Get that Heart Pumping!

Cartoon heart character running on treadmill

In honor of American Heart Month, it is time for you to get your heart pumping! Any form of exercise is beneficial to your health, but for this month in specific, why not take the time to focus on your heart. People tend to focus externally on their bodies and get caught up on the physical appearance, that too often people forgot that it all starts from within. Staying active to benefit your health internally is the foundation you need to get a better workout overall. Here are some exercises that will really target your heart and give it the extra attention it deserves!

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Swimming is known to be one of the best aerobic exercises you can partake in. You need as little as two and half hours of swimming a week to start seeing instant results. The exercise itself puts less stress on your joints and bones, that it could pose as beneficial for those who are overweight or suffering from joint conditions. The exercise really has no limitations and is perfect for just about anyone!

Stair Stamina

Whether you use a stair machine or actual stairs that can be found almost in every household or apartment, it is no doubt that it will give you a good workout. The incline embedded into every step helps you reach maximum heart rate in not time. It’s convenient, yet challenging!

Dance to Your Heart’s Desires

Who wouldn’t want to get up and bust a move when you hear a contagious beat? Dancing is by one of the most enjoyable ways to get in that cardio – simply because you don’t even realize that you are giving your heart a little workout in the process. Dance can range from so many styles – zumba, salsa, hip hop, etc. – that you can really cater it to how you are feeling and what music is inspiring you at the moment. The best part – you don’t need a fancy studio, you can do it at the comfort of your own home!

Tai Chi Chill Zone

Since we are focusing on ways to ensure that we are exercising ourselves from within, Tai Chi is a great option! It is a low impact exercise that uses slow body movements combined with deep breathing and concentration which benefits the mind, the body, and contributes to overall heart health. It is a win-win for your body internally, that you will start to notice a difference in how you tackle other exercises that target different parts!

Give your heart some love this February season!



Diana Banzon


Reasons to Love Love

Couple behind heart shaped balloon

Whether you are single or taken, love is a universal feeling that everyone should feel and express beyond just Valentine’s Day! That magical feeling is enough to do wonders on your mental and physical health that many don’t realize. You only have one life –  why not make it one where you are happy and healthy? It’s a free and priceless gift that you can give to anyone, and feels even better when given back in return. Here are reasons as to why you should always be spreading the love beyond the holiday!

Longer Life, Happy Wife

Studies show that married couples enjoy greater longevity than those who are single. The factors that contribute to this overall statistic doesn’t discriminate to solely just partners, but friends and family too! That caring constant interaction is enough to lower rates of substance abuse, lower blood pressure and less depression than single peers, so surround yourself with people that you love! 


Rates of diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, lung disease, and other chronic ailments are all lower in married people than in unmarried people. Your ultimate cure to lowering the chances of these diseases and spending more time on earth with your soulmate is as easy as finding that special someone. 

So Long, Stress!

The honeymoon phase unfortunately comes to an end, but on the bright side, all of that dopamine starts to interact with another brain chemical called oxytocin that gives you those “warm and fuzzy” feelings for your partner that carries over to your health. Loneliness has the ability to increase inflammation and activate pain centers that eventually lead to anxiety. Cortisol and adrenaline levels rise when people feel insecure and threatened, but all that can be easily fixed with the comfort of a companion.

Cautious about Self Care

Consistent social and emotional support is motivation enough to be held accountable to live a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to that much needed push to work out, or pay a visit to the doctor’s office when there is denial for medical attention, loved ones will always be there to encourage these actions because they care.

Financial Stability

When marriage comes into the picture, financial factors comes into health and how much access you have to it. Being financially stable in the first place is enough to reduce stress and anxiety, since money restraints have the capability of contributing to it. Being in marriage increases your chances of getting health care, which is enough insurance to know that you will be taken care of in any health problems were to arise!

Valentine’s Day is just a day. Extend that love beyond just that. You will be not only be bringing more positivity in this world, but benefit from all the love you will be getting back.


