OKRO SOUP with EGUSI

Okro or okra is a very FATLOSS FRIENDLY vegetable. Okro is low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber. The slimy mucilage substance helps to move food along the gut and eases constipation.

1/2 cup (80g) = 25 calories, 2g CARBS

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, eating more low-energy-dense foods like okra can help.

Here’s how I made mine…

What you need:

One pound okro
1 pound meat (I use beef and smoked fish)
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup ground Njanga (crayfish)
1 tablespoon minced ginger and garlic
Salt and seasoning cubes to taste
Hot pepper (optional)
3 cups of chopped Spinach
1/2 cup ground Egusi

What you do:
Season meat with garlic, ginger, salt, seasoning cubes. Add onions and enough water to cover meat in a pot and provide stock for the fish. Cook until tender (~30-40 minutes)

Wash the okra, remove the tops and tails. You can use a food processor to chop the the okra to a coarse consistency or you can finely chop the okra into coarse consistency with a knife. Alternatively, use a grater.

Add the ground crayfish and egusi into the pot of cooked meat and cook on low heat for an additional 10 minutes.
Add okro, cook for another 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir for about a minute or 2 .

Serve warm with fufu.

If eating for fatloss, skip the fufu or limit to no more than 1/2 cup.

BROILED SEA BASS

Sea bass has a rich, melt-in-your-mouth flavor and very FATLOSS FRIENDLY. After watching a video about farm raised tilapia, my love for tilapia is fading.

Sea bass is less oily than salmon and therefore lower in calories. A 4 ounce serving of sea bass is only 110 calories with about 20g of protein.

I stopped by the fish market and got 2 2-pound fishes for about $22. This will feed Le Hubs and I for 2 meals. That is less than $6 a meal.

I’m yet to master the perfect spice mix for grilled fish. For this one, I used white pepper, scallions, celery, parsley, njangsa, seasoning cubes and salt. I marinated the fish and left overnight. Then broiled it.

Pair with a healthy salad or veggies side dish if eating for FATLOSS or no more than 1/2 cup of dodo, baton etc.

Remember: You are SHAPED by what you eat.
Make today a healthy and fit one!

NATURALLY INFUSED WATER

a.k.a FLAT TUMMY WATER. There is nothing magical about this. A healthy diet, exercise and self-control remain key factors to successful fat loss.

HOWEVER, If you struggle with drinking plain water, infused water can be a great way of meeting your daily water goals.

The general recommendation is to drink 8 glasses of water or half your body weight in ounces. In my opinion, how much water your body needs varies depending on ambient temperature, level of activity etc. The color of your urine will be the color of lemonade if you are properly hydrated.

I consume this concoction usually in the evening after dinner as a way to keep me from the glass of wine that I don’t need.

Here is how I make mine:

3 cups of filtered water

1/2 tbsp of grated ginger

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 /2 peeled lemon, sliced

mint leaves

Let the mixture infuse overnight

Drink it all the next day and enjoy!

If you don’t finish it all, please keep it refrigerated. it keeps up to 2 days.

REMEMBER: You are SHAPED by what you eat (and drink)!

Make today a healthy and fit one!

POULET DG (or chicken for the big boss)

This dish is a fricassee of chicken, vegetables, and savory spices. It is super yummy and a great way to stretch your chicken and make the veggies appealing even to the picky eater. The colorful veggies provide an assortment of vitamins and fiber as nature intended.

Poulet DG is a favorite Cameroonian dish that used to be affordable only by the movers and shakers!

When I have a surplus of veggies, I make this dish. You can never go wrong with Poulet DG!

