Videos, Weight loss advice

Studies: Do Nuts Cause Weight Gain? | Nut butters, tree nuts, and peanuts

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]

Iโ€™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. Donโ€™t get me wrongโ€”Iโ€™m grateful to have had a supply of beans since the stores have been out, but itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜› When I was a kid my favorite cornbread had whole corn in itโ€”it adds such a delicious crunch to it. So to this day I always make it with whole corn kernels!ย 

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 eggย (1 tbsp flax seed & 1 1/2 tbsp water)
  • 1 1/2 cupsย nondairy milk (I usedย 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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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 ๐Ÿ˜› )

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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ย 

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 aboutย 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 fiancรฉ’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, sautรฉ 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 sautรฉ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
  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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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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Recipes

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Last weekend I got to attend the loveliest holiday cookie party with an awesome group of vegan girls. We had vegan eggnog and peppermint mochas, a cookie contest, a white elephant gift exchange, some of the cutest Christmas decor I’ve ever seen, games, and most importantly, a ton of amazing cookies and holiday treats.

I decided to bring my ol’ faithful cookie recipe: classic chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been making these for years and everywhere I’ve brought them, someone has asked for the recipe–without fail.

So I thought it was finally time I posted it here for you all!

I know a lot of blogs call every recipe “the best ___”, and I haven’t done it before, but I really have heard from a lot of vegans AND omnivores that these are the best chocolate chip cookies they’ve had. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients:

  • 2 & 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup vegan butter, melted (I use miyoko’s)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk* (I used soy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

*If using vegan margarine instead of miyoko’s, use 1/4c milk instead.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda to a large bowl and stir until combined.
  3. After melting the vegan butter in a medium bowl, add the brown and white sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until it begins to come together. Add the chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet–I usually get about 20 cookies per batch.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms and edges turn golden brown.

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Intuitive Eating, Weight loss advice

5 Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight on Thanksgiving (or any Holiday)

The holiday season is a mostly wonderful time… but between the fun of getting together with loved ones, having more free time, and being surrounded by holiday decor, there lurks the fear of seemingly inevitable weight gain.

I spent years and years being so afraid of weight gain, and so desperately planning my post-holiday diet, that it was hard to enjoy the holidays at all. Especially Thanksgiving, because the whole day is so focused on food. But now that I’ve learned how to escape that cycle, I want to share some tips to help you stop worrying about your weight this holiday season too, so you can focus on what’s important instead ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Eat more (of some things).

Sounds counterintuitive, I know.

But the science is clear: some foods are more satiating than others. Studies have found that if you eat 250 calories of potatoes, for example, you’ll feel more than twice as full as you would from eating 250 calories of cheese1. And as a result, you also eat much less after eating potatoes than after eating cheese.

And you can take advantage of this fact to help you pace yourself during your holiday meals.

If you’re mindful about having a good helping of those satiating foods (think starches & veggies), it’ll balance out the high calorie density, low satiety foods (think meat, cheese, & desserts), and help prevent you from overeating.

So what exactly does that look like? Try having a dish as close as possible to a plant based whole food–maybe mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a veggie side, or even stuffing–that you eat first or that you serve yourself extra of, to give you that baseline of satiation before going for seconds (or thirds) on everything else.

Another strategy is to have some snacks or appetizers before the big meal. This can help by making sure you don’t go into dinner feeling ravenous and overstuffing yourself before your brain can catch up.

2. Don’t plan to diet beforehand or afterwards.

This is a big one. Almost everyone who has ever dieted plans to diet before and/or after the holidays. But it’s exactly that mindset that leads to overeating and weight gain in the first place.

In fact, studies show that people who are most successful at losing weight in general are the ones who gain the most weight during the holidays2.

Sounds crazy, right?

A few years ago I would have thought so too, but now it makes perfect sense.

First, we know that dieting leads to yo-yo weight gain and loss in the long term. So dieting before the holidays is the perfect way to set yourself up to go into binge mode during the holidays and gain all that weight back… and then some3.

