June 2017 - Conscious Muscle
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June 2017

Vegan Macro Friendly Granola: Plant Based Personal Trainer

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With our online clients, we recommend eating mostly high volume foods. What are high volume foods, you ask? Well, high volume foods have relatively low calories and macronutrients for their weight. Therefore, you can eat a lot of these foods for fewer calories and macros, and this will help provide energy and contribute to feeling satiated. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and berries are great examples of high volume foods.

But, we get it, sometimes, you want a ‘treat’ or ‘something different,’ and you are committed to your nutrition plan at the same time. You’re just not up for staring down another salad or big bowl of kale. So what do you do? How do you satisfy the urge for something different without going completely off your plan?

After much research and tinkering, we have your answer! Meet our newest recipe: Vegan macro-friendly granola. We’re also calling it Conscious Muscle Granola. What so special about it? Well, in addition to being tasty, this granola is perfectly formulated to fit within Conscious Muscle clients’ macros. For those of you following Conscious Muscle Macro+Menu plans, one serving of this granola will satisfy your Meal 3 requirements. Not following a meal plan? Click here to learn more.

Now, keep in mind, this is a low volume recipe. This granola contains ingredients that have more calories in a smaller amount of volume. As a result, have this as an occasional treat or when you desire a different taste. This granola should not be your go-to when you’re feeling very hungry. Go high volume for those times!

Vegan Macro Friendly Granola (i.e., Conscious Muscle Granola)


  • 66 grams cooked lentils (weighed after cooking)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1.5 tsp coconut sugar
  • 26 grams Vega Sport vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅕ tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 grams seedless raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place cooked lentils in a medium-sized bowl. They should be moist so the dry ingredients stick to them but not very wet.
  3. Add the oil and stir to evenly coat.
  4. Add the sugar, protein powder, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir well.
  5. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread to a thin, single-layer of the mixture.
  6. (Optional step) Lightly spray with oil such a pan-release spray.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, stir and re-spread mixture to single layer.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, add the raisins, stir, and re-spread mixture to single layer.
  11. Bake for 3-5 minutes. (If lentils become very brown, use less time)
  12. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Use within 2 days.

Vegan Online Trainer

Calories: 301

Protein: 25 grams

Carbohydrates: 30 grams

Fat: 11 grams

NOTE: For oil-free, replace oil with 22 grams of hemp seeds, and subtract 6 grams of protein powder. This will change the consistency to more of a ‘cereal’ than a granola and will change the macros very slightly.

The inspiration for this recipe came from Vegan Richa and this cookbook. All her recipes are wonderfully delicious, and she is a lentil ninja. Thank you Richa!


The Best Way To Lose Weight: Vegan Macro Coach

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‘How can I lose weight on a vegan diet?” ‘What’s the best way to drop body fat?” “What do you think about Intermittent Fasting?” “Are you a fan of ketogenic diets?” “What macro percentages should I eat to lose the most weight?” “How can I carb cycle?”

And on and on and on. Everyday, I’m asked nearly every iteration of every question about weight loss, Fortunately, and perhaps unfortunately, the answer is simple: The best weigh to lose weight is to be in a caloric deficit. In other words, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. It’s really that simple.

I was so excited when I saw this research article that supported this idea that energy balance (i.e., eating less than you spend) is the most important factor in losing weight. Additionally, other dietary approaches often help people reduce weight because they put people in a caloric deficit, likely not because of any other special properties of these approaches. To quote the abstract of the article: “Diets primarily focused on fat loss are driven by a sustained caloric deficit.”

At Conscious Muscle, we adhere to this simple approach. We provide people with a balanced, plant-based approach without gimmicks or fads. If people want to lose weight, we put them in a sustained caloric deficit. It’s really that simple. The study also validated our approach of using a higher protein approach when losing weight to help maintain muscle and reduce feelings of hunger. That’s really our only ‘trick,’ if you would call it that.

