Thursday, September 14, 2017

Small stepping...

So lately Cliff and I have been focusing on small stepping our journey. What does that mean? Letting go of daily perfection and instead looking for the small steps that we can do daily that do not stress us out. The militant style "all in or all out" mentality doesn't serve anyone. At least I know it has not served me. Starting a "program" is nice. It outlines everything so neatly and gives me a daily to eat and to do list. I go out and get all that I need to accomplish this program goal. But it's like going back to school - the best time I have is picking out school supplies. The actual going to school..not so much. The actual following of the program - not so easy. How can this be done easier where you don't feel like a total failure every 25 days (because you barely made the 21 day challenge and now it's day 25 and all bars down).

"I just can't live this way"
"I will just be fat/unhealthy"
"Whatever, I'll get back on the wagon Monday"

What if there was a better way?

Small Steppers is a 90 day program (yes I know it's a program) but it's like none other. There's no list of things to eat to lose weight. There's no exercises you have to do every week. There's just you, defining how you want your health and life to look and then small stepping your way there. No stressful ditching of all things you love on the dreaded Monday. It's not a transformation, it's an "emerging" of your best self. The self you have lost over years of comparing yourself to others, to the ads in the Shape magazines, to the articles that offer what your lifestyle SHOULD look like, what you need to do for a living to be happy, what money brings you. Where did YOU go? How did you change under the influence? What if the chatter in your head could be changed? What if you spent some time thinking about what YOU want for a change?

Over the years since I stopped leading Weight Watchers I have been thinking about how MUCH weight loss and maintenance is dependent on your mentality. Your beliefs about yourself, about your abilities, about your traditions around food, about the chatter in your head. That's 90% of the decision. The other 10% is what is available in the house. If the good stuff is there and the mind is right the decision is easy. If the good stuff is there and the mind is not right, you go out to eat and the good stuff spoils.

We were introduced to Sid Garza-Hillman, creator of the small steppers program, at the Healthfest in Marshall, TX. He's a powerful speaker with a simple approach. His podcast "Approaching the Natural" is amusing and relaxing with his low stress approach to change. And the best part is it's effective! When you really look around you will see that walking slowly to the life you want is actually what most of the successful "losers" do. The transformation stories you read, where the person is writing 5 years after the start of their weight loss, you see that they changed little things here and there. Things they could control that didn't stress them out. Then they moved on to the next thing they could do and in time they go from unhealthy couch potato to personal trainer at the gym running marathons. They didn't become a different person, they emerged into the person they wanted to be all along. I love this approach to lifelong change and Cliff enrolled me in the course so I could see what it was like. He also went over the top and had Sid himself call me to tell me this was my birthday present from my husband!!! I know, not many men compare to this one that God gave me 😍

So I posted a picture on my Journey to Incredible health facebook page of my large waffle fry from Chicfila that I had for lunch today. (If you aren't a member of this page request it today! We share lots of great stuff and recipes on there). Point being, why did I eat fries for lunch? Isn't that the worst? No actually it's not but yes it is not necessarily healthy. I started craving these fries at 9am for no good reason. I wasn't in front of them, I didn't see a picture, I couldn't smell them. I didn't cave to an addiction. I simply wanted some fries. I ran errands and didn't really stress about them but still wanted them all the same. At 11 I hit the drive thru. I hardly ever eat fries and because of THAT and the fact that it was not an emotional eating moment, I got fries! I ate them slow and savored every bite, also noting at the end the greasy film it left in my mouth 😑. I'm not living the militant perfectionist life. There are times, many times I will say no and it's not a sacrifice anymore. It's a habit. It doesn't even bother me to say no. But today to say no would have been militant. So what if every now and then you have fries? If it's under control and not controlling you, it's life. When it becomes an addiction, an every day necessity, an emotional cure to a bad day - that's when it's controlling you and has to be diverted. But today? Today was fry day. Not to be confused with Friday which is tomorrow and will likely not include fries 😊😊 No French fry challenge..sorry y'all 😁

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Plant based Transformation from New Zealand

I love a good transformation story!  Kathryn McLean joined the Journey to Incredible Health group on facebook at the start of the year.  I had already started the first challenge that would last 3 months.  She knew she was late getting in but wanted to join so she started at the end of the first week.  The pictures above are her before and after pictures.  She doesn't enjoy getting her picture taken so it was difficult to get a before and after but I like it.  Her story and results:

