What’s in your toolbox?

Colin in LotusI had this magical moment during a session the other day with a client. It was the kind of moment that brings excitement and giddiness and energy all at once. I was so inspired that I just had to share this idea that created the stir. As we were talking about resilience and combating the effects of negative stress, the discussion lead to how one could arm themselves to better deal with stressful situations. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we all experience stress – and we all experience more stress than we hope. The problem is that most stress is out of our control and that is the type of stress I want to focus on. Think weather, traffic, taxes…yah, you get it. All mostly–unless you do something pretty drastic–unavoidable.

This is Where it Gets Good…Stick With Me

Take a different look at stress for a second. The common denominator is that it always HAPPENS TO US. Right? The stress happens and we react. What if we took a different approach and armed ourselves with tools to proactively combat the effects of stress. Wait, WHAT?!?! I know, I was excited too! It was my Oprah “AH HA” moment. (def: “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.” Yes, Oprah’s AH HA moment is now a phrase in the dictionary. I can’t make this stuff up! LOVE HER)

Tell me more…

Tools meanings, ways to build up your resilience so when stress happens, the effects are less and happen quicker with little impact. AND, you are better prepared when that stress makes us want to do unhealthy things and eat unhealthy things and drink unhealthy things and say unhealthy things.

How to Build Your Toolbox

Some ideas are meditation, breathing exercises, reading, writing or journaling, puzzles, coloring, taking a walk, pet or play with your dog, making tea, talking on the phone, hobbies, knitting…personalize your tools and practice them often. The more available your tools are the better the outcome in stressful situations.

Steeping with my Toolbox,

Megan

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Success in your Environment

When you think about your life and more specifically, a time when you were successful, what did that situation look like? Who was present? What challenges did you overcome? What pre-work or planning contributed to your success? These questions are helpful when we talk about building a supportive environment to help you accomplish your goals.

Let’s do a little proof in case…CONGRATS! You just got a phone call finding out you landed your dream job. WOOHOO! Ok, so I would venture to guess that job didn’t just fall in your lap…right?! You updated your resume, researched your job market, reached out to networking contacts, prepared for the interview, got that spiffy new interviewing outfit, made a major impression and BANG! you got the job. You set yourself up for success..

What if we were to translate that example to a wellness related goal that you’ve been targeting? You want to eat healthier, you want to feel confident in the new dress you bought for that wedding coming up this Fall, you want to run your first 5K race OR maybe you just want to have enough energy to keep up with your children or grandchildren. Whatever your reason, these ideas could help prepare you for success.

  • Ink the Deal – Evidence proves that actually physically writing down a goal increases your chances to accomplish said goal. So get out your pencil, pen, crayon, whatever is handy, jot-it-down – post it on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror, at your desk or even on your dashboard – whatever works so you can be reminded of your commitment as often as needed.
  • Building Blocks  So you did the hard part, you decided on your goal. What’s next?? Make an action plan for how you will achieve it. Put this into words that make sense to you. Remember the first part of the word is ACTION – or ACTIONABLE. Example…I will eat an additional fruit during 5 out of my 7 lunches this week vs. I want to lose 20 lbs. It’s the HOW to your WHAT. These are the steps that will help you accomplish your ultimate goal.
  • It takes a Village: Build a healthy support system of friends family, co-workers, the guy at the deli counter (okay maybe not the last one). Tell them your goal and how you plan to accomplish it. Explain to them their part – how they can be supportive in this journey and maybe how they could sabotage it. Health coaching is a great means for support through this process, we’re here to help!
  • Our World – First think about your goal and then think about all of the sabotages that could be in place to stop you from reaching that goal. If your environment is not conducive to achieving your goals, you will be wasting a lot of energy trying to go against it every day. If your goal is to eat healthier, an idea would be to clean out your fridge and pantry to start fresh with the foods that will help you accomplish your goal. Do things to set you up for success that you actually LIKE. Huh? Yea, don’t buy kale if you don’t like it…try something new but also something that you are willing want to stick with.
  • Don’t start on a Monday – I know, weird right?? Let’s just put this one into perspective. Raise your hand if you looooove Mondays. Any hands? If I could actually see you out there in the interwebs, my guess is that very few hands flew up with excitement. So, why start something new on a negative foot? Heck, even Tuesday has a little better vibe than Monday.

