This Is What 100 Calories of Different Kinds of Nuts Looks Like

A handful of nuts is one of the healthiest and most convenient grab-and go snacks. They can be easily pre-portioned into 100-calorie snackable servings, tossed into a bag, stored in your desk at work, snuck into a movie theater, and eaten whenever the hangry monster threatens to strike.

Unlike some not-so-nutritious crunchy snacks (we’re looking at you, potato chips), nuts are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats — all of which help sustain a feeling of satiety. Nuts have plenty of health benefits, too, including helping to prevent obesity.

But don’t go nuts over nuts just yet. All varieties of nuts are high in calories, so it’s easy to accidentally overdo it on your crunchy afternoon snack. Plus, nuts are often roasted in oil or smothered in salt or sugar, which can significantly increase the fat, calories, and sodium in each serving and nullify any nutritional benefits they might have. Opt for raw or dry-roasted, unsalted nuts when you’re trying to make the healthiest snack choice.

To help you recognize what a healthy portion of nuts looks like and avoid consuming more calories than expected, we created this handy visual guide that shows what 100 calories of different types of nuts looks like.

Ok, now you can go nuts!

How Many Walnuts Is 100 Calories?

8 walnut halves = 105 calories

How Many Almonds Is 100 Calories?

14 almonds = 98 kcal

How Many Cashews Is 100 Calories?

10 cashews = 94 calories

How Many Pistachios Is 100 Calories?

25 pistachios = 100 calories

How Many Macadamias Is 100 Calories?

6 macadamias = 102 calories

How Many Pecans Is 100 Calories?

10 pecans = 103 calories

How Many Pine Nuts Is 100 Calories?

90 pine nuts = 102 calories

How Many Brazil Nuts Is 100 Calories?

3 brazil nuts = 99 calories

How Many Peanuts Is 100 Calories?

17 peanuts = 100 calories

How Many Hazelnuts Is 100 Calories?

11 hazelnuts = 97 calories

GM Diet: Is It Safe for Quick Weight Loss?

Is the GM diet — or, the General Motors diet — the solution for a machine-like metabolism? Well, that’s certainly what the internet would have you believe.

The calorie-restrictive plan, which was introduced in the 1980s, promises quick weight loss, and returns more than 79 million results in a search of the term on Google. It was created around the claim that dieters can, in one week, lose 10-15 pounds, thanks to a foods list that include bananas and tomatoes — as well as the plan’s famous “GM wonder soup.”

Are the claims legit? First we’ll run down the basics of the regimen and then review the science to see if there’s any merit to the GM diet plan.

What Is the GM Diet?

The GM diet is a one-week plan that centers on fiber as a solution for excess weight and other health concerns. It’s been said that the GM diet was hatched at auto manufacturer General Motors as an initiative to boost the health — and productivity — of its workers. But this history of the regimen has long been debunked.

General Motors spokesman Tom Wilkinson told the New York Times in 2009, “We’ve concluded it’s an urban myth. It’s a fairly unconventional diet, and in the 1980s GM was the most conventional of companies.” He continued: “Nobody here recalls anything about such a diet, and we have no idea how it got attached to GM.”

Shelley A. Rael, MS, RDN says, “It was allegedly created to help with health and productivity. However, I would imagine lower productivity with the amount of water (a lot) and the amount of calories (not a lot) prescribed by the diet.”

The GM diet was introduced in the same era as other regimens that hung their hats on seemingly random foods. Rael recalls, “This reminds me of the cabbage soup diet or the grapefruit diet, with the short time and the idea that there is something special in this diet. Of course, there are differences. But, it’s the whole concept of quick weight loss within a week and a very restrictive plan.”

What Should You Eat According to the GM Diet?

The GM diet starts with a foundation of fiber-filled foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables) and water before reintroducing certain macronutrients (e.g., proteins) and vitamins (e.g., potassium). Denis Faye, MS, Openfit’s executive director of nutrition, explains, “The first three days are without protein. It’s fine, but it’s sort of an antiquated notion — and you’re probably going to have a pretty tough time with recovery if you try to exercise. On day four, you go to bananas and milk, which might make for some weird bathroom moments.”

And what’s in its famous “GM wonder soup” — which dieters can make at home? It consists of a base that features cabbage and other vegetables but, as Rael explains, “Whether it’s cabbage or kale, there really isn’t any ‘magic’ to it. Soup can be filling and low-calorie, but almost any broth- or tomato-based soup fits the bill.”

Sample GM diet schedule

There are a number of variations on the GM diet plan, but all generally hew to the following regimen.

Rules: Drink water (64-96 oz./day), avoid alcohol and caffeine

Day 1

Eat: Fruits with the greatest water content (including berries, citrus, and especially melons) in any quantity
Avoid: Calorie-dense fruits (including bananas)

Day 2

Eat: One baked potato (at breakfast) followed by an unrestricted quantity of vegetables, which can be cooked (with a small amount of oil) or raw. These can include beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, peppers, and tomatoes

Day 3

Eat: Any amount of fruits (from Day 1) and vegetables (from Day 2), with two notable exceptions…
Avoid: Potatoes and bananas

Day 4

Eat: 6 bananas with 3 glasses of milk, as well as the “GM wonder soup” (at dinner) in whatever quantity is necessary to ward off hunger

“GM wonder soup” recipe:
1. Sautée 6 onions and 2 peppers (with a small amount of oil)

2. Add water and 1 cabbage, 5 stalks of celery, and 3 tomatoes

3. Boil for 60 minutes

4. Add salt and any other seasoning

Day 5

Eat: 6 tomatoes with unlimited vegetables (from Day 2), and up to 20 oz. lean protein (including low-fat cuts of beef, chicken, and/or fish) as well as the “GM wonder soup.”
Avoid: Potatoes

Day 6

Eat: Same as Day 5, minus the tomatoes
Avoid: Potatoes

Day 7

Eat: Same as Day 5, minus bananas and tomatoes, and plus brown rice and fruits (from Day 1)

Does the GM Diet Work?