Here is how I make mine:

What you need
– One whole chicken (pasture raised is always better) cut up into serving sizes
– ¼ cup olive oil
– Salt and black pepper to taste
– 2 seasoning cubes
– 1 tbsp minced Ginger
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro (or any herb of choice)
– 2 cups cut carrots
– 2 cups cut green beans
– 1 cup sliced bell peppers (the more colorful the better)
– 1 sliced onions
– 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

What you do
– Combine chicken, a table spoon of oil, spices, salt, pepper, onions, carrots, green beans and peppers in a bowl. Mix well and let marinate for 1- 3 hours.
– Heat the rest of the oil in a large skillet.
– Add chicken and fry until lightly browned
– Add remaining ingredients, except tomatoes which should be saved for last. Reduce heat and do not cover.
– Simmer, stirring regularly, until chicken is done and liquid partly evaporated leaving some sauce.
– If the pot becomes dry before chicken is done, add warm water or chicken stock by the tablespoon.
– Add tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes more.

It is usually served with dodo (fried ripe plantains).

If eating for FATLOSS, you may choose to skip the plantains and enjoy the DG with a double servings of vegetables.

REMEMBER: You are SHAPED by what you eat.

Make today a HEALTHY and FIT one!

QUICK and EASY STEWED BLACK BEANS

I find enormous pleasure in cooking everything from scratch, but I’m also a mom who works outside of the house. When pressed for time, I take all the help store-bought convenience can offer.

Canned beans is something I encourage every cook/mom to have in their pantry. Canned beans with no sodium, sugar, or other harmful ingredients added are a superbly healthy food choice.

Black beans area a good source of healthy carbohydrates. One cup cooked = 227 calories, 41 g total carbohydrates, 15g fiber and 15g protein.

Rinse and drain canned beans before using to cut back on the salt.

Here is how I make mine:

What you need:
– 2 15-ounce cans of black beans
– 1/2 cup chopped onions
– 1/4 cup chopped bell peppers
– 1 tablespoon minced garlic/ginger
– 1 cup puréed tomatoes
– 2 tablespoons ground crayfish (optional)
– 1/4 cup oil
– 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
– Salt and seasoning cubes to taste

What you do:
– Heat oil in a pot (Dutch oven) and sautée onions and bell peppers until soft.
– Add tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt, seasonings and crayfish and cook for a couple of minutes.
– Add beans and stock.
– Let it come to a boil and cook for 5-10 minutes.
– Taste, adjust seasonings and serve.

I personally consider beans a source of good carbs. If eating for FATLOSS or following the “smart carbs” way of eating, limit portion to half a cup and pair with a vegetable like stewed spinach and a source of protein for a complete meal.

REMEMBER: You are SHAPED by what you eat.
Make today a healthy and fit one!

YUMMILICIOUS CARROT CUPCAKES

I developed my love for cooking as a little girl. I was barely tall enough to see the inside of a pot. My father (my hero) saw that interest and encouraged it as much as he could. He bought me cook books and would never hesitate to give me money to buy the ingredients I needed. And off course I always baked the yummiest things!! I really want to help ignite that passion and help develop that skill in kids as well.

My nieces came visiting and we (they) made these delicious carrot cup cakes.
There are lots of reasons to let your kids join you in the kitchen. Measuring ingredients is a great opportunity for a fun math lesson, and mixing and cooking ingredients shows science in action. But, even more than that, it is a bonding opportunity and a great way to create lasting memories.

Here is how we made ours:

What you need:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon
4 eggs (organic if possible)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oil (olive oil if possible)
3 cups finely shredded carrot

What you do:
In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients (dry ingredients)
In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs, add carrot, oil and sugar (wet ingredients)
Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Scoop in mixture and Bake at 350 C for 20-25 minutes.

When you bake your own foods, you can control the QUALITY of the ingredients. These are HIGH in calories. Enjoy with portion control in mind.

REMEMBER: You are shaped by what you eat.

Make today a Healthy and Fit one!

CABBAGE EGUSI

I make this dish quite frequently. At least once a week.

Growing up, cabbage was not popular in our home. My guess is it had something to do with the chronically insufficient “meat” in the dish. We all wanted fufu and eru or rice and stew all the time, but now I know better.