Health Coaching can help you and support you through this process. Whether the first step is daunting or easily do-able, it’s a step and we are here for ya! Email us at SteepedInWellness@gmail.com for information on Health Coaching.

What has contributed to your success in the past?? Share them below!

Steeped in Your Journey,

Megan

Are we there yet??

Whether we are traveling 20 minutes to Grandma's house or 6 hours to visit family in Kentucky, two things are guaranteed to be asked by my kids as soon as we get in the car — "Are we there yet?" And "Did you bring me anything to eat?"

Here are some healthy, filling go-to snacks to pack along for your next road trip or just as a easy summer snack for both little and big kids.

1. PB & Banana Sushi: put PB (or any nut butter) on a tortilla, top it with a banana, roll and cut 1" sections lengthwise for "sushi".
2. Ants on a Log: a childhood favorite, celery sticks with PB & raisins.
3. Trail Mix: endless options!
4. Pancake Sandwich: PB&J slathered between to 'cakes
5. Turkey Roll-ups: turkey wrapped around cucumbers and hummus
6. Pita Wraps with turkey pepperoni, a sprinkle of mozzarella and marinara. (Go easy on the sauce!)

What do you pack for your road trips??

Steeping in the journey,

Megan

Barre District

For years I was going to Barre classes anywhere that I could get a deal. For almost two years now I have been going to Barre District.

“At Barre District we believe being healthy or fit isn’t a fad or trend. Instead, it’s a lifestyle.”

I was always drawn to their style, sense of community, and giving back. They have a monthly donation called “A Class With A Cause” – you should follow them on Instagram and Facebook to see their latest! Christina, one of the co-owners, told me that once she saw on the news that blood was in critical need, so she posted that if you brought in proof of donation, you got a free class. This is just the kind of community outreach that I, and many of their BarreBesties, love to support. Their sense of community continues by reaching out to other local companies. They now have their very own Big White Yeti candle scent, Valentine coffee blend, and have partnered with  Simple Eats, a weekly food service.  They have hosted a local Maker Market and regularly organize BarreBestie teams for different local fun-runs/firetruck pulls…

truly creating a LIFESTYLE brand and community you want to be a part of.

So what is it about these two? They have touched on a feeling; a void that we didn’t even know we were missing ’til they offered it. Here is a little bit about the two female forces behind the company:

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 I am so happy to introduce: Nikki and Christina.

How did you two get here?

Barre District began because the two of us love everything about barre and we wanted the ability to continue to grow, to share that love with others. Partnering together was essential, as Christina loves growing barre through her classes, and Nikki in front of a computer working on the business end. We both love creating community and we just so happen to be good at what the other isn’t. Our goal is to continue to impact more and more people and provide a quality workout, quality products, and the most positive, encouraging community for as many people as possible. We are beyond excited that we can now offer the opportunity to license other Barre District studios and to help bring our lifestyle to more and more communities.

What are your food beliefs?

It truly does come down to balance. We don’t diet, we just eat healthy, and when we don’t, we go to an extra barre class or two.

Christina – If it never expires, it’s probably not a good thing to eat.

Nikki – Drink a lot of water.

What is lighting you up at the moment?

Both agree: Barre District playlists, even the stretch ones. (No joke, I love and look forward to the playlists! Sometimes a little bit country or sometimes it takes you right back to the middle school dance – so fun!)

What does your morning routine look like?

Christina – Get up, make coffee, put on leggings.

Nikki – Hit snooze, drink water while still in bed, read first 5 app, drink coffee, change baby’s diaper.

