Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!

14 “Healthy” Foods You’ve Been Lied To About

via Erin La Rosa – BuzzFeed

1. Dried fruit

Dried fruit

This is tough, because, yes — it’s a fruit, and it has things like fiber. But because it’s dried, it also has at least three times the calories of fresh fruit. And usually some added sugar, along with sulfur to keep it preserved. (Just as an example, a bag of banana chips has 20% more fat and three times the calories as a fresh banana.)

2. Reduced-fat peanut butter

Reduced-fat peanut butter

Like most things that are reduced-fat, they make up for it with added sugar — which doesn’t make anything healthier.

On the Skippy reduced-fat peanut butter, it weighs in with 12g of fat, 180 calories, and 4g of sugar. While the regular super chunk is 190 calories, 16g of fat, and 3g of sugar.

3. Energy bars

Energy bars

Whether you use them post-workout, or as a meal replacement, most energy bars are filled with enough saturated fats, sugar, and oils to make it equivalent to eating a candy bar. (For example, calorie wise a PowerbarProtein Plus Chocolate Brownie energy bar has 360 calories, while a Snickers has 250 calories.)

Unless you’re doing a super high energy workout, there’s no need to chow down on bars loaded with protein. But if you’re looking for the best and worst kinds, Well and Good has a fantastic list.

4. Veggie burgers

Veggie burgers

A recent study by the Cornucopia Institute found that the soy in most veggie burgers, and other soy-based products, like nutrition bars) is made with hexane.

Hexane is a by-product of gasoline, and is not only harmful to humans but also the environment. Some brands that are hexane-free include Helen’s Kitchen, Wildwood, and Boca if it has the “made with organic soy” label.

5. Microwaveable popcorn

Microwaveable popcorn

Ever heard of popcorn lung? It’s a severe lung condition that factory workers can get when they’re exposed to a chemical in popcorn called diacetyl.

To be fair, diacetyl occurs naturally in plenty of foods, and in most dairy products. But when you microwave popcorn, the fumes fill your home and lungs. That being said, you’d have to eat a lot of microwave popcorn to develop pocorn lung, but tosave yourself the worry it’s best to put kernels on the stove and pop them yourself.

6. Sports drinks

Sports drinks

One bottle of Gatorade will cost you 130 calories, and 34 grams of sugar, which is about 8.3 teaspoons of sugar. Which, if you’re in the middle of a high-energy sport, is fine. But unless you’ve just finished playing a soccer game, you should skip the empty calories and carbs.

7. Granola


Oh, granola! With your oats, nuts, and dried fruits, you seem so healthy. And yet … it’s so not.

That’s because even though oats are high in fiber and iron, and nuts have those heart-healthy fats, there are usually loads of calories and hidden sugars. To avoid them, the best method is to cook your own granola, or be savvy when it comes to labels. (Check the sugar, fillers, oils, and portion size.)

8. Fat-free yogurt

Fat-free yogurt

Fat is not the enemy. Your body needs it to function properly, absorb vitamins, and regulate your hormones.

And when something is labeled “fat-free,” it means that in order to compensate for the loss of fat, it’s likely sprinkled with sodium, sugar, and chemicals to help mimic that full-fat taste. Go for Greek yogurt instead!

9. Wheat bread

Wheat bread

Not all wheat bread is bad, but you’ve got to look for the right stuff. Most breads labeled “whole wheat” or “multi-grain” are made with refined grains, so you’re not actually seeing those nutrients in the whole grain. Make sure to check the label closely and if you see the words “bleached” or “unbleached enriched wheat flour,” then run away.

10. Bran muffins

Bran muffins

OK, to be fair to bran, it does have benefits: it’s rich in fiber, omega, starch, protein, vitamins and dietary minerals.

But bran muffins are often made with butter and oil, and served in large portions, so that the nutritional benefits become void. A Dunkin Donuts honey bran raisin muffin, for example, has 440 calories, 40g of sugar, and 13g of fat, compared to a chocolate frosted donut, which has 270 calories, 13g of sugar, and 15g of fat.

