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Welcome to the Live Well Furman blog!  This blog is designed to help support healthy behaviors in the Furman community and beyond.  Be sure to sign up for our email subscription to have the latest campus wellness offerings, wellness news briefs, healthy meal ideas, and exercise tips delivered straight to your inbox each week!

Spring Group Exercise Class Schedule


Join us in the PAC for Spring term Group Exercise Classes!  Passes can be purchased at the Furman Fitness Center desk and offer unlimited access to all classes!

(click on schedules to enlarge)



Mediterranean Pasta with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables

Looking for an easy make ahead meal for weekday lunches or busy weekday dinners?  Try this delicious Mediterranean Pasta with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables.  It has a generous portion of colorful vegetables that are tossed with shrimp and whole grain pasta.

Mediterranean Pasta with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables

I prefer to serve this pasta salad cold and like the vegetables crisp tender.  If you prefer softer vegetables, cook them a little longer in the oven before adding the shrimp.  For variety, swap out the shrimp for chicken, turkey, white beans, or tofu.  You can also use other shapes of whole grain pasta like penne, farfalle, or orzo.


1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped crosswise into 1/2″ pieces

1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and chopped crosswise into 1/2″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1 red onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

8 oz. mushrooms, quartered lengthwise

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

4 Tbsp. pesto

8 ounces whole grain rotini pasta

1- 1.5 pounds shrimp, peeled

grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Bring a large covered pot of water to boil over high heat.

Cook Vegetables:  Combine zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, red onion, and mushrooms on a large sheet pan with a rim.  In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, and salt.  Drizzle dressing over vegetables and toss to combine well.  Spread the vegetables in a single layer over the sheet pan; use two pans if needed.  Roast the vegetables for about 8 minutes.

Pasta:  Once the water has come to a boil, reduce to medium high heat.  Add pasta and cook 8 minutes or until al dente.

Add Shrimp:  Remove the sheet pan from the oven, stir the vegetables, and toss in the raw shrimp.  Spread the mixture in a single layer and return to the oven to cook for another 5-7 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through.  Cooked shrimp are completely pink and the shape of the letter “C” (think “cooked”).  Overcooked shrimp will curl up to the shape of the letter “O” (think “overcooked”).

Add Pesto:  Once the pasta is cooked, drain in a colander.  Return it to the pot and stir in pesto and grated Parmesan.  When the vegetables and shrimp are cooked, add them to the pasta salad with the cooking liquid; toss to combine.  This can be served warm immediately or chill it in the refrigerator and serve the leftovers cold.




FUEL Cooking Workshop: Mediterranean Farm to Table

Lori Nelsen (Furman Earth and Environmental Science) and Chef David Porras led another amazing FUEL Cooking Workshop today for Furman faculty, staff, and families.  This workshop featured recipes that were inspired by Mediterranean cuisine and featured local, farm fresh ingredients.

The starter course was a delicious Spinach salad with Strawberries, Feta, and Toasted almonds and dressed with a Homemade Apple Vinaigrette.  To make the dressing, whisk together 2 ounces of olive oil, 1/4 ounce of apple juice, 1/2 ounce of apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

The entree featured a hearty Vegetable Ragout over Whole Grain Pasta and topped with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and oregano.  Start by placing a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add a little bit of olive oil, 2 diced carrots, and 1 small diced onion; saute for about 5-7 minutes until softened.  Stir in 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp. tomato paste, and 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar; cook over high heat for 1 minute.  Add 2-4 cups of chopped vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms.  Add 2 (28 oz.) cans of crushed or diced tomatoes with basil.  Bring to a boil over high heat, lower to medium heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook whole grain pasta until al dente about 8-10 minutes in gently boiling water; drain.  Combine the pasta with the ragout, season with salt and black pepper.  Top with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and oregano.

We finished our meal with a Homemade Blackberry Cobbler that featured whole grain flour, freshly whipped cream, and local blackberries.

The next Furman Employee Cooking Workshop is scheduled for Friday, September 8.  The class is full but be sure to check back for photos and recipes.

How much hidden sugar is in your favorite beverage?

How much hidden sugar is in your favorite beverage?  It may be more than you think.

Although you can’t see it, popular beverages like soda, lemonade, sweet tea, sports drinks, and coffee drinks pictured above all have 15- 26 packets of sugar per bottle.

Most folks probably wouldn’t eat 26 packets of sugar but don’t realize that they are drinking them.

