Progress pics!

Old baseball on wooden background and highly closeup

I’ve no time for a real post right now, but I just finished my eight weeks with Zac Smith Fitness last Saturday. Final weight is 114 lbs and pound under my target! I’ve signed up for another round, this time to work on abs and booty. :)

I’m also happy with the way I cook and flavor chicken breasts with the use of Flavor God and coconut oil. Will post recipe hopefully next week.

Here are my progress pics. This is from May 23 to July 18. My eight-week progress. :) I have never ever in my 48 years have this shape, especially if you look at the side view, I never had that curve in my back or butt.

Tells you what a couple of lunges and squats can do, huh? :)


The program is mostly high protein and low carb, but it makes use of sensible carbs. I caught a glimpse of my next program and I now can eat some fruit, nuts and rice! :)








Flavor of the Gods


This is a quick post about one of my favorite easy, healthy and flavorful combinations. We all know chicken and turkey breasts are low fat and high in protein. They’re a bodybuilder’s best friend. However, especially with turkey, it’s hard to flavor to be palatable enough to taste good.

I have found the ultimate duo of coconut oil and a mixed spice made by Flavor God.



Flavor God‘s Everything spice mix has everything to make this otherwise tasteless turkey breast taste superb. And if you use it on chicken, even better. Sprinkle liberally. It is low in salt, and is Paleo-diet friendly.

You can buy it on Amazon or on their website.


But wait. Try pan-frying the turkey/chicken in coconut oil. We’ve all heard how healthy this is. It has a low smoking point of 350F, which makes it fine for stir-fry, but since I want to sear the breasts more, I usually add a bit of Grapeseed oil.

So try this combination. Coconut oil + Flavor God.


They also have other flavors, but I found their Everything one, the best tasting one.



New Goals

When the numbers on the scale become irrelevant.

When the numbers on the scale become irrelevant.


Well, shucks, I thought my next post will be about that last five pounds. It turns out, the number on the scale is but a number now. I’ve reached my “goal” weight, but now it’s time to set new goals. I have two more weeks to go on Zac’s program and I’m signing up again. This time I have specific goals in mind.

The changes in my body are happening fast. When I’m about to write about one change, something else changes. Some are not immediately visible until I turn and look at my back in the mirror … is that my back fat melting away???

The thing is, this journey is not without challenges. Believe me, in my 5th week, I had a tiny rebellion going on thinking what the heck am I doing? Why am I giving up sugar? Why am I denying myself those lovely chunks of pork belly? My resolve was tested. I got invited out to my favorite fried chicken place. But I had to ask myself if it was worth it. I had to remind myself why I signed up in the first place.

Some of your friends won’t get it and that’s okay. You do not have to explain yourself to them and maybe if they see your results, that in itself will be explanation enough and they may join you in the journey.

Zac said that you should do it for yourself. Not for others. I’ll take some pics on my eighth week when I finish this first cycle. I think the recipes for the second cycle will be more interesting.

Follow me on Instagram. I keep it updated everyday with whatever I’m doing toward my fitness goals.

I encourage you to follow Zac Smith Fitness on Instagram. Whether you choose to join his program or not, his everyday motivational posts will keep you going and make you think about the best that you can be.





Turn Your Body into a Furnace

Online fitness coach Zac Smith

Online fitness coach Zac Smith


I should have written this post sooner. But with my day job, my new eating plan and workout habits and trying to finish my third book in my Always series, I just didn’t have time. I think it’s best to see my four-week results so far.



I’m on the cusp of a lifestyle change. My mind is still struggling with some aspects of the program, but there’s not doubt if you give your 100% to it, the results will boggle your mind.

But let me back up a bit.

See that guy up there? That’s Zac Smith of Zac Smith Fitness, online coach and motivator extraordinaire. I first saw him on The Inked Boys Facebook feed and what caught my eyes were not the tattoos, but that this big guy was actually in the kitchen … cooking. Then I saw the egg white bag and wondered where I can get it. So, I forgot about Zac and then went hunting for where I could get those egg whites. Then I find out they’re a New Zealand brand. Then I thought: Wait, Is this guy not in the U.S. ? So after a few days I find out his name and that he is an online fitness coach.