11. Protein shakes

Protein shakes

Research by the University of Western Ontario in Canada has shown that people who exercise need between .8 grams and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. And when you add more protein than your body uses, it will be stored as fat.

The basic point is that your body probably doesn’t need the added protein that a shake provides — they can add as much as 200 grams or 300 grams of protein a day — and high-protein diets can also lead to things like bone loss and kidney damage.

12. Packaged and sliced turkey

Packaged and sliced turkey

Don’t get me wrong, turkey is great when it comes to lean protein. But a lot ofpackaged turkey slices are filled with excess sodium. Look for brands with less than 350 milligrams of sodium per 2-oz. serving.

13. Applesauce


This is a classic case of: it has “apple” in the name, so that means it’s healthy … right? Well, while applesauce certainly won’t kill you, it’s definitely not as healthy as a regular apple. A cup of chopped apples with the skin has 35% fewer calories and 10% more fiber than a cup of unsweetened applesauce.

14. Chewable vitamin C

Chewable vitamin C

It’s been reported that chewable vitamin C can lead to severe dental erosion. That’s because vitamin C has a compound known as ascorbic acid, which is more acidic than sugar.

To keep your teeth safe, look for a form of vitamin C called buffered vitamin C. The buffered version is pH-neutral, are not acidic in nature. They’re nit as tasty as the regular kind, but it won’t send you to the dentist with cavities either.

Baked Potato Chips

via Oprah.com

baked potato chips

he secret is finally out of the bag: Homemade potato chips baked with a hint of olive oil have a crisper snap and are simply more potatoey tasting than store-bought. When they’re served with a phenomenal Parmesan cheese, herb, and garlic dip, we guarantee no one will eat just one.

Note: For this recipe, you will need a food processor with a thin slicing blade or a mandolin.

Serves 8


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds large baking potatoes, scrubbed
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven to 350°. Slice potatoes lengthwise very thin (about 1/16 inch).

Brush 2 baking sheets with 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil each. Rub garlic over surface, pressing hard to extract as much garlic juice as possible. Place baking sheets in oven to warm for 5 minutes.

Place potato slices side by side on hot baking sheets. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake 7 to 10 minutes, rotate pans (for even browning), and bake another 10 to 15 minutes.

Flip potatoes and bake 5 minutes longer or until golden. Remove and cool on paper towels. Repeat with remaining potato slices. Eat warm or store in airtight container. Serve with herb-and-cheese dip.

The Journey To 26.2

via Sheena Dinga – AVAC


Working out has never been something that I look forward to nor has it been a part of my daily routine. Yes, going for a hike or walking the 2 miles to work has always been something I have enjoyed doing, but as soon as I realize it is exercise, it always seemed less fun.  I have never had the problem of worrying about gaining weight because I was blessed with good genes and a fast metabolism. Yes, yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking, “I feel so sorry for you” (sarcastic tone), but can I tell you what a wake-up call it was when I turned 28 and I started noticing that my mom’s genes were wearing off and my dad’s genes were starting to kick in. I had to start making myself do something that I spent my whole life dreading… working out.

I didn’t quite know where I wanted to start. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know what to do. I have worked at a gym for my entire life and most of my friends are very active and I have tagged along on some great adventures. Ok there’s a start.

1. Find Motivation

Figuring out what activity would make me most happy and feel most accomplished was not an easy task. I had to find something that didn’t cost much and would fit into my spotty schedule. Then, I started hearing about some of the upcoming races like Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race and began to remember how much I loved doing them and the excitement it gave me to be a part of the crowd at the starting line. Recently moving back to San Jose I started to look up the different races that go on around the bay area and hence found my motivation. So on to the next step…

2. Start running

I had recently joined the newly formed AVAC Street Team, which is a group of employees that gets together to plan ways to get AVAC out into the community. We go to runs and health fairs and other events to offer our knowledge and support and I thought, what a great way to start my endeavor…I will create a run club. So I did.

