Recipe for Healthier Chocolate Cake

If you are like me and love to bake, as you get into a fit lifestyle you miss that part of who you are. Whether it’s for weightloss or health intervention like diabetes there is very little room in healthy diets for cakes, pies, cookies, and candies. However, as a treat with guests or to take a cake to a family event, it helps to have a few good recipes that you can share and indulge in without feeling left out!

The key to giving your recipes a healthier spin are four part nutrition upgrades. First, eliminate sugars. You can replace some sweetness with zero calorie natural sweeteners like stevia or monkfruit as options. Second, replace refined wheat flour with a healthier carb option.

Refined bleached wheat flour not only a carb containing gluten which in itself is not a big deal to many, its biggest crime is being high in calorie and void of nutrition. When I think of that combination I imagine a food that is digested readily and loads unused energy in the form of high bloodsugar and bodyfat! Some ideas for replacing that ingredient are a combination of dry and wet nutritious options: Oatmeal or oatbran, sweet potato or pumpkin, squash or zucchini, Almond meal or cashew meal or protein powders. My best recipes tackle eliminating flour using a combined nutritional approach.

The third step in a healthier baked goodie is to take a better approach to the type and quantity of fats used like butter and oils! Applesauce adds moisture as do some of the wet carbs, Almond meal or flax seed, avocado or nutbutters, can also add healthy fats to replace your butter and vegetable oils.

The fourth and final step is the additional liquid ingredients. If you incorporate replacements using a vegetable carb with a high water content like pumpkin or applesauce, you will need less milk. Some recipes you may not need additional liquid ingredients at all! If you experiment, test the texture of your batter before adding additional liquid. If you need it, try using cashew milk or almond milk, unsweetened of course, in place of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk, even lactose free, has eleven grams of sugar! More sugars in the milk in many cases than the cereal I used to pour it on! That totals a breakfast with as much sugar as a candy bar. Not a good option either way!

One of my best recipe adaptations is Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache icing. It was a hit with family and company alike!

Ingredients:

1 Can of Pumpkin Puree

3 Whole eggs

2 Scoops of Chocolate protein Powder (I used Beverly UMP) https://store.beverlyinternational.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?preadd=action&key=22

1/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk

3 Tablespoons of Almond meal

3 Tablespoons of Cocoa

2 Tablespoons of oatbran or oat flour

1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 packets of “Stevia in the Raw” singles

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Ganache:

3/4 cup of Lily’s Stevia Baking chips

1/5 cup of coconut oil (or heavy cream)

Preheat oven to 325°

Spray bundt pan with coconut oil. Lightly dust with cocoa if desired.

Mix all cake ingredients with mixer.

Pour into pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until just set. Don’t over bake. Knife test may not be clean, but should not be soupy!

Allow to cool outside of the oven 5-10 minutes before turning over onto a plate. Too soon and it will break. Too long and it will stick to the pan!

Ganache Topping: Melt chips together with coconut oil over low heat and pour over slightly cooled cake.

10 servings vs. the same 10 servings of regular Chocolate Bundt

163 calories vs. 200 calories in regular cake

11 grams of fat vs. 9 g

6.2 grams of protein vs. 3 g

15 grams of carbs vs. 22

3.7 grams of sugar (natural sugar in pumpkin and other ingredients: 0 added sugars) vs whopping 19 grams!

Not to mention additional fiber, vitamin A, and Calcium not normally in cake.  Trust me. NO ONE will know its pumpkin if you don’t tell them. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is “good for you?”


We’re So Confused: The Problems With Food and Exercise Studies” is the title of an article in the New York Times, by Gina Kolata. Read here.

In summary, studies are flawed. Media inflates news from Heath studies and consistently over states diet and exercise findings so that it seems conflicting and confusing.

 

Are eggs good for you?

 

Have you heard that wine is healthy and alcohol is bad for you? How can both be true. Is it only red wine? Only in moderation? Is it just as healthy to eat nutritionally and skip the alcohol? Probably.

I do know that one habit like drinking one glass of wine or walking 10,000 steps everyday is not as effective as putting a few more pieces of the puzzle together. Add one piece of the puzzle at a time, but don’t stop there!

The problem is fad diets and outrageous claims make it hard to pick out the right pieces. For example: The first diet that has been popular for decades is vegetarian. Yet the second that comes to mind is the Adkins diet that is high in meat protein. A decade ago Adkins followers were in the news and widespread. The truth: both of these diets typically lack important nutrition and counter each other completely.

Each fad misses the mark if people try to be stuck with the religion of eating instead of choosing the healthiest food. Look out for these claims, be skeptical, and consult a dietary specialist if you have questions.