The answer to the above question really hinges on your definition of the word “work.” The GM diet is designed to address excess weight by creating a calorie deficit — but there really isn’t any more science to it than that.

Alicia Galvin Smith, MED, RD, LD, CLT says, “Most of the weight loss will be water weight. We store three grams of water per one gram of carbohydrates. So, as carbohydrates and starches are restricted, our body will lose water. I would not recommend the GM diet for most people. Because weight loss is a blend of nutritional, psychological, and behavior changes in order to maintain weight loss successfully.”

There are studies that have endorsed calorie-restrictive plans like the GM diet. For example, a review of literature in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that calorie restriction improves insulin sensitivity and reduces metabolic rate (along with other benefits) in animals, but human research is limited. Either way, that doesn’t mean that bananas and tomatoes — or soups — have secret powers.

Faye concurs. “I think it was, like, a bunch of food people sitting around in a room, cracking each other up and coming up with an absurd diet: ‘Then, on day two, just have them eat vegetables! That’ll be hilarious!’ If there’s someone who understands the ‘deep science’ behind the GM diet, then he or she is a bigger food nerd than I am. It seems like poppycock to me!”

23 of the Best Vitamin K Foods

Some nutrients and foods get all the attention. We continue to hear about the importance of protein in our diets, we devour oranges at the first sign of sniffles to sneak in extra vitamin C, and we’ve ridden the wave of the green juice, kale, avocado toast, and cauliflower fads. But what about the often under appreciated vitamin K foods?

Although this vitamin may not get as much time in the spotlight as others, vitamin K is an essential nutrient our body needs to perform many important functions. And many foods high in vitamin K also contain other valuable nutrients, so they’re great to include in your diet overall.

But you may not know much about vitamin K foods off the top of your head, so first learn why it’s important to consume this nutrient. Then use our vitamin K foods list below to be sure you’re getting enough of your daily K.

What Is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that our bodies use for several important functions like blood clotting and keeping bones strong and healthy. Vitamin K actually refers to a family of compounds and includes vitamin K1 (called phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (called menaquinones).

Vitamin K1 is found in leafy green vegetables and is our primary source of dietary vitamin K. “It makes up about 80 to 90 percent of the vitamin K we consume,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN.

Then there’s Vitamin K2. “This is found in small amounts in animal-based and fermented foods, but is mainly bacterial and is produced by bacteria in the gut,” says Krista Maguire, RD, CSSD, and nutrition manager at Openfit.

How much vitamin K should you have daily?

According to the National Institutes of Health, adult women should aim to consume 90 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K each day, while adult men should aim for 120 mcg.

What Are the Benefits of Vitamin K?

Vitamin K helps clot blood, and some research suggests that vitamin K supports bone health. According to a 2017 review in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, supplementing with K2 (along with vitamin D and calcium) may improve bone quality, therefore reducing the risk of bone fractures. Then a small meta analysis published in Medicine in 2017 also found that consuming higher levels of vitamin K from foods may reduce the risk of fractures. However, the research on bone health and vitamin K overall is inconsistent, and more data is needed for conclusive results.

Vitamin K Foods You Should Add Into Your Diet

The best source of vitamin K1 is leafy green vegetables, while the best source of vitamin K2 is animal foods such as meat and cheese. However, these are not the only vitamin K-rich foods. Here are some other foods high in vitamin K, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for phylloquinone and Menaquinone-4.

Food Portion Vitamin K1
Collard greens 1 cup, chopped and cooked 773 mcg K1
Swiss chard 1 cup, chopped and cooked 573 mcg K1
Turnip greens 1 cup, chopped and cooked 529 mcg K1
Spinach 1 cup, raw 145 mcg K1
Kale 1 cup loosely packed 1-inch pieces, raw 113 mcg K1
Broccoli ½ cup, chopped and cooked 110 mcg K1
Soybeans 1 cup, roasted 87 mcg K1
Cabbage ½ cup, shredded and cooked 82 mcg K1
Green beans 1 cup, cooked 60 mcg K1
Romaine lettuce 1 cup, shredded 48 mcg K1
Avocado 1 cup, pureed 48 mcg K1
Asparagus ½ cup, cooked 46 mcg K1
Edamame 1 cup frozen, cooked 41 mcg K1
Green peas 1 cup cooked 41 mcg K1
Pumpkin puree 1 cup, canned 39 mcg K1
Carrot juice 1 cup 37 mcg K1
Okra ½ cup, cooked slices 32 mcg K1
Blueberries 1 cup 29 mcg K1

 

Food Portion Vitamin K2
Chicken breast 3 ounces grilled, meat only 9 mcg K2
Cheddar cheese 1/4 cup, diced 3 mcg K2
Swiss cheese 1/4 cup, diced 2 mcg K2
Milk, whole 1 cup 2 mcg K2
Ham 3 ounces, pan-broiled 2 mcg K2

 

Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

The symptoms of low vitamin K include hemorrhage, bruising, and excessive bleeding. However, because vitamin K deficiency is rare, these side effects typically only happen in severe deficiencies. Groups who are at the highest risk of low vitamin K are infants who don’t receive a vitamin K injection at birth and those with gastrointestinal disorders (such as celiac disease and ulcerative colitis) who don’t absorb vitamin K well.

