Are Your Lentils Mush?

WHO: Lentils.

WHAT: They’re a grain legume (a “pulse”), harvested for their seeds.

WHERE: You can find most varieties at any supermarket or in the bulk bin at a health food store. Be sure to check the “ethnic” aisle -- they’re often cheaper there!

WHEN TO USE: Hello versatility! Soups, stews, pilafs, and “meat substitutes” (gotta love Lentil Loaf, Lentil Bolognese, and Lentil Sloppy Joes!) are delicious ways to love on the lentil.


1.Do NOT soak!

2.Rinse under COLD water.

3.Add to a pot with cold water (2 parts water to 1 part lentils).

4.No salt!

5.Bring to a boil, reduce to low (only a few bubbles).

6.Cook UNCOVERED 15-45 minutes.

7.Strain, return to the pot.

8.Season with salt and pepper (optional).

After 15 minutes, I check my lentils every other minute or so for doneness.

Very small red lentils might be done in less than 15 minutes, check after 8 minutes.

There is definitely a “sweet spot” when cooking lentils and it only lasts for a few minutes before they enter “mush” and “overcooked” territory, so pay attention ;-)

Make a mental note of the smell when they’re perfect -- it’ll be your intuitive calling card.

Above all: Do not add salt or an acid until after they’re done cooking :)

Red (10-25 minutes) Brown (30-45 minutes) Green (35-45 minutes) also called Puy lentils or French lentils Black (20-25 minutes) also called beluga lentils

Depending on your stove, you might need to add hot water during cooking to keep them slightly submerged. When in doubt, more water is better than less.

WHY: Cheap, versatile, cooks fast! Rich in protein, fiber, vitamin B1, and iron.

TYPES: Red, brown, green (Puy or French) and black (beluga).

WARNINGS: Lentils without a husk will be more of a mush (think: thick applesauce) but lentils that haven’t had their husk removed (i.e. Puy lentils) keep their shape.

Did this lesson build your cooking confidence?

Inspire you to try cooking lentils?

If so, please leave a comment below.

(Your comments and likes tell me I’ve done a good job!)

Get your practice on with BBQ Sloppy Joes on this week’s plan!

P.S. Going forward these lessons will be available on the Meal Mentor blog on Fridays (but members get the lesson + an exclusive tutorial video on Thursdays).

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Introducing Ingredient Series (Make Cooking Easier)

Launching Meal Mentor was all about creating a community, a safe space where you could find support from like-minded peers with the same challenges and triumphs…

…but Meal Mentor is also a TOOL.

The meal plans make it even easier for you to eat well (no guesswork!)

And keeping in the “mentor” spirit, each week I’ll be dishing up a new, in-depth culinary lesson (and sometimes a video too!) discussing a certain ingredient, how to use it, what it does, different varieties if they exist, things to look out for, and so forth.

I want to help make YOU the top chef of your kitchen :-P

Are you READY to become an intuitive cook? A bomb diggity home chef?

Awesome. Check your inbox tomorrow for the first lesson :)

If there are any ingredients you’d like me to cover, please leave a comment below.

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Power of Words Podcast


A new podcast is up and ready for you!

In this episode Scott and Carly (my copilots!) join me to talk about the power of words, your mindset, and self-supporting self-talk. We dig deep on the difference between want vs. need, the fixed vs. growth mindset, and how sometimes attitude really is everything. Don’t be the person telling yourself you can’t do something or something is not possible, because as long as you say it, it’s going to be true. Don’t miss this think-outside-the-box episode! I promise it’ll change how you think about things and speak :)

Get the current meal plan now.

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I Weighed Myself Daily & This Happened...


(There, I said it.)

A lot of people email me discouraged by their “super slow” weight-loss or are curious how long it takes to lose, say, 15 lbs on the meal plans.

A couple things:

Losing 0.5 to 2 lbs per week is ideal and healthy for an adult, even though some might call that slow.

“Reality” weight-loss TV shows have warped our expectations and what they’re doing on those shows is not healthy.

(Turns out it’s not sustainable either, since most contestants gain it back.)

Most of us slowly and steadily gained, and that’s exactly how we’ll lose it, too.

