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!

STUDY DAY RECHARGE! Mark your calendars!

Study Day Recharge  Spring 2015


Back by Popular Demand!

Be sure to visit our Study Day Recharge on Wednesday, April 29 in Library Room 041.  Refreshments and chair massages will be offered at 5 p.m.

This will be our largest event yet!


The Menu

~ Tex-Mex Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Fresh kale with black beans, corn, red bell peppers, cheddar cheese, and creamy avocado lime dressing

~ Green Monster Smoothies

Frozen pineapple, bananas, orange juice, and spinach (you can’t taste the spinach- amazing!)

~ Salmon Salad with Fresh Vegetables and Capers

Wild Alaskan salmon mixed with light mayonnaise, cucumbers, red peppers, red onion, and capers; served with whole grain ak-mak crackers         

~ Farro Salad with Cucumbers, Lemon, and Feta

Light and fluffy farro (whole grain wheat) with cucumbers, red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, parsley, and feta

~ 7 Layer Dip with Tortilla Chips

   Refried beans, salsa, light sour cream, guacamole, light cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, scallions, and olives; served with tortilla chips

~ Teriyaki Tofu Bites

Cubes of extra firm tofu seared and simmered in teriyaki sauce

~ Make Your Own Trail-Mix Station

  Enjoy your favorite combination of dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, and coconut

~ Fresh Local Strawberries &  Seasonal Fruit

and much more! (upcoming recipes TBA)


This event is sponsored by the Furman Culinary Club, Department of Health Sciences, and Furman Library.


To see photos of the last Study Day Recharge click  here.

World Cancer Day 2015

Today is World Cancer Day.  Over 650 events all over the globe are dedicated to reducing the risk of preventable cancers, promoting the importance of early detection, fundraising for research and technology, strengthening public health policies, and improving health care access for all.

Click on the video below to learn how to reduce your risk:



Meet the Spring FIT Rx Trainers!

Spring 2015 FIT Rx (3) keep

We have a very talented and energetic group of students participating in the FIT Rx internship in individualized exercise prescription for Spring 2015.  These eighteen students will be working directly with 75 members of the Furman Faculty, Staff, and spouses to implement exercise programs that improve health outcomes.

Meet the Spring 2015 FIT Rx trainers!:

Back row from left to right:  Andy Kopel (handstand), Phil Zranchev, Abby Henry, Bailey Butler, Jo Wilks, Stefan McManus, Caroline Brown, Stephanie Devita, Sarah Hurtado, Jenny Pearsall, Stone Sun, Andrew Schwartz (handstand)

Middle row from left to right:  Natalie Malafronte, Sarah Stanley, Amanda Floyd, Deana Anastai

Front row from left to right: Lin Marzialo, Shannon Murphy


Deana Anastasi

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Nursing

Exercise History: Walking, spinning classes, hiking

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Shrimp, sweet potatoes

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I would like to work with people on a regular basis and apply all that I have learned.  I would also like to learn more about disease prevention.


Caroline Brown

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Physical Therapy

Exercise History: Dance 15 years, Swim 16 years, basketball, field hockey, elliptical trainer, weight training, Zumba

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Apples, bananas

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I enjoy exercising and want to share my enthusiasm for it with my clients.  I like learning about the health benefits that exercise provides.  This is a great opportunity for me to work one-on-one with others and learn how to create structured exercise routines.


Bailey Butler

Class:  Junior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Nursing

Exercise History: Pure Barre, Cross-Fit, Zumba, Spinning classes

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Enlightened Spinach Salad from Mellow Mushroom

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I want to immerse myself in the Furman community and meet new people.


Stephanie Devita

Class:  Junior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Sports Performance Training

Exercise History: Furman Soccer, running, weight lifting

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Fruit! Asparagus

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I would like to help people become healthier


Amanda Floyd

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Nursing

Exercise History: Elliptical trainer, dancing, group exercise classes

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Hummus, salmon

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I am looking forward to working one-on-one with participants and promoting a healthy lifestyle.


