Pumpkin Spice Scones (vegan, grain-free, low-glycemic)

picture of scones on cooling rack

This genius recipe was developed by my good friend Jed Gaylin. In addition to his many other talents, Jed is a gifted cook who loves to create recipes that work for his vegan, low-glycemic diet. I recently sampled one of these scones at his house and talked him into letting me share the recipe with you.

Makes 15 scones

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or oat milk
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup avocado, grape seed, or canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut or white sugar
  • ½ cup dried currants or raisins
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice (or make your own combo of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove)
  • Grated zest of one large orange or 1 tsp dried, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees and line la baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, gently warm almond milk (about 30 seconds in microwave) and stir in flax seed and vinegar. Let stand at least 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Mix in currants or raisins and orange zest (if using)
  4. Drizzle the oil over the flour mixture and mix lightly with spoon until a bit clumpy
  5. Stir in the liquids, mixing just until combined
  6. Form into golf-ball sized balls and arrange on parchment paper. Do not flatten
  7. Bake for 15 minutes and cool on a wire rack

Store cooled scones in fridge and warm briefly before serving.

 

 

How to bring down stubborn cholesterol

Just got an excited note from a member of the most recent 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade group:

“My cholesterol is 194! First time it has been under 200 in several years. Thanks for nutrition advice that works!”

Although the 30-day Nutrition Upgrade is not a cholesterol-lowering program per se, I’m not at all surprised by this news.

One of the things that makes the 30-Day Upgrade unique is that it’s not just about limiting unhealthy foods, such as those containing added sugars and refined flour. We spend just as much time focusing on the foods we want to eat more of, such as vegetables, nuts, and legumes.

Because adding is simply more fun than subtracting.  And when it comes to lowering cholesterol, adding healthy foods can be even more effective than limiting unhealthy choices.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that adding foods like nuts and dried beans to the diet was four times more effective in reducing LDL cholesterol than cutting back on saturated fat.

And a more recent study, just published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that those who ate a handful of almonds as a snack every day instead of a muffin–which is a popular Upgrade swap as well–saw a reduction in LDL, with no reduction in their “good” HDL cholesterol.

(We also don’t usually think of adding foods as a way to lose weight. Yet about half of participants report losing several pounds during the 30-day Upgrade.)

Ready to upgrade your nutrition? The next 30-Day Upgrade starts soon.  Learn more and save your spot here.

 

 

30-Day Nutrition Upgrade: How long do the benefits last?

“Who has noticed any long term habit change or positive changes based on the 30 Day Nutrition Upgrade?”

I found this question on my Facebook page, posted by a (perhaps skeptical?) follower.

If you’re trying to decide whether this program is worth your while, you might be interested in some of the responses posted by previous Upgraders.

“Me! I literally crave vegetables, which I did not before. I choose vegetarian options at restaurants sometimes even though I’m not a vegetarian and don’t want to be. I also opt for fish more than I used to.”

“It helped me lose weight.”

“I buy vegetables not knowing what to do with them. Then at home I look up how best to eat them. Also I prefer fish to meat whenever I can. In general i find I eat healthy with the 30DNU in mind.”

“I consistently eat more vegetables. Also, I have at least one fermented food each day.”

“I eat much less sugar and much more vegetables”

“I noticed a huge difference. I lost my sugar cravings after about 3 days and generally eat much better, even though I thought I had a pretty good diet before starting.”

(Honestly: who needs a copywriter? I’m just going to let folks who have done the program do the marketing for me!)

If these are the kinds of changes you’d like to make a permanent part of your eating habits, then I hope you will join us

Not Your Typical Nutrition Challenge

Unlike other 30-day nutrition “boot camps,” the 30 Day Nutrition Upgrade doesn’t ask you to eliminate entire food groups or follow a rigid or restrictive protocol. You don’t have to avoid restaurants, cancel social plans, or pack special food to bring with you everywhere.

You’ll just keep on living your regular life…only a little bit healthier. (I’ll show you how.)  You can even do it with your kids! (Some Upgraders report competing with their children over who can eat more vegetables during the day … and their kids love it!)

Come join us!

Next 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade starts Nov 8th!

The next 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade program kicks off on November 8th!

This fun and flexible group challenge is a great way to kick-start healthy routines and to stay motivated long enough for new behaviors to become established habits.

Over 2,000 people have now done this program with me and the results have been incredible!

  • Virtually all of the participants report that the program made a positive difference in their eating habits
  • Half of them reported losing weight (even though weight loss is not a goal of this program)
  • More than half also reported having more energy/better mood
  • Participants reported everything from enjoying their food more to improved digestion to feeling less hungry to finally bringing out of control snacking under control

But perhaps the best part is the the warm, supportive (and funny!)  community…men and women from all around the world, from college age to post-retirement, sharing their questions, challenges, and triumphs. Eight years after the very first Upgrade, they’re still checking in with other, exchanging tips, recipes, and encouragement.  We’ve had meet-ups in half a dozen cities around the country.

