Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Chocolate-Banana Pancake

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Chocolate-Banana Pancake

Here’s a modified version of the Paleo Banana Pancake, that I made. It’s healthy enough for just breakfast, but sweet and perfectly decadent for a dessert (and you don’t even need syrup).

 Chocolate-Banana Pancake

 1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 ripe mashed banana

1 beaten whole egg

1/4 tsp coco powder

Place coconut oil in a non-stick fry pan on medium heat. (The sugar from the banana in the form of fructose makes it stick so a non-stick fry-pan is a must). Mix mashed banana, whole egg and coco powder. When pan is medium-hot, pour pancake mixture in. It will take a few minutes to cook. After you see bubbles, gently lift to see if brown enough. If dough is firm without breaking or dripping, flip with spatula and cook other side. It will take a few minutes to cook the second side. Place on a plate and top with fresh berries (optional). Serves 1

Review of Peak Fit System

Peak Fit

If you are looking for exercise videos which provide an overall fitness program, this one is superb (and you don’t need weights). Michelle Dozois is the instructor and motivates you the whole way through. The exercises are extremely challenging, but it’s still fun. When I first used the band that was included (it smells like a car tire), I thought mine was defective because it’s so tough. I could hardly stretch it. The more you use this band, the stronger you’ll become. It would have been better to have weights instead of the band because using this thing is extremely awkward to use. They could have provided a beginner band that isn’t so gnarly too.

The 10 exercise videos included in the set are the Fit Test (this is a high-intensity cardiovascular 30 minute heart-pumper), Pure Strength, 52 minutes of Pure Cardio, 30 minute Flexibility, Cardio Strength, 20 minute Core Dynamics, Cardio Interval Burn, Pure Strength 2, Cardio Strength 2; and a 42 minute Anywhere, Anytime, No Excuse Workout.

The strength videos are great for someone who wants to work all body parts in one video for under an hour. The moves in the cardio videos are perfect for those with a dance background, but for the rest of us, it’s a bit frustrating. These videos are hard so if you’re new to weight-training or exercise, you should pass for now. For the folks who are fairly fit, this will still kick your butt. I give this two-thumbs up and recommend it to those are physically and mentally ready for some crazy workouts.

Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cookbook

dairy free ice cream
Now you can make dairy-free healthy ice cream at home. Instead of cow’s milk, the recipes ask for unsweetened coconut milk. You can also make your ice cream 100% vegan by using agar agar powder instead of gelatin. Put away the sugar; honey, agave and liquid stevia is used instead. My favorite ice cream is Peanut Butter & Jelly (I use raspberry jam), which tastes like cool and creamy sweet peanut butter with raspberry sauce swirled in. It’s totally decadent. I also like Orange Cream and Coffee. The Vanilla ice cream wasn’t very exciting and the Cinnamon Ice Cream was too spicy so I wouldn’t recommend those two recipes. I haven’t made that many of the numerous ice cream flavors (there’s 43), because I keep making the PB&J since it’s my favorite.

The Ice Dream cookbook by chef and healthy cooking coach Rachel Albert-Matesz also provides recipes for sugar-free and dairy-free sauces like Hot Fudge Sauce; there’s compotes, cookies and more. Even though these desserts are much healthier than the typical dairy treats, don’t overindulge because they’re not calorie-free.

How to Lose Weight While Dining Out

dinner in Europe

If you dine out because you travel a lot for work, you don’t cook, or you just like to eat out, you’re at a disadvantage since restaurant meals are high in fat and calories and low in fiber. There’s typically a plateful of meat, a heaping of gravy-mashed potatoes or a bounty of cheesy-buttery pasta with a few par-boiled dry pieces of broccoli for garnish.

Whenever I go to a restaurant I look at the dishes other people have ordered so I can see what looks good. I can also see if a meal looks massive, fried or greasy so I can avoid those. At lunchtime last week I saw an obese woman with three entrees in front of her and those weren’t to share. She was eating all three. Not one was a salad so I don’t know if she ordered and ate an appetizer too. If she couldn’t decide which one to order, why didn’t she package one up for dinner? I wanted to give her the web address of my blog, but I didn’t know how she’d respond.

When you eat out, don’t let the waiter entice you into adding an appetizer and definitely decline the dessert! A restaurant appetizer can contain enough calories to be your main meal. Don’t forget that beverages have calories too. Shun the beer, soda, lemonade, and house-special mixed drink; have lemon water, flavored (unsweetened) iced tea or black coffee instead.

Remember to ask how a dish is prepared. There were times when I thought I was getting grilled fish and when it arrived, it was fried. Another tip is to avoid the toppings like croutons and parmesan cheese. Those little sneaky additions add up fast.

I wish more restaurants would give the option of a medium or small entrée because it’s really hard not to clean your plate. Oh yeah, don’t clean your plate!

Are Fish Oil Supplements Dangerous?

fish oil supplement
We’ve been told to take fish oil supplements but in the October issue of Outside magazine, the article listed under “Supplemental Evidence” may make you rethink taking these pills. The Prostate Cancer Prevention trial looked at two studies and concluded that the “men with high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acid DHA in their blood had a significantly greater risk of prostate cancer” and supplementation didn’t reduce heart-related problems or strokes. Per WebMD, “taking too much fish oil can actually increase the risk of stroke.” Yikes! Natural sources of vitamins and minerals are your best bet so spend your hard-earned dollars instead on wild salmon, tuna, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovies, sardines, herring, trout, and menhaden.

