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!

Encouraging a Lifetime of Healthy Eating

This weekend, my family and I watched Katie Couric’s new food documentary Fed Up.  It examines the obesity epidemic, focusing specifically on the impact of sugar and processed foods on childhood obesity.  The opening story actually features a family from Easley, South Carolina and discusses some of the problems with Southern cuisine.

Like most of these documentaries, Fed Up did present a few half-truths and contradictory statements.  However, overall we enjoyed it.  It provided a sense of the magnitude of the obesity epidemic and how many forces need to be overcome in order to make an impact– political, environmental, social, and behavioral.

My children (ages 6 and 9) found it pretty interesting.  They were particularly awestruck by the animations explaining how sugar negatively affects your body and how junk food marketers specifically try to target children.   They seemed pretty motivated to continue to eat a healthier diet at the end.  As their “nutritional gatekeeper,” I’ll take all of the outside help that I can get. Two thumbs up for that.

One constant theme throughout the documentary was how challenging it is to encourage healthy eating habits if we are raised on unhealthful foods.  Children struggled to swap out their pizza, burgers, and fries for vegetables because they didn’t like the “taste.”

This idea always leaves me scratching my head.  Children can be raised to love healthful foods.  I see it every day in my own home.  My kids love Green Monster Smoothies, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing.  They adore broccoli, edamame, carrots, green beans, asparagus, quinoa, farro, steel cut oats, fish, chicken, tofu, tempeh, and every single type of fruit.

Fed Up made me wonder why some children accept healthier foods more easily than others.  And what can caregivers do to encourage healthier eating habits?  After all, it has been estimated that up to 72% of what and how much children eat is influenced by their nutritional gatekeeper—that is, the person who shops for and prepares foods (1).   As parents, grandparents, and caregivers, we can make a significant impact.

How can we encourage children to have a lifetime of healthy eating habits?

Step 1.  Maximize the “Windows of Opportunity”

There are several “windows of opportunity” early in life that can affect eating habits long term.

~ Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Mothers who were instructed to consume carrot juice regularly during pregnancy ended up with children who preferred the flavor of carrots (2).  This is because flavors from the mother’s diet are passed into the amniotic fluid during pregnancy and swallowed by the fetus.

These same flavors from the mother’s diet are also passed through breast milk when she breastfeeds her baby.  Because this is a sensitive period in the lifecycle, it encourages acceptance and attraction of the foods eaten by the mother (3).  Children who are fed infant formula may have more difficulty initially accepting certain flavors, such as those found in vegetables and fruits (4).

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should attempt to eat a healthful diet full of a wide variety of foods for their own health and the health of their little one.

~ Starting Solids and Finger Foods

After 4-6 months of age, infants are typically introduced food purees.  Pureeing real foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, parsnips, apples, pears, bananas, and avocado is an easy way to introduce those flavors.  When my children were little, I used the help of a Blender Baby Food Cookbook and stocked the freezer with little portions of these purees in ice cube trays.  It was cheap and easy and paid off well during childhood since they started eating these foods from the beginning.

After 9-12 months, many infants are introduced soft pieces of finger foods.  As every parent can probably attest, this also occurs during a time when little ones learn to explore the world by putting everything in their mouth.  This can be used to our advantage.  Infants of this age are likely to put anything in their mouth during this time.  So why not put something healthful in front of them?

At this time, we introduced my daughter to foods like roasted golden beets, turnips, asparagus, and carrots (as seen below).  To this day, she still loves to eat these types of foods.

1 food

Step 2.  Encourage through the Growing Years

As children grow, caregivers can continue to encourage healthy habits.

~ Be a positive role model.

The old adage “do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work.  We can’t expect children to practice healthful behaviors if they don’t witness us do the same.

Research has clearly demonstrated that children’s food responsiveness, enjoyment of food, and food fussiness are significantly affected by the parental modeling (5, 6, 7).  Mothers seem to play a key role.

For example, mothers who consume more fruits and vegetables tend to have daughters who are less picky and consume more fruits and vegetables (8, 9).

Let your child see you eat healthful foods because they taste good.

~ Encourage and support.

Parental encouragement and modeling of vegetable and fruit consumption has been associated with lower Body Mass Indices in children (10).

Encourage your child by offering several types of healthful foods and letting your child choose.  For example, “would you like broccoli, carrots, or green beans tonight?” or “would you like an apple or a banana for a snack?”

Take children to the grocery store or farmer’s market and let them pick out a new produce item to try.  Invite them to cook with you in the kitchen.  They are more likely to try something that they have invested their time and energy in.

Many children will experience stages of pickiness.  Just continue to offer healthful foods and be a positive role model. One study found that nearly half of children were picky eaters at some point during early childhood.  However, many eventually outgrew it (11).

