All posts by Danny Collier

Leaning Out – The Plant-Based Way

May 13, 2013

When your goal is to decrease body fat or “lean out,” your objective should be to choose meals that consist mostly of whole unrefined, low glycemic carbs that are highly alkaline-forming, reduce inflammation and help stabilize blood sugar.  Because these foods are so packed with nutrients, they keep you satiated longer with far fewer calories than a conventional highly processed meal.

Try to incorporate a variety of whole plant-based carbohydrates from vegetables like kale, broccoli, swiss chard, collard greens, and cucumbers at every meal.

Provided you ensure adequate intake of high quality protein from sources like hemp, beans / legumes, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc., you should be well on your way to decreasing body fat, while maintaining and even building lean muscle mass.

Provided below is a simple plant-based meal plan that will help get you started!

 

Breakfast: Green Smoothie

This low calorie, nutrient-dense smoothie is highly alkaline-forming and will keep you satiated for several hours.

  • 1 scoop VegaONE (Natural Flavor)
  • 6 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 2 dates 
  • ½ tbsp fresh ginger
  • ½ melon of any kind
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Late-morning snack: Apple Cinnamon Chia Granola

This nutrient-dense granola is great fuel low glycemic fuel option a few hours before a workout.

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • ½ cup plant-based protein of choice (VegaONE Natural Flavor)
  • ½ cup ground chia seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup unhulled sesame seeds
  • ½ cup diced apple
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup hemp oil
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp natural apple juice

Lunch: Lentel FLax Burger

High protein burger, perfect for a post workout meal.

  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup cooked red lentils
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper

In a medium frying pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium high heat.  Add the carrots and celery and saute until the veggies are soft.  Mix in the balsamic vinegar, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients to the vegetable mixture  and mix well, mashing the lentils slightly with a fork.  Adjust salt as needed.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the flaxseed to help firm the mixture.  Hand-shape into 4-6 burgers.

Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a large pan over low heat.  Put burgers on the pan and cook until brown underneath (about 10 min).  Flip burgers over and repeat on the other side.

Snack: Raw Sprouted Energy Bar (Banana Fig)

There’s so many good energy / snack bars to choose from.  Some of my favorite brands are: Vega, Lara Bar and ProBar.  I occasionally will also make up a batch of my own.

  • ¾ cup soaked dried figs
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup cooked buckwheat
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • Process everything except sesame seeds in a food processor.  Once you have cut the bars, sprinkle them with the sesame seeds.

Dinner: Collard Greens Buckwheat Wrap

One of my favorites meals!  Unlike a typical flow tortilla, collard greens are full of vitamins and minerals, low glycemic and have a crisp refreshing taste.

  • 1 leaf collard green
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 2 sliced tomatoes
  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped broccoli florets
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ turmeric
  • 1/2 cup washed kidney beans
  • 1 cup cooked buckwheat
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp liquid aminos

Place all ingredients except liquid aminos on the inside of the collard green leaf.  Roll and drizzle with liquid aminos.  3 Servings / wraps

Ginger Pear Smoothie

I love ginger both because of it’s taste and it’s amazing health benefits.  Try this refreshing smoothie after a long workout to help reduce inflammation and recovery time so you can train again sooner.

  • 1 Serving/Scoop VegaONE (Natural Flavor)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Pear
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cups of amond milk
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Basic Meal Plan

What to Eat? 

“What do you eat?” I’m often asked this question after telling someone I live a whole, plant-based lifestyle.  The truth is, there’s a variety of delicious foods that nourish your body, boost health and beauty and enhance your performance in sports and life.

Each Monday, I will share a different meal plan that’s easy to prepare and free of most common allergens.

Breakfast: My Go-To Smoothie

This tasty antioxidant-rich smoothie contains 50% of your daily vitamins and minerals and keeps the hunger away for hours.

  • 1 scoop VegaONE  
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 banana  
  • ½ to 1 cup frozen berries
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Late-morning snack: Cinnamon-Apple and Almond Butter Sandwich

This protein rich sandwich is an ideal sustainable energy mid-morning snack to consume about an hour or so before a workout.

