’s likely why you cannot lose extra pounds.
Starving yourself. Eating too little in the morning, and at lunch, to try to eat fewer calories throughout the day, almost always backfires, since people who eat so little before 5:00pm, tend to snack throughout the day, which adds up to even more calories than a proper-sized breakfast and lunch. People who just snack, or eat incomplete meals, binge at night because they’ve been starving all day. Make sure to eat a full breakfast with protein, carbs, and a small amount of fat. A favorite light breakfast of mine is a banana smoothie blended with almond milk, protein powder, and a level tablespoon of creamy almond butter. Or, for breakfast, try scrambled egg whites with spinach, kalmata olives, sliced bell peppers, ¼ slivered yellow onion, with a side of oatmeal, topped with a few chopped walnuts.
For lunch, and for every meal, also eat lean protein, carbs from grains, beans, or vegetables, and a little bit of healthy fat, like a wedge of avocado. The reason why you want to eat all three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) at every meal, is to provide suffient nutrition, which helps to keep you fuller longer.
Cardio, cardio, cardio. You can exercise for hours every single day, and it does burn calories, but if you want to lose weight, exercise can only do so much. You also need to eat fewer calories, by cutting back on fattening foods. And, while cardiovascular exercise, is good for the heart, it’s terrible for muscles, and slows metabolism. Do cardio a few times a week, but aim for weight training, at least twice a week, to boost metabolism and increase muscle growth.
Take out. If you eat most of your foods at a restaurant, or get take-out, you’re going to have a hard time losing weight. Restarant portions are riduclously large for a serving, and use lots of oil and way too much salt. If you are serious about losing weight, start making most of your meals from scratch.
If you like sweet treats with licorice and chocolate notes, you’ll enjoy this low calorie snack, or mini meal. I’ll have this as my pre-workout drink. I use carob instead of cocoa powder because it’s sweeter and has a creamier consistency when blended.
High-protein, dairy-free, chocolate-licorice smoothie
- raw fennel stalk (save the bulb for a salad or soup), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 T carob powder
- ½ cup frozen green grapes
- ½ frozen banana, cut into 1-inch chunks
- ¼ cup plain collagen protein powder (I use Great Lakes)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I use Sprouts)
Blend ingredients in the order above. Mix with a large spoon and put in the freezer for 2 minutes. Remove from the freezer, stir with large spoon and drink right away.
Calories: 247 gross carbs: 30 fat: 3 grams protein: 26 grams
If you’ve ever bought an exercise or diet plan, the first reaction is usually excitement: “Cool!” You’re looking forward to dropping excess weight and envisioning a more fit and fabulous you. Now, everyone’s reaction is a little different, and some may take different paths. The second reaction, may be either: “This is different; that’s what I need. I’m going to follow it.” Or maybe it’s: “Wait…I don’t like this!” This last reaction is usually out of fear. It takes you out of your comfort zone, and making these changes makes you uncomfortable. This is where most people stop, never move forward, and never make progress. Don’t stop here. Try the next step:
If the plan doesn’t fit you, for whatever reason, some people tell themselves: “I’ll just cross off stuff I don’t like.” If it’s foods you don’t like, I get it, see if you can find a similar food, like swapping out broccoli for asparagus. Or if it’s an exercise you don’t like, try swapping out the leg press for reverse lunges. If the exercise is awkward or difficult, that just means it’s something you need to work on. The more often you do it, the easier it gets. If the exercise hurts, stop. No exercise should hurt. Know the difference between a muscle being worked, and pain. You should never be in pain. On that same note, a diet shouldn’t be so restrictive that it’s making you depressed, that you can’t ever go out to eat, or you can’t sleep properly. Maybe some small changes are in order, instead of tossing the whole plan out the window.
The next step some people go to, is giving up on trying something new. They say something like this: “Maybe I’ll just do my own thing.” Please don’t! What you’ve been doing doesn’t work! Please move onto the next step.
Acceptance. You tell yourself, “What I’ve been trying either doesn’t work, is too hard, I lose weight, but gain it back, so, the methods I’ve been doing, doesn’t really work. I should, at least, give this new plan a try.” Then, you follow the program as best as you can. You may not do it 100%, but you are trying (that’s what counts).
Be honest with yourself. Are you really giving it your all? If you’re working with a coach, let your coach know what isn’t working, and why. Maybe you’re too tired after work to exercise at 6pm. Maybe the morning traffic is too stressful, and causes you anxiety. Is there a better time to get to the gym? Can your coach change the time, or come to your house? Or maybe you hate cooking. Is there a food preparation company you can get your meals from that you, or your coach, can customize the macros (carbs, protein and fat?), so you can still lose weight?
Final outcome: The plan is working, you’re getting results at a slow, but steady pace and you understand that progress takes time, and you’re going to continue. Or, the plan isn’t your cup-of tea: start a brand new program. Not every diet or every exercise program is good for every person. I don’t give my Indian clients American or Chinese recipes, when they tell me they prefer Indian food. I don’t give my seniors the same exercises or weights as I do with my clients in their 20’s and 30’s. The point is, don’t give up when things become difficult; think of it as a challenge you’re going to excel at. Try your best, try something new, and never ever give up on yourself. Accept imperfection, and strive for improvement.
P.S. I offer personal training sessions, a workout plan that I customize for each client, and I also sell two books: the High-Five Diet, and Slimming Dairy-Free Smoothies and Desserts, both available through me, or on Amazon. For detailed info and to place your order, go to my website at theHighFiveDiet.com
Depending on your current body fat percentage, you could see impressive results in just 2-3 months with consistent, strategic exercises (full body weight training with some cardio). Check out my client Zack’s progress photos. He lowered his body fat (BF) percentage 10 points, from 20% BF to 10% BF, in less than 3 months. He did this by lifting weights two times a week, working with me as his personal trainer, copying our routine and doing it again two more times later in the week. He walked daily, and took exercise classes, or went on hikes, on days he didn’t lift weights.
He also changed his diet, by cutting out processed foods, but he still went out to dinner and had drinks with friends, but he chose healthier meals, and limited his alcoholic drinks to two. Take a look at his before and after photos and you’ll notice that he’s much happier, has more confidence, and got a cute haircut.
While not everyone can take the exact steps that Zack did, this shows that if you’re really motivated and follow your coach’s advice, you will see results of your hard work.
People tend to freak out when I tell them to eat a meal instead of a snack, but most of the foods people snack on, like chips and salsa, a bar, or cheese and crackers, typically don’t contain sufficient protein, fiber, or nutrients. These snacks may curb your cravings initially, but they don’t provide what you need, so you’ll end of eating more calories, and snacking more throughout the day.
When I tracked my snacks, I realized I was eating about 700 calories in snacks alone! My meals are 350 calories, so my snacks were equivalent to 2 meals. Try dividing your meals into smaller portions, eating more frequently, and cutting out the snacks, and you’ll find you’re less hungry, have more energy, and see those extra pounds come off quickly.
P.S. Wouldn’t you want to eat tacos as instead of a snack?