Positive suggestions may also improve a child’s attitude and eating behavior about healthful foods.  For example, encourage your child with statements such as “you loved asparagus the first time that you tried it” (12).

If children seem a little resistant to a new food, don’t give up.  They may need to be exposed to it multiple times before it becomes familiar.  You can also try different preparations and recipes to see which they like best.

~ Be careful with pressure and over-restriction.

Parents tend to adapt their controlling feeding practices in response to their child’s weight (13).  For example, mothers of identical twins reported that they exerted more food restriction toward the heavier child (14).

When we are concerned about one of our children, it seems natural to exert more effort to try to regulate their food intake.  However, these efforts may have negative consequences (15).  When children feel that their food choices are overly restricted, they tend to display more emotional eating and excessive snacking (16).  I guess we always seem to want we are told we cannot have.

Healthy eating habits are important for the entire family.  No one should be singled out or treated differently due to excess weight.  Try to stock a wide variety of healthful foods in the house and purchase little to no junk food.  Visit fast food establishments less regularly.  Make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Because many healthful foods tend to be low energy density (click here to learn more), it is not necessary to be over-restrictive on these foods anyway.

~ Try not to use food as a reward. 

When we reward children with food, it may encourage them to seek those foods during stressful times.  For example, if a child is rewarded with a cookie for good behavior then he may associate the cookie with comfort and pleasure.  The next time he seeks feelings of comfort, he may choose to eat cookies to cope.  This was suggested in a study of children ages 5-7.  Children who were exposed to a mild stressor tended to consume more calories if their parents reported using food as a reward (17)

~ Encourage Children to Honor Hunger Cues

Babies tend to have a keen sense of their hunger and satiety cues.  When a baby is hungry, he will cry.  When he is full, he will stop eating, turn his head away, or even stick his tongue out to thrust unwanted food out of his mouth.  Between the ages of 3 and 5 years, children may become less responsive to internal cues of satiation and more responsive to external cues (18).  This means that children can learn to override their natural cues and eat when they are not hungry.

It is important to try to teach children to honor their hunger cues.  Learn to distinguish between appetite (a psychological craving) and hunger (a physiological craving).  Eat when you are hungry.  Don’t eat when you are not hungry.  (Learn more about the hunger scale here)

~ Seek support of health care providers.

Health care providers can provide additional information and education about the health status of your child.  They can also help to monitor growth patterns during childhood and let you know if your child is on track.  One study found that the majority (80%) of preschoolers who were classified as overweight were perceived as normal weight by their parents.  This incorrect assumption led the parents to provide more high-sugar/ high-fat foods because they did not perceive a problem (19).

~ Seek support of others.

It is important that parents, grandparents, extended family members, and caregivers play a positive role.  Regular indulgences in unhealthful foods may interfere with efforts to maintain a healthy home environment (20).  Together, we can all make a difference.

Furman Fitness Center Summer Bike Rides, 5K Training, Hikes, Dodgeball, and Rollerblading

The Furman Fitness Center will be hosting a variety of activities this summer– beginner and intermediate group bike rides, 5K training programs, hikes, dodge ball, and rollerblading.  The fitness center has 5 bikes & helmets that can be used on a first requested, first reserved basis.  Informed consent forms must be completed prior to participation.  See the details below!

3 mickey

Training for the Red, White, & Blue Shoes 5K -limited to 25 participants

Participants will be given a 10 week training program and discounted entry fee for the Red, White & Blue Shoes 5K run.  The race is held on Furman’s campus on July 4th, 2015.  Registration is normally $30, discounted rate is $20.  Mickey McCauley (USATF Level II Certified Coach) will develop the running program and be available for unlimited training advice and questions.  Click the link for race details and map of the course: http://RWBSrun.com

Level:  All fitness levels welcome- beginners are encouraged!

Dates:  Saturday, July 4th at 8:00am- RACE!!

Contact:  Mickey McCauley at mickey.mccauley@furman.edu or 294-2420.


4 heather

Rollerblading on the Trail– limited to 6 participants

Level/ Distance:  Moderate pace for approximately 8 miles.  Need to be able to stay on your feet but looking graceful doing it is definitely not a requirement.

Dates:  Wednesdays, May 27th & June 17th

Time:  8:00 am- Meet at the Swamp Rabbit Trail near the softball field.  Must have your own rollerblades & any desired protective gear!

Contact:  Heather Newman at heather.newman@furman.edu or 294-3586.




Dates:  Thursdays- May 21st, June 11th & June 25th

Time:  12:15pm- PAC gym

Contact:  Heather Newman at heather.newman@furman.edu or 294-3586.


Paris Mountain Hike– limited to 14 participants

Level/Distance: Walkers, hikers and trail runners welcome- different routes offered.

Dates:  Wednesdays, May 20th, June 10th, & June 24th                               

Time:  7:30am- Depart; 9:30am – Estimated return time

Contact:  Heather Newman at heather.newman@furman.edu or 294-3586.


Cafe Ride– limited to 15 participants

Level/ Distance:  Moderate pace for approximately 15 miles on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  The ride will include a bakery or coffee shop stop-special discounts for the group will be offered!

Dates:  Thursdays- May 28th, June 4th, June 11th, June 18th & June 25th

Time:  7:45am- meet in front of the PAC; Depart- 8:00am

Contact:  Heather Newman at heather.newman@furman.edu or 294-3586.


2 glenn

Road Ride– limited to 15 participants

Level/ Distance:  Advanced pace- rolling 25 mile course.  Appropriate riding gear  required.

Route:  http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/667821960

Dates:  Wednesdays- May 27th & June 17th

Time:  12:00pm- meet in front of the PAC; Depart- 12:15pm

Contact:  Glenn Thrift at glenn.thrift@furman.edu or 294-3425.


1 owen

Swamp Rabbit Relaxed Ride– limited to 10 participants

Level/ Distance:  Easy pace for 6-8 miles

Dates:  Thursdays- May 7th, May 14th, May 21st, June 4th, & June 18th

Time:   12:00pm- meet in front of the PAC; 12:15pm- depart

Contact:  Owen McFadden at owen.mcfadden@furman.edu or 294-2414


Summer Group Exercise Classes

The Group Exercise Program will be offering morning Boot Camp, lunchtime Body Fit, and evening Mindful- Movement based yoga classes this summer.  Click on the images below to enlarge the schedules.

Hope to see you there!

GROUP EXERCISE May 2015 for blog


GROUP EXERCISE June, July 2015 for blog



BOOT CAMP- An energizing blend of aerobic and resistance training exercises to train your entire body.

BODY FIT– Strengthen, reshape, and define your entire body using barbells, dumbbells, tubing, and stability balls.

MINDFUL-MOVEMENT– This class is a combination of mindful yoga poses, breathing/meditation exercises, and relaxation.


Please note:

Due to the observance of Furman holidays, there will be no classes offered  on the following dates:

Monday, May 25…………………………………..Memorial Day



The Furman Group Exercise Program is open to all students, employees, dependents, and community members. Program participants may attend any class on the schedule.

All classes are geared toward beginners and more advanced exercisers.  No experience or equipment is needed.  If you have any special limitations please discuss them with the instructor prior to class.

Acknowledgement and Release Form

All participants will be required to complete an Acknowledgment and Release Form prior to participation. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.


Passes may be purchased at the Fitness Center Desk.  Cash, check, and credit card payments are accepted.


Group exercises classes are located in the Herman W. Lay Physical Activities Center.  Most classes are held in the dance studio on the second floor.

For additional information

please contact the Furman Fitness Center at 294-3581.

Redefining Beauty










Over 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being “fat”


up to 70% of young girls are dissatisfied with parts of their body


and it gets worse…


Only two percent of adult women describe themselves as “beautiful”


Our culture is immersed in a sea of Photoshopped images of unrealistic bodies (see this Dove video). Supermodels and celebrities often go to drastic measures to achieve otherwise unattainable features (1, 2). And it is understandable that these influences would negatively affect our own body images, self esteem, and feelings of self worth.

Poor body image and low self-esteem can contribute to disordered eating habits, substance abuse, bullying, early onset of sexual activity, and obesity (3).


So what exactly is “beauty”?

Merriam-Webster defines beauty as “the quality of being physically attractive.”



That interpretation may soon change.

New York City has announced a city-wide initiative called “The Girl’s Project.”  It is designed to help young girls believe that their value comes from their character, skills, and attributes– not their appearance.

The initiative will include public service announcements and advertisements on buses, subways, and phone kiosks featuring real girls who are beautiful just they way that they are.

An evidence-based self-esteem curriculum will expand to up to 200 after school programs in order to boost body image, body satisfaction, and body esteem.

Students in grades K-12 will be offered media literacy classes to help them look critically at the messages about body image and ideas of beauty that are portrayed in the media.

The Girl’s Project promotes healthy eating and activity through body acceptance.  If we love our bodies, then we should want to take the best possible care of them.  There is no need to focus on achieving certain standards that have been set by others.

These messages are crucial for young girls.  But they are important for us adults to remember also.

Beauty is in eye of the beholder.  Love yourself. And love your body.

To see the Public Service Announcement (highly recommended), click the image below:

1 nyc

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