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What is Trim Healthy Mama?
Trim Healthy Mama is a healthy eating lifestyle and the brainchild of Serene Alison and Pearl Barrett, two sisters who went through much personal trial and error to come to a better understanding of the way our bodies work and react to what we put into them. The Trim Healthy Mama (THM) approach is centered around low-glycemic eating: eating food that doesn’t spike your blood sugar. (A blood sugar spike leads to many health problems as well as weight gain, so stabilizing the blood sugar leads to increased health and a healthier weight!)
WHAT IT DOES:
- Centers around protein. All THM meals look for protein first.
- Focuses on real food, not processed junk. Refined sugars and flours are out because they spike the blood sugar so readily.
WHAT IT DOESN’T:
- Cut out any major food groups. Both healthy fats and slow-burning carbs are welcome!
- Eat fats and carbs at the same time. (Unless you have no weight to lose. And children and nursing mamas need a good crossover once in awhile! That’s what we call the combination of carbs and fats in the same meal.) In order to rev up your metabolism, THM advocates eating either fats or carbs in a meal (centered around protein, of course), but not both together.
WHAT’S UP WITH THE ALPHABET LETTERS?
Trim Healthy Mama recipes/meals are categorized as follows:
- (S)atisfying – S meals focus on protein and healthy fats and keep carbs to a minimum.
- (E)nergizing – E meals focus on lean protein and healthy carbs and keep fats to a minimum.
- (F)uel (P)ull – FP meals focus on a moderate amount of lean protein and keep both fats and carbs to a minimum. They really “pull the fuels” back for a metabolism shake-up. Fuel Pull ingredients are neutral, so they can be added to either an S or an E meal! They’re your freebies. Things like non-starchy veggies, berries, spices, and low-fat dairy products fall into this category.
- Crossover (XO) – Crossover meals combine protein, carbs, and fats in the same meal. These meals are still healthy but not as weight-loss-promoting as the previous three.
THM focuses on ingredients rather than numbers (although Serene and Pearl do offer a few numbers here and there for those of you who like hard-and-fast guidelines), and you can find lists of S, E, and FP ingredients in the THM plan book. That book is your key to opening the nuances and science behind the plan, and I highly recommend that you read it – and reread it.
In case you’re wondering, all of my recipes are THM-friendly to the best of my knowledge, and with 4 years on plan, I like to think I’m decently qualified. 😉 If you see any heretical info on my website, please let me know!
HOW DO I START?
- Read the plan book. This is a non-negotiable point. If you can’t afford it, check your local library!
- Cut out flour, sugar, potatoes, white rice, corn, and their derivatives. Sprouted or fermented grains/flours are fine because they’ve been broken down to a state kinder to your blood sugar, but keep in mind that store-bought items that tout the “sprouted” label often use sprouted flours in conjunction with regular ol’ white or wheat flour. Sweet potatoes are a great carb source for an E meal, but white potatoes have a higher glycemic index so you should abstain from them. Corn can be used in very small amounts in E meals for flavor but is not recommended for weight loss (after all, corn is one of the best ways to fatten animals quickly). If you eliminate a lot of processed foods like bread, pastries, pasta, French fries, soda pop, and the like from your diet, you’re halfway there. Don’t worry – there are plenty of healthy alternatives! CLICK HERE for a big long list of helpful ingredient substitutions or look for suggestions in the THM Facebook group or on Pinterest.
- Take it one meal at a time. Sure, you can try changing everything at once, but you might get burned out with that method. A more manageable way to start is to change over one meal at a time. Try eating on plan for breakfast for a week, then add lunch, then supper. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. As you learn the way the plan works, by the time you actually get around to making sure all your suppers are THM-approved, you’ll probably have started making better choices already!
- Find healthy versions of your family’s favorite dinners instead of trying totally new recipes. This is a great way to get the whole family on board with you so you don’t have to cook two meals. Plus, it’s less daunting than leaping into totally unfamiliar territory! Most family favorites are easy to THM-ify, and you can find all kinds of healthy versions on Pinterest. You can find some of our family favorites made healthy here on my website, and my cookbook includes a lot more. CLICK HERE for a post that shows you how to THMify many family favorite entrees and side dishes!
