Posts

refer a friend promo

Thankful for your friends this November?

Show them just how much by referring them to VIM during our ‘Refer A Friend Promo!’

So what’s in it for you (and your friend)?

The current member gets 1000 VIM Points

The new member has their initiation fee waived!

Simply have the new member mention or write in the current member’s name on the contract when they sign up!

Offer valid through November 30th.

 

 

diets don't work

Adapted from Victoria Myers of Nourishing Mind Nutrition

On a daily basis I have strangers, friends, family and co-workers share with me the new scheme they are going to use to lose weight.

A new diet. A new food group to avoid. How few calories they are going to eat. How many shakes they are going to drink instead of enjoying a meal.

Maybe even a magical weight loss pill they are going to try. I bet you are even still thinking that you’ll do one more diet, just one last time, and then once you lose the weight you can go back to normal eating.

Keep reading if that is you…

After years of using the same techniques of cutting calories and following diets (unfortunately the techniques we were taught in school to use), I consistently saw that it never, ever worked. Weight loss and “success” would occur at first. For probably the first month, maybe even a few months. Eventually though, it would stop working and there would be no more “willpower” and the weight would come back.

The reality after dieting is that most people gain the weight back and an alarming 40% regain more weight than their initial starting weight. Going on a diet is likely going to increase your chances of gaining weight, not losing it.

Your weight is not calories in versus calories out. It is so much more complex than that.

Today I want to show the SCIENCE behind why diets don’t work. Let’s start first with the largest misconception with diets, that you stop dieting because you lack willpower.

Guess what? In terms of dieting, willpower doesn’t exist.

It is a man made, ego-driven, media-promoted idea that when you stop dieting it was because you are lazy and lack willpower or that you are not strong enough to keep eating your carrot sticks and bland chicken breasts. You do not lack willpower if the ice cream is calling your name at midnight after you have only eaten a diet shake for breakfast, salad for lunch and chicken breast for dinner.
Why doesn’t willpower exist? Because your body has a biological and psychological response to dieting. Studies show that after you diet your body changes in the following ways:

1. Your metabolism slows, taking longer to burn off calories.
Your body is wicked smart. It needs a certain amount of calories just to maintain your organ functions, breathing and bodily functions. Because your body is wicked smart, your metabolism will slow down and your body will learn to live off of fewer calories per day because it wants to STAY ALIVE. Your body doesn’t hate you, it loves you. It is doing what it must to keep all the organs and bodily functions working. Unfortunately, the first bodily functions that stop working properly with calorie restriction is your reproductive system and digestive system. Both are VITAL in a healthy body.

The Biggest Loser study is a new research study that shows how the body and metabolism changes after calorie restriction and dieting. The clients followed a very strict calorie restricted diet and exercise routine and even years after participating in the show, their metabolism was slower than what it should be.

2. Your hormones will change. You will likely still feel hunger after eating.
Studies have shown a hormonal backlash occurs in defense to calorie restriction. Your “hunger hormone” grelin is increased after following a diet. While leptin, the hormone associated with hunger suppression and increasing metabolism, was suppressed. Another 20 hormones associated with hunger levels were also altered after following a diet compared to pre-dieting levels (read more in this study).

3. Food becomes more tempting.
Food preoccupies your mind, becomes more tempting and you cannot stop thinking about it. Your dopamine response to food alters and eating becomes more rewarding. From a biological standpoint, this is how your body fights to stay alive. Your body has a natural response (through the mechanisms described above) to keep working. This is how thousands of years ago we survived states of starvation. In today’s world, we have chronic starvation because we are constantly restricting or calculating how many calories we are supposed to eat (rather than have our bodies tell us how much we need).

From a psychological response, diets don’t work because restriction and deprivation never work. How many times have you told yourself that you are not allowed to eat the cookie? And once you “gave in” you ate at least double the amount you had planned on eating? Restriction leads to deprivation which leads to overeating which leads to guilt and then the restriction begins again. You have to stop placing foods off limits and stop restricting in order to stop overeating.

Your genetics play a large role in your size and weight. You have a set point (of about 15-20 lb range) that your weight will stay, no matter your conscious feeling of what you feel you should weigh. Instead of fighting our set points, let’s celebrate them.

Let’s normalize all body types, sizes, shapes and forms. We are all uniquely different, which makes of us each so beautiful- don’t you think?