I consider Cabbage a SUPERFOOD. It is so affordable (cheap), so nutritive and super FATLOSS –FRIENDLY!!
Cabbage contains phytonutrients known as glucosinolates. These compounds are known to support insulin, metabolism, detoxification and much more. They also help prevent certain types of cancer like bladder, prostrate and colon cancers.

CABBAGE is super low in calories. One cup shredded is about 35 calories with <10g of carbohydrates and about 3 g of fiber.

One of my favorite ways to prepare cabbage is with egusi. I use a lot of EGUSI in my cooking because it is an easy way for me to add healthy fats to my meals and make it satiating especially when following a “smart carb” way of eating.

Egusi seeds look like watermelon seeds and are full of nutrients. It is made up of about 40 % protein, and about the same proportion of cholesterol-free oil. In terms of vitamins, it contains alpha-tocopherol, a component of vitamin E that helps in maintaining smooth young skin and good fertility.

Here is how I make mine: I use the “boil-in” method. It is healthier and faster.

What you need:
– 1 pound beef (grass-fed is always the best)
– ½ cup ground egusi
– ¼ cup ground crayfish
– 1 whole head finely shredded cabbage
– 1 whole onions, chopped
– ½ cup cut fresh cilantro (optional)
– 1-2 hot chili peppers (optional)
– 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
– ½ cup chopped bell peppers
– 1 tablespoon minced ginger and garlic
– Salt and seasoning cubes to taste

What you do:
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper as desired and cook over medium heat until tender.
2. Prepare the ingredients. Dice onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Peel and crush garlic and ginger. Grind crayfish and egusi.
3. Add the onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, crayfish and egusi and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile shred and wash cabbage. I nuke mine in the microwave to cook it when I am pressed for time. Otherwise, lightly steam it in about ¼ cup of water for about 5 mintues to preserve nutrients.
5. Dump the cabbage into the egusi/meat mixture.
6. Stir and adjust seasoning.

You can serve with plantains, garri, yams or accompaniment of choice.

If following the “smart carb” way of eating for FATLOSS, limit starch (plantains, garri, yams) to ½ cup.

Remember: You are SHAPED by what you eat. Eat REAL foods. Eat Foods that HEAL.

Make today a Healthy and Fit one!

CHICKEN PEPPER SOUP

Pepper soup is an intensely flavorful and spicy soup, popular in many English speaking west African countries including Cameroon.

The main ingredients are meat, hot chili peppers and a combination of spices.

This dish is believed to help restore appetite to the invalid and convalescent. It is also believed to help with milk secretion in new born mothers.

I consider Peppersoup a FATLOSS FRIENDLY food. Chili (hot peppers) are said to stimulate metabolism and reduce body fat.

Here is how I made mine:

– One whole chicken cut up into bite sized pieces (pasture raised, organic always preferred. That is why I kept the skin on. If using other (low quality) chicken, remove skin and trim all fat)
– 1 whole onion minced
– Chili peppers to taste
– 1-2 tablespoons ground njangsa
– ½ tsp Cameroon pepper
– ½ tsp white pepper
– ½ tsp contri onion (no idea the English name for this. It is called “mruh” in Limbum)
– Salt and seasoning cubes to tate
– A sprig or 2 of fresh Basil
– 1/ cup chopped fresh Cilantro (optional)
– Green plantains, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces (optional – I consider 1 plantain as 2 servings)
What I do:
In a large pot, combine chicken and all the other ingredients. Mix well and add enough water to cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until meat is done adding enough water as necessary.
Taste and adjust seasoning
Add fresh herbs and serve.

PLANTAINS:
– 1 MEDIUM plantains is about 260 calories
– 1 cup sliced = 179 calories, 48g of carbs, 3.5 g of fiber
– Green plantains gram for gram contain more vitamin C and Vitamin K than bananas
– Green Plantains are high in resistant starch which has numerous benefits including gut health benefits.

Remember: You are shaped by what you eat.

