Welcome to the launch of my PhytoFitNewsletter. You are receiving this email because you added your name to the Phytofit Recipe Club at an event earlier this year (Dr. Michael Klaper), or you have attended one of my Food for Lifecommunity, corporate or virtual classes over the past several years. (See Upcoming Classes)

I’m Debbie Zimmerman, a nationally certified Lifestyle and Health Coach with specializations in weight management and plant-based nutrition. I am a licensed Food for Life instructor through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. As a corporate wellness practitioner with 30 years of experience, I have always encouraged employees and clients to make their health a priority. The name of my business is Phytofit, LLC. Services include Lifestyle and Health Coaching; Food for Life programs either virtually or in person; transitioning to a plant-based nutritional plan; weight management; personal cooking and instruction; personal training; motivational speaking; and, corporate wellness program development and enhancement.

Did you know that at least 80% of good health is due to the foods we consume? PhytofitRecipes will provide you with tasty and nutrient-dense whole food, plant-based (WFPB) recipes that are easy to make and your family will enjoy. Other components of good health include lifestyle factors such as exercise, stress management, mindfulness and quality sleep. The more WFPB meals you eat and the more lifestyle practices you embrace, the more vibrant your health! I hope to eventually bring all of these components together through the PhytoFit Newsletter.

There is no better time to launch the Phytofit Recipe Club. Fall provides a bounty of seasonal produce. This week I feature those wonderful pumpkins we are beginning to see in local stores. I’m referring to pie pumpkins—the smaller, sweeter pumpkins, which are cousins to the larger carving pumpkins. Pie pumpkins, which come in orange and white varieties, are great for cooking and baking. Packed with beta carotene, an antioxidant found in orange-colored fruits and vegetables, pumpkins can help in the fight against heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. (Source: Medical News Today)



The recipe I prepared and am sharing is Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins. If you don’t want to prep and bake the “pie pumpkin,” just use canned pumpkin. Deliciously moist and bursting with vital nutrients and fiber, these muffins will be a delight at breakfast or dessert. I’m sure your whole family will love it!

I hope you will enjoy this new journey with me as I launch the Phytofit Newsletterand see why a whole food, plant-based lifestyle provides optimal health and vitality.

Coming soon: The Phytofit Holiday Recipe Guide



4-Week Series: Food for Life Your Body In Balance Online Nutrition and Cooking Classes.
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Debbie Zimmerman

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Servings: 12 muffins


1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups whole wheat flour

1-1/4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice* (see below)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground flax meal

1/2 cup plant-based milk (soy, almond, oat, etc.)

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1-1/2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin puree (not canned pumpkin pie)

3/4 cup chopped dates

1/3 cup organic maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with parchment paper.


  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. After sifting, add your ground flaxseeds to dry ingredients.
  • In a blender, puree plant-based milk, pumpkin, applesauce, chopped dates, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  • Fold the pureed pumpkin mixture in with the dry chocolate flour mixture.
  • Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the center of the muffin to check for doneness.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes and remove from the pan. Enjoy


Serving size: 1 muffin

Nutrition: Calories: 146; Carbs: 31g; Fat: 1; Protein: 4g; Sodium: 115mg; Sugar: 8g; Fiber: 5g

Click Here to Print Recipe

*Make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice:



1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix well and enjoy on your seasonal favorites.