Vitamin K Precautions

Although we do need vitamin K in our diets, certain medications can negatively interact with vitamin K. In particular, it can have serious interactions with blood thinners and anticoagulants. “Since vitamin K helps clot blood, it would be considered an antagonist to these prescription medications that are taken to prevent blood clots,” explains Maguire. If you take these medications, talk to your doctor and try to keep your dietary intake of vitamin K consistent.

Also talk to your healthcare provider if you take bile acid sequestrants to lower cholesterol levels or the weight-loss drug Orlistat, as both have been shown to reduce absorption of vitamin K. Lastly, antibiotics can destroy good bacteria that make vitamin K2 in your gut, however, you should be okay as long as you aren’t on the antibiotics for longer than several weeks. When in doubt, check with your doctor!

What Is My Body Type and Can I Train for It?

Like a lot of us, there’s a good chance you learned about body types in a junior high health class. At some point during Ol’ Coach McCracken’s begrudging M/W/F obligation to trade the gym floor for the chalkboard, he probably introduced his young and impressionable charges to a classification system of three somatotypes. And, on the surface, they appeared pretty reasonable.

There were short, pudgy bodies. Tall, skinny bodies. And, somewhere in between, medium-height, “athletic” bodies. All you had to do was look around the classroom to see the evidence with your own eyes.

The next step was inevitable. Pretty soon everyone got to thinking, “What’s my body type?” And that’s where the whole lesson started to break down. For most of us, it’s never been that easy to tell which body-type category we belong to — not that it matters.

What Are the 3 Different Body Types?

The reason why it’s generally difficult for people to identify their body type is that the whole notion of a three-sizes-fit-all classification system has never been backed by solid science. Just in case you forgot that long-ago class — or, more likely, texted or slept through it — a brief review may be in order.

In the 1940s, a University of Houston professor named William Sheldon contrived the concept that all humans fall into one of three body types, or somatotypes:

Ectomorph

Ectomorphs are described as long and lean, with little body fat or muscle. Weight gain can be difficult, but weight loss comes relatively easy. Imagine Thandie Newton or Bruce Lee.

Endomorph

According to Sheldon, endomorphs carry plentiful reserves of body fat and muscle, making weight gain easy and weight loss consequently harder. Here we think of Beyoncé or Chris Pratt (circa Parks and Recreation).

Mesomorph

Mesomorphs are characterized as athletic, solid, and strong — daywalkers between the other two somatotypes. Let’s go with Mark Wahlberg or Ronda Rousey.

Strangely enough, Sheldon wasn’t interested in cataloguing body types for fitness purposes. He was a psychologist who posited that it was possible to attach personality traits to each body type. He was more interested in how our bodies presumably shape our character than how they actually functioned.

Sheldon posited that ectomorphs were introverted, artistic, and emotionally intense. Endomorphs were jolly, relaxed, and sociable. Mesomorphs were assertive, adventurous, and competitive.

The three-body-types theory gained so much attention so quickly that it soon passed more or less into conventional wisdom. And why not? Sheldon’s system seemed to explain a lot. Think of your favorite SNL “fat guy” comedian (seems there’s always one on the cast). Classic endomorph, right?

Actually, wrong. Like the zodiac, somatotyping works because pretty much everybody can find something of themselves in just about every “personalized” designation.

As it turns out, the three-body-types theory had no basis in science at all. Sheldon drew his conclusions based largely on observation. It’s classic junk science.

Why Does the Body-Type Myth Persist?

Let’s repeat that most important point. The theory that there are three basic body types — or that you can divine a personality type or tailor an exercise regimen around one — is pure nonsense. It’s not supported by scientific evidence. In fact, Sheldon’s entire motivation for his study has been thoroughly renounced.

“Sheldon’s toxic eugenic views and equation of physique with destiny in the years following World War II made him increasingly unpopular,” according to a 2015 article in the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History. “The death knell of his career was dealt by his former female assistant, Barbara Honeyman Heath. Publicly denouncing his methods as fraudulent and his somatotypes inaccurate she went on to build a successful career modifying somatotyping techniques and participating in projects all over the world.”

“Few people fit entirely into one of the classic body types anyway,” says Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S, Openfit’s senior fitness and nutrition content manager. “Most people are a mishmash of them. For example, you might have the upper body of a mesomorph and the lower body of an ectomorph. But being able to classify your body type doesn’t really matter, because it won’t necessarily inform you about what does: How your body will respond to training.”

You’d think with that kind of emphatic beatdown from the medical and fitness establishments, Sheldon’s idea of three primary body types would have gone the way of the Segway, Zune, New Coke, and Cheetos Lip Balm (yeah, that was a real thing).

But the myth of somatotypes is surprisingly strong, as any quick Google search will tell you. For just one of far too many examples, as recently as 2016 London’s Daily Mail newspaper asserted, “Scientists say we all fit into three groups (and knowing your shape is key to choosing the right workout).”

That simply isn’t true. But it does beg the question: why is this fitness myth harder to get rid of than those last few pounds of belly fat?

“I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that most people want an easy solution when it comes to fitness and weight loss,” says Thieme. “And the idea that if you have X body type then you should focus on Y exercise type provides that.”

But such thinking is backwards, says Thieme. “You need to start with your goal, because that is going to shape your training program, regardless of your ‘body type.’”

How to Train Regardless of Your “Body Type”

Starting with your goal and working backwards to determine your optimal training plan is actually pretty freeing. It means that if you’re a classic ectomorph, you don’t have to favor distance running over pumping iron, and if you’re an endomorph, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t train for a marathon if that’s on your bucket list. You might even surprise yourself, bulking up quickly even though you’re tall and skinny, or discovering that you have a huge aerobic engine despite the fact that you wear extra-large running jerseys.

The key point here is that you’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try it. Or as a white coat might put it: somatotype doesn’t predict training response.

