Monday, January 6, 2014

Muffin in a Mug! My journey to becoming a Trim Healthy Mama

Confession time. I hate diets. Every diet I've tried has failed, mostly because I don't want to just lose weight - I want to be healthy.

And it seems that every diet I've seen requires you to either restrict calories to an insanely low level so you're hungry all the time, or it requires you to avoid one or more of the basic food groups. And there's this nagging voice inside me that says both of those approaches are nuts. There isn't any reason why a normally healthy person should have to do either one!

It seems I haven't been the only one thinking that. There's a new book out (okay, it's been out for more than a year, but I don't jump on bandwagons quickly) called Trim Healthy Mama.

This is my copy with Post-It tabs I've added. I have to be able to
find my favorite recipes quickly!

Written by two sisters, the whole approach to this eating plan is to help your body use the fuels you give it in healthy way.

What I love is that no food groups are eliminated (some foods are eliminated - like sugar, white flour, white potatoes - but not the food groups), and that there is no calorie counting. Read that again: no calorie counting.

The only rule - and this is the main point - is to not have large amounts of carbs and fats in the same meal, and always center each meal or snack around a protein.

But it's important to have both carbs and healthy fats in your diet (our two main fuel sources), so you switch it up. I usually have a higher fat breakfast (a S-atisfying meal to fill me up), and then a higher carb lunch (an E-nergizing meal to keep me going), and a snack that could be either one (I often have a chocolate milk shake for snack - how is that for "diet food"?). And supper is a healthy meal with my family.

Between October 1st and December 20th, I lost 15 pounds eating this way. (We won't talk about Christmas and cookies!)

Even though some of the recipes in the book call for special foods, I've found that I can eat well with very few ingredients that I didn't have in my pantry before. And many of my favorite recipes fit well in this eating plan - like Ruthy's favorite salad (recipe here) or my Salmon with Garlicky Spinach (recipe here). You just need to remember the rule: don't have large amounts of carbs and fats in the same meal.

Easy peasy!

But now, the part you've been waiting for! My favorite breakfast!

This is called Muffin in a Mug, and if you're keeping track, it's an S meal (S for satisfying). It's from the Trim Healthy Mama book, page 256, but like most recipes I use, I've adapted it. I added a bit of salt to this one, and a Tablespoon of almond milk to add moisture - necessary for high altitude cooking. You'll have to experiment to see if you need it where you live.

1 egg
1 1/2 Tablespoons Golden Flax meal
1 1/2 Tablespoons almond meal
1 1/2 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2-4 teaspoons Truvia, depending on how sweet you like your muffin (I use two)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
one pinch salt
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (doesn't have to be liquid)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Beat the egg with a fork in a large coffee mug (12 ounce works best). Add the other ingredients and stir well. 

Microwave for one minute. The top of the muffin should look dry and the edges starting to pull away from the sides of your mug.

Turn the muffin out onto a plate, split in half, spread each half with butter, and enjoy!

Okay - let's look at some of the ingredients.

Here's the golden flax meal I use. I found it at Sam's Club, but I'm sure you can find it at Walmart.

Almond meal - I bought a pound of Bob's Red Mill Flour almond meal in October, and I keep most of it in the freezer. It was expensive, but has lasted a long time. I recently bought some raw almonds, and will make my own almond meal when I need more.

Truvia is a great natural, non-sugar sweetener made from stevia. Why use things like aspartame when this is available?

Coconut oil. This bad boy is a victim of the war on saturated fats, but you can read about all its benefits by searching online. Coconut oil is full of medium-chain fatty acids - so good for you. Some people even claim it helps with weight loss, but not if you eat too much of it :)

You can explore the Trim Healthy Mama life further by going to their website (, and if you're interested in pursuing this plan, be sure to read the book. It goes into the science behind this way of eating, explains the plan, and is chock-full of recipes.

Meanwhile, I think I'm going to have a Thin Mint Milkshake for snack today....


  1. well I have Truvia and cocoa powder! love Truvia - use it in my hot tea and on cereal.
    I can understand eliminating sugar and white flour but what's wrong with a potato?! I've never understood eliminating a regular tater...woman at weight watchers treats them like a crime - subs cauliflower in dishes that call for potatoes - even mashed potatoes themselves are cauliflower... I don't think any of the starch veggies are as 'good' for us as the yuckier I mean lower carb ones but didn't think they were bad.
    I want to be healthier too but for me that includes losing weight as well as eating better. I don't eat that many white taters so I'm pretty sure mine is coming from all the sugar..sigh...

