Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!

5 Easy Tips to Make Your Green Smoothies Better

Adapted from simplegreensmoothies.com

1) Blend in stages to avoid leafy chunks. [I personally think this one is the most important!] Chewing your green smoothie is no fun! To get a “smooth” green smoothie experience, blend up your leafy greens and liquid-base first. Then add your remaining fruits and blend again.

2) Follow the 60/40 formula. When you’re making your first few green smoothies, don’t just throw things in the blender. Chances are, it’ll taste nasty if you wing it right out of the gate. Use the 60% fruit/40% greens rule.  Add chia seeds and/or some protein powder to round out your 60/40 formula, and voila! You’ve just created the perfect meal.

3) Freeze your fruits & forego the ice. Want your green smoothie to be extra chilly? Freeze your favorite fruits like ripe bananas, grapes, pineapple or berries. This is also a great way to not waste ripe fruits (like those brown bananas on your counter). You can also freeze your leafy greens in a freezer-safe bag. Just make sure to add your frozen greens straight to the blender (don’t defrost these fragile lil’ guys).

4) Avoid juices and artificial sweetners. Add naturally sweet fruits to any smoothie that tastes bitter or a bit too “green.” By sticking with naturally sweet fruits like bananas, mango, apples, pears or pitted date, we can easily avoid artificial sweeteners and processed sugars. The healthiest bases use filtered water or your favorite milk substitute.

5) Make smoothies ahead for the perfect fast food. Life can get crazy busy— especially in the morning. That’s why we think green smoothies are the healthiest fast food for people who are constantly on the go. You can prep your green smoothies and blend the night before and store it in your fridge (up to 2 days). Use an airtight lid to limit oxidation and keep it as fresh as possible. When ready to drink, give it a good shake before you open.

Daily Burn has some great GREEN smoothies that you can try at home.


Let Us Help You LOVE Your Liver!

Members and Guests are invited to join us at the upcoming “Love Your Liver Detox” beginning February 13 at AVAC®. A 14-day detox including a ‘pre-cleanse’ week to slowly wean off forbidden foods. An ideal way take charge of your health in 2017!

via – Laura Hsu, AVAC® Nutritionist


Happy New Year! With the holidays behind us, and all the indulgent eating and drinking that went along with them, many of us are looking to reset our eating habits, start the new year on the right foot nutritionally, and let go of some not-so-healthy habits.

How Do I Do This? One way to kick-start your way to better eating is to participate in a gentle, safe cleanse or detox. During a detox, many common allergenic foods, as well as food bandits (foods that have no nutritional value but rob our body of stored nutrients, such as processed foods and refined sugars) are eliminated for 2 – 3 weeks. Foods to add include healthy whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, non-glutinous grains, nuts and seeds, clean proteins such as hormone-free chicken, grass-fed beef, cold-water fish and organic eggs, as well as healthy fats. During the cleanse, breakfast and lunch are replaced with a protein shake that contains liver-supporting nutrients as well as vitamins and minerals, and dinner is a healthy, balanced meal. Some choose to have their meal at midday and have the shake in the morning and evening. Healthy snacks are encouraged.

Why Detox? We live in a different world than generations before us. Today’s industrialized world exposes us to more chemicals, drugs, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and food additives than ever before. The body has amazing processes and organs for detoxification, but as the total body load increases, our detox mechanisms may not be able to keep up. Obviously, we cannot eliminate our chemical environment overnight, but we can minimize exposure to chemicals and additives in our food, water and skin care products. Choosing the right foods and adding liver-supporting nutrients can go a long way to reducing the burden on our liver and detox systems.

Invaluable Tips: Whether you participate in a formal detox or not, below are some tips for adopting healthy habits this new year and help improve the elimination of toxins:

  • Drink water (6-8 cups per day, or half your body weight in ounces)
  • Exercise to help you sweat regularly and improve lymph flow
  • Increase fiber intake to help with elimination and gut health (high-fiber foods include beans, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds)
  • Eat more fermented and/or cultured foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and yogurt to proliferate healthy gut bacteria
  • Include foods that help the liver detoxify, such as beets, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, etc), lemon, and sulfur-containing foods such as onion, garlic and eggs. Botanicals such as milk thistle are also wonderful for the liver.