She's a 56 year old mother and grandmother living in New Zealand.  She, like most of us, has had an unhealthy relationship with food.  She had some success with Weight Watchers and enjoyed the weekly support but didn't like the fact that she could still eat unhealthy.  She wanted more structure.  She wanted freedom from her emotional eating.  She wanted to look at food to nourish her body and not punish it.  With the full support of her husband she started the challenge eating only potatoes for the first few weeks.  She turned off her cravings and lost weight.  She started adding in plants, beans and whole grains.  She started meditating to work through her emotions rather than turn to food.  Here was her testimony at the close of the challenge (March 29) ((as of today she has lost a total of 26 pounds)):
This challenge has taught me many things
Some are
To stop and listen to my body
To slow down.... to meditate
To eat mindfully
To eat to nourish not feed my emotions
Among so many more.
So as I head off to long 12 hour day of the week
I weighed in
8 kilos...(17 pound) I think ))gone since I took proper notes on the 4th Feb!
And not even DIETING, no counting calories
Just filling my body with nourishing plant based food
I praise the day I came across your blog Denise Robuck Arceneaux😀
I can't thank you enough.

I love being a part of her journey.  She did all the work and I applaud her efforts.  She has changed her life and she feels GREAT!

I would love to do this for YOU!  I'm starting another challenge Monday 4/24 called "28 days to Plant Based".  We are going to not only transform your diet but knock out some fitness goals and learn to deal with emotional ties to unhealthy food.  This is NOT a weight loss challenge although you should see some change.  The point is to focus on how you feel because there is a guarantee that if you make these changes you will FEEL the change.  The weight will come off in time but it has to start in your head and if you don't address what is going on in your head you will never see lasting change.

So search groups for "Journey to Incredible Health" on Facebook.  Ask to join the group and comment on the CHALLENGE introduction post and tell us you are ready to feel better next week!!!  What do you have to lose??  It is working for Kathryn and many others and it can work for YOU!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Healthfest 2017 – Sharing the Goods

It would be impossible to share everything I learned and felt over the last weekend because it was packed full!  Doctors, athletes, animal activates, plant based chefs, normal people getting together in a small town in Texas sharing the science, experiences and their passion for saving lives from the standard American diet.  Every person who has followed a plant based diet has come away a different person.  There’s a reason for that.

Starting with Dr.McDougall.  Top 4 things I learned about him:
  1.  He was raised on a heavy animal protein, heavy dairy diet and had a massive stroke at the age of 18.  Because of that, he walks with a shuffle still to this day.  He had a cholesterol well over 300 which back then was considered normal.
  2. In the US, 1000 teenagers a year suffer from stroke.
  3. While working on a sugar plantation in Hawaii he observed the older generation free of disease, working and having kids well into their 70s.  Their diet consisted mainly of starchy plants and vegetables.  This started his journey to a starch based diet.  After following this lifestyle he dropped weight and his cholesterol went down considerably.
  4.  For 40 years he has been advocating a starchivore diet, guiding thousands of people to better health through his program.  He has a no nonsense approach that I now better understand, knowing his history.
      Dr. Garth Davis  - I posted this picture on facebook with my tribute to his work.  In case you missed
it:      Dr Garth Davis is a bariatric surgeon in Texas who has dedicated years of painstaking research to get to the truth of why his patients kept getting sicker on a high protein diet after bariatric surgery. He didn't want to believe it was the animal products but after years of digging deep into studies and understanding the funding of "alternative facts" that are published to confuse the public and make the meat and dairy industry lots of money, he concluded that a whole foods plant based diet is the optimal diet for curing chronic disease and maintaining weight loss and good health. He wrote it all in a book called Proteinaholic. When we watched Forks over Knives 4 years ago we didn't want to believe the facts. It went against everything I thought to be true about nutrition and it wasn't until I listened to Dr Garth on the Rich Roll podcast that I really got my questions answered. I could trust him. He understood the science, the studies and he didn't want it to be true but couldn't deny the results. If you are confused and want your questions answered download the podcast app and subscribe to the Rich Roll podcast and listen to the first then second interview with Dr Garth. Or you can listen online at or buy his book.
I love this picture of him pouring over the studies for 4 years.  I can't imagine!

