Recipes

Creamy Raspberry Banana Smoothie Recipe

Today I wanted to share a recipe that’s so easy, a (vegan) caveman could do it: my go-to breakfast smoothie. I’ve been having this every day since the temperature hit 70 degrees out, and I haven’t looked back since.

Honestly, it tastes more like dessert than breakfast… and I’m not complaining.

In the past I’ve made it with just the fruit and soymilk for a minimalist smoothie, but this year I’ve been enjoying putting in all sorts of fun superfood add-ins: my current combo has probiotics from vegan kefir or yogurt, omega 3’s from hempseed, protein from hemp protein powder, antioxidants from beet powder, and tons of vitamins from spirulina. You can get creative with it, because the strong fruit flavor can mask a lot! And, if you like your smoothies on the sweeter side, throw in a date or two for some extra nutrients & sweetness.

The key here is the frozen bananas and raspberries. (Bonus: frozen berries are more nutritious1 and much more affordable than fresh.) To freeze bananas, I peel ripe bananas (with plenty of brown spots), break them in half, and store the halves in a gallon bag the freezer. The best part is you don’t have to worry about always having ripe bananas on hand, because you can stock up and freeze a ton at once!

Vegan banana raspberry smoothie recipe

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2-4 cups of non-dairy milk (I use vanilla soy), depending on consistency preferences
  • 1/2-1 cup vegan yogurt or kefir (optional)
  • Add-in ideas: 2 tbsp hemp protein powder, 2 tbsp hemp seeds, greens

Directions:

  1. Add everything to blender, blend, and serve! (It’s best to drink it right away while it’s still frozen and creamy)

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Reference:
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814697001659

Recipe Showcases

July Healthy Vegan Recipe Roundup

One of the biggest obstacles to being able to eat healthier and lose weight is figuring out what food to make! There are so many amazing recipes out there, so I thought I’d start sharing some recipes by others (in addition to my own) to give you some extra food inspo here and there.

Plus, I want to spread some love for the vegan recipe blogger community, so I’m going to start doing occasional showcases of amazing looking recipes that I’ve stumbled across from other blogs–specifically, fellow smaller WordPress bloggers!

Here are July’s 15 picks, hot off the presses (or cold, depending on the recipe 😉 ):

1. Crispy Baked Tofu Bites by What Luce Eats

2. Lemon Blueberry Oat Bites by Love & Grub

3. Instant Pot Thai Red Curry Lentils by The Earthly Edit

Two white bowls filled with white rice and thai curry lentils garnished with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.

4. Summer Veggie and Hummus Sandwich by GoDaily

5. Sweet Potato Black Bean Tostadas by Chrissy Goes Hippy

6. Berry Banana Baked Oatmeal by Daisy Beet

7. Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Spread by My Dear Kitchen in Helsinki

8. Baked Thai-style Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Bites by Healthienut

9. Ultra Creamy Chocolate Chia Pudding by Upbeet Kitchen

10. Satay Sesame Noodles by Wild Magazine

11. Raw Strawberry Chia Jam by UpBeet Kitchen

A head-on shot of no-cook strawberry chia jam surrounded by chia seeds, strawberries, and maple syrup.

12. Vegan Eggplant Bacon by Robert Morgan

13. Carrot Ginger Soup by Crunch Crunch Away

14. Tomato Pasta by Hello Scarlett Blog

15. Corn Gazpacho by Lisa’s Vegan Project

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Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating: When old habits creep back in

Once you’ve done intuitive eating for awhile, your weight tends to be more of a curiosity than anything to actually care about.

Until it isn’t.

I didn’t weigh myself much at all while learning to eat intuitively, because the number on the scale used to be a bit of an obsession, and a major source of guilt and shame.

But after feeling firmly settled into my unrestricted eating and body positivity habits, I started to weigh myself again… both out of curiosity, and because my fiancé is always talking about his day-to-day weight fluctuations. We’re scientists and we love our data, for science’s sake. (Did running after that high salt meal negate the water retention? Did we actually manage to lose weight on that beach vacation from all the swimming?)

But today I realized that at some point, it stopped just being data. I’ve noticed that my weight on the scale is affecting how I see myself again, and daily fluctuations are having an influence on my mood.

I’ve been lifting weights more, so this is especially damaging because I want to gain muscle. But my lifelong conditioning is that weight going up = bad.

But either way, why should an arbitrary, irrelevant number have an effect on my mood?

It shouldn’t.

So I’ve stopped weighing myself.

Easy!

If thoughts about my weight creep in, I can just shake them off by deciding that I think I look fine. Instead of the other way around where I let the scale decide how I feel, when otherwise I would have felt happy about how I look.

