Proper nutrition can be very powerful—just ask anyone who has put it to work for themselves. It can mean the difference between depleted energy and mental fog, and bright alertness and, well, zing. Proper nutrition is so powerful, in fact, that it actually guided the development of the Zing plant-based protein bar to strict specifications including being totally gluten-free. Zing Bar creation began with our CEO and co-founder, David Ingalls, and his years-long quest for health.
Before David began his journey, he ran his own small business and lived on inadequate sleep and nutrition. This led to a myriad of symptoms he was experiencing that could be summed up in four words: “tired all the time.” “That’s exactly how I felt,” David explains. “I was later to discover that medical professionals in Great Britain came up with an acronym for it: ‘TATT,' which means ‘tired all the time.’ That’s how common a complaint it is.” In trying to address this issue, David visited several doctors, but they were unable to help him. They told him his blood pressure and cholesterol were low, his weight was average, and all of his biomedical parameters indicated excellent health. In other words, they could find nothing wrong.
Grabbing What He Could Control
The doctors’ diagnoses were absolutely useless—David was stuck with his condition. “Despite what the doctors told me, there was still something wrong,” David says. “I thought, ‘there has to be a solution.’” He began making lifestyle changes that he knew could only be beneficial, such as sleeping more and partying less. At the same time, he turned to a particular factor he knew he could manage himself. “I was really desperate. I realized that there was one thing I could control—nutrition. I started doing two things: eating more nutrient-dense food, and eating it more regularly throughout the day.” Nutrient-density describes the quantity of beneficial nutrients within food. In David’s case, he cut out soda, junk food, chips and sweets, and began replacing them with nuts and nut butters, fruits and vegetables, and legumes and beans.
Return of Energy
“Those became the foundational elements of my diet,” David relates. “It wasn’t immediate, but I slowly started getting more energy. I became more alert, more focused, and had more endurance.” As he carried on, so did the improvement. “It has continued getting better for the past 20 years that I’ve been on this trajectory,” he says. “Now, at age 55, my energy is better than it was when I was 25, to be perfectly honest.”
Path Becomes a Career
As David began making these nutritional discoveries for his own health, he chose to dedicate his career to them for others. “I decided to pursue nutritional counseling because, in many ways, it is so empowering, easy, and accessible to everybody,” David says. “It isn’t an expensive drug or program that you have to have money, time or access to engage in. It became my mission in life to provide this information to others who might need it.” And dedicated he became. He returned to community college for his science prerequisites, and then embarked upon a 3-year Master’s Degree program at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. He followed this with a 1-year dietetic internship at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center.
As David went into private practice after graduation, he discovered that the condition that had started him on his own path was a prevalent problem with his clients. “I found that the hundreds of clients in my private practice, independent of the dietary and nutrition situations that brought them to me, all had an element of energy depletion,” he explains. “I gave them the prescription that had worked for me: a diet of nutrient-dense foods, and regularly eating throughout the day.”
In Pursuit of the Snack
“Eating regularly throughout the day” meant smaller meals divided by snacks—a small breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, and dinner. But finding a healthy snack to recommend became problematic. David discovered, in conversing with other registered dietary nutritionists, that they were having the same problem. David and three of his colleagues set out on a mission to find a snack food that met their rigorous standards—but all of the available choices either tasted terrible, or were little better than candy bars. Finding nothing they could provide their patients, these four nutritionists sat down and created something that met their strict nutritional recommendations: the Zing plant-based protein bar. Smartly, they also designed it to taste fantastic—naturally. The rest, as they say, is history.