Healthy Vegan Friday & Ready for Challenge

Good morning to you! I’m so happy it’s Friday and the end of a busy week.

Life Update:

I got some e-mails asking me about my doctor’s appointment on Wednesday and I’m happy to report that my thyroid levels have normalized now. In fact, I’m a tad bit overmedicated so a slight adjustment had to be made. My doctor also reviewed my pathology report, felt my neck and again reassured me that my risk of cancer recurrence is very low. I will have my first ultrasound at the end of April plus another blood test and I am looking forward to a clean report from those tests. Until then, my energy is great and I’m feeling good. Thank you for your concern!

Healthy Vegan Fridays:

I apologize for not posting a recipe this week, but I’m happy to present these fantastic ones from our Healthy Vegan Friday blog link-up party. The top three most popular submissions were these:

1. Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies from Erin @ Sift, Stir & Savour:

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies from Sift, Stir & Savour

2. Healthy Chocolate Fix Smoothie from Amy @ Amy’s Nutritarian Kitchen

Healthy Chocolate Fix Smoothie from Amy @ Amy’s Nutritarian Kitchen

3.  10 Day Water Fast from Tiffany @ Don’t Waste the Crumbs:

10 Day Water Fast from Tiffany @ Don’t Waste the CrumbsMy favorite submissions were:

1. Most Inspiring Dinner Dish – Quinoa & Roasted Butternut Squash Bowls from Almonds & Avocados:

Quinoa & Roasted Butternut Squash Bowls from Almonds & Avocados

2. Most Inviting Winter SoupSpiced Red Lentil Vegetable Soup from Wayfaring Chocolate:

Spiced Red Lentil Vegetable Soup from Wayfaring Chocolate

3. Most Creative Salad – Black-Eyed Pea & Stewed Tomato Salad from Cooking with Siri:

Black-Eyed Pea & Stewed Tomato Salad from Cooking with Siri

Thank you so much for sharing and exploring these recipes! If you want to add a recipe or see all of the submissions, just scroll down to the end of this post. Next Friday we’ll have a whole new set to choose from.

Healthy Vegan Challenge Update:

3 days and counting until the Spring 2013 Healthy Vegan Challenge begins!!! I’ve been doing some mental preparations including making a list of coping strategies for when I come up against hard times and a list of non-food rewards to keep me motivated. My coping strategies outside of just my normal healthy behaviors of getting enough sleep and exercise include meditation, calling a friend, asking for support on our Facebook event page and drinking a cup of hot herbal tea.

The non-food rewards I’ve come up with are more challenging because I don’t necessarily want to spend money or develop any other addictive-type dependencies. On the other hand, sometimes I don’t do special things for myself so I’ve decided that some appropriate rewards would be: getting a massage, reading a fiction book (suggestions?), taking the time for a mini-spa day at home and taking an hour some afternoon to watch an hour of brainless tv.

Besides just making sure I have enough healthy food in the house for next week, my last preparation is to deal with the foods that are in my pantry that I won’t be eating for the eight weeks. What I’ve decided to do, rather than throw away or donate these items, is to put these items in a brown paper bag, staple it shut and put it on a high shelf. I plan to do this on Sunday evening.

Dandy Blend Giveaway:

In Wednesday’s post, I mentioned I would be doing a giveaway today to support anyone who will be quitting coffee during the Challenge. This giveaway is being sponsored by the folks at Dandy Blend who are offering two lucky readers each a box of 25 single-serve packets:


The funny thing is that I am not a coffee drinker and weaned myself off caffeinated tea during the very first Dr. Fuhrman Holiday Challenge I did back in 2010, but I really enjoy a cup of Dandy Blend every once in awhile.

Just so you know, I’ve never received anything free from Dandy Blend nor have I have received any other compensation, this is just another one of those products that I really like and wanted to share with you.

To enter this giveaway, please leave me a comment on this post with one healthy coping strategy you have for when you are tempted by unhealthy behaviors. I’ll randomly select two winners on Monday, February 25th. This giveaway is restricted to residents of the continental U.S. [Editor’s note: This giveaway is now closed]

Good luck and have a fantastic weekend!


  1. says

    Hello Carrie! This is my first time linking up here – thank you for hosting! One of my strategies for killing cravings is drinking a green juice or smoothie. I also LOVE herbal teas – so warm and comforting. They make you feel so good about deciding against bad food, don’t they?! 😉

    I shared Toasted Coconut Chai Macaroons with a quick how-to video on how easy it is to make them. They’re super healthy and tasty and perfect for snacking when you don’t want to feel guilty about snacking! 🙂 Happy weekend!

  2. Lisa says

    I am a bit nervous about the challenge coming up…I used Dr Fuhrman’s Menu for this past week, but I guess it doesn’t change/update etc and it was soooo helpful…didn’t have to think about it…it was all planned out…do you know where someone might find other menus that follow the plan? I have asked on the forums, etc and nothing…I have also looked online…if anyone knows, that would be awesome!