- Give yourself grace. This way of eating is a big learning curve, but you’ll get it. Any progress is a step in the right direction!
To find out more about Trim Healthy Mama, check out their website, Facebook page, or the growing THM Facebook group. For lots of THM-friendly recipes from veteran bloggers dedicated to THM, check out the THM Blogger Test Kitchen (Unofficial) Facebook group.
To see the 5 tips from above fleshed out in more detail, check out this blog post!
Which book do I need?
This is the original book. It’s a super-thick wealth of information and recipes all in one book – all written in a sisterly chat form. This is the book I started out with because it was the only book available back in 2013! It holds a special place in my heart, but it’s not the easiest read in the world and Serene and Pearl have added info and condensed things since the first mammoth volume was released. I highly recommend reading this book eventually, but for those of you just getting started, check out the next book in line:
This is the new book detailing the Trim Healthy Mama plan in an easy-to-read format. Think THM for Dummies. There are no recipes included – just the THM plan simplified. It’s several inches thinner than the original book, so much less daunting for newbies. This is the book you need when just starting out. Trim Healthy Table, THM’s 2017 cookbook, includes a brief synopsis of the plan in its introduction, but I personally feel that a read through the Trim Healthy Mama Plan is in order for the best understanding of plan.
(Shameless plug: I have cookbooks too!)
Pages you might find helpful:
- INDEX OF THM TIPS POSTS
- SUBSTITUTION FAQs & BAKING TIPS
- INDEX OF “What’s on My Plate?” POSTS
- THM SAMPLE MENUS
- SWEETENER CONVERSION CHART
- THM QUICK START GUIDE FROM GWEN’S NEST
Popular Tips Posts:
- What My Typical Day Looks Like in Food Form
- My List of THM Staples and Where to Find Them
- Food Freedom or Gluttony?
- Do’s & Don’ts From a THM Veteran
- When You’re Overwhelmed on THM
- What to Do When the Scale Stops Moving
- My Top 10 Non-Special Ingredients for THM
- My Top 5 Most Used Special Ingredients for THM
- My Top 5 Kitchen Appliances for THM (and Why)
- “Can You THMify This?” Series
- Trim Healthy Mama Strategies That Are Working for Me!
If It’s Recipes You’re After…
- MY COMPLETE RECIPE PICTURE INDEX
- MY RECIPES BY THM FUEL TYPE, ALLERGY INFO, & THEME
- Briana’s Budget-Friendly Recipe Roundup
- Easy Breakfast Ideas for Trim Healthy Mamas
- Easy Lunch Ideas for Trim Healthy Mamas
- My Top 10 Healthy Desserts
- My Top 15 Kid-Friendly Recipes
- My Favorite 5-Ingredient Snacks & Drinks
- My Favorite 5-Minute Snacks, Drinks, Shakes & Meals
- Twenty 5-Ingredient Meals, Side Dishes & Desserts
- 10+ Dinners in 10 Ingredients or Less
- Healthy Side Dishes in 10 Ingredients or Less
- Your Favorite Fast/Convenience Foods THM-ified!
- Easy Homemade Greek Yogurt Video Tutorial
What ingredients do I need?
None! You can do this plan with what you already have in your cupboards. Nothing is required. However, you might find the plan more doable with some ingredients to help you make goodies or to replace some ingredients you’re used to cooking with. Here’s some info about some of my favorite products, and farther on down I’ll provide sources for other products as well.
- I use THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder for as many of my sweetening needs as possible. It’s the most economical natural sweetener that I know of because it’s so concentrated. Quite a few stevia extract powders have funny aftertastes, but I’ve found the THM brand to be very good-tasting and not bitter. That being said, if you’re just coming off sugar, the taste of pure stevia might take some getting used to. (You can click here for some tips for baking with stevia.) In that case, I suggest THM Gentle Sweet. It’s very gentle on your tastebuds, and has that sugary sweet taste that we all crave. A good middle-of-the-road sweetener that has become my favorite for versatility is THM Super Sweet Blend. It’s more concentrated (and more economical) than THM Gentle Sweet but less finicky than pure stevia.
