Yes, I train elite, high level professional combat athletes…and I also like to bake. While some folks may poke fun at my joy of cooking and baking, I like to look at it as more of a well-rounded balance of interests…

Growing up back in the Boston area, fall was always my favorite time of year. Aside from soccer season and the leaves changing, it meant it was baking season. Pumpkin and different squash varieties are some of my favorite foods to work with. Most folks equate this fall/holiday season with unhealthy cooking and eating. That may be the case for most, however, baking and eating this time of year does not have to add inches to the waistline.

pumpkinthe almighty pumpkin

Here are a couple recipes I’ve gotten from fellow health-conscious folks and they are delicious!

1. Pumpkin Bread
I’ve been using this recipe for over a year now…it was my go-to gift at every holiday party I went to last year…and probably will be this year as well. I first read about it last year on Neghar Fonooni’s blog. I made a few minor revisions based on my own tastes and what I had available…that’s the beauty of baking.

Check out the recipe HERE.


breadcreating the masterpiece

done!just out of the oven

yumadd a dollop of coconut oil or grass-fed butter and enjoy


2. Raw Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Macaroons
I first learned about this recipe during Sean Croxton’sReal Food Con‘ online event earlier this year. It was created by George Bryant aka the Civilized Caveman. He’s got a ton of great recipes and I highly recommend you check out his site.

Technically, there is no baking involved here…throw the ingredients in a bowl, mix, shape, put in the fridge for 20 minutes and you’re good to go. I may or may not have eaten the whole batch in one sitting…

You can check out the recipe from George’s site HERE. Simple and delicious.

macaroons - beforebefore

macaroons - afterafter


3. Pumpkin Blueberry Pancakes
This last one is actually my creation. I’ve seen countless pancake recipes over the years and this is a collection of a few of my favorites. Each time I will play around with some of the ingredients and serving sizes to bring out some different flavors. Here are the basics:

1/4 cup organic coconut flour
1/4 cup organic pumpkin puree (generous amount)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder
4 local eggs
1/2 teaspoon raw honey (local is best)
Add a pinch or two of:
~ baking soda
~ sea salt
~ nutmeg
Add a splash or two of:
~ coconut milk
~ organic virgin coconut oil
Optional, but highly recommended:
~ handful of blueberries
~ handful of walnuts

*Personally, I eat with a spoonful of grass-fed butter, but I suppose you could go with organic maple syrup too.

pancake prepthe batter

pumpkin pancakesthe finished product

 In closing, pumpkin rules. Aside from being a healthy food (fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and more), they are clearly extremely versatile and taste amazing.

About Doug Balzarini
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

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