Mom Said to “Eat Less, Exercise More”

A forkful of pancakes

Some time ago, I noticed extra weight gain. A panicked call was made to Mom. In a harsh and sweet tone of a voice, she said, “You know how to eat healthy. Now eat less and exercise more,” she continued with the reality of my dilemma, “…if you gain weight now, it’s difficult to get it off… You’re older and the weight doesn’t come off like it use to. There’s no excuse for being fat.”

Some may view the advice as insensitive. Personally, I appreciate the seriousness of it. Why cry about it when the solution is simple: Eat less and exercise more. The following morning, I was up at 6 am for a quick two-mile run. A food diary was started to find potential problems, which revealed large portions of food and too much sugar.

Sugar is everywhere—even healthy #smoothienumbers. And, I’m notorious for stopping by bakeries for cookies, French macarons and whoopie pies. Sure, I bake with coconut instead of white sugar, but sugar is still sugar.

As for the portion of my meals, I’m learning my slower metabolism is fine. The weight gain started around the time I met my boyfriend. He eats enough for two people, and my plate size matches him, “pound for pound” (that’s how he describes my eating habits).

With these realizations, I’m exercising harder. The occasional visit to the gym is now consistent. My workouts are a combination of running, weights and starting this week, yoga (A friend recommended a yoga studio located between my job and apartment). My #smoothienumbers are less than eight ounces, and the ratio of my dish is a quarter of what my boyfriend eats.

Seeds and Nuts

As Mom mentioned, I know how to eat healthily. Her advice didn’t say to stop eating. Which is why I enjoy these coconut pancakes with a fresh fruit salad of mangoes, oranges, bananas and toasted coconut. After a week of exercising, this protein and potassium-rich breakfast are well-deserved. A few months ago, I would’ve had a stack of at least four. Now, I have a stack of two with a generous spoonful of fruit and a smear of Tonewood’s Maple Cream. This breakfast may seem like a sugar rush, but it’s often consumed after an outdoor, morning run. It also means aggressively watching later meals and snacks to avoid alcoholic drinks, bakeries and white-flour carbs with little nutritional benefits.

Coconut Fruit Salad Topping

Tonewood Maple Cream

The other day, I wore a pencil skirt bought last Spring. Back then, it was a comfortable snug fit. Today, it was loose and easily slipped around my waist, in which the back pockets were in the front. Mom’s advice scared me into making simple changes in my lifestyle without buying silly diet books, wasting time with online research and complaining about weight gain while eating a slice of cake. After all, there’s no excuse for being unhealthy.

Coconut Pancakes with Fruit Salad and Maple Cream


  • 1 cup ap, unbleached white flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup white whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened and finely shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. flax seed meal
  • 1 tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. coconut or brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups organic full-fat coconut milk*
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil; more for the skillet or griddle
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Garnish: 1 chopped fresh mango, slices of 1 orange, and 1 slice banana and 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • Serve pancakes with Tonewood’s Maple Cream and Syrup


  1. Preheat oven to its lowest temperature. If using pure maple syrup packaged in a glass, remove the plastic lid and place on top of the oven/stove to warm (fresh maple syrup needs to be refrigerated after opening). Alternatively, pour maple syrup in a small saucepan and warm for a couple minutes over a low setting. Turn heat off and cover to keep warm.
  2. In a large bowl, toss white flour, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, quinoa, sunflower seeds, nuts, coconut flakes, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, baking soda, sea salt and sugar together.
  3. In another bowl, whisk egg, coconut milk, 2 tablespoons coconut oil and vanilla together. If thinner pancakes are desired, use more coconut milk.
  4. Gently stir in the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, add more coconut milk if thinner pancakes are desired. Leave a few lumps in the batter for fluffier pancakes.
  5. Warm a large skillet or griddle over medium-hot setting. When the surface is hot (when a few drops of water sizzle), add about 2 tablespoon of coconut oil. When the coconut oil is warm, pour about a quarter cup of the batter into the skillet.
  6. Cook until bubbles foam at the surface of the batter or until the underside is golden brown. Flip the pancakes over to cook the other side. When both sides are fully cooked, remove from the skillet. Place on a paper-towel lined plate or baking sheet in the preheated warm oven. Continue cooking the rest of the batter and add more coconut oil to the skillet if it looks dry.
  7. Meanwhile, lightly toss chopped mango, orange slices, banana slices and toasted coconut flakes in a medium bowl. Set aside to serve with the coconut pancakes.
  8. Along with the coconut fruit salad, serve pancakes with Tonewood’s Maple Cream and Syrup.
  9. Enjoy!


*Coconut milk in cartons works with this recipe, but for more coconut flavor, use the canned version. If thinner pancakes are preferred, buy two 14-oz. cans.

Coconut Pancakes


3 thoughts on “Mom Said to “Eat Less, Exercise More”

  • July 20, 2014 at 8:23 am

    This post is so true! THank you for a great read and good inspiration for a new healthy food blogger!!

  • July 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I can totally relate. At age 54 I just started training for my first 5k for a local charity. I needed to start moving as your mom advised to keep my weight in check. If you’re interested in sharing your recipes, I just started a Healthy recipe Pinterest board and would love it you’d like to contribute. This meal looks fantastic. Just send me and email and I’ll send you the information.

  • July 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Love the post, recipe and the photography!

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