Monkey Food is Good for You

monkey food
When my husband saw all these bananas on the counter he asked, “When’s the monkey arriving?” Ha, ha, ha. There was a really good sale so I couldn’t resist. There’s so many ways to use bananas. I break mine into six pieces, freeze them in FoodSaver bags, and take out however many I want for my fruit and protein smoothies.

You can drizzle dark chocolate on them and put in the freezer. Sometimes I’ll toss small chunks of banana into honey and roll them in chopped, salted peanuts and leave them in the freezer to firm up. Yum! Don’t forget about banana bread. Love it! Toss some dark chocolate chips into the batter and you’ll have a decadent chocolate chip banana bread that’s more like the best cake ever. Bananas are awesome!

Diet Review of “Inches off! Your Tummy. The Super-Simple 5-minute Plan to Firm Up Flab & Sculpt a Flat Belly.”

diet book
While out shopping I saw a diet book titled, “Inches off! Your Tummy. The Super-Simple 5-minute Plan to Firm Up Flab & Sculpt a Flat Belly.” The author, Jorge Cruise, is not a doctor, a nurse or a nutritionist. Right away, you should be skeptical. We should all know by now that we cannot spot reduce fat, but in case someone asked me about this book, I thought I’d check it out. As I flipped through, I saw numerous excellent exercises (I counted 56) with photos and details so I purchased it for the workouts (honest!).

This diet book’s premise is that you can burn 400 calories a day by doing a mere five minutes of exercises listed in his book. A line in the book states that you “could be burning up to 400 more calories a day.” It doesn’t say you will, but that it’s possible. Sorry, but that’s just impossible to do with a five minute workout. We’d all be able to eat a lot more calories if that were true. I exercise 90-120 minutes most days of the week and if his calculations are correct then I’d burn 7200-9600 calories just by working out!

On the WebMD website, a person who weighs 200 pounds and runs a 12 minute mile for 5 minutes only burns 61 calories. A friend of mine just completed a 100 mile century cycling ride, which took six hours and her heart rate monitor listed her calories burned at 4400. It just amazes me at the nonsense that is out there regarding weight loss.

As I read further, he does encourage other forms of exercise. He also stresses to avoid sugars, bread, pasta, desserts…get the picture now? If you’re adding a little more exercise and omitting high calories foods from your diet, then you definitely can lose a lot of weight. He pushes his food diet plan, which is not even mentioned on the cover.

The diet he recommends is very low calorie and low carb and lists some foods that are not exactly healthy such as turkey bacon, cheese and ham which are high in salt. If you don’t eat dairy, this is isn’t good for you since different forms of dairy, mostly cheese, is on the food list two to three times a day. He also allows you to have a glass of wine every night for an after-dinner snack. Alcohol is one of the worst things to consume when attempting to lose weight!

He agrees that fruit is good for you, but the only fruit on his diet plan includes a scant 2 tablespoons of blackberries on only two of the days. I’m so done with everyone thinking that fruit makes you fat. Potato chips and ice cream make you fat, not bananas!

If you try his diet, you’ll probably be hungry because there’s hardly any carbohydrates. You can and should be eating a variety of quality carbohydrates from fruit, whole grains (not on the list), and vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, corn, peas, beats; and beans. He’d rather you’d stay away from those healthy foods. Ugh!

It’s no wonder that he’s telling his readers that the five minutes of exercise will do the trick, because if you abide by his low carb diet, you won’t have the energy to complete any other tasks. Per the textbook Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition, “…restricting carbohydrates from an athlete’s diet is tantamount to performance suicide.” (p. 82). You don’t have to be an athlete in order to justify consuming carbs. Even if you don’t exercise, if you drastically cut back on healthy carbohydrates, you’re going to be hungry, tired, grumpy and malnourished. Don’t waste your money on this book unless you want to buy it for the exercises. I give it a thumbs-down.

The 15% Rule

Quinoa Cake

Did you know that 15% of plant proteins (legumes, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains are not absorbed)? If you’ve calculated 100 grams of vegetable proteins for that day, it’s really only 85 grams. In soy, milk, eggs, fish, meat and poultry there is a 5% loss of protein intake. Add another ten percent, and that’s a 15% loss in a vegan diet.

Vegan protein powders don’t take this loss into account so if your veggie protein powder lists 20 grams of protein for one scoop, you’re only retaining 15 grams of vegetable protein. It would be nice if this information was listed on the labels, but I haven’t seen one with this data yet. To make sure everyone is getting enough nutrients, make sure to eat a variety of proteins each and every day.

Photo: quinoa pancake

Sexy Butt Workout


If you want a tight, cute butt, you must do glute bridges. Guys, the girls want you to have a nice gluteus too! Watch this video of me with personal trainer Bobby Cox to see how to perform glute bridges properly. We start from easy bridges to super hard. Do four sets of twelve for best results.

Dairy-Free Coconut Coffee Creamer

delicious dairy free creamer

There’s finally a true non-dairy coffee creamer. The non-dairy creamers I’ve seen in the past actually contained dairy derivatives, but this one is totally safe for those allergic to all forms of dairy. It’s also delicious!

French vanilla is our family favorite. More good news: it’s only 40 calories for 1/8 of a cup.

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