Having accountability when getting started is always an important factor. Creating the run club was perfect. I had to commit to showing up and running every Saturday morning at 7am. For the first couple weeks it was just me. But then I had some fellow co-workers show up and it became more interesting. Vanessa and Kristina were consistent participants in the run club and together we started meeting up an extra 2 days a week. Ok so I found my buddies and an outlet to make myself start running. So what’s next..?

3. Create a goal

I became better, stronger and less tired after the 3 and 4 mile runs we did over the months and ended up signing up for a good amount of races. Let’s see the Rock and Roll -5 miler, the Turkey Trot, the Santa Run, the Blacklight Run, I even signed up for the Santa Cruz Half  this April and (drum roll please) the Surfers Path Marathon!!! Yes that’s right on May 18th I will officially join the Marathon club and I am so proud to say it! I never thought I would be in a place where 26 miles didn’t scare me. The 18 weeks of training has been and I’m sure will continue to be a rush.

Now I can’t wait to go to run club every Saturday and especially to see myself cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles.

*Come Join us at AVAC on Satudays @ 7am for Run Club. Bring a friend or your family! I want to motivate everyone to reach a goal they didn’t know they had or to just help you start your day off right. Who knows maybe I will see you at the Surfers Path Half or Full Marathon. The AVAC family will be there to support you!

10 Paleo Cookie Recipes That Will Blow Your Mind

via Donyel Meese – BuzzFeed

1. Almond Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze

Almond Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze

civilizedcavemancooking.com / Via Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations

Get in my tummy. Recipe here.

2. Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

Via PaleOMG

So, Julie from PaleOMG is kind of a goddess in the kitchen. Recipe here

3. Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

thekoshercavegirl.com / Via The Kosher Cave Girl

Sweet with an added crunch. Is there anything better? Recipe here.

4. Iced Sugar Cookies

Iced Sugar Cookies

Via Against All Grain

Just in time to impress your sweetie for Valentine’s Day. Recipe here.

5. Thumbprint Cookies With Vanilla Creme Filling

Thumbprint Cookies With Vanilla Creme Filling

againstallgrain.com / Via Empowered Sustenance

I could sit down with the bowl of vanilla creme and a spoon. Oh— and the cookies are pretty wonderful too. Recipe here.

6. Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

againstallgrain.com / Via Against All Grain

Chocolate + Hazelnut. Nothing more needs to be said. Recipe here.

7. Pumpkin Iced Sugar Cookies

Pumpkin Iced Sugar Cookies

thekoshercavegirl.com / Via The Kosher Cave Girl

It’s never too late for another pumpkin recipe…. right? Recipe here.

8. Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

Via Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations

And while we’re on the subject of pumpkin…. Recipe here.

9. Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Via Fed And Fit

The gooey chocolate just melts in your mouth. Recipe here.

10. Double Chocolate Mocha Biscotti

Double Chocolate Mocha Biscotti

elanaspantry.com / Via Elana’s Pantry

Crunchy and crumbly and best dunked in a hot cup of coffee. Recipe here.

DIY Infused Olive Oil

via Eldy’s Pocket

infused olive oil

This really couldn’t have been any easier.  The entire project (if you can even call it that) took about 10 minutes.  I decided to make 3 different types of infused olive oils: jalapeño lime, rosemary garlic and lemon black pepper.  Before starting be sure to clean our your containers and wash all of your ingredients and let them dry completely. This is critical because moisture may allow for bacteria to grow.  I washed my containers and ingredients and let it air dry for 24 hours.

Once everything is completely dry it is as simple as adding the ingredients and pouring the olive oil over it in the container. The olive oil works to preserve whatever you decide to include. You can use the olive oil right away but letting the mixture sit about 2 weeks will allow the ingredients to infuse properly.

My favorite has to be the jalapeño lime. It doesn’t pack much heat but it has a great after taste. The rosemary garlic oil also has a ton of flavor.  I’m not sure if I would make another batch of the lemon pepper though because the flavors didn’t come through as much as I would have liked.  The possibilities are endless. These make a great hostess gift and are super easy to prepare with short notice. I had all of the ingredients on hand already. The only thing I had to do was pick up the olive oil containers.