The role of genetics

To be clear, that doesn’t mean that the training field is level. Regardless of your goal or the route you take to get there, odds are that you’ll encounter people who travel it faster or slower than you, because what’s written in your DNA is still important.

“There are many factors we can manipulate to our advantage depending on goals — training frequency, training intensity, what exercises we prioritize, programming periodization, nutritional factors — but it’s also important to understand some people picked the right parents,” says Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, owner of CORE, his training studio in Brookline, Massachusetts. “Some people just look at a dumbbell and they grow. Some people have to fight tooth and nail and work out a lot in order to see the fruits of their labor.”

The most important factors in choosing a workout

And that’s the case regardless of your ultimate goal. “But at the end of the day, what’s going to ‘work’ is anything that you actually like doing and that you’ll stick to consistently,” says Gentilcore.

So tailor your training to your goals, workout preferences, time constraints, and strengths and weaknesses, advises Thieme. “Your training plan needs to be customized to you as an individual, not based on a body type category that wasn’t even created with exercise in mind.”

Here Are the Best Running Trails in the US

Maybe you’re ready to pack your bags and explore the great outdoors — and a running trail with jaw-dropping scenery is the perfect excuse to book that vacation. Or maybe you just need a break from dodging cars on busy streets and want to find a quiet running trail near you. Either way, the U.S. is home to some of the most beautiful trail systems in the world, from rolling seaside routes to rugged mountain passes — so there are plenty of trail running destinations for you to choose from.

Once you’ve ID’d your ideal trail running route, be sure to bring water, a map or GPS, snacks, sunglasses, and a headlamp or small flashlight. Depending on the weather conditions — which you should always check before you head out — you may also want to pack a shell jacket, gloves, and a hat or headband. And be sure to let someone know which trail you’re taking.

Ready to go where you don’t need roads? Here are 15 scenic running trails to check out.

Tahoe Rim Trail (Nevada)

Lake Tahoe is one of the largest alpine lakes in the world, and the Tahoe Rim Trail takes the ridiculously scenic route around it. With 10 official trailheads, as well as a few unofficial ones, it’s easy to plan your running route along this 165-mile loop. And no matter where you start, your efforts will be rewarded with views of lakes, meadows, and snowy peaks. Sign up for the annual Emerald Bay Trail Run — a seven-mile, somewhat technical race held in September — or explore the trails on your own anytime. (Just check trail conditions before you head out, because some trailheads close in winter.)

Moab Trails (Utah)

The desert town of Moab is the gateway to thousands of square miles of stunning red rock landscapes and an abundance of running trails that stay open all year round. Moab is also home base for scenic endurance races like the Moab Trail Marathon series in November and the Canyonlands Half Marathon in the spring. These races fill up fast, so sign up early — and pack trail running shoes that can handle the rugged terrain.

Dipsea Trail (California)

The Dipsea Race — a challenging trail run with switchbacks, stair climbs, and secret shortcuts — was first run in 1905, making it the oldest trail race in the U.S. It’s also highly popular and limited to 1,500 runners, making it a tough race to register for. But you can follow the 9.7-mile race route any time of year. The trail begins at Muir Woods, takes you past California’s famous redwoods, and ends at Stinson Beach. Bring shoes with plenty of traction for the steep downhills, and don’t forget sunscreen for the open-road sections.

Crow Pass Trail (Alaska)

Drive one hour south from Anchorage and you’ll reach Girdwood, the location of the scenic Crow Pass Trail. The trail spans 21 miles, but you only need to go the first few miles to experience glaciers, wildflowers, waterfalls, and the occasional mountain goat. This trail isn’t for the faint of heart — bear sightings are fairly common, and due to the risk of avalanches, you may want to avoid this trail during the winter months. Experienced trail runners can apply to participate in the Crow Pass Crossing, a technical trail race that takes place every July and includes a crossing of the frigid, fast-moving Eagle River.

Big Bend Ranch State Park (Texas)

Texas’s biggest state park runs alongside the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border, and includes more than 230 miles of rugged, multi-use trails. Like nearby Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park has been designated an International Dark Sky Park, making it the perfect place for post-run stargazing. Visit in January if you want to take part in the Big Bend Ultra, a race series that includes a 10K, 30K, 50K, and 50-miler.

Santa Catalina Island (California)

Located off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina Island — a.k.a. Catalina — features more than 165 miles of running trails for every ability level. The island also hosts several annual running events, including a half marathon, a triathlon, and a 50-miler. You’ll need to take an hour-long ferry ride to get there, but it’s worth it for the rugged coastlines and beautiful ocean views. You might encounter wildlife along the trail, like bison and rattlesnakes, so just be sure to keep your distance.

Ice Age Trail (Wisconsin)

Part running trail, part history lesson, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail lets you step back in time and explore a landscape sculpted by glacial ice more than 12,000 years ago. The historic trail spans a thousand miles, but you can decide which sections you want to explore by checking out the list of recommended Ice Age Trail day trips on the trail’s website. (Check the trail conditions before you head out, because some sections are closed during winter months.) Up for a serious challenge? Register for the Ice Age Trail 50 Endurance Run race series. The half-marathon, 50K, and 50-mile runs take place every May.

Mesa Trail (Colorado)

Head to Boulder and hit up the classic 7.5-mile Mesa Trail, which features beautiful wildflowers and plenty of wide-open spaces with panoramic views of the Colorado landscape. The trail is 7.5 miles from the Chautauqua Trailhead in the north to the South Mesa Trailhead in the south — so unless you plan to run the 15-mile out-and-back loop, find a running buddy and leave a car at each trailhead. Heads up: The City of Boulder warns of an uptick in car break-ins at the trailheads, so leave your valuables at home or in the hotel.