Sarah Hurtado

Class:  Junior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Physical Therapy

Exercise History: Running, spinning, weight lifting

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Sweet Potatoes

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I am excited to help people meet their goals and share my love of exercise!


Andy Kopel

Class:  Junior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Undecided

Exercise History: gymnastics, diving, Cross-Fit, track, cross country, rugby, soccer

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Egg whites, walnuts, Greek yogurt

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I would like to further my experience working with other people and to see if this is a career that I would like to pursue.


Natalie Malafronte

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Sports Medicine Physician

Exercise History: Trainer for 9Round, Cross-Fit competitions, Mixed Martial Arts

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  oatmeal

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I love creating workout plans and seeing people change their lifestyles.


Lin Marzialo

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Physical Therapy

Exercise History: Division 1 soccer, has completed several marathons and half marathons, enjoys rock climbing and various sports

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Black beans (“the most underrated food”) and salsa

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I would like to meet new people and help them learn about different ways to exercise.  Exercise is fun!


Stefan McManus

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Respiratory Therapy

Exercise History: Soccer, cross country, track

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Blueberries

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I want to help change someone’s life and put a smile on their face.



Shannon Murphy

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Marketing/ Sales

Exercise History: Furman Track Runner, just completed first half marathon, new member of Furman Triathlon Club, exercise classes, Bar method, yoga, kickboxing

Favorite Healthy Food:  Smoothies

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I like helping people achieve their goals plus I love to share my love of healthy eating and exercise to help motivate others.


Jenny Pearsall

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Public Health

Exercise History: Running and biking on the Swamp Rabbit

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Yogurt with raspberries and peaches

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I feel so much more energized since I made the decision to incorporate exercise into my daily life.  I am passionate about helping others discover the same energy!


Andrew Schwartz

Class:  Junior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Army Physical Therapy

Exercise History: Soccer, wrestling, mixed martial arts, powerlifting, Cross-Fit, gymnastics, strength training, army physical training

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Olive oil, macadamia nuts, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, apples, sardines

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I would like to gain experience for personal training and physical therapy.


Sarah Stanley

Class:  Junior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Physical Therapy

Exercise History: various sports, attend mother’s exercise classes, enjoy being active outdoors

Favorite Healthy Food:  Ants on a Log (celery, raisins, peanut butter)

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx? I love sharing what I love with other people and working one-on-one.


Stone Sun

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Undecided

Exercise History: I have always played basketball and other aerobic exercises.  I just started weight training last year.  Sweat makes me happy.

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Blueberries

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I want to use my social skills and training expertise to improve the lives of others.


Jo Wilks

Class:  Junior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Physical Therapy

Exercise History: Furman Volleyball, weight training, sprinting

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Asparagus

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I am excited to work with people instead of just sitting in a classroom.  It will really be helpful for Physical Therapy as well!


Phil Zranchev

Class:  Senior, Health Science Major

Intended Career Path:  Physical Therapy, Personal Training

Exercise History: Baseball, football, squash, weight lifting

Favorite Healthy Food(s):  Roasted peanuts, spinach, broccoli

Why did you want to participate in FIT Rx?:  I would like to exercise my knowledge that I obtained in HSC 244 Scientific Principles of Training and other Health Science courses.  I’d also like to become more familiar training people of various backgrounds.

Spring 2015 FIT Rx (5) keep

Don’t be fooled by their ferociousness, these students are eager to help you incorporate more physical activity into your lifestyle.


Learn more about the FIT Rx Program here:


FIT Rx Student Videos

FIT Rx:  Health Science Majors Promote Exercise as Medicine


The Best of FUEL– Complete, Healthy 30 Minute Meals


best of fuel

2015 marks the five year anniversary for the FUEL Healthy Eating Program at Furman.  Over 150 participants have begun to improve their health– one plate a time.  To celebrate, I am posting some of our favorite FUEL meals and snacks over the years.

These meals conform to our FUEL plate– 1/2 vegetables and/or fruits, 1/4 whole grains or potatoes, 1/4 lean protein sources.  Click on the links provided to access the actual recipes.  Recipes that are marked with an asterix (*)  have a printable recipe with nutrition analysis, shopping list, and additional tips.


Steel Cut Oatmeal Bar with Roasted Pears, Dried Fruit, and Nuts

pear oatmeal (4)

Buttermilk Blueberry Whole Grain Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries*

food- pancakes

Whole Grain French Toast with Tropical Fruit Salsa*

food- french toast

Turkey Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Whole Grain Sandwich with Strawberry-Banana Smoothie*


Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmealbaked blueberry banana oatmeal (4)

Breakfast Wraps with Arugula, Grape Tomatoes, and Pesto on Whole Grain Tortilla

food- breakfast burrito with argula

Apples and Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa with Pecans

apple quinoa

Whole Grain Bagel with Scrambled Egg and Fresh Fruit

bagel and eggs

3 minute Steel Cut Oats with Berries

1 oatmeal (2)

Plant-Based Meals

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Cakes with Fresh Salsa

food- black bean burgers

Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan with Whole Grain Spaghetti*

food (2)

Teriyaki Chickpeas with Pineapple


Pinto Bean and Vegetable Quesadillas with Salsa and Avocado

pinto beans and veg quesadillas

Greek Pasta Salad with Garbanzo Beans*

food (16)

Black Bean and Zucchini Chili with Avocado*

z food- black bean chili (2)

Roasted Vegetable Whole Grain Lasagna with Tossed Salad*

food- lasagna

Black Bean Quesadillas with Mango Salsa*black bean queadillas

BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Slaw


Marinated Portobello “Burgers” with Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

food (19)

Sesame Soba Noodle Salad with Edamame

food- soba noodle salad

Chicken & Turkey

BBQ Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese with Collard Greens and Fresh Tomato Slices*

food- bbq chicken

Chicken Fajitas on Whole Grain Tortillas with Black Beans, Corn, and Zucchini*

food- chicken fajitas

White Bean and Chicken Chili with Lime*

z food- white bean and chicken chili (3)

Easy BBQ Teriyaki Chicken with Brown Rice and Vegetables (Trader Joe’s)

1 bbq chicken (8)

 Asian Chicken Salad with Nappa Cabbage, Cucumbers, Mandarin Oranges, and Almonds

asian chicken salad

Chicken Parmesan with Green Bean Medley and Caramelized Onions*

food- chicken parm

Chunky Split Pea Soup with Turkey Bacon and Whole Grain Crackers*

z food- split pea soup with crackers (6)

Curried Chicken Salad Pita with Grapes and Pecans, Served with Summer Garden Gazpacho*

curry chicken salad with gazpacho

Fish & Shellfish

Citrus Honey Salmon with Broccoli, Carrots, Caramelized Onions, and Toasted Almonds*

food- citrus salmon

Shrimp Scampi with Whole Wheat Linguine, served with Peaches, Raspberries, and Fresh Mint*

food- shrimp scampi  (2)

Ginger Lime Tilapia with Fresh Pineapple Salsa*
food (7)

Mediterranean Pasta with Shrimp, Spinach, Tomatoes, Lemon, and Feta*

med pasta (1)

Shrimp Gumbo with Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes over Brown Rice*

food- gumbo

Easy Salmon Salad with Fresh Vegetables and Capers over Whole Grain Crackers, Serve with fruit

food- salmon salad (1)

 Fish Tacos with Mango Cucumber Salsa*

food- fish tacos

Salmon Cakes with Brown Rice Pilaf, Broccoli, and Pineapple*

food- salmon cakes (1)


