How to make pancakes a part of your healthy lifestyle

How to make pancakes a part of your healthy lifestyle

I love pancakes! Always have. When I was growing up in Nigeria, my sister made the best pancakes on weekends, and her artistry with those little fluffy, flowery clouds got me started with my obsession for pancakes. The obsession is still strong today to the point where my weekend breakfasts are always pancakes!

But this hasn’t always been true.

When I started losing weight, I thought I was going to have to give up pancakes. At the time, I was Continue reading “How to make pancakes a part of your healthy lifestyle”

A breakfast salad you can enjoy any time of day

A breakfast salad you can enjoy any time of day

If you know me in real life, you know that I’m not a salad fan. So it’s a bit of a surprise that this recipe is on this website, but there are a few reasons:

  1. This is not about me.
  2. It’s my husband’s breakfast and he’s already had colleagues ask for his salad dressing recipe, so I can give him this link to share 😉.
  3. The salad is very good when paired with meat and sweet potatoes or plantains (see below). I love it in combo with that, so this is a salad that I”ll actually eat.

So Continue reading “A breakfast salad you can enjoy any time of day”

How I tweak recipes to make them healthier

How I tweak recipes to make them healthier - Team by EJ

It’s rare for me to find a recipe that I didn’t want to tweak. I don’t tweak recipes because I think that I’m a better chef than people with published cookbooks and entire websites with hundreds of recipes. I do it because I like to make things work for me and most recipes don’t work for me out of the gate.

#1 I start with the oil

The oil in recipes is usually where most of the calories come from. Whether it’s copious amounts of butter or loads of olive oil, I always start there. Seemingly healthy meals like salads are notorious for this – for example, some salad recipes require 1/4 cup of oil for the dressing in a salad that feeds four people!

That’s a lot of oil!!!

My criterion is that a recipe should be able to taste good with no more than 2 tbsp of oil to make enough servings to feed my family. And when I’m making a family recipe, it usually feeds 4 to 6 people, so that’s two tablespoons for that many servings. If it’s got more than that, then I make a point to cut it down.

#2 Then I move on to other ingredients that add unnecessary fat

The next thing I look for is ingredients that add a lot of unnecessary fat like high-fat meats or full-fat dairy. And when I find things like this, I always go for the leanest cut of meat that’ll still give me the flavor that I’m looking for in a meal or choose a lower fat dairy option that’ll still give me a great consistency.

For example, if I’m cooking a dish that calls for sausage, I usually go for the leaner chicken sausage of the similar variety to what the recipe calls for instead of the fattier pork sausage. I still get the flavor but less of the saturated fat and calories.

#3 I revisit the amount of protein

Eating less meat is something we committed to in our family plan this year. My husband and I sat down and planned out what we hope to achieve in 2018. We had financial goals and goals for each other and the kids, but we also wrote down goals for eating and exercise. With eating, we committed to cutting our meat intake in half and doubling our veggie intake to make our meals even healthier.

Our commitment means that when we’re looking at recipes, we almost always reduce the amount of protein they call for. This eliminates quite a few recipes from the list – so things like pot roast and meatloaf that used to be in our regular rotation aren’t anymore. But we still enjoy some of the old staples that we were able to cut the meat in without compromising the flavor.

And when I’m tweaking a recipe, I always ask myself if it can do with less meat. It’s been a worthwhile challenge because it’s significantly reduced our grocery bill and it’s helped improve our health.

#4 I tweak the carbs

The carbs are another place that I tweak – are they refined carbs or are they starchy vegetables or whole grains (s in the VAFs® mental model for lasting weight loss)? If the answer is refined carbs, I almost always swap it out. The only exception is if my husband really wants to make the recipe and it’s a one-pot dish that I can’t serve myself a healthier carb separately. In this instance, I call it a 10% meal.

#5 Then I make sure I have enough veggies

In keeping with our commitment to eat half the meat and twice the veggies, I always look to make sure there are enough veggies in a recipe before I make it. Most recipes don’t lend themselves well to adding unplanned veggies to the dish itself. And when this is the case, I make a separate vegetable side dish to bulk up the meal and make it more in line with our food values.

How do you tweak your recipes to make them healthier?

Tweaking recipes this way to make them healthier opens up a world of options for healthy eating for me. It puts me in a mindset that nothing is truly off limits and I can enjoy the food I cook as far as I’m willing to get creative. And it works wonders when ordering meals at restaurants too.

I’m always game to learn new things so over to you ~ How do you tweak your recipes to make them healthier?

Leave a comment below to share with the community so we can learn from your healthy cooking prowess!

