Welcome!

Hey there!

I’m Miche, and I’m a recovering dieter.

After years of yo-yo dieting & weight gain, I figured out how to stop the cycle, lose the fat, and gain muscle!

So I’m here to share advice on how to eat without rules or restriction and reach your goal body, using scientific research from nutrition & psychology.

…and share recipes, too!

Weight loss isn’t about eating less.

It’s about eating differently.

Losing weight, and especially maintaining it, is about what you eat, and how you go about eating it.

I know, this completely runs against conventional wisdom. But hear me out.

Conventional wisdom doesn’t consider the actual scientific research on how weight loss works.

I do: I’m a PhD student!

I run studies on nutrition & memory, and apply science to my daily life!

There is a lot of great research out there on how to lose weight, and be happier & healthier… but most people don’t know about it, because it’s hard to access & understand.

So I break it down by writing posts & filming videos so you can apply scientific findings to your life!

PS: I also love gardening, so I’ll be sprinkling in some health-related gardening posts here and there 😉

Videos, Weight loss advice

Studies: Do Nuts Make You Gain Weight?

Today I have a video for you answering a question that a lot of you have asked: do nuts cause weight gain?

They don’t quite fit into a high carb low fat diet (which is known to be a great way to lose weight), but they’re also an unprocessed, very nutritious food. So are they good for weight loss too?

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links:

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Recipes

Vegan Cornbread Muffin Recipe [Oil free]

I’ve been quarantining for two weeks now, and I have been eating a *lot* of beans. (Like this chili recipe from a little while back.) For both lunch and dinner. Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful to have had a supply of beans since the stores have been out, but it’s nice to add some variety sometimes.

Luckily Goode Foods sent me some of their canned corn awhile back, and I already had corn flour on hand, so I made this cornbread to bring some excitement to my daily beans 😛 When I was a kid my favorite cornbread had whole corn in it—it adds such a delicious crunch to it. So to this day I always make it with whole corn kernels! 

The best part about these is they’re super versatile. Not only do I have them alongside chili, but I have them for breakfast with vegan butter + maple syrup, or jam!

Featuring my protein-packed chili recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed & 1 1/2 tbsp water)
  • 1 1/2 cups nondairy milk (I used soymilk)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 can whole kernel sweet corn, drained

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the flax to the water to make the flax egg, and let it sit.
  2. Mix the milk and the vinegar in a separate, medium-sized bowl and let it sit–it will curdle and turn into a buttermilk substitute!
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, corn flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast, and salt.
  4. Add the flax egg to the buttermilk bowl, along with the maple syrup.
  5. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients bowl along with the can of corn, and stir just until combined.
  6. Spoon mixture evenly into a greased 12-cup muffin tin, and bake for 12-13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 15+ mins before trying to remove them from the tin.
  8. Eat plain, serve with chili, or top them with vegan butter, maple syrup, and/or jam!

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Study: How to Stop Binging Between Diets + 4 Tips to Stop

Hey friends! Today I have advice & a study for you on how to stop overeating between (especially before) diets. Sometimes, the overeating gets so bad that it completely counteracts the diet–at least that used to be how it was for me!

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to keep up with my videos! ❤

Check out the video for:

  • The types of habits that lead to overeating between diets
  • 4 practical tips to stop it

 

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Recipes

My Go-to Red Lentil Chili Recipe (with Instant Pot option)

Red lentil chili

When I need to bulk cook but am feeling lazy, I break out my Instant pot. And 90% of the time, it’s to make this recipe–it’s my favorite of all my stew/chili recipes!

Not only is it ridiculously comforting and delicious, but it’s a great way to pack in tons of veggies. It’s worked well with whatever veggies I’ve had on hand, so it’s a flexible recipe for using things up too!

