New 30 Day Challenge Starts Oct 8th!

Rethink Your Drink

nutrition Jul 10, 2018

It’s summer.  It’s hot.  And nothing sounds better than a cool, refreshing beverage.  There are 92 days of summer, and the choices you make on each day can make a huge impact overall.  Many drinks contain hidden calories and sugars that are all too easy to gulp down.  The worst part is, these drinks don’t make us feel satiety (or fullness); that’s why calorie-laden drinks are often considered to contain “empty” calories.  But have no fear!  Here are some drink swaps you can make each and every day to enjoy a refreshing drink while cutting back on calories.  All drinks are based on 16 ounces.

 

Swap lemonade for iced tea with lemon.

**This swap would save you 200 calories and 50 grams of sugar.  Choose this swap every day throughout the summer, and you’ll save 18,400 calories, which adds up to a 5 pound weight difference (~3500 calories = 1 pound…ish).

 

Swap soda for flavored...

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Protein Deep Dive

nutrition protein Jun 26, 2018

BBQ chicken.  A juicy steak.  Seared salmon.

Is your mouth watering yet?

These are all forms of protein, which we know is important for health.  Have you ever wondered what protein actually is and why it's so important to eat enough?

Deep Dive: Proteins are the blue-collar workers that make up the backbone of everything we do. Every function in our body is performed by chains of amino acids folded and formed in highly specific ways to form unique proteins. Proteins are the key components of cells that, when tied together, allow our body to function. Each protein is a small piece of the puzzle that makes up our muscle, hair, collagen, and even antibodies (immune system). It's everywhere! 

We are constantly breaking down protein and rebuilding it into new proteins. By doing this, we maintain what is called a positive nitrogen balance. Nitrogen is the primary chemical associated with amino acids (nitrogen = amino group). When we are in a positive...

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Why am I tired all of the time?

nutrition Jun 25, 2018

Everyone has a lazy day every once in a while.  This is healthy and normal!  But are you a person who feels tired and sluggish more often?  Four or more times a week, or maybe every day?  Sometimes fatigue is a result of too little or too much sleep, or even from dehydration.  However, when these are not the answers, the sluggishness is usually from iron deficiency.

Iron is found in all kinds of plant and animal foods, but iron from meat is better absorbed than plant-based iron.  The best sources are beef, poultry (dark meat), beans and lentils, and dark green leafy vegetables.  Iron is also added to many breakfast cereals.  With iron in so many common foods, why do people still experience iron deficiency?

Here’s what they don’t tell you: calcium competes with iron for absorption.  This means that when you eat your iron-rich breakfast cereal with a cup of milk (soy, almond, or regular), the iron isn’t being absorbed well...

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How many fruits and vegetables do you want me to eat!?

nutrition Jun 03, 2018

“Eat your fruits and vegetables!”

“Eating spinach will make you strong like Popeye!”

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

 

It’s important to eat fruits and vegetables.  This message has been told to us hundreds of times throughout our lives.  We all know it’s good for us to eat more of the green stuff (and the purple, red, orange, yellow stuff, too!).  So why is it so hard to actually do it?

 The USDA Dietary Guidelines suggests that adults eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  This is a great starting point.  However, research has shown that people receive the most health benefits by eating 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day*.  In a recent study, those who ate 10 servings per day had reduced incidence of stroke, heart disease, cancer, and premature death.  That’s a pretty good incentive to eat your fruits and veggies!  Not surprisingly, most...

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What's the Deal with Calorie Tracking?

nutrition May 16, 2018

With modern technology, there’s an app for everything.  This inevitably includes calorie trackers.  There are plenty of options out there: My Fitness Pal, My Net Diary, Lose It!, Fat Secret, and so many more.  While these apps are meant to help us, they can also hurt us.  Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of using calorie trackers:

 

Pros:

-Becoming more mindful of every food and drink choice throughout the day.

-Seeing how food and drink choices fit into your daily calorie amount.

-Getting a feel for your “typical” day.

-Using a method that is portable and easy to use.

 

Cons:

-Can become obsessive.

-Not all calorie trackers are accurate.

-Time consuming.

-Turns the eating experience into numbers and amounts.

 

So are these apps helping or hurting us?  As you can see, the answer is tricky.  There are so many great benefits from tracking calories.  The most important of these is mindfulness of food and...