Today I am/we are grateful for…

Christina – Never having to dread Mondays.

Nikki – The ability to live, wear and love the lifestyle brand we’ve created.

Their first shop opened in Bay View and I would go to the 6am class before my husband would leave for work. Since then they have opened a thriving, newly expanded, second location on North Ave in Tosa that offers child care! SAY WHAT?!? Life. Saver. Since then they have started licensing more studios,  Oak Creek opens July 15th(!) with others in the works.

Nikki’s sense of business is clearly working. But it’s their presence in studio and on social that have made fans many times over. Personally, I love that the class that Christina teaches is also one that offers childcare at a time that works for my schedule. Her passion exudes off of her. She knows everyone’s name, gives hugs, and basically makes you feel like a bad ass. Her classes are high energy and always wait-listed. She is that good.

I hope you check them out – first class is always FREE!

Steeping in leggings every day and maybe an extra class,

Tori

 

Red, White & Balance

Summertime has hit full speed ahead, beach time, pool parties, fireworks, outdoor concerts, ah, it’s great! The last few days have been a blur, trying to keep up with the happenings of the holiday week. Although lots of fun is being had by all, it still can throw a wrench in healthy forward progress. Oftentimes, I get down on myself after a few days of over indulging only to spiral down further. How can we stop this negativity? It’s all about balance. Mixing in a lot of healthy choices with a little over indulging. Tori and I always focus on a healthy balance in life – in any capacity.


Here are some ideas to “keep the balance”:

  1. Forgive & Forget – if you decide to indulge in something, don’t dwell on it. It happened, it’s in the past and now move forward and have your next decision be a healthy option.
  2. Drink…lots of water! Keeping your body hydrated helps keep you feeling full and helps flush out toxins. 
  3. Sleep, don’t forget to rest your body and start fresh the next day. 
  4. Eat your (green) veggies – even if you have a few scoops of potato salad make sure to have lots of veggies too. 
  5. Enjoy & be safe!

Steeping in the 4th,

Megan 

An Easy Summer Side

I just got back from a weekend of rich, delicious, food.  I am feeling the effects of it! My 2.5 year old even said, “You tooted again!”  LOL, insert cringe emoji here. Awesome at the time but at the end of the day it doesn’t make me feel very alive or vibrant. Time to get back in the kitchen. I came across a this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen and, lucky me, I had most of the ingredients on hand.

I bet I bring this to the 4th of July BBQ I am going to.

I was going to bring big salad of strawberries (red), blueberries (blue), with feta (white) tossed with some fresh basil, chopped pecans, with a lemon/evoo vinaigrette. Heck, I bet I bring both! That way I’ll have more options than the Costco potato salad. The sweetness of the carrots, the tarte from the lemon, and the salty nuttiness from the pistachios all come together in this beauty.

Carrot with Tahini Dressing

  • shred 1 pound carrot

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    I didn’t have the chickpeas on hand (what?), but they would have been a great addition to it.

  • chop 1/4 cup parsley
  • chop couple Tb. pistachios

Dressing

  • 3Tb well stirred Tahini
  • 2Tb Lemon juice
  • 2 Tb water to thin
  • 1-2 cloves chopped garlic
  • salt and maybe some red pepper to taste

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpea drained and rinsed
  • couple Tb evoo
  • 1tsp cumin
  • bake 15-20 min @ 425

 

 

 

If you make it before hand, toss the pistachios and chickpeas when you serve to keep them from getting soft. Tahini is a bit of an investment, but keeps for years and is a great condiment to have on hand. Click here for even more ideas (not just for hummus) on how to use it!

Because I like knowing how my food is working for me:

Parsley– Not just a breath freshening condiment (it kills bad breath causing bacteria), some call this a super food! Three times more Vitamin C than oranges, two times more iron than spinach, and a whopping 574% of your Vitamin K, which is great for bone strength and fighting against Alzheimer’s disease.  A great digestive aid (which I needed today!) and a super beneficial herb for cleansing the system of mercury, which is often found in dental fillings (ugh- I have many).