Raw Vegan counselor, Natalie Norman ( did a great job showing the journey most people take when trying to convert to a Plant Based or Vegan diet.  I have seen myself in each stage and I understand why people get so discouraged, as most people get stuck in stage 2 which doesn’t really make you feel better or promote weight loss.

·         Stage 1 – Standard American Diet:  heavy in fried fast foods, processed meats, cheese, ice cream, pizzas, etc.
·         Stage 2 – Processed vegan junk food:  mostly cookies, crackers, vegan cheeses and frozen
·         Stage 3 -  Slightly healthier, high processed cooked vegan food:  similar to stage 2 but you are trying to do better.

Stages 2 & 3 although an improvement from the SAD they have common problems:
low nutrient density, low fiber, low water content, high fat, high oil and salt, difficulty digesting and CRAVINGS persist. 

·         Stage 4 – lowfat cooked whole foods:  beans and rice, potatoes, whole grain breads
·         Stage 5 – increasing some raw but mostly cooked:  adding in some salads and fruits
·         Stage 6 – mostly or all raw

Stages 4-6 are considered a Whole Food Plant Based diet and depending on which doctor you ask you will get their recommendation to any one of these stages.  Why the diversity?  I’m not sure.  I think it’s a personal preference.  What made them feel better, what their patients can easily adhere to and how they view the research?  

BOTTOM LINE:  Whole plants, whole grains and no oil (which rules out most processed foods)

Sid Garza-Hillman – writer, podcaster (Approaching the Natural), speaker, youtuber, health coach (
Inspiration and passion from this guy who moved to a Plant Based primarily for ethical reasons.  Now he says he ethically wants to take better care of himself.  He had bad asthma and had a hard time singing which he loved to do.  He dropped dairy and his asthma cleared up.  His outlook goes something like this:
Restriction vs Trade

Was it a restriction to get off cheese?  YES, he loved cheese, don’t we all?  Was it a restriction to go to parties and not eat the sour cream dip or cheese pizza?  Sure but what did he trade it for?  He can sing with no problem, he no longer has a problem with asthma.  What are your positive trade-offs?  What kind of life, what quality of life are you trading for your unhealthy choices?


Wait a minute!  Cheese is unhealthy?  But I thought “milk does a body good”!  Cheese is supposed to be a great protein snack!  Yea, I thought that too but then I found out why that slogan can no longer be used for their campaign.  Drinking milk meant for an animal causes an acid imbalance in our body and to counteract our body pulls calcium from our bones to offset the imbalance.  Cheese and milk has a large amount of cow pus allowed in their products, not to mention the bovine leukemia and bovine HIV virus that is found in cow’s milk that they now know infects humans.  That lecture is available here.

Adam Chaim – athlete, podcaster (the plant trainers)

Powerful story of how he went from Illness to Ironman (click on his name for his website).  He was given a 3 years to live due to a genetic disorder that grows tumors along the spinal cord.  He also had severe coronary artery disease at 37.  His wife was pregnant with their second child.  Their first child suffered from severe eczema and behavioral problems.  He read The China Study and overnight started practicing a whole foods plant based diet.  Within 8 months he no longer had coronary artery disease and his tumors started shrinking.  Finally his doctor fired him because he had reversed his genetic disorder.  He is now 43 and participating in Ironman triathlons!  Here is a shot of the arteries in his eye ball before and after a year.  This was the first sign of coronary artery disease for him.

After implementing this lifestyle with his family, their son’s eczema disappeared. 

His wife, Shoshana Chaim did a talk on helping to convert children to a better diet.  I hung onto every word as it pains me weekly to feed my picky child, Noah.  His diet has improved since there are some things I just won’t bring in the house anymore but there is still much room for improvement.  I will share her secrets next week after I put some of her methods into practice.

  1. Starches are your friend.
  2. Dairy is SO much worse than we thought
And the final day gave us a chance to race!  We trained for a 10k but only had time for a 5k.  There was a speaker we really wanted to hear!  Too much to do, so little time!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Start your own Journey - Incredible Health Challenge

A new challenge is on the horizon!  Starting Monday January 9th you can begin your own journey to a whole food plant based diet!  Maybe you have already started playing around with it.  Maybe you are just curious what a potato diet can do for you.  Want to just go all in with a plant based diet?  Now you can do it with the support and accountability that will help you to be successful!

