Chef AJ

I’ve not posted here in a while. I’ve been busy on fb – immersed in Chef AJ’s Ultimate Weight Loss program (group coaching calls and a private fb support group).

AJ is such a giving spirit. She has been doing free calls and interviewing all the experts we love for ages on Thursday nights (McDougall, Esselstyn, Barnard, Lisle…this Thurs she is interviewing Dr. Greger). Sign up on her website:

If you want to know more about how Chef AJ lost her weight and her Ultimate Weight Loss Program she will be doing a free informational call this Wednesday, at 8:30-10:00 pm Eastern time, 5:30-7:00 pm Pacific time.

Just call 712-432-1212 and put in the code 263-629-008 followed by the # sign.

She has all but given away how this program works in free videos. It is not unlike McDougall’s Maximum Weight Loss plan. Just a few tweaks, discussions on food addictions, and using the group support which is critical.

So if you’re even curious, sign on up. If you can’t listen in live, the calls are usually recorded for later access.


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Veggie Vacation in Tropical Paradise



Oh what a fantastic trip I had in Guanacaste, Costa Rica with Dr. McDougall, his wife, Mary and about 120 other McDougallers!  We had daily outings of snorkeling, horseback riding, mud baths, hot springs, rafting, ZIP-LINING, PLUS bird, monkey, and iguana watching. Each evening Dr. McDougall spoke between 5:00 – 6:00 before dinner. 


Meals, well there’s just no way to do them justice other than to say we ate a buffet of the rainbow at every meal!  Fresh exotic local fruits and vegetables. Cassava, yucca, plantains, white & sweet potatoes, rice and beans.  The difference for me was that I was used to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live program with limited starches.  Dr. McDougall’s take is all known successful civilizations with trim people survived on starches:

The most important evidence supporting my claim that the natural human diet is based on starches is a simple observation that you can easily validate for yourself: All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout verifiable human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of once thriving people include Japanese, Chinese, and other Asians eating sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice, Incas in South America eating potatoes, Mayans and Aztecs in Central America eating corn, and Egyptians in the Middle East eating wheat.

What was my biggest take-away?  Eat more whole starches!  Eat it at every meal. Your plate should be 1/3 – 1/2 starch and the rest green and yellow vegetables. I asked Dr. McDougall if we needed to give up avocados and nuts…he looked at me and said, “Do you want to lose weight?” Sigh…OK, darn it! I’d already given up oil (99%), now I need to make it 100%.

All of this can be found in book The Starch Solution


I’ll leave you with a few pics of yesterdays meals (that I made) using guidelines from the maximum weight loss version of McDougall’s plan.

Potato Bowl

                                 Potato Bowl


                       Vegetable Soup


                   Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


For a MUCH more in-depth chronicle of this adventure, fellow travelers in my group, Christine & Michael Yager have a really great blog post at: .


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McDougall Adventure coming up!

I am so excited!  Very shortly I will be embarking on a trip to Costa Rica on_one_of_Dr._John_McDougall’s_Adventure_Trips.
Papagayo Aerial View
In fact there are a couple spots left if anyone is interested and has a current passport.  Some the daily fun will involve horseback riding, wagon rides in the rainforest, kayaking, snorkeling, rafting, hiking, bird watching, canopy tours, and more.

In getting ready, I’ve been trying to eat cleaner (less vegan junk food-lol!) and doing another round of Eat to Live’s 6 week plan.  A great resource is_Vegan_Radiance_on_Facebook. She’s got charts, grocery lists, recipes, and more.  So much fun watching the scale slide down naturally with good clean eatin’.

Breakfast is usually a smoothie of 1-2 fruits, almond milk, 1 Tbs. of flaxseed meal and a handful of greens or oatmeal with fruit and flaxseed meal.

Lunch is a huge salad with beans (I have my lunch ladies at school trained to include more than iceberg lettuce.

Dinner is often a big bowl of vegetable soup made on Sunday in my fabulous electric pressure cooker Instant Pot.

Veg Soup IP

The recipe can be found here:

It is so easy and so flexible! Throw whatever you have in–fill to the top–hit “the Soup” button. BOOM! Dinner in under an hour.  Directions are there for cooking of the stove too.


Veg Soup IP bowl

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Split Pea McDougall Style




One dish meals are just my style. It’s like soup & salad wrapped up into one dish.  The original recipe can be found at Forks Over Knives.  My twist (mostly due to missing ingredients):

1.5 c. green split peas

1 c. frozen baby lima beans

¼ c. barley

8 c. low-sodium vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

1 t. celery seed

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 t. poultry seasoning

1 t. basil

1/2 t. hot paprika

I cooked my split peas, lima beans, bay leaves, celery seed & barley in my Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) for 15 min. Let pressure out and add all other veggies and spices.  Pressure cook for another 15 min.  I added a few drops of liquid smoke when it was done.

Serve with some raw onion and chopped jalapeno pepper. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and chia seeds.  Throw on some raw spinach & arugula mix (salad).

Today the leftovers were mixed with some frozen collards & okra, some black beans and some leftover breakfast veggies.  Um, um, good!

Split P. McD_leftovers






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Spicy Chocolate Coffee


Oh my, a new treat!  Ever since I had Trader Joe’s Spicy hot chocolate (but they now longer carry by me) I’ve been looking for some more and look no further than my beloved! Equal Exchange Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa with Chili & Cinnamon.

Perfect for this morning’s snow day or for adding to some frozen vegan ice cream made with bananas.  I simply added a heaping soup soon full to my mug of black coffee and splashed it with coconut-almond milk. Delish! 

If you’re a hot and spicy nut like I am, use it place of cocoa in any recipe!


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Chai Oatmeal

Chai Oatmeal

I just love seeing a great recipe suggestion on facebook and being able to make it right away!  A Happy Herbivore follower talked about eating Chai Oatmeal for breakfast.  Did I get up and look in either of my 2 cookbooks by Lindsay Nixon?  No, I Googled the recipe and found it on her website.

I steeped my teabag and water right in the bowl I was planning to make oatmeal in.  I only eat 1/4 cup of oatmeal, so I cut this recipe in half:

Steep 1 chai tea bag in the hot water you’ll be using 4-5 min. depending on how strong you like it (1 c. water for a full serving).        Take the bag out.

Add 1/2 c. quick oatmeal

1 t. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 t. cinnamon

Stir and heat 1-2 more min.  and let the oatmeal soften and absorb the water.

I added 1 T. flax seed meal,  1/2 a banana, a drizzle of local honey (to ward off allergies) and a splash of almond milk.

Perfect for this snowy day out of school!


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Vegan Snow Cream

So many snow days, so much time on our hands!  All my friends were bragging about their snow cream recipes that I decided to investigate a vegan version.  There were LOTS of recipes with soy milk, coconut milk, or coconut cream, etc… That I just plowed into a trial run.

Scoop up 8 c. CLEAN snow

Mix w/ 1 tsp. vanilla

1 can coconut cream (high fat, I know, but it was in the cupboard. Use lite or almond milk – just experiment)

1/2 c. cup sugar (daughter’s choice – I leaned toward maple syrup


Stir, taste, adjust.

After a tasting the vanilla version; we added about 1/2 c. cocoa powder and a hair more sugar.




I have to say, all this occurred after I’d already made a snow margarita!

Pour all your usual liquids together, add 1-2 cups snow and stir. Cha-cha-cha! 😉

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