Determination And Wellness

Posted on March 26, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I apologize for the absurd length of this post. If it’s any consolation, I’m the one who actually had to write it 😉 And there’s a giveaway at the end, so hold tight.

Sunridge Organic Jolly Beans

Sunridge Organic Jolly Beans

I was eager to get a run in before lunch today, though apparently running didn’t feel the same way about me 😩 I pushed through 3.33 miles at the gym before just wanting to give up; I felt like I was running on empty. That was one option. The other was to get some quick carbs in me, finish the 10 miles I had planned, and worry about refueling afterwards. I’m stubborn and determined if nothing else. I ran back to my dorm, grabbed a handful of organic jolly beans, and got back on that horse treadmill.

10 Miles In 1:29:04

10 Miles In 1:29:04

I managed to finish the 10 miles in 1:29:04. It was a pretty difficult run as they come in all respects, but I’m just glad I pushed through. I’m trying to adjust to running at different times like mid-morning for my half but clearly my body would prefer I get up and going at 7. If nothing else, I got to see this segment of the Today Show which pretty much sums me up and how I grocery shop. 100% natural on products means nothing, but unless you’re determined to pay for the organic seal then you have to read the ingredients. And organic chicken legs?! What was up with those? After a quick 5-minute shower, I was ready for a lunch meeting.

Chilled Salmon Salad With Citrus Fruit And Vinagrette

Chilled Salmon Salad With Citrus Fruit And Vinagrette

My gym friend, the res life dean, invited me to lunch to get to know each other off the treadmill. I was excited to see the ins and outs of the faculty club, which had an amazing selection including a chicken, maple, and walnut salad that had my mouth drooling. But since it is a Friday in Lent I kept it kosher(so to speak) and went with the chilled citrus salmon salad, which had grapefruit, mandarin orange slices, and a citrus vinagrette. I loved the mandarin orange here; it was so nice and flavorful! It made things seem like Spring, even though it was snowing this morning.

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

Vivani 72% Dark Chocolate

Vivani 72% Dark Chocolate

When I got back to my room, I made a quick dessert of an apple and some Vivani 72% dark chocolate. With just 3 ingredients, this chocolate is a dream and perfectly sweet. It’s even better ingredient-wise than my favorite dark chocolate(Sorry, Endangered Species, but clearly you don’t need soy lecithin to make something solid).

Chickpea And Raw Cheese Salad Over Dressed Spinach

Chickpea And Raw Cheese Salad Over Dressed Spinach

An hour later, I was pretty famished. It wasn’t even snackish-hunger, but I was ready for a meal. Since I was going to have chickpeas for dinner, why not 2 and 1/2 hours early? I made a salad of chickpeas with Next Generation Dairy Organic Garlic Parsley Cheddar Raw & Probiotic Cheese. The spinach I dressed with some Foods Alive Hemp Oil Sweet & Sassy Dressing, all of which was deliciously sweet. I could definitely be happy eating chickpeas every day if I kept that many cans in stock.



In the afternoon, I braved the cold temperatures(seriously, New England, don’t you know it’s almost April?) to get some food from the dining hall and Tedeschi. While I was out, I snacked on an apple, and then forgot to take back more for my dorm. Drats! Good thing I’ll be going home tomorrow.

Tuna Salad With Chili Lime Cashews, Broccoli With Honey And Sunflower Seeds

Tuna Salad With Chili Lime Cashews, Broccoli With Honey And Sunflower Seeds

2 apples, a crap load of greens, and 3 meals later, I just might be full. I think this day easily makes up for those when all I’ve eaten has been chocolate. I mixed a can of tuna with the remainder of some Voskos plain-non fat yogurt and topped it with chili lime Yumnuts; I think I’ve become officially obsessed with that combination since I ate it last Friday on a picnic with a friend. On some steamed broccoli I added sunflower seeds and a drizzle of honey–love that crunch!

Instead of bore you with more food-food and not desserts, I’ll launch my Wellness Giveaway. First, here’s a recap of all the mental health tips from the week.


Everyday, especially those at rough or difficult times, make sure you have an activity 20-60 minutes to spend on you. Treat yourself or just enjoy alone time. In the end, you’ll be grateful for those moments and you’ll realize that that’s not thatmuch “time lost” in the grand scheme of things; in fact, it’s time gained.