Let me begin by saying, this journey of yours will look different from everyone else.  You may have a personality that drives you to be all in and never look back.  You might be like me and you are skeptical.  I was at first.  Cliff was crazy skeptical.  We looked over our previous blog from when we first watched Forks over Knives in 2012.  Incredibly amusing how "half in" we really were at first.  How hard it was for us to push through.  How many questions we thought we had answers to.  We were uneducated, biased to our own theories and really wanting to find fault so we could go back to the time before we watched the documentary that shook our belief that chicken was good for us.  Hello?  Chic-fil-a people!  Who wants to give that up??  And I finally found the best burger at Mugshots!  I LOVE it!  Why must I say farewell and trade it in on a veggie burger?  That's not what Weight Watchers makes me do!  So for two years we floundered around trying to eat plant based when we felt like it, continuing to read and understand more about what the documentary was talking about and finally in 2014 I settled in to really find the truth.  Strip away my bias, admit that I really don't know everything and just simply look at the evidence.  What does it really say?  What sacrifice am I willing to make, what am I willing to take out of my daily life to achieve the best health possible?  That's when I started this blog.  I went all in to find the truth and I did.  The best, healthiest, environmentally friendly lifestyle for a person to follow is the whole food plant based diet.  The evidence is just too strong.  The revolution is coming it's huge!  If you want to try it and see what the fuss is all about here is your chance!

So what is it??

  • Two groups - Spud Starters and Plant Warriors.  Spud Starters begin the challenge with a 21 day Spud only diet to keep the rules simple, get "off food" long enough to reset their taste buds and break some bad habits.  Plant Warriors dive right into a whole food plant based diet with guidelines and weekly challenges that stair step them into the lifestyle.  Each challenge builds on the next one so everything doesn't have to change all at once unless you want it to.
  • Shared recipes and support
  • Accountability - Daily check in for the first 21 days and weekly check in thereafter.  Each month is a different phase analyzing our relationship with food and practicing meditation for a healthier mind.  It's all connected!
Goal:  To go through the necessary steps to reach a clean, whole food plant based diet with tools to be successful and consistent.

Start date:  3 month challenge starting January 9th.  Additional challenges to follow throughout the year.

How to join:  Do a search on Facebook for the group "Journey to Incredible Health" and request to join.  Once approved you can go on the group page and locate the post that invites you to join the challenge and declare your group.  If you have any trouble, friend me so I can help you.  Search for Denise Robuck Arceneaux. 

Who are the Team Leaders?

Denise Arceneaux - experienced in nutrition and weight loss since it has been her life's passion for the last oh 30 years.  She has led many Weight Watcher groups and people are begging her to come back so I guess she helped a few people.  She has been plant based for 2 years with her own share of hills and valleys.  She brings experience in the psychological understanding of our relationship with food and weight loss.
Cliff Arceneaux - resident Physician's Assistant who will be involved in the science and helping people understand how this is affecting their health.  He will also be involved in helping us to remain safe with the various health concerns you may have.  He will not replace your doctor but can help you bring what you need to your doctor if you feel you need his permission to go further.
Shelly Jernigan - if you have read this blog you know her background a little.  She has been playing around with a plant based diet and has focused her research on the high carb plant based lifestyle.  She started with the Spud Fit challenge that lasted 4 months and has since moved over to include plants, much like the way we will running this challenge.  She is the leader for the Spud Starters and is paving the way before you!


Phase 1 for Spud Starters - the first 21 days are spuds, *greens and beans only for the Spud Starters.  This group will be led by your mentor, Shelly Jernigan who has successfully completed 4 months on the Spud Fit challenge.  This blog explains the Spud challenge and there are also recipes that you can find here.  A quick start guide can be found here.   As mentioned above this is the group you will want to join if you want to break some bad habits, reset your taste buds and have an easy to follow plan.  Decision fatigue is at a low.  *Greens and beans were added to this challenge to keep a good iron level among us females.
Phase 2 for Spud Starters - start adding in plants.  Potatoes can still be a good center to the diet but fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains get to be added in.  Weight loss is common in the first 21 days and it makes it hard for people to add in other foods because they are scared they will gain it back so much support will be given in this phase as well.  We will continue to attack the relationship with food as we start journaling when and why we eat.  Check in is required at least 3 times a week in this phase to remain eligible for the prize.