The important aspect of “slow” loss through the meal plans is that you’re PERMANENTLY changing your lifestyle and creating long-term success.

The closer you get to your healthy weight, the slower loss will creep.

There is also a smaller margin for error when you start zeroing in on your goal.

For example, when Scott and I first went vegan, we didn’t eat very healthfully (very “progress not perfection”) and we still lost weight initially, even eating Boca burgers, French fries, Earth Balance and Coconut Bliss ice cream.

Eventually we plateaued and cleaned up our diet, but it wasn’t until we started using the meal plans consistently, that we broke our barriers and kept the weight off.

I yo-yo dieted for years, constantly gaining and losing the same 10 lbs.

Once I’d maintain my weight loss for a while, I would start being less strict with myself, allowing vegan junk food in -- ”everything in moderation!”

And I’d “moderate” UNTIL my clothes felt snug.

Then I’d return to my stricter diet, lose the weight, and start all over again!

I finally got sick of the 10 lb circuit, committed to nutritional excellence, and have stuck to the meal plans (and kept the weight off!) for 2 years.

There are oodles of hidden culprits that can sabotage you when you’re on your own.

Your weight is not a good measurement for weight-loss.

Especially once you’re nearing the end of your loss -- it’ll bounce dramatically.

Measurements are the way to go, as well as a pair of pants that you don't wash or wear, but keep in the closet for a weekly check-in.

I weighed myself everyday for a month, being diligent to do it at the same exact time every morning, after full urination and elimination, and there were several times where I gained or lost as much as 2 lbs day-to-day, which is physically impossible.

See for yourself:

You cannot physically gain or lose 2 lbs of fat in a 24-hr period!

There's just so much flux going on…

When I posted my experience in the private Facebook group for annuals, Leah left this great comment:

(P.S. Annual sale tomorrow -- one day only!)

AND if you exercise, the scale is completely unreliable because you have no way of knowing if it’s fat loss or muscle gain or inflammation.

Moral of the story? Don’t use the scale to track -- it can be one of many ways you keep accountable but it should never be your ONLY method of measuring progress, especially for the last 20 pounds.

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I Was Stuck at 140lbs and Then I Did This… (Before/After Pics!)

Last week Ashley shared in the forums, “I think 150-ish is where my body wants to naturally rest if I eat everything I want to, but there's still more fat there than there should be."

I had the exact same experience.

Even when I was perfect, not "cheating" with vegan junk, I couldn't break the 140 lb barrier.

140 is in the "normal" range for my height, but I still had fat. It wasn’t a vanity issue: my stomach was hanging over my pants and I constantly had chafing issues with my legs and arms from rubbing. I wasn’t comfortable.

Then I had my body-fat measured: I was at the tippy top end of what was considered "healthy" even though I was at a "healthy" weight!!

Yet I kept listening to all the plant-based experts who say, “You can eat as much as you want. As long as it's plant foods, especially whole foods close to nature. Don't count calories.” So I did not.

I ate lots of potatoes, lots of brown rice, lots of big “gorilla” salads, lots of kale and other greens, tons of carrots and other veggies, some beans, and fresh fruits.

I even spent $8,000 on personal trainers and TRX classes!

But I couldn't crack the 140 lb barrier.

I wondered what was wrong with me...

But the truth is I was told I could eat a lot -- and that I SHOULD eat a lot -- eat as much as I wanted… eat until I felt "full," so I did.

I ate and ate.

(Then I ate some more because I “worked out.”)

I quickly developed a habit of having 4 plates of food at a meal, all the while patting myself on the back for being so healthy.

But when I GAINED 7 pounds in three weeks following the all-you-can-eat plant-based approach, I had a “Coming to Jesus” moment.

I was eating perfect foods, but waaaay too much for my biological needs.

When I first started doing the 1,200 calorie meal plans strictly, I thought the weight I was losing was from my occasional “cheating” with oil and vegan junk foods, and I still do think that was some of it.

BUT when I broke the 140 lb barrier, and broke it EASILY, I knew there was more to it.

Because even without ANY oil or vegan junk in my diet I couldn't do that.

