A Guide to Gut Health

03/29/2018

We’re all too familiar with the feeling of a bloated tummy or uncomfortable rumblings that you cannot explain, but keeping your gut healthy is more crucial to your overall health than you may be aware of! Your gut is one of the central hubs of your body, and it serves several purposes. Such as:

  • Your digestive system absorbs essential nutrients such as proteins, healthy fats, and proteins
  • Keeps unwanted bacteria out of your system
  • Produces vital neurotransmitters and hormones
  • Eliminates toxins

 

An unhealthy gut can result in a lot more than potential weight problems- it can lead to arthritis, psoriasis, acne, or even migraines. So, what are the potential symptoms of an unhealthy gut, how do you fix it, and keep it healthy? Here are a few tips!

 

Signs of a Potentially Unhealthy Gut

You’re Having Trouble Losing Weight

Digestive issues can be one of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to losing weight because it causes your immune system to overreact. Your gut is responsible for keeping out harmful bacteria and other toxic substances, so if it’s failing due to poor health, your immune system will automatically be activated to fill that role.

 

When your immune system is overactive, it requires more glucose which your body should be able to extract from your fat cells. However, when your gut is unhealthy you have less metabolic flexibility, making extracting glucose from your fat cells nearly impossible. This leads to weight gain.

 

Other Signs

Since a lot of diseases originate in the gut, you can trace almost any abnormal signs back to it. Here are a few to keep an out for:

  • Excess flatulence/gas
  • Constipation/Diarrhea
  • Bad breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin problems
  • Eczema
  • Frequent colds

 

Basically, having an unhealthy gut can lead to a wide variety of health issues that no one wants to deal with. If you’re facing any of these symptoms, don’t panic! There are ways to fix it.

 

Restoring & Maintaining Gut Health

Restoring your gut health is fairly simple- here are a few practical options to help improve your overall gut health!

 

Avoid Toxins & Toxic Anti-nutrients

This will help you keep your intestinal lining from getting damaged. Toxic anti-nutrients can be found in certain grains, beans, peanuts, soy and vegetable oils. Be sure to check with your nutritionist on the best foods to avoid.

 

Toxins include cigarettes, alcohol, as well as exposure to toxins in the environment are both damaging to your gut and your liver. Control your alcohol intake, avoid both smoking and second-hand smoke as much as possible as well.

 

Avoid Sugar

Sugar is extremely hard on your digestive system. It accelerates the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi reducing the space for the good bacteria to live.

 

Lower your sugar intake as much as you can, particularly refined or processed sugar.

 

Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that produces lactic acid and helps maintain healthy intestines. You can find probiotics in certain beverages, but you can also take probiotic supplements. Encapsulated pills are a better choice since they help the bacteria survive in the acidic environment of the stomach.

 

Fiber

Fiber, just like probiotics, promote healthy digestion as well as help clean your intestines clean. Fiber can be found in a variety of foods including whole grains, vegetables, and fruit that you can easily incorporate into your daily diet.

 

Lower Stress Levels

Keeping your stress down is important not just for your gut health but for your overall health. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercise, keep your diet healthy, and have fun! Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

 

For a few tips on how to avoid sugar when pursuing a healthier tummy, check out our blog on Seven Strategies for Reducing Sugar!  

 

Mason Jar Taco Salad

03/27/2018

Taco salad in a jar? Delicious and simple. This recipe is great when you're on-the-run or if you enjoy meal prepping! Makes 4 mason jars. 

 

INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground beef

2 tablespoons taco seasoning

1 cup salsa

2 cups canned corn

1 cup black olives

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

Shredded lettuce and tortilla strips for topping

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Brown meat in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain and stir in seasoning and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Layer mason jars with equal amounts of salsa, meat, corn, olives, tomatoes and shredded lettuce and tortilla strips. Seal and serve as is or topped with your favorite ranch dressing. 

 

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

03/25/2018

Who doesn’t love to eat? Food is a driving force in many of our lives serving as both a source of energy, nutrition, and it tastes delicious! But when it comes to keeping fit and keeping a trim waist, one of the biggest struggles most people have is with their diet. Determining the appropriate amount of calories to eat as well as eating healthy can be extremely challenging. There are plenty of fad diets that guarantee results, but what is the best way to press the restart button and shed a few excess pounds?

 

Enter intermittent fasting, an eating pattern where you cycle in between periods of eating and fasting- specifically eating about 500 calories 1-2 days a week or going between 12-18 hours a day without food. This is more of a diet pattern than a diet, and in addition to helping with weight loss, there are a variety of different benefits many may not be aware of. So, what are the benefits of intermittent fasting in comparison to other eating habits?

 

Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones

When you don’t eat for a period of time, your body reacts in very interesting ways. Since you aren’t consuming additional calories, your body begins to change certain cellular processes- here are a few:

  • Insulin levels drop, which initiates fat burning
  • Blood levels of growth hormone increase- facilitating fat burning and muscle gain
  • Cellular repair processes are induced, such as removing waste from cells
  • Changes in several genes and molecules including longevity and protection against disease

 

Lose Belly Fat

Since your insulin levels are low and growth hormone levels are increased, your body fat will be broken down and used as energy. This also means that your metabolic rate will be increased, resulting in further calorie burn.

 

Ultimately, intermittent fasting is a powerful weight loss tool. You’re decreasing your calorie intake in addition to your body fighting off fat stores.

 

Lowered Risk of Disease

Intermittent fasting has major befits for insulin resistance, leading to a reduction in blood sugar levels. This means that it can aid in the prevention of developing Type 2 Diabetes, which has become a common health concern.

 

Another benefit of intermittent fasting is the reduction in oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to aging and several chronic diseases. It also can fight inflammation which can cause any number of common ailments.