    1. Sugar is the key for me, too. If I can go a day with no (or very little) sugar, I feel so much better! But I have a real weakness for it. :(

      The thing with white potatoes is that they have a high glycemic index - which means your body treats it like sugar. You eat a potato, it loads a bunch of carbs into your bloodstream - more than your body needs for energy - and so those carbs get stored as fat.

      I don't have anything against a potato once in a while, and I make sure I eat protein at the same time to help ease that carb dump, but I make those servings very small.

  2. Wowza. This is pretty cool. Love breakfast in a mug idea. Thanks for sharing, Jan. Must go check this book out.

    1. I hope you like the muffin, Tina!

      I had one for dessert last night :)

  3. Congrats on the weight loss, Jan. I know it wasn't your main goal, but what a benefit.

    Now that the holidays are over and life is getting back to normal (or will as soon as the kids go back to school), I need to pay more attention to what I'm putting in my mouth, instead of constantly grazing. The sugar intake definitely needs to go down.

    Yes, conscious choices are definitely in order. Thanks for the info.

    1. Conscious choices. What a good way to put it! Christmas was all about mindless grazing...we had way too many snacks laying around.

      I mean, can anyone resist a piece of chocolate fudge laying on a plate?

  4. Neat idea. I've heard of cake in a mug before, but not a muffin. Honestly, who figures out these things? And this is the third time I've heard/read about coconut oil in the last week or so. I'll have to check it out. That and truvia. I think you mentioned that before here. I tried stevia way back and hate it -- yuck.

    1. My daughter doesn't like stevia either. She says it tastes very bitter - but I find it to be almost too sweet!

      Body chemistry is a mysterious thing, isn't it?

      I've heard that if stevia tastes bitter, you should offset it with a smidgen of salt.

      Also, different brands have different tastes. Truvia is combined with erythritol (another natural sweetener found in fruit), rather than being straight stevia. That may make a difference for you.

      And yes, definitely look into coconut oil. Some hits on your internet search will claim that it will save mankind, but if you look past the sensational claims, I think you'll find it's a fat worth adding to your diet.

    2. I didn't like pure stevia either. But I love Truvia. That's what I use all the time now for my coffee.

  5. Jan, I was seeing folks talking about "muffins in a mug" and now you've got it here for me to see firsthand!!!! I hear you about the Christmas choices.... Last week I thrust 3 boxes of candy, including sponge candy on my friend Sherrie... she has two long, lean teenage boys. Better them than short, not-so-lean ME!!!!! If I have the choices lying around, I'm so much more tempted to mess up.

    This is a great idea! And I got a notice from Sam's Club about Tricia Yearwood and her quest to feel more in control over her body, her weight.... man it's a tough go in a society where we have so very much! January is the perfect time for this, and it looks so good and I love looking for new motivations to stay on my goals..... and Fox News had a guy on from Lift Research (Here's the link:

    Very interesting and what a huge study these folks are doing!

  6. I'm sorry, I messed up that link LIFT RESEARCH SITE It's got free apps and help for our accountability and making good choices.

    1. It's all about goals and our choices, isn't it?

      I mean in everything we do. Not just our diet and exercise, but our professional lives, our family lives...everything.

      But seriously, this muffin in a mug thing is addicting. It's so quick...warm...buttery...scrumptious.....

      Is it lunch time yet?

  7. Just received my book, Jan! Used Christmas money to get it.

    I really like sugar too. I try to stay away from it, but when I have it again, oh boy. I crave it. You'd think since I'm so sweet and all, I wouldn't crave sugar. LOL JUST KIDDING!

    I'm anxious to see how this plan works for me. I've just started reading it. I'll keep you posted. =)

    1. Maybe we're both so sweet because of all the sugar we eat! LOL

  8. Jan, I heard about this book not too long back from someone else. It looks really good. Now that it's been recommended a second time, I think I may just need to buy it! Thanks for telling us about it. I need to make these muffins!!