Pistachios– highest in protein and lowest in fat compared to other nuts. They also contain copper, which helps with iron absorption- great if you are anemic, or on the border like me.

Tahini– merely ground sesame seeds; this is an often over-looked peanut butter alternative. A little goes a long way!

  • Way less processed
  • Peanuts often grow a mold/fungus called aflatoxin that isn’t great on the gut.
  • More calcium and iron than peanuts
  • sesame seeds are a less common allergen
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Super Immune Booster. My Father in Law grows it so we always have it on hand.

Steeping in feeling more alive and vibrant,

Tori

Mind • Fullness

Maybe it’s just my line of work but the word mindfulness is thrown around as frequently as “exercise” and “nutrition”. We have all heard it BUT my question is, do you actually know what it is? And my next question is, do you know how to practice it and reap the benefits?

Oftentimes, concepts like mindfulness or even meditation get connected to something that may seem beyond ourselves. If you can’t conceptualize the benefit of doing something and immediately getting a return on your efforts, it’s hard to commit. Human nature, I get it.

Colin Meditating

Hear me out, we all have the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, AND not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess; it’s more readily available when we practice it. Like a good fitness program, mindfulness involves different forms of training, each with a different focus and emphasis.

How to get started?

There are so many ways to bring mindfulness to your everyday life. Mindful meditation is the most common practice. There are also other ideas beyond meditation to practice throughout your day like eating, exercising, spending time with friends and family, and completing simple every day tasks. Most of the time we live life in auto-drive and rarely slow down. Try these ideas on for size:

  1. Limit phone time around family and friends
  2. Eating Meals: Sit down to meals at the table, enjoy your conversation and actually taste your food.
  3. Practice breathing, especially belly breaths help with adverse or stressful situations.
  4. Listening to others can deepens trust and understanding.
  5. Exercising without music, books or podcasts, try focusing on your breath, the rhythm of your foot steps, the strength in your muscles, or the form and movement of your body.
  6. Engage your senses in nature; smell flowers, put your hands in dirt, stand barefoot in the grass, swim in a lake, let the sun shine on your face.

lilac.jpg  Sunset

Simplicity is key. Focus on your goals and what you want out of life. Utilize mindfulness to pave the path to more connectedness. Ask yourself, how can you be more mindful in your everyday life?

Steeping in Mind Fullness,

Megan

 

Winner Winner Chicken Bone Broth Dinner!

Earlier this week we told you all about bone broth and its amazing benefits. We went over all of the positive effects it can have on your health including digestion, joint health, and promoting healthy skin.

Celebrities like Kobe Bryant, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and many more turn to this superfood to look and feel younger, healthier.  Kobe Bryant calls bone broth his ‘secret weapon.’ Amino Acids + Bone Broth = A Superfood Staple.

A BIG thank you to all who participated. Taking action for your health is all about adding the good in.

Congratulations to our Winner: BIZ CASMER!

Our friends at Fire and Kettle are letting us extend their offer one more day so…today is the last time you can take advantage of this offer on Kettle & Fire bone broth!

Click here to be taken to your savings. And Remember STEEPEDINWELLNESS10 at checkout.

Remember: Even though we are in the thick of summer heat, these are shelf stable for two years!  Or try their Berry Smoothie to keep you cool.

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Steeping in Wellness,

Tori and Megan

 

When Enough Is Enough

Our third installment of ‘The Men of Steep” comes from a fraternity brother and friend of my husband (alright, and me too!) Heck, he even came on our Honeymoon!

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Al and I at Oktoberfest (my Beermoon) Munich 2013

When I say that his transformation has been incredible, I mean it’s jaw dropping. But what I think is so important about Al’s story is that it is very relate-able. We all have that one friend we can count on for a good time, a drink, and inappropriate jokes.  When he tells you he is making a change you are more prone be like,  “Yea, yea, believe it when I see it.”  Well, we all believe it. His change was gradual, the way it’s suppose to be, and in the meantime his whole perspective changed. It’s rare to watch someone come out the other side of a weight loss and be happy to be in what he now calls “maintenance.”