Also, if you don’t have an instant pot, it works just fine on the stove too. (You just can’t be quite as lazy 😛 )

Ingredients

Base chili:

  • 3 cups dry red lentils
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • Large onion, diced (white or red works)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Heaping tsp cumin
  • 3-4 heaping tsp chili powder
  • 2-3 tsp smoked paprika
  • Heaping tsp cayenne
  • 2-3 tsp normal paprika
  • 1/4c brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Veggies I added (optional):

  • 6oz mushrooms
  • 8oz frozen peppers
  • 8oz bag chopped kale (or use 4oz frozen)
  • 5oz broccoli
  • 15oz can corn

Directions

  1. Add everything but the corn into an instant pot, put on high pressure for 17 mins, and allow to release naturally. (Or, if making on the stove: add all the ingredients except corn to a large pot over low heat. Cover and let simmer until the lentils are soft and the veggies are tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn)
  2. Stir in corn, and salt to taste. If you add as many veggies as I do, you may want to add garlic powder and more chili powder. The spices are ranges because they should be adjusted according to how many veggies you add, and how spicy you like things! I’d suggest adding the maximum amount if you add all the veggies.
  3. Top with avocado, chili garlic salt, or if you’re feeling fancy, vegan sour cream.

 

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Recipes

Vegan Cheesy Beef and Potato Calzone Recipe

Mashed Potato, Beef and Cheese Boxty

Sometimes you just want comfort food. And one of the great things about intuitive eating is that you can have it whenever you want, without guilt!

Before I was vegan, I loved the Irish boxtys they’d serve at a pub in San Diego–essentially a potato-filled calzone with cheese and meat. (I’ve since learned that’s not what a boxty technically is, but that’s not the point!)

So on a dark and stormy night, I decided to come up with my own vegan version… which ended up surprisingly healthy for the comfort food goal. And then at my fiancé’s request, I made it again the next night, and the next week. We’re addicted. It’s definitely found its way into our comfort food rotation that used to primarily consist of homemade burgers and pizza.

It’s hearty and very savory thanks to the beef, and the potatoes are super satiating. Plus, the cheese sauce is secretly based on whole foods!

Makes 1 large calzone, serves 2

Calzone

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium peeled gold potatoes, about 450g total
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk (I used soy)
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Half a package Beyond Beef ground (or sub another vegan beef)
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 large uncooked pizza crust (I use whole wheat)
  • 2/3 the cheese sauce recipe below, save the rest for dipping!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 440 degrees F. Put potatoes in a pot, fill with enough water to cover them by a few inches, and put it over high heat. If you want them to boil faster, chop the potatoes before putting them in the pot. Boil potatoes until they are fork-tender and able to be mashed.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the beef and onions together according to the directions on your vegan beef package. For the Beyond ground, break it up into chunks as you sauté it so it turns into crumbles (or whatever sized chunks you’d like in your calzone). Remove from heat once the beef is cooked and onions are translucent. Be careful not to overcook, since they’ll get cooked more in the oven.
  3. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a bowl. Mash the potatoes, adding the dash of garlic and milk as you do until they are a creamy texture. Add more milk as necessary, or you could add vegan butter if you want them to be richer.
  4. Roll out the pizza crust into a circle, as you would for a normal pizza. I use parchment paper on top of a baking sheet, but you can use whatever pizza baking method you prefer. First layer on the mashed potatoes, then layer the beef and onions on top, then add the cheese sauce. Be sure to leave at least an inch around the edges free of any toppings. Then, fold the crust in half so that the edges line up, and pinch it together. (If any filling comes out the sides at this step, don’t worry about it–I just eat it 😉 )
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 440 degrees, or until the crust begins to get firm when tapped and is golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven, cut it in half, and serve! You can hold it in your hand like a pizza pocket if you’re in an especially comfort-food-y mode (that’s what we do!). We also sometimes dip it in the extra cheese sauce, or drizzle it on top.

Cheese sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup roughly chopped gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I use soy)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes, carrots, and onion until tender. (You can do this along with the potatoes for the calzone–just be sure you separate them to get the right amounts in each!)
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more salt and lemon to taste.

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Recipes

Easy Granola Recipe (with oat-free option)

For today’s recipe, I have a super easy but addictive granola that’s heavy on nutritients, but light on time & effort.

It can either be made the normal way (aka with oats), or with an oat replacement. Why would anyone want an oat replacement, you may ask?

I’ve alluded to this vaguely on my instagram, but something tragic has happened: after years of having oats for breakfast most days, I finally figured out that me and oats don’t get along. Specifically, whenever I have them for breakfast, I get CRAZY bloated after lunch for the rest of the day. (And my stomach is pretty impervious to the typical bloating triggers, like lentils and beans and onions… nothing else does this to me besides oats!) It took me years of experimenting, but I’ve finally accepted it. After researching it, it looks like the protein avenin in oats is known to cause some people problems.