So why do these other approaches get so much attention? We’re not really sure. It could be that the real answer is, well, boring, and not likely to generate much hype. I mean, everyone knows you need to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. Who’s going to click on an article that says ‘Lose weight by eating fewer calories than you burn?’ versus ‘More people are dropping weight fast using [insert latest diet fad].’ But, hey, our approach may not be glitzy, our results are, and we’ll gladly have those over the new fad approach! Check out our coaching packages on our website to learn more.


vegan weight loss coach

Vegan Superfood Spotlight: Chlorella: Vegan Nutrition Coach

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I regularly eat what I call ‘vegan superfoods,’ or foods that provide a multitude of benefits: nutritional multi-takers, if you will. People often ask me for lesser-known nutritional tips or foods that I found most valuable. As a result, I’m starting this feature to shine the spotlight on some of my favorites. I’m starting with Chlorella because it’s one of my absolute favorites and because it’s a bit of an unknown powerhouse.

Chlorella, a freshwater green algae, contains more chlorophyll than any other known plant and is replete with protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Talk about a multi-tasker. Additionally, chlorella contains vitamin B12. As B12 is not often found among plants, this makes chlorella especially important for plant-based eaters. Indeed, chlorella truly earns its status as a vegan superfood.

Chlorella contains 19 amino acids, including the 10 considered ‘essential.’ This amino acid profile combined with chlorella’s ease of absorption is one of the main reasons I’ve added chlorella to my diet.

But, I’m not yet done preaching the benefits of chlorella! It also contains detoxifying properties by reducing free radical damage we all experience in our modern world. Chlorella also helps build the immune system and enhances recovery by speeding the rate of cell regeneration. As such, Chlorella may be particularly  important during times of high stress and intense training.

To ensure you purchase a high-quality chlorella supplement, look for a product with high levels of protein (around 70%) and chlorophyll (around 7%). I like this powdered variety and add one teaspoon per day to my smoothies. Chlorella mixes will with tart fruit flavors such a lemon and berry. You also can take chlorella in tablet form.

If you aren’t supplementing with chlorella, I encourage you to give it a try. Let us know in the comments below how you like to incorporate chlorella in your vegan diet!

vegan macro coach



Brazier, B. (2007). Thrive: The vegan nutrition guide to optimal performance in sports and life. Da Capo, Philadelphia.

Cardio Done Fast and Right: Vegan Online Person Trainer

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One of the most common questions we receive from Conscious Muscle coaching clients involves options for cardio when you’re short on time or when you are bored of your routine. My solution for both of these questions is the same: a special blend of high intensity interval training (HIIT).

HIIT involves repeated intervals of hard efforts followed by recovery intervals. Research on the benefits of HIIT is very impressive, with HIIT resulting in improvements in cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, and abdominal fat. Additionally, HIIT is not associated with muscle loss like other types of cardiovascular activity. HIIT also provides something called EPOC, Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This means that, after a HIIT exercise session, you consume more oxygen and, hence, burn more calories.¹

I learned one of my favorite HIIT workouts from the book One Minute Workout. Yes, the name is enticing but a bit of a misnomer. Sorry to say, the workout will take you longer than one minute, but not too much longer. This book also presents some very impressive scientific evidence to support the benefits of HIIT and a number of HIIT protocols. My favorite involves 10 repeats of a 1-minute hard interval followed by a 1-minute recovery interval.

I pick 5 cardiovascular / monostructural movements: stationary bike, running, jumping rope, stair climbing, rowing, burpees etc. After a proper warm up, I do 10 rounds of 1 minute hard effort followed by 1 minute of active rest (e.g., walking). I do each of my 5 movements twice to make up the 10 rounds. After I complete all 10 rounds, I do a general cool down, and I’m done!

Here’s one workout I recently completed using the protocol above when I had access to some gym equipment. I alternated between a ‘fan-style’ bike, rower, jump rope, ski erg, and running up and down stairs.

Vegan macro coach


Here’s another workout I completed with access to no gym equipment. Really, the only limit is your creativity!

vegam personal trainer

We encourage you to give HIIT a try next time you’re pressed for time to workout or need a change. We’d love to hear the combinations you try!


American Council on Exercise (2014) Personal Trainer Manual. Fifth Edition. San Diego, CA. Author.