These recipes will satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth, but they will especially make the “flexible dieters” happy.
I was on the “flexible diet” for a while, and am intending to go back. It is also known as IIFYM (if it fits your macros) or “macro counting”. All vegans know, I am sure, that there is this assumption that we do not get enough protein to stay healthy, let alone to become muscular and strong. This assumption is as incorrect as it is boring. World-famous vegan martial artists, athletes, climbers, wrestlers, bodybuilders, boxers have proven how incorrect that assumption is. Let me just tell you my conclusion: If you are getting enough calories, you are getting enough protein.
You don’t even have to follow IIFYM in order to build muscle. Again, everyone (and every body) is different. try things out, and do what brings you more health, endurance, what makes you feel better. I just have found IIFYM quite easy once I got the gist of it. For those who are not familiar with this dieting, I will put it as crudely as this:
- Calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) based on your current weight and exercise.
- Calculate your macros in ratios that help you reach your desired goal (lose weight, maintain, or bulk).
- Track your food intake and try to meet your TDEE and macro limits each day.
There are numerous websites out there to calculate your macros, and one of them is Kim Constable’s calculator here. I mention here, my list of resources for a plant-based living.
Going back to my own diet to gain strength and a muscular physique, these last few weeks, with the cold weather, much change in my personal life, quite a few uncertainties and so on, have caused me wander around my mind a little too much. I have not been paying attention to my physical strength, and I can feel the consequences. But during my macro times I developed such fun and delicious recipes that I doubt it would be hard to get back to my darling “flexible dieting”.
Let me tell you something before we start. Because I know that some of you will find it strange to have brownies for breakfast. My response is two-folds to calm any possible riot against brownies for breakfast:
- These are not the kind of brownies you know.
- Well, you eat muffins for breakfast, don’t you? These are similar, only, easier to make, and probably much healthier.
As you will see, the brownies, bites, and bowls are all refined-sugar-free, low fat, all gluten-free, and really, really yummy. The plants, oats, and fruits in them will give you enough fiber to keep you full until lunch. The protein will add to that satisfaction. And the taste? Mmm I do have my favourites among these, I will tell you that. But all of them are delicious and they all will help you start the day right.
Okay, so, let’s see what we have here.
1. Low calorie, high protein, gluten-free chocolate brownies
First comes pumpkin. Because it deserves to come first. I use pumpkin all the time. I mean, ALL the time. When baking, I use it instead of oil, sugar, eggs, you name it. I know applesauce has its own fan base, but I like the consistency that I get from pumpkin more than anything else. For these brownies, I also add a teaspoon pumpkin spice not only for the taste but also for the health benefits. With cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, pumpkin spice is like an anti-oxidant miracle in a pinch.
So here is the miracle in action:
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chcolate peanut butter (My favourite is Artisana, but if our flexible dieter wants even fewer calories, they might try this low-fat peanut butter)
1/2 cup yoursuper chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or another powdered sugar of choice, including stevia leaves, for sugar-free peeps)
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp Yoursuper Energy Bomb (optional). That’s it. Bake at 350F until done.
2. The most gorgeous looking (and delicious tasting) smoothie bowl you will ever see.
Yup. I guarantee it.
Blend: An avocado, a frozen banana, a tablespoon peanut butter, two small packs of frozen pitaya, almond mylk, and a handful of dates.
You should arrange the quantity of each ingredient based on your own taste buds, but this the amount of fruit and the consistency which we seem to like. More fruit the better.
David, my beloved, does not like dates, or any dried fruit for that matter (I know!?!Who is this person?!?) but he will not taste them in this bowl.
3. Adaptogenic, colourful protein bites which won’t last long enough
These are my favourite. Yes, as a breakfast. But also as tea-time snack and after-dinner dessert, and anytime in between. As a matter of fact, as I am typing this, I am already planning my day around making these and eating a few pieces and perhaps a few more pieces. You should do the same. You will not regret it.
1/2 cup (or a little more, if you want sweeter) pitted dates.
1 cup Yoursuper Chocolate Protein Powder, 1 cup glutenfree oats. 1 cup mixed nuts (I used hazelnuts and almonds),
1 tablespoon maca.
I also added Moodbeli mushroom adaptogen. (If you want delicious ways to use adaptogens, check out my other favourite stress-reducing recipes here).
Put all these ingredients in food processor and mix until you get the desired consistency. If you don’t want it too ‘mushy’, put the nuts the latest to crumble them without grinding them completely. Pour in a pyrex-like container and place them in the freezer for a few hours. Then you can cut them in squares and keep in the fridge.
Now, you will ask, how to get these gorgeous colours.
For choco frosting, I simply mixed a little almond milk with chocolate protein powder (pick one which you really like!). For the blue one I mixed vanilla protein powder, almond milk, a little agave and blue spirulina. The pink frosting is almond milk, vanilla protein powder, coconut sugar and pink pitaya.
There you have it. So much fun to make, so much satisfaction to eat!
4. Easy, no-bake, choco brownies
So what happens when I try tons of recipes as if it is my day-job is that I get to forget how some of these delicious-sounding recipes actually taste. So I have to make them again, because, you know, curiosity drives a blogger to the nearest kitchen. I recently tried these no-bake brownies again, and made a few changes (I added a little more dates, and a little less maple syrup).
So I hereby present to you, the ingredients:
12 pitted dates (around ½ cup)
¾ cup of hazelnuts
½ cup of pecans
2-3 tbsp of cacao (protein) powder of choice. I say (protein) because, if you do not like to use protein powders, you can definitely use regular, delicious, antioxidant cacao.
2 tbsp of maple syrup.
As usual, blend everything. Put the mixture in a pyrex-like container. Place in the fridge. If you cannot wait, you can have them without the chocolate topping. But if you are like me, and can simply not miss the opportunity to have more chocolate, mix ¼ cup of coconut oil with 2 tbsp of cacao powder, mix well with a fork or a spoon, and pour over the mix you had placed in the fridge.
5. Protein-pumpkin spice smoothie with maca
Let me admit to something: From this day to the end of my time on earth, any pumpkin- tofu combination I make should be known to have been inspired by great recipes from the How Not To Die book.
Not even the cookbook, which I have on the countertop, but have not had the chance to look at. But I am talking about the original one! That original book includes a great number of recipes- besides the amazing info on nutrition/health.
Anyway, I am sure this yummy smoothie too was originally an inspiration from that book. That said, I am really good at creating my own version of any recipe. I always seem to find a way to put a pumpkin in it!
1/4 container of silken tofu
1 cup pumpkin puree
1-2 tsp pumpkin spice
1-2 tsp maca powder
1 tsp turmeric.
Sweetener of choice (I used erythritol).
I topped it with seeds and homemade raw granola, aka “rawnola“.
6. Another How Not To Die inspiration, and another pumpkin smoothie.
Yup, pumpkin obsession is a thing. I like pumpkin so much that the only kind of pie I like is pumpkin pie. It also reminds me of when I first came to US to stay more than a few weeks. It was Thanksgiving, and we went to upstate to have a Thanksgiving dinner, my first ever. There was parsnip on the dinner table, but I did not know its name back then. Sweet potato (again, no clue what it was), and brussel sprouts (that I knew). There were a few vegan dishes, pastes and so on, and a delicious soup, as far as I remember. But that pumpkin pie we had after everything else was gone- that was divine.
Anyway, I digress. But you see how much I love pumpkin pie; and if you also like it as much as I do, you will love this healthier and protein infused version of it! It’s pumpkin spice smoothie with
almond milk and
your favourite protein powder.
No additional sugar, or anything, as the protein powder will have enough sweet taste to it.
You can add more milk, or substitute the protein powder with cacao, in which case you should add sweetener of your choice. You may also add more pumpkin spice. I topped this bowl with more pumpkin goodness, pumpkin seeds, and the homemade granola from a couple of weeks ago
7. The easiest, the most delicious, the most pudding-ist acai bowl
Of course, we would have to have an acai bowl in a list of breakfast bowls and sweets and goods. This one is really delicious, creamy, puddingy…I don’t know, it is hard to explain. I am speechless, and in awe in front of my own creation. It is a shame that the picture here is not giving it justice. It is also a shame that acai is not more affordable, isn’t it?
This bowl has
2 cups of almond milk (any plant milk will do)
2 packets of frozen acai
1 banana (I used fresh, but you can use frozen)
1/2 cup oats and maple syrup to taste.
Mix, put in your favourite bowl, top with fruits and coconut flakes, and enjoy every spoon.
Okay, this is it for now. I will be back soon, after a few pounds of adaptogenic colourful protein bites!