Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Why Diets and Exercise Routines Don’t Work: Weight gain + Binge eating

Most weight loss and fitness bloggers/influencers–and the media–will tell you that THE way to lose weight is to stick to an eating and exercise plan.

But contrary to popular opinion, science suggests that diet and exercise routines not only aren’t very helpful for weight loss, but actually often cause weight gain and binge eating in the long term.

In today’s video, I use studies to show you WHY trying to have strict food and exercise rules so often backfires.

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

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

  • Study links: Why negative feelings cause overeating/not exercising 1 2 3
  • Study links: Dieting causes binge eating: 4 5 6
  • Rest of the study links: 7 8 9
  • Patreon

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Recipes

My 2020 Vegan Thanksgiving Feast Menu: 8 Dishes Omnivores will Love too

My big vegan Thanksgiving feast last year was SUCH a hit with my vegan and omnivore family members alike, that I just have to share the dishes I made with you all! I posted my menu from 2 years ago here, but I’ve updated and swapped out some recipes to make it even better.

Usually my goal with my Thanksgiving cooking is to impress omnivores, so I make decadent, food-coma-inducing dishes rather than healthy ones.. which has worked, at least based on the fact that omnivores were fighting over the leftovers!

But this year it’ll just be my vegan husband and I, so I might do healthier versions of some dishes (but I’m including the classic recipes below)! So for this post I’m also including healthy swap options for some of the more decadent dishes.

1. Sweet Potato Casserole

This is my first time sharing this recipe–I’ve made a lot of different vegan sweet potato casseroles, and this one is the most authentic tasting. This recipe was actually passed down from my husband’s mom, and I just had to veganize it because it’s his favorite Thanksgiving dish ever.

For a healthy version, reduce the sugar or take it out of the casserole part altogether (just putting it in the topping). I actually find this recipe to be sweeter than I’d prefer it, but people who eat sugar more often than I do thought it was perfect!

Casserole ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk
  • 2 vegan eggs (we’ve had success with Follow your heart’s and Just egg)
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pecan topping ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2-2/3 cup vegan butter (less for healthier, more for impressing omnivores)
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the casserole ingredients and put in a casserole dish. Stir together pecan topping and sprinkle evenly on top of the casserole. Bake for 30 mins, until the topping is golden brown and beginning to crisp up.

2. Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

I have my two potato recipes first, because, well, everyone knows potatoes are the best! (And I’m Irish 😉 ) These cheesy scalloped potatoes have, for three years in a row, been the most universally coveted dish on the table. It’s truly a sad day in the house when the leftovers run out.

For a healthy swap, try using my favorite cashew-potato cheese sauce on the potatoes instead of the vegan cheese and cream sauce.

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • ¼ cup vegan butter (we use Miyoko’s)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegan half & half
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups vegan cheese shreds, we used a mix with cheddar & white cheese
  • Paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F
  2. Peel the potatoes and boil them whole until they’re starting to get tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Now make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the flour, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes, or until the flour turns golden brown. Stir in half & half and cook until thickened, stirring often, for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Slice the potatoes into 1/8 inch rounds–I recommend using a mandolin to get the slices even. Place 1/3 of the potatoes overlapping in a single layer in the baking dish, seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon about 1/3 of the cheese sauce on top of the potatoes.
  5. Repeat for two more layers. Pour all of the remaining cheese sauce over the top layer of potatoes. Spread to ensure all of the potatoes are covered.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese and a dash of paprika for color.
  7. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly.
My plate of leftovers!

3. Roast

And now for a quick intermission from recipes: we usually go with a store-bought roast (rather than lentil loaf, etc) for a meatier vibe, and so I can focus on the other dishes. In past years we’ve loved Trader Joe’s vegan roasts, but since we moved to northwest Arkansas, we no longer have a TJs near us! This year we’re planning on going with the new Whole Foods roast I’ve been hearing rave reviews about (if we can get it). Otherwise, we’re thinking of doing Gardein turkey cutlets for a more classic feel.

We also like the Field Roast roasts–I especially like the hazelnut cranberry. We do NOT like Tofurkey’s roast unfortunately.

Whole Foods Launches its Own Vegan Holiday Roast

4. Stuffing

Simple vegan stuffing recipe by the Minimalist Baker

This is always a nice healthy counterpart to the rest of my feast. It’s refreshing to load up on lentils, veggies and starches in between digging into the rich scalloped potatoes and roast. You can also do prep for this the day before by chopping up all the veggies. Or, you could even make the whole thing the day before–it was great leftover!

5. Balsamic Roasted Veggies

In the past we’ve done bacon brussels sprouts, but this year I’m doing an old classic side I love: winter veggies tossed in balsamic vinegar and roasted. It’s healthy and so simple to make, and like the stuffing, it’s nice to have something light in between the other dishes. I don’t ever measure amounts, but here’s what I go off of:

  • Equal parts carrots, red onion or pearl onions, and brussels sprouts
  • Splash of balsamic
  • Olive oil, if desired

Chop your veggies, add them to a bowl, and toss with a big splash of balsamic (and oil if desired) until they’re all lightly coated. Roast in a 400 degree oven until they’re fork tender, 20-30 mins.