If this added value to you, please consider sharing.
Make today a healthy and fit one.

The Protein You Are Missing Out On

There are three types of people in the world: those who love snails, those who don’t and those who don’t know what they are missing! This write up is for group #3.

I didn’t grow up eating snails. I did not know what I was missing! I tasted snails for the first time when I went to Baptist High School, Buea for my High School education. I suspect hunger had everything to do with it. Long story short…I have been hooked ever since.

The giant African snail (aka Congo meat, aka nyama-ngoro) is a non-conventional meat enjoyed by many in some African countries including Cameroon. Some people don’t eat snails because they are either turned off by the slimy nature of the snails before they are washed and prepped or the sometimes unsanitary places that snails can be harvested from. More and more people are now cultivating snails in an effort to solve this problem. The snails I eat and highly recommend are from the Urban Farmers Association (UFA). The UFA snails are pre-cleaned, packaged and made ready for the pot. Works for me!

Being the questioner that I am, I went looking up information on the nutritional benefits and found some very interesting and quite frankly surprising information. Since “Congo meat” is usually used as a substitute for beef in many dishes, I compared the calories, macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) and some vitamins and minerals content per 100-gram (3.5 ounces) of snail and beef.

Calories Protein Fat Carbohydrate Iron Magnesium
Beef 250 26 15 0 2.6 mg 21 mg
Snails 90 16 1.4 2 3.5 mg 250 mg
  • Snails are low in calories. A 100-gram serving of snails provides only 90 calories.
  • Snails are high in protein. A 100-gram serving supplies about 16 grams of protein. Calorie for calorie, this compares very well with beef. You will get more protein for your calorie bucks eating snails than beef.
  • Snails are significantly lower in fat. This makes snails a very good source of lean protein.
  • What I was very surprised to find out was that snails are good source of iron! Even more surprised that it was a better source of iron compared to beef! The recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron is 18 mg. Women and teenage girls especially stand to benefit greatly from this.
  • I was also surprised about the Magnesium content. A serving of snails supplies more than 10 times the amount supplied by the same amount of beef. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of Magnesium is 420 mg. Magnesium is a mineral that helps with energy production, proper functioning of nerves, muscles and many other parts of the body

 

If you are trying to lose weight, substituting snails for red meat can be a good idea because they are good sources of proteins but low in calories and fat. In addition to the health benefits, snails are cheaper than any red meat. Lastly, they taste pretty dang good!!

If I convinced you and you will like to try, contact UFA. They will deliver to you at no extra charge.

I reached out to some of my peeps for some tips on how to prepare this special. Basically, snails can be cooked in the same way as you cook beef. Peppered snails are my favorite.

Here is a simple recipe:

One pound large snails

Salt

Maggi to taste

1 tsp White pepper

1 small thinly sliced Onions

1 cup thinly sliced Bell Peppers

Habanero peppers to taste

1 tsp minced Garlic

1 tbsp ground Ginger

Herbs of your choice (basil, parsley, leeks)

About 6Fresh tomatoes

Olive oil

Prepare all ingredients. Thinly slice onions and bell peppers. Chop tomatoes. Blend together ginger, garlic and hot peppers in a food processor or blender or grinding stone. Chop herbs.

Place cleaned snails into a pot of lightly salted water. Cook for 3-5 minutes and then rinse. Return snails to pot. Add Maggi cubes, white pepper, ginger, garlic, a tablespoon of oil Add about a cup of water. Cook for an additional 20 minutes until all water evaporates.

In a separate pot, lightly sautee onions and bell peppers in another tablespoon of olive oil for a few minutes, then add tomatoes. Add enough water to create a saucy stew. Add cooked snails from above. Cook until snails are tender for an additional 10 minutes. Add chopped herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy with some steamed green veggies to keep the calories low.

