Healthy Zucchini Pancakes

Fit Girl Zucchini Pancakes

pan-fried zucchini pancakes

Zucchini pancakes are similar to Potato Latkes, but instead of grated potatoes, zucchini is used instead. I’ve always considered them a treat because they are so delicious. The grocery store near me stopped carrying them so I’ve been trying to re-make them (for years!) and finally got the recipe down, so I’m excited to share them with you.

These are much healthier than traditional zucchini pancakes that are deep-fried, or fried in a lot of oil. This recipe only uses about ¼ of a teaspoon of coconut oil per pancake. You can bake these at 425 degrees for 7 minutes per side, on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, if you want to omit the oil completely, but they won’t come out as crispy (see below).

baked zucchini pancakes

baked zucchini pancakes

If you want to make the zucchini pancakes gluten-free, you can use gluten-free panko crumbs, or omit the panko completely. The panko adds more flavor and crispiness so I prefer the pancakes with it. Don’t omit the maple syrup, you can use honey instead if you want though, because it balances out the slight bitterness of the zucchini. You can omit the coconut flour if you don’t have it, but it holds the pancakes better together and gives it a slightly denser texture.

Fit Girl Zucchini Pancakes

  •  1 medium-sized zucchini, peeled and shredded
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ¾ cup sushi rice, cooked and cooled (or any sticky rice will do)
  • ¼ tsp each of: garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • A few dashes of salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour, level
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, divided

In a medium-sized bowl, add the zucchini, carrot, rice, spices, and coconut flour, and mix gently with a fork. Add eggs and maple syrup. Mix with fork. Add bread crumbs, and mix again until the ingredients are combined. Put one teaspoon of coconut oil on a non-stick fry pan. When oil is warm, not hot, use ¼ cup measurer (level) to spoon out one pancake. Add four pancakes to the pan. Cook each side until light brown (about four minutes per side). Place the four cooked pancakes on a large plate. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to the skillet, and add the remaining three pancakes in ¼ cup portions. Cook each side until light brown. Let cool to room temperature before eating.  

Serves 2-3 pancakes per person.

Three pancakes: 249 calories, 39 grams carbs, .24 grams fat, 6 grams protein

Each pancake is 83 calories, 13 grams carbs, .08 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein

 

Which carbs will make you fat & which carbs will make you skinny

There’s still so much confusion on carbs, so, hopefully this video explains it all.

If you have any questions on carbohydrates after watching this video, please post your questions below and I’ll get back to you.

Why upping exercise & protein won’t = fat loss

pork ribs

Losing weight is a struggle for everyone, yes, everyone! You’ll probably lose inches and pounds if you’ve never exercised before, but it you have a lot of weight to lose, exercise won’t be enough. The reason why is that if you are exercising an hour a day, that’s only 1/24th of your day. You want to burn as many calories as possible in 24 hours, which is why weight training is most effecting for weight loss; you’re burning calories during the workout and up to five days later, while that muscle is re-building. Muscle also burns more calories at rest.

“For most people physical activity accounts for 20% of daily calories burned, but this percentage can be higher on tough workout days” (1). No wonder so many people, myself included, are hungrier on intense exercise days.

To get your daily calorie burn higher, move around as much as you can throughout the day. I’ve added daily walks on days that aren’t too cold. I’ve also upped the intensity of my cardiovascular workouts, and it’s made a difference on the scale. So, if your body naturally burns off 1600 calories a day, which is typical for an active female, exercise will burn approximately 20% of those calories (1), which amounts to only 320 calories, so it’s going to take a while to see the pounds drop off since one pound of fat equates to at least 3500 calories.

So, the next step to take, in getting that stubborn weight down, is to focus on what you’re eating. Every food product claims that it’s high in protein to help you burn calories, but adding more protein can be counterproductive if your goal is weight loss. While the process of breaking down protein does burn more calories than carbs, or fat, animal protein can be high in calories. That’s why I weigh my fish, turkey, beef, and chicken on a scale to make sure it’s no more than 3 ounces. If I’m eating vegan protein, like beans or rice, I use a measuring cup. “Since food thermogenesis only accounts for 10% of your daily calorie burn, eating more protein will only have a small effect on your metabolic rate” (1).

Most people eat too much animal protein. It’s better to reduce the amount of animal protein you eat, and add more vegetables if you want to feel fuller and lose bodyfat.