Stress Sleep

First up, I’m not saying sleep like you’re stressed. I’m telling you to put a stress on sleep. That’s the best thing you can do for your mental health at a time when you might otherwise be distracted. We’ve all been there: Too much to do and the first thing you’re willing to sacrifice is sleep. But that’s not the answer. In fact, in times when we just need clarity, sleep can be the most beneficial thing for us and boost brain power and concentration in our waking hours. It also helps to “normalize” hunger cues. Despite a 6:15 wake-up call, I prioritized and managed 7 and 1/2 hours of sleep last night to be a sharp thinker for my tests. Between 7 and 8 hours is the recommended amount, but this varies slightly between person to person.


I could not imagine leaving my room with an unmade bed. Hell, I couldn’t imagine being around with an unmade bed, dirty dishes, unorganized pile of papers–you name it. My point is not to make your bed, however; I don’t even do this at home when I spend almost no time in my room. My point is to declutter the area you spend the most time focusing. It’s a fact that if you only look at mess, you’ll only feel like a mess and stress out. Keeping a work area neat and tidy is the most important thing not just for organization but also mental health.

To-Do Lists

I want to talk about how to work! While we could try to juggle everything in our mind, why? All that remembering and forgetting easily adds stress. The first step is to put it down in writing. I use Google Tasks because it goes wherever I go, and I can have different lists for everything from blog stuff, to television shows I need to watch online, to my grocery list, etc. And my favorite mental booster is to cross off–not erase–tasks gone by; seeing things with a strike through them will remind you of what you’ve done and make you feel more accomplished.

Meal Planning

This is the happy union of being a foodie and doing things for your mental health: meal planning. I know it’s something a lot of other bloggers are passionate about. The 1 week we did it for my family back in January, I remember meals being the last thing on my mind all week, which was such a comfort. Now that I have such a small refrigerator to work with and so less options, I don’t keep up the practice. But I do keep meals in mind, and usually am able to plan at the very least 3-4 hours ahead.

Don’t Sweat It

Sweat during your workout? Definitely. But one of the best things you can do for mental health is not stress what you do not control. Some people find this through acceptance; some people find it through a higher power. Whichever way is right for you, it’s important to recognize there are some things in life we don’t choose but we can prepare for.

Keep Your Eye On The Reward

Sometimes, when you’re leading a tough time, it’s best to keep your head up and eyes focused on what’s at the end of the tunnel rather than your present situation. It may sound like it was on a whim, but really I had that trip to Juniper planned all week long. At the very least, it gave me something fun and different to look forward to as a “reward” for a potentially stressful week. It doesn’t have to be food. It doesn’t even have to cost money. But doing something for yourself special or out of the ordinary is a great way to keep your mind in a healthy place.

Now for the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive the Celestial Seasonings Natural Wellness Kit. I got 6 teas to keep me healthy and sane this week, all of which will be given review pages in due time. My favorite so far is actually the honey vanilla, which I wasn’t sent but found in the store and bought myself. I like how most of their teas are caffeine free, because herbal wellness doesn’t have to come with a big dose of caffeine and a crash later on.  The kit itself includes:

  • Four wellness teas to ease  symptoms associated with the cold and flu including Sleepytime Extra, Echinacea Complete Care and Tummy Mint
  • Two green teas to support a healthy immune system year round – Authentic Green Tea and Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea
  • Mug, soothing lip balm, honey sticks and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Bear and the book “Herbs for Health and Happiness” by Celestial Seasonings founder Mo Siegel and Nancy Burke

Do you need some wellness in your life? There are plenty of ways to enter, just be sure to leave a separate comment for each one to make sure it counts. Answer/do any of the following:

  • Which of these tips did you find most helpful? How did you incorporate it into your life this week?
  • Which flavor from the wellness kit or Celestial Seasonings website most appeals to you?
  • Tweet this contest, saying “FoodMakesFunFuel is having a Celestial Tea giveaway @EvanFMFF” and leave your Twitter name.
  • Blog about this contest and leave a link to the post.

That’s 4 possible entries to rack up. The contest will run through the end of March and I’ll announce the winner April 1st. Good luck!

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Like Yogurt?

Posted on February 9, 2010. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

I know, I know–that’s an awful question for this crowd! Of course you like yogurt. And you know I do, with probiotics being a superfood of mine(full list above). The fact that I’m sure you like yogurt makes me happy to announce…

My Yogurt Maker Giveaway

Here’s a horrible confession: I’ve never made yogurt. Why haven’t I? Frankly, I haven’t had the equipment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t. CSN Stores offers a wide variety of products(and when I say wide, I mean wiiiiiiide. You can find everything from the stools you sit on while eating something dehydrated on top of some new plates). For this giveaway, 1 U.S. reader will win a yogurt maker. Just picture it: you can control the milk type, tang-level, and even strain it for some homemade Greek yogurt! I’m already excited and I can’t even win!

