Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016 A Best Place To Have A Heart Attack & More From Orlando

Where To Have A Heart Attack    Random things learned while attending a CPR-AED recertification class.... It's  that time of the year again for me - recert time.  Like many other health professionals, in order for exercise physiologists/personal trainers to maintain their active certifications, we need to keep our CPR-AED certificates current.

So I found myself in a classroom full of peppy UC Berkeley students, along with a few local teachers, spending our Sunday afternoon pumping and puffing away during the Warriors playoff game.

Fortunately, one usually learns a nugget or two of valuable information that makes it more meaningful.  For example - Is there a best place to have a heart attack??

Yes, actually - hands down - its a Las Vegas casino.  Security teams who are generally the first responders, grab an AED on their way, and communicate with EMTs who are positioned strategically along the Strip.

My spouse has first hand knowledge of this.  The elderly, overweight gentleman next to him, hit a Royal Flush. (This is the big prize in video poker.)  Next thing my husband knew, he was guiding the man down to the floor.  This was followed by security with the AED.  Repositioning the airway, brought the fellow back to consciousness....but sitting him up, he passed out again.  This time, the AED determined an abnormal heart rhythm and the ambulance was ordered.

Second best place?  According to TJ, a former EMT, who taught our class, its a cruise ship, due to the proximity of staff and the short distance to get to emergency equipment.

Other gems:  to get the right rhythm for chest compressions, sing along to "Staying Alive" or the "Imperial March" from Star Wars.  The latest protocol is 30 chest compressions to 2 quick breaths.  A household cutting board can be used as an emergency back board, if a firm surface is not available.  All choking victims should be checked out at a hospital, even if they seem fine. There could be invisible internal damage.

MORE FROM ORLANDO  From ACSM's Health & Fitness Congress in Orlando, that I attended in April:

Myths in the media regarding nutrition.  This session looked at a few of the commonly held beliefs that may be perpetuated by a steady diet of television.

The first was different protocols for fasting.  Fasting used to be recommended so patients would know what hunger really felt like.  Then fasting became popular to help with weight loss and help with insulin levels.  The research data is scanty with few human studies, while the media messages are mixed with too many rules.  In reality, fasting protocols may not be practical for very many people.

The benefits of eating breakfast has been confirmed, however. Those with healthier diets eat less breakfast, and the resulting diets have less cholesterol, fat, and more fiber.  Skipping breakfast usually means less calcium fiber, vitamin D and other vitamins & minerals being omitted from the diet.  Breakfasts contribute less than 20% of daily calories, but may contain more than 25% of key vitamins & minerals.

Coconut oil is very much a hot topic right now.  Its mostly saturated fat, whose use was a big No No not too long ago. Currently its a rage whose benefits include reducing cancer, heart disease, colds, but in reality there are not very many studies. Bottom line is that its a fat, albeit one with a higher smoke point, and containing boric acid which is a mild antiseptic.

How about protein?  While 10-35% protein (of total calories) meets the needs of most people, in reality many popular diets are pushing much higher levels.   Its required for muscle repair, the immune system, and hormone production, in particular satiety hormones.  Studies have shown that more protein at breakfast results in less total caloric consumption throughout the day.

An optimum intake of protein is 25-30% and it is not stored - any excess is excreted. So, more protein is not better.  Protein synthesis & satiety are not improved with more protein.

Inflammation - it seems like a daily occurrence that a link between inflammation and a chronic disease is confirmed. Heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, stroke & cancer all have inflammatory components.

What exactly is inflammation? Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury & outside irritants.  It can be acute with a simple cut, or it can be chronic, where the assault on the body is continuous.  In the latter case, the body response can cascade out of control, and contribute to the risk of disease. Chronic inflammation can damage heart valves, brain cells, trigger strokes, encourage insulin resistance, and cancer.

Research has focused on how abdominal fat plus an unhealthy diet might result in inflammation.  Foods that are high in saturated fat such as red meat, can contribute to inflammation. On the flip side, dietary components such as fiber from whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil or avocado and dairy foods might reduce inflammation.  Other foods with anti inflammatory properties include seafood, orange juice, berries, grapes, nuts and green tea.

