If there were an exact science for the perfect diet for each of us, it would be so easy to know what to eat for optimal health. But even then, would we follow it? When faced with french fries or salad, which do you choose? Do you choose the salad for posterity but secretly crave the fries? Well, this is why diets don't work! We're human and we crave salt, sugar, fat, crunchy, chewy, ooey-gooey. I detest dieting, in fact-I'd rather walk across glowing hot coals. So, let's not even use that word in the context we're used to and understand from here on that it simply means what you eat every day of your life. The media has us so obsessed with how we look and most women never really feel completely comfortable in their own skin ALL OF THE TIME. This fuels a multi-billion dollar industry and ladies, we have played right into its hands! How many different diets have you tried? The truth about dieting is so very simple but we don't really want to hear it. Why? Because unfortunately, it requires some effort to make it work for us. We so want to believe there is a magic pill or an easy route to the health, vitality and fitness level we want to achieve. It will take work to make changes yet this is a GOOD thing! Learning and adopting a new lifestyle will help create new habits that will better serve you throughout the rest of your life.

 

When I say the truth about dieting is simple, it is. When approached simply about how many colories to consume to maintain a healthy weight, it is just a matter of math. Knowing your healthy weight and activity levels will help set a guideline for the amount of calories you can consume daily to lose, gain or maintain weight. You may need to adjust the percentage of nutrients (i.e; 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, 30% fat) to suit your preferences. Let's use me for example: I think I want to weigh 130 lbs. ripped to shreads (if this is possible for me). I have a high activity level and I train like a freight train on a downhill slope of the Everest with no brakes on. So my caloric intake should be 13-15 calories per pound (of my lean goal weight) or 1,690 to 1,950 calories. That will cause me to maintain that weight so to lose, I have to dip below that number. This is where the problem lies for me. There are days when even the 1,690 is just not enough (and that would actually be most days-I love my calories!).

But-when I make sure that the calories are high quality (organic, raw, balanced, high fiber, no processed foods, healthy fats only)-there are days when I can't eat the whole day's worth of calories. I also aim for 100 - 110 grams of protein per day, roughly 500 or so calories of high quality fat and around 650 calories of complex carbohydrate. Maybe I am just feeling around in the dark using this basic calculation and only time will tell. At my age-though it's not like I have one foot in the grave-things are so different than they have ever been and I may need to further tweak my numbers/nutrient percentages.

 

Check out some of my favorite recipes for mindful eating!

*If you want a great tool for determining your caloric intake vs. activity level, check my blog 'Food Is Not Your Friend' (April 2016 Archives) for links to 2 free apps recently developed by nutritionists in conjunction with mathematicians, using the latest advancements on the 3,500 calorie rule

**I don't add salt to my recipes. I use only organic ingredients and raw, grass-fed dairy products

 

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding
Chocolate Chia Pudding

2 1/2 cups coconut milk ½ cup chia seeds 4 Tbs raw organic cocoa powder ½ tsp vanilla extract ¼ cup maple syrup, or sweetener and amount of choice ¼ tsp cinnamon Blend all ingredients in mixing bowl; refrigerate at least 4 hours. For a creamier texture, mix in a blender!

Chia Frosting
Chia Frosting

Using the same recipe for chia pudding: 2 cups coconut milk ½ cup chia seeds ½ tsp vanilla extract ¼ cup maple syrup, or sweetener of choice ¼ tsp cinnamon To get the frosting consistency, I used my Vitamix to blend and reduced the liquid to 1 3/4 cup. Very delicious!

Vegetarian Lasagne
Vegetarian Lasagne

1/2 diced onion 6 cloves minced garlic 1/4 cup diced kalamata olives 2 tbs diced rosemary 1 tsp dried thyme 1/2 tsp dried oregano 1 can tomato paste 1 15 oz can diced tomato 8 oz. chopped mushrooms 3 cups chopped spinach 1 pkg firm tofu thin sliced 1 cup cottage cheese 4 eggs 4 oz grated cheese Saute onions; add garlic, olives, herbs. Mix tomato paste with 6oz water, blend with diced tomato then add to onions, etc. Add spinach and simmer for 5 minutes over low. Mix cheeses and eggs.

Vegetarian Lasagna (cont'd)
Vegetarian Lasagna (cont'd)

Lay thin sliced tofu in bottom of pan (using in place of noodles). Spoon sauce over tofu, then layer the cheese/egg mixture. Repeat with tofu, sauce, cheese/eggs. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

Huevos Rancheros
Huevos Rancheros

15 oz. can organic black beans-run through food processor 1/2 avocado 2 organic poached eggs salsa, grated cheese I cup organic spinach chopped Place beans on spinach, then avocado on top of beans. Top with eggs, cheese, use salsa to your preference. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Taco-stuffed Peppers
Taco-stuffed Peppers

1 pkg Beyond Meat Fiesty Crumbles 1 sm. onion diced 6 tbs home-made taco seasoning 1 cup diced tomatoes 2 cups cooked black beans 6 large peppers 3/4 cup grated cheese Saute onion, add tomato and taco spice. Stir in Beyond Meat then add beans. Remove seeds from peppers and fill with mixture. Top with cheese; bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Garnish with avocado!

Mango Salsa
Mango Salsa

1 mango 1 diced red bell pepper 1/2 cup diced cilantro 1 finely chopped green onion 1 chopped avocado (not too ripe) 1 finely diced/seeded jalapeno juice of 1 lime Mix all ingredients. This recipe is awesome on so many different items. I have it on top of my Black bean-spaghetti squash burgers in this photo (see gallery photo #17 for that recipe).

Soy-cheese Casserole
Soy-cheese Casserole

2 cups cottage cheese 2 cups cooked black soy beans 3 cloves garlic 1 diced yellow onion 2 cups diced tomatoes 1 cup grated cheddar 1 cup cooked quinoa 3/4 tsp thyme, spices to taste Saute onion/garlic till tender; add tomato and herbs. Mix cottage/cheddar cheese in food processor. Stir quinoa together with beans, then combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Pea & Rosemary Crackers
Pea & Rosemary Crackers

1/2 cup green pea flour 1-1/4 cup chickpea flour 1/4 cup flax meal 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1/4 cup Nutritional yeast 2 tsp fresh rosemary 1 tsp ground sage 1/4 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup water I used a Vitamix and made the flour fresh. Mix dry ingredients then add oil & use fork to combine. Add most of the water and use hands to mix until dough comes together enough to be rolled out.

Success! Message received.