- THM Baking Blend is a wonderful blend of low-carb flours. As you can read on my baking tips page, when baking with alternative flours, I recommend baking with a mixture of flours for best results. THM Baking Blend takes the guesswork out of ratios and produces a very nice baked good. I’ve formulated my own baking mix (which is nut free, unlike THM Baking Blend) that you can mix up yourself if you prefer that to ordering online. My baking mix is a little drier than THM Baking Blend, so you don’t need quite as much of it.
- Aldi and Sam’s Club are the stores where we do most of our local shopping. Veggies, dairy products, meat, canned goods – all the basics can be found at these two stores, and Aldi has even started carrying some “specialty items” like sprouted bread. Click here to see lists of what we buy at these two stores.
- If you’re around here for any length of time, you’ll quickly find out that I love ice cream. I have a whole page dedicated to ice cream equipment and ingredients, so you can click here to see that if you’re interested. Click here to see the ice cream maker I use.
Click here to check out Trim Healthy Mama’s great products, from skincare, to food products, to kitchen equipment:
Some of the Basics:
This is a general list of some basics that I try to keep updated with my current recommendations from various sources. Keep scrolling for lists of (more) products by company.
- Almond flour
- Beef gelatin
- Chia seeds
- Coconut flour
- Coconut oil
- Defatted peanut flour
- Golden flaxmeal
- Knox gelatin
- Lorann flavor oils
- Oat fiber
- Oolong tea
- Sugar-free chocolate chips
- THM Baking Blend (if you don’t want to make my baking mix)
- THM Gentle Sweet
- THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder
- THM Super Sweet Blend
- Vegetable Glycerin
- Whey protein powder
- Xanthan gum
Companies I buy from:
These are the companies I’ve found that carry a great assortment of healthy products. I’ve listed direct links to some of my favorite products below each banner, but shop around on the sites themselves to see what else they carry! (Please note that these products are not mandatory by any stretch of the imagination! I myself don’t have all of them on hand. Some I buy only every great once in awhile or ask for as birthday or Christmas gifts – because who can afford $7 chocolate chips?) Click on the banners themselves to go to the site’s homepage.
- Baking Blend
- Baking Blend (3 lb. bag)
- Baobab Boost Powder
- Butterfly Chocolate Bars (Milk)
- Butterfly Chocolate Bars (Dark)
- Cuffin Mix (Chocolate)
- Cuffin Mix (Cinnamon Spice)
- Defatted Peanut Flour
- Gentle Sweet
- Gentle Sweet (3 lb. bag) – perfect for those just coming off of sugar!
- Xylitol-Free Gentle Sweet
- Gentle Sweet Individual Packets
- Hydrates (Cherry Berry)
- Hydrates (Lemon Love)
- Hydrates (Orange Oasis)
- Hydrates (Blue Skies Colada)
- Hydrates Variety Pack
- Integral Collagen
- Integral Collagen (3 lb. bag) – great tasteless protein source for shakes and drinks!
- Just Gelatin
- MCT Oil
- Natural Burst Extract: Apricot
- Natural Burst Extract: Banana
- Natural Burst Extract: Butter
- Natural Burst Extract: Caramel
- Natural Burst Extract: Cherry
- Natural Burst Extract: Chocolate
- Natural Burst Extract: Coconut
- Natural Burst Extract: Maple
- Natural Burst Extract: Peanut Butter
- Natural Burst Extract: Pecan
- Natural Burst Extract: Pineapple
- Natural Burst Extract: Vanilla
- Natural Burst Extract: 12 Pack (All Flavors) – Note: these Natural Burst extracts are much stronger than the regular extracts you’d buy at your local grocery store, so you may only need about half of what my recipes call for if using these Natural Burst extracts instead of the Watkins brand I usually use (which I find at Walmart). Taste and adjust.