Other facts:  there is a link between obesity and inflammation. Obesity can trigger inflammation in the brain, liver and pancreas and other organs.  This in turn can increase the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Is inflammation painful?  An acute injury can be red and swollen;  it can lead to exhaustion & fever.  In chronic conditions there might be joint inflammation as in rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.  Low grade inflammation might not cause pain or physical systems, becoming a "silent killer" like high blood pressure.

Can inflammation be cured?  inflammation cannot be cured but can be improved by treating its underlying causes such as allergens or stopping smoking and reducing stress.  For acute stress, over the counter NSAIDS such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be effective.  Healthier health habits can help in type 2 diabetes and heart disease.    Reference

More On Foods For Inflammation:  Many foods have been reported benefits, such as berries, cherries, dark chocolate, garlic, seafood, soy, flax, orange juice, grapes, wine and tea.  Fruits & vegetables  as well as components of the Mediterranean Diet - olive oil & nuts - have also been linked to a reduction of  C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker for heart disease.  One study showed that tart cherry juice reduced CRP, making it a possible heart healthy food.

Should we all restructure our diets to include these foods? While these foods are healthy, it has not been proved that inflammation is causative for chronic disease.  Consuming such foods by themselves, does not account for the fact that we also consume many "pro inflammatory" foods such as trans fats, beef & sugar, in a normal diet.

Bottom line:  the main value of these foods is as part of a healthy diet that might control obesity, which can result in an accumulation of abdominal fat, and resulting inflammatory markers such as CRP.

Breaking Headline  Read about the struggles of the "Biggest Loser" contestants to keep the weight off.  New study results explain why.  NYTimes article.  But like all good research, there are more questions than answers here.

©Fitness Spark Personal Training, May 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Live - sort of - from ACSM, Orlando, Florida

It was a little strange to be in the Happiest Place in the World, sans any kids or grandkids.  There were dozens around however.  One of the Walt  Disney Hotels was the HQ  for this year's annual conference for Health & Fitness Professionals.  The emphasis here is definitely all about the research in the fields of exercise, sports, nutrition and medicine.

Best Exercise for Obesity The Keynote lecture this morning was presented by Dr. John Jakicic of the University of Pennsylvania and was a review of the latest research on the importance of activity in the treatment of obesity.  Exercise has fewer  side effects than any Prescription medication, can improve weight loss & the effectiveness of medication, and has other positive health effects. Exercise physiologists and fitness professionals need to get the word out to doctors and patients, that there is this untapped resource that costs little.

A review of some of the research coming out of Dr. Jakicic's clinics, confirmed the dose dependent nature of exercise.  The more minutes invested, the better results; this was true for weight loss, measurements of Hb1c, blood pressure and diabetes.  Exercise results in about 3 kg weight loss if done for 150 - 280 minutes a week while adding dietary measures resulted in 25% more loss.  [Gastric banding averages 18%].  

Another interesting finding was that repeated 10 minute bouts of exercise , resulted in more exercise being done, and better control of blood sugar.  Longer bouts of exercise (30-45 minutes) tended to result in a peaking of insulin release with a resultant drop in blood sugar.

Bottom line take away from Dr. Jakicic - the best exercise for weight loss is the exercise the patient will do.  Keep it simple and keep it the client engaged while working with their medical professionals.

Vegan Vs Paleo Next up was a humorous smack down featuring Vegan vs Paleo diets. Dietician Zonya Foco went on both these diets for 30 days each.  She researched each extensively to make sure she understood them, did nutritional analyses, and took lab tests measuring her lipid values.  She also convinced her husband and friend to undergo these trials with her.

The goal was was to explore the strengths and weaknesses of both eating styles, advise clients on the pitfalls inherent in each, and lastly, to propose a blended eating style - "pagen" - that is less restrictive but provides the benefits of each diet.

The vegan diet was whole foods plant based, and eliminated eggs, meat, chicken & fish and was low in alcohol.  The Paleo diet eliminated grains & legumes including beans & peanuts. Fruit, non starchy veggies & tree nuts were ok.
The results were fascinating.  Two weeks into the vegan diet, her friend decided she was feeling and performing athletically so well, she wasn't going to try the Paleo diet.  Two weeks into the Paleo diet, her husband decided it wasn't healthy for a person with a family history of colon cancer, and quite.

Other take aways - the vegan diet resulted in adequate amounts of protein, calcium & iron, with good levels of fiber, lower sodium & good potassium levels.  Total cholesterol was down, trigylcerides were up, LDL was down, and weight was down 4 pounds.

The problem - everyone felt the diet was too restricted & they were craving eggs & cheese at the end, despite developing some really good vegan menus.

The paleo diet has less research behind it than the vegan diet, but does avoid alcohol, sugar, grains, salty food & dairy. However, dietary analysis showed a doubling of protein intake, and increased saturated fat intake with much higher cholesterol levels.  There was lower carbohydrate, fiber, calcium, and potassium intake while sodium & iron intake were elevated.

Lab results showed lower LDL, and increased HDL.  Although meat cravings were satisfied, again, they found the diet to be too restrictive, and were craving cereal & oatmeal for breakfast by the end.  The participants felt "heavy" in the GI.

Precautions for vegans - emphasize whole foods, take a B12 supplement, and include several servings of nuts & legumes (beans, hummus, tofu, tempeh, soymilk) for adequate protein.

Paleans should avoid  too many processed meats, and be sure to include at least 4 servings of fruit.  Grass- fed beef, organic chicken & eggs & wild caught fish might also be wise.

Other take aways from Ms. Zoco's talk - both diets had them examining each bite carefully.  Both diets avoiding processed foods,and sugar, and encouraged more veggie consumption, and less calories.   BUT, a blended "pagen" diet can combine the benefits of both diets, and allowed everyone more variety and is easy to teach & live with.

Bottom Line  - eat real food, & keep it simple.
For more ideas see

Diet & The Immune System The last morning session, before jet lag hit in full force, was a session on the role of diet on the immune system.  This is important since many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.  Even aging, cognition, dementia & mood disorders are considered immune system mediated.  If diet can help, isn't that a better intervention than medication?

There was a discussion of the role of vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, and probiotics and gut health in preventing inflammation. The appropriate levels of these compounds was the mean time - eating a rainbow is a good policy is each color fruit or vegetable contains a different phytochemical.  Sound like a recurring theme here??

More on the conference later....

Random questions trainers get asked...   At least half my new clients will ask one of these questions.

How do I get rid of my midsection?  Sad to say, one cannot spot reduce.  More crunches won't help the midsection, but overall weight loss will reduce some inches around the middle. Genetics will determine if a person can develop a six pack.  For abdominals to show, there needs to be hypertrophy & the overlying fat needs to decrease.  And as we all know, the midsection is where the most fat is stored. To flatten the stomach, one needs to do enough cardiovascular exercise to decrease body fat over all.  Then there's the role of diet.  All of these can combine to reduce total body fat to a low level, but its hard work.  Reference

What is "eating clean"?  Clean eating can mean different things to different folks, but basically involves avoiding process and overly refined foods, with an emphasis on whole foods.  Clean eating usually also involved eliminating refined sugar, eating 5 or 6 meals a day, home cooked meals, and balancing protein with carbs.

Benefits include maintenance of a healthy weight, consuming a wide variety of foods to ensure adequate nutrients and micronutrients.  Whole foods help keep you satisfied longer, so there isn't as much temptation to snack on less healthy alternatives.  Other possible benefits are digestive system regularity, a stronger immune system, and better overall health.

Will weight lifting give me big muscles?  The development of big muscles (hypertrophy) depends on genetics, gender & training intensity.  Genetics is body type - those with mostly fast twitch fibers will be able to develop larger muscles than those with mostly slow twitch muscles.  Males develop larger muscles than females due to testosterone & other sec hormones.  For females to develop hypertrophy, workouts would need to be high intensity.

Other factors for hypertrophy, the training load (how much is lifted) needs to be at least 80% of 1 RM (the maximum a person can lift one time).  Reference

As always, forward any questions or comments.  And please share & like on FB.  Thanks!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Active Aging, Aging Actively, Aging Well…

What’s It All Mean For You, Me & The Country?