Easy Whole Grain Pita Pizzas– Chicken and Broccoli, Tri-color Pepper


Turkey and Pinto Bean Sloppy Joes on Whole Grain Buns with Apples and Grapes*

food- sloppy joe

Whole Grain Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, and Cauliflower “Alfredo”*

cauliflower alfredo (4)

Sweet and Sour Chicken over Brown Rice*


Easy Lunchbox Bean and Cheese Whole Grain Quesadillas  


Cauliflower “Pizza

food- cauliflower pizza (1)

Easy Homemade Hummus with Fresh Vegetables
hummus veg crackers (2)

Easy 3-Ingredient Cherry Banana “Ice Cream” with Coconut

food- cherry banana ice cream with coconut (1)

Green Monster Smoothies and Popsicles

green monster

Dining Out

Thin Crust Vegetable Pizza with Salad

pizza and salad

 Chipotle’s Salad with Brown Rice, Fresh Salsas, Beans, Sofritas (Tofu) and/or Chicken

chipotle chicken, beans, brown rice, salad

 Zoe’s Greek Salad with Quinoa, Grilled Chicken, and Caramelized Onions

zoes kitchen

View all of our printable recipes here.

Exercise is Medicine

exercise is medicine

Have you ever watched a commercial for a prescription drug?  Sometimes the laundry list of side effects makes me question if the benefit really exceeds the risk for some of them.

Medications definitely have their place. But don’t you wish that someone would create a magic pill that would cure, or at least help to alleviate many of the chronic conditions that we battle today?

And wouldn’t it be even better if it was offered for FREE?

I have a secret that you won’t find broadcasted on television commercials or magazine advertisements… this magic pill already exists.  And you can have it for free with no strings attached.

Exercise. Is. Medicine.

The American College of Sports Medicine has launched a global health initiative called Exercise is Medicine.  The focus is to encourage health care providers to recommend physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients.  According to ACSM, exercise is “integral in the prevention and treatment of diseases and should be treated as a part of all medical care.”

The benefits of exercise are acute (lasting for 12-24 hours after each exercise bout) and chronic (cumulative over time)  (ACSM, 2011).  Exercise improves multiple health outcomes, even in the absence of weight loss.

Check out some of the ways that regular exercise can improve your health:

1) Boost Endothelial Progenitor Cells. Every time you exercise, your body significantly increases the production of Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs).  (Koutroumpi, et al., 2012; Choi, et al., 2014Palmefors, et al.,  2014)  These specialized cells circulate through your blood vessels, attached to sites of injury, and begin to reverse the process of plaque build-up.  Each bout of exercise is like a healing dose of medicine to clean up clogged arteries.

2) Reduce Fats and Cholesterol in the Blood.  High levels of triglycerides (fats) and cholesterol in the blood are associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.  A single bout of moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise can lower blood triglycerides and cholesterol for about 12-24 hours (Kim, et al., 2014; Mestek, et al., 2008).  As you can imagine, regular exercise has the greatest impact and can significantly reduce blood triglycerides and cholesterol.

3) Increase Nitric Oxide to Lower Blood Pressure.  Plaque build-up in the arteries causes the endothelial lining of the arteries to become dysfunctional.  For example, healthy arteries have the ability to open and close in order to shunt blood to areas of high and low priority when needed.  Dysfunctional arteries remain constricted unnecessarily.  In fact, they may “paradoxically vasoconstrict.”  This means that when your body needs more oxygen, diseased blood vessels will actually close off to reduce blood flow. Yikes.

Exercise increases blood flow through the arteries and stimulates production of an important vasodilator called  nitric oxide (Phillips, et al., 2014).  Nitric oxide helps the arteries to open up so blood can flow through them freely.  For example, one study suggested that 20 minutes of walking three times per week for eight weeks increased nitric oxide production by 30% and reduced blood pressure by 10-17% (Khalid, et al., 2013)

4) Improve Insulin Sensitivity/ Type 2 Diabetes.  Aerobic exercise uses carbohydrates for fuel which helps to manage blood glucose regulation.  It also improves insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Reduced muscle mass increases the risk for metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  However, resistance training can help to preserve muscle mass and improve metabolic function (Malik, et al., 2004; Brooks, et al., 2007).  The metabolic improvements associated with exercise may be partly attributed to increased adiponectin (a hormone that improves insulin sensitivity), and decreased inflammatory markers (which decrease insulin sensitivity).

5) Increase Bone Density.  Exercise, particularly impact exercise, stimulates the bone microarchitecture, bone density, and bone strength, which are integral to the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.  Training that improves muscular strength, balance and proprioception (sensing where you are in space) can significantly reduce the risks of falls and fall-related fractures (Moreira, et al. 2014).

6) Prevent Age-Related Loss of Muscle Mass.  Aging is associated with sarcopenia which is characterized by a significant loss of muscle mass, muscle strength, and functional capacity.  Regular exercise, particularly resistance training, can help to preserve muscle mass  (Zembroń-Łacny et al., 2014)

7)  Maintain a Healthy Metabolism and Facilitate Weight Management.  According to the National Weight Control Registry, the majority of individuals who successfully lose weight and keep it off use a combination of healthy eating and exercise to do so (Klem, et al., 2007).

8)  Boost Immunity.  Regular moderate exercise can improve measures of immunity by 15-25%.  For for example, it can affect the number and function of circulating immune cells such as neutrophils, monocytes, and natural killer cells (Walsh, et al., 2011)

9) Improve Cognitive Function.  Executive function refers to a set of mental skills that are coordinated in the brain’s frontal lobe. Research suggests that exercise may improve multiple components of executive function  including working memory, multitasking, selective attention, self-control, and reasoning (Guiney and Machado, 2013).   O’Malley (2011) found that exercise also improves executive function in children which is important for their adaptive behavior and cognitive function.  Exercise may be a particularly valuable treatment tool for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.    It enhances brain development and neurobehavioral functioning in areas of the brain that are believed to be impaired in ADHD (Halperin, et al., 2014).

10) Blunt the Stress Response.  Regular exercisers show lower physiological and psychological responses to daily stressors. For example, one 30 minute bout of aerobic exercise reduced how much of a stress hormone called cortisol was released in times of stress.  (Zschucke, 2015)

11) Improve Depression.  Exercise has been demonstrated to produce moderate clinical improvements in depression that are comparable to pharmacological treatment or psychological therapy (Cooney, 2013).  Archer, et al. ( 2014) have reported that exercise may play a preventative role in anxiety and depressive states, improve self-esteem, improve sleep disturbances, and improve chronic aches and pains.

12) Improve Pain from Arthritis. Reduced muscle mass and muscle strength may increase the risk for osteoarthritis (Slemenda, 1998).  This is because strong muscles help to reduce the load on the joints.  Resistance training can also help to reduce the pain and disability associated with existing osteoarthritis (Bischoff, et al., 2003)

13) Decrease Systemic Inflammation. Low-grade systemic inflammation has been associated with several chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.  Regular moderate exercise decreases C-Reactive Protein which is a marker of inflammation (Chen, et al., 2014; Pedersen, 2006)

14)  Increase Antioxidant Enzyme Systems.  You may be aware that antioxidants in foods can be beneficial for health.  But what you may not know is that exercise boosts antioxidant function also.  Antioxidant enzymes systems help to dismantle harmful free radicals and turn them into less harmful substances such as water and oxygen.  You can increase your body’s internal antioxidant enzyme systems by exercising. For example, exercise increases the activity of the antioxidant enzyme systems superoxide dismutase (Power, et al., 1993) and glutathione peroxidase (Bouzid, 2014).  These systems help to defend your body against free radicals, chronic disease, and the aging process.

15) Improve Activities of Daily Living and Overall Quality of Life. Exercise is associated with higher levels of physical function and improves activities of daily living, especially in older adults (Diepetro, 1996).  Regular exercisers frequently report improved feelings of “energy” and improved quality of life when compared with non-exercisers.

