Posts in Nutrition
Feast Fresh

Why you should eat local, fresh food from your farmers market


Summer is a time when Idahoan's get to enjoy an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables being produced locally every day. We see them in our local Albertsons and Whole Foods. Sometimes they come at a few cents more than the preserved produce coming from out of town, but often that's not the case. If you're willing to stroll through the farmer's market on a Saturday or take a trip down to one of the Boise Coops you will find buying SEASONAL local produce can save you more than just a few cents. There are three major health benefits to choosing local and seasonal foods. Heed these tips now, while your local farms and community gardens are bursting with variety, and thank yourself later for living a healthier life.


No. 1

Plant-based foods taste better and pack more nutrients when it can ripen fully on the plant before being picked. Most of the fruits and vegetables you purchase from out of state or past season are picked well before ripening to allow for longer transportation and shelf life. These foods have a fraction of the nutrients you will get from the farmer in the next town. 

No. 2

Seasonal and local foods are better for the health of your local community. Supporting local farms and community gardens strengthens the local economy by putting your dollars directly back into the pockets of people who will spend those dollars locally.

No. 3

Finally, the third reason local and seasonal produce is the best health choice you can make in 2018 is that it is healthier for our entire planet! The shorter the distance from the farm to the table, the less carbon emissions will be pumped into the air for transporting those goods.

If you would like further details about exactly what foods are available when here in our great state of Idaho, head over to the Idaho Preferred Website here and check out this great graphic they created to tell you exactly that information. You can see a snip of what the actual brochure looks like bellow. You can find these brochures at the farmer's market info stand on Grove Street between 10th and 11th. 

diet trends

How to choose which one is right for you

funny diet image.jpg

Fad Diets = Bad Diets. First, let’s be clear about what a fad diet is, and what it is not. A ‘Fad’ is defined as a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal. Basically, people get excited about something new and hit it hard - only to lose interest or fall out of practice shortly after beginning. The reason Fad and Diet do not go well together is because Diet is the kind of food a person eats habitually. No diet is inherently a fad. That happens when we do two things: we don’t think long term about our eating habits, and we dive head first into a new diet without giving ourselves time to adjust. What we typically call a “Fad Diet” (i.e. Atkins, Keto, Weight Watchers, SouthBeach Diet) are in fact “Trending Diets,” not fads.

In fact Kevin, our Encore Fitness trainer, has experimented with a dozen trending diets with the hopes of gaining a better perspective from which he may guide his clients. “I have found some amazing results as well as some disheartening ones” he says. Something he tries to share with his clients is that every diet fail ultimately shares one major conclusion...your attitude going into it. The key to making any diet work is to fall into it naturally with the intent of making it a lifestyle change, rather than dropping into the next typical fad diet disaster.



"Do whatever you do full on and all out. There is no half-assing it." 
-- Kevin Bunch | Encore Fitness Trainer



The very definition of fad calls to mind the idea that this sort of diet is a means to an end.  Meaning at one point you've said to your self...“At the end of these 30 days I’ll be fit and can eat what I want! After only 3 months of eating like this, I can just pick and choose how much of it I want to follow and I’ll still reap the benefits"...WRONG. A diet is meant to be how your body interacts with food regularly on a day to day basis. The best diet is one that is not a fad. You can’t be truly on a Keto Diet if you only participate Monday through Friday. I'm guessing at this point you're asking "Why not?" Reason is, it takes weeks for your body to enter ketosis. A fancy term that means, when you deprive your body of a fuel source it begins to convert fat into a "new" fuel source. Similarly, you can’t be gluten free if you have a little gluten once in a while, the gluten will never fully leave your system. With just these two examples you can start to understand that this is where choosing the correct diet for your lifestyle comes into play, and we mean in a BIG way.  If you are someone who likes to eat at fancy restaurants and likes to drink alcohol on the weekends, the Keto diet might not be the right fit for you. However, the Weight Watchers program might in fact lead you down the correct path for your future success.

Speaking of long term success, Courtney, owner/trainer of Encore Fitness, decided long ago that counting calories was a great way for her to become more mindful of what was being put into her body. After years of bodybuilding and learning about her macronutrient values, and understanding the effects that certain foods have on her body, she has naturally fallen into this "lifestyle" of eating. Choosing to live this way has made her a better coach for others that are searching for a way to balance “yummy” food with food that nourishes and fuels the body in a way that junk food just can't. A successful diet is one that you find yourself still doing years down the road, better yet, one that you are still reaping benefits from.