If 2015 was the year that the notion that sitting too much can kill you slowly came to the forefront, 2016 may be the year we realize that since we are about to have a huge boost in those aged 65 and older, we need to examine what it takes to age well.  Between 2000 & 2010, the total population increased by 9.7%.  For those over 65 years old, the growth rate was 15.1%.   It is estimated that by 2050, the population of those over age 65, will total 83.7 million, doubling the projected population of 43.1 million in 2012.  These will be the surviving baby boomers, who will then be aged 85.  Reference         
TIME magazine recently explored the current state of aging in the Longevity issue which came out February 22 – 29, 2016.  I highly recommend you try to obtain a copy.  Several articles examine what can enhance  the lives of those who may live to a hundred and what aspects of healthful living, financial security and social engagement will be important.  There is also an update on the state of Alzheimer’s research, a discussion on the little daily changes that can enhance longevity, and how do we pay for all of what will be needed.  Baby Boomers are notoriously independent and refuse to retire to the rocking chair, so new models of aging will need to be developed.  Most Baby Boomers don’t want more years if they can’t be spent comfortably in reasonably good health.  They want to maintain the ability have active lives.

Coming at it from another perspective, Eric Cressy, an exercise physiologist and athletic trainer gives tips on how to remain “athletic” as you age.  I’m not talking about the former high school or college athlete or amateur competitive athlete here.  Here’s how I would interpret his advice for the rest of us, as athletes in the competition called life.  If you consider yourself even moderately active, read on.  Link

1.  Maintain your flexibility – while yoga is popular in our area, keep in mind it’s not all you can do to maintain flexibility.  In some cases yoga can be damaging to the body (those with osteoporosis, scoliosis or soft tissue/muscle imbalances for example).  Besides static stretching, add soft tissue work such as foam rolling, massage balls & sticks, and mobility drills (functional exercises), are also important.  It’s easier to maintain what you’ve got, than to lose it, and then have to work to get back to where you were.   Going on vacation is great, but remember that muscle strength & fitness starts to decline after 2-3 weeks away.

2.  Do functional warm ups – these are actually low level plyometrics and help protect against tweaking a hamstring, Achilles tendon or such.  Even seniors, excuse me, older adults, need a bit of power to burst out of a chair in case of emergency.  Some examples – side shuffles, skipping, grapevines, backpedaling.  Knees hurt?  Change to a smaller range of motion, improve your core strength, and move those legs!

3.  Full body exercises work to transfer energy from the lower body to the upper body.  Instead of isolated muscle group strength training (leg presses), do such things as sit to stand squats, cable lifts, push presses, rotational rows, lunge rotations.  Use good form & posture!

4.  Practice ground to standing transitions – many seniors hate to get down on the ground due to creaky knees & joints.  However, what if you land there by accident?  What if you get down, for whatever reason, and need to get up?  How do you do it?  Hopefully, not like a toddler by sticking your bottom up in the air.  Learn how to curl up, tuck, kneel and press up.  If you’re around the Club, ask me to demo this for you.  Exercises  for this can include Kneel to Stand, & Turkish Get Ups.  Here’s a website that takes the process step by step.  And here’s a video.        

5.  Do single leg exercises – step ups, lunges, single leg deadlifts, split squats, TRX SL squats.  These can all be modified for your ability & range of motion.  Remember when you’re walking, you’re on a single leg 50% of the time.

6.  We aren’t one dimensional.  Remember the body works in more than a forward & back direction.  Side to side & rotational exercises are important also.

7.  Strength training?  Change up your rhythm.  Life doesn’t move at a 4/4 beat all the time.  Try pressing out quickly, and returning to start slowly.  For example in the chest press, press the weights out quickly, and return them to the start in a slow controlled movement.  This helps build strength & control, as well as speed of movement.  

DIETS & SUPPLEMENTS – Purges & cleanses seem to be popular lately. I don’t have room to cover these in depth this month, but the bottom line is, depriving yourself of key nutrient groups (fats & protein are usually shorted in these diets), is not healthy in the long run.  And continuing to consume products that cause essentially a diarrhea or diuresis is going to upset your body chemistry in a harmful way.

Vitamin D supplements – thinking on Vitamin D has gone from “we get enough from the sun”, to “we need more” to “more is better”.  The latest research, however, showed some surprising results.  Link 
In 200 men & women over the age of 70, who had at least one fall, high level vitamin D doses were compared to standard doses.  To the surprise of the researchers, the group taking the lower doses had the fewest number of falls, and those at the highest levels, had 5.5 fold higher odds of falling.  This is an initial study, so the mechanism of this detrimental effect is unclear and needs to be studied more. 

