Nutritional Upgrade: Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is one of my favorite fall treats. That said,¬†a tall (12 oz.) latte has nearly as much sugar as a can of Coke. They also aren’t very transparent when it comes to their ingredient list. The Food Babe recently did an investigation on this issue.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

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  • Coffee
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 2 tbsp Canned Pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk: Almond Milk (filtered water, almonds), Coconut Milk (filtered water, coconut cream [coconut extract, water, xanthan gum, carrageenan, guar gum]), Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Sunflower Lecithin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, D-Alpha-Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E).
  • 2 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar


  1. Mix cinnamon, ginger and cloves into coffee grounds.
  2. Brew Coffee.
  3. Mix milk and pumpkin.
  4. Add coffee to pumpkin & milk.
  5. Add sugar to your liking.
  6. Enjoy ūüôā

Nutritional Upgrade: French Fries

Mcdonald’s French Fries

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Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid [Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt. Prepared in Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

*The label says it contains 0g of trans fat, but the ingredients list has hydrogenated soybean oil on it. This means that it contains trans fat.

An interesting video on the decomposition of Mcdonald’s¬†french fries.

Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

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  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Curry Powder
  • A few dashes of Sea Salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 F
  2. Cut sweet potato into fries shape.
  3. Put fries on pan and pour olive oil on it. Mix evenly.
  4. Sprinkle spices and salt onto fries and mix evenly.
  5. Bake in oven for about 18 minutes.
  6. Turn fries over to opposite side and bake for another 18 minutes.
  7. Eat and enjoy ūüôā

Nutritional Upgrade: PB & J

Peanut butter and jelly is one of the most popular sandwiches. While it is delicious, it is basically a candy bar. Not to mention, the most popular peanut butter, jellies and breads are high in added sugar and contain toxic ingredients. I decided to give this a nutritional upgrade to something that is a little more useful to your body.

Classic PB&J


Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 9.00.44 AMIngredients:

  • Jif Creamy Peanut Butter:¬†Roasted peanuts, sugar, molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils¬†(rapeseed and soybean), mono¬†and¬†diglycerides, salt.
  • Welch’s Grape Jelly:¬†Concord Grapes , Corn Syrup , High Fructose Corn Syrup , Fruit Pectin , Citric Acid , Sodium Citrate
  • Wonder Bread: wheat flour, water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, soybean oil, barley, malt, wheat gluten, salt, calcium carbonate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, vitamin d3, vinegar, mono and diglycerides, calcium sulfate, monocalcium phosphate, yeast nutrients (ammonium chloride and ammonium sulfate), enzymes, yeast extract, wheat starch, calcium dioxide, ferrous sulfate, “B” vitamins, soy lecithin, azodicarbonamide, soy flour, whey, calcium propionate, datem, sorbic acid

Almond Butter and Blueberries


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  • Whole Foods Freshly Ground Almond Butter: Almonds
  • Blueberries
  • Maria and Ricardo’s Tortilla Factory Whole Wheat Tortilla: organic whole wheat flour, water, sunflower oil, cultured wheat flour added with vinegar, salt, sugar, lecithin, organic guar gum, citric acid, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), sodium bicarbonate

If you want to further upgrade the bread, try Engine 2 Sprouted Ancient Grains Tortilla (I didn’t have it in when I made this, but it’s my tortilla of choice)


Nutritional Upgrade: Pizza

Pizza is delicious. It is there with its cheesy temptation at many social gatherings and whenever we are too lazy to cook for ourselves. However, nutritionally it isn’t the best. We typically eat it from pre-packaged frozen dinners or from the pre-packaged frozen dinners cooked professionally by delivery services. They usually have crust with similar ingredients as the cardboard box it was delivered in, sauce that is more high fructose corn syrup than tomato and cheese that resembles plastic. I have concocted a solution to this dilemma with a recipe that takes about 10 minutes to prepare, is nutritionally reasonable and uses real food.

Dominos Plain Pizza


dominos nutrition facts

Homemade Pizza


pizza nutrition facts


  • Whole grain pita
  • 1 oz. Low-fat mozzarella
  • 1/8 cup Tomato sauce (any type with real ingredients works)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • onions
  • cherry tomatoes


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Fry onions in a pan
  • Spread olive oil on both sides of pita
  • Spread tomato sauce on top-side of pita
  • Put mozzarella on top of tomato sauce
  • Put cherry tomatoes (cut in halves) and onions on top of mozzarella
  • Bake for about 5 minutes (or until it looks ready)



Nutritional Upgrade: Strawberry Cheesecake

Kortnie from America's Next Top Model, Cycle 12.

Kortnie from America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 12.

Cheesecake is delicious. When I eat cheesecake, I enter a state of euphoria where I lose any capacity to feel full and there is no such thing as calories. Needless to say, it isn’t something I should do often. ¬†So, I came up with a solution to that. Don’t worry, it isn’t one of those unsatisfying bite-size cheesecakes.

Cheesecake Factory’s Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake Factory Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake

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*Based on the data they provided, there are 205 calories unaccounted for. This would be a combination of protein and unsaturated fat. ¬†I would guess between 10-15 g of protein (40-60 calories) and 16-18 g of unsaturated fat (145-165 calories). They also didn’t say anything about how many of the carbohydrates are sugars (my guess is 50g).

Nutritionally Upgraded Strawberry Cheesecake

Nutritionally Upgraded Strawberry Cheesecake

Nutrition Facts: Upgraded Strawberry Cheesecake


  1. 6 crackers of Graham Crackers
  2. 6 oz. of Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  3. 2 Strawberries
  4. 2 tbsp of Cool Whip (optional/ more for texture than taste)
  5. 1 tsp of Dark Brown Sugar (optional)
  6. A few dashes of Ground Cinnamon (optional)

*FYI I don’t actually measure my food, I ¬†usually just wing it. These are estimations and you can edit them to your likings. This is to give a general idea rather than an exact recipe.


  1. Obtain ingredients.
  2. Crush the graham crackers.
  3. Place the crushed graham crackers in the bottom of the serving bowl.
  4. Mix the greek yogurt, brown sugar and cool whip in a non-serving bowl.
  5. Put the yogurt mix in the serving bowl.
  6. Chop the strawberries.
  7. Put the strawberries on top of the yogurt mix.
  8. Add a few dashes of cinnamon.
  9. Bon appétit!

Nutritional Upgrade: The Shamrock Shake

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would give a nutritional makeover to a famous seasonal drink. I don’t think it comes as any surprise that the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is a nutritional abomination.I decided to use that as inspiration to put my own spin on it.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake


McD Shamrock

Healthy Shamrock Shake


Upgraded Shamrock


  1. 6 oz. plain greek yogurt
  2. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  3. 3/4 cup spinach
  4. 15 mint leaves
  5. 1/2 cup almond milk
  6. 1/2 tbsp honey
  7. Optional: 1/4 cup of frozen (or not) raspberries
  8. Optional: 25 g dark chocolate


  1. Obtain ingredients
  2. Put ingredients in blender
  3. Blend
  4. Pour in cup
  5. Snap photo for Instagram ūüėõ
  6. Bottoms up!