Art Loeb Trail (North Carolina)

The 30.1-mile Art Loeb Trail is one of the more challenging running trails in North Carolina, but it’s also one of the most popular. Named after an activist from the Carolina Mountain Club, the Art Loeb Trail mainly travels along peaks and ridges, and offers beautiful panoramic views — especially at its high point on Black Balsam Knob, which reaches 6,214 feet. It takes two or three days to hike the entire length of the trail, but runners can tackle short sections of the trail for a scenic workout.

Dale Ball Trails (New Mexico)

The Dale Ball Trail system is a quick drive from downtown Santa Fe and offers plenty of variety for both new and advanced trail runners. The 22-mile network of trails connects to other local trails like the Nature Conservancy, Atalaya, and Dorothy Stewart trails. Thanks to the high altitude, some of the trails can be icy during the winter and spring, and if you’re not used to running at high altitudes, be sure to drink plenty of water and rest often to avoid altitude sickness.

Laurel Highlands Trail (Pennsylvania)

Located in western Pennsylvania, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail stretches from Ohiopyle State Park to Laurel Ridge State Park. The 70-mile trail is basically boredom-proof — it traverses a variety of terrain, passing through state parks, forests, preserves, and game lands. And the scenery changes throughout the year — from spring wildflowers to colorful fall foliage to winter snow.

McKenzie River Trail (Oregon)

Oregon’s McKenzie River Trail is a popular destination for mountain bikers — but runners can also soak up the beautiful scenery along this 25-mile trail, which features waterfalls, lava rock, streams, and old-growth trees. Bring traction cleats in the winter and early spring, when the trails can get snowy. And check the trail conditions at the McKenzie River Ranger Station (located less than a mile from the Lower McKenzie River trailhead) before you head in.

Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine)

The Appalachian Trail is a whopping 2,180+ miles long and traverses 14 states — which means there are limitless options for trail runners of every ability level. Want to narrow it down a bit? The Appalachian Trail Conservancy put together a lineup of Appalachian day hikes that range in length and difficulty — and any of these can double as a great running trail. Needless to say, the weather can vary on a trail that spans most of the East Coast, so check the conditions in your area before venturing out.

Maah Daah Hey Trail (North Dakota)

This trail system in the badlands of North Dakota will give you a taste of nearly every type of terrain in the region, including prairielands, river valleys, and steep, rocky slopes. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing the nine trails with bighorn sheep, mule and whitetail deer, and prairie dogs. While the main Maah Daah Hey trail spans 144 miles, other segments are much less daunting — the Overlook Trail is less than a mile, and the 18.9-mile Buffalo Gap is great for a long trail run.

Finger Lakes Trail System (New York)

The Finger Lakes Trail System is a network of trails that covers more than a thousand miles, from Allegheny State Park at the Pennsylvania border all the way to the Catskills in southeastern New York. The main Finger Lakes Trail spans roughly 580 miles, and includes six branch trails and 29 loop and spur trails, so wherever you’re visiting in the Finger Lakes region, there’s probably a great running trail near you. Expect gorges and waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and plenty of wildlife along trails that suit all ability levels. Certain sections of the trail may be closed for hunting or other conditions, so check the trail conditions before you head out.

4-Ingredient Garlic Shrimp With Zucchini Noodles

Pasta is the perfect comfort food, but it also packs hefty dose of carbs. And even though carbs are not the enemyand can seamlessly work into a healthy eating plan, sometimes you want might enjoy a dish that’s lighter, but still has all the same flavor of your favorite pasta dish. The solution? Zoodles! AKA, zucchini noodles. This recipe uses them in lieu of linguini to make a healthier garlic shrimp pasta that’s loaded with flavor and light on carbs.

If you’re not familiar with zoodles, let us explain. To make them, you simple spiralize a zucchini into long, thin pieces. You can use a spiralizer to get perfectly curly strands, or you can use a sharp knife to carefully slice the vegetable. Once you have your zoodles made, then you can add in the rest of the ingredients for this garlic shrimp recipe. And this is a pretty easy task since there are only four ingredients total! All you need are the zucchinis, olive oil, shrimp, and garlic. (You can also add in some salt and pepper if you really want to spice things up.) These four items magically mesh together to make an easy garlic shrimp “pasta” that’s perfect for a quick dinner or a meal prepped lunch.

Not only is the short ingredient list attractive for a someone on a budget, but this recipe only takes 26 minutes to make, so it’s fast and inexpensive! The zoodles and the shrimp both cook quickly, so you don’t have to stand around the stove hungrily waiting to devour your dinner.

Let’s do a quick recap: this garlic shrimp pasta recipe is low-carb, it takes less than 30 minutes to make, and it only requires four ingredients. The last thing that really makes this a standout dish is the fact that it’s super high in protein – it pulls in a whopping 32 grams! So if you’re looking for a quick, simple, healthy lunch or dinner, you really can’t go wrong with this one. The only thing left to do is to try it!

Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

This healthier take on shrimp pasta swaps in low-calorie zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Better yet, the fresh garlic quickly infuses the shrimp with mouthwatering flavor.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword shrimp zucchini noodles
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 240 kcal
Author Openfit

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. +1 tsp. olive oil
  • 40 medium shrimp raw, deveined, approx. 1 lb. 4 oz.
  • 8 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 8 small zucchini spiralized
  • Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper to taste; optional

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Add shrimp and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque and firm.

  3. Add zucchini noodles; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through.

  4. Season with salt and pepper (if desired).

  5. Evenly divide zucchini mixture between four serving plates; serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • A spiralizer is an inexpensive tool that cuts fresh veggies into noodles. You can use a spiralizer to cut the zucchini in this recipe.
  • If you don’t have a spiralizer, using a vegetable peeler, cut each zucchini into lengthwise strips about ⅛-inch thick. Turn zucchini slightly after cutting each strip to work evenly around the outside, stopping when you hit the seeds at the core. Discard cores. Cut slices lengthwise into ½-inch ribbons.