Bottom line:
Use standard doses of vitamin D until more studies are done, and try to achieve recommended intakes from dietary foods.  As with all supplements, do check with your physician.

Here's a healthy take on Deviled Eggs that you may want to try for Easter. 

Greek Yogurt Deviled Eggs
  • 12 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled*
  • About 2 tbsp. finely chopped spring onion*
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon country Dijon mustard
  • About 1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • About 2 tbsp. finely chopped spring onion


1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and pop yolks into a food processor; reserve whites. Add yogurt and salt to food processor and whirl until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed.
2. Transfer yolk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in mustard, 1 tbsp. chives, and 2 tbsp. onion to blend. Set egg whites on a platter, hollow side up. Scoop yolk mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe mixture into hollows. Sprinkle with more chives and onion if you like.

*For perfect hard-cooked eggs, cover them in cold water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand 12 minutes. Plunge cooked eggs into ice water, crack all over, and let sit in the water for a few minutes before peeling. Look for spring onions (regular onions picked young) at farmers' markets in spring and at Latino markets year-round. They have a fatter bulb than green onions--which have less crunch but make a good substitute.

Try these variations on the above eggs; just sub in for the Dijon, chives, and spring onion.
PESTO: Substitute 3 to 5 tbsp. pesto. Garnish with tiny basil leaves.
HONEY-MUSTARD: Substitute 2 tbsp. honey mustard, 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill, and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Garnish with rosemary blossoms.
CAPER-HOT PAPRIKA: Substitute 2 tbsp. chopped capers, 1/2 tsp. hot paprika, and 2 tbsp. chopped parsley. Garnish with parsley leaves, whole capers, and a dusting of hot paprika.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving:  Calories 88;  Calories from fat 57 %   Protein 7.5 g  Fat 5.5 g   Satfat 1.8 g  Carbohydrate 1.4 g   Fiber 0.0 g  Sodium 189 mg  Cholesterol 21 mg

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Plant Based Diets, Offbeat Medical Mnemonics, An Easy Plant Based Recipe

Plant Based Diets  Last month, I mentioned that I am experimenting with eating a plant based diet.  This was on the suggestion of  my doctor who recommended it for a stubborn cough that’s hung around for months, well, actually years.  While the causes are multiple, his purpose was to cut the amount of inflammation in my body.   

The results were quite surprising – the post nasal drip & cough that had been plaguing me, dropped to almost nothing within 10 days.  Six weeks later, blood tests showed a glucose tolerance test that went down 15 points, an improved lipid profile, and reduced inflammation.  I also lost 4 pounds without dieting.
What surprised me was that my HMO, Kaiser, is actively advocating this diet.  As I researched the science behind plant based eating, I learned that Kaiser was one of the participants behind a very large study on plant based nutrition several years ago.  I was handed a brochure that outlined how to proceed, a very brief explanation of what conditions this diet has benefited, and some references.

Research Based   The conditions that are favorably impacted are an impressive list, based on over ten years of accumulated research.   The diet has lowered the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and may also reduce some forms of cancer.  In some cases it has lowered blood pressure, improved digestion, & even reversed heart disease.  Many of these diseases have an inflammatory component, which eating unlimited amounts of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts & whole grains can help.  The increased fiber also helps with weight loss.  Many people lose more dramatic amounts than I did.  Fifteen pounds the first month is not unheard of.

The China Study (2005)  by T. Colin Campbell was the initial study that brought the benefits of a plant based diet to everyone’s attention.  There are numerous variations including the Mediterranean diet, flexitarian, Ornish, VB6, MIND, DASH, and others.  Only you can decide if you can stick with the requirements of any particular plant based, vegetarian, or vegan diet.  Many people work out their own variation of publishes diets that work for their lifestyle.  See below for suggestions on how to explore this world.