Perfect timing, because my jumpstart in my previous post was in a process of stalling.

Now, if there’s someone who is doubtful about all this online stuff, it’s me. That’s why I waited to write this post. As I’ve said before I’m a trust and verify kind of gal. I’m thrilled with my four-week results. :D

So, what can I tell you about this eight-week program?

  • It is customized to fit your goals, body type and likes and dislikes in food. Be honest in the questionnaire portion of the sign up page. You don’t want to end up with food you hate on your meal plan.
  • There is a lot of food! A lot! But as you work through your program, you will find yourself getting hungrier and hungrier. I find this a good thing and was what appealed to me the most about this program. How can you not love a diet that actually makes you eat more? And it’s delicious! Next post, I’ll tell you about this mixed spice I got addicted to using. Actually, you can see it on the countertop of Zac’s kitchen right now. :)
  • It will need commitment and dedication. Funny thing is, results were quick in the first week and I can see every few days. Clothes starting to fit better, I’m getting more toned and I’m actually seeing muscles. This motivated me so much, I can’t wait to get out of bed at 5:30 am in the morning to workout and eager to see what progress I will make.
  • Zac is very responsive to questions. The turnaround time for me is usually less than 24-hours. Especially when you start overanalyzing the changes in your body, doubt will crop up and he is there to guide you.

As of this writing, I’m two pounds away from my goal weight. But I’m going to set new goals. Not necessarily to lose more weight, but to make this lifestyle change permanent and find ways not to lose the essence of who I am— a person who loves and appreciates good food. Also, I’m not stopping until I reach the aesthetic of the abs in my mind and at least build a decent booty. ;)

I want to come up with recipes that would work with the meal plan.  Zac, himself, is generous to share delicious recipes on his FB page like this one for protein pancakes. There are also ones included in the meal plan like his yummy Bolognese. Just the way he combines the items in your meal plan gives you much flexibility with flavors.

I’m in the midst of revamping my pantry and I’m so excited for this new chapter in my foodie life. Check out this leg of lamb filet I made recently. I’m still tweaking the recipe, but boy is it yummy!


So, what are you all waiting for? Go check out his page and know that the man knows what he is doing and talking about!

Website: Zac Smith Fitness

FB page: Zac Smith Fitness Facebook



Losing My First Five Pounds

Salmon Salad

Baked salmon over greens, red quinoa, green salad with Ceasar dressing.

*** The results below are my personal experience. Please consult with your doctor before embarking on any weight loss plan. Everyone is different and foods will affect you differently.

For the past three years after I had shut down my baking business, I had led a very sedentary lifestyle. I worked part-time in computers, I wrote books, I read books and pretty much did nothing else. I was either on the couch with my nose in the iPad or in front of my Macbook.

I would occasionally go for a run to get off my butt, but it’s a half-hearted effort with no clear goal. I’d gone on a 7-day cabbage soup diet with the hubby. I lost 3 lbs and gained it back. The hubby lost 7 lbs and went on to lose 30 lbs in 8 months. So, that was his jumpstart; it wasn’t mine. He is now sporting an enviable six-pack, by the way, at 50 years-old.

Anyway, with working from home, I’m always in my sweatpants. I’ve developed a fear of my closet because what was lurking in there was becoming my enemy. Which one of my jeans are not going to fit me next or which shirt would be the victim of the dryer? This made me anti-social because I didn’t want to leave the house.

Anyway, a meltdown was in the stars. It happened one day in April this year when the hubby and I had a dinner to attend. He told me at last minute that it wasn’t a casual dinner party, and we had to dress up.

Uh, what?

This was two hours before we had to leave.

So I stalked into my closet and sure enough, nothing fit! I was pissed at the hubby, at myself, at the person who had to go have a dinner party when nothing of my clothes fit. Anyway, in the end, I resigned myself to my middle-aged self and my fate. But something happened at the party. I saw some women, a bit older than me, and I saw their jiggly arms. I told myself, oh my God, are my arms that way?