Or maybe meeting the love of his life helped. It sure didn’t hurt! Together they have lost 112 pounds(!)- having an accountability partner has huge advantages.  What’s great is that they cook together and follow the same program, he will explain. At the end of the day no body can do it for you. You have to want it. And Al did. I still get a kick out of seeing him.

Let get to Al’s story. He has offered so many usable tips and some fav recipes. I know I am going to try some!

Tell us about your journey to where you are today
I’ve been at some level of overweight nearly my whole adult life.  In high school, I played sports, worked manual labor (construction and on the farm), ate whatever I wanted, and that was my last time at a weight in the “normal” range, until now.  I was about 30 lbs (210) overweight at the end of college, and over the years yo-yoed between there and as high as about 250 (70 lbs overweight).

It usually built up so gradually that it was hard to notice before it got too far.

I read many books, tried quite a few things, but for the most part didn’t find enough new good habits that would last.  Eventually I found some books that really resonated with me, as they advance the science and debunk old ideas.

Here are my favorites:
1.    Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
2.    The Big Fat Surprise by Natalie Teicholz
3.    Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis
4.    The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf

What changed this time?

 I had enough of hauling around those extra pounds and all the associated side effects.

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August 2015

I went to the doctor for some recurring joint pain, to which he couldn’t definitively diagnose (some signs, but not all pointed to gout) or offer any help for; he instead simply addressed my health items he could measure, and prescribed medication for both high blood pressure and cholesterol.

The idea of taking medication the rest of my life didn’t sit too well with me, no matter how safe they may claim they are.

At the same time, I didn’t want to ignore those high levels and associated risk factors for disease.  Ultimately what stuck for me was a system, backed up with recipes and practical eating-out advice that really worked.  The staff over at the Medical Weight Loss Clinic provided great support, and the weekly appointments helped keep me accountable and positive. (Al and his fiance do this together.)

I’ve been at the goal weight for about 4 months.  Today I’m at 175 lbs, putting me in the ‘normal’ BMI range (the BMI is far from being a perfect scale, but it’s the most common benchmark around).  Joint pain is virtually gone.

No longer taking any medication, and both my cholesterol and blood pressure are good.   (WOW!)

I’m learning how to bring more carbs back into my diet, and find the balance of how much works for me.

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January 2017

What are your food beliefs?
•    There are no essential carbohydrates.
•    Sugar substitutes are a poor choice.
•    Whole grains aren’t the magic so many sources make them sound.  A few more vitamins versus their bleached white cousins are little consolation when these complex carbs raise your insulin level and put you into fat storage mode.  Humans are poorly suited to digest such large amounts of grain.
•    Calories in do not equal calories out.  Our body’s systems are far more complex than this simplistic notion.
•    Eating fats is just fine.  (or eating fat doesn’t make you fat; fat you eat doesn’t get stored in your fat cells; fat = fuel, etc.)
•    The government is the worst source of dietary advice and standards.  All policies to date are driven by someone out for profit or fame, and data frequently manipulated to fit a narrative, while masquerading as science.
•    You can lose weight without having to starve.
•    You can lose weight while eating plenty of very good tasting things.
•    You can lose weight without exercise.

Favorite recipes:

  •        Weight Loss Clinic  Pintrest page
  •         Amazing Cheese Crust Pizza
  •         Zucchini lasagna.  I’m not positive which exact one I had used, there are many out there online.  Basically swap noodles for strips of zucchini that is sliced and baked, and use a marinara sauce that is low in sugar/carbs with no sugar added.
  •         Zucchini pasta using the Spiralizer with any meat dish.  I was skeptical at first, but it tastes very good, and is very simple.
  •         Cheddar tacos.  Make circles of approximately 6” diameter each of shredded cheddar, on a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cook at 400°F for 8 minutes.  Hang them over anything round, like a wooden spoon, then they will cool and form the taco shell shape.  Fill with meat, salsa, etc. like a normal taco.