The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.

Is a Paleo Vegan Diet Possible?

To anyone familiar with both a Paleo diet and a vegan diet, the phrase “Paleo vegan diet” probably sounds a bit like an oxymoron. A Paleo diet bring to mind meat, meat, and more meat, while vegans shun not just meat, but all animal products entirely. For even more of a contradiction, the Paleo diet forgoes grains, which are often a staple source of complementary amino acids in vegan diets.

But despite these drastic differences, the concept of a vegan Paleo diet is very much a thing in some pockets of the Internet. If you’re thinking that it sounds like a pretty darn restrictive diet…it’s because it is. There are several challenges to being vegan and following Paleo guidelines, so you need to do your research about it before making the transition and exclusively pinning vegan Paleo recipes to your Food board on Pinterest.

Here’s what you need to know about Paleo, vegan, and how people are trying to combine the two ways of eating into one diet.

Vegan vs. Paleo Diets

A vegan diet is a strictly plant-based diet and bans anything of animal origin. That means no meat, seafood, poultry, dairy, eggs, or even honey. “Basically anything that is an animal or came from an animal is off limits,” says Krista Maguire, RD, CSSD, nutrition manager at Openfit. Instead, vegans eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, grains, avocado, olives, and plant-based oils.

The Paleo (or Paleolithic) diet mimics what our early ancestors ate. However, there’s no firm consensus from the scientific community about their diet actually consisted of, so if you search online or read diet books, you’ll find a variety of approaches to a modern Paleo diet that are adapted to today’s lifestyle and foods, Maguire explains.

But generally, foods that are allowed for Paleo eaters include meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, most vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. The diet blacklists all grains, legumes, beans, dairy, anything containing refined sweeteners, and high-starch vegetables such white potatoes.

What Is the Paleo Vegan Diet?

Combine the Paleo diet and the vegan diet and you get a Paleo vegan diet. The origins of this diet are unclear, but in theory, followers eat a very limited selection of food. Individually, Paleo and vegan diets are restrictive, so this merger is quite intense. “You just upped the level of both diets by combining the two,” says registered dietitian Amy Kubal, RDN. “It doesn’t leave you with a lot that you can eat.”

A strict Paleo vegan diet would allow for vegetables, some fruit, nuts, and seeds. However, many who say they are vegan Paleo followers tend to eat with a little more leeway. For example, some may also consume fermented soy and soaked beans and legumes to get more protein, Kubal says.

Others may follow what Mark Hyman, MD, coined as the “Pegan diet.” This allows for vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts, seeds, low-mercury fish, moderate amounts of beans, and small amounts of grass-fed meat and low-glycemic gluten-free grains, so it’s neither fully Paleo nor vegan. But it has a strong vegan-focus, as Hyman recommends making plants 75 percent of your diet and treating meat as a condiment when you plate your meal.

Is It Healthy to Be a Paleo Vegan?

Given how restrictive the food choices are on a strict Paleo vegan diet, nutrition experts have concerns about this eating plan. “Your choices are so limited, so you are basically eating a lot of the same thing,” Kubal says. This makes eating out difficult (if not nearly impossible), bores your tastes buds, and most significantly, may also lead to nutritional deficiencies.

“The biggest challenge of following both programs combined to a T would be getting adequate nutrients day after day,” Maguire says. You may have trouble getting enough protein (particularly all of the essential amino acids), fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin D. And even on the Pegan diet, “if you are not doing it correctly, you can still miss out on nutrients,” Kubal says.

Another concern is the potential for a restrictive diet to snowball into disordered eating. “Usually what I’ve found is lot of people going this route have an eating disorder and are looking for more ways to restrict their diet,” Kubal says. A registered dietitian or psychologist who specializes in eating disorders can help people who might show symptoms of disordered eating, like avoiding social situations that involve food, bringing their own food everywhere, or when food and eating is all-consuming.

Drop the Diet Labels

If you’re thinking about following a vegan Paleo diet, first ask yourself why, Kubal says. Figure out what your ultimate goal is. Do you want to lose weight? Do you have a moral obligation to eating animal products? “If you can accomplish that goal in a less restrictive way for your body and mind, go that direction. Don’t let your diet make you crazy,” she says.

Rather than eating Paleo, vegan, or Pegan, oftentimes it’s best to eat a diet that has no label. “The best way to follow a ‘Paleo vegan diet’ is to make it your own and personalize it to suit your needs and preferences,” Maguire recommends. “Take parts from each of the philosophies and combine them in a way that is nutritionally sound.”

You might also consider meeting with a registered dietitian to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need. He or she can tailor your diet to your goals if you are trying to lose weight, balance blood sugar, improve exercise performance, or have a medical condition that warrants nutritional therapy, Maguire adds.

Chicken Kabobs With Veggies

Food on a stick isn’t just for fried snacks at the fair. Kebobs are a fun way to quickly cook up a healthy meal on the grill, in a pan, or in the oven! These chicken kabobs are the perfect example. It’s loaded with lean protein and fresh vegetables, and it only takes 24 minutes to make from start to finish.

It’s easy to modify a chicken kabob recipe to fit your preferences – just stack them with any of your favorite veggies. For this kebob recipe, we chose onions, yellow bell peppers, and zucchini to compliment the high-protein chicken. But you can also swap in squash, tomatoes, or mushrooms. If it can fit on a stick, it’s fair game!

Once you’ve picked your perfect combinations of veggies, it’s time to cook up the kebobs. If it’s summertime, head outside and throw them on the grill. No grill (or weather that’s amenable to standing outside)? No problem. You can also cook these chicken kebobs in a pan on the stove, or broil them in the oven.