How to Enter(leave a separate comment each time)

1. Go to one of their websites, pick something out that would fit into your dream home(pretend it’s Christmas and money’s not an option!) and post a link to it.

2. If you have a blog, blog about this and link back to this post

3. If you are ineligible for #2, send an email to 3 friends with a link here to spread the word and cc

Good luck! I’ll pick a winner Thursday night. That’ll be a great way for me to start my weekend and one of you to push through your Friday 🙂 And don’t forget there’s still time to enter my coconut oil giveaway, too!

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My Big Fat Contest

Posted on February 1, 2010. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

Good morning! If everything is going right, this is auto-posting while I’m living up my 4-day weekend, getting my long run in, refueling with oatmeal, and doing my laundry. If that’s not entirely the case, it’s because I’m forgetting to do my laundry–go do it, Evan!

Remember my big fat post? Well it got a spin-off(think Private Practice from Grey’s Anatomy) and this is it! I’ve been loving my coconut oil as of late; I’ve been eating at least a tablespoon a day through delicious sources:

Raw Vegan Chocolate

Coconut Oil Peanut Fudge

Probiotic Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Raw Chocolate

. It’s also been increasing my cravings for movie theater popcorn tenfold, but lets skip over that nasty side effect.You might have read my official review of it:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

9.5/10: This one gets a gold star from me; this was everything I could ask for a coconut oil product and more. After reading about how it was harvested and just how unrefined this particular product was on the Tropical Tradition website, I was really impressed; that’s not something you’ll find in a lot of coconut oils. The room-temperature stability was perfect for cold applications but also ease of access. And the flavor was incredibly raw and very much “coconut”. My only wish were that this be more available in stores rather than simply from the website. But I also love and acknowledge that the company has a lot of sales and specials for members and you can get an incredible deal on this better priced than any store product if you wait for the right moment.

Now it’s time for the giveaway! Tropical Traditions has an amazing line of just about anything you could need on their website. They also have a neat recipe website utilizing the benefits of coconut products. Best of all, they have a newsletter, facebook page, and twitter account to let you be an insider and get some amazing deals on any of their products. You know me; I’m all about coupons and sales. Remember when I got 2 4-packs of Steaz(regularly $4.49) for a grand total of $2.49 with sales and a Whole Deal coupon? That was a good deal. And one of the great things about Tropical Traditions is that they’re always running sales and specials so if you play your cards right you’ll get their products for less.

This is your chance to win a 32oz container of Coconut Oil for free!

How to Enter: There’s no “mandatory” entry, just the ones listed below. For each entry you complete, leave a separate comment.

1. Tell me what you would do with 32oz coconut oil(1 entry)

2. Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter(2 entries)

3. Fan them on facebook(1 entry)

4. Follow them twitter(1 entry)

5. Tweet “@EvanFMFF is hosting a giveaway for @Troptraditions’ coconut oil!”(1 entry) and leave your twitter name so you get credit for it

6. Blog about this giveaway(3 entries)

7. Buy something from Tropical Traditions and give my ID as your referrer(5850250) and in the process get a free “Virgin Coconut Oil book” added to your order(5 entries)

I’ll keep this open for a full 2 weeks so there’s plenty of chances for all who want to participate to enter. Good luck!

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Say Cheeese And A Giveaway!

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Road trip! Route: Memory Lane

Did anybody else eat way too many of these in their childhood? It might or might not be just a New England thing; I’m not sure. Basically, these are cheese sandwich crackers with peanut butter in between. They’re not exactly health food, but at least they don’t have trans fat or HFCS(anymore at least. I have doubts about when I was a kid). OK, well I didn’t quite have these, BUT I figured out a kickassbutt way to work them into my lunch.

Cheddar Pop Chips With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

While trying out a new flavor of Pop Chips. Pretty snazzy. Plus I had real food.

Snobby Lentils And Broccoli With Nutritional Yeast

And something tall and bubbly to wash it all down.

Blueberry Pomegranate Steaz

And then I moved this all to the couch in front of the television. No, really, I did. My stomach was still feeling funky for lunch so instead of tofu I kept it simple with overcooked lentils and snobby joes over broccoli. I think I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of nutritional yeast; you just need to add A LOT at the time. The soda was OK but the flavor didn’t blow my mind; it mostly just tasted like green tea.

