Burn more fat

One side effect of switching to a plant-based lifestyle is losing weight, bummer right?  Wrong…I loved it!!!  I lost 26 lbs in less than 5 months with no effort.  In January 2014 I weighed 217 lbs.  I am 5′ 10″, so even though I didn’t look obese, I felt it.  I was definitely overweight, and still am.  In March 2014 I started eating plant based full time (after easing into it).  By July 2014 I was down 26 lbs.  Today 5/25/16 I weigh 181, that’s  a total of 36 lbs gone.  I still have more fat to lose though, so I continue to tweek my diet and exercise to try to get down to a more healthy weight, my goal at the moment is 170 lbs, that would get me into the normal BMI range.  (I have Hypothyroidism, so I struggle with a system that is not optimal).

Karen October 2013

Karen May 2016
Once I lost weight, I felt so good I started walking regularly for exercise.  I walked for about a year then eventually I starting running again…well jogging.  I was a long distance runner starting in grade school (if you can believe it).  My first race was in 4th grade, the Y-ild  (wild) run for fun at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego, CA.  It was a 4 mile fun run.  I placed in the top 3 in my age group and I was hooked.  Who wouldn’t enjoy doing something they were good at?   I continued running cross country and track in Jr. High, High School, and college.  After giving birth to my two sons my weight started to grow year after year. My weight finally ballooned to a point I could not longer ignore once my boys were in high school.  I started having serious health problems in 2014 so I knew it was time for a change.  I am so greatful I found the Forks Over Knives documentary and that it gave me the motivation to change my way of eating.

Now I am obsessed with losing the rest of the weight.  I believe I have finally found the answer to losing the rest of the weight, I was working too hard.  I need to slow down to burn more fat.  I recently discovered Dr. Phil Maffetone and his 180 MAF method when I was listening to a podcast of NoMeatAthlete.com.  If you want to burn fat you have got to check out his method:  The 180 formula .  He explains how to get your aerobic system (fat burning system) to work more efficiently so you are burning fat instead of sugar (carbs).  Our bodies are amazing, they can run on two different fuels, fats and/or carbohydrates (sugar).  He also explains how the better fuel for us to function optimally is fat.  He teaches you how to get your body to switch to fat burning instead of sugar burning with his 180 formula.  If you are a runner you get to slow down.  If you are a walker, you may need to speed up.  The best part is that once your system switches to fat burning you will be healthier and less prone to injury.  I just learned about this last week and started implementing my MAF heart rate into my runs, so I will keep you posted.  11 lbs to go and I will reach my goal.

I am currently using my Apple Watch to monitor my heart rate, but just purchased the Polar H7 heart rate monitor today.  It looks more user friendly for runs.  How did I not know this valuable information before now, with my background?  I am so glad I know it now.  This is certainly a fun adventure.

**I DO NOT recommend using Maffetone nutrition!!  Rich Roll trains with MAF and a plant-based diet. **

Polar H7 heart rate monitor





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Sandwich cravinig satisfied

I was really excited when I saw this video on Facebook because I had been craving sandwiches.  Today I finally got the opportunity to try out the recipe and I am glad I did.  Craving satisfied!

chickpea avocado sandwich mix

chickpea avocado sandwich mix



  • 2 cans chickpeas (or the equivalent of dry beans prepared at home, this is what I did)
  • 2 avocados
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Salt to taste (optional)


  • Add ingredients to the food processor and mix until desired texture.
Cuisinart food processor

Make a sandwich with the mixture as a replacement for meat and condiments.

My sandwich:

  • Ezekiel bread (found in the refrigerated or freezer section at your grocery store)
  • mix from above
  • Onion
  • Tomato (picked fresh from my garden today)
  • Broccoli sprouts (freshly sprouted at home)
  • Spinach (I forgot to add the lettuce, oops)
My sandwich

I love having this disc holder for my food processor.

Cuisinart disc holder

Vegan taco “meat”

vegan taco “meat”
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • 1 can roasted green chilies
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • Approximately 5 cups liquid (water or vegetable broth)



Push the “sauté” button on your Instant Pot, add the chopped onion. Add water or veggie broth up to 2 TBSP at a time as needed to sauté. Add the garlic after the onions start to get translucent. Add the remaining ingredients.

Add liquid (water or vegetable broth) until the rice and beans are covered with water plus water to your first knuckle (stick your finger in until you touch the rice mixture, water should be above your fingernail, and below your first knuckle).

Press the Manual button and cook for 25 minutes sealed.  Use natural release.