My Adventure    I started about 8 months ago with VB6, the eating plan advocated by Mark Bittman of the New York Times.  He actually invented it himself on his doctor's recommendation.  Although there is now a book, you can find the original column online.  With VB6 you eat like a vegetarian before 6 PM, and then eat normally for dinner.  In his book, Bittman outlines how his blood work and weight improved after just a month on his plan.  My original goal was to avoid being put on statins, and also to lower a fasting glucose level that consistently skirted the pre diabetic level.

My personal results weren’t as dramatic as Mark Bittman’s, but my lab values did improve enough to take the discussion of statins and pre diabetes off the table.  However, due to other factors, my cough did not disappear.  

Just before Thanksgiving, my doctor made his recommendation to remove animal proteins completely from my diet – including dairy products.  This time the results were fairly significant, as I related above.  Being able to breathe in the morning is a new experience.  I’ve actually discontinued taking Allegra, and one of my nasal sprays.  I’m not breathless while walking.  I’ve lost a little weight, and the cough is much improved.  I'm smelling things that I was oblivious to before.  Its only been a bit over two months so the final outcome is still unknown.

Was it hard?….it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be starting a new way of eating two weeks before Thanksgiving.  In fact, my doctor almost chuckled as he made the suggestion.  Maybe it was the implied challenge,  but I decided I could do it.  We are fortunate to live in California where we have many dietary choices….and for Asian Americans, there is a whole tradition of vegetarian eating with tofu prepared multiple ways.  For the holidays, I explored Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s & Sprouts’ freezer cases & shelves.  I even had a "turkey" roll stuffed with mushrooms for Thanksgiving dinner.

While the faux turkey roll was tasty & had a great mouth feel, it was highly processed, so except in rare cases, I avoid such products now.  I also have mixed feelings about such things as vegetarian butter, vegenaise and cheese substitutes that are called for in some vegetarian recipes, since they are highly processed.  I’ve discovered great resources in books, and websites that have a plethora of information. I do a lot of label reading.

Resources  For those of you who want to know more, here are some resources:

The China Study, T. Colin Campbell
The Engine 2 Diet,  Rip Esselstyn. See also
Forks Over Knives  - a documentary film.  The trailer is on YouTube.  See also 
Forks Over Knives Cookbook,   Del Stroufe
21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Neal D. Barnard, MD (Has a plan that eases you into vegan eating)
Plant Based Diets  - for Kaiser members – ask for the brochure in the medical library.
VB6 – Mark Bittman  - recipes, and cute animal videos.
Yummly – a website & app
NYTimes Cooking – a twice a week column providing great recipes, many which are vegetarian or vegan.

In the future I'll discuss "how do you get your protein", "how do you eat out", "is the cooking time consuming?" and other important questions. This adventure is still ongoing for me, and I don't know where the journey ends.

Odd Useful Ways To Remember Medical Facts

Do you have a hard time remembering the difference between LDL & HDL lipids?  Just think of
L = lethal or low and H = healthy or high.  You want to Lower your LDL, and raise your HDL Higher.

Has your doctor told you that your blood pressure is high, particularly the systolic?  What’s that??  You know there are two numbers – one over the other, but which is which?  Think
Diastolic = D = Die as in when you die you are relaxed, so this is the lower number. The heart is relaxed when you are in diastole.  Systolic = S = Sky and the sky is high so this is the upper number.  And Systolic is the opposite of diastolic, so the heart is contracting when it is in systole. (This one’s a bit off the wall, but that’s how grad students who have studying too much think.  Thanks, Cyndi)

Fast  And Easy   Here’s a plant based recipe that I have enjoyed, thanks to One Green Planet.  These go together quickly and can be frozen separately.  Its a forgiving recipe where the amounts used aren't critical.  The sliders or burgers hold together well without adding any binders.   I used Trader Joe’s black lentils, which speeded up things considerably. On the other hand, red lentils cook fairly quickly.

Dairy-Free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Wheat Free

3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
3/4 cup red lentils, boiled
2 roasted sweet potatoes, mashed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 392°F.
Combine the ingredients together.
Form the mixture into patties.
Bake for 10 minutes on each side.
Serve on slider buns with smashed avocado and kale.

That’s all for this month – e-mail any questions or comments.  Are any of you vegetarian, vegan or other plant based diet eaters?  And please, like & share on Facebook.  Thanks!


© January 28, 2015, Fitness Spark Personal Training