 

Healthy Heart

Heart disease is currently among the leading causes of death. Since intermittent fasting fights inflammation, lowers insulin levels, and can improve cholesterol levels, it can aid in preventing heart disease.

 

No Restrictions

Unlike other diets, intermittent fasting doesn’t require you to follow strict rules or cut out certain foods. You’re welcome to eat whatever you like- no need to cut out gluten, chocolate or wine (thank goodness!) The rules are easy to follow and ultimately, you’ll learn the times that your body needs food and when it doesn’t.

 

For those of you that are concerned about working out on little food, fret not! Science has actually proven that exercising in a fasted state can actually supercharge your body’s ability to burn fat, meaning your work out will be even more productive!

 

If you’re considering intermittent fasting, the best tactic is to add this into your routine twice a week. But keep in mind- if you find that you can’t handle the hangry pains or that this just doesn’t do it for you, there are other options!

 

 

Become a Snap Fitness Ambassador - Win a Free Wellness Retreat!

03/13/2018

If you’re passionate about health, fitness and well-being, and encouraging others to live a healthier lifestyle, you have what it takes to be the first Snap Fitness Ambassador! Start by entering to win a free trip to a Wellness Retreat!

 

As the first Snap Fitness Ambassador, it will be your responsibility to create meaningful and creative content to incentivize others to join #SnapNation. Your content will be posted directly to your own social media platforms as well as reposted to the Snap Fitness headquarter accounts. Benefits of this position include a free Snap Fitness world-wide gym membership, payment for social media post/Instagram story mentions, and the opportunity to be the first ever ambassador to a global fitness brand!

 

In addition to the ambassadorship, you have a chance to win a FREE trip to a Wellness Retreat featuring renowned wellness expert Nora Tobin! Post a Snap Fitness gym selfie with the hashtag #mypeakgetaway by March 29th for your chance to win! To learn more about the wellness retreat click here: (http://bit.ly/2scldhr))

 

If you’re interested in applying for the ambassadorship, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You do NOT need look like a fitness model to qualify. We encourage individuals of all shapes and sizes to apply!
  • You must be a Snap Fitness member (even if you only joined yesterday, you still qualify!)
  • When creating content, creativity is the key. It should be positive, engaging, Snap Fitness branded, and speak to people on all fitness levels.

 

Other qualifications include:

  • Strong social media following
  • Work out at Snap Fitness only
  • Positive personality
  • Works well with others
  • Organized
  • Ready to take risks and try new things!

 

To Apply:

  1. Create and post 1-2 pieces of unique, organic content that is Snap Fitness branded- this could include the use of Snap Fitness apparel, Snap Fitness hashtags, gym locations, etc. Use this opportunity to make yourself stand out!
  2. Send an email to ambassador@snapfitness.com with the following:
    1. Links to the content you created
    2. Links to your social media platforms
    3. An intro paragraph telling us about yourself: who you are, where you’re from, and why you want to be the first Snap Fitness Ambassador. Be sure to include why you think you’re the best choice for the position!
    4. Your posted selfie with the hashtag #mypeakgetaway

 

Click here for official contest rules: http://bit.ly/SnapAmbassadorRules

 

We look forward to learning more about you and what you will bring to Snap Fitness, and good luck!

 

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bliss Balls

03/01/2018

Looking for a sweet afternoon snack that won't completely ruin your diet? Look no further! Whip up a batch of these yummy Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bliss Balls the next time you're craving chocolate or peanut butter. 

 

INGREDIENTS
20 dates

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

3 oz dark chocolate, melted

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine dates, oats and peanut butter in a food processor and process until very finely chopped. Roll into 9 balls.
  2. Melt chocolate and drop balls one at a time into a saucepan. Use a spoon to coat ball with chocolate and remove it from saucepan. Place ball onto wax paper and repeat until all balls are covered with chocolate.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 week.

 

6 Secrets To Staying Healthy While Traveling

02/27/2018

It’s so easy to stray from your health routine while traveling. Temptations are everywhere. They start at the airport. You grab a mocha or a burger before you board, thinking they will tide you over until you arrive. Harmless enough, right? Not really. Air travel in itself is a stress on your system. Add in greasy food or sugary drinks and you’re putting yourself behind the eight ball. Next thing you know you’re feeling ill. Happens all the time. But it doesn’t have to. Follow these six tips next time you hit the road and prepare for smooth sailing.

 

  • Snack Smarter. Bring healthy snacks with you. You can’t go wrong with anti-inflammatory snacks, such as walnuts and almonds. They are a great option because they’re loaded with healthy fats, which will help you feel full, and filled with valuable nutrients.

 

  • Stay Hydrated. Staying hydrated is crucial when traveling. Start before you go. Try starting your travel day with a green smoothie and then sip on coconut water throughout the day. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference swapping out a cup of coffee for water makes in your health and energy.

 

  • Keep Up With Your Vitamins and Supplements. If vitamins and supplements are part of your daily routine, make sure to pack them. Consider adding an extra dose of Vitamin C to boost your immunity system.

 

  • Stick To Your Diet (Mostly). Even though you’re on vacation, you still want to be mindful of your diet. Avoid fast food chains at all costs. If greasy fries hurt your stomach at home, they will on vacation. Make exceptions of course. Go ahead and sample local cuisines. But make sure you include greens and don’t overdo it.

 

  • Do Something Active At Your Destination. Plan it out before you travel. Pick something unique about the area and design a workout around it — running on the beach, cross-country skiing, mountain-climbing. Burn some calories while being a tourist.

 

  • Find a Snap Fitness! We have more than 2,000 locations around the world so chances are good you can find us. Scope it out before you travel. We’re open 24-7. Nothing feels better and more like home than a workout at Snap Fitness.