***do not add salt until after the dry beans have finished cooking, then add to taste

Instant Pot
Instant Pot

Note:  if you do not have an Instant Pot you can cook your brown rice in a rice cooker or you normal way of cooking it with the added onion, garlic, and spices.  When its done add a can of black beans.  If you make your own black beans in a crock pot, throw a batch together.  Not a bad idea to put some in the freezer for next time.

Should I try to be a “straight A” plant-based eater?

As a student I always strove for good grades.  I was usually happy with a B or better, but most of the time I was aiming for an A, 90-100%.  If you are anything like me, you would get upset with yourself if you got a C or lower, then you would plan better next time to make sure you didn’t get that low of a grade again.  If we apply a grading system to plant-based eating compliance, how well should we eat?  I would suggest you should aim for A’s, high A’s should be our target.  Does that mean that you need to be compliant 100% percent of the time for 100 % of your meals?  I would say NO. Some of us are over achievers though and will strive for 100 % compliance, good for you, go for it.  Just make sure you aren’t too hard on yourself when you slip or fall of the wagon.  You should be proud of yourself if you are compliant most of the time.  I aim for 95% compliance.  For me, this means that each day there is some room for error or reversion.  Don’t be too hard on yourself if you said yes to that donut at work today, that doesn’t mean you have to throw out the rest of the day and eat like crap.  Get back on track and eat compliant with the next thing you put in your mouth.  With time, you will find that you “slip” into non-compliance less and less.  Remember you ate the other way your entire life, give yourself credit for the positive changes and progress you have made.

Are you already a straight A eater?  Lets consider that there are 7 days in a week, if we multiply that times 3 meals a day it equals 21 meals a week.

  • A-:  90%    = 18.9 meals of your 21 meals for the week are 100% compliant
  • A:    95%    = 19.95 meals of your 21 meals for the week are 100% compliant
  • A+:  100% = 21 meals of your 21 meals for the week are 100% compliant


100 days

  • A-:  90 of my 100 days of eating were 100% compliant
  • A:  95 of my 100 days were 100% compliant
  • A+:  100% of my 100 days were compliant

If you are the type of person that does well with charts and graphs, create a 21 meal chart or a 100 day chart.  Set a goal for the grade you want. For each meal or day give yourself a star or smiley face for each meal or day you were 100% compliant.  Make sure to mark a big red X on each meal or day in which you are not 100% compliant.  Give yourself your grade.  Be proud of yourself if you are meeting your goal.  Make a plan to do better if you are not reaching your goal.

Here is a spreadsheet example of what you could do.  This is set up for 1 week of meals and snacks:

Plant-based A+ week spreadsheet

Give yourself some rules and do your best to stick to them.  Below are some ideas, write down your rules and stick to them:

  • if I make a poor choice at one meal, I will make the next meal 100% compliant
  • I can only have cheese with one meal a week on Saturdays (some day you may choose to give it up completely).
  • I will never eat meat again or I will only eat meat for Thanksgiving or some other guideline for yourself
  • I am allergic to dairy products

**Please note that if you have a serious medical condition you may NEED to be more serious about your compliance.**

A+ plant based week spreadsheet pdf



How do I stop eating animal products?

After I watched the free documentary Forks Over Knives I wanted to switch to a Whole Foods Plant-Based lifestyle, but I didn’t know how.  I started avoiding meat, but kept going back to it because I just didn’t know enough on how to go without it.  I was finally able to go plant-based after I started reading the book The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!.  (I like to purchase books on Amazon.com, click for my affiliate link to The Starch Solution.)

In Dr. McDougall’s book The Starch Solution, I learned how to replace animal meat with starchy plants.  Starchy plants have complex carbohydrates that fill you up longer than non-starchy plants.  Replace animal meat with starchy plants like potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain pasta (without eggs), beans, oats, edamame (soybeans), acorn squash, butternut squash, and pumpkins.  It is ok to eat “side dishes” as your main dish, it may be weird at first, but after a while it will start to feel very normal.  A good example of a plant-based meal would be half your plate is vegan scalloped potatoes and the other half a variety of colorful veggies like steamed green beans and/or carrots.  Click on the link for the recipe I used.  I found the steamer basket on Amazon.

vegan scalloped potatoes
steamed green beans
My 17 yo son Kyle enjoying steamed green beans

One of my families favorite plant-based meals is tacos.  I like to make vegan taco “meat” in my Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W, it’s a mixture of brown rice, black beans, onions, green chilies and seasonings.  Use healthy whole grain tortillas, taco “meat”, salsa, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and any other plant-based add on that you prefer.

When eating this way it is important to eat until you are satisfied, and eat more often as needed.  With this way of eating you can get full on a meal with fewer calories than your previous way of eating.  You will lose weight.  I lost 30 lbs. in just a few months without going hungry.

I know this was brief, please ask questions if you have any.