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FOODY FRIDAY: Wolf Nutrition blends up some healthy drinks

by Tanner Newton | May 13, 2022 at 4:04 a.m.
Baleigh Vinson, owner of Wolf Nutrition, blends a shake. - Photo by Tanner Newton of The Sentinel-Record

Offering a healthier alternative while keeping things tasty, Wolf Nutrition mixes up teas and shakes on Airport Road.

Located at 1759 Airport Road, Suite C, Wolf Nutrition is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Owner Baleigh Vinson says she decided to open a nutrition bar after visiting one several years ago.

"I fell in love with Herbalife products when I walked into another nutrition club that used to be in Hot Springs that is no longer here anymore, and it was a great business opportunity, not only to change the community but to get everybody awesome products," Vinson said.

"I walked into one and lost about 15 pounds at the time and I just got majorly into my body and nutrition and fitness, and now I've been doing it about four years," she said.

"What we specialize in is healthy meal replacement shakes and energizing, metabolism-boosting teas. So a shake is a full meal replacement -- 24 grams of protein, 21 vitamins and minerals and half a serving of greens in every single shake, and then you have our teas, so your shake is your food and then your tea is your drink to go along with it. And then your tea is going to burn about 80 to 100 calories. It's going to boost your metabolism, so there's a vitamin B that we drop in the tea so it gives you that energy," she said.

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"You come in and order a combo. So you get your food, which is your shake, so you think of it just like biscuits and gravy. We have a shake called banana nut bread, right, so you get your banana nut bread in a shake, and then you get your tea -- which a lot of people will call them juices -- and it tastes just like a juice, basically, and you pair them together as your drinks that you have, that's a full meal, all under 300 calories," Vinson said.

They offer a wide variety of flavors for their products, she said.

"So many, there's an unlimited list," she said. "So we have our base flavors of vanilla, chocolate, peanut, cookie, of PDM, which is a protein drink mix, and then we have about 15 flavors of Formula-1, and we can mix hundreds and hundreds of different flavors. So we have like a main list of banana nut bread, chocolate chip pancake, lemon blueberry, salted caramel, white chocolate Snickers, but it's all healthy for you."

For many people, healthy food equals bad-tasting food, but Vinson said their shakes are both healthy and tasty.

"It's like, white chocolate Snickers, we have a Snickers shake. We have a Reese's shake. Some people want that craving and that taste, and we can mimic that almost but with natural sugars. There's literally no sugars in the teas and there's only 9 grams of potato-based sugars in the shake, so you're going to get that flavor from it without completely killing your diet, your nutrition," she said.

Vinson said she has tried numerous different brands, but uses Herbalife in her shakes because of its taste.

"Herbalife is my favorite product that I've had because you don't taste the soy product or the whey product, whatever you're wanting to put in your shake, you don't taste the actual protein that you can taste in most things when you are trying to add in protein. It masks the flavor very well," she said.

"We're a casual place, because it's not just losing weight," she said of her bar. "It's about people who want to gain, maintain and lose weight, so it really just depends on what kind of area you're trying to fit in."

Wolf Nutrition also offers fit camps and 21-day challenges and people who participate in these have different goals.

"There's a lot of people in there just trying to muscle up. There's people who are trying to shred, a lot of people who want to kind of maintain where they're at, so we just put them on meal plans that will go good for their daily nutrition. It's not a diet, it's just supplements and nutrition to help you day to day," she said.

"The 21-day challenge we do every month. It starts on the first. ... So on the first we send you basically this form to fill out if you want to join it, which we basically sit down, do a free wellness profile, set you up a meal plan, a snack guide for you guys to follow for the 21 days, and it's $15 to enter," Vinson said.

"Then we offer free fit camps during this 21-day challenge. You don't pay for the fit camps, you just get to come, and that's just our way to help the community learn a gym, learn the equipment and get results within the challenge as well," she said, "but people can come to the fit camp outside the 21-day challenge."

In addition to their shakes and drinks, Wolf Nutrition also sells other health products.

"We have a skin and hair line, energy and fitness. There are actual programs you can take home, protein bars and things like that," she said.

"You know, Arkansas' rated No. 2 or 3 of the obesity rating, highest obesity rate, so it's more of a thing of people don't know what nutrition is, so and maybe they do, they just don't care, so my main goal is just to be able to find nutrition that will fit into their daily routine, that they don't have to go on some sort of diet, because when you get on a diet people fall off of that, you don't stay consistent," she said.

"This is something you can stay consistent in and you may not get a result in three days, but you'll going to get a result in a few months if you just stay consistent with it."

This is one of three locations in the Nutrition family. "We have Wolf Nutrition her on Airport Road, we have Ram Nutrition on Malvern Avenue and On The Lake Nutrition on Albert Pike Road," Vinson said.

Q&A with Baleigh Vinson

The following are excerpts from the interview with Vinson, presented in a question-and-answer format:

Q: Favorite food of all time?

Vinson: My favorite food -- I'm a pasta eater. I love pasta. So how can I relate that to the business? I enjoy balance ... I think balance is key. I am able to have my cheat meals and meals that, you know, you don't need to be eating all the time because use my supplements here, so it's really cool that I can still eat my favorite foods and come here and be able to get my shakes and teas that I need to basically balance out my nutrition.

Q: Favorite restaurant anywhere?

Vinson: Probably, that's tough. Right now, the Best Cafe is my favorite.

Q: Favorite part of working in the Hot Springs area?

Vinson: Well, my favorite part is literally the community. Four years ago I was a whole different Baleigh Vinson than I am now. I'm sure you know through the years people change, but digging to the community and making connections and relationships with the people that live here has been a game-changer. I'm acquaintances with people who turn into friends that are now family just because I've made literal connections behind my bar and getting out in the community and helping change lives.

Q: Advice for someone starting a restaurant?

Vinson: I meet with people all the time who see an opportunity in the business. That's actually what I'm doing right now with (a woman who was in the shop at the time of the interview). It's really cool that people see an awesome opportunity in the business, not only to change their life to be healthier, but because they can see like a business opportunity out of it. So if you have a goal and you see something you want to achieve, just do it. Don't think too much about it, ask questions.

Q: Go-to comfort food?

Vinson: Pasta, pasta's definitely my go-to comfort food.

  photo  Baleigh Vinson, owner of Wolf Nutrition, pours a peanut butter pie flavored shake into a cup. - Photo by Tanner Newton of The Sentinel-Record
  photo  Baleigh Vinson, owner of Wolf Nutrition, holds up one of the nutrition bar's teas. - Photo by Tanner Newton of The Sentinel-Record

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