A single 20 ounce soda actually has 130-150% of the daily value of added sugar that is recommended for an entire day.

Which drinks had the most?  Among those that we tested, soda came out on top.

Third place was cola. One 20 ounce bottle had 65 grams of added sugar which is 21.7 packets or 130% of the entire daily value.

Second place was orange soda. One 20 ounce bottle had 73 grams of added sugar which is 24 packets or 146% of the entire daily value.

The grand prize was a tropical lime soda with 77 grams of added sugar which is almost 26 packets of sugar or 154% of the daily value for an entire day.

While soda came out on top, we found an alarming amount in sweet tea, lemonade, sports drinks, and coffee drinks also. In fact, a sweetened coffee from a popular chain may have 90-100 grams of sugar which is almost two entire days’ worth.

What about diet drinks? They replace sugar with chemical artifical sweeteners that are virtually calorie free.  While artifical sweeteners are not likely to harm your health, large amounts may not be helping it either.

That is because “repeated exposure trains your preference.”  The consumption of large amounts of artificial may sweeteners may encourage a preference for sweet flavors– also known as a “sweet tooth.”  So we end up eating other sugary foods all day long and negate our calorie savings.

The best sweetener is one that isn’t really sweet at all. Try to cut back on all added sugar in foods and beverages. The less you eat, the less you will likely crave.


New PT45 Group Training Class Offered This Fall!

Are you looking to take your exercise training to the next level?

Stop by the PAC on Thursday, August 24 from 12:15- 1 p.m. for a free trial of a new PT45 group training class.  PT45 will consist of a variety of sport conditioning and functional fitness moves that include equipment such as battle ropes, sand bags, kettle bells, tires, TRX, and resistance bands.

Classes will be led by Stephen Opskar, MS, CSCS, Furman Fitness Center Coordinator of Fitness and Wellness Services.

The Fall session of PT45 will be held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 12:15-1 p.m. in the PAC Basketball Gym.  The cost is $75 for the entire eight week session from August 29- October 20.

The classes are limited to the first 16 people to sign up.  For more information, contact the Furman Fitness Center at (864)294-3581 or email

FUEL Healthy Cooking Workshops Fall 2017

This fall, the Furman Employee Wellness Program will be continuing a series of healthy cooking workshops for employees and their families.  The workshops are one hour in duration and include lunch.

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Summer Scholars 2017: Prospective Students Learn Basics of Lifestyle Medicine

This summer, sixteen rising high school juniors and seniors got a taste (literally) of the basics of Lifestyle Medicine.

Lifestyle Medicine is a growing movement that promotes the utilization of healthy behaviors as a therapeutic intervention to help slow, halt, or even reverse many chronic diseases.  More specifically, it focuses on strategies such as physical activity, weight management, healthy eating, and stress management to battle conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, mental health, and certain cancers.

These prospective students had the opportunity to stay on Furman’s beautiful campus, take courses from the Health Sciences department, enjoy daily exercise sessions, and partake in afternoon field trips.  The students visited Furman from all over the U.S. and left with a new vigor toward living a healthy lifestyle.

Here is a snapshot of some of their activities:

In the classroom, students learned fundamental nutrition theories and practical ways to incorporate healthful foods into their diets.  They raced each other in a Supermarket Scavenger Hunt to test their knowledge and food label savvy.

Students learned how exercise is medicine and can be used to treat or help alleviate many chronic conditions.  Dr. Scott Murr, Furman Health Sciences professor, provided the students with a tour of the Human Performance Labs and let them observe a VO2 max treadmill test to assess aerobic capacity.  Students also witnessed state-of-the-art body composition analysis via Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) and learned about the world renowned Furman Institute for Running and Scientific Training (FIRST).

By the end of our week, the students were ready to cook and prepare some of the healthy foods that we had discussed all week.  We toured the Furman Farm that uses organic and sustainable growing techniques to educate others and provide food for Furman Dining Services and the Furman community.

To wrap up the week, the students worked together to plan, shop for, and cook a healthy meal.  Here is a sampling of some of their dishes:

Whole wheat crepes with fresh berries and whipped cream (featuring whole wheat pastry flour for a delicate texture)

Caprese Salad featuring homegrown tomatoes and basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar

Teriyaki Tofu

Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon

Black Bean and Mango Quinoa with Cilantro and Lime

Baked Banana and Mixed Berry Oatmeal with Almonds

Almond Butter Squares with Dark Chocolate, Nuts, and Seeds

The Furman Summer Scholars program is offered every summer.  For more information, please visit: