Author. Dr. Melina Jampolis & Chef Aaron Robbins
Belly fat, aka visceral fat that is deep in the belly, is different than the type you pinch under the skin– it is much more metabolically and chemically active, strongly associated with how well you respond to insulin and dietary carbohydrates, and also very closely linked with inflammation in the body. Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body does not respond appropriately to insulin, the hormone that controls the amount of glucose, (sugar) in your blood, and excess insulin in your body leads to weight gain –especially belly fat plus it makes it much harder to lose weight! Each decade we age, we lose muscle, experience hormonal changes, and often have added stressors in our life – all of which are major factors that can adversely affect our response to insulin. There are hundreds of studies that confirm that excess visceral fat is an independent marker for various diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging, brain disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, and even death.
Here are 5 Recipes to help Combat battle belly fat:
Toasted Almond Granola
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups oat or whole wheat flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups almonds, sliced and lightly toasted
- 1 cup toasted shaved coconut
- In a pot, bring the water, maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, and salt to a boil.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, and almonds, and mix well.
- Pour the hot liquid mixture into the bowl, and combine thoroughly with the flour mixture.
- Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet, and bake at 300° degrees, stirring every six minutes until evenly golden brown. Stir in the toasted shaved coconut, and store the granola in an airtight container.
Chef Aaron says: This goes great on yogurt, oatmeal, and Coconut Chia Seed Pudding.
- 1/2 pound butter, softened
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 pound all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces cake flour
- 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup canola or coconut oil
Choose from these flavors:
Blueberry: Add 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries to the mix and top with toasted oats.
Raspberry Cardamom: Add 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries and two teaspoons ground cardamom.
Apple Cinnamon: Add 1 1/2 cups chopped, pan-roasted apples and one teaspoon cinnamon. Top with toasted oats and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Pumpkin Spice: Add 1/2 cup pumpkin purée, one teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
- In a large mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the sugar and mix on medium speed for about two minutes until just combined. Slowly add the eggs and vanilla extract scrape the sides, and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In yet another bowl, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the sugar mixture, milk, and oil, starting and ending with the dry mix.
- Use the mixer on low speed to just combine the ingredients. DO NOT OVERMIX. Use muffin liners in the muffin tin and a two-ounce scoop or spoon to place the batter into liner.
- Bake at 350° degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Use a toothpick to check the middle. When it comes out clean, the muffins are done.
Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tablespoon red onion, minced
- 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- Sea salt, to taste
- White pepper, to taste
- Nonstick spray or low fat coconut spray, as needed
- In a small to medium nonstick pan, quickly wilt the spinach over medium heat and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, dill, and onions. Spray the same nonstick pan evenly throughout with nonstick or coconut spray, and pour the egg mixture into the pan over medium heat.
- Toss the spinach then the goat cheese randomly around the egg mixture. Place the pan in the oven at 325° degrees for 20 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through in the middle.
- Carefully flip the frittata onto a serving plate. Season with sea salt and white pepper to taste.
- 1/4 cup red onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
- 6 whole eggs, beaten
- 3 egg whites, beaten
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
- Pan spray or low fat coconut spray
- Preheat oven to 300° degrees. Spray a nonstick pan with nonstick or coconut spray.
- Sauté the red onions, olives, and sundried tomatoes for three minutes.
- Beat the eggs and egg whites together, add the egg mixture to the pan, and turn off the heat. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
- Place the pan inside the oven, and bake for 15 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through. Use a knife to check the middle to make sure the knife comes out clean.
- Cut the frittata into slices or squares, crumble feta cheese, and sprinkle fresh dill on top.
Coconut Chia Seed Pudding
- 2 cups coconut beverage or coconut water
- 2 cups vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup black chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a bowl, combine the coconut beverage and almond milk.
- Whisk in the chia seeds, agave nectar, and spices.
- Refrigerate the pudding for at least two hours before serving.
Chef Aaron says: Enjoy with the homemade almond granola and berries for a delicious gluten-free and dairy-free snack or breakfast.
The recipes are from Dr. Melina Jampolis’ latest book, Spice Up, Live Long: A Guide To Using Herbs & Spices To Live A Longer, Healthier and More Vibrant Life – with Chef Aaron Robbins (Exec Chef, Soho House, West Hollywood)
Whether you’re an avid cook or someone who hates to cook, Spice Up, Live Long will help you include more spices in your everyday diet to age more gracefully. Dr. Melina is one of the rare board-certified physician nutrition specialists in the country.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.