So, yes, exercise, lift weights, and move around as much as possible every single day. If you eat animal protein, choose lean meats, and weigh it on a scale, to make sure you’re not eating too much, or too little. Add more veggies and greens to your diet too. With these steps, you should be able to lose a pound a week, which is perfect!

P.S. You can find me on Instagram under @FitGirlUSA

Photo: While these pork ribs have a lot of protein, they also are high fat and high calorie. They’re one of the worst choices of protein to eat on a diet. Choose lean meats instead, like chicken or turkey breast, baked or grilled cod, tilapia, and/or select beef.

 

  1. Source: “Essential Guide to Metabolism. Food Thermogenesis; calories to digest.” Blog Post Type. My Fitness Pal Blog. Received 24, Jan. 2018. Retrieved from:  http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/essential-guide-metabolism/?utm_source=mfp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MFP_Extra_EssentialsGuides_Email4%20-%2020180124_&os_ehash=55@sfmc:34164020

 

Vega One protein powder review

Vegan French Vanilla Protein Powder sample

I posted a question on Facebook to see if anyone could recommend a sugar-free, grain-free, certified organic, vegan protein powder that tastes good, so I can add it to my fruit smoothies, and this flavor and brand was recommended by several people. I bought the sample, added it with a frozen banana, one cup of cold water, and blended it in my Ninja.

Like many other vegan protein powders, it didn’t mix well, and small clumps of protein floated to the top. No matter how many times I blended it, the protein powder still didn’t entirely dissolve. It didn’t even taste like vanilla. It just had an odd, somewhat sickeningly sweet aftertaste that ruined my favorite breakfast.  I tried Vega’s Coconut Almond flavor too, but that one was gross too.

I’ll stick to my Paleo collagen protein powder I like, even though it’s not vegan and has no flavor because I’m always happy with how my smoothies taste. Here’s the link to the one I use: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Lakes-Certified-Hydrolysate-Pasture-Raised/dp/B01A1G47L0/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1516410800&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=great%2Blakes%2Bcollagen%2Bhydrolysate&smid=A069378426EHSK8AA91Z4&th=1

P.S. I’m on Instagram under @FitGirlUSA

Fit Girl’s Gluten-Free Vegetable Chili

vegetable chili

This really healthy soup is chock-full of vegetables, is hearty, and is the perfect entrée for weight-loss because it’s low in calories and high in nutrients. Even though there’s lots of ingredients, it’s really easy to make, with minimal cutting and chopping, and makes enough for a large family to eat for several days.

Fit Girl’s Gluten-Free Vegetable Chili

  • 1 ½ tablespoons certified organic olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 32 ounces vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 3 level tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp chili powder (you can add more if you like really spicy food)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 3 peeled medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Sautee the onion and bell peppers in a medium-sized pot on the stove until onion is transparent. While the onion and bell peppers are cooking, make the zucchini into wide, flat noodles. If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer, you can order the one I have from Amazon (see below) or, slice zucchini once, from end-to-end, and then into ½ inch half-moons. Place zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) or your sliced zucchini, aside, and cover with a paper towel.

Add beans, tomatoes, stock, maple syrup, and spices. Increase heat to medium-high. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially-covered for one hour for the flavors to meld. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the spinach and zucchini, and cook for about 15 minutes until both are soft. Then add the frozen corn and cilantro. Ladle out the soup in a bowl for each person. Add nutritional yeast and stir. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

 

P.S. If you’re looking to lose weight and eat healthier, check out my diet book with over 40 recipes at http://www.thehighfivediet.com

P.S.S. I’m on Instagram under @FitGirlUSA

what people wear to the gym: don’t do this!

_L5A0950-Lightroom_Export_Full_Size_JPEG_300dpi_sRGB

There are certain items that people wear to the gym that are totally inappropriate. Here’s a short list and why:

Flip-flops. Flip-flops are great for the beach, but terrible for the gym because it’s easy to trip since there’s equipment to maneuver around, and it’s going to be a dangerous situation if a weight drops on your foot with an open-toed shoe. It also looks like you’re not serious about working out if you’re not wearing proper footwear.

Jeans. If you’ve ever tried doing squats with jeans, it’s really uncomfortable and it won’t allow you to go low, or do the movement properly since there is little give. Leggings are really cute, regardless of what size or gender you are. Yes, guys can wear leggings too. Sweat pants and tight shorts are good options too.