It bears repeating.  Exercise truly is medicine.

Edward Stanley had it right in his famous Earl of Derby speech in 1873.  “Those who think that they do not have time for exercise will sooner or later have to make time for illness.”


Pictured above:  former FIT Rx trainer Molly Makela pursuing lifelong fitness in the beautiful Moab, Utah.

Furman Group Exercise Classes Spring 2015

Furman Fitness Center Group Exercise classes begin next week, Monday, January 12.

Our classes are taught at multiple levels so you can tailor your workout to your own fitness level.  We even have a Beginner Body Fit (weight training) Class exclusively for our new exercisers.

Hope to see you there!

(click on the images below to enlarge)

GROUP EXERCISE 2015 Spring term front

GROUP EXERCISE 2015 Spring term back

Steel Cut Oatmeal Bar with Roasted Pears

pear oatmeal (4)

Looking for a healthy way to ring in the New Year?

Try a make-your-own oatmeal bar for breakfast. This one features one of my favorite winter fruits– roasted pears.  If you have never tasted them before then you are in for a real treat.

Start the oatmeal bar with hearty steel cut oats like the Trader Joe’s 8 minute Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats pictured below.  Traditional (20 minute) steel cut oats, old-fashioned oats or quick oats will also work.  Cook the oats according to package directions and add cinnamon, a little bit of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt as desired.

Set out a variety of dried fruit and nuts.  We used orange flavored dried cranberries, golden berry blend (golden raisins, dark raisins, cherries, blueberries), honey roasted almonds, spiced pumpkin seeds, and chopped pecans.

pear oatmeal (1)

For the star ingredient, simply spread chopped ripe pears on a large baking sheet with a rim (to catch the juices that they will release in the oven).  Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until they are slightly softened and fragrant.  The flavors intensify and they taste amazing!

I first learned about roasted pears from a blender baby food cookbook  many years ago.  When my children were babies I cooked different types of vegetables and fruits and blended them to make baby food.  This was one of our favorites.  I probably snuck two spoonfuls of roasted pear puree for every one that I fed to my kids.  As a puree, it can also be used to spoon over plain yogurt or vanilla frozen yogurt.

pear oatmeal (2)

Serve the warm oats and roasted pears with a make-your-own oatmeal bar at the table. A delicious way to begin the new year!

pear oatmeal (5)

Students Prep for Finals with Study Day Recharge

blog2 (2)

Our third bi-annual Study Day Recharge was a huge success!  Almost 200 students enjoyed healthy refreshments and chair massages in the library this past Wednesday as we kicked off final exam week.

This event is sponsored by the Furman Culinary Club, Department of Health Sciences, and Furman Library.

What was on the menu?  It was our largest and tastiest collection of recipes to date!

blog (1)

12-10-14 study day recharge (7)

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Feta.  If you follow this blog, you are well aware of my addiction to this kale salad.  This version was served with a little holiday twist.  Rinse raw kale leaves and place the leaves on a cutting board so they lay flat.  Run the point of a sharp knife along both sides of the stem to remove the tender leaves from the woody stems.  Thinly slice the leaves and add them to a bowl.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt over the kale; toss to combine well.  I usually toss this with grated Parmesan cheese.  For this version, however, we tossed in fresh pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and feta.  This salad will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days and tastes better as the kale marinates in the dressing.  This was one of the student favorites.

12-10-14 study day recharge (12)

Red Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans.  This recipe is a snap.  Rinse and boil quinoa for about 15 minutes and then drain it in a fine mesh colander.  Meanwhile, roast cubes of butternut squash with a little bit of oil on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F until softened 15-25 minutes.  We bought bags of raw butternut squash cubes in the produce section of Trader Joe’s to save time.  Then toss the quinoa with the butternut squash, dried cranberries, chopped parsley, finely chopped red onion, and chopped pecans.  Toss with a little bit of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

12-10-14 study day recharge (17)

Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta Salad.  We tossed chopped heirloom cherry tomatoes with chopped Persian cucumbers, scallions, chopped parsley, and feta.  Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

12-10-14 study day recharge (13)

Sesame Soba Noodle Pasta Salad with Edamame.  This is a really tasty cold pasta salad.  It calls for soba (buckwheat) noodles.  However, you can also substitute whole grain wheat pasta or whole grain brown rice pasta (Trader Joe’s).  Simply boil the noodles and then add the shelled frozen edamame at the end of the cooking process.Toss with matchstick carrots, red pepper strips, scallions, and an easy sesame ginger vinaigrette.  Click here for the recipe.

12-10-14 study day recharge (14)

Cabbage Crunch Salad.  This is a light and refreshing version of coleslaw.  Finely slice raw cabbage (or buy one of the pre-shredded bags in the produce aisle).  In a small bowl, combine equal parts apple cider vinegar, honey, and canola oil.  Whisk it together with a pinch of salt.  Lightly dress the cabbage and toss to coat well.  It doesn’t need much dressing.  Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Just before serving, toss in sliced almonds.  We used Honey Roasted Sliced Almonds from Trader Joe’s.

12-10-14 study day recharge (15)

Teriyaki Chickpeas with Pineapple.  Think of this recipe as a meatless version of teriyaki chicken.  Beans are full of fibers, healthful plant proteins, and other nutrients… plus they are cheap.  Saute some finely chopped onion and carrot in a large skillet over medium heat until they are slightly softened.  Add canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) that have been rinsed and drained.  Pour in a few Tablespoons of teriyaki sauce (I used Trader Joe’s) and let them simmer for 10-15 minutes until they absorb most of the sauce.  Add in some thawed frozen pineapple tidbits and cook until warmed through.

12-10-14 study day recharge (16)

Egg and egg white mini vegetable frittatas.  Spray a muffin tin or mini-muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Fill the compartments with finely chopped red peppers, fresh chopped spinach, red onions, mushrooms, or any other vegetables that you have on hand.  They may need to be lightly sauteed or at least finely chopped, depending on the vegetable.  Pour beaten egg and/or egg whites (we made both) into each muffin tin to fill.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the eggs are set. Leftovers made a great grab and go breakfast.

12-10-14 study day recharge (9)

Texas Caviar with Whole Grain Pita Chips.  Warning.  Warning. These are highly addictive.  Cut whole grain pita bread into strips and spread them on a baking sheet.  Brush them with a little bit of olive oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray.  Sprinkle generously with dried Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt.  Add grated Parmesan cheese, if you’d like.  Bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  We served them with Texas Caviar– a chunky spin off of salsa with black eyed peas, corn, red peppers, jalapeno, cilantro, and more.  Click here for the full recipe.

12-10-14 study day recharge (11)

Wild Salmon Salad with Fresh Vegetables and Capers.  I adore this salad.  It is great with whole grain crackers for a snack or can be served with whole grain bread or in a pita for lunch.  The vegetables add a ton of flavor and texture which helps to cut back on the mayonnaise. It starts with boneless, skinless canned salmon that can be found at Trader Joe’s or Publix.  Combine it with diced cucumber, red bell peppers, red onion, capers, pickle relish, and light mayonnaise. We served it with ak-mak whole grain crackers that can be found in many grocery stores.  Triscuits or Triscuits Thin Crisps are also tasty.  Click here for the recipe.

blog (14)

Banana Oat Cookies with Chocolate Chunks and Dried Berries.  We took the world’s easiest cookie recipe on a holiday spin.  In a large bowl, mash two ripe bananas (with little brown sugar spots) with a potato masher or the back of a fork.  Add one cup of dry oats– both quick oats and old fashioned oats work fine.  Sprinkle in some chocolate chunks, a generous pinch of cinnamon, and dried berries.  We used a mixture of dried cherries, dried blueberries, golden raisins, and dark raisins.  Mix it all together and then drop little spoonfuls onto a large baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until the bottoms are lightly golden on the bottom.

blog (5)

We also offered fresh, grab and go fruit:

12-10-14 study day recharge (6)

… and plain and carbonated water.  La Croix is naturally flavored carbonated water that does not have any sugar or artificial sweeteners.

