Celebrity trainer and top-selling diet book author Harley Pasternak provides exercise and nutrition advice to Hollywood’s hottest stars, who often need to tone, tighten and trim on short notice for film or TV roles, and for musicians preparing for concert tours.
In his new book, “The Body Reset Diet,” Pasternak shares the diet plan he has designed to help anyone lose 15 pounds in 15 days. Plus, he shares the recipe for his favorite meal, which is also a drink: Apple Pie Smoothie, a thick yogurt-based fruit and spice shake.
Why Harley Pasternak Loves Smoothies
Body confidence is important to Pasternak, who still remembers his pudgy days.
“I was a kid who had a little extra junk -- everywhere -- and then my mom took me to cooking lessons and got me a trainer at the YMCA at 13, when I started weight training.”
Eager to succeed, Pasternak matched his nutrition to his muscle-building goals.
“I consumed massive amounts of protein -- this was before you could buy egg whites,” Pasternak said. “I’d wake up in the morning and have a dozen eggs and separate the yolks.”
Pasternak, who is 5 feet 10 inches tall, says that he reached 240 pounds. “My goal was different then, and I achieved a physique that was not aesthetically pleasing to women as much as to guys on my hockey team,” he said. It was only when a girl said “Eww!” that he decided to make yet another change in his life. At that point, he changed his training goal from bulking up to injury prevention.
Now at 215 pounds, Pasternak eats to support his maintenance training plan, preferring to prepare foods in the blender instead of grilling, steaming or poaching.
When foods are prepared in a blender, the blades slice the cell walls in a way that exposes all the vitamins and nutrients inside and makes them easier for the body to utilize, explains Pasternak, who holds a master of science degree in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto. “A lot of the nutrients in a kale salad are going to go through you without being used by your body,” said Pasternak.
Smoothies, Pasternak says, are speedy, tasty, healthy meals that are also versatile. Following their workouts with Pasternak, superstars Lady Gaga and Rihanna enjoy a smoothie as an energizing snack. Several mornings a week Pasternak makes a smoothie for breakfast -- skipping the calorie-laden lattes and shakes of popular coffeehouses. “In 60 seconds I can make it," he said. "I won’t burn it, there are no dirty pans, and I can take it to go.”
Pasternak's Recipe for Apple Pie Smoothie
Pasternak first created the recipe for his apple pie smoothie on the set of “Revolution,” a get-fit TV show he co-hosted in the spring of 2012 on ABC. He was recipe testing, ensuring each smoothie had the optimum macronutrients and flavor.
The native of Canada says the recipe truly reminds him of home.
“The combination of apple and cinnamon makes me happy,” Pasternak said. “It’s a very soothing flavor and aroma.”
7 raw almonds, whole or chopped
1 red apple, unpeeled, cored and chopped
1 banana, frozen and cut into chunks
1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup fat-free milk
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a blender or food processor, blend the almonds until they are finely ground. (If your blender isn't powerful enough to grind almonds, you can buy chopped almonds or even almond meal.)
2. Add the apple, banana, yogurt, milk and cinnamon.
3. Blend until desired consistency is achieved.
Boosting Apple Pie Smoothie's Nutritional Value
“Harley’s smoothie has a balance of healthy fats from the almonds, protein from the Greek yogurt, and energy-supplying carbohydrates from the fruit,” said Tzabia Siegel, food coach at the Toronto Athletic Club Sport Medicine Clinic. “The cinnamon is a good blood sugar stabilizer and antioxidant.”
Seigel, author of "Jump Off the Diet Treadmill: 12 Weeks on Your Way to Lifetime Weight Loss,” recommends tweaks that can make Pasternak's smoothie even healthier.
“If the Greek yogurt has 15 grams of protein," she said -- noting that many people require 20 to 40 grams of protein at breakfast -- "go ahead and add 15 grams of vegan protein or whey isolate protein powder. One of the things protein does is stimulate the hormone glucagon, which stabilizes blood sugar and shrinks fat cells.”
Boosting protein intake could translate to greater weight loss and better weight management, Seigel says.
“Harley could also increase the Omega 3 fat and fiber by adding in a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds,” she said. Omega 3 is an essential fat needed for hormone, brain, joint, anti-inflammation, and heart function.