It’s Your Turn!

The next 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade group challenge launches  Wednesday, November 8th at 7pm ET.  (Yes, the session will be recorded if you can’t join us then.)

Cost: $69
Includes:

  • Live one-hour online kick-off, plus Q&A for as long as there are questions.
  • Access to a video recording of the session afterwards.
  • Free tracking app
  • Downloadable handouts and other program materials.
  • Private Facebook group for ongoing (and I mean ongoing!) connection and support.

You’ll find lots more details here or, if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can:

JOIN US!

Tip: Add my email address to your contacts or safe sender list to be sure the registration info doesn’t land in your Spam/Junk folder.

Not sure if this is for you?

My post on “Is the 30-Day Challenge Right For Me?” has answers to frequently asked questions. And feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to answer any other questions you have and help you decide whether this is a good fit for you.

Potassium content of common foods

Potassium plays an important role in regulating high blood pressure – a potentially lethal condition that affects a quarter of American adults and two-thirds of those over the age of 60. Potassium does a few other useful things as well, such as preventing bone loss, reducing the risk of kidney stones, and keeping your heart beating.   Studies have also found that a high potassium intake can largely offset the effects of high sodium intake.   Here’s more from the Nutrition Diva podcast.  Below is a table showing some good dietary sources of potassium.

Potassium cheatsheet

FoodServing sizePotassium (mg)
Potato, baked, with skin1 medium926
Apricots, dried½ cup755
Beet greens, cooked, boiled½ cup654
Plums, dried (prunes)½ cup637
Raisins½ cup598
Yogurt, plain, low-fat8 ounces531
Lima beans, cooked½ cup478
Acorn squash, cooked½ cup (cubes)448
Banana1 medium422
Spinach, cooked½ cup419
Tomato juice6 fluid ounces395
Orange juice6 fluid ounces372
Artichoke, cooked1 medium343
100% Prune juice6 fluid ounces322
Molasses1 tablespoon293
Tomato1 medium292
Pistachios1 ounce285
Milk8 ounces281
Orange1 medium238
Almonds1 ounce208
Sunflower seeds1 ounce137
Egg, whole, cooked1 large81

How to Avoid Weight Gain When You Quit Smoking

Q. I have a friend who just quit smoking. He’s started to gain the typical weight and went into his local GNC yesterday to get some supplement that’s supposed to speed up his metabolism. He already has a fairly good diet. I told him he might be better off just letting his metabolism balance itself out, rather than substituting one stimulant for another. Any ideas on how he can naturally adjust better?

A.  People who quit smoking do often gain a few pounds but changes in metabolism are the least likely culprit.   Nicotine does slightly increase one’s metabolic rate.  More significantly, however,  it acts as an appetite suppressant. Ex-smokers often eat more when they stop smoking because they have more appetite.  The mental and physical stress of nicotine withdrawal may also drive cravings for certain “comfort” foods.   Add to that the fact that ex-smokers need something to do with their hands (and mouths) to fill the time that they used to spend smoking and it’s easy to see why quitters often gain a few pounds.

But because a slower metabolism isn’t really the main issue here, a “metabolism booster” from the health food store probably isn’t going to be a very effective solution.   Here are some tips to help manage this transition. Continue reading “How to Avoid Weight Gain When You Quit Smoking” >

Pumpkin Avocado Pie Recipe

Avocado and almond milk replace evaporated milk in this healthy take on a holiday classic. But this nutritional upgrade can be your little secret…no one will be the wiser.

Pumpkins are super high in beta-carotene and recent research shows that adding avocado to carotene-rich veggies not only boosts absorption of the nutrient but also aids in their conversion to vitamin A.

As an experiment, I replaced the evaporated milk in the standard pumpkin pie recipe with a blend of almond milk and ripe avocado and served it to guests without tipping them off. Not only were they none the wiser, but the superior flavor and light, mousse-like texture of the filling prompted several requests for the recipe.

Here’s my recipe for Pumpkin Avocado Pie. The fact that it contains nutrient-boosting avocado (or that it has 25% fewer calories and 40% less sugar than the standard recipe) can be your little secret.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1 9-inch pie shell (unbaked)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 4250F.
  2. Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place almond milk, avocado, vanilla, and ginger into blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
  4. Add eggs to blender and blend on low speed until combined.
  5. Add avocado mixture and canned pumpkin to sugar mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 40 minutes. Pie will be slightly jiggly but set.
  8. Cool on a rack and serve with whipped cream if desired.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 220, Total fat 10g, Saturated fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 45mg, Sodium 310mg, Total carbohydrate 28g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 14g, Protein 4g.