This really is a fool-proof recipe, so novice cooks, take note! It only requires four ingredients, it can be made with tons of variations so you don’t bore your taste buds, you can cook it on multiple appliances, and it takes less than 30 minutes to make. If you’re looking for an easy chicken recipe to make after a busy day of work (or when you’re just feeling a bit lazy), this is the perfect option.

To keep things as simple as possible, we only seasoned these chicken kabobs recipe with salt and pepper. When you choose fresh, flavorful veggies, that’s really all you need! But if you want to kick things up a few notches, you can mix and match your favorite herbs, spices, and marinades for this dish.

Veggie and Chicken Kabobs

These chicken kabobs are piled high with cubed chicken breast and crisp onions, zucchini, and bell peppers. They can be grilled on the barbecue, on a stove-top, or even broiled in the oven.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword veggie chicken kabobs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 208 kcal
Author Openfit

Ingredients

  • 4 medium onions cut into 8 1-inch pieces
  • 4 medium yellow bell peppers cut into 8 1-inch pieces
  • 4 small zucchini cut into 8 1-inch pieces
  • 12 oz. raw chicken breast boneless, skinless, cut into 16 1-inch cubes
  • Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper to taste; optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill (or broiler) on high.

  2. Place two pieces of onion, bell pepper, and zucchini onto a skewer. Add 1 piece of chicken. Repeat, so the skewer has four pieces of each veggie and 2 pieces of chicken. Repeat with seven remaining skewers.

  3. Season with salt and pepper (if desired).

  4. Grill (or broil) skewers for 6 to 9 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, or until veggies are tender-crisp and chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Recipe Notes

The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.

3 Potential Benefits of Chlorophyll, and How to Use It

In some circles, green juice is a daily requirement for good nutrition. But liquefied kale, cucumbers, and celery isn’t the only bottle of liquid green out there. Many juice shops (and some grocery stores) also sell chlorophyll water or chlorophyll shots, which are about as bright green as a drink can come. And many people can’t stop talking about the many chlorophyll benefits they’ve experienced.

What exactly is this green machine and why would anyone drink it? Maybe because wellness gurus spout off a list of claims about what it does for your body. But there isn’t a lot of science behind most of these statements. To become a more knowledgeable chlorophyll consumer, here’s what chlorophyll is, why people are drinking it, and what (if anything) it can do for you to decide if you want to give it a try.

What Is Chlorophyll?

If “chlorophyll” rings bells but you can’t remember why, think back to elementary school biology. “Chlorophyll are the green pigments found in cyanobacteria and the chloroplasts of algae and plants,” explains Jonathan Valdez, MBA, RDN and owner of Genki Nutrition. “It’s responsible for absorbing light in order to provide energy via photosynthesis.”

What foods contain chlorophyll?

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that this is found in green vegetables. These raw vegetables are especially good sources of chlorophyll:

Vegetable Serving       Chlorophyll
Spinach 1 cup 23.7 mg
Parsley 1/2 cup 19.0 mg
Garden cress 1 cup 15.6 mg
Green beans 1 cup 8.3 mg
Arugula 1 cup 8.2 mg
Leeks 1 cup 7.7 mg
Endive 1 cup 5.2 mg
Sugar peas 1 cup 4.8 mg
Chinese cabbage 1 cup 4.1 mg

 

If you don’t feel like chomping down on a cup or so of veggies, wheatgrass is also packed with the pigment. It’s made up of 70 percent chlorophyll, so you only need to consume 3.5 grams (approximately 1 rounded tsp.) to get approximately 18.5 milligrams of chlorophyll. Now that’s efficient.

3 Potential Chlorophyll Benefits

Again we come back to the question, why are people so excited about consuming this green pigment? It’s likely because of the many purported benefits of chlorophyll circulating in health circles, including:

  • weight loss
  • skin healing
  • reducing the risk of cancer

However, the evidence that this green pigment delivers on these promises is thin.

Weight Loss

Let’s take a look at the weight loss claim first. Swedish researchers performed a small study in 2014 where 38 women ate three meals daily and increased their physical activity. Half of the women consumed five grams of chlorophyll-filled green plant membranes before breakfast each day, while the others took a placebo. After 12 weeks, the supplement group had lost about three pounds more than the control group lost.

An earlier study by the same researchers found that consuming thylakoids (membranes in green leaves that contain chlorophyll) may suppress appetite. However, this was another small study with only 20 women.

“There’s not good sufficient evidence to support weight-loss claims,” says Openfit nutrition manager Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD. “Chlorophyll isn’t a magic bullet.”

Skin Benefits

In terms of skin benefits, two studies (one from 2014 and one from 2015) used a topical chlorophyll solution to treat acne. Although the results were successful, these studies were both small (using 24 and 10 subjects respectively) and focused on select populations.

Cancer Prevention

Lastly, when it comes to cancer, most studies have been performed in animals. One study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that chlorophyllin (the most commonly studied chlorophyll derivative) has anticancer effects— but this study was performed on pancreatic cancer cells in mice. More research is necessary to further examine the connection between chlorophyll and any ability to fight cancer.

Although wellness gurus and companies may tell you that there are plenty of chlorophyll benefits and it will do wonders for your body, “more research is needed in order to have conclusive results, and the mechanism behind how chlorophyll works in these cases remain elusive,” Valdez says.

How to Use Chlorophyll

If you do decide to jump on this nutritional train, there are a few ways to ingest it. Most people try to capture chlorophyll benefits by drinking bottled chlorophyll water such as Verday. Some juice bars also sell bottled chlorophyll water or chlorophyll shots. You can also take chlorophyll supplements in capsule form, consume chlorophyll drops alone or in drinks, and mix chlorophyll powder with water or blend it into smoothies.