So how do you choose a diet that is right for you?  Below are questions we typically ask our clients when they are researching a new eating style or diet program. If you find yourself answering NO to any of these questions you may want to go back to the drawing board to find something that better suits your lifestyle to ultimately reach your end goal.

  • Is this a diet that you see yourself adopting for years to come?

  • Does this diet allow you to do your daily activities without too much sacrifice?

  • Will this diet fit into your family dynamic?

  • Does this diet make sense for your goals and for your body type?



"A habit takes time to form. We aren't going to give it a number because some habits die hard, and it takes some people a bit longer to form good habits over others. The point to all this is to learn to use tools to form new healthy HABITS. Something that will last, something that will help shape you into a better version of yourself."



Kevin participates in regular and consistent Intermittent Fasting (IF). He came across IF while trying the Ketogenic Diet via the bulletproof diet (talk about a trend chaser). Kevin says that he likes the ease of waking up in the morning and not having to worry about making breakfast before he runs out the door. Similarly, he says he likes the boundaries IF has made for him. “It's not complicated” he says, “you fast and then you eat when the time is right”.

"The neat thing about simply being aware of what you're putting into your body by counting calories," Courtney says, is that she doesn’t need to count anymore. She practiced this style of eating for so long that she now knows what she needs to eat and how much of it is appropriate for her body composition. However, she says, “I'm not perfect. I like to go backpacking, attend social events and yes, I like to eat out and occasionally drink alcohol. I don't expect my clients to be on 100% of the time either. We are all human but it does take a tremendous amount of dedication in the gym and at home to be successful long-term.”

In order to be successful long-term, to form good habits, Kevin and Courtney have compiled a list of eating styles that they believe will help get you there. These are:

  1. Weight Watchers- Courtney likes this particular diet because it's basically counting macros (aka calories). Its easy and efficient.

  2. Intermittent Fasting (IF)- This is Kevin’s go-to diet for flat abs and big muscles. He has done this type of dieting for 5 years and loves the results he see’s from it.

  3. If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)- Another counting technique us trainers like to use for bodybuilding and or weight loss. Flexible dieting at its finest.

  4. Whole Foods - This diet is not really a diet, more of a lifestyle. The rules are, no processed foods that have nutrients removed and or foods that have been refortified. Meaning you eat grass fed organic meats, organic Non-GMO fruits and vegetables that are mostly locally and regionally sourced, and eating 100% whole wheat without fillers or artificial flavors.

  5. Vegan/ Vegetarian- Another great eating style that allows us to simply change the types of food we eat rather than count calories or completely change the way our body burns its energy (Keto). Bottom line- EAT MORE PLANTS.

Try new things until you find something you really believe you could adopt for life. There are numerous different eating habits that vary as widely as humans themselves, and it really just takes good old trial and error. The key is to do whatever you do full on and all out. There is no half-assing it!



Written by: Kevin Bunch & Courtney Coleman
How To Make Better Choices

Eat less sugar, eat more whole foods, and consume fats in moderation and mostly liquid form. The American population is inundated with good, useful information about how to eat healthy. So why is it that the American diet is still so heavy in saturated fats, added sugars and processed foods? Unfortunately, for every one good piece of nutrition information there are likely three or four bad, or just misleading pieces competing for Google’s top search response. Add in the fact that the Vitamin Mineral and Supplement industry is a 36 billion dollar a year industry that is growing by over a billion dollars each year, and suddenly it becomes much more lucrative to sell American’s on the next great quick fix pill/diet fad. Now the question first becomes ‘How do I find reliable information about nutrition that is right for me,’ and second, ‘How do I make the choices necessary to apply what I learn about my nutrition.’ Because i’m sure you have heard and understand the three pieces of advice I stated in the beginning of this post, but how often do you apply those simple tenants of healthy eating? How often do you settle for a burger, fries and a coke or four street tacos, two tamales and a Jarritos? The answer to why you make these choices over and over may be tied less to your knowledge about eating and more to your cultural upbringing.


Let’s first uncover the mystery of how to find credible sources for information on food and nutrition. The reason we are often confused by contradicting information in this field is because nutrition is just as dynamic and changing as any other science. That’s right, nutrition is considered a science; those who put to practice and further the field of nutrition are called Dieticians. That leads me to my first point to help you find the information that is right for you - please visit with a registered dietician. These healthcare professionals have bachelors and sometimes masters degrees in the field of dietetics and can help you navigate all aspects of nutrition as they apply to your specific body - this kind of assistance is invaluable and has no substitute.