Photo by Taylor Kiser on Unsplash

Feel Like You Have to Give Up the Food You Love to Lose Weight? Read This…

Feel Like You Have to Give Up the Food You Love to Lose Weight? Read This... - Team by EJ

You used to love food and now what you eat is focused on losing weight or not gaining the weight you’ve lost back. And this takes the joy out of eating. These days making food choices is about going between:

  • the food you want
  • the food that helps you lose weight.

And even when you have the willpower to make the food choices that’ll help you lose weight, you don’t enjoy it. And you end up eating the food you want anyway and we all know where that leads… even more weight gain.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this post, I’ll share how you can use VAFs®, the trademarked healthy eating model I created, to help you make eating healthy easier.

You’ll discover how to create an eating plan that helps you enjoy some of the foods you love so you start losing weight now and of course keep it off!

Here’s what to do if you grew up eating a lot of carbs and you still love them!

If you’d prefer to start your day with bread for breakfast, have rice for lunch, and finish up with a carb-heavy dinner, all the “low-carb for weight loss” talk can leave you feeling like you have to go against your very nature to get the weight loss results you want.

But you don’t have to. Here are four steps you can take.

  1. Identify the carbs you love to eat
  2. Figure out which one of these carbs fall into the healthy carbs category (s – starchy vegetables and whole grains)
  3. Choose the right-sized carb portions even if you’re eating the unhealthy carbs
  4. And load up the rest of your plate with the right V (non-starchy Vegetables or Fruits) & A (Animal or Plant Protein) to fill you up

Here’s what to do if you’d love to continue to enjoy your traditional ethnic foods

I grew up in a Nigerian home with lots of spicy sauces (to go with my carbs) and lots of oil rich soups. This can be a hallmark of a lot of ethnic cooking that can leave you feeling like you need to let go of the meals you grew up loving just to lose weight. But you don’t have to.

Our cultures do have a some great options to offer in the way of healthy meals like:

  • broth-based filling spicy soups like Nigerian Peppersoup and Vietnamese Pho,
  • or veggie rich soups like Okro soup,
  • and spicy delicacies like Chicken Vindaloo.

Instead of giving them up, you need to learn how to modify your favorite recipes to make them healthier and this is something I teach my clients to do as I did for my Nigerian clients with Ogbono on VAFs or Crustless Meat Pie. And I even show them how to do it for their own recipes.

But here are four steps you can use to start for yourself right now:

  1. Identify your favorite traditional ethnic foods
  2. Figure out what makes them unhealthy
  3. Identify what you can modify in the recipe to make them healthier
  4. Modify what you can and enjoy your ethnic meals in the right-sized portions

Here’s what to do if you have food sensitivities

With food sensitivities like dairy allergies or gluten sensitivities, your goal here should be to identify the foods you’re sensitive to so that you can then narrow in on the foods that you can eat.

I’m sure that this is something you already do and eating using any eating plan you choose, even the VAFs model shouldn’t change that in any way.

Here are the three concrete steps to take:

  1. Identify the foods you’re sensitive to
  2. Then figure out what that leaves you with to enjoy in your regular meals
  3. Use the VAFs model to make make the choices in the best way for your weight loss goals

Here’s what to do if you’d prefer not to eat meat or don’t want to eat any animal products

With being Vegetarian or Vegan, your primary drives will be to make sure you’re getting enough protein and you’re choosing the right carbs while eating a lot of veggies.

And while a lot of us assume so, being either a Vegetarian or Vegan doesn’t mean you can’t eat unhealthy, so you still need to pay attention to your food choices. I remember when I tried being a Vegetarian while feeding my omnivore husband and I ate sugary cereal for dinner more times than I care to admit.

But you’re reading this, so you’re definitely smarter than I am.

Here are some concrete steps to take.

  • Increase your protein intake with Plant Protein (V) and unprocessed foods in all food groups for example – Brown Rice (s) has about 5 g of of protein per 1 cup serving
  • Make sure you’re choosing the right carbs (s)
  • And do blood work at least with your annual physical (everyone should do this really) to find out if you need to be taking any nutritional supplements

It’s time to take action

Today, I invite you to think through how you like to eat and identify what makes it different from all the diets you’ve tried before. The difference will usually help you understand why the diets you’ve tried didn’t help you get the lasting results that you wanted so you can move on to what will.

Use the steps I shared above to brainstorm how you can eat healthy in a way that you can still enjoy.

To do this, keep the VAFs model in mind and ask yourself… “can I see a way to enjoy my meals and still get:

  • V (non-starchy Vegetables or Fruits) at every meal and snack?
  • A (Animal or Plant Protein) at avery main meal
  • F (healthy Fats) with my meals in moderation without having to fry my foods?
  • the types of s (starchy vegetables or whole grains) that support the health and weight loss results I want to get long-term?”