If you have a go-to lunch, feel free to share it in the comments!


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]

 

skyr

On my recent visit to Iceland, I was able to survey many of the traditional Icelandic foods.

Icelandic lamb or fish stew was offered everywhere for lunch, but I preferred the vegetable option with unlimited homemade bread. The breads, pastries and coffee, all clearly labeled when vegan friendly, kept me full and energized. However, one of the most delicious traditional Icelandic offering was skyr.

Icelanders are wild about skyr—pronounced “skeer,” not “sky.”

They eat it for breakfast, grab one for a quick snack, or use it as the base of decadent desserts with local berries. The Vikings brought skyr to Iceland more than 1,100 years ago. This fermented dairy product was once popular throughout Scandinavia, but in Iceland, it has become one of the nation’s most treasured foods and cultural icons. The writers of the Icelandic sagas mentioned skyr in their myths, and an ancient jar with residue from a batch thought to be more than 1,000 years old is displayed in the country’s National Museum.

Initially, however, the skyr itself wasn’t the goal of the fermentation of the milk—it was the whey the Vikings were after. This acidic liquid was used to preserve meat, but the creamy, filling skyr soon became star of the process. Though first made with raw sheep’s milk, much of the skyr found on shelves today is made with cow’s milk. Since the original recipe involved separating the fat out of the milk for butter before making skyr, most producers today use skim or low-fat milk to make skyr naturally low in fat.

The fruit flavors are the most popular today, but some people still prefer plain. Traditional skyr is definitely more sour than the fruit-flavored ones, but it’s lower in sugar and an excellent source of protein. Like Greek yogurt skyr is thick, but it’s actually considered a fresh, acid-set cheese, like quark or fromage blanc. One of the differentiating factors between the two foods is bacteria. The label “yogurt” applies to products made with either Streptococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus, whereas skyr is made with a wider variety than just these two bacteria. The other difference is the straining step. Yogurt is good to go after fermentation is complete, but to finish a batch of skyr requires straining it through a cloth or using a centrifuge to separate out the whey and concentrate the protein. This straining is what makes for such a thick result. The resulting skyr is virtually fat-free, low-calorie and high in protein.

Whether it’s called cheese or yogurt doesn’t change skyr’s place in the hearts of the Icelanders.

From cameos in the sagas to the present-day invasion of Whole Foods’ dairy cases, despite some of the exotic foods visitors associate with Iceland (putrefied shark, anyone? smoked puffin?), the most Icelandic cuisine of them all is a humble dish of skyr.


If you have a go-to lunch, feel free to share it in the comments!


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]

 

back to school recipes - chicken salad

August is coming to an end, which means school is starting soon!

Prepping lunch for students both young and old can be difficult in the busy fall season. Every student is different, and often their nutritional needs vary, too. The classic PBJ may work for some, but not all.

So if you’re struggling to find a lunch that interests a gluten free 8th grader, a 4th grade vegetarian or athletic college senior, you’re in luck! There’s something good for everyone.


[col size=’1/2′ pos=’first’]

1. Chicken Soup


For picky eaters, try a a classic chicken soup! You can make it ahead and store it in the freezer in batches to thaw the night before.
[/col]

[col size=’1/2′ pos=’last’]

2. Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta


For the vegetarian, a tomato & mozzarella pasta is both sophisticated and simple to make so all ages can enjoy.
[/col]

[col size=’1/2′ pos=’first’]

3. Vegetable Sushi Bento Box


For the vegan, a vegetable sushi bento box will wow the whole table! No one will even notice the lack of meat or dairy.
[/col]

[col size=’1/2′ pos=’last’]

4. Chicken Salad on Fresh Baguette


For the athlete, a hearty chicken salad on fresh baguette will offer plenty of carbs and protein for an active body!
[/col]

[col size=’1/2′ pos=’first’]

5. Homemade Sandwich Bread


For the gluten free student, it can be tough to be the only one without a classic sandwich. But with this homemade sandwich bread, PBJ is back on!
[/col]

[col size=’1/2′ pos=’last’]

6. Whoopie Pies


With a nut allergy, it can be difficult to watch everyone enjoy cookies that “may contain peanuts.” These whoopie pies go great with any lunch, but without any risk!
[/col]

[col size=’1/2′ pos=’first’]

7. Hummus


For the lactose-intolerant, there’s no need for cheese when you’ve got hummus! Pack it with veggies, pita and olives for a real mediterranean experience.
[/col]

[col size=’1/2′ pos=’last’]

8. Taco Soup


For the grad student, you never need to miss out on Taco Tuesday again. When one hand is writing your thesis, one can enjoy this Taco Soup!
[/col]


If you have a go-to lunch, feel free to share it in the comments!