And, most importantly, I remind myself that it doesn’t really matter either way if I gained a bit of weight.

Would my career suffer if I gained weight? Not at all.

Would my fiancé leave me? Nope.

Would it really affect my life in any way besides my own self-perceptions, which I can easily change? No!

(Now, I know there are some careers and circumstances where gaining a bit of weight could negatively impact your life. But still, feeling bad about yourself won’t prevent it at all. Feeling good about yourself and nourishing your body with satiating foods will prevent it1.)

I’ve found that the key to maintaining intuitive eating is to be mindful of what kinds of thought patterns and habits you might fall into. Some of us may naturally trend back towards bad habits and thought patterns if we’re not actively maintaining our new, better patterns. And that’s okay!

For some of us, thoughts are like teeth that way… without a retainer, they slowly drift back towards old, pre-braces patterns. It’s worth having to pop in a retainer occasionally to avoid being stuck with painfully crowded teeth. We don’t feel bad about ourselves because our teeth do that, it’s just how it is!

So every once in awhile, take a moment to self reflect about your feelings towards yourself and food. Check in with yourself to find any bad habits or worries that are forming, and stop them in their tracks. Better yet, replace them with something good: freedom to eat, self love, and good food.

Here’s a great book on intuitive eating for those looking to get started. I’m also starting a series of every-other-week posts on how to eat intuitively, both for beginners and for those facing issues later on the process (none of us are perfect!), so subscribe to stay tuned!

  1. See my weight loss videos for scientific research on how to lose weight without restricting.

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Recipes

Vegan Caribbean Beans Recipe

Black beans, pinto beans, brown rice, avocado recipe

Today I’m sharing my favorite bean recipe of all time. That’s a serious statement given how often I make beans.

It’s based on a recipe my mom made when I was a kid, and since then I’ve veganized & modified it, and have been making it by feel ever since. But today’s the day… after years and years, I finally wrote it down.

Cue applause. 😛  (It may come as a surprise since I often post recipes, but I usually don’t write them down otherwise!)

These are my favorite beans not only because of the taste, but because they’re easy to make, involving almost no chopping if you have a food processor. Bonus: I’ve discovered they’re the perfect way to use up hot peppers from the garden, and tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, & herbs to boot–and this recipe really makes them shine. They’re also one of my favorite bulk cooking recipes because the flavor actually gets even better over the course of a few days.

Not to mention, they’re really versatile, and can be dressed up or down depending on your mood. As a kid we had them in cheese-topped tortillas, and now my usual go-to is with brown rice and avocado. They also go great as part of a salad!

Vegan caribbean beans recipe with avocado

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 15oz cans black beans, drained and washed
  • 1 – 15oz can pinto beans, drained and washed
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 2 cups bell peppers, any color
  • 1 cup fresh tomato
  • 3 tsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
  • Heaping 1/4c fresh parsley
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2-3 small medium-hot peppers* (~3 tbsp worth)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4c dry white wine
  • Topping ideas: Avocado, fresh tomato, scallions, hot sauce, vegan cheese

*Every hot pepper I’ve tried has tasted good in it, and I often mix and match: jalapeno, garden salsa, anaheim… try experimenting with your favorite peppers! Or try 1/2+ tsp dried cayenne to taste.

Directions:

  1. Chop the onions and bell peppers, either by hand or in a food processor. Add to a pot over medium heat and sauté around 5 minutes or until the onions begin to get translucent.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the vinegar, wine, oregano, parsley, garlic, and hot peppers. Blend briefly until everything looks approximately minced–do not blend until smooth. (Careful not to inhale it right after it’s done blending, the hot pepper can sting your nose!)
  3. Chop or food-process tomatoes until diced, and add them to the pot with the onions and bell peppers. Also add the blended herb mixture, and the rest of the ingredients (beans, cumin).
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes, until everything is tender and combined.
  5. Blend 1/2 to 3/4 of the pot, depending on how pureed you want your beans. If you puree them a lot they’ll be like black bean soup, and if you puree them less they’ll likely stay in tacos better–it’s up to your personal taste! I usually coarsely blend around 2/3 of it.
  6. Serve on its own, with rice, or in a burrito or taco.

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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

Study: Overeating sugar doesn’t make you gain weight? | How high carb vegans lose weight on 3000+ calories

Happy Saturday! Today I have a video for you where I go over a scientific study on what happens when people overeat sugar. Specifically, how much sugar you can turn into fat (through de novo lipogenesis), and whether sugar makes you fat.