Those answers will get you started, but to learn more about how to use the VAFs model to help you get more of the food you enjoy and get the weight loss results you want, go even further by getting the FREE Healthy Eating Made Easy Cheat Sheet.

What you’ll discover in the Cheat Sheet will help you start to apply the principles of VAFs to your unique food preferences so you enjoy your meals on the way to the weight loss results you crave. Click the button below to get started.

Tired of following the rules with no results to show for it? Try this…

Tired of following the rules with no results to show for it? Try this… - Team by EJ

You can’t seem to figure out the rules of healthy eating. The idea of it sounds great in theory, but putting it into practice everyday is hard. You wonder…

“Am I:

  • choosing the right foods to lose weight?
  • eating the right portions?
  • avoiding all the right foods?”

And you get to a point where you feel like you’re following all the rules, but you’re not getting the results to show for it. So you turn back to dieting to look for the answer.

You’re not alone in your struggle to get results while following the rules…

Don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you because you haven’t been able to figure it out. I understand because I’ve been where you are.

When I was struggling with my own weight loss years ago, diets sounded great because they:

  1. tell you what to do
  2. Show you the exact rules to follow along with to get the results you want
  3. promise that you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re getting things right

These are all valid reasons to want to stay with the comfort of dieting.

But I remember like it was yesterday how hard it was to find a diet that worked for me. Sometimes I felt like I hadn’t tried everything. Up until the point when I said I was done with diets:

  • I tried Atkins, but I lasted only 2 hours and lost a $20 dollar bet.
  • I did the juicing thing, but then I’d end up having breakfast and the juice.
  • And then there was calorie counting, it worked for a time, but then it was mentally exhausting!

And I was still looking to find an answer in dieting till I discovered what I now know to be true…

Going on a diet with strict rules isn’t the only way to get lasting weight loss results

The structure you use to make healthy easy for you doesn’t have to be another diet. With a diet, it can be frustrating to try to stick to the plan when your day consistently throws curve balls at you.

Whether it’s a deadline that causes you to work late and not have time to eat to the diet plan, or your child gets really clingy in the morning and gives you no time to prepare breakfast, you need a system that makes it easy to make the healthiest choices from the options you have available to you and that’s what VAFs® is.

I created VAFs® after years trying different diets to lose weight and years learning how to lose it without dieting from the best in the industry. And I never imagined that it could be this easy.

But it is, and that is why I codified the simple system for healthy eating into the trademarked system that works called VAFs®, which stands for:

  • V: non-starchy vegetables and fruits
  • A: Animal & Plant Protein
  • F: healthy Fats
  • s: starchy vegetables & whole grains

And these are the four food types to eat consistently to lose weight without deiting.

Here’s what VAFs® will help you do differently…

Starting with VAFs gives you the structure of dieting without the restriction or deprivation. With VAFs®, you know the individual food types that need to be in your meals to make them healthy and help you support your weight loss efforts.

And within each food type, you get the freedom to choose from the host of options you have available to you.

You get to be the one who decides the:

  • non-starchy Vegetables & Fruits (V)
  • Animal & Plant Protein (A)
  • healthy Fats (F)
  • and starchy vegetables & whole grains (s)…

…that make into your everyday meals and you get to decide how to mix them up.

This makes it easy to create healthy meals that:

  • You love
  • Your family can enjoy with you
  • Will help you lose weight and be happy with the body that you’ve worked hard to create

Feeling comfortable with VAFs® will be like anything new you try…

Eating healthy without a strict diet, even using VAFs®, will feel like wearing your favorite shoe on the wrong foot sometimes. You will feel like you’re getting it wrong, and sometimes, you might feel the urge to throw in the towel.

But don’t.

You’re learning a new skill and every new skill takes a little time. I say give yourself no less than a month. It’ll give you time to get started and take action while monitoring the results you get. And ask for help when you get stuck during the process.

If you’ve been struggling with your diet and trying to lose weight for a long time, a month is a drop in the bucket and it’ll be time well spent.

Here’s how you can get started doing things differently with VAFs®….

To get started with using VAFs, identify the food options that you have within each food type. Make a list of the following foods that you love and have access to…

  • non-starchy Vegetables & Fruits (V)
  • Animal & Plant Protein (A)
  • healthy Fats (F)
  • and starchy vegetables & whole grains (s)…

And once you do this you’ll have the start of a food list with foods that you love, that you have easy access to, and that’ll help you make healthy eating easier than you imagined it could be for you.