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]

 

healthy gut

Adapted from IDEA Health & Fitness Association

If your gut is in a rut, chances are your health is suffering, too.

The gut, also known as the gastrointestinal (or GI) tract, hosts trillions of bacteria that can have profound effects on digestive health and overall wellness. It’s a good idea to consume prebiotics and probiotics—dietary dynamos that work in concert to populate the gut with “microflora” that keep you healthy.

Eating a variety of prebiotic-rich vegetables and probiotic fermented foods every day may improve mood, reduce cholesterol and promote weight loss. It even helps build immunity and protect you from unwanted gut visitors, as your Gut health is one of the most important aspects of your body to consider. Here’s how you can help.

Prebiotics: Fuel for Your Flora

Prebiotics are naturally occurring nondigestible carbohydrates, or soluble fibers, that nourish the growth of specific beneficial bacteria. All prebiotics are fiber, but not all fibers are prebiotics. When prebiotics ferment in the intestines, they release fuel that enables friendly bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to thrive.

The health benefits of prebiotics are still being investigated, but studies suggest they can:

• reduce the prevalence and duration of infectious, traveler’s and antibiotic-associated diarrhea (Slavin 2013);
• reduce inflammation and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (Slavin 2013); and
• protect against colon cancer (Slavin 2013).

Probiotics: Alive and Well

Probiotics are live, active bacteria and/or yeasts. The most common strains of probiotic bacteria are the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria families, which use lactose to prevent harmful bacteria growth, compete with bad bugs for nutrients, and alter intestinal pH to tackle bacterial villains (like diarrhea-producing Clostridium difficile) that thrive in a neutral pH environment. Friendly bacteria also stimulate the immune system (Sommer & Bäckhed 2013).

Weight loss and prevention of obesity are linked to consumption of probiotics (Million et al. 2013), that’s why it might be worthwhile considering adding probiotics, you can take a look at these recommended daily probiotics to help you make a decision. Beneficial bacteria may also improve athletic performance (West et al. 2009) and reduce anxiety (Tillisch et al. 2013).

What to Eat, Prebiotics:

  • Raw chicory root – Used as a coffee replacement, this root provides the most prebiotic of any food.
  • Jerusalem artichoke – Also called “sunchokes,” these tuber-like veggies have a potato-like texture and look like ginger roots.
  • Raw dandelion greens – Available from organic markets, these greens have a bitter taste and can be tossed into a salad.
  • Raw leeks – Similar to onions, leeks are a great addition to salads.
  • Raw onions – Prebiotic content may vary with the variety of onion.

What to Eat, Probiotics:

  • Yogurt – Only yogurts stamped with the “Live & Active Cultures” seal are guaranteed to contain beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
  • Sauerkraut – Fermented cabbage is a great source of probiotics. Look for the unpasteurized type, as pasteurization kills some friendly bacteria.
  • Miso – This fermented soybean paste, popular in Japanese soups, is thought to contain over 160 bacterial strains that boost probiotic diversity in the gut.
  • Kombucha tea – This highly acidic fermented tea has a vinegar taste and smell with a slight fizz. It’s all over instagram, too!

References
Million, M., et al. 2013. Gut bacterial microbiota and obesity. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 19 (4), 305–13.
Slavin, J. 2013. Fiber and prebiotics: Mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5 (4), 1417–35.
Sommer, F., & Bäckhed, F. 2013. The gut microbiota— masters of host development and physiology. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 11 (4), 227–38.
Tillisch, K., et al. 2013. Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology, 144 (7), 1394–1401.
Van Loo, J., et al. 1995. On the presence of inulin and oligofructose as natural ingredients in the Western diet. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 35 (6), 525–52.
West, N.P., et al. 2009. Probiotics, immunity and exercise: A review. Exercise Immunology Review, 15, 107–26.


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]

 

make in august

It’s August, which means Summer produce is at its peak!