Sign Up For More! For those looking for a guided detox with extra support and nutrition advice along the way, I’m hosting a detox from Designs for Health beginning on February 13. This is a 14-day detox, but we are adding a pre-cleanse week to slowly wean off forbidden foods such as sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten and dairy. We would love to have you join us, and your liver will thank you!

Visit www.avac.us/Nutrition for more information and to register.

In good health

-Laura Hsu, N.C. • AVAC® Nutritionist • LHsu@avac.us

Will This Diet Become the Standard?

via – Outside.com

Vegans Will Own the Podium

Why ultrarunners, climbers, and NFL linemen are turning to plant power

Vegans Will Own the Podium

More athletes, from runners to basketball players, are considering vegetarian or vegan diets. Photo: Katherine Diemert

More and more pro athletes are going vegan. But can their plant- based diet really allow anyone to perform at their best?

Have You Tried One of These 13 Expert-Recommended Ideas?

They literally take 10 minutes or less to make. And we know you’ll find one you love!

via – Greatist.com
All photos via Greatist.com

In an ideal world, we’d always have plenty of time to whip up and savor a gourmet meal. But in the real world, we often take what we can get and scarf it down in record time.

Luckily, making quick meals doesn’t mean we have to opt for processed, high-calorie food. If anyone knows how to make healthy food fast, it’s the world’s top (read: crazy busy) health experts. Check out their go-to 10-minute recipes.

1. Chia Seed Pudding

“I wake up super early as a trainer, so it’s always kind of a rush. But I want to be sure I get a complete meal (i.e. not a shake).” — Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness

Ingredients: 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk, dash of cinnamon, fruit of choice

Directions: Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate for 10 minutes, and garnish with fruit or nuts.

2. Avocado Coconut Toast

“I love a refreshing mix of textures and a combination of sweet and salty ingredients. This avocado coconut toast keeps me full for hours and provides the energy I need for training sessions.” — Anna Kaiser, Founder & CEO of AKT InMotion

Ingredients: 1 slice Ezekiel Bread, 2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 avocado, 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional: slices of tomato or red onion)

Directions: Spread a thin layer of coconut oil on bread, top with mashed avocado, and sprinkle with chia seeds and sea salt. Top with slices of tomato or red onion, if desired.

3. Protein Pancakes

“Mornings are usually really chaotic in the Bauer house, so I created a hearty breakfast that I can whip up in less than four minutes (trust me, I’ve been timed by my kiddos). My protein pancake is like a bit of a.m. magic. Enjoy for just 270 calories and nearly 20 grams of filling protein.” — Joy Bauer, R.D., NBC’s TODAY show nutritionist and founder of Nourish Snacks

Ingredients: 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, 4 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, chopped fruit

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together, then pour the batter into a nonstick skillet to form one gigantic pancake. Cook until batter begins to bubble—about 1 to 2 minutes—then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Top with your favorite fruit.

4. Kale Salad

“This kale salad recipe is a game-changer for those who are vegan and seeking a hearty meal without feeling weighed down. I love it because it’s fresh and light yet very sustainable. I avoid anything that may give me a midday crash, and this certainly helps me power through the day feeling energized.” — Eric Helms, founder and CEO of Juice Generation

Ingredients: 1/2 avocado, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pinch of sea salt and black pepper, 2 cups kale, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/8 cups raisins, 1/8 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Directions: Mash avocado and mix with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Tear the kale with your hands. Then massage avocado mixture onto kale until it’s well coated. Add shredded carrots, raisins, sunflower seeds, and quinoa. Toss salad and serve.

5. Smoked Salmon Sandwich

“There’s nothing like a sandwich for a quick and easy meal. One of my favorites is smoked salmon on toasted whole wheat bread with hummus, avocado, red onion, and tomato. It’s the perfect mixture of healthy fats, fiber, and protein to help keep me satiated.” — Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of The Small Change Diet

Ingredients: 2 ounces thinly-sliced smoked salmon, 1 tablespoon hummus, 1/2 avocado, chopped, 1/8 cup chopped red onion chopped, 1/4 cup sliced tomato, 2 slices whole-wheat bread

Directions: Toast bread and spread hummus on top. Then layer smoked salmon, avocado, red onion, and tomato.