Also “just OK” was this flavor of Pop Chips. It just didn’t have that same, overly processed flavor as other cheese snacks. But maybe that’s a good thing? It’s just what I’ve come to expect from cheddar chips. What was really good was them with the peanut butter. It was just like the crackers! The sweet and salty work so well together. I might have to buy a bag of Pop Chips just for that.

After lunch and television, I started working on dinner.

Wet Ingredients

Along with the meal plan, I was making some killer cornbread. This time, I tried a variation some variations on it: I sweetened with 3 tablespoons agave nectar, accidentally poured in about twice the salt, and cut in cold pieces of Earth Balance natural butter spread at the last moment instead of mixing in the butter well.

Killer Cornbread

I actually think it might have cooked a few minutes faster, but besides that it looked and smelled the same: delicious. I also made up a rub for the chicken.

BBQ Chicken Rub

BBQ Chicken Rub


  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt, if desired. Rub over chicken before cooking.

Marinating Chicken

It might technically be a marinade. I’m not sure. But if it’s a problem for you, please take it up with my lawyers. After that I rewatched the newest episode of Unwrapped(because, really, you need to see it twice to let it sink in). As much as I hate to eat bars at home, I was craving something dense and chewy, much like a granola bar. It was that or cut into the cornbread early.

Nature's Path Peanut Butter Optimum Energy Bar

I won this bar from Nature’s Path‘s facebook page and had no reason to try it until now. It definitely wasn’t very peanut buttery, but at least it had peanuts in it, as well as fiber and protein. Probably didn’t need all that added sugar for sitting on the house and converting recipes, but c’est la vie. After a good while, I got a start on dinner by putting broccoli and the chicken in the oven, and made a snack while I waited for that.

Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt With Organic Strawberry Conserves

Vanilla bean sugar makes everything feel special 🙂 And I just noticed my strawberry is organic, which has me far more excited than it should. Now I feel like I’m saving the earth every time I have some, though that’s probably not the case.

Killer Cornbread, BBQ Chicken, Roasted Broccoli Fries

Killer Cornbread, BBQ Chicken, Roasted Broccoli Fries

Finally, some decent broccoli fries. The perfection comes in the patience; these roasted for over an hour. The chicken was really good, but it would have been better had we had the grill to use. Still, the notes of cinnamon and cayenne were perfect. And the cornbread came out much better than the last time, probably because last time I forgot to add 1/2 the sweetener. This batch we decided was definitively more “corny” due to the agave nectar.

You should enter this giveaway for Amy’s Kitchen products right after entering my…

Chobani Giveaway!

Now that you’ve seen me cook with Chobani, here’s your chance to win some. Would you like to win a case of fruit Chobani? I love their fruit flavors because fruit is always the number 2 ingredient right behind milk(except for with the raspberry flavor). To enter, go to the Chobani website and write in one of the recipes that looks good to you. For bonus entries:

I’ll randomly choose a winner Friday at 8pm(which spells Ghost Whisperer time in this house) so get your comments in by then and good luck!

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TRUwhip Winners

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

And the winners of the TRUwhip giveaway are



and Aileen

Congratulations, ladies. Email me with your addresses and I’ll send it along to the company. Everyone else, I definitely encourage you to get yourself some TRUwhip; it will be at my Christmas table for sure. And keep your eyes on the lookout for more giveaways on the horizon!

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TRUwhip Giveaway

Posted on December 10, 2009. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

I’m so excited to be hosting this giveaway! If you read my Thanksgiving post, then you saw that I had the pleasure of trying out a new product: TRUwhip.  Sold at most natural food stores like Whole Foods, TRUwhip is the only all natural frozen whipped topping out there, and it’s 70% organic, too! If you’ve read my review, then you can tell how much me and my family enjoyed this with some nice pie and ice cream 🙂

I think what I love best about TRUwhip is that they aren’t interested in making a “healthy” whipped topping– just something delicious and all-natural to be enjoyed. They take the right blend of the right ingredients and show just how fun nature can tastes. And I would love to share some with you!

For 1 entry, go to the TRUwhip website and leave a comment telling me one ingredient in their product

For a bonus entry, link back to this post on your blog and then leave a comment telling me you did so.

I’ll pick not 1, not 2, but 3 winners Monday morning. If you win, you can expect a coupon for a free tub in the mail in time to have it for the holidays! 🙂 Good luck

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