My Best Weight Loss Secrets
The Small Guide to Losing Big, is getting some serious press! After 16 seasons as the chef and dietitian for The Biggest Loser, I have finally compiled the best of the best nutrition tips, menus and healthy, yet scrumptious recipes into one small handbook—and just in time for holiday gift giving and New Year’s resolutions! Here’s what personal trainer Jillian Michaels has to say:
“The Biggest Loser’s chef and nutritionist has created a no-nonsense handbook that outlines a simple plan in an easy-to-read, entertaining style. I watched Cheryl coach Biggest Loser contestants for 10 years, and her sensible approach to healthy and sustainable weight loss really works! This is a must-have book for anyone looking to lose 10 pounds–or 100.” Jillian Michaels
I also have some very exciting projects coming up that coincide with the premiere of Season 17 of The Biggest Loser which starts Monday January 4th on NBC. In anticipation, I now have my book on sale for $12.99 for a short time so that you can gear up for the New Year and new season along with our contestants! You can purchase it here or on Amazon.
More information coming soon on how you can join me as the show unfolds and get answers to your cooking and nutrition questions in real time. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!
Ask Cheryl: What are Antioxidants & What Do They Do?
We’ve all heard about the protective properties of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, but what exactly are they and what do they do? To understand this, first we must dig deep and do a little biology and chemistry lesson…it will be painless, I promise. Let’s get to it!
To understand antioxidants, first we must explain free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen molecules with one or more unpaired electrons (have I lost you yet?). Why is this a problem? The free radical with its unpaired electron zips around your body and tries to steal an electron from another molecule to neutralize its negative charge and once it does this, it creates another free radical from the molecule it stole from. This ongoing process results in damage referred to as oxidation or oxidative stress and can ultimately damage DNA, which in turn can cause mutations that inhibit protein production in your body and lead to cancer and other diseases.
How does this process start? Well, sorry to say, but it’s a part of the normal aging process. As we breathe in oxygen, about 2% of it is said to make free radicals. Other lifestyle habits such as smoking, sunlight radiation, and pollution exacerbate this problem. Luckily our bodies have natural defenses against free radicals, but these processes slow with aging. Would you like to know another way to fight free radicals? Nutrition!
What Can You Do?
There are many foods, in particular fruits and vegetables, that are packed full of antioxidants. Antioxidants circulate in your body and donate their electrons to free radicals, which stops the damaging chain reactions that free radicals create. Some of the most important antioxidants from food are vitamins A, C, and E, minerals that support your body’s natural antioxidant defenses, and plants properties called phytochemicals that give fruits and veggies their vibrant colors.
So, the lesson of the day? Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are bright colors such as green, red, and orange.
What’s the best way to get a variety of antioxidants in one sitting? A smoothie! Smoothies, especially those packed with greens, can be the prescription you need to boost your body’s natural free radical defenses. Below is a recipe for a Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie, utilizing this fall’s seasonal produce for an antioxidant punch!
Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie
The Formula: Greens + Liquid + Fruit + Extras
Choose 1-2 cups of greens:
- Kale, spinach, chard, romaine, or any other green
Choose 2 cups of liquid:
- Water, coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk
Choose 2-3 cups of fruit:
- Banana, apple, pear, persimmon, avocado, oranges, etc
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cayenne, chia seeds, flax seeds, yogurt
Want to learn more about healthy aging? Check out my book, Positively Ageless!
Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake
This week officially kicked off holiday season on the blog, and I’ve featured a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Our final recipe is what everyone has waited for, the dessert! This pumpkin cheesecake is not only a healthier alternative, but it’s also pistachio powered!
I hope you have been inspired for the holidays and I’d love to if you tried any of this week’s recipes. Enjoy!
Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake
This can be made one day ahead of time and refrigerated.
Makes 16 thin slices
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) roasted unsalted pistachio kernels
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling
- 1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce can) plain pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces low fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek style yogurt
- 1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- In the bowl of a food processor, chop nuts to very fine meal. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- Mix in the agave and vanilla with a fork. The dough should be cohesive but not wet.
- With a rubber spatula, pat dough into a nonstick 9-inch spring form pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for about ten minutes, or until the edges just start to brown.
- Remove from oven. Add 2 cups hot water to a round or square cake pan. Place pan on lower oven shelf*.
- *The steam will minimize cracking of the top of the cheesecake
- In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, combine all of the filling ingredients.
- Process or blend just until smooth. Pour into crust.
- Spread out evenly and place in oven on shelf above the cake pan and water. (The steam will help to minimize cracking of the cheesecake top).
- Bake cheesecake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filling is just set. Turn off oven.
- Open oven door halfway and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven. (This will also help to minimize cracking top).
- Remove cheesecake from the oven. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving
Nutrition Analysis for one slice Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Calories 170
- Calories from Fat 70
- Total Fat 8g
- Sat Fat 2g
- Trans Fat 0g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Sodium 70mg
- Total Carbohydrate 18g
- Fiber 2g
- Sugar 11g
- Protein 5g
- Vitamin A 4%
- Vitamin C 0%
- Calcium 4%
- Iron 4%