A jacket. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a jacket to the gym, but don’t wear it inside the gym while you’re exercising! Even the tightest, best-fitting jacket won’t let you move freely. I hate being cold too, so wear a hoodie, sweatshirt, or a long-sleeve wicking shirt to keep you warm. You can wear several layers, which allows you to remove them if you get too hot. To warm up quickly, all I need is five minutes on the stair-master, and I’m sweating and wishing I had on shorts and a tiny sleeveless top.

Wearing clothes specifically designed for exercising not only allows you to use your full range of motion, provides better stability, looks nice, but it also puts you in the right mind-set for working out; you’ll be more motivated and you’ll probably even work harder, after all, you dressed the part!

Photo: me at World Gym

Fit Girl Pho Soup Recipe

Fit Girl Pho Soup

Everyone I’ve spoken to seems to love the Vietnamese soup called Pho, but it’s sometimes made with MSG, sugar, and GMO ingredients. This simple, healthy recipe, let’s you customize this flavorful soup that you can make at home and feel good about eating. By glancing at the recipe, it looks like a lot of steps and ingredients, but you can use pre-cooked or left-over meat, and most of the veggies are processed in minutes in a food processor. A final note is not to omit the daikon radishes. Even though they are strong when raw, they become sweet, translucent and bring a wonderful and unique flavor to the broth that makes it taste like authentic Pho soup.

Fit Girl Pho Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 sliced and peeled yellow onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 small green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 small cauliflower, shredded (or you can buy cauliflower rice)
  • 64 ounces stock (I used 2 boxes of Imagine organic chicken stock)
  • 2 large daikon radishes, peeled and made into zoodles (thin noodles)

In a medium-sized pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until the onion turns white and somewhat translucent. Add the cabbage and carrots, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice, and stir for about 1 minute. Add the stock and stir so that vegetables are incorporated. Add the daikon. Heat on medium heat for about an hour. If soup begins to boil, lower the temperate. Taste the cabbage to make sure it’s broken down and soft to determine if it’s cooked enough. 

Add one of the following to each person’s bowl of soup:

  • 2 ounces of cooked rice noodles
  • 2 ounces of cooked spaghetti
  • 1.5 ounces of Udon noodles

 Add one of the following to each person’s bowl of soup:

  • Soft certified organic tofu, cut into bite-sized squares
  • 3 ounces of cooked meatballs (I used ground turkey in the photo above)
  • 3 ounces of cooked boiled shrimp
  • 3 ounces of thinly sliced cooked BBQ pork
  • 2 ounces of rotisserie chicken

Add as many toppings below to each person’s bowl of soup (I like to add them all):

  • A pinch of toasted sesame seeds
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of salted, chopped roasted peanuts (or cashews)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Thai basil, chiffonade

Add the noodles and protein to the soup and mix. Lastly, add the toppings. Serve with a fork (for the noodles) and a spoon (to slurp up the delicious broth).

P.S. Take a peek at my two dairy-free, healthy cookbooks from my website: http://www.thehighfivediet.com

 

 

My experience with floatation therapy

swim

Since I have frozen shoulder, I was told that I needed more magnesium to increase range of motion, and the best method, in addition to taking supplements and eating lots of magnesium-rich foods, is to spend an hour in a commercial pod (commonly referred to as a float tank), or a warm mini pool filled with Epsom salts since this method allows magnesium to be absorbed into the body quicker, right through the skin. I booked a one-hour session and asked for the large room, which is recommended for people like me who are claustrophobic.  All sorts of claims are made as to what benefits floating chambers provide, from weight-loss to improved mood; call me skeptical.

After I arrived, I was taken back to where the rooms were located, behind closed doors. Walking down the hallway, I was overwhelmed with how muggy and humid the air temperature was; it felt like I was walking into an underground cave, where the air was contained and had limited oxygen. At the end of the hallway, an employee opened a door and told me, this was my room. It looked like a large bathroom, sans toilet, with two shower heads and a curtain. I was instructed to cover any cuts with Vaseline, that was provided in a small packet, to prevent the salts from stinging any open wounds, and to shower to remove any lotion since it can clog the drains and damage the equipment. The shower water was cold and I couldn’t figure out how to make it warmer, not a good start.