Other than committing to working with a dietician to find out what will work for you specifically, there are plenty of resources out there bosting heaps of general health information that you can use to greatly improve your health and wellbeing. Understanding that nutrition is a science will help you to understand my next point about looking for secondary sources that site actual scientific studies (primary sources). Chemists, dieticians and kinesiologists who do research on foods and our bodies utilization of those foods, go through the scientific process in finding their answers to society's great questions of our time, “How do I lose weight while gaining muscle?,” “How can I maintain lean muscle mass on a low carb diet?” “Is a low carb diet right for me?” “Should I be eating more protein/less fat?” All of these questions and many more just like them are the reason we need actual scientific studies conducted. However, not all scientific studies are considered equal. Just as is the case with any scientific field, studies range from Epidemiological, Animal, Cell Culture, and Case Control studies as well as Clinical trials. If you are going straight for the hard facts of what works and what does not work, look for Double Blind Case Control Studies. This means neither the subject being studied, nor the researcher conducting the study knows which group of participants are receiving a placebo treatment and which are receiving the nutritional treatment in question. Here are a few resources you can look to as secondary source that utilize sound scientific research: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, USDA National Agricultural Library, Food and Nutrition Information Center, US Department of Health and Human Services. And on the note of sources, please only use primary and secondary sources for actual guidance. Third and fourth party sources (generalist magazines and newspapers with ‘science writers’, and nbc nightly news), should be utilized more as ideas you can look into further with actual scientific research findings. BuzzFeed and any other facebook viral posting should be taken with the smallest grain of salt.

USDA website


*A note from the writer: Media Misleads their Leads.

As someone who has a degree in broadcast journalism, and has worked for local television stations producing news stories and other media, I can vouch for the fact that ratings rule. If I were to bring a nutrition study to my news producers and say I wanted to tell a story that day about the findings of the study, they would look through the abstract, find the most appetizing piece of information (the bit that tells people what they want to hear, or sometimes exactly the opposite of what common knowledge would have you believe), and they would give me 30 seconds to tell that information. This leaves little time for facts and findings. It’s just enough time to mislead the viewers and cause drama or excitement. That is how you get ratings, and ratings rule the news.

news reporter.PNG


Okay, so you have consulted with your dietician and spent hours, maybe weeks researching topics about nutrition that align most closely with your personal needs. Why is it so damn hard to make the right choices in the face of so much good information, and with a real desire to want to be healthier? That answer is threefold - Environmental, Personal and Health factors play into every choice we make about food. This part comes down to Willpower. By definition willpower is just an energetic determination. In this case, the amount of energy or ‘power’ you give your determination comes to play. Let’s say you have a finite amount of power in each decision you make, you can give all of the power to your determination to make the healthy choice you know to be right, or you can give it just a fraction of that energy. Those three factors I mentioned above will also be fighting for some of that power in every decision we make. Our environment can be anything from our economic status and Geographic availability of foods to Cultural and Religious influences. You can see how the affordability of fresh produce and influences from our peers at social gatherings could dictate our eating habits. Personal Preferences  have more to do with learned habits of Comfort and Discomfort eating, Food marketing and diet trends, Taste smell or texture preferences and even beliefs about nutrition. While it may seem crazy to one person to drink a sugary beverage and a salt saturated hot broth when sick, it is completely commonplace for most Americans to turn to the cold staples of Sprite and Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup thanks to learned comfort habits and predatory marketing/advertising campaigns. Lastly our Health Status, which includes Medical Conditions, Physical Fitness level, Genetics, Age, and Gender may also cause contention in our food choices. Someone who is diabetic, and has been encouraged to modify sugar intake to optimize insulin levels will make far different choices than someone who suffers from epilepsy and may have been encouraged to observe a Ketogenic Dietary lifestyle. If you can become aware of every factor that pulls some of your energy in each food decision, you can begin to take your willpower back and give all of your energy to becoming the fullest, happiest and healthiest version of yourself.


Take a moment for yourself. Try this quick and easy brainstorming activity to sort through your own food-choice hangups. Divide a sheet of paper into three columns and write "Environment" "Personal Preference" and "Health" at the top. Under each column category, list out any and all factors related to those categories that have an influence on your food choices. Then check out some of the links I posted above to look deeper into what healthy choices you should be making in order to reach your personal goals. I bet you will make better choices this time around. Above all else, be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes and slip up on our fitness journeys. The trick is to not let it send you tumbling down the hill. Just grab onto the next good decision and continue the climb.