- Natural Burst Extract: Indulgent Mama 6 Pack (Butter, Caramel, Chocolate, Maple, Peanut Butter & Pecan)
- Natural Burst Extract: Tutti Fruiti Mama 6 Pack (Apricot, Banana, Cherry, Coconut, Pineapple & Vanilla)
- Oat Fiber (gluten-free)
- Pristine Whey Protein Powder
- Pristine Whey Protein Powder (3 lb. bag)
- Chocolate Pristine Whey Protein Powder
- Strawberry Pristine Whey Protein Powder
- Pure Stevia Extract Powder (1 oz.)
- Pure Stevia Extract Powder (4 oz.) – the best-tasting stevia powder on the market
- Simply Sunflower Lecithin
- Super Sweet Blend
- Super Sweet Blend (3 lb. bag) – my favorite versatile sweetener!
- Trim Healthy Chocolate Chips (8 oz.)
- Trim Healthy Chocolate Chips (16 oz.)
- Trim Healthy Noodles
- Trim Healthy Nutritional Yeast
- Trim Healthy Rice
- The Troodle – for making veggie noodles
- Whole Husk Psyllium Flakes
TOP SKINCARE & HERBAL PRODUCTS:
- CLICK HERE to see all the Trim Healthy Naturals skincare products.
- CLICK HERE to see all the Trim Healthy Mama hemp products. (Do your own research on this products before deciding whether they’re right for you or not. I have not personally tried them and am not necessarily endorsing them, but I know that many of my readers appreciate them.)
- Absolute Gourmet Skin Food Collection
- All Natural Coconut Lip Balm
- All Natural Good Girl Moonshine Lip Balm
- All Natural Orange Lip Balm
- Bountiful Balm Multi-Purpose Skin Fix
- Cinnamint Aromatherapy Spray
- Coconut Dream Hydrating Cream
- Coconut Dream Lotion
- Double Delish Spearmint Lotion
- Feminine Balance (do your own research on this – well, on everything, but especially this)
- Happy Day Citrus Aromatherapy Spray
- Hippie Stick (Scented) – all natural deoderant
- Kit Clear – acne and blemish treatment
- Orange Silk Hydrating Cream – the most amazing thing you’ll ever put on your face
- Orange Silk Lotion
- Rose and Baobab Anti-Aging Cream (aka “The Fountain”)
- The Spung – a deep cleansing facial exfoliator
ACCESSORIES & WORKOUTS:
- CLICK HERE to see all Trim Healthy Mama’s accessories – such as water bottles, t-shirts, and bumper stickers – as well as workout products!.
- CLICK HERE to see all Trim Healthy Mama’s books.
- Workins DVD Exercise and Healing Program Set
- Almond flour – I don’t usually use almond flour because of its price, but I like to have a little bit on hand for use in crust recipes.
- Almond flour in bulk
- Chia seeds
- Coconut flour
- Defatted peanut flour – It’s peanut butter without the calories! Full of protein and peanut flavor but with very little fat.
- Erythritol – Like xylitol, erythritol measures like sugar, but it has a peculiar cooling sensation and I personally don’t care for it.
- Glucomannan – a natural thickener that I use in shakes and ice cream
- Golden flaxmeal – We usually make our own flaxmeal by grinding golden flax seeds in a coffee grinder, but if you don’t want to take the extra step, here’s the pre-ground option. Definitely use golden flaxmeal, not the stuff made from dark flaxseeds (which have a much stronger flavor). Flaxmeal can have a noticeable flavor when used on its own, but I like to use it in combination with other flours.
- Collagen – This is a great non-dairy protein powder, and the cool thing is that it’s tasteless.
- Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup – This brand is sweetened mostly with erythritol. We find it at our local grocery store.
- Instant yeast – for use in my bread recipes
- Knox gelatin in bulk – CLICK HERE for a gelatin comparison post I did.
- Lily’s stevia-sweetened chocolate – Other sellers often have this for a better price (such as Netrition). Expensive, yes, but good.
- Liquid aminos
- Lorann Chocolate Hazelnut flavor oil – I like to use this in iced coffee!