I thought I’d just have to accept no longer having oatmeal, or granola, or oat pancakes/pastries. But at my local food co-op, I found something that looked amazingly oat-like… rye flakes!

And lo and behold, they taste and cook JUST like oats, but without the horrible bloating! I first tried out ryemeal (aka rye oatmeal), and came up with the recipe on the fly to try them in granola for the first time. And it is AMAZING!

Of course, if you don’t have a problem with oats, you should probably just use those because they’re easier to find at stores and whatnot. 😛

Ingredients:

  • 1/2c rolled oats or rye flakes
  • 1/4c pecans
  • 1/4c walnuts
  • 1/4c almonds
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Coarsely chop all the nuts, preferably using a nut chopper (I have this one).
  2. Combine all the ingredients, and spread them out evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, then stir. Bake for 3 more minutes or until evenly golden brown. If it begins to get browner around the edges than the middle, stir every few minutes until it’s all golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for 10 minutes.
  5. And enjoy! I suggest trying it sprinkled it on smoothie bowls, oatmeal, or yogurt, using it as cereal, or even having it on its own as a snack!

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Intuitive Eating, Weight loss advice

Study: Dieting = MORE Holiday Weight Gain?

If you’re like me, you’ve been baking up a storm of holiday treats. For many of us, those holiday treats come along with the dreaded holiday weight gain.

I posted 5 general tips back in November for how to avoid gaining weight over the holidays, but today I’m covering a scientific study on how dieting affects holiday weight gain–and what it means for you.

Peppermint bark is always a classic in my house!

The Study

In this study, the researchers looked at how much weight was gained over the holidays by dieters versus normal controls (nondieters). And, more importantly, what kinds of dieting habits these groups had.

The dieters were people who had successfully lost weight in the past and kept it off for years–so they really knew how to diet. Before the holiday, many of them reported having “extremely strict” holiday diet and exercise plans in place: they had solid plans to control their portions, cut out treats, and exercise like crazy. Many of them also lost weight before the holidays to have a safety net in the event of holiday weight gain.

Sounds like a lot of people around November, right?

Not a single one of the 100 nondieters, on the other hand, reported having strict diet or exercise plans. None of them reported losing any weight to prepare for the holidays, either.

So the dieters were completely focused on weight loss, had strict plans in place to do that, and even preemptively lost weight to have a holiday safety net. And the nondieters didn’t care about weight or dieting much at all.

Guess who gained more weight?

The dieters.

During the holiday, the dieters reported exercising much more, and successfully sticking to their strict diet plans. They followed self-imposed rules, like only eating at home and not allowing snacking after dinner. They intentionally stopped eating before they were full, focused on their portions, and weighed themselves more often.

And yet, they gained weight: almost half of them gained more than 2lbs. Only 15% of the nondieters, on the other hand, gained weight.

The kicker is that even a month later, in February, three times as many dieters were still holding onto that holiday weight than nondieters.

But why did this happen?

The researchers found that paying less attention to their weight and dieting over the holidays predicted more weight gain in the dieters. And yet, the dieters were still paying more attention to their weight and diet overall than the nondieters, so that can’t explain why they gained more.

This seemingly paradoxical result really shows how dieting affects you: if you’re used to dieting, then the second you take a break from completely obsessing over your weight and diet plans, you start to gain weight.

My favorite Christmas treat: toffee!

So, what does this mean for you?

The only way dieting really works in the long term is if you maintain complete control 100% of the time, with no binges or overeating or slip ups. And that isn’t realistic. It’s usually more like a cycle of doing well for a little while, then overeating, then trying to make up for it by dieting more strictly, which leads to binging… rinse and repeat.

Dieting just doesn’t work in the long term.

So what can you do?

Be like the nondieters: try intuitive eating (here’s my post on how to do that). Don’t focus on your weight. Don’t make strict diet plans. Don’t impose eating or exercise rules on yourself. Instead, just learn to tune into your body’s signals so you can eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full–that’s it!

It takes some time to escape from a diet mentality and the cycle of strict dieting and slip-ups, but it is so worth it.

And if you want to lose weight, just focus on eating whole, plant-based foods. (No need to cut out treats though!) There’s a ton of research that shows that eating this way, without any dieting, leads to effortless weight loss.

The holidays should be a time that you can spend focusing on loved ones, relaxation, and self-care. Not a time that you have to spend all your mental energy on keeping up your diet.

 

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Happy Holidays,