6. Tuna Salad Sandwich

“Yes, it comes out of a can, but the cheaper canned varieties are usually lower in mercury than albacore and have a richer flavor.” — Marion Nestle, Ph.D., Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University

Ingredients: 1 can chunk light tuna, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mayo, 1 slice of tomato, romaine lettuce for garnish, 2 slices of whole-wheat bread

Directions: Mix tuna, celery, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mayo in a bowl. Spread on bread and garnish with lettuce and tomato.

7. Whole-Grain Stuffed Pita

“I always try to sit down and eat, even just for a few minutes, but sometimes life gets in the way. I love this because you can pull it together fast and eat it as you are dashing out the door.” — Ellie Krieger, R.D., best-selling author and host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite

Ingredients: 1 whole-grain pita, 3 tablespoons hummus, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup sliced tomato, 1/2 cup sliced cucumber (optional: olives, pine nuts)

Directions: Cut whole-grain pita in half, then stuff with remaining ingredients.

8. Steamed Kale Bowl

“My favorite on-the-go meal is a steamed kale bowl. It’s a great way to use leftovers, and it’s easy to pack the night before while cleaning up from dinner.” — Dana Angelo White, R.D., nutrition expert for FoodNetwork.com and sports dietitian and clinical professor at Quinnipiac University

Ingredients: 2 cups kale, 1/2 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup canned white beans (drained), 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese

Directions: In a microwave-safe bowl, layer kale, broccoli, white beans, and pepper jack cheese. Microwave for a minute and serve.

9. Raw Salad with Russian Fig Dressing

“Top off the meal-size salad with a fresh fruit dessert, such as a mango or orange.” — Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of Eat to Live

Ingredients: 2 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup kale crisps, 1/4 cup red beans, 1/8 cup whole-wheat croutons, 1/2 avocado (sliced), 1/2 cup chopped tomato, 4 tablespoons tomato sauce, 4 tablespoons almond butter, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, 2 dried figs

Directions: Mix greens, kale crisps, beans, croutons, avocado, and tomato in a bowl. Then use a food processor to mix remaining ingredients into a creamy dressing.

10. Mason Jar Salad With Chicken and Bacon

“The trick is to put the heavy veggies and dressing on the bottom, the protein in the middle, and the lettuce on top. This way, hours later, your lettuce won’t be soggy! When you’re ready to eat it, just give it a shake, and empty it into a bowl.” — Lisa Lillien, founder of Hungry Girl

Ingredients: 1/2 cup chopped apple, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons light vinaigrette dressing, 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 4 ounces cooked and chopped skinless chicken breast, 1 tablespoon pre-cooked, crumbled bacon, 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Directions: In a small bowl, evenly coat apple in lemon juice. In a one-quart wide-mouth mason jar, combine dressing, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Top with chicken, bacon, apple, and lettuce. Cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, give the jar a shake, and flip contents into a medium bowl, or eat right from the jar.

11. Kitchari

“One of my go-to recipes I use a lot—especially when I’m teaching a week of workshops or a training—is a version of kitchari. It’s yummy and very much like comfort food.” — Jeanmarie Paolillo, teacher and trainer at Yoga Works, author of Vibe-A-Thon

Ingredients: 1/4 cup red lentils, 1/4 cup quick-cooking brown rice, 1 diced carrot, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup frozen green peas, 1/4 cup frozen edamame, pinch of salt

Directions: Bring lentils, rice, carrots, and water to a boil. Bring down to a simmer, cover, and cook until there is still a little bit of water remaining. Add peas and edamame. Turn off the heat, cover pot again, and let it sit for five minutes. Season to taste.

12. Bacon, Egg, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

“This over-the-top bacon, egg, avocado, and tomato salad keeps all the flavor of a BLT without the bread. With the addition of creamy hard-boiled eggs and avocado, what’s not to like?” — Mark Sisson, founder of Mark’s Daily Apple and author of The Primal Blueprint

Ingredients: 1 ripe avocado (chopped), 2 hard-boiled eggs (chopped), 1 medium-size diced tomato, 1 tablespoon mayo, juice from one lemon wedge, 3 cooked and crumbled pieces of bacon, salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix all ingredients together, stirring just enough to turn some of the avocado and egg into mush.