Then I went over to a wall with a small, custom, glass shower door, up high, with a handle. I had to climb in to get through. Inside was a large, rectangular bathtub, with dark, high ceilings, and a few tacky-looking fake rocks jutting out of the walls in a haphazard fashion, to make it look like a cave (It didn’t. It just looked creepy). The water was warm and the salt water make my legs slippery and slimy. I put in the ear plugs provided to prevent the salt water from going inside my ear canals. I laid back and floated around the mini pool, which was really neat and fun, until the salt water flooded into my ears. I tried re-positioning the ear plugs, but they wouldn’t block the water from entering, so I sat up, but the water wasn’t warm enough to keep the upper part of my body that wasn’t underwater, a comfortable temperature. I felt chilly, so I flipped over and tried to crawl around on my hands, but my shoulder is injured so that solution didn’t last. Then I flipped back over so I was sitting, but the water wasn’t deep enough so my upper chest and shoulders were exposed to the air. I tried splashing the water onto my shoulders, but I got bored. After 10-15 minutes, I’d had enough and left.

I didn’t see any increased range of motion, or decrease in the amount of shoulder pain, but ten to fifteen minutes probably isn’t sufficient time to notice any positive results. The only way I can see myself enjoying such an experience is if it was more like a large jacuzzi, where I could sit down, invite my friends, drink a glass of wine (but I’d be drinking tea), the surroundings looking like a bright and luxurious spa, and being able to control the music.

 

Vegan Spicy “Beef” Tacos

Fit Girl Vegan Beef Tacos

These vegan tacos have a true barbecue flavor that’s hard to replicate when making a vegan meal taste like a meat dish. These tacos are spicy hot, easy to make, and are so flavorful, I prefer them to steak tacos. The “meat” even looks similar to ground beef.

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ sauce*
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh guacamole
  • Chunky mild or medium salsa
  • 8 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper inside a cookie sheet, or glass baking dish to fit. Place beans in a medium-sized bowl, and used a potato masher to smash the beans, but keep some intact. Add BBQ sauce and mix with a spoon. Spread the bean mixture (this is your ground beef) onto the parchment paper, and even out so that it’s flat. Bake for 25 minutes.

After removing the cooked beans from the oven (the edges will be crispy-those parts are my favorites), place them on a hot pad on your kitchen counter, to cool down a bit. Change the oven temperature to broil, and heat the dry corn tacos in the oven (about 2-5 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is, and how crispy you like your taco shells). Flip and heat the other side of the corn tortilla, 30-60 seconds.

Place two heated corn tortillas on each plate so that each person gets two tacos. Add ingredients to each corn tortilla in this order: a thin layer of guacamole, 2-3 tablespoons of your “beef” mixture, 2 tablespoons of salsa, a pinch of cilantro, 4 bell pepper strips, and top with more guacamole.

Serves 4

*For this to have a true barbecue flavor, and for the meal to turn out well, make sure to use this particular BBQ sauce. You can buy this sauce from Trader’s Joe’s markets. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can order it from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Sriracha-Roasted-Garlic-Sauce/dp/B00RDOCEIC/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1516052567&sr=1-1&keywords=trader+joe%27s+organic+sriracha+and+roasted+garlic+bbq+sauce

 

Vegan Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers

Fit Girl Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Even your meat-eater will love this satisfying vegan dish. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 ½ cups black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 cup white corn, frozen
  • ¾ cup salsa
  • ¼ cup chopped, cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup prepared guacamole

Rise bell peppers. Slice off the top of each bell pepper, and set tops aside. Gently remove seeds and white membranes; keeping the bell peppers intact. Place the cored red bell peppers in a large pot and fill with water. Place the pot on the stove, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook the bell peppers, until softened, about 20 minutes. While the red bell peppers are cooking, dice the green bell pepper and remaining edible portion of the tops of the red bell peppers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the chopped bell peppers in a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, except for the guacamole, and stir gently until combined. When the red bell peppers are softened, drain, and place each on a large rectangular glass baking dish. Using a spoon, stuff each bell pepper with the filling. Place the extra filling around each bell pepper. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

To serve, place a bell pepper on a place, add a few shakes of salt, and top with a dollop of guacamole. You can also serve alongside with tortilla chips, and/or add sliced black olives, or sliced jalapeno peppers (if you like it extremely hot).

To make it easier to eat, I cut the bell pepper down the middle. Then I cut the red bell pepper into bite-size pieces. Lastly, I’ll add a heaping tablespoon of store-bough guacamole.

vegan stuff bell peppers

Serving: 1 stuffed red bell pepper

%d bloggers like this: