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    How To Prepare for The Appalachian Trail

    How To Prepare for The Appalachian Trail

    Prioritizing What Your Soul Needs

    Hi everyone! My name is Kelby and I like to think that my unusual name destined me for an unusual path in life.


    In less than two weeks I will begin the journey of a lifetime. I am going to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail! For those who do not know, the Appalachian Trail (AT) is a hiking trail extending from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia and is 2,189 miles long.


    As an ultra marathoner, I am familiar with pushing my body and mind to uncomfortable limits, but never in my life have I prepared for an adventure like this. I have been building muscle by hiking with a fully loaded pack and lifting weights and I love to refuel with ToYou’s Post Workout bar. To prepare my mind for the journey ahead, I have read countless books and hiking blogs. One of the books I read suggests making three lists before embarking on the AT. The first list should answer “Why am I hiking the Appalachian Trail?” Well, fair question and I am sure all of you are wondering what would possess someone to put their life on hold for 5-6 months to hike 2,000+ miles.


    I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…


    I want to need to recharge before I dedicate myself to a meaningful career in public health. These past two years of my life have been absolutely hectic. There were times where I was holding down three jobs while going to school full time. My passions and relationships with loved ones were put on the backburner. I need to fill myself up with the things I love in order to pour myself out into work focused on eliminating health disparities and achieving social justice.  


    I want to show women, young and old, that we can all be a #ForceOfNature. Women’s bodies are often judged by the way they look, not by the amazing things they can do. I want my adventure to interrupt the endless social media feeds of selfies and filtered photos. Just think of the ripple effect that could happen if one woman thought “Well if she can do that, what’s stopping me?”


    Life is about pursuing adventure. This one is plain and simple. I never want to look back on my life and think “I should have done x, y, or z.”



    And that is a little about me ToYou!


    I will be teaming up with ToYou to share my story on the blog and social media so stay tuned.

     

    Use hashtags #toyousnacks and #healthyandfit to share your journey with us!

    The Ultimate Smoothie Bowl Recipe: Strawberry Chocolate Goji

    The Ultimate Smoothie Bowl Recipe: Strawberry Chocolate Goji

    Hi everyone! This is Meredith from the blog @a.classic.confidence on Instagram. I'm teaming up with ToYou to fuse my recipes with their delicious bars.
    My bar of choice for this recipe was Goji Cranberry, which was SO delicious on top of my smoothie bowl breakfast. It definitely gave me a boost of energy, paired with the healthy protein, fats, and carbs in my smoothie. Also, goji berries are a known superfood that are rich in nutrients, boost the immune system, and protect the eyes!
    Let's get started on the recipe!
    Strawberry Chocolate Goji Smoothie Bowl
    Ingredients
    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1 cup frozen strawberries
    • 1 scoop protein powder of choice
    • 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup almond milk
    • ToYouSnacks Goji Cranberry Bar
    Directions
    • Place the banana, strawberries, protein powder, peanut butter and almond milk into a high-speed blender
    • Blend, pausing when the mixture is "stuck" and stirring to help it along (add more milk along the way if needed)
    • Top with the crown jewel, the ToYouSnacks Goji Cranberry Bar
    • Enjoy!

    Fueling For Adventure

    Fueling For Adventure

    By: Lauren Mazin, Blogger of The Lo Down On HealthyMSc in Nutrition & Physical Activity, BS in Kinesiology.