1. Claim: Meat and dairy is not good for you. It’s non digestible and messes with your gut. Truth: most people eat and digest meat and dairy fine. The problem is when you eat junk meats often like fatty burgers, sausages, bologna, high salt and preservative filled bacon and ready to eat meats or highly processed cheeses or too much cheese. Choose instead fresh meats like chicken breast, Turkey, fish, and leaner cuts of beef or even pork. Avoid meat where there are most calories from fat!

2. Genetically Modified Organisms known as GMO are not “clean.” Truth: Most GMO products are near identical nutritionally to the organic non-GMO variety. While, the technology to engineer food has an political side ethically, there is little evidence that GMO has anything at all to do with your weight. A GMO green bean is as good for you with the same low calories and high vitamin nutrients as a non GMO green bean and a non-GMO corn chip is as bad for you as a regular corn chip.  Weight management is about nutrition and not politics.

2. Claim: Non “Organic” is bad for you, and all organic means healthy.  Truth: Organic is better than non-organic, and buying from small farmers supports the local economy. While that is all well and good.  It has less to do with weight loss than people think. Not having access to organic is not an excuse to be obese. Wash your veggies and read actual nutrition facts. A regular piece of grilled fast food chicken on a fast food side salad is better for you than a Gluten Free, organic, non-GMO cookie. Shocking isn’t it. Which kind of food you choose is more important than buying non-gmo, organic. “Clean” food can still be junk food.

3.”Fish is not clean” Fresh caught fish is high in Mercury. Farmed fish is worse for toxins and PCB’s.  Truth: Try not to eat the exact same fish for 5-6 meals a day every day. Seriously. It sounds ridiculous, but as long as you vary your fish intake, a diet from a variety of fish and shellfish, from salt water and fresh water is completely worth the risk. Bottom line, chose a fish, any fish. It will be a healthier choice than the pizza. For more information try these links:  http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/13/salmon.farmed.fresh/index.html, or http://greenopedia.com/healthy-sustainable-fish/ 135454075

4. Claim: Gluten is bad for you. Truth: Only if you have a sensitivity or actual disease like Celiac. Most people do not have this sensitivity. It is true that cutting gluten out of your diet as a way to reduce refined flours has the benefit of reducing calories from fast digesting carbs. However, If you switched your baked goods to a gluten free enriched flour your net result of any weightloss will be 0.

5. Claim: All grains are bad for you. Truth: Reducing refined flours and choosing whole grains instead of enriched wheat flour is beneficial. However, switching from a white bread to a wheat bread may not provide a measurable weight loss benefit if the calorie switch is the same, and the new bread still has sugar in its ingredients! The problem comes in understanding the whole of your nutrition requirements. Read ingredients and nutrition labels.  Reduce sugars and refined carbs from all sources and reduce reliance on all forms of breads, while not entirely eliminating grains.

Your takeaway is that not all the claims in the effects of food have a significant result on weightloss!  Stick to vegetables and LEAN proteins as your primary food sources. Add in a few whole grains like plain oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, fresh fruit or potatoes in small servings. Also get at least a daily small amount of healthy fats, 1-2 tablespoon serving sizes each day from two different sources from seeds, nuts, salmon, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, natural cheese, egg yolk, or hummus as examples. An overall reduction in processed foods and an increasing reliance on cooking healthy fresh foods improves weight and goes beyond weightloss into the fit life lifestyle that will have you losing weight and keeping it off. Final note eating ALL vegetables, or ALL meats, or ALL fats is not necessary. Eating the healthier choices in each food group is the ticket! Avoid fried, high sugar, processed carbs and processed meats! images

Final Tip: Eggs are good for you, but a full serving of whole eggs may be too much fat. The whites are mostly protein while the yolks are mostly fat. Keeping in mind the serving size of fats, try using more whites and fewer yolks in your morning eggs. Eggs are good for you, but may be considered more of a healthy fat than a healthy protein. Or just go for the egg whites for a lean protein source!

Still confused? I can work with you one on one for a meal plan that will get you in the best shape of your life. I did it and so can you. My program is based on nutrition not superstition! email: samantha@fitatfiftysamantha.com or samanthamaxmuscle@gmail.com for a program that fits you!

Pumpkin Bread Guilt Free 

Pumpkin Bread is great for fall. Who doesn’t have a tough time with baked good temptations in the fall and winter holiday season?

My solution is to make those 250 + calories count for real nutrition rather than most of the calories coming as empty calories from sugars or butter.

This is my original recipe for a pumpkin bread that will double nicely as a healthy breakfast or daytime snack. I say daytime because I typically eat my carbs earlier in the day. Less likely for unused energy to turn to fat during daytime hours.

Ingredients

1 can Pumpkin Puree 15oz

3 cups plain Quaker Old Fashioned oats.