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Food for the Brain

nutrition recipes snacks May 11, 2018

The beauty about food and nutrition is that most foods are functional.  This means that they serve a purpose for our bodies and our minds.  Today, we’re going to focus on food for the mind.  The ultimate brain food looks suspiciously like a brain…you guessed it: walnuts!

Walnuts contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are also found in salmon.  No need to be afraid; these are the “good” fats that protect us not only from heart disease, but from depression and dementia as well.  Eating walnuts has been linked to improving day to day brain function.  Food that tastes great and makes us smarter, too?  Sign me up!  Omega-3s are the building blocks of the brain, and our body doesn’t make them on its own.  That’s why it is so important that we get these omega-3 fatty acids from foods such as walnuts.

Walnuts also contain twice as many antioxidants than other nuts (such as peanuts and pistachios). ...

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Hiking Essentials

exercise nutrition May 08, 2018

Summer is here, and for many of us that means the weather is changing drastically!

This is honestly my favorite time of year! I love the heat, the sand, the water, and everything else in between. There's just something about the sun that makes you feel good. It's time to shake off all that winter weight and get moving!

One of my favorite things to do when it's nice out is to go hiking! I love being outside and enjoying nature in all its glory, and oh ya, getting tan is fun too ;)  

Make sure you are prepared for your hike with all the essentials.

Here are my top 5 things to bring with you on a hike:

#1: Sun Glasses

This may sound obvious, but you would be shocked at the number of people I see on the trail without sunglasses. These are so important when it comes to protecting our eyes from the sun! Even if you're wearing a hat, the brightness of the sun can still affect your eyes. Personally I would suggest investing in a good pair of polarized...

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Unmasking Superfoods

nutrition Apr 24, 2018

Here's a nutrition buzzword for you: superfoods!  We've all heard about them, but what exactly are these foods and what makes them “super”?  Superfoods are nutrient rich and pack large doses of vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and antioxidants in every bite.  Eating superfoods makes us healthier by protecting our bodies from cell damage and preventing disease, which therefore prolongs life.  These foods also help us stay healthy so our bodies can keep working day to day. So what are some common superfoods that can (and should!) be eaten every day?

Cocoa Powder

This powder tastes like chocolate but has no sugar and only 15 calories per serving (wow!).  It’s a great way to add chocolate flavor to any food (especially smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt) without the added sugar that so often comes with chocolatey foods.  Cocoa powder is a superfood because it contains flavonoids which can improve blood flow and keep the brain...

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Coffee Vs. Matcha

nutrition snacks Mar 13, 2018

Hey fitness fans!  Is it just me, or does 3pm always feel like nap time?  Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of taking a nap in the middle of the day.  This means we need to find another way to cope with the urge to catch some zzzz’s.  For many of us, caffeine is the answer to our sleepiness. But which source of caffeine should you reach for...coffee or matcha?  Is drinking these beverages considered healthy?

Here’s the good news: coffee AND matcha are good for you!  That is, if you don’t overdo it on the added cream/sugar/sweeteners.

Before we begin this debate, let's go over one thing:

What even is matcha?

Matcha is made from ground green tea leaves.  It is different from green tea made from a bag because you consume the whole leaf.  This means that you reap the benefits of the additional antioxidants and minerals that you would otherwise miss.  In fact, one cup of matcha can have as...

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The Power of Breakfast

breakfast nutrition Jan 12, 2018

Hey, ZF fans! Welcome to our first of many nutrition blog posts.  Let’s start off by talking about the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Your morning meal is important because it jump starts your metabolism, meaning your body starts burning calories for energy. Eating breakfast also provides the body with the fuel you need to go about your day.  A healthy breakfast should contain a whole grain carb (such as whole wheat toast), protein (like eggs or yogurt), and veggies.  Do you have trouble finding ways to eat veggies at breakfast?  Try making an egg scramble with some chopped bell peppers.  Do you prefer to start your day on the sweeter side?  Throw some spinach into your smoothie.  It may turn your drink green, but we promise you won’t be able to taste it when it’s mixed with naturally sweet fruit.

Too many people skip breakfast.  Think this will lead to weight loss?  Think again.  Skipping breakfast...

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