    • says

      I’m nervous, too, Lisa, I gotta admit. Hmmmm, I’ll keep my eye out for menus. Are you on Facebook? There are several great Fuhrman groups there that you can join to get ideas and support.

  3. Jessie says

    One healthy coping strategy I like to use is to crochet or knit. I find that I eat when I’m bored, so by keeping my hands busy I’m not tempted as much. Plus I can give away all my crafts as gifts! I learned a lot from youtube and a beginner how to book to get started. Currently I’m learning how to loom knit.

  4. says

    My healthy coping strategy is either a walk outside (even for just ten minutes seems to help), or a cup of herbal tea. I keep a lot of tea around the house, in a variety of flavors, and it really helps to satisfy cravings for unhealthy foods.

  5. Shana says

    Hi Carrie! My coping strategy is to follow my dogs’ examples of living in the moment. We go outside for a run, walk, or just play fetch in the yard. Something about getting fresh air does wonders! Man, I LOVE my coffee in the morning. I’ve switched to decaf, but I know that’s not enough. I would love to try this beverage and kick my habit to the curb for good!

  6. eq says

    Just started reading your blog. Very inspirational!

    Whenever I get hungry I try to go for a run or walk. Anything to just move myself around.

  7. Katie says

    When I get a craving I like to have some peppermint tea. Soothing and the minty flavor helps to stop the craving. I also write in a journal or try and list all the things I have accomplished by following a healthy lifestyle!

  8. says

    Healthy coping strategy….a few rounds of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) I have been doing this since 1995, and it is great for anything from aches & pains to cravings. There are a lot of free tutorials & videos online, easy to learn.

  9. says

    SLEEP!! Getting at least 8 hours a day is the most critical healthy behavior anyone can do to stave off unwanted behaviors. When you’re well slept, you have a much better chance of choosing better foods throughout the day, not to mention having a more efficient metabolism and a better mood.

    Sleep is where it’s at baby!

  10. says

    One healthy coping strategy of mine is to change where I sleep. I know that sounds odd, but when things get overwhelming, rearranging furniture or sleeping in the living room for a few nights gives you (or at least me) a different perspective.

    (There’s always watching Battlestar Galactica, too.)

  11. Laura S. says

    One is an action and one is mental self-talk:
    The action is to take a hot bath! I find this soothes me in many ways.

    The mental self-talk when confronted with unhealthy food temptations is to remind myself how far I’ve come in getting healthy & feeling better and that HEALTHY FOOD has been the reason for that. Then I ask myself if it’s worth sabotaging all that hard work. It’s definitely not every time that I’m able to withstand the temptations, but more often than not it does cut out my desire.

    I have been wanting to try Dandy Blend, thanks for offering the giveaway, Carrie! Have a great weekend.

  12. Rachel says

    When I am feeling like I want a sweet dessert after dinner, I either have some fruit or a nice hot cup of decaf tea. It prevents me from going for something unhealthy.

  13. Briana says

    As usual Carrie, you inspire me. I’ve really being trying to revamp my eating, knowing I felt my best when I was entirely plant based. I’m happy to hear your Drs. appointment went well! My coping strategy is a hot cup of lemon water or herbal tea. Looking forward to more posts 🙂

  14. Brenz says

    I want to let you know that, upon your recommendation, I purchased Dandy Blend. I was a pretty hard core coffee drinker – black – no additives, and had tried to give it up a number of times. I always had headaches and felt very tired and not very clear headed when trying to remove caffeine from my diet, thus not successful. However, I am happy to say that I now only drink the Dandy Blend and was able to give up the caffeine without getting the headaches and other accompanying side effects. It was a very smooth transition and I owe many thanks to you.

    Love your blog and the support you give to Dr. Fuhrman’s diet lifestyle. Thanks so much.

  15. says

    Good luck with your challenge!! Looking forward to reading about it!!

    I wanted to recommend a book- right now I’m reading “Blackberry Winter” by Sarah Jio as part of the book club organized by I really like Julie’s blog, but I also am really liking the book! Hope you find something good to read- I think that’s a great reward!!

    • says

      Oh yay, thank you for the book recommendation, Danielle! I was really hoping someone would have a good one for me. I hardly ever read fiction anymore (too busy getting my nose stuck in nutrition books, ha ha) but I used to love reading as a child. Thanks again!!!

  16. says

    Glad to hear you are getting better and loving your IG updates!

    When I eat unhealthy stuff, I would go to the markets and purchase loads of veggies and fruits to juice. It’s always nice to have a juicer in front of you, knowing you will be using it and experimenting ingredients with it. It’s fun to juice for a day or two, along with miso soup and something savoury.