6. Healthy Pumpkin Soup with Pepita Cream

This is actually a new one I’m adding in this year–I plan to make it on Tuesday or Wednesday and have it around to tide us over if we start getting hungry before the feast is ready. (Anyone else struggle to juggle getting a bunch of dishes out right on time?) It’s hearty and high protein because it’s actually sneakily based on chickpeas, so if you’re trying to avoid overeating this Thanksgiving, it’s a great dish to start with because it’s very satiating.

Get the recipe in my full post on it here.

7. Dutch Apple Pie

Move over, pumpkin desserts. This ridiculously addictive dutch apple pie is our new dessert centerpiece. I have a full post devoted to the recipe, so check that out to see how to make it.

Warning: if you don’t make enough, it could cause drama over who gets the last slice. It’s that good.

8. Pecan Pie Bars

If you want a decoy dessert to prevent apple-pie-induced family feuds, these pecan pie bars are a nice classic option. These were my go-to dish to bring to nonvegan Friendsgiving potlucks in the past, and they ALWAYS disappear really quickly.

For the crust:

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

For the filling:

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream (or coconut milk for a lighter version)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350, and line a 9″ pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the crust ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and coconut oil) and stir until they combine into a dough. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is slightly firm to the touch.
  3. Now for the filling: stir the coconut oil, maple syrup, and sugar in a sauce pan until combined, then boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add in the coconut cream and the pecans.
  4. Pour the filling onto the crust and spread it evenly.
  5. Bake until the filling is bubbling and set (no longer runny), 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

9. Bonus: Healthy Pumpkin Risotto

I’m calling this a bonus recipe because I don’t think I’ll actually make it this year–we had it for the last few days and LOVE it, but now we’re up for some variety. But if you’re looking for something a little different to include in your Thanksgiving spread that’s healthy, oil-free, and yet decadent-tasting, this is a great option. See the full post on it for the recipe.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, either virtually or safely spent with the ones you love. ❤

 

Recipes

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto (Oil-free + Instant Pot Friendly)

I’ve used the same 7-dish Thanksgiving menu for the last two years (because it has gone over SO WELL with vegans and omnivores alike), but this year I decided I wanted to come up with something new and unique to add.

Enter this healthy pumpkin risotto: it’s savory, it’s slightly sweet, it’s simple to make, it’s creamy. It’s a nice healthy contrast to some of the more oil-laden Thanksgiving classics, but still goes over well with more classic palates. And as a bonus, it’s easy to have it cooking in the background while you make the more complicated dishes, since it doesn’t need more than ~15 mins of really active prep time.

And as a bonus bonus, it’s Instant Pot friendly too. (That’ll help free up my limited supply of pots.)

If you want to make it completely whole-food-plant-based friendly, you can also try subbing brown rice in for the arborio. You will want to add more water and cook longer to achieve a risotto-y texture, though. You can also easily sub in other types of squash instead of pumpkin!

Serves 4 as a full meal; serves 8 as a side

Ingredients:

Blender:

  • 3 – 15oz cans pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 apples, quartered
  • 2 tsp yellow or white miso paste
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp dried sage
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

Saute:

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arborio rice*
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

  1. Put all the “Blender” section ingredients into a blender or food processer, and blend until pureed. Set aside until step 5-6.
  2. Add the chopped onions to a pot over medium heat–or your IP’s saute function–adding splashes of broth (from your 3.5c of broth) as needed to saute them until translucent.
  3. Add the rice, and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add the white wine, and saute another 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining broth, and push all the onion and rice grains down the sides of the pot so they are submerged.
  5. If using a pressure cooker: cook on low pressure for 6 mins, and release pressure immediately after. Add the blended pumpkin mixture, and turn on the saute setting. Saute, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  6. If using a pot on the stove: cover pot and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15 mins. Add the blended pumpkin mixture, then simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with more sage or fried sage leaves and cashew cream, if desired.

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Why the Raw Til 4 Diet Causes Weight Gain (aka High Carb Low Fat + Raw Vegan)

Scientific studies show that high carb low fat diets are generally really good for weight loss–but for some reason, the Raw til 4 diet, which was popular among vegans several years ago, caused a LOT of people to gain weight. In today’s video I go over studies to explain why the Raw til 4 diet so often causes weight gain.

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

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Eating with a straw vs spoon changes how much you eat | Study on liquids vs solids and weight loss

Today I’m going over a study looking at how eating with a spoon versus a straw actually affects how much you eat–of the same food–in a meal! I also talk about how eating liquids vs solids cause overeating, and whether you should be concerned about liquid calories.

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

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

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