- Lorann Royal Raspberry flavor oil – Italian Cream Soda flavoring!
- Nutiva coconut oil – When Sam’s Club starting carrying a different brand of coconut oil that didn’t taste good, we turned to Amazon. I LOVE this brand of coconut oil! No coconut taste – no odd taste whatsoever – very creamy texture.
- Nutritional yeast – adds great flavor to soups, and some people use it as a non-dairy “cheese” taste
- Oolong tea – This tea is great at revving the metabolism.
- Orange essential oil (NOW brand)
- Pascha allergy-friendly 85% chocolate bars – If you’re allergic to other brands you may want to check this one out.
- Peppermint essential oil (NOW brand)
- Protein powder – While Swanson brand protein powder is no longer recommended for THM due to its switch from protein isolate to protein concentrate, I still use it because the nutritional info barely changed and it tastes better than any protein powder I’ve tried. Also, it’s affordable. We usually buy it from Swanson Vitamins when they run sales.
- Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning – We buy this from our local grocery store, but if you can’t find it, get it online!
- Trim Healthy Mama brand products – available with Prime on Amazon!
- Vegetable glycerin – for ice cream – CLICK HERE for details.
- Xanthan gum – This is a natural thickener similar to glucomannan, but I like it for things like gravies and sauces as well as baking. You can interchange xanthan gum and glucomannan in a 1:1 ratio for the most part, but I do have slight preferences of one over the other in certain situations.
- Xylitol – This is a low-glycemic sweetener that measures like sugar. It can cause some digestive upset in people who aren’t used to it, so start in small quantities. Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Despite its drawbacks, it tastes great.
- 9″ cake pans
- 10″ spring-form cheesecake pan
- Bosch mixer – This comes in handy for making Homemade Bread.
- Classic waffle maker
- Coffee grinder – This is great for grinding small amounts of flours or spices. Or coffee beans.
- Cookie scoop (one tablespoon)
- Cuisinart 1 1/2 qt. Automatic Ice Cream Churn – This is the ice cream churn we’ve been using for several years and love!
- Electric skillet
- Hand mixer – necessary for any small baking projects
- Immersion blender – This is great for sauces and gravies! No need to worry about causing a pressure buildup because of blending hot liquids in a sealed blender.
- Instant Pot – This is the newest online sensation, but I haven’t used one yet. I just don’t need another appliance!
- Ninja Kitchen System – We used this for a few years and it’s a good blender, but it gave up the ghost so we bought a refurbished Vitamix, which I prefer.
- Nutribullet blender – great for single-serve shakes
- Offset frosting spreader
- Popsicle molds
- Silicone baking mats
- Slow cooker
- Vitamix blender (5300 Certified Refurbished) – The Vitamix definitely blends smoother than the Ninja, but it costs more. However, it comes with a 5 year warranty and the option to add an extra 3 year warranty, which we did. So now we have a guaranteed good blender for 8 years, versus the 3 years that the Ninja lasted. We use this blender for regular blender purposes as well as grinding oat flour and flaxmeal as well as coffee beans.
Swanson offers free shipping on orders of $50 or more and often has great sales going on! This is where I buy my whey protein powder (see note below).
CLICK HERE to see a list of all the THM products from Swanson Vitamins.
- Almond flour – I don’t usually use almond flour because of its price, but I like to have a little bit on hand for use in crust recipes.
- Black chia seeds
- Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning
- Bragg liquid aminos
- Coconut aminos
- Coconut flour (3 lb.)
- Erythritol (2.5 lb.) – Like xylitol, erythritol measures like sugar, but it has a peculiar cooling sensation and I personally don’t care for it.
- Finely-shredded unsweetened coconut
- Glucomannan – a natural thickener that I use in shakes and ice cream
- Gluten-free oat flour
- Golden flaxmeal
- Great Lakes beef gelatin
- Great Lakes collagen
- Let’s Do Organic finely-shredded coconut (unsweetened, reduced fat) – I use this in a few of my recipes.
- MCT oil
- Oat flour – We grind our own oat flour in our Vitamix blender or coffee grinder, but here’s a pre-ground option if you prefer.