    ♡ rika, vegan miam
    ★ i travel + i eat vegan blog ★

  17. Carrie Ridgeway says

    Carrie, so glad to hear your good health news! It just so happens that tonight I cooked the Spiced Red Lentil Vegetable Soup from Wayfaringchocolate that mentioned above. It was DELICIOUS! I subbed kale instead of green beans since we had kale on hand. Love your blog and follow you on pinterest too!

  18. Aimee says

    Hi Carrie,
    I have a book recommendation for ya! Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. It deals with climate change as well as life changes.
    I, my husband, and our 2 little girls are nearly vegan. It is difficult to find foods that appeal to everyone in the house, and that is why we aren’t quite there yet! My goal for the challenge is to bring us closer to a fully vegan diet. This means a lot of planning and prep for me as I teach full time. I plan to pump those girls full of greens by way of smoothies and to cut out the processed vegan snacks and meals at work for me. I think this is totally doable for our family, it just took finding your blog and this challenge to kick my motivation into a higher gear! Thanks, Carrie! I look forward to the challenge! Go us!

    • says

      Thanks, Aimee!!! I really appreciate the book recommendation (I remember reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago and really enjoying it). I’m happy you’re joining the Challenge, too! 🙂

      • Aimee says

        Ms Kingsolver lives just up the road a piece. She is our local celeb here in SW VA. She also owns a fantastic local foods restaurant, The Harvest Table. I must admit to feeling giddy when I see her out and about at local events! Can you imagine what kind of crazy I’d feel if I lived in CA?!

  19. Carla Moschetti says

    I have been practicing zen meditation for awhile, so one of my coping mechanisms for when I’m tempted is to just take a deep breath and observe that feeling of temptation. I don’t know why, but it usually works.

  20. Sarah says

    Hi Carrie (and readers),

    Any tips for getting into meditation? Things to read, or techniques to try? The quiet mind is a totally foreign concept to me 🙂

  21. Danae Johnson says

    There’s always a bit of forcing that happens when I cope with food cravings. I force down a glass of water then force myself to walk away from the kitchen/food that is tempting. Turning on a movie helps!

    Can’t wait to try the Dandy Blend! I’ve been curious about it for a long time and have always wanted to get it 🙂

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Danae. I like what you said about needing some forcing to coping with cravings. In other words, it’s not easy, but it can be done.

  22. Laura says

    Hi Carrie,

    That is great news regarding your doctor visit!

    Your suggestions for fine tuning your already healthy diet are very helpful.

    I’ll pass along a suggestion that was given by Dr. Fuhrman regarding being tempted to eat too much or the wrong things. He suggested leaving the area where the tempting food is (ex. : kitchen) and going to brush your teeth . Also once you are finished eating clean up the dishes and leave the kitchen and do something else.

    Would love to try the Dandy Blend.

    Have a great weekend.

  23. Melissa R says

    i have been wanting to try dandy blend recently, what a great giveaway! My coping strategies have not been going too well recently, so I am exciting about your challenge, and coupled with a challenge at my gym, I should hopefully get back on track! my best strategy is to drink tea when I want a little something, it is great in the winter when I’m cold and it has a nice sweetness to calm my sweet tooth!

  24. Robyn :) says

    I have been wanting to try Dandy Blend. As a Mormon I don’t drink cofffee, but I do like the flavor and have found some other alternatives.

    Coping strategy?? Hmmm….. I think looking at the Facebook page to see what people are doing is a good one and then also just setting mealtimes and sticking to those. I know it is better to just eat when you are hungry, but that is where I run into trouble. I think I will also have a glass of water to try to curb any cravings.

  25. Marie says

    Love this challenge and all of your helpful motivation! Never had dandelion tea so would love to try. My healthy coping strategy is to take my dogs for a walk, it will benefit all of us!

  26. Nicole says

    Hi Carrie, I usually pick up my phone and either call someone or do something on the phone to distract myself from whatever is tempting me.
    I also like the idea of going to brush…what a good idea, then you are going to think, hey I don’t want to get my fresh teeth dirty again!

  27. Kathleen says

    Ugh getting anxious about the challenge, rationalized eating 3 vegan banana chocolate chip muffins because of it! Like you, I am a true sugar addict and so I know I need this. I committed before so I know I can again. I am glad I am not alone.

    • says

      Kathleen, you are definitely not alone. I’m getting a little nervous, too, especially because this is the first time I’ve been really public with the changes I want to make. I am really hoping the support we can give and get from each other will make a positive difference. Sorry about the muffins, but I hope you enjoyed them. There’s no looking back and let’s just take it one day at a time. We can do it!!!

  28. Brittany Haight says

    My strategy is to think about if it’s going to be worth it to pollute my body just for 2 seconds of satisfaction. I will tend to lean toward a healthier option that I won’t regret later.


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