Diana Banzon


Game Day Gainz

With the Super Bowl being all the rage last weekend, how healthy did you manage to eat at the preview party whether it be at a bar or at the comfort of a home? With National Marquette Day coming up, it is a smart idea to fuel up but in the healthiest way possible so you can ensure that you will have enough energy to last throughout all the fun festivities. Here are some recipes perfect for any game day weekend when you want to indulge, but without the guilt and sacrificing flavor!


This sets the mood for the party! What better than to celebrate with a punchful of jungle juice? It’s a party staple that is most convenient to serve to guests!  

Healthy Jungle Juice

  • 1-2 shots of vodka (that’s 1.5 – 3 oz.)
  • 2 oz. white wine like RIESLING
  • 2 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 4 oz. coconut water
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ice (optional)



You need a variety! Keeping these options solely to finger food is the perfect party favor to keep everyone satisfied and fed!

Baked BBQ Chicken Egg Rolls

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
  • 15 egg roll wrappers
  1. In a small bowl whisk together the BBQ sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cover with the sauce.
  3. Set the slow cooker to low, cover, and let cook for 4-6 hours or until the chicken is tender and shreds easily.
  4. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and stir in the frozen corn.
  5. If the chicken needs more BBQ sauce go ahead and add more now.
  6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Fill each egg roll wrapper with a couple tablespoons of the shredded chicken, being careful not to overfill them.
  8. Top the chicken with some of the shredded cheese.
  9. Brush all around the edges of the egg roll wrapper, then tuck in the sides, and roll it up tightly like a burrito.
  10. Seal the end of the egg roll with a little more water then place it seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  11. Continue the process until all of the egg rolls are made.
  12. Spray or brush the tops of the egg rolls with oil then place them on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven.


Skinny Zucchini Mozzarella Sticks

  • 1 Large Zucchini
  • 2 Individually Packed Light String Cheese Sticks, very cold
  • ¼ Cup Italian-Style Panko Breadcrumbs (Plain is okay)
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Flour
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Cooking Spray
  • Toothpicks
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Remove the ends of the zucchini and cut in half and then into ½ inch strips. Remove string cheese from packaging and cut in half widthwise. Cut each halve into thirds. Each string cheese should yield 6 small pieces about the same length as the zucchini pieces. You should have a total of 12 pieces of string cheese In a shallow bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, onion powder and pepper. Mix well. Place the flour in a separate shallow bowl. Additionally, beat the egg in a separate bowl. Take each zucchini piece and pair it with a string cheese piece. Secure in place with a toothpick. Dip the zucchini/string cheese into the flour mixture, making sure to shake off any excess and then into the egg mixture. Finally, dip into panko mixture and place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the zucchini sticks one time during the cooking process and spray the tops with a little cooking spray. Serve with dipping sauce of choice.


Light Shrimp Cocktail Bites

  • 36 Triscuits your favorite flavor
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. water
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. green onion diced
  • zesty cocktail sauce
  • 36 medium pre-cooked shrimp thawed, rinsed and patted dry
  1. Whisk together eggs and water and pour in a shallow dish. Soak Triscuits for 8-10 minutes in the mixture until they are just soft enough to press into mini muffin tins. After pressing all of the Triscuits into mini muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake the Triscuits for 30 min at 350°. Remove from the tins and allow to cool to room temperature. (You can make the Triscuit cups ahead a day or two in advance and store in an airtight container.)
  2. In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce & lemon juice. Using a hand mixer, beat on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Scoop the mixture into a sandwich bag and snip the corner of the bag. Using the bag, pipe a Tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each Triscuit, top with 1/2 tsp. cocktail sauce and one shrimp.
  3. Garnish the cups with green onions and serve immediately.