Let's be real we've all tried those YoYo diets. Some worked, short term, and well others we know were just a fad and more about the money. There is not a one size fits all plan! There is no magic pill to get you to your goal and keep you there indefinitely. Food is science, from the ground to the table, to digestion, it all happens with science! So lets talk science for a second...all food breaks down into glucose (sugar). Yes even protein breaks down into small amounts of glucose. Our body uses that glucose as energy. However, not all foods are created equal. For example, a pear will break down very differently than a Snickers candy bar. This is where making informed decisions will make or break your nutrition goals.

In this blog I have separated food items in "do's" and "don'ts." Before we get into that, lets briefly talk about whole foods. The term "whole food" means that it doesn't come from a fast food restaurant, box, or a can. Even if it's a grilled chicken sandwich from Chic Fil A. Whole food means not processed. It's not packaged or frozen using preservatives, and goes bad fairly fast. Most whole foods are okay in moderation, but if you are looking to lose weight, control your diabetes, lower your triglycerides or just be a better overall athlete, consider using these tips and apply them to your daily routine.

 breads & grains












Couscous, quinoa, spaghetti squash, pasta zero noodles

Ezekiel bread, some gluten free breads, romaine lettuce leaves, cauliflower

Other snack items: nuts, fruit, protein bars, jerky, carrots, celery

Cassava and Chia grain free tortilla

Oatmeal, steel cut oats, fruit

Brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, broccoli rice, couscous or Freekeh










Water Chestnuts

Green bananas

Lima beans



Black Beans (in moderation), Green Beans


Sweet Potato or Yam



Pear, Apple, Grapefruit

Cucumbers, Zucchini

Green beans, Broccoli




Instead of a list of what to eat vs not, I've listed a handful of legumes by glycemic number. Why list it by glycemic index? Legumes are a great source of protein and energy, but best eaten in moderation. Think of it this way, an item of food is given a value, based on how it digests and breaks down into sugar. The higher the number, the quicker it's digested and pumped into the blood stream. The lower the number, the slower the food is digested and released for energy. Keep in mind, any glucose not used, the body stores away. Those that are diabetic or looking for weight loss should stick to a lower glycemic diet. Whereas high impact athletes who regularly endure long intense workouts should choose a handful of the higher glycemic numbered food items.

All foods have a glycemic number and you should check to see where it falls on the glycemic index to better equip yourself for a more impactful nutrition plan. Here's a great link with 100 common foods and their glycemic values


Black eyed peas                                      50

Chick peas, canned                                42     

Baked beans                                           40     

Navy beans                                              39

Kidney beans                                           34

Lentils                                                       28

Cashews                                                  22

Soy beans                                                15

Peanuts                                                    13

Chickpeas                                                10


 *DISCLAIMER: Encore Fitness professionals are not registered dietitians, you should consult your doctor before any nutritional changes are made. 

Vegan Eats



Since going vegetarian in July of ‘17, my main struggle with food has been balancing my macro-nutrients at a level similar to what I was getting when I was an omnivore. Mainly, the concern has been with protein. I am well aware of the many ways we can get protein from non-meat sources (whole and ancient grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, leafy greens and etc…), but making that shift in the kitchen has proven to be much more difficult than I could have imagined. Thankfully we live in an age where recipes of all kinds are plentiful online, so I didn’t have to go out and stock up on every new brilliant vegetarian and vegan cookbook. I love sharing my findings with my clients in hopes of them making healthier decisions every day. Let me be clear, I don’t think everybody should - or even needs to be - vegan or vegetarian. I do, however, think making these choices regularly will lead to a more moderate consumption of animal products, and therefore alleviate some of the side effects our society faces due to over consumption of these types of foods (clogged arteries, hormone imbalances, and inflammation to name just a few). Bellow I will list for you some of my favorite online resources for health conscious recipes, and one of my favorite finds on the internet to date. This particular recipe comes from . Enjoy!

- Trainer Kevin

  1. Cookie and Kate -

  2. The Minimalist Baker -

  3. Simply Quinoa -

  4. Detoxinista -

  5. Mom Noms -

Southwestern Kale and Quinoa Power Salad.  Recipe Borrowed From  Cookie and Kate

Southwestern Kale and Quinoa Power Salad.