  • Toast 1 sprouted cinnamon raisin English muffin
  • Spread raw, unsalted almond butter over one side
  • Place 6 thinly sliced apple slices on the side of the English muffin with almond butter and make into a sandwich

Lunch: Black Bean Veggie Burrito

I love burritos!  I love mixing all kinds of cooked or uncooked veggies with beans and brown rice or quinoa.  This is one of my basic go-to burritos:

  • 1 sprouted whole grain tortilla
  • ½ cup brown rice or quinoa
  • ½ cup cooked black beans (if canned, low sodium and soaked) 
  • Chopped cucumber, avocado slices, radishes, tomatoes, sprouts and spring mix
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Snack: Raw Sprouted Energy Bar

There’s so many tasty energy / snack bars to choose from.  Some of my favorite brands are: Vega, Lara Bar and ProBar.  I occasionally will also make up a batch of my own.

  • ¾ cup meddjool dates
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small banana
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp protein
  • ¾ cup sprouted buckwheat
  • 2 tbsp unhulled sesame seeds

Process everything except sesame seeds in a food processor.  Once you have cut the bars, sprinkle them with the sesame seeds.

Dinner: Superfood Salad (wrap optional)

These salad wraps basically include everything but the kitchen sink.  I usually will take all the fresh veggies and some fruits that are in season and use them in this salad.  Each time it tastes a little different, but it’s always tasty!

Superfood Salad (makes 4 servings wraps)

Cut and place in large bowl:

  • 4 large handfuls of spring mix (or baby spinich)
  • 2 handfuls of broccoli slaw
  • ¾ cup cooked but chilled quinoa
  • ¼ cup cooked but chilled buckwheat
  • 1 to 1 1/2 sliced avocados
  • ½ red pepper (finely diced)
  • 1 apple (finely diced)
  • ½ tomato (optional)
  • ½ cucumber (thinly sliced – optional)
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos (salad dressing alternative) as needed (small amount)
  • Very small amount of olive oil (optional)

Cut and mix everything together:

  • Spread hummus on sprouted wrap, place salad contents on to top and wrap

Interview with Holly Yzquierdo of MyPlantBasedFamily.com

April 29, 2013

 

I recently had the opportunity to interview plant-based blogger Holly Yzquierdo. Through her blog, www.myplantbasedfamily.com, Holly shares healthy recipes, meal plans and advice for families looking to adopt a healthier diet. Enjoy!

1. How long have you been plant-based and what made you decide to embrace this lifestyle?

My family and I began transitioning to a plant-based diet in October of 2011. I had been suffering from chronic bladder problems including UTIs, bladder spasms and a possible interstitial cystitis (IC) diagnosis. I saw many doctors and specialists, underwent invasive testing, and ultimately didn’t get any real answers. A friend of mine referred me to her mother who taught about whole food, plant-based living; she believed I could be symptom free in only a few months if I got on board.

In addition to becoming symptom free I also lost weight and got rid of aches and pains I had associated with “getting old”.

2. What made you decide to create a website and blog about your journey?


Once we decided to jump in to plant-based living I had a hard time finding resources for families trying to eat this way while staying on a budget. We also had people asking what we were doing because we were losing weight very quickly. I wanted to be a resource and equip others to make these changes.

I now have a passion to help others find what we had found. I want those who come after me to find a real account of a family who jumped into a plant-based lifestyle and thrived. There is also a higher level of accountability once I put it out there for the world to see.

 

 

 3. For those who haven’t visited your website, what are some of the key features you offer on the site?

I post Meal Plans (almost) every Monday. Each month I interview 8 families, two families each Thursday, many of which are new to plant-based eating and share their successes and struggles. I regularly post original recipes that are always vegan and oil free, often they are gluten-free and allergy friendly as well.

4. You’ve received rave reviews for some of the recipes you’ve posted on your site. Have you always enjoyed cooking?


I’ve always had a knack for cooking but until the end of 2011 it was very unhealthy. I always used a ton of dairy. My cooking skills have definitely progressed through the years. I began by cooking with mostly processed ingredients, then more “made from scratch” and finally to whole foods.