If you are going to take a supplement, some evidence suggests we can only absorb about five percent of the chlorophyll we ingest, Giancoli says. She recommends calling the supplement manufacturer or researching it to see if the supplement is formulated to survive the acidity of the stomach and the digestive enzymes of the small intestine so it can be absorbed.

Additionally, you should look for third-party labels such as the NSF seal, which indicates the product is safe and contains what it says it contains.

Are There Any Side Effects To Taking Chlorophyll?

If you’re worried that this green machine can kill you, you may be confusing it with chloroform, a colorless, sweet-smelling compound used in the production of freon. Chloroform can be lethal; chlorophyll, however, has less serious side effects.

Some people experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, other digestive problems, or green, yellow, or black feces. “But for the general public, chlorophyll is safe to consume,” Valdez says.

The Bottom Line on Chlorophyll

If you feel compelled to try chlorophyll water or supplements, there isn’t much risk. However, don’t expect to see life changing results. It’s better to put the money you would spend on chlorophyll products toward a healthy diet.

“I recommend eating a diet that’s primarily whole plant foods because that provides so many other benefits,” Giancoli says. “When consuming vegetables and fruit that have a lot of pigments in them, you are getting a lot of other vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients you wouldn’t be getting if you just took a supplement. And that’s more beneficial for your body overall.”

Are You Making These Post-Workout Nutrition Mistakes?

What should you eat immediately after a workout? Ask five different people and you’ll get five different answers — and it’s hard to know who’s giving good advice and who really doesn’t have a clue.

With so much conflicting information out there about post-workout nutrition, it’s no wonder nutrition experts see people making the same mistakes, over and over. Here are a few of the most common post-workout nutrition mistakes — and how you can fix them for better recovery and results.

Mistake #1: You’re Immediately Pounding a Post-Workout Nutrition Shake

Don’t worry — you won’t threaten your hard-earned gains if you don’t drink a post-workout shake right after you finish your last set.

“One misconception is that the average recreational exerciser needs to consume protein and carbs directly after working out,” says registered dietitian and OpenFit nutrition manager Krista Maguire. While that may be true for elite and endurance athletes who need to time their post-workout nutrition for performance, the rest of us have a little more wiggle room.

“As long as you eat a balanced meal that consists of quality protein and carbs — and maybe even some healthy fats — within a couple hours of working out, then your body will be able to refuel glycogen stores and build and repair muscles,” Maguire says.

Mistake #2: You Think Post-Workout Nutrition Shakes Are the Only Option

Are there alternatives to drinking a shake after a workout? You bet.

“You can consume any type of whole food protein source — ideally a high-quality, complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids,” says Maguire.

So while a protein shake is a healthy option, you won’t undo all your hard work if you opt for an egg white omeletinstead. Sports nutrition coach Joanna K. Chodorowska says she often tells her clients it’s okay to go for a full meal after a workout.

“If it’s breakfast, they can have an omelet with spinach and feta with a slice of bread or some home fries,” she says. Oatmeal with nuts and plain yogurt is another great option, or steamed broccoli with chicken and rice.

Even if you’d rather stick with the post-workout shake,you still have plenty of options. “Consider which type of protein is most appropriate for your needs, whether it’s a whey-based protein or a vegan source like pea, hemp, rice, or organic soy protein powder,” advises Maguire.

Mistake #3: You’re Overdoing Your Protein Intake

Protein might be the building block of muscle, but downing an oversized post-workout nutrition shake won’t help your muscles grow faster (unfortunately).

“People tend to think the more protein they consume post-workout, the more muscle they’ll build,” says Maguire. “There’s only so much protein the body will utilize at once, and anything beyond that gets used for other purposes.” Bad news: That typically means getting converted into glucose or fat.

And according to the International Society for Sports Nutrition (ISSN), you should stick to a post-workout carb-to-protein ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 — which means you should actually eat more carbs than protein post workout. Maguire recommends aiming for about 1 gram of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, along with 20-25 grams of protein, within 30 minutes after a workout.

Mistake #4: You Reach For High-Sugar and High-Calorie Post-Workout Snacks

Finishing an intense workout session is an accomplishment worthy of celebration, but don’t reward your hard work with a high-calorie treat like a donut or triple-scoop ice cream cone. Aside from the inevitable sugar crash, those sweets don’t have the right nutrients to help you recover, leaving your muscles and body starving for something better.

Even a post-workout shake can be a culprit if you choose one that’s loaded with added sugars or artificial sweeteners, Chodorowska cautions. If you’re craving something sweet after your workout, choose a shake that’s naturally sweet, or just grab a piece of fruit — these sweet snacks can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating something more decadent.

Mistake #5: You Aren’t Drinking Enough Water

While protein, carbs, and fat are vital for recovery, you also need to replenish the fluids you lost during your workout. “Hydration is another important consideration — not in place of the macronutrients, but in addition to,” Maguire says.

And you don’t need a sugary sports drink — regular water is the best option to help you rehydrate after a workout. It not only helps your body flush out toxins, but it also helps transport nutrients throughout the body.

So how much water do you need after a workout? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer — the exact amount depends on workout intensity, duration, body size, how much you sweat, and how well you hydrated before and during your workout. Follow your thirst cues: If you feel thirsty after your workout, don’t be afraid to hydrate a bit more.

Mistake #6: You’re Making It Too Complicated

Unless you’re training to be a competitive bodybuilder, don’t stress too much about eating exactly the right type of protein at exactly the right time. To avoid feeling completely overwhelmed, Maguire suggests following a simple mantra: “Consume some protein of some form within the hour after you’ve completed a workout,” she says. Keep it simple, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your post-workout nutrition plan — and less likely to slip up.