13. Tuna Salad With a Twist

“If you don’t have any peppers on hand, dump in some salsa for some texture and flavor.” — Joseph Venarre, co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Kettlebell Cardio™, and Race Day Domination

Ingredients: 1 pouch tuna, 1/2 avocado, 1 red pepper sliced

Directions: Mash avocado, then mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.


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Healthy Grilled Cheese Recipes Perfect for ANY TIME OF DAY!

Last night, as I was making my son his traditional grilled cheese on wheat, I realized that it had been quite some time since I’d made myself something ooey and gooey! But instead of succumbing to the basic grilled cheese (as yummy as it…) I decided to step things up and add some fruit to the mix. I googled Healthy Grilled Cheese Recipes and discovered this piece from Fitness.com. *By the way… the Grilled Cheese with Avocado and Heirloom Tomatoes is DELISH!!! Add a cup of high fiber soup, and you’ve got a well-balanced, tasty fall meal.

– Stephanie

Make These EASY at-home Bowls

via – DamnDelicious

Skip Chipotle and try these burrito bowls right at home. It’s easier, healthier and 10000x tastier!



  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup salsa, homemade or store-bought
  • 3 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste*
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste


  1. To make the chipotle cream sauce, whisk together sour cream, chipotle paste, garlic, lime juice and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan of 1 1/2 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; let cool and stir in salsa; set aside.
  3. To assemble the bowls, divide rice mixture into serving bowls; top with lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.
  4. Serve immediately, drizzled with chipotle cream sauce.
 Adapted from The Garden Grazer.


Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Container 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 371.9
Calories from Fat 102.6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11.4g18%
Saturated Fat 4.2g21%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 13.4mg4%
Sodium 790mg33%
Total Carbohydrate 58.9g20%
Dietary Fiber 10.8g43%
Sugars 4.8g
Protein 12.7g25%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Each burrito bowl is filled with nearly 2 servings of veggies, making it easy to get to your daily goal of 7-8 servings. This recipe is also a good source of Vitamin A, folate and fibre.

Nutritional information provided by Jessica Penner, RD at Smart Nutrition.

There’s more to life than drinking smoothies after every run. Here are 10 great options to help you rebuild after tough workouts.

via – outsideonline.com

The 10 Best Recovery Foods for Runners

An egg with avocado toast has plenty of protein—just make sure to add a little sea salt. Photo: katyenka/iStock

What you eat after a long, hard run has a big impact on how well you recover and how hard you can run the next day.

“Eating well after endurance exercise is important for a few reasons,” says Tommy Rodgers, a North Carolina–based registered dietitian and coach. The first, he says, is to replenish your glycogen stores. “Your body can store only a finite amount—and it’s minimal compared with fat stores.” This means that if you want to train hard two days in a row, you need to make sure to replace what you lost. The other reason is to minimize muscle breakdown. “Tough workouts that deplete glycogen and force the muscles to contract repeatedly can cause muscle teardown,” says Rodgers. Making sure your body has both carbohydrates and protein after a hard effort can minimize that damage and help you begin the rebuilding process.

How much you need to eat and the timing of your post-run nosh are a little more complicated. For easy workouts, a small snack or whatever meal you’d normally eat in the hour afterward is fine. “If it is a very intense or draining workout, then more attention needs to be paid to recovery,” says Pip Taylor, a pro triathlete and registered dietitian. Still, she advises athletes not to go too nuts with counting grams. “I think it is very easy to get too caught up in prescribing numbers rather than worrying about quality of food,” she says. “As long as you get something to eat that has some protein, some carbs, and some fats and is of good nutritional value, then don’t sweat the numbers.”

Here are 10 great options that will help your body prepare for tomorrow’s effort.  

Last Night’s Leftovers

Taylor is the mom of two young kids, so making any sort of meal after a workout is often a nonstarter. Instead, she makes extra food for dinner and stashes it for the following day. Chicken with roasted sweet potatoes is a favorite, but she says anything works that has the recommended mix of protein, carbs, and fat.