Homemade Peanut Butter Oreos


  • 3/4 cup spelt flour (Readers have reported success with Arrowhead Mills gf as well.) (120g)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dutch cocoa powder (30g) (Regular cocoa is fine; the Oreo cookies just won’t taste as authentic.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp xylitol or sugar (or coconut sugar) (78g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil (44g)
  • 3 tbsp milk of choice (45g)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or agave) (30g)


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or allergy-free alternative) (110g)
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (For a coconut-free version, see “nutrition info” link below) (110g)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • stevia extract to taste, or 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients, and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine all liquid ingredients for the cookies. Mix wet into dry to form a dough, then refrigerate 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Put dough in a plastic bag, and smush into one big ball. Remove from bag, roll into a thin dough, and cut flat circles using a circle cutter or a circle-shaped lid. Bake on a greased cookie tray for 11-14 minutes (depending on whether you want softer or crispier cookies). They’ll still look a little underdone when they come out of the oven, but that’s ok. Important: allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the tray.

For the filling: first make sure your coconut butter is softened. Mix all filling ingredients in a small food processor (or very patiently with a fork, if you must. Texture might be a bit crumbly if you mix by hand; be sure to start with softened peanut butter). Divide filling among half of the cookie discs, then top with remaining cookie discs and fridge so filling firms up. Makes 20-25 sandwich cookies, depending on the size of your circle cutter and whether or not you bother to re-roll all the dough.


Be the MVP at your next game day get-together with these nutritious, but tasty recipes!


Have a happy game day!

Diana Banzon


Wellness Biography: John Brown

Meet John! I wanted to explore what the realm of physical therapy has to offer, so who better to ask than someone who is in Marquette’s PT program and have their studies revolve around all things health and wellness. John’s outlook has personally inspired me to become a better version of my self. Health is often taken for granted and he made me realize that it is the preventable measures we take now is what is key to living a long life of wellness. screen shot 2019-01-29 at 11.17.09 pm

Introduce yourself.

Hello, my name is John. Within my studies at Marquette I’ve learned a plethora regarding personal wellness and the vast components of the body. At home in Chicago, I live with my ma and keep close correspondence with friends that are close to me.

Tell me about your health and wellness journey?

I worked out in high school with a the baseball team and obtained the basics of hypertrophy, program training, and teamwork. A trip I took opened my eyes to the multitudes of lifestyles and directions one can take their persona, with their corresponding health.

How has your major affect your health and wellness journey?

It gives me the tools to really look at my body in a more advantageous and objective position. I try to take more care in everything I consume or interact with that may have long time effect on my body.

Do you consider your cultural background having an effect on your overall health habits?

Nope. Other than my mom cooks some quality cuisine and when my Italian family is around.

Is there anything you would like to improve on you health and wellness journey?

I think nutrition is the main variable that is left when thinking about improvements that I can make to my lifestyle. ‘Good’ nutrition is expensive to obtain without a large amount of time at your disposal. With that said, everyone is just trying to stay in the best position that they can be in. I work on my health in tandem with my personal life.




Do January Dry!


New Year’s Eve closes off the year with a bang…and people popping their champagne and drinking their night away to start off 2019. With all the temptations that the holiday season has brought upon our diet and health back in 2018, it is time to finally start off with a clean slate. With a fresh start coming in full swing and the stakes being held at an all time high in regards to resolutions, why not start the first month off dry? Sounds taunting I know, but wait and see all the benefits it can provide that might just be exactly what you need to kickstart the year right!

Overall improvement in health

Is that a question? Yes, moderation is key, but sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the moment when “only having one glass” eventually turns into many. Excessively doing so can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and possibly cancer. Alcohol also puts metabolic stress on the liver which has been linked to half of all liver disease deaths.

Indicator of where your body is at

The relationship that alcohol has with everyone’s body vary. Eliminating alcohol for a month can help indicate where your body is at and possibly reveal that your regular drinking habits might be contributing to how you have been feeling mentalling, physically, socially, etc and whether it might be time to cut down. Starting of the year dry can be seen as a reset button to see where your health lies from all the habits you formed back in 2018.