Phase 1 for Plant Warriors - the first 21 days are spent cleaning up the diet one meal at a time.  Each week attacks a different meal.  You can go at a slow pace if you are new to the wfpb life.  You can change just your breakfast the first week and continue eating what you want the other two meals.  Week 2 you keep a clean breakfast and start cleaning up lunch.  Week 3 you keep clean breakfast and lunch but start changing dinner.  If you have already been eating wfpb you would continue with your meals the way you have been but you follow the guidelines we set forth in cleaning up breakfast during the first week and so forth.
Phase 2 for Plant Warriors - Continue cleanup of our weekly meals, snacks and habits.  We will continue to attack the relationship with food as we start journaling when and why we eat.  Check in is required at least 3 times a week in this phase to remain eligible for the prize.

Phase 3 for both groups - Both groups should be on the same path by this point. Journaling continues so we are continuing to analyze why we choose food when we do.  Meditation will begin this month to help us understand stress and how it affects our life and food choices.  Check in is required at least 3 times a week in this phase to remain eligible for the prize.

Phase 1-3 for both groups - weekly discussion and challenges include the following topics:
  • Analysis of our relationship with food and diets
  • How to get family to understand or, at the very least, accept your decision
  • Setting proper expectations for long term success
  • How stress affects our diet and how to get a handle on it
  • Science behind the reversal of diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • Meditation and being present in the moment
  • Brain training and much more!
To be eligible for the prize at the end of the 3 months you MUST check in daily with your group during the first 21 days.  There will be a post titled "Day 1 Spud Starters" or "Day 1 Plant Warriors".  Comment on that post with a couple of lines on how you did that day.  I know people get busy and I get it so I'm not asking for a lot on a daily basis but accountability is part of the deal and the first 21 days is the hardest.  If you miss days, you definitely still in the challenge but you are out of the running for the prize. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Blood on Spuds

I know the challenge ended last week but the holidays made it near impossible to get these thoughts together.  I had my blood drawn last Monday.  I had one arm extended, my fist balled up bracing for the needle (have I mentioned that I hate needles?).  A banana in the other hand.  As soon as the blood filled the vials I ate the best banana of my life!  Then off to the Juice Bar for a Sweet Greens juice and a Superfood acai smoothie bowl.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  So good!

I know you are anxious to get your questions answered on blood sugar, protein and calcium on spuds.  A little explanation first:

The “before” blood work is what my blood looks like on a clean, whole food plant based diet.  There were a few vegan desserts prior to the challenge since we knew we were going to be depriving ourselves of these options as soon as the next day dawned.  That would explain my triglycerides…although they weren’t awful.  Also since our skin doesn’t see much sunlight in the winter, we started supplementing vitamin D on the Spud diet.

I decided to throw in the results from the last Raw food challenge so everyone can see them side by side.  For a full description of the Raw food results see this blog

Normal Range
WFPB diet
Spuds only
Raw Food Diet
HDL (happy cholesterol)
LDL (lousy cholesterol)
Triglycerides (fat floating in the blood)
Glucose (blood sugar)
Didn’t check
Iron, serum (iron in the blood)
Iron, saturation (iron stores)
Vitamin B12
Folate (folic acid)
Vitamin D
Didn’t check

So, what does all this tell us?  A whole food plant based diet, supplementing Vitamin D and B12 can give you excellent cholesterol numbers, great blood sugar, normal potassium, calcium and protein.  If you are a female you need to watch your iron.  Or at least I do.  So if you are to try the spud diet, add in spinach or beans.  On a normal clean WFPB diet my iron is fine.  Beans, greens, edamame and Grape Nuts take care of it.  I do, however, need to watch my fat intake.  This shows in the triglycerides which is the fat floating around in the blood.  So junk food vegans likely do not have great numbers with respect to their triglycerides.   And even with a clean diet, if the intake of high fat foods or desserts is increased it will show up..

