FruitFast: What’s It All About Anyway?

It’s easy to get caught up in – if not completely confused by – all of the food and beverage trends of today. Instead of making simple, wholesome choices when it comes to what we put in our mouths, we are sometimes quick to jump on the bandwagon of what science claims is the most recently beneficial product. It can become complicated and overwhelming enough to stay on top of health and nutritional research that we may lose sight of what is really important – eating and drinking for health. Sometimes, the answer is right before our very eyes, plain and simple.

Take for example, tart cherries. After years of being in the shadow of other fruits, tart cherries are quickly emerging as a super fruit of today and yet, they are homegrown and a rich part of America’s history (Source: Washington State University Tart Cherry Research). Cherries were first brought to America by ship with early settlers in the 1600’s. French colonists began planting down into the Great Lakes area as they established such cities as Detroit, Vincennes, and other Midwestern settlements. Cherry gardens were also cultivated in the Northwestern part of the United States.

And, the orchards are still producing today. Located in Northwest Michigan, Brownwood Acres and FruitFast are as much a part of the rolling orchards of today as the very fruit they use in their line of healthy fruit snacks, drinks and supplements. What began as a roadside fruit stand in 1945, has now developed an internationally recognized product line that is based in this regional area of harvest of Montmorency Tart Cherries.

I was recently given the opportunity to review Brownwood Acres’ CherryFlex Products, which is how I began learning more about cherries. 

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I had previously heard they were good for you because of their rich color as with many other fruits, but soon discovered tart cherries actually provide a multitude of health benefits:

  • Supports Cardiovascular Function*
  • Speeds Relief From Muscle Fatigue Post Exercise*
  • Supports Healthy Joint Function*
  • Helps Maintain a Healthy Sleep Cycle* (contains natural melatonin)
  • Supports a Healthy Immune System*

( * The FDA requires that CherryFlex put an asterisk next to those facts with the statement: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)

So, what makes tart cherries so healthy? They contain a unique package of antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients, including anthocyanins – the pigments that give cherries their bright red color.

You can definitely see the rich color in the CherryFlex FruitFast Fruit Supplement Bars:


These bars have 103 calories, 20 carbs, 6 grams of sugar and 18 grams of fiber.One bar provides two of your five recommended daily fruits. The ingredients are 100 percent fruit and no additives or extra sugars.

It took me a few times to get used to the bars. They are very tart and if you are expecting a sweet cherry (which apparently I was) the tartness will make you pucker. I especially like the texture – it reminds me of a condensed fruit rollup, but with a lot more flavor and slightly moist. I’ve been carrying them in my bag as a quick go-to snack that is healthy and provides great nutritional benefits.

And even though I am not training right now, I also tried the CherryFlex ProSport Shot, which is a Tart Cherry Gel. This product is my favorite as far as taste goes, and I only wish I could also test out how it makes me feel on a run. What I love about this gel (compared to others that I usually take, such as GU) is that it does not have a bunch of things I can’t pronounce added to it to preserve it. It contains Tart Cherries and glycerin. That’s it. It is 30 calories with only 3 grams of sugar and 7 carbs for one shot. I love the taste too. It is still tart, but I think I would find it completely refreshing on a run and not so overladen with sugar that I also feel like I have to guzzle a gallon of water to stomach it.

So, what exactly is CherryFlex and what makes it different than other cherry products that are currently available?

Per FruitFast, when they make their products they use a proprietary process that captures the goodness of the entire fruit. CherryFlex is a super-concentrated paste made the skin and pulp of tart cherries – which are both very good things for your body because it is where most of the nutrients are. It allows you to get your daily dose of cherries in a super convenient form, and is a much more cost-effective than having to drink Tart Cherry Concentrate every day.

CherryFlex Paste is the main ingredient in the Fruit Bars and ProSport Shots that I tried as well as the Softgels, Liquid Supplement, and CherryFlex Whole Fruit Gel, which are other products they offer as well. And, they carry Pomegranate and Blueberry supplements that they use the same process to make as CherryFlex to create a concentrated, all-natural, whole-fruit paste.