A Sustainable Approach to Fat Loss and Weight Maintenance – MHFL MANIFESTO


When people make a decision to lose weight, they often want the weight to disappear in a hurry. Forgetting that the body fat did not just all appear overnight. They want a quick fix. They go on a “Diet”. 7-day green smoothie detox, apple cider vinegar magic diet, cabbage soup diet, ketogenic diet etc. Well, any diet that creates a calorie deficit will work if you can follow it consistently for the rest of forever. The question always is “Can you do this for the long haul?” “Is this something you can sustain?” If you desire to lose weight and keep it off, you must craft a way of eating and moving your body that you can reasonably sustain as a lifestyle.

Losing 30 pounds from my heaviest was hard work. The last thing I want is to have to lose the same 30 pounds again. The thought of that just exhausts me. Sadly, I still see people go on a crash diet. They shed weight but as soon as they eat food again, the weight comes rushing back bringing along all its cousins.

The approach I follow and recommend is a sustainable approach to weight loss and weight maintenance and health. It is a way of eating based on wholefoods – that is foods the way nature intended them to be. I can see myself eating that way for the rest of forever. My approach keeps your hormones in balance and makes it easier to eat with a calorie deficit required for fat loss without the unnecessary hunger and without you always having to battle with cravings. All while maintaining the energy you need to go through your day.

My Healthy Fit Lifestyle (MHFL) manifesto is as follows:

  1. Eat meat and njama –njama (animals and plants): Build your meals around non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins. Enjoy a wide array of green and colorful vegetables. Make an effort to eat 5 – 10 servings of veggies a day. Healthy fats like nuts, avocados, eggs in moderation keeps you fuller for longer. Protein keeps you satiated. Fish and chicken are leaner sources of protein. I enjoy them regularly. I enjoy beef about once or twice a week. When I can, I buy the highest quality produce my money can afford. That is organic veggies and grass fed meats.
  2. Be SMART with CARBS: Limit grains. Limit starchy vegetables. In other words: eat like a diabetic. Carbs drives insulin that drives fat storage. If lasting fat loss is your goal, make an effort to control your carbs intake. It may be tough to transition at first, but it does get easier. Everyone is different but generally, for fat loss it works best to have carbohydrates after your workout or at the end of the day. ½ a cup or the size of your cupped hand is a usually enough.
  3. Avoid refined foods: Keep your diet as clean as possible. If it has an ingredient list, it shouldn’t be a part of your regular daily diet. If it’s in a box or a bag, proceed with caution. The farther away it is from nature, the less often you should consume it.
  4. Don’t drink your calories. A habit of sweet drinks, sweetened beverages and too much alcohol is just not good for you and you know it. if you must indulge, do so on special occasions.
  5. Be a “busy-body”. Sit less. Walk as much as you can. Walk fast. Walk slow. Your body needs movement as much as it needs oxygen. Walking helps with fat loss, stress management and much more. You should be getting 10k steps a day at a minimum. MOVE YOUR BODY!
  6. Lift heavy things. Muscles burn fat. Your body needs muscles to be efficient at fat burning. Muscles look good- even on women. You don’t want to lose fat and have soft skin. Lift weights including your body weight. Pull-ups, push-ups, squats and planks are basic movements to incorporate into your workout routine.
  7. Go hard. Incorporate some high intensity interval training to your workout routine. These are movements where you go so hard you can barely talk. This is great for fat burning. My favorite is with jump rope or running sprints.
  8. Track. Monitor. Journal. It is true: you improve what you measure. I am a big fan of tracking and journaling. If you set a goal, you must have a way of measuring progress towards that goal. It helps me stay on target.

A MHFL way of eating is not restrictive. A MHFL way of moving is not punitive. In fact you will look and feel AMAZING! You don’t have to implement all the strategies at once. Start small. Pick one and make it your own. Make it a habit. When it has become what you do as part of your routine, move to the next. Over a couple of months, you would have developed a diet and movement routine that works for your goals and your lifestyle and most importantly that you can stay on. For the rest of forever.

Let me know your thoughts!

Coach Yaje