I then lost another 5 pounds, eventually another 5, and a little while later 2 more.

I then maintained that weight for TWO YEARS.

(I’m still in shock, as I was chronically a yo-yo dieter before.)

Before strict compliance with the meal plans-link (but plant-perfect) vs. me last week.

I absolutely, 100% believe being able to break 140 (and keep it off) is the result of 2 years using the meal plans consistently

AND finally coming to terms with how much I need in a day, and that it can't be a free-for-all.

At least not for me.

I HAVE to pay attention to total calories, too.

Plant foods don’t have “magic calories” that don’t count.

There is still a cumulative effect.

And that excess is still excess.

Many members left comments to Ashley’s post saying they have had (or are having) the EXACT same experience, so I know my experience is not a freak outlier.

Here are a few of their comments:

To be clear, I don’t believe weight-loss is purely about counting calories.

It’s NOT a simple math formula of calories in (consumed) versus calories out (burned).

WHAT goes in the mouth is far more important than how much you eat (total calories).

Intuitively you know 100 calories of carrot cake isn’t the same as 100 calories of carrots…

…so we can’t plug them into the same math formula or expect our bodies to treat them equally.

There’s no running off a bad diet... just like your car isn’t going to run on the wrong fuel no matter how hard you put the pedal to the metal.

AND if you put too much fuel in the gas tank, it’s going to spill out.

I think the clincher for me was when I had my metabolism tested along with all the other professional (expensive) fancy testing that sent electrodes through my body to tell me exactly how much bone, water, muscle, fat, and poop I was...

The tests said…even with moderate activity, on a day-to-day basis I would not need more than 1507 calories. and that was WITH activity -- if I just sat on my butt all day it was way way less.

I said to the lab girl, "But that’s so little food!" I refused to believe it was right! She told me “The human body is like a Prius: very efficient. It's not a gas-guzzling Hummer."

Coming to terms with portion sizes and total calories, sticking to the meal plans and not trying to wing it was how I got over the hump.

It didn’t matter that I only ate steamed vegetables, I wasn’t going to lose weight overeating.

As you get closer to your healthy weight, it gets more tricky and there is a smaller margin for error.

And I’m not just talking from my personal experience or my husband’s -- this echoes hundreds of experiences shared by our meal plan members in the chats and forums.

Soo if YOU have hit a plateau or you’re FRUSTRATED, follow us.

I can’t recommend the meal plans enough.

No guessing, no room for error -- just doing.

Get the results you want step-by-step.

P.S. The scale is also a big LIAR. It’s NOT a good way to track weight-loss, especially once you’re within your last 20 lbs. TOMORROW I’ll share what happened when I weighed myself every day for a month.

UPDATE: A few people emailed and asked what my thoughts on Dr. McDougall’s teachings, based on these experiences.

Dr. McDougall says “The fat you eat is the fat you wear” and I believe him…

But in the same breath, all foods, even kale and bananas and rice, contain a little fat naturally.

So if I’m over eating (and I was) that fat is going to add up. It’s why I think I was still wearing so much of it despite my perfection.

In fact, even when I was only eating vegetables, it wasn’t uncommon for me to exceed 15% fat. If I also had beans that day, I could easily reach 20% fat (and that’s when I was zero oil, nuts, seeds, olives, etc.)

SO my “low fat” diet wasn’t very low fat after all if I was chronically overeating.

I guess that makes us both right :-)

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Reaching Your Weight-Loss Goal Podcast


A new podcast is up and ready for you!

In this episode Laura (my copilot!) shares her INCREDIBLE journey from back surgery (that left her on bed rest eating TV dinners for a year) to reaching her ultimate weight-loss goal with the meal plans. But more importantly, this bride-to-be doesn’t just look good, she FEELS amazing! AND she’s helping others feel good too as a massage therapist! (She also dishes a few tips on how massage therapy can help you feel your best, especially if you’re chained to a desk at work all day!)

Laura’s honesty is incredibly refreshing (she admits to yo-yo in weight!) and her advice for pushing through and making minor tweaks for the last hurdle is spot-on. You’ll just love Laura!

Get the current meal plan now.

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