Avocado on Toast

Elyse Kopecky, a chef, nutritionist, and former NCAA runner, often mashes an avocado onto whole-grain bread post-workout. “Add a little sea salt to replace the sodium and other minerals lost,” she says, adding that avocados are rich in potassium, which we shed while sweating. Plus, eight studies have found that the monounsaturated fats in avocados can help boost overall cardiovascular health. For an extra hit of protein, top your open-faced sandwich with a fried egg.

Cottage Cheese with Fruit

Marni Sumbal, a South Carolina–based coach and board-certified sports dietitian, often tells her athletes to break their recovery meals into two phases: a quick after-ride snack and a larger meal. You get something in your system right away, but you don’t have to power through a pot roast after 18 long, hot miles. One of her favorites is cottage cheese with fruit. It has good-quality whey protein and calcium, plus carbohydrates from the fresh fruit. Even if you’re counting calories, don’t you dare reach for fat-free cottage cheese. Not only is that a sin against all things delicious, but there’s also a growing body of evidence showing that consuming whole-milk dairy products doesn’t actually correlate to wider waistlines. Sumbal suggests eating 2 to 4 percent dairy-fat cottage cheese.

Egg and Veggie Scramble

There’s no need to eat just egg whites anymore. “The yolks are where all the nutrition is. It’s the best part,” says Kopecky, adding that it’s where you’ll find the majority of the vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since those are all fat-soluble vitamins, eating them in conjunction with the fat in the yolk is ideal. She likes to scramble two to three eggs with fresh veggies like kale and mushrooms and finish the whole thing off with Parmesan cheese.

Sardines or Salmon with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Not only are these two fish great sources of protein, but they’re also rich in omega-3s, which research has shown can reduce heart rate and rate of perceived exertion during exercise. Researchers at the University of Aberdeen also found that athletes who consumed fish oil within three hours of completing a hard workout had better immune function. Since extreme endurance exercise can make us more vulnerable to colds, adding a meal rich in fish oil, like sardines or salmon, may be one way to stave off post-race sniffles. Sweet potatoes, meanwhile, provide vitamin A and plenty of complex carbohydrates.

Whey Protein

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with protein shakes. Sure, whole foods are all the rage, and for good reason, but throwing a scoop of protein powder into a cup and jetting off to work? That’s certainly better than not eating anything because you don’t have time. Sumbal says whey is the best way to go. “It has high biological value, so it’s digested well and has a lot of protein per calorie.” One note of caution: watch the added sugars in flavored protein drinks.

Whole-Grain Salad

We have nothing against lettuce, but sometimes—like after a run—you need something a bit heartier. For Kopecky, that’s a grain salad. She usually makes hers with faro, wild rice, or quinoa, all high in minerals and fiber and contain some protein. Toss the grains with some sort of cheese and hearty greens like kale, which will retain integrity even after a few days in the fridge. Kopecky and Olympic marathoner Shalane Flanagan, her co-author on the forthcoming cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow, both load up their grain salads with plenty of olive oil–based vinaigrette. “We both consume tons of olive oil for its anti-inflammatory properties,” says Kopecky.

Tart Cherry Juice

This juice alone won’t satisfy your caloric requirements, but it’s worth adding a splash to your next recovery smoothie. Several studies have shown that the dark red beverage canreduce exercise-induced muscle damage and perhaps evenhelp boost runners’ immune systems. In the grocery store, make sure it’s a no-sugar-added tart (not sweet) cherry juice that you’re putting into your cart.

Fried Rice

A staple in Rodgers’ post-workout recipe arsenal is throwing precooked brown rice into a skillet with a few eggs, some soy sauce, a few sesame seeds, and chopped veggies to make quick and nutritious fried rice. The soy sauce gives you a big dose of sodium, while the veggies and rice supply dietary fiber and carbs. The eggs bring protein to the table. If you have any leftover lean meat from last night’s dinner, throw that in too.


When done right, pizza can be a recovery food. Ideally you should opt for a whole-wheat crust and load it up with as many veggies as you can. Avoid highly processed meat toppings—they’re high in all the wrong kinds of fats and often contain nitrates, which have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers.

For more tips and guidance on fitness nutrition, visit AVAC’s Nutrition page!