Recipe Borrowed From Cookie and Kate


Quinoa & Kale

  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Bunch Kale (Ribs Removed and shredded into bite size pieces)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Lime, juiced
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt

Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes (1.5lbs diced into quarter inch cubes)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt

Avocado Sauce

  • 2 Medium ripe Avocados
  • 2 Limes Juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Jalapeno (cored and diced)
  • 1 Handful of Cilantro Leaves
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • Salt to Taste

Additional Protein

  • 1 ½ Cups Cooked Black Beans
  • ¼ Cup Roasted Pepitas
    • *(vegetarian, instead of vegan?) This recipe goes great with crumbled Feta

Pro Tip: I recommend making the quinoa well ahead of time so it has time to cool down before you add it to the prepared kale salad. In fact, cooked quinoa is a great staple to have in any vegan or vegetarian refrigerator since it is a great source of complete proteins.Try making 2-4 cups of it at the beginning of the week and playing around with different “power bowl” recipes similar to this one - you can mix and match your veggies depending on how you feel that day.



  1. To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a minute or two. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess water and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. To cook the sweet potatoes: In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped sweet potatoes and toss to coat, then add the cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Stir to combine. Once the pan is sizzling, add a scant ¼ cup water, then cover the pan and reduce heat to low to avoid burning the contents. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is tender and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Uncover the pan, raise the heat back to medium and cook until the excess moisture has evaporated and the sweet potatoes are caramelizing on the edges, about 3 to 7 minutes (add another little splash of olive oil if the potatoes start sticking to the pan). Set aside to cool.
  4. To prepare the kale: Transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chopped kale with salt and use your hands to “massage” it, which improves the flavor. Just grab handfuls of kale in your hands and scrunch it up in your palms. Repeat until the kale is darker green in color and more fragrant. Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of 1 lime and ½ teaspoon salt. Drizzle over the kale and toss to coat.
  5. To make the avocado sauce: Simply combine the ingredients as listed in a food processor or blender. Blend well and season with salt, to taste.
  6. To toast the pepitas: In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pepitas, stirring frequently, until they are turning lightly golden on the edges and starting to make little popping noises, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Once the quinoa has cooled down a bit, pour it into the bowl of kale and toss to combine. Divide the kale and quinoa mixture into four large salad bowls. Top with sweet potatoes, black beans, a big dollop of avocado sauce, and a sprinkle of feta and pepitas.

Nutrition Facts

Servings = 4 / Calories = 636 / Cabs = 64.8g / Fat = 35g / Protein = 20.2g

veg for life


The tech age has created a lot of transparencies in our daily lives. The biggest one hitting the health and wellness industry is the transparency in our food production. With this inundating information coming at us from all sides we can easily become complacent about what we put in our bodies, admitting we don't know what is good for us anymore. One tenant to health remains true: Everything in moderation. With that said, don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed with decisions of cutting all animal products out of your diet, ditching gluten, or removing all carbohydrates from your life in an effort to live in Ketosis. Here are a few small steps you can take to move toward a more vegetarian lifestyle. Even if you never remove meat from your diet completely, your body will feel and work much better by simply modifying how much you include in your weekly diet. Follow these simple steps toward living a more conscious and healthy life. 

Going Vegetarian

This detox is for everyone who needs a reset button. Although it is quite tough to get through, the results from completing this seven day cleanse speak for themselves. Give it a try and let us know how it worked for you.


24 hour fast to balance hormones and insulin levels.


AM- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) cocktail which consists of 2 tbs Braggs ACV, 4-8 oz of purified water and as much mineral water as you want, 1/2 of a squeezed lemon.

  • Diet should consist of dark in color vegetables (think vegan style eating) at every meal. 


Keep everything the same as day two.


AM-ACV cocktail.

  • Continue the vegan style eating and add dark berries to your breakfast and lunch meals.


Keep everthing the same as day four.


AM- ACV cocktail.

  • Continuation of vegan eating, dark berries with breakfast and lunch, now add a complex carbohydrate to your mid day meal. Keep it light with lots of vegetables.


AM- ACV cocktail.

  • Keeping dark vegetables, dark berries, and the mid day carbohydrate lets now add a lean protein to the end of day meal. Keep it lean and white such as cod fish.


Continue the AVC cocktail if its something that you enjoy but it is not necessary to continue at this point.

You can now return to normal eating but I encourage you to continue to eat less processed food as well as limiting the amount of simple sugars.