If need an actual list of foods that fit into each VAFs food type to kick off your brainstorm session, I provide one in the companion cheatsheet that comes with Weight Loss for High Achievers—the book I wrote to help you lose weight without dieting.

The book gives you an entire system that’ll help you lose weight…and Chapter 4 of the book has everything you need to use VAFs® to eat healthy and lose weight without dieting. Get your copy now.

Weight Loss for High Achievers


Originally Published: October 2017; Updated: June 2018

How to deal when you’re worried you won’t be consistent

How to deal when you're worried you won't be consistent - Team by EJ

I’m here to share my answer to reader question about consistency.

Here’s the question: A lot of the things I hear about dieting seem so hard. And I feel like eating healthy is a major task. I’ve tried and failed at being consistent with my diet and I’m to the point right now that I don’t feel like I can do it.  Can you help me?

I love this question because it’s one I hear so many times when I talk to women about working with me.

When I hear this, I understand that what you need to do feels so daunting that you just can’t see a world where you realistically believe that you’ll be consistent with your actions considering all the things you have going on in your life.

So to help our dear reader, I’m answering this question by:

  1. Sharing why consistency seems so hard
  2. Sharing why it doesn’t have to be
  3. Inviting you to take the pressure off

Let’s dive in by talking about why being consistent seems so hard

Consistency is hard with eating because most weight loss programs expect you to change it all at once.

A lot of us start out eating a pretty unhealthy diet. And you need to make dramatic changes to get the dramatic results a lot of the weight loss programs promise in the amount of time that they promise it e.g. lose 30 lbs in 30 days.

But the truth is you don’t want the dramatic changes especially if you:

  • Want to maintain the results you do get
  • Have a full life that you need to focus on while you lose weight

And while getting consistent will require work and change, but it doesn’t have to be hard

Because what you really want is to:

  • Lose the weight in a way that helps you keep it off
  • Have the energy to live your everyday life while losing weight
  • Be consistent now and well into the future
  • Know that every outfit in your closet will fit for as long as you want to keep it

And the consistency you need to get results like these doesn’t have to be hard.

Yes you still need to make a lot of changes to your diet and your lifestyle, but you can take these changes one thing at a time to get the lasting results that you do want.

You can break down the changes you need to make into a list and then tackle each change one at a time.

It won’t take you 30 days to get these kinds of results, but you’ll get so much more over time because you’ll:

  • be able to take action on your weight loss without feeling overwhelmed because your busy schedule still gets taken care of
  • build confidence with each change that you successfully make
  • get the time to master the habits that you need to make the change stick
  • know exactly how to maintain the results you get because you’ve achieved mastery of the habits that got you there

So I invite you to take the pressure off

I can personally relate to the desire to lose the weight fast so you can move on to enjoying your new body.

When I had my first child, I gained 42 lbs. I had an 8 lb baby and only 12 lbs of the weight came off with him. And I wanted the last 30 lbs to come off fast.

But it took me nine months to lose. That’s a the pace of less than 1 lb a week on average. Some weeks were faster, and some were a slow crawl. But at the end of the day, I lost it and kept it off till I got pregnant again.

And I wasn’t only able to do this because I’m a coach and I know what to do. I have some of the same challenges that you have – a family and a career (well technically two considering my full time engineering job).

The only advantage I have is borne from years of struggle and the subsequent professional training that has helped me understand that it’s okay to take things slow.

And that ditching the all or nothing thinking that most diets preach – the same thinking that has you and our dear reader feeling overwhelmed – is THE way to finally get the lasting weight loss results you want.

So please learn from my struggle and take the pressure off. Take it from me and clients who have gone through the weight loss process with me taking one thing at a time. It works much better than trying to do it all at once like most programs have you do.

And I invite you to step up to that journey with me

I’m taking on new clients in Lighter in 8 Weeks starting at the end of September. Lighter in 8 Weeks an 8 Week program that’ll help you get weight loss results without compromising your ambitious goals of building a thriving career and growing a happy family.

I designed the program to take you from not getting the weight loss results you crave to finally getting to the weight loss goal your heart desires no matter how busy your life is.

Lighter in 8 Weeks is unlike most weight loss programs because it’s not about restriction and deprivation above all else.

It’s about helping you lose weight without compromising your other ambitious goals for your career and your personal life.

This is what causes a lot of women to fall of the wagon. Yes there’s the overindulgence and skipped workouts. But there’s also feeling like you need to choose between what you want for your life and what you want for your body.

You can click the button below to learn more about the program and join the waiting list so you know exactly when I open up new spots and of course grab one for yourself!

Have follow up questions or a healthy lifestyle question/struggle of your own? Then leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to get you answers stat!

Till next time, continue being the amazing and capable woman that you are!