    If you want to climb mountains, go on long hikes and explore cities, something I’ve learned is that you need to be properly fueled. As an avid traveler, escaping to wander around new cities as a weekend getaway whenever I get the chance, I am often asked how I manage to eat healthy on all of my travels. For me, a lot of it is about always being prepared by carrying snacks on me at all times.
    When possible, it’s best to reach for whole foods. Using the kitchen in hostels/hotels makes it a lot easier to eat whole foods on the go. Sometimes this means I’ll pop a sweet potato in the microwave at my hostel before heading out for the day. Some of my favorite portable whole foods snacks include whole grain crackers, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas and carrot sticks paired with nut butters and nuts. These combinations provide a solid dose of carbohydrates along with protein and healthy fats for long-lasting energy.
    Additionally, the carbohydrates in foods like whole grain crackers and sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates, which are different than those you would find in foods such as white bread, white potatoes or cookies, which are simple carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index (GI), which means that they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar like simple carbohydrates do. When you eat food with a high GI, more sugar is released into your blood stream immediately and this spike in your blood sugar causes you to crash and burn after the spike. This is why eating foods high in sugar like ice cream, cookies and white potatoes often cause a sugar high followed by a crash. Lower GI foods release sugar into your bloodstream at a much slower rate, allowing you to have sustained energy and avoid the crash.
    ToYou Snacks
    Of course, sometimes it’s not always practical to carry along fresh whole foods. This is where pre-packaged energy bars can be really useful. I like to reach for ones that are lower in sugar and made with whole ingredients, like ToYou Snack Bars. Reading the ingredient list on the label is key to make sure you’re putting real food into your body. The more real ingredients that are listed on the label the better. With less processed snacks and less funky ingredients that you can’t pronounce, you’re more likely to avoid digestive issues and sugar spikes- which no one wants when you’re trying to explore the world.
    Another important lesson I’ve learned from my traveling adventures is how crucial it is to listen to your body. When we’re at home and going through our daily routines we often eat similar foods at similar times and participate in similar physical activity and exercise regimens. All of this goes out the door when we’re on the road. Meals might occur at later or earlier times than you’re used to, your everyday foods might not be available, and often your physical activity levels are much higher than when you’re at home simply because you tend to be on your feet all day when you travel. This makes it extra important to always have portable snacks on hand. Increased hunger can sometimes be confusing but it’s so important to listen to your body and to feed it when those hunger pangs strike, even if that’s not the quantity or the time of day you would normally eat. Food is fuel and you when traveling you often need extra fuel to have enough energy to get through those incredibly active days.
    Granola Bar
    Additionally, listening to your body and eating whenever hunger hits helps prevent overeating later in the day. What I mean by that is if you don’t carry snacks with you and you try to make the stretch from lunch to dinner you might get to the dinner table absolutely famished. When we’re starving we’re more likely to not think about what we’re eating and instead just gorge ourselves on whatever we see first. By keeping snacks on hand and trusting your body to tell you when it’s hungry and needs to eat, you avoid feeling deprived and as a result overeating when you finally get to the table.
    Staying healthy while traveling can be tricky but having snacks on hand certainly helps. Most importantly though remember to enjoy your travels and indulge in the local cuisine as well because that can be one of the best parts about traveling. After all, it’s all about finding your balance.
    Fruit and Nut Bars
    Want to learn more about Laurens healthy adventures? Follow her blog @thelodownonhealthy

    Why You Don’t Need Gluten or Carb Heavy Pre and Post Workout Fuel

    Why You Don’t Need Gluten or Carb Heavy Pre and Post Workout Fuel

    By: Nancy Chen, Blogger @ApproachingPaleo

    Look on deck before a swim meet, and you can see bags of bagels everywhere. Think of a pre-race meal, and it’s probably a pasta dinner. Take a peek at what people are eating post-race, and it ranges from pizza to bagel breakfast sandwiches.

    Even for non-endurance athletes and people who just want to optimize their workout, the common conception for pre-race or pre-workout fuel is that it should be very heavy in carbs. Which, for many people, come in the form of gluten.

    As a boxing instructor, half marathon finisher, and workout junkie, I’ve been asked how I keep my energy levels up while eating Paleo. There’s this misconception that you need pure carbs to function, so you should be eating bread like no other.

    While it’s true that carbs can provide your body with energy, carbs can come from foods other than bread or pasta. In addition, most people eat more carbs than they really need - if you’re an endurance athlete and training for long distances, then your carb intake should be higher. If you’ve just completed a lower intensity workout like yoga or a shorter workout, then your carb intake levels do not need to be as high.