12-10-14 study day recharge (5)

We had a great time but the food went FAST!

blog2 (8)


blog2 (3)

blog2 (6)

blog2 (4)

blog2 (5)

blog2 (1)

Students, good luck on final exams!  Have a great holiday break!


New FDA Regulations: Calorie Counts Required On Menu Boards

How well can you estimate calorie counts when dining out?  Let’s try a little pop quiz to see.

Question #1.  How many calories are this Pizza Skin appetizer?

calories 2050


Answer:  2,050 calories


Question #2.  How about this Colossal Hamburger?

calories 1940


Answer: 2,060 calories ( fries are extra, of course )


Question #3.  What about this single slice of chocolate cheesecake?


calories 1380


Answer: 1,380 calories


And finally, the most frustrating of all…Question #4.  What about this seemingly healthy “Fresh Broccoli and Chicken Pasta”?

calories 2060


Answer:  2,060 calories (not to mention 65 grams of saturated fat, which is three entire days worth)


How did you do?  If you are anything like me, you probably had no clue how many calories these foods contain because you don’t know what is in them.

It can be tricky to navigate through restaurants, movie theater menu boards, and vending machine offerings.  Commercial foods tends to be high in sugar, fat, and salt in order to make them hyper-palatable (also known as “really tasty” to the average person).  They are also usually served in large portions that encourage us to overeat.

If we want to protect our health, we have two main solutions to this dilemma.

#1  Get cooking.  When we cook from home we have ultimate control over the food that we put in our bodies.  There is simply no substitute.

#2  Be informed about the foods that we eat when dining out.

The New FDA Ruling

This week, the Food and Drug Administration released the final menu labeling regulations that may help us to be more informed when dining out.  By the end of next year, restaurants and retail establishments with more than 20 locations will be required to post calorie counts on menu boards.  This includes sit down restaurants, drive-through windows, movie theaters, deli counters, salad bars, bakery shops, coffee houses, and more.  Vending machines have been allotted two years to make the change.  My favorite part is that the font size of the calorie counts has the be the same size of the item name or price (whichever is smaller) so they can’t try to hide it.

The ruling is designed to help consumers make informed decisions at the point of purchase.

My thoughts?  I think this is great.  The information will be readily available for those who are interested.

The drawback?  As consumers, we have to remember that good nutrition encompasses much more than calorie counts.  For example, a diet soda, artificially sweetened pudding, or 100 calorie cookie snack pack are all low in calories.  But they are not very nutritious foods.

Will the new ruling encourage consumers to choose lower calorie foods?  Some research studies suggests that it may help a little bit, particularly in women (1, 2).  Other studies do not find a difference (3, 4, 5).   I guess time will tell.


Infographic Calories Now on the Menu

Read more at at www.fda.gov by clicking here.

FUEL Spring 2015 Registration Open!

FUEL promo- SPRING 2015

Registration is now open for the Spring 2015 session of FUEL.  Over the past five years, more than 140 faculty, staff, and spouses have learned how to transform health– one plate at a time.

FUEL uses a simple plate-based model to guide food choices.  Participants are encouraged to conform meals toward the FUEL plate which consists of one half vegetables and/or fruits, one quarter whole grains or potatoes, and one quarter lean protein sources.  State of the art assessments of body composition and blood work allow participants to track progress over time.

The Spring FUEL class will be offered in PAC 113 on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. from January 28- April 8.

If you are interested in learning more or registering for FUEL, please contact me via email at kelly.frazier@furman.edu.

View the results of our previous interventions here.

(click image above to enlarge)