If you stop by your local farmer’s market you may notice a few of these fruits and veggies around. If you’re not sure what to do with them, scroll through some of these recipes for a seasonal and local meal!


[col size=’1/3′ pos=’first’]

1. Beets: Sweet & Spicy Quinoa Beet Burgers with Mango & Sprouts


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’second’]

2. Bell Peppers: Mango Chicken Stir-Fry


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’last’]

3. Blackberries: Almond Flour Blackberry Crisp for Two (Gluten Free)


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’first’]

4. Cherries: Feel Good Vegan Cherry Cheesecake Bars


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’second’]

5. Eggplant: Low Carb Eggplant Lasagna with the Best Turkey Meat Sauce + Burrata


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’last’]

6. Figs: Caramelized Onion, Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza with Arugula


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’first’]

7. Green Onions: Vegan Potato Salad with Herbed Tahini Sauce


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’second’]

8. Mushrooms: Chipotle Black Bean Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’last’]

9. Peaches: Gluten Free Peach Crisp with Salted Coconut Milk Caramel


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’first’]

10. Tomatoes: Homemade Roasted Tomato Basil Soup


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’second’]

11. Watermelon: Skinny Jalapeño Watermelon Margaritas


[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’last’]

12. Zucchini: The Best Zucchini Brownies You’ll Ever Eat


[/col]


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]

 

elimination diet food intolerance

Adapted from Amy Shah, M.D. Greatist.com

Since everyone and their cat (literally) is on a special diet, you might wonder if you, too, have a food allergy or intolerance.

After all, you do sometimes feel a little bloated when you eat dairy, and gluten, and vegetables… It feels like everything is off limits!

Luckily there is a relatively easy way to figure out if you have a food intolerance. You can try out this plan before resorting to expensive blood tests or extreme cleanses.

But Should You Try This?

• Before beginning any restrictive diet, it’s important to have an idea if you have a food allergy or a food intolerance. If, immediately after eating certain foods (in even microscopic amounts), your throat tightens, you get hives, or you experience anaphylaxis (a type of total-body shock), consult a board certified allergist, as that may be a food allergy—and that’s not something to self-diagnose.

On the other hand, symptoms like constipation, headaches, heartburn, fatigue, bloating, or difficulty swallowing may be a food intolerance. Sometimes this will get worse one to three hours after consuming a food, but often the timing makes it unclear if it’s diet or something else causing your problems.

Food challenges—where you take out a food out and then add back in to see if it causes symptoms—are considered the “gold standard” for diagnosing intolerances. Blood and skin testing can often give false or confusing results, so after those, sometimes doctors recommend a food challenge to confirm the sensitivity.

elimination diet food intoleranceThe Easy Elimination Diet

The plan below is a little different from a full elimination diet, where you remove 8+ food groups at the same time. For most people it’s almost impossible and of course cumbersome to avoid so many foods at once. This modified version is a lot easier because you eliminate three or four food groups at a time for 21 days since it takes about two to three weeks to notice any difference in your symptoms.
After those first 21 days of avoiding certain foods, you should feel better. That’s when you reintroduce the foods one by one, allowing at least three days before you reintroduce the next one so you’re able to notice any changes in how your body reacts to the food. If you add back all the eliminated food groups and have no symptoms, move on to the next step of the plan, when you’ll take out new foods. Continue doing this until a certain food group causes symptoms—that’s likely your trigger. You can stop the diet then, or continue if you think more than one food is at fault.
You’ll start by cutting out the statistically most common offenders, then move to less common ones, which should mean you can figure out your culprit faster. During each phase, make sure to read food labels to see if packaged goods contain any ingredients you are avoiding. These foods are hidden in a lot more things than you think! When you eat out, ask the restaurant staff what’s in dishes. (For example, are the vegetables cooked in butter or is peanut oil used for that stir-fry?)
You won’t have to worry about being hungry since you’re only avoiding some foods, and you can always chow down on lot of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Vitamin deficiencies aren’t a concern either, since each phase is only 21 days.

Your Post-Plan Plan

Let’s say you found out gluten is a problem for you. Then you should avoiding eating it and anything using it as an ingredient so you don’t have to suffer from symptoms. Yes, this means asking about meals at restaurants and reading labels, but you don’t have to cut out foods “processed in a facility with gluten” since a trace won’t throw you into allergic shock. And you may even be able to enjoy some wheat on rare occasions without many issues—for those without celiac disease, once you give your immune system and gut a break from the food and it heals, small amounts will be tolerable for most. Hello, birthday cake!


Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]

 

anti-inflammatory food

Inflammation has a bad rap, but it’s not inherently evil.

It is a natural response to illness, a critical defense mechanism that helps to heal damaged cells and fight viruses and bacteria. But there are two types of inflammation.

Acute Inflammation might be a cut that turns red and becomes inflamed. This is your body’s natural response to help heal the cut. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a continuous inflammation with a slow onset, typically resulting from poor diet, physical inactivity, overactive immune responses, or invaders the body cannot get rid of. This is where someone may look to get treatment as we as start a better lifestyle. They may look into using products like hemp to help them. Click this link if you’re questioning “what is hemp?”

Whether you are already living with chronic inflammation or doing everything in your power to reduce your risk of disease, you can include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet to help ease inflammation!

1. Dark-Green, Leafy Vegetables

According to many experts, dark-green, leafy vegetables are considered the healthiest foods on the planet, as they offer the most nutrients per calorie. Greens are associated with the strongest protection against chronic diseases, including 20% reduction in risk for heart attacks and strokes for every daily serving. Plus, they are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids.

2. Turmeric

There has been a lot of information about turmeric and its health benefits. In recent years, more than 5,000 studies have been published on turmeric. Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component and is considered one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory components in the world. There is so much research regarding turmeric and its benefits, it can’t fully be explained here! To give you a little taste of how amazing turmeric is, research shows turmeric can beneficial in preventing or treating:

  • Lung Disease
  • Brain Disease

  • Variety of Cancers, including: multiple myeloma, colon cancer, and pancreatic cancer

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Lupus

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • …and more!

3. Flaxseed

The word “superfood” comes to mind every time we consume flaxseeds. Why? Because they are an excellent source of omega-3s (anti-inflammatory!) and phytonutrients (cancer fighters!). Specifically, flax contains the phytonutrient lignan, which is a chemical compound protecting blood vessels from inflammatory damage. Another thing we love about flaxseeds is they have been found to lower LDL (“bad) cholesterol and therefore reduce your risk of heart disease.

4. Oats

Oats contain a unique class of antioxidants called avenanthramides which is found to lower blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory properties. Avenanthramides have also been shown to relieve skin itching and irritation effects.

5. Berries

Dark-green, leafy vegetables may be the healthiest vegetable on the planet, but berries are are most certainly the healthiest fruits. This is because berries rank as some of the highest foods in terms of their antioxidant power, which is measured in units. For reference, apples contain about 60 units, whereas bananas contain 40 units of antioxidants. But the Aronia Berry contains much more! Also, per cup, strawberries contain 310 units, cranberries 330 units, raspberries 350 units, blueberries 380 units, and blackberries 650 units! The tremendous amount of antioxidants and phytochemicals in berries is what makes these fruits powerful against inflammation.


Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]

4th of July

Please note our holiday schedule for the 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 4th:

  • University Park – CLOSED

  • Central Square – OPEN 8AM-8PM

Wishing all members and staff a happy and safe holiday!

july 4th bbq

It’s finally summer! So kick it off well with an Independence Day BBQ.

With all these recipes, you can easily host one in your backyard, patio or even tiny apartment kitchen.

Or if you’re a guest, bring one of these along! If you’re going to eat all the food, you might as well contribute a liiiiitle bit. So get in the kitchen, then get outside! And remember your sunscreen. Happy 4th!

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’first’]

Grapefruit Avocado Salsa


A healthy appetizer or burger topping! Besides, why go a day without avocado?
[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’second’]

Vegan Veggie Burgers


For friends and family with special diets.
[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’last’]

Pizza Pasta Salad


No more fights over choosing between pizza and pasta!
[/col]


[col size=’1/3′ pos=’first’]

Healthier Strawberry Ice Cream


Greek yogurt makes this frozen yogurt a healthy and easy alternative to make at home!
[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’second’]

Easy Flag Fruit Dessert


For friends with kids… or kids at heart!
[/col]

[col size=’1/3′ pos=’last’]

Cucumber Basil Kombucha Mule


Because why not be tipsy and trendy
[/col]


Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver


VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

[button link=”https://vimfitness.com/nutrition/” text=”LEARN MORE” color=”green” size=”large” fullwidth=”true”]