The very next day, I went for a run, came home and did some quick bicep and tricep workout. I also decided not to buy more soda and drink water instead. A change in eating habits needed to be planned, but with a trip to a wedding coming up, I decided to wait. A few days before leaving for the trip I clicked on a link when I was surfing CNN. I nearly kicked myself because it was one of those promoted stories, and usually they wanted to sell something. And they did, but the video was very informative about how a healthy liver was important to efficient weight loss.

That caught my attention.

When we get older, our liver becomes less and less efficient in its functions because of the years it worked to process nutrients received from the intestinal system and its detoxification of harmful chemicals from processed foods, medicine, and alcohol. It was also responsible for estrogen metabolism. With a whacked out balance of estrogen, the body will secrete more fat in the fat cells, especially around the belly. Chemical estrogen is everywhere—from plant, plastic bottles, scented candles—everywhere. There was a whole slew of other convincing evidence in the video, but I couldn’t remember it all.

Anyway, I was curious about the herbal supplement called LivLean, sold by Perfect Origins. I go to a herbalist and I’ve been on most of the major components of the supplement: Milk Thistle, N-Acetyl Cysteine and Alpha Lipoic Acid, which I’ve used to help with my blood sugar before. I will warn, though, that Milk Thistle has different effects on different people … I guess because it detoxifies the liver. For me, it makes me not crave wine. For the hubby, it made him pissy and not want alcohol either. :) This is a good thing because when the liver processes alcohol, it can do nothing else. That’s why there’s always a warning not to take alcohol when you’re on medication.

I don’t want to dwell on this. I’m not an expert on the topic. Suffice it to say I gave this supplement a chance to become a part of my plan. By this time, I’ve already consulted with my brother who in his mid-forties, went from overweight to running marathons all over the world. His advice—drop the simple carbs. Do not eat carbs especially late at night. I’m not a potato person, and I’ve survived not eating bread, but can I give up rice at least for the short term, or better, just reserve it for that cheat day?

Healthy Groceries

Healthy groceries * note I determined the pears were too sweet for my low carb

For two weeks this was my typical meal.

10:00 am – Overnight oatmeal ~ recipe adapted from Skinny Taste cookbook – my version at the end.

1:30 pm – Salad greens, as much as I want with a tablespoon of any dressing I wanted.

3 tbs red quinoa

1 whole boiled egg, plus one egg white

a sprinkling of feta cheese

After lunch I’ll have two pieces of dark chocolate.

At around 4:00 pm, I’ll be hungry so I’ll have around 10 pcs of raw almonds or walnuts

6:00 pm – Baked fish (I buy frozen wild cod and king salmon filets from Whole Foods)

Salad greens with choice of dressing

3 tbs red quinoa


If I was hungry before bed time, I ate two celery sticks. If I was hungry during the day I will eat nuts or egg whites.

* I drank a lot of water. Saturday is my designated cheat day and I’d eat a steak and rice. 

I lost five pounds in two weeks on this diet. I ran three miles—3x a week and walked two miles 3x a week with light weights in between and I mean really light in a fasted cardio—meaning I did my cardio upon waking up with no food. I did have coffee though. For the first two days, I had a headache and was cranky. I guess this was from carb withdrawal. I truly think the LivLean helped me during these times in managing my blood sugar levels and even my fat loss.

By the third week though, my runs became more difficult. It was like running on empty and then my weight inched up half-a-pound.

I panicked.

I know, I know, it could be muscle right or just a change in my body chemistry? But I was feeling kinda soft, not lean. The last thing I wanted was to lose muscle. I didn’t want to be on a restricted diet like this forever. We’ve all heard it before, if you eat very little, your body is going to go on starvation mode. Not what a foodie wants to hear. So I started to add sweet potato and lamb. The morning after I ate meat, the strength came back.

The problem was, I was getting tired of salad and fish and I’m trying to sustain my weight loss. I’d be happy to lose one pound a week. Slow but steady. But how?

I’d call this phase my jumpstart. If you’re curious about Milk Thistle, google it, but I’d advise to consult alternative health practitioners. If you have medical conditions like diabetes or are on medication, it’s best to consult your doctor. It would be great if he is open to supplements instead of just pumping you full of drugs to fix a symptom.