Eat Out Tips

  •         Read the whole menu, there probably are a few good options that require no substitutions.  Plenty of dishes out there that have just meat with vegetables.
  •         Unsweetened Ice Tea is a good sugar free drink.  Almost everywhere has it.
  •         Order a burger (or other sandwich) without the bread/bun.  It’s a pretty common thing to do these days, no one will think you’re weird for doing so.
  •         Ask if they can do substitutions if the menu doesn’t say so.  For example, you often can get broccoli or mixed vegetables instead of fries.  Or a side salad.
  •         Make the better choice, if the “best” choice isn’t an option.  Don’t let the lack of the perfect option be an excuse to give up and eat junk.
  •         If you were raised to clean your plate like I was, be aware of this behavior in yourself.  I find it hard to only eat a few of the fries or other items.  It can be easier to just say no up front.  If the only choices are fries or chips, you can always say neither.

What is lighting you up at the moment?
•    The NBA playoffs – go Bucks!
•    Random videos that YouTube suggests.  Some channels I frequently check out lately are: Numberphile, Langfocus, SciShow, The 8-Bit Guy, Mathologer, Arlo, & RonPaulLibertyReport.

What is your morning routine?
•    Feed the cats

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Al even proposed with his cat!

•    Fill up my water bottle
•    Take my vitamins
•    A small breakfast – either a couple breakfast sausages or a cheese stick
•    Off to work, where the coffee is free!

Today I am grateful for…
My fiancé.  I’m so happy I finally met the right person to spend my life with.

 

Thank you Al!

Isn’t it incredible he got himself off his medications!?! I love that – it’s empowering. And I loved his point of making the better choice if the ‘best’ isn’t available.

What we put on our plate matters.

Something I wanted to point out is that ALL three of “The Men of Steep” believe in drinking water, vegetables, and well, that the government does not have our back. You really have to be your own advocate. People have their own genetics, intolerances, allergies, body compositions… we are all different. YOU have to be a detective and take charge of your own health.

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I HAD to include this one of Al this past fall back in Munich for Oktoberbest 2016. Cheers AL!

Steeping in mind/body transformations,

Tori

Fitness Finds

I’m always looking for the latest and greatest fitness finds. I compiled a list of some of my favorite fitness finds…

Lately, I’ve been focusing on mixing in more strength training into my workout routine. As a mom of two young kids, functional exercises like lifting, twisting and pulling really help me with my every day life. After strength training my muscles can be pretty taxed. My sister introduced me to a product from a company called Ideal Lean — BCAAs or Branch Chain Amino Acids, which are essential for muscle growth and recovery. 


I notice my muscles aren’t as sore and I am able to gain the lean muscle mass I’m after. 

These pants. 90 degree by reflex 


I’m not ashamed to admit it, I would absolutely live in exercise/workout clothes if I could. I mean, who wouldn’t right?? Unfortunately, that’s not my reality for my day job but you can often times find me in stretchy clothing when I’m off the clock. I came across these exercise pants and find them to be exactly what I need. Stretching enough to be flattering, I highly enough in the waste to tuck in that tummy and easy to care for in the wash. That’s a win in my book! Oh, did I mention the price?!?

I recently started running on my lunch break. The mild spring weather here in the Midwest has made it very doable. I unfortunately don’t have access to a shower at work but have found the next best thing, On the Go Cleansing Towels. These are basically disposable wipes that leave you clean, cool and refreshed after a workout. My suggestion would be to use these after light workouts. Save the shower for a heavy sweat shesh. 

Steeping in the Fitness Finds,

Megan 

Steeped in Wellness does not receive any monetary compensation for the promotion of these products.