CherryFlex is different because:

  • CherryFlex use the whole fruit of the cherry –  skin and the pulp included.
  • Whole-fruit paste is easier for your body to digest than a powder pill
  •  It’s not a freeze-dried powder. Powder-filled capsules contain freeze dried bits of Cherries which are difficult for the body to digest before passing. They also contain additives such as silicon dioxide or magnesium stearate, both of which are known to be toxic.
  • 100% pure and all-natural
  • No artificial colors or flavorings
  • The fruit is not exposed to high temperatures that can deplete nutritional value
  • Only CherryFlex’s specialized process gets more nutritional value from the cherry
  • Made in (the U.S.A.!) Traverse City from Michigan Montmorency Tart Cherries

In addition, FruitFast provides a Certificate of Nutritional Analysis for their CherryFlex products, which some other companies don’t (or simply won’t) provide. I personally look for this kind of thing when I a shopping for new products because I want to know exactly what I am putting in my mouth. I am more inclined to pay a little more for good nutrition to know exactly what I am fueling my body with. The cost of the shots is comparable to GU and the bars run at about $14 for a box of eight. Don’t forget shipping too.

Emerging research is showing that tart Cherries are good for us for other reasons besides the rich antioxidants and fruit-based nutrition they provide. There have been specific studies done about CherryFlex benefits for runners. CherryFlex supplementation used prior to and during eccentric exercise may have a protective effect on oxidative stress, inflammation, range of motion, contractile force loss, and perceived pain. This is especially interesting to me since not only do I have ongoing problems with my knee, but right now my body is battling inflammation in a major way. Part of diagnosing what is actually wrong with me is figuring out what I am experiencing all of this inflammation in my lungs. Sure, steroids are great for the short term because I can breath and get some sleep, but it is not a permanent solution. I would like to try the CherryFlex juices or soft gels as a regular supplement and see if I notice any changes in my body.

While FruitFast and Brownwood Acres may be internationally known, they still remain a family business today, which is more than evident in their customer service. I first got involved with FruitFast when they were hosting their Run Into Summer Giveaway of a Garmin 305. I was interested in their products then because I had heard about the health benefits of fruit, specifically dark fruits like cherries, and was thinking about trying it specifically for my knees. Now, I think it would be a good supplement to take for overall health joint and tissue health. I was more than impressed with the customer service I received when inquiring about the products  including prompt response times to my emails and detailed product information, some of which I have included in this review. I was also advised that I could call FruitFast anytime to ask more questions or request additional information for my review, which is something that has previously been unheard of to me when I given a product to review. Typically, I am given a specific set of information, which is helpful of course, but not much beyond that. I find the information provided to me by FruitFast is exactly what I needed to provide all of you with this review.

Please check out FruitFast on Facebook and Twitter too. I have had great interactions with them on these social medial platforms as well and find helpful running and nutritional information as well as customer comments through the FruitFast Twitter feed. The website is literally packed with information, easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing (like now I want to eat cherries) and I would highly recommend doing some of your own reading about these products. I have found myself going back to the website numerous times to find out more.

I hope you will consider FruitFast CherryFlex as an wholesome and alternative supplement to help your joints (and your body) get the nutritional and health benefits that each deserve.

Until the next mile marker,


*Please note, I was not compensated in any manner for this review. FruitFast Fruit Bars and ProSport Shots were given to me in exchange for my honest opinion. The views expressed in this review are solely my own.

This is my famous stir-fry, what’s your’s?

Please don’t mistake this post for that one time when I thought I was a cool food blogger. I assure you, I am not. My husband actually thinks I am weird if I start taking pictures of food wherever we go so I don’t think I could make it as one!

It’s no secret that one of my favorite things to make is stir-fry. I like it because it is versatile, quick, inexpensive and you can make it as healthy (or not-so-healthy) as you like. The possibilities are really endless when it comes to stir-fry. In fact, all stir-fry means is to fry very quickly over high heat in a pan or a work. I love using my work, but before I had that, I used a regular frying pan, which works just fine.

Sara’s Famous Stir-Fry 

(I say famous because it’s famous in our house, at least!)

Makes 4-6 servings; Nutritional information is dependent on your specific ingredients.


  • Oil (Olive, Canola, Safflower, etc.)
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Vegetables (the possibilities are endless!)
  • Protein (Egg, Fish, Beef, Chicken, Tofu, etc.) 
  • Rice

Step 1:    

Saute oil (I used canola oil last night) with garlic and onions (these chives were the first harvest from our garden!) until they are fragrant and garlic is lightly toasted.

Step 2:

Add vegetables. Fresh is the best, but I have used frozen vegetables if I am in a pinch or something is out of season. My stir-fry has mushrooms, yellow and orange carrots, broccoli, green beans, red peppers, green peppers, yellow peppers, peas and red onions. Cook the vegetables until slightly soft, but not mushy, anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on the vegetables.

Step 3: 

Add the sauce or seasonings or your choice. Last night I used Szechuan Spicy Stir Fry Sauce, which is one of our favorites. It is only about 25 calories per tablespoon. I add about 2 tablespoons directly to the vegetables. I use my eye as judgement. I don’t want to coat the vegetables so much that you can’t see their true colors.

Step 4: 

I add my protein to the stir-fry afterwards. This works best because sometimes my husband and I want different proteins or sometimes I am not in the mood for meat. If you are cooking shrimp, chicken, beef, etc. I cook it thoroughly separately with a small amount of it’s own sauce and then add it to the vegetables and toss everything together for 2-3 minutes. We have even grilled meet (and vegetables too!) and added it to the stir-fry. Last night I chose to add an egg to my stir-fry, which I “fried” in just a touch of oil.

Step 5:

Serve with the rice of your choice (cooked ahead of time according to directions). Last night, we ate ours with our favorite, which is Jasmine Rice. For a healthier alternative, I usually cook brown rice for myself.

Step 6:


Of course, I added some hot sauce to my bowl. The yellow carrots were delicious, I will be cooking with them more often now.

As you can see, there is nothing genius or even special about my stir-fry, and that is why I love it so much – you can do what you wish! Make different creations with a variety of meats, vegetables, spices and sauces. There is truly no limit to the possibilities.

Tell Me:

What is your favorite way to make stir-fry? If you take a picture and send it to me, I will be sure to feature it on my Facebook page! Send your famous creations to

Until the next mile marker,


Looking for Tasty AND Healthy Nutrition Bars? Try PureFit!

I was recently given the opportunity to review the All-Natural, Award-Winning PureFit Nutrition Bars. The good folks at PureFit were kind enough to send me a bar of each of their enticing flavors: Granola Crunch, Almond Crunch, Peanut Butter Crunch and Berry Almond Crunch. It all sounded good to me! Who doesn’t like peanut butter, chocolate, almonds, berries or some combination of them all?
I must admit, while I was excited to receive the bars (I didn’t expect one of each!) and test them out, I didn’t have high hopes for anything I viewed as “packaged food.” However, I was impressed by what I read on the information card PureFit sent to me.

PureFit Nutrition Bars:

  • Are high in protein
  • Made with non-GMO soy
  • All Natural
  • Kosher and Vegan
  • Nondairy
  • Low Glycemic
  • Have a 40/30/30 ratio –  (40%), fat (30%) and proteins (30%) for optimized nutrition.
  • Free of Gluten, wheat, artificial sweeteners, trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils.

What you see is what you get with PureNutrition! I love the fact that they are all natural and don’t contain any artificial ingredients. I want to feel good about what I am putting in my body, especially when I am in a hurry. It is really easy to go for the crap, but with these bars, I can eat something last minute or on the go without having to worry about what it’s really made of. The ingredients list – something I always try to look at – is short compared to other nutrition bars, shakes and gels I have at home. Also, they do not melt in their packaging (so far mine haven’t) which makes them perfect to throw in my purse, gym bag or leave in my car for on-the-go snacking.

Today, I had the Almond Crunch PureFit Nutrition bar for breakfast with some grapes and my morning tea coffee.
What I like? The taste! It had just enough crunch to it, and I could really taste the almonds. I like “things” in my food! I could really see (and taste!) the pieces of almonds, which is a must for me! The Peanut Butter Crunch was my least favorite because there was not enough “crunch” to it for me. The Berry Almond Crunch was also good and perfect for morning.
See the almond pieces?
Breakfast is always a struggle for me. I don’t eat right away and then I get busy with work or with whatever I am doing and forget (or am too lazy) to eat something decent before lunchtime. When lunch rolls around, I am extremely hungry and sometimes grumpy, which makes it hard to make smart choices. I tend to overeat when I don’t eat breakfast. PureFit takes a huge step in helping me with this problem. I can keep a few at my desk or in my purse for those mornings when I’m not feeling inclined to eat healthy. I ate one today at about 7:45 a.m. and combined with the grapes, I was good until about 11:30 a.m. when I was hungry and ate lunch. I wouldn’t have lasted too much longer than those 4 hours.  

What do I love even more than the taste? The nutrition! The Almond Crunch Bar has 18 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and 24 grams of carbs. I really need to watch the amount of carbs I ingest at one time and this bar falls perfectly within my guidelines for a snack/meal. Win-Win-Win. PureFit Nutrition Bars are good for a people with a variety of health and dietary restrictions. 
PureFit Nutrition Bars are reasonably priced ($34.35/box) and you can purchase them online or at a local retailer. You can also check their website for special offers. Give them a try, I think you would be pleasantly surprised too!
Until the next mile marker, 
*Please note, I was not compensated in any manner for this review. Five PureFit Nutrition Bars were given to me in exchange for my honest opinion. The views expressed in this review are solely my own. 