Second, when you go into the holiday season expecting to gain weight, that’s exactly what happens. It’s a very easy self-fulfilling prophecy, because the expectations are all in your mind, and it’s your mind that causes you to overeat. (Your body never asks for that!) When you start eating, you probably have negative emotions about how much weight you’re going to gain. And we know that for people who diet, negative emotions lead to more overeating.

It’s a vicious cycle that leaves you miserable during the holidays, and heavier (and still miserable) afterwards.

So what should you do instead? Ditch the diets, and start eating intuitively instead. (Check out my guide for how to get started.) Your mind and waistline (and probably your loved ones too) will thank you.

My plate of leftovers last Thanksgiving!

3. Plan to make yourself more holiday foods afterwards.

Part of what makes us overeat at holiday meals is that the food is scarce. Maybe it’s even “forbidden” the rest of the year.

If you don’t eat that pecan pie today, you might not get to eat it again until next year.

But the reality is that the only reason holiday food is scarce or forbidden is if YOU decide that you aren’t allowed to have it at other times. And that makes it so much more alluring. After all, there’s a reason they say that the forbidden fruit is sweetest.

And, science shows that people who avoid eating certain foods for dieting purposes end up overeating them later3.

If you don’t allow yourself to have certain foods most of the year, you end up overeating them even more during the holiday season because you know you’ll be deprived of those foods again soon.

This is not your last chance for pecan pie, so you don’t need to eat it like it’s your last time having pecan pie.

So this tip is an easy one: just allow yourself to have your favorite foods. (This is a good anti-weight-gain tip in general, not just for the holidays!) Either make some of your holiday favorites before the season starts to test out some recipes, or schedule a day after the holidays to make or buy those holiday foods you always crave. (And, of course, save leftovers from the holiday meal itself!)

Or best of all, go all out with intuitive eating and just eat what you want when you want it. No scheduling necessary. That’s how I’ve lost weight and maintained it–it just works.

With this tip, you’ll go into your holiday meals knowing that the pecan pie really isn’t that rare–and if you know there’s more where that came from, you’ll feel much less of an urge to overeat it.

(Can you guess that I really love pecan pie? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

4. Treat it like any other meal.

Try changing your expectations going into your holiday meals. If you don’t treat them like a big daunting event where you’re expected to overeat, you’ll be less likely to overeat.

Like the last tip, this is also about reducing the scarcity of the food: the goal is to get rid of that feeling that the Thanksgiving food (or other holiday food) is a limited resource. Don’t treat the food like it’s the special part of the day. That’s not what makes a holiday a holiday.

It’s the loved ones, the focus on what you’re thankful for, or even just a day off from work that makes it a holiday.

If you want to create something special and rewarding in your day, in place of focusing on the meal, you could also try treating yourself to some self care: is there a book you’ve been wanting to read, a videogame you’ve been dying to play, or some bubble bath you’ve been wanting to try? Treat yourself or set aside some time for yourself during the day to make it feel special.

5. Shift your focus.

Changing your mindset is so powerful. Mindset makes us overeat in the first place, and mindset can be the reason we stop.

This holiday season, try shifting your focus. Instead of thinking about how food will affect you and your body, focus on who you’re sharing that food with. Focus on why you’re there eating a holiday meal in the first place.

And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, try replacing guilt, shame, and fear with gratitude. Gratitude that you have food to eat, loved ones to eat it with, and a body that allows you to enjoy the holidays. Maybe your body doesn’t look exactly how you want it to (yet), but try to appreciate it for what it allows you to do.

After all, practicing gratitude has been shown again and again to make people happier4, and even to improve their body image5.


And with that, I wish you all a very happy holiday season. I hope that these tips can help you enjoy it even more. โค

References

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter_Petocz/publication/15701207_A_Satiety_Index_of_common_foods/links/00b495189da413c16d000000/A-Satiety-Index-of-common-foods.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4137466/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16261600
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735810000450
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1740144517302991