     

    The other topic of note is the gluten. Even for those without Celiac’s, gluten intolerance can be real. If you don’t have gluten sensitivity, it doesn’t hurt to avoid gluten before and after a workout for a couple of reasons: many foods that contain gluten are by nature processed. Look at your loaf of sandwich bread - yes, even if it’s mostly whole wheat flour, it can be filled with other additives that you may not think about. Whether it’s the gluten or the processing of these ingredients, some find that by avoiding gluten before and after their workout helps avoid stomach discomfort.

     

    You may be asking yourself, “Ok, then what do I eat?” Here are some suggestions:

    For pre-workout, often a banana with nuts is sufficient (and is one of my go-to’s). Other good options are apples with peanut butter or a preworkout bar. If you aren’t grain-free, some find that oatmeal is a good source of fuel as well if you have longer to go before your workout.

    For post-workout, real food is often the way to go. Not only does it nourish your body and replenish it with nutrients, but it also can make you more satisfied than simple carb-heavy meal. You should be aiming for a mix of carbs and protein for optimal muscle recovery - try a sweet potato with almond butter and yogurt if you need a good dose of carbs, a post-workout “mug cake” made with bananas and protein powder, or grab a bar with real ingredients, like ToYou’s post-workout bar.

     

    Check out more advice from our favorite Paleo Blogger, Nancy on her blog Approaching Paleo or Instagram @ApproachingPaleo

    5 Tips For Eating On-The-Go

    5 Tips For Eating On-The-Go

    We’ve all used the same excuses. “I just don’t have time to eat healthy.” “I’m always on the go, nothing healthy keeps.” “It’s too expensive to eat healthy.” Just to name a few. I know I’m guilty of using these excuses when I’m feeling lazy and play the blame game on why I’m not eating right.

    So how can you keep up a fast-paced lifestyle but not let your nutrition take a backseat? Here are 5 Tips For Eating On The Go:

    1. Preparation is key. Taking that extra 5 minutes to pack a snack for you and your family can save you from hitting the vending machines - or gorging yourself at mealtime whenever it arrives.

    But what to pack? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests choosing snack foods with carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Possible snack packs could be: trail mix with dried fruit, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, bagel with peanut butter or almond butter, dry cereals or sports bars low in sugar and calories but high in protein (such as our ToYou Snack Bars), string cheese or yogurt. If your excuse is that foods are too perishable - pack a cooler and leave it in the car! Problem solved!

    2. Choose your on-the-go restaurant wisely. Health officials broke down possible choices by restaurant type:

    • Mexican: burrito or soft tacos with grilled protein or vegetables
    • Fast food: grilled chicken sandwich, hamburger, or veggie burger with tomato, and lettuce or grilled chicken salad with reduced-fat dressing
    • Sandwich shop: Chili and a side salad or turkey sandwich
    • Bakery: Garden vegetable soup and smoked turkey breast or vegetable sandwich

    If your restaurant of choice doesn’t give you these options, limit your portions and try to find a high protein, grilled option. Tailor your meal to having sandwiches without the cheese, salads with low-fat or fat-free dressing on the side, and choosing fruit for a side option, instead of those greasy (but sometimes irresistible) fries.

    3. If you can’t pack one of the snacks above, try finding something like it at a convenience store or vending machine. But be sure to read the labels! The National Institute of Health warns that some prepackaged snacks may actually have multiple servings in them. Also, finding low-calorie and low-added sugar snacks are a better bet.

    4. Eat frequently and eat smaller portions. Eating a huge meal can decrease your energy level and make you feel tired. The smaller, more frequent meals boost your metabolism and lets you burn through those pesky calories quicker!

    5. Bring that water bottle with you! Drink lots of fluids like water or sports drinks if you’re being physically active. Sounds silly, but health officials say drinking water can help curb cravings for food -- and let you find out that you may not even have been hungry at all.

    These tips may not be able to be followed every time (that’s why they’re tips and not rules you must follow or punishment will ensue!)  But if you try to work them into your lifestyle, overall, you’ll find that you CAN eat healthy on the go -- and maybe even “go” a little faster!

    Share your on-the-go meals and struggles with us by using the hashtag #OnTheGoWithToYou

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