There is a fine line between wanting to try something different and being afraid you are about to waste all of those ingredients. I’m not much of a recipe follower; I’d rather take my chances by trying something original. I love when a new recipe works out and the whole family loves it.

5. Which of your recipes has received the most positive feedback? Can you share it with us?


That is tough; my Easy Mexican Casserole is a favorite for a lot of families because it is easy, inexpensive, and easily customizable using pantry staples for the basic recipe. It can be eaten on a bed of greens, in a tortilla or by itself. I love it with homemade salsa and guacamole. Another favorite is my Quinoa-Lentil Tacos. They are also inexpensive and easy to make. I’ve had a lot of feedback from families that were really divided about eating (or not eating) meat but this recipe really helped bring them together.

6. What advice would you give to mothers who are interested in improving the eating habits of their kids?

Every meal is a chance to move your kids toward healthy eating but the process may not move smoothly. There are a lot of factors to consider like age, food preferences, and your child’s disposition. Some children may easily adapt to diet change while other kids may take a lot more effort. Let me assure you the effort is worth it; a culture of healthy eating will impact your family for generations. Don’t get discouraged if you feel your family isn’t headed in the right direction, simple changes can be effective. Offer fruit and nut butter for snack instead of highly processed packaged snacks; make potatoes a larger part of the meal with other veggies as a compliment. I recently shared some tips with my readers in a post called My Kids Won’t Eat That.

 

 

7. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in adopting a more plant based diet but doesn’t know where to start?


Choose whole plant food, even if you are making incremental changes; eating beans, whole grains, leafy greens, potatoes, veggies and fruit will get you off to the right start and keep you fueled. Avoid highly processed foods and “food like products” that don’t even resemble anything out of nature. Eliminate dairy as soon as possible and any dairy cravings will disappear within 2 weeks.
The internet is flooded with information about Plant-Based Diets but that doesn’t mean it is all good information. I began by researching the doctors who appeared in Forks Over Knives. Look for the phrase “whole food plant-based diet” when checking out new sources.

When shopping for food read the labels; if you are considering buying something with more than 5 ingredients it probably isn’t something you should be eating. Some labels hide ingredients by listing various forms of the same thing. For example, a single label may say sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and corn sugar; they use for different types so it isn’t listed as the first ingredient. Also, if you see it advertised on television it is probably not healthy.

8. What are some of your future plans for your website and the brand you’ve built?


I’m in the process of writing an ebook that will focus on equipping families to transition to a plant-based diet as well as include some of our favorite recipes. I may have an opportunity to teach some classes locally but that is on the back burner for now. I mostly want to focus on providing quality content for my readers.

9. Can you tell us more about your Healthy Cravings events?

Healthy Cravings was born out of my desire to show people that healthy food and delicious food were not mutually exclusive. I had friends who were curious about eating healthier but they didn’t really know where to start. I have a different food theme each month, in November we had a Thanksgiving feast, in January we had Super Bowl food, and February featured a 5 course Italian dinner. Our next Healthy Cravings is May 9th and will be a potluck.

Healthy Cravings is a ladies only group, although we are considering starting a mens/couples group if there is enough interest. You can find out more information here.

10. Can you share a success story about someone you’ve helped (weight loss, lower cholesterol, etc.)?

The best success story I can offer is my husbands. Jim has lost over 50 pounds since transitioning to a plant-based diet. Not only does he no longer need medication to control his cholesterol and blood pressure (which is in the athlete range) but he is also off medication for allergies, acid reflux, and asthma. He looks amazing, has more energy, and is passionate about helping people achieve lasting health.

March 17, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Citrus Green Smoothie

1 scoop VegaOne (other alternatives: hemp, pie or rice protein)
2-3 cups of spinach
1/2 squeezed lemon
1/4 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup orange juice
small handfull of ice
1/4 cup of cold water
Blend – ENJOY!!