Study summary

This study compares lean and obese participants in terms of their de novo lipogenesis (DNL), which is the process of converting carbohydrates into fats in the body. The researchers fed people 3 diets for 4 days each: a control diet to maintain their weight, and two overfeeding diets. The participant were in a calorimeter room during these diets to measure exactly what they burned off, and their activity and rest was controlled. The control diet was a pretty normal, Western-style diet: about 50% carbs, 40% fat, and 10% protein.

In both overfeeding diets, they were overfed by 50%, half of which was fat (butter and oil added to meals), and half of which was sugar (sugary drinks). In one overfeeding diet, they were overfed with sugar in the form of glucose, and in the other diet, they were overfed sugar in the form of sucrose. There were no differences in the outcomes by the type of sugar, so I don’t talk about that in the video.

The researchers looked at what happened to the sugar especially: how much of it they burned off, how much of it they turned into fat, and how much it contributed to body fat gain. They also looked at whether fat or sugar leads to more increases in DNL, how the overfeeding diets affected insulin and blood sugar, and more. I spend most of the video going over the results, and what they mean for you!

Here’s a link to the study: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/74/6/737/4737416

Extra science notes

Here are some notes on parts that I cut out of the video, since they’re more for people specifically interested in science!:

  • The effect of increased energy expenditure with the overfeeding diets wasn’t statistically significant, but there was a consistent increase in all 4 overfeeding groups (lean and obese, sucrose and glucose). Given the small number of subjects, it is likely this effect would be significant if more subjects were included. There are also other studies finding this increase in metabolism with increased food intake, which I plan to make another video on too! (e.g., https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo2012202)
  • Fat balance and carbohydrate balance each explained 43% of the variance in DNL. Therefore, it appears that overeating generally rather than solely carbohydrate intake may be responsible for increasing DNL.
  • The numbers on the plot are in kilojoules, which is a standard scientific unit for energy. For the video, I converted it to calories to make it more applicable. If you look at the paper yourself, note that many of the numbers are in kJ (or grams, for macronutrient balances) per 96 hours.
  • The paper was funded by sugar interests, which would be a big problem if it were the only paper showing low rates of DNL like this, or if their main goal was to show how low DNL is. Luckily, there are many other studies showing similarly low rates of DNL, but I chose this one as the example for this video because it was a nice method, published in a top nutrition journal, and made the numbers available. The main goal of this study (aka what the sugar industry wanted) was actually to test the differences between sucrose and glucose in DNL–they found no effect. Also, they focused more on how DNL doubled than how low it was, suggesting their goal wasn’t to push a low-DNL sugar agenda.
  • Here is another paper reaching the same conclusions, from Berkeley and not funded by the sugar industry: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC185982/

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Recipes

Fluffy Baked Potato Chips Recipe [Vegan]

Fluffy vegan baked potato chip recipe

Sometimes I like to make elaborate meals like my most recent strawberry shortcake recipe, but other times… I just want some potatoes. These guys are my favorite way to eat simple potatoes! They’re like a cross between chips and a baked potato—crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and so addictive.

And it’s so simple, I almost feel silly even calling it a recipe. I usually have them with just salt and pepper, but they can be flavored so many ways, with sauces afterwards or spices while baking! (I add a few ideas below)

Nutrition note: contrary to popular opinion, potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse! Not only are they packed with fiber and resistant starch which are both great for weight loss (see my video on resistant starch & weight loss), but they’ve got almost every nutrient you need to survive. For example, one 400 calorie meal of these potatoes would give me 20% of my daily protein needs; 10g fiber; tons of potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin C; omega 3s, and a bunch more.

Vegan fluffy baked potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes (~300g)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use ~1/2 tsp seasoning salt, 1/8 tsp pepper)
  • Optional: spices to taste (can also use to replace salt): smoked paprika, taco seasoning, curry powder, chili lime seasoning, 21 seasoning salute (or other italian seasoning)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
  2. Slice potatoes into ~1/8″ thick slices width-wise (aka, so they’re circles not ovals), as evenly as possible. The best way to do this is with a mandolin, but a knife will do!
  3. Put them in a large tupperware, add spices, and shake them around to get them evenly coated.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread potato slices out in a single layer on the parchment paper with some space in between them. (Use multiple sheets if necessary)
  5. Place baking sheet(s) in oven. If you have multiple sheets, place them side by side on one rack rather than stacked on a rack above the other–you want both sheets to get full heat from the top and bottom of the oven!
  6. Bake for 18 minutes, or until there are large golden brown bubbles on top of all of the slices, like in the photos. But don’t let them get fully browned!
  7. Eat immediately, since they’re crispiest while hot!


Enjoy,

 

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