It’s Taper Time!

You’ve heard the talk and noticed a mileage decrease in your schedule – we’re tapering! But, what exactly does thatmean? I had no idea when I first started training. Taper means you need to run less and rest more. The taper period generally varies depending on what distance you are training for and ranges from two weeks for half marathoners and three weeks for marathoners. In fact, the final weeks before your goal race are the most important in any training program.  

But wait! You’ve been running hard for monthsand now you are supposed to back off right before the big day? How could that possible help you finish the race? While the idea of easing up on your miles and intensity so close to race day seems counter-intuitive to many runners, tapering is a part of any solid marathon training plan.

Still, there are undoubtedly many runners who continue to train hard up to the day of their race. This is mostly due to a fear of losing their recently obtained fitness level. What most people don’t realize is that in those last few weeks it’s the rest more than the work that makes you strong. During your weeks of taper, you will not lose any of your fitness. Studies have actually concluded that your aerobic capacity, the best gauge of fitness, doesn’t change at all during this time period. The study also concluded that levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones–all depleted by high mileage–return to optimal ranges during a taper. The muscle damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired. Immune function and muscle strength improve, as well, which reduces the odds you’ll catch a cold or get injured just before the race. The average performance improvement by the subjects who tapered in these studies was 3 percent. That works out to 5 to 10 minutes in a marathon. 

The Lucky 13’s will be running what is for many their first half marathon on October 16th in Columbus. I, for one, am really excited to participate in the race and cheer them on – the race is sold out! So, how should we taper for the half marathon? I’ve outlined a plan below. For more information, including specifics on tapering for the full marathon, please visit

The Half Marathon: How to Taper

  • Limit your long run on the previous weekend to 8 or 10 miles, and cut your usual run distances in half the rest of the week. 
  • If you do any speed work in the last 3 to 6 days before a sub-marathon-distance race, make it only a third of a normal speed session.
  • Carbo-load in the last 3 days before a half-marathon if you wish, though it’s less crucial than it is for a marathon.
  • If you’re nervous in the days before a sub-marathon race, remind yourself that you can run another one in a few weeks if it doesn’t go well, the recovery time is significantly shorter than after running a full marathon. 

 Two Weeks Out:


  • Your mileage this week should be about half to two-thirds the amount you ran during your highest mileage week.
  • Almost all running should be slow (1 1/2 to 2 minutes slower than marathon goal pace) except for a 2 miles run in the middle of the week. Even this small amount of goal-pace running is important because it physically and mentally reinforces the pace you want to run on race day.
  • Weekday short runs should not exceed 5 miles.
  • Your weekend long run (1 week before the race) should be 8 to 10 miles. Any longer and your muscles may not be able to fully rebound before the race.
  • Set goals such as FINISHING, not walking, finishing strong, or simply enjoying yourself.
  • If you’ve been lifting weights as part of your training program, stop. Weight training at this stage of the game can’t help your race, but it can diminish your strength or cause an injury.  
  • Check the race Web site for race-morning particulars such as start time, and work out the details of how you’ll get to the start on marathon day. Logistics you’ll want to consider: where you’ll park; how early you want to arrive (an hour before start time is ideal); where you’ll stow your gear during the race.


  • Your mileage may be dwindling, but keep those calories coming in as usual. Your body still needs to repair tissue damaged during your mileage build-up. No dieting!
  • Even though you’re running less, resist the temptation to cut way back on fat. A reasonable proportion of dietary fat (30 percent of your daily calories) is beneficial because it can be accessed as a backup energy source when stored carbs are used up. Eat foods that are high in unsaturated fat, such as nuts or fish cooked in canola oil. Limit foods that are high in saturated fat and Trans fats, such as pizza and ice cream.

One Week Out:


  • Do no runs longer than 4 miles. And when you do head out, remember that these jaunts are more for your head than your body, because training has little effect this week.
  • Almost all running should be at 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per mile slower than marathon goal pace.
  • Three days before the race, run just 2 to 3 miles easy.
  • Two daysbefore the race, don’t run at all.
  • On the day before the race, jog 2 miles to take the edge off if you’re feeling pent-up energy so you’ll sleep better that night.