This also tells us that if you have food addictions, bad habits and need a break from "food" you can sustain yourself very well on potatoes while you try to figure it out.  It was a great time for us to reflect on our relationship with food and remember that going to parties and church events can be all about the people and not all about the food.  And it can give someone a way to lose weight safely with easy to follow rules and not alot of confusion.  Guys like that.  (Cliff's blood work is coming and just to put some of you guys mind at ease, his iron was perfect.  Everything was perfect)

Now what?  Well, many of you have joined the Journey to Incredible Health group on Facebook where we have been sharing great recipes and tips for getting through the holidays.  Starting on 1/9 we will begin our very first Journey to Incredible Health Challenge.  There will be one each quarter of the new year lasting 3 months each.  A chance of winning some great prizes will be awareded to those who complete the challenge and you can join more than one!  We will be addressing the physical as well as the psychological side to food and health.  It’s not all about weight loss.  It’s about gaining a healthy body and mind. 

How do you begin?  Search on Facebook for the group “Journey to Incredible Health” and ask to join.  Once accepted you will have access to the support and accountability that goes with the challenge.  I will be posting this weekend the details of the challenge on this blog as well as the Facebook group page.  I hope you join us and make 2017 your year to start your journey to a BETTER YOU!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Spud happy recipes

Whether you are looking to do the Spud Challenge or just get some new plant based potato recipes these are some great choices.

We kept things simple most of the time but we did branch out and use some recipes to snazzy up the spuds throughout the challenge.  Some of these I have tried and some I have not yet but they are definitely on the list!


Ridiculously good Nacho cheese (topping for a baked potato or dip for baked fries)
Sweet Potato Cheese dip (can go with sweet or white potato fries or can be made with white potato if you don’t want a hint of sweet)
1 large sweet potato, baked and peel removed
1.5 cups plant milk
2/3 c nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 TB Mike’s seasoning or Lawry’s salt
1 tsp sweet curry
Blend in blender and warm in microwave or on the stove.  Can also use with home baked tortilla chips.

Mushroom Onion Potato gravy
8 dry shitake mushrooms
1.5 cups of water
1 vegan beef broth cube (like No-beef broth sold at Whole Foods)
2 TB nutritional yeast (also found at Whole Foods)
¼ c cooked white potato with peel
Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup of water for several hours.  Reserve ½ cup of water for later.  Combine all the rest of the ingredients in a blender, including the mushrooms with soaking water.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a skillet.  Use the last ½ cup water to rinse out the blender and pour into skillet.  Heat until it thickens and serve on top your favorite spud!

FRIES and Hash Puppies  (I hope I'm the one that made up that word)

Quite possibly the best fries ever

Potato Wedges
Take some precooked and cooled potatoes and cut into wedges.  Water down some mustard and add a dash of hot sauce.  Toss the wedges and bake in oven on 400 degrees until crisp

Baked Hash Puppies
Take a baked potato and smash in some spices of choice.  This can be done with sweet or white and use any seasonings you wish.  Use the cinnamon and nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice on sweet potatoes or savory spices on white.  Just Roll the ball, roll in raw shredded potato and bake in the oven on 400 until crispy and golden brown.

Leftover mashed Hash Puppies
Take any of your favorite mashed potatoes to a new level by adding a little potato starch or potato flour until they are stiff then form into balls and bake on silpat or baking stone on 400 until crispy

What about the peeling?  Can I make fries with that?  Why, yes you can:
Take the peeling and throw it on a pan or dish and sprinkle with paprika and cumin and roast for crispy fries

Other Potato dishes

Herbed Scalloped potatoes (skip the oil)
Greek Lemon Potatoes
Oven Roasted Baked Potatoes

Sweet Treats

Sweet Potato ice cream…  
Peel and roast one sweet potato on 375 until tender.  Let cool in fridge overnight.  Mix with 2 cups of almond milk in blender with 1/8 cup maple syrup.  Add cinnamon and nutmeg if desired.  Pour into a loaf pan and freeze for 12 hours then cut into squares! 

Sweet Potato Chocolate Mousse (from Spudfit book)

Sweet potatoes
Maple syrup (pure, not maple flavored sugar)
Pure vanilla extract
Cacao (or alternatively nutmeg or cinnamon)

Peel and boil a few potatoes.  Combine the maple syrup and a few drops of vanilla extract in a blender and whizz until smooth.  Then add cacao or other spices and blend.  Taste and adjust the ingredients to taste.  (A little annoying how the recipe is so vague but it was tasty!)