- Oolong tea (100 ct.) – This tea is great at revving the metabolism.
- Swerve Granular Sweetener
- Swerve Confectioner Sweetener
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Whey protein powder – While Swanson brand protein powder is no longer recommended for THM due to its switch from protein isolate to protein concentrate, I still use it because the nutritional info barely changed and it tastes better than any protein powder I’ve tried. Also, it’s affordable. We often buy it from Swanson Vitamins when they run sales so we can get 15% off plus free shipping!
- Xanthan gum – This is another natural thickener (similar to glucomannan), but I like it for things like gravies and sauces as well as baking. You can interchange xanthan gum and glucomannan in a 1:1 ratio for the most part, but I do have slight preferences of one over the other in certain situations.
- Xylitol (3 lb.) – This is a low-glycemic sweetener that measures like sugar. It can cause some digestive upset in people who aren’t used to it, so start in small quantities. Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Despite its drawbacks, it tastes great.
- Xylitol-sweetened gum
- Xylitol-sweetened mints
If you purchase collagen and gelatin directly from Great Lakes you can receive some pretty awesome bulk discounts as well as free shipping on various offers! CLICK HERE for more buying options and to see an exhaustive list of Great Lakes products.
- Great Lakes Collagen (options for 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 packs!)
- Great Lakes Collagen (8 lb. bag) – If you’re willing to make the up front investment and buy in bulk, you can get this amazing collagen for a better price!
- Convenient Collagen Packets – These are great to stick in your purse for on-the-go protein. Stir it into a coffee or tea from a fast-food joint.
- Great Lakes Beef Gelatin (options for 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 packs!)
Netrition is my go-to for oat fiber!
- Defatted peanut flour – This is my favorite brand.
- Joseph’s lavash bread and pitas – We buy these locally, but Netrition is a good source if you can’t find them at Walmart or Publix.
- Lily’s Sweets chocolate products
- Lily’s sugar-free chocolate chips – Ask for these for Christmas or your birthday!
- LorAnn flavor oils – A little goes a long way, and there are so many cool flavor options! Use them in ice cream, shakes, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt.
- Oat fiber – This is my favorite brand of oat fiber, and we make routine orders to Netrition for this.
iHerb offers many similar products to Swanson. If you put my referral code HLG949 in at checkout, you’ll automatically receive 5% off your order!
Lakanto is home to a monk fruit sweetener that is acceptable for use on the Trim Healthy Mama plan! Some mamas have found that they tolerate monk fruit sweetener better than stevia, either because they prefer the taste of monk fruit or because they have an allergy to stevia. Lakanto’s 1:1 sweetener is made from a combination of erythritol and monk fruit extract, and the company also carries monk fruit extract that is super concentrated. Lakanto carries some other products that feature their sweetener, such as maple-flavored syrup and a low-glycemic version of Nutella! CLICK HERE to see the full range of products.
- Suntella: Sugar Free Chocolate Spread (I prefer things less sweet than most people do and found this to be overly sweet for my palate, but I kept going back to it with a spoon when I wanted something sweet so I guess it was actually pretty good….)
- Classic Monkfruit 1:1 Sugar Substitute (I’ve tried this and found it to have a pleasant taste.)
- Classic Monkfruit Powdered 2:1 Sugar Substitute
- Golden Monkfruit 1:1 Sugar Substitute (a brown sugar alternative)
- Pure Monkfruit 30% Extract (150x sweeter than sugar)
- Pure Monkfruit 50% Extract (3oox sweeter than sugar)
- Sugar Free Chocolate Bars
- Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
- Sugar Free Maple Syrup (This is a good option if you want something with pure ingredients but don’t want to make your own! I personally like my homemade recipes in my cookbooks just as well or better. Again, I prefer my stuff not so sweet.)
NOTE: Not all of the Lakanto products are THM-friendly, such as their pancake mix and brownie mix. The sweeteners they carry are on plan. I believe some of their other products are acceptable on plan as well, but do your own research and do a search in the main THM Facebook group if you want clarification on a specific product.