Again, this is my personal experience. Everyone’s physiology is different. But it’s good to look beyond the obvious of counting calories and figure out what’s keeping your body from shedding the fat.

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oatmeal 

adapted from Skinny Taste Cookbook

1/4 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp raw sugar

1.5 teaspoons chia seeds

A handful of blueberries

Put the above ingredients in a sealed container and shake. Store in refrigerator. The consistency is like pudding. I love it. Before eating, I add a tablespoon of almond butter on top, mix it in (it can’t really blend well) and then eat.

Other notables for my jumpstart plan which was starting to plateau by the third week.

* I did not purposely add the link for Perfect Origins because they already have a massive marketing campaign and I want to keep my experience personal. I paid for all my supplements.

  • I do not use artificial sweeteners. If I want to sweeten something, I will use raw sugar.
  • I use full fat cheese. Sometimes I grate parmesan on the evening salad
  • I use full fat salad dressing. Usually when it’s low fat they add sugar to make it more palatable.
  • For fish, wild cod and wild salmon are best. Avoid farm-raised fish.
  • I hate vegetables, but I found a brand called Organic Girl. Romaine lettuce is very filling for me. I buy them pre-washed and only the hearts. I take a scissor and cut it up. Easy peasy. I add arugula or other mixed spring greens.
  • Take Omega 3 and Multivitamin supplements. On a restricted diet, you are bound to lose some essential nutrients.
  • Moisturize! You don’t want to get all wrinkly when you lose all the fat. ;)

Next stage:

I was lucky enough to stumble upon an online fitness coach. I’m beginning my third week with him. The results, so far, are stellar and I will update this blog once I’ve verified that this is indeed a workable lifestyle change—probably in the next week or so.

At the start of my journey in early May, I had 13 pounds to lose. My next post will be about losing more fat and gaining lean muscle. I’ve lost an additional 3 pounds as of this writing with the help of my online coach. The challenge will be to blast through those last 5 pounds.


A New Direction


For the nth time, I’m resurrecting this blog. I think I’ve found a new purpose. I’ve recently had a wake-up call. Don’t worry, nothing life-threatening but it could be given my family history. I’m talking about letting the old excuse that if we get older there’s no recourse but to gain weight. Of course, there are those blessed with wicked genes, but for the rest of us ordinary mortals, the bulging of the waistline is a familiar fate.

I will tell my story soon. I think I’m going in the right direction in turning this around, but as with the same principle with which I’ve built this blog on, I will trust but verify.

So that’s what I’m doing, trusting and verifying. :)

I will say, it’s not easy. It’s taking discipline and careful planning, but that’s not the purpose of why I’m dusting off this blog. But I’ve found out interesting facts about why folks are resistant to weight loss as they get older and the science behind it is interesting. I’d like to use this blog to create tasty recipes going forward. They may be for losing weight, they may be for maintenance, and of course I’d have to include a tasty cheat-day recipe that wouldn’t make you feel guilty about having a cheat day.

For now, I’m documenting via Instagram for veron.perez. It’s different from my former kitchenmusings one. This one will include everything about life, food, and fitness including some selfies. I’ll try not to overshare. ;)

Canelé (Cannelés) test part 1




The first time I’ve tasted this pastry, I was in Paris. Gerard Mulot‘s pastry shop was a few blocks from the hotel. One bite past its crunchy shell into its custardy interior and this pastry had a fan for life; not to mention it was redolent with the scent of vanilla and the essence of rum. Except, it seemed to hard to find these outside Paris or big cities. For one thing, like macarons, they’re finicky to get right. As always, if you want food a certain way, you have to make it your damn self.

Anyway, this post from Chez Pim got me started on my canalé quest. I would say its partly successful with the silicone molds. The first batch (from the gray molds) tasted too eggy for me, and the second batch (red-orange) was almost right in texture and taste.

I just received my copper molds and can’t wait to get started using them. I will also try the recipe from Gerard Mulot’s baking book and see if it’s less eggy since he only uses yolks in his recipe.



Cross section. A bit too “eggy” in taste.


The white “butt” maybe because I didn’t cook them on wire racks and the heat didn’t properly transfer.



Results from the two different molds