  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! Your urine should look lemonade – look at it! Light yellow to clear is what you need to see.
  • Eat sensibly. Don’t change your normal eating habits or eat something new prior to the race. By now, you know what works and what doesn’t – save experimenting for your next training session.
  • If you are nervous, which is normal, remember to trust in your training. You’ve worked hard for this! You are a runner and, barring race-day injury, you will cross the Finish Line.
  • RELAX! Do your best to eliminate everyday stressors at work and home. Breathe in and out as slowly and deeply as possible, letting your belly expand as you inhale. Focus your attention on the breathing and any positive, calming image. If you’re too super-charged with energy to sleep, try this relaxation exercise. First tense, and then relax your muscles, one at a time, starting with the muscles in your face and working down to your toes. Sex can also help relax your mind and body. 

Enjoy the taper time – you’ve earned it! See you on race day.

Until the next mile marker,

Surprise! I do have a [non-running] life!

This weekend was entirely too short and went by entirely too quickly! It was, in fact, my 29th Birthday Bash put on by RB. I have never had a birthday celebration like this!
First, we got all dressed up at Rebecca’s house and she did my hair and make-up. She also found this dress for me – which I love. I haven’t felt this pretty in a really long time! It was so much fun to pretend like we were 15 again and get ready in Rebecca’s room jamming to tunes and trying on different outfits until we found the perfect look:
Dressed to impress!
We started off the night by going to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for the 3rd Annual Columbus Wine Festival. I had never been to a wine tasting before, but after Saturday – I will be going again! It was so much fun!
RB and Me at the Conservatory
It was a perfect evening to be outside and enjoy the gardens while sampling from a selection of more than 275 domestic and international wines – all available at Giant Eagle grocery. Score! I have to admit, my favorite thing I sampled was not wine, but Black Cherry Vodka. Mixed with Diet 7UP, it was like bliss in a glass. Just don’t count the calories. You don’t want to know, and I am glad I only had a one ounce taste.
Yay! Wine!

Then we met up with our lovely friend Kristina at Sushi Rock downtown.

Kristina, RB & Me.
We ordered four rolls to share, including the Spider Roll and Lobster Roll. The sushi was very good, although I was not fond of the Spider, which is the one I picked out. It was really fun to go out with the girls and eat food I don’t get to eat very often (no one in my family likes sushi!).
Waiting for dinner.

After dinner, was Phase III of the party and it was already 10:30 p.m. Usually, I am in bed by then and I haven’t really partied since college (I think). We went to the Roharik Productions Summer Creative Industry Mixer III.

It was awesome and not like any other party I had been too. There was music and locally distilled vodka as well as some really interesting and artistically creative people there [read a lot of models]. I really like the photographer, Matthew Roharik, who I got to meet. The party them was The Police Line-up based on Matthew’s stunning photo:

So, you know what that meant! Come to a photography party – you can pretty much count on having your picture taken to get in the door!

Guilty or Innocent? Your guess is as good as mine!

I really appreciate this party. I know it sounds strange, but it pushed me WAY outside of my comfort zone.

Me trying to be normal? Again, who knows!
I’m not used to going out and having fun around people I don’t know. I get nervous in crowds and I don’t typically enjoy the party scene. But, the people at the production party – and RB and Kristina – were very welcoming and I didn’t feel awkward because of any of them! It was stepping outside of my own comfort zone that made me anxious at first. I ended up having a good time, though and I was – gasp! – out until 1:00 a.m. Let me tell you, I have turned into a party animal!
Sunday, the fun wasn’t even done; I went to a Tarot Card reading with RB and found out some very interesting things.
  • Listen to myself for a change and do not let others push me around. I apparently need to focus on myself and cut on the interferences. The reader even said, “You can tell people no.”
  • Don’t let anxiety disrupt my health and my rest. Along with that, remember something happy or joyful every day.
  • Problems arise for a reason, not because I did something wrong or because I need to fix them, but because I can learn from them and grow as a person.
  • In regards to my future, my hard work and decisions will pay off and my family and financial outlook is solid. The reader said I will have the opportunity to take risks and I should not be afraid to do so.
  • ‘The Hermit’ card showed up a lot, which apparently means I need to start listening to myself and focus on what direction I want my life to take.
Interesting, right?
How’s that for an awesome weekend?! 
Tell me about your weekends! Have any of you been to a fancy party and had fun? Have you been to a tarot card reader? What do you think about psychic readings? Do you believe in them or take them to heart? I’ve been asking everyone for their opinions!
Until the next mile marker, 

In case you missed it:

Look for me!
Please consider voting for me to be a part of Team Refuel! You can do so once a day until September 15th HERE. Search for me by name – Sara Wyen. To learn more about chocolate milk as recovery fuel and what I plan to do with the grant money if I am selected, please visit THIS post. Thank you. I appreciate any votes that I receive and the time you take to think of me.
These could be yours!
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