Better sleep

Despite the drowsiness that alcohol can bring, it does not contribute to the assumption that it will bring better quality. Alcohol goes hand in hand with going out, which has the potential to negatively impact productivity for the next day that will only make you sleep in to compensate for lost hours of rest or remain sleepy for the rest of the day. Eliminating it overall results in experiencing better sleep and helps regulate digestion that will keep you sharp and focused to tackle the day. 

Healthier Immune System

When intoxicated, alcohol suppresses the immune system making it vulnerable to pathogens. Chronically drinking on the other hand can lead to inflammatory reactions throughout the body.

Weight Loss

Many people disregard the fact that drinks have calories too. 150 calories for a standard drink to be exact, but nowhere near enough to make someone feel satisfied.  Not only that, it only amps up hunger, essentially causing binge eating to takes place in attempts to “sober up”. The dehydrating effects cause bloating, even if you decide to to not binge eat.

Challenge yourself this year. Who knows, Dry January can either make you feel motivated to cut alcohol as a whole or at least hold back on consumption based on your personal experiences. Evaluate your results and see for yourself!


Stay sober my friends,

Diana Banzon


How To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick!

new year new you

New year, New me? The start of a New Year always motivates people to make a change for the better. It is never too late to want to improve on lifestyle choices, but half the battle is maintaining these newfound resolutions. Here are some tips to make sure that these habits become more than temporary and fall into a part of your set routine!

Starting gradually

There is no harm in wanting to dream big when it comes to improving your health and wellness, but the key is the be realistic. Being able to identify what you are capable of and how you can can gradually work from your current state is a good start to how you can transition into bettering your routine. Attempting to partake in unrealistic goals is just discouraging, and will do the opposite of what creating big goals would do.

Change your habits one at a time

A journey consists of overcoming multiple obstacles to make the work satisfying. It is a matter of tackling these challenges one at a time to ensure the success of each one. Different obstacles require different needs – so make sure to focus on them!

Express your goals to others

What is better than being accountable to yourself with these ambitious goals? Expressing and sharing your determination with someone else! You are both not only influencing others to partake in your journey to better your life, but you feel more obligated to stick with these goals knowing that someone is counting on you to achieve them! No harm in having a personal cheerleader throughout the process to check up on your progress.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Sometimes it it tough to determine where the fine line is drawn when it comes to being overly ambitious and realistic. Goals wouldn’t be goals without encountering challenges along the way. Fortunately, you have the luxury of tailoring your journey to fit you personally. So if goals need to be adjusted don’t stress – focus on the fact that you are proactively making changes to be better!


Glass A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Home-Tile2-12-16The holiday season is approaching, and there is no better way to accompany your meals than with a nice glass of wine to top it all off. Although implementing alcohol to a healthy diet does have a negative connotation, moderation is key. Cheers to popping open a bottle and celebrating everything that the holiday season has to offer – with all the people whom you love the most!

Immune System Boost

Moderate alcohol consumption has the ability to fight off unwanted infections, keeping your immune system in balance!

Reduced Risk of Stroke

Red wine contains phenols that act as a natural blood thinner, in turn, breaking up any blood clots that could lead to a stroke. There is also resveratrol found in red grape skins that have the potential to protect against stroke when the grapes are turned into wine.

Lowers Cholesterol

Procyanidins found in red wine helps promote a healthy heart that lowers cholesterol. Resveratrol lowers bad cholesterol, while increasing the good cholesterol resulting in the desired cholestol levels that will keep you healthy! 

Reduces Risk of Cancer

The thought of cancer is just scary because studies seem to claim that anything can increase ours risks these days. So when you hear a study that counteracts these claims, why not hop on that bandwagon? The antioxidants found in wine combat free radicals that allow cancer to thrive. Resveratrol not only combats heart disease, but also is known to fight against cancerous cells. It is a practically a win win situation for everyone!

Improves Cognitive Function

Wine is food for the brain! The chemicals found in red wine prevent neurons found in the brain from dying off, improving overall brain function. It protects the brain from dementia and essentially decreases your chances of getting neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Cheers to a new year and long life!

Diana Banzon


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