1 cup of egg whites

3 scoops of whey protein powder. (vanilla, toffee, caramel or unflavored variety works: I used Titan Toffee Macchiato)

Optional: 1 cup of zero calorie sugar substitutes for baking (recommend Truvia for baking or Splenda for baking.

1/2 cup of almond meal

2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

NUTRITION: full loaf cake is 7 servings. 278 calories: 20 grams of protein, 31.7 grams of carbs, 7.7 grams of fat. Only 4.9 grams of sugars from the pumpkin. No added sugars.

Optional add ins if desired based on your dietary needs:

Chopped pecan pieces: 1/4 cup adds 20 calories per serving and 2 grams of fat.

Two snack boxes of raisins (1/4 cup) adds 25 calories of carbs from natural sugars per serving. Avoid if watching sugars! This little bit doubles the sugar content.

Method:

Mix oats in food processor until ground into coarse flour.

Mix all ingredients into large mixing bowl and stir together.

Heat oven to 325 degrees,

Spray loaf pan with a light spray of spray coconut oil. Dust with oat flour for a perfect non-stick if desired.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in oven to bake 40-50 minutes. Cake should not be shloshy in the middle, but you do want it very moist. Do not over bake!! It should rise and be firm.

Enjoy at breakfast, brunch or even post workout with coffee or hot tea!

This healthy recipe has your heart healthy oats, proteins from whey and eggwhites. Healthy fats from almond meal and maybe pecans. Not to mention lots of vitamin A, plus Vitamins C, calcium, iron and fiber from pumpkin while avoiding empty calories that have no nutritional value from processed enriched flour, butters, sugars etc! Enjoy guilt free if you avoid adding butter or jams! Would it taste good with butter or jam? Sure. If you do add these traditional enhancers is it going to make you fat? Well, in short…yes. Yes it will. Not so much as a second bowl of ice cream and cake, but it does make a difference if you want a healthier lifestyle. Refrigerate and warm in the microwave or oven by the slice.  Eat the healthy.

Recipe for Summer Parties on Plan

This time of year is when most people want a great body. In the summer you will want the bikini body to go with the bikini weather. Unfortunately the other thing that goes hand in hand with summer is BBQ cookouts. Pork BBQ, hamburgers, and hotdogs seem to be non-stop at parties. How do you survive events with your bikini body game on plan? Chicken Kabobs! Grill them at your events or bring them to add to parties you are invited to participate. image1(1)

I recommend cutting chicken breast into 2 inch squares and vegetable pieces at 3 inch pieces of alternating bell peppers, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. The recipe is simple: Toss your chicken into a gallon ziplock bag with a tablespoon of olive oil. Avoid using commercial marinades as these are often high in salt or sugars! Assemble the kabob sticks. For large groups I recommend getting the shorter 6 inch sticks, and soaking them in water before adding food. It helps keep them from burning and the short sticks help your food go further at parties where other food is available. Using a slightly larger veggie than the size of your chicken will help cook the chicken without charring it, it will help the veggies to be softer and fully cooked at the same time the chicken is done, and keep the chicken from sticking to the grill. After the kabobs are assembled sprinkle with a dry seasoning to add flavor like Mrs. Dash flavor blends or a Flavor God dry seasoning.image1

Grill until meat is cooked through. Enjoy with a small tossed side salad!
Recipe published on Aging Evolution website: /https://www.agingevolution.com/summer-kabob-recipe/

 

Protein Pizza

Pizza was forbidden. Competing in Figure competition for the first two years, I only had pizza once or twice during the off season. Usually the very first cheat meal after my last competition of the year and my very last cheat meal before I started my prep for the next season. My old self, when I was 40 pounds overweight, used to eat pizza most every Friday. It was taken for granted and I missed it dearly when I went months and months without it. Reasons for omitting pizza include that with the crust and cheese plus poor quality, high fat, processed meat toppings you are getting very little nutrition in a dish that is mostly carb and fats and very low protein…even on a meat lovers or supreme.

Pizza, in one study was linked to the obesity epidemic! http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-pizza-calories-children-20150116-story.html

Then one day I stumbled upon the protein crust pizza at Bodybuilding.com by Anna Sward Of Proteinpow.com. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/protein-pizza-crust.html

pizza

I have used this pizza crust many times when I have a taste for pizza. I have used it to make homemade pizza for my family and company alike with rave reviews. The healthiest low calorie toppings are going to be peppers or mushrooms. For the sauce, look for the very least salt and sugar. I have used Rao’s pizza sauce or a simple low sodium tomato paste. Both are good options.

For  my “on point” favorite topping that gets your full serving of protein without any junk food added is my lean turkey Italian sausage. This is a simple ground 99% fat free turkey with homemade Italian Sausage seasonings without any salts or sugars.

Samantha’s Lean Ground Turkey Italian Sausageturkey

  • 1 pound of 99% fat free Turkey
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp)dried parsley
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground or whole fennel seed
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Dash of freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Cook the ground turkey in a non-stick skillet, add seasoning ingredients, and using your spatula, break it apart into tiny pieces while it cooks. It is done when it is no longer pink.

The crust recipe:

Thin Protein Pizza Recipe
Ingredients:
1/2 cup Liquid egg whites
1 Tbsp (10g) unflavored Pea protein powder (I use “Now” Brand)
1/4 cup Unflavored whey protein powder (Bob’s Red Mill brand works great)
3/8 cup Gluten-free rolled oats (Quaker Old Fashion ground or Bob’s oat flour)
1 tsp Herbamare or salt and pepper. (Hint: I’ve used 1/3 tsp ground thyme and garlic powder. That’s my favorite)
Directions
1.Using a handheld blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients together until
you get a thick pancake-like batter.
2. Heat a nonstick pan, and add a quick light spray oil.
3. Add 1/2 of the batter to the pan, spreading it on the surface of the pan thinly with a
spatula or tilting the pan.
4. This cooks like a pancake. Once the bottom of the crust has cooked, flip it.
5. Remove the crust from the pan on to a pizza stone or cookie sheet and add your toppings. Begin with tomato paste, and then add your choice of topping. Like 1-1/2 oz. of the lean ground turkey sausage. Finish by topping with a 1/2 oz serving of part skim or fat free mozzarella cheese.
6. Place the crust with all of your toppings under the grill or oven broiler for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the pizza looks done.
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1
Recipe yield: 2 (You will have extra turkey for omelettes, salads, more pizzas, or to freeze for later.)
Calories 262
Fat 4.6 g
Carbs 14.1 g (2 g fiber)
Protein 39.4 g

Fitness is a Symphony

I do like to write. What I write about is fitness. Everything related to fitness. I relate fitness to puzzle pieces. Many have tried to lose weight or tone up, but only have a few parts of the puzzle and haven’t put enough together to see results!

In that regard, you can also think of your fitness elements as a symphony. You are the conductor. You can wish for a fit body, but waving your baton in the air won’t get it unless your symphony orchestra is in their seats.

Think of the weights training exercises as percussion. Timpani drums and cymbals bang out a beat, so do free weights and barbells even machine weightstacks noisily provide the framework for your body to build upon.

Horns are the nutrition. Solid nutrition doesn’t take a quiet lonely unheard harmony. Nutrition blares results, Horns trumpet health and wellness; horns aren’t sugar and sweet, horns are protein and broccoli!

Woodwinds are the cardio. Run like the wind. Dance, trill, be light on your feet.

Strings are the threads of medical health professionals here to help. If your organs, hormones, digestion and heart aren’t healthy the rest won’t have a chance.

A person one a successful diet. Will make music with single instrument results. Alone, soloist and one dimensional. She take a break and the music dies.

A new exercise program brings music to the table, but alone has no depth. Sound without an orchestra. Music without harmony. Strength or endurance with depth of result.

A symphony of fitness effort is the full orchestration of results. All parts make an ongoing music. The best part is that often one side of the ensemble with pick up the melody while the other rests or provides background harmony. No single instrument holds the results hostage.

Make fitness a part of everything you do and the music of your life will be richer with results.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Symphony

The Difference Between Diet and Lifestyle 

You want to lose weight, be healthier or more fit. 

Diet implies you are eating much less. You’re doing it until you reach your goal. You can’t wait to cheat. You can’t wait to get back to eating normal. It’s hard. In your mind it’s temporary. It might be a cleanse, it might be very low calorie or no carbs. When and if you stick to this craziness and reach your goal what then?

Anyone who’s ever gone down this road knows that the weight comes back. 

What’s a fit lifestyle? It’s not temporary. It is a bigger plan. It’s sustainable amounts of healthy food that meets your body’s nutritional requirements. It could be just above your basal metabolic rate (BMR) it could be at or just below your Total Daily Calorie (Energy) Expenditure. (TDEE) The difference between them are whether you are trimming down or staying fit. 

What does this look like? It’s choosing healthy foods first and foremost.  It may be lower carb and less sugar than your unfit lifestyle. However, It is not so restrictive that one cookie once in a while will change your life. It does not include bingeing or eating “whatever you want.” It’s being considered in your choices. It includes planning healthy meals, choosing grilled, lightly sautéed and steamed meat and vegetables with salad instead of fried, creamy, or heavy sauces. It’s skipping dessert most days, saving those treats for holidays and special occasions. 

It may include, for a while until you get the hang of it, tracking your protein intake to make sure you get enough, or tracking fats and carbs to make sure you don’t get too much. 

Need a more detailed plan to get started? Contact me for your personalized fit lifestyle plan! Email: Samantha@fitatfiftysamantha.com