Archive for the 'Wellness' Category

Destress with fall colors

We are getting to that time of year where everyone is getting sick and feeling stressed out. There are a lot of things you can do to help yourself destress and guard yourself against sickness. The best part is most of these strategies to better yourself, your health and your state of mind, are usually pretty simple. Some of them are as simple as eating certain foods to build up your immune system. Others are as easy as just setting foot outdoors.

Fresh air and exercise are always good for you, but with fall comes a whole new set of weather and surroundings. One of the most beautiful parts of fall weather will also help you relieve some stress. You guessed it: leaves! Fall has always been my favorite season because of the temperatures, the beautiful fall colors, and all of the fun fall activities. But, it is so interesting and exciting to know that there is actually science behind the destressing qualities of turning leaves. It turns out that the mere contrast of colors in the leaves spirals our brains into excitement because it’s something new! We get used to seeing only greens all summer, and then the fall leaves seem to appear suddenly, shocking our brains.

Not to mention, if the fall weather tempts us outside for a walk, then we are getting active. And being active always has a positive effect on our brain to release some stress. The combination of exercise and of the visually-stimulating effects of the colors around us are just enough to tell our brain to relax.

So, this is my way of saying we all need to get outside and enjoy the weather. I am accepting no excuses of having no time (especially from myself). I can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the weather while stealing away some great, stress relieving benefits. I hope to see all of you out enjoying the weather on campus, whether it’s just to have a short lunch, or to walk around and really take in all of the beauty that Marquette has to offer.

Alicia Diedrich

Wellbeing biography: Kristin Kipp – Whole 30

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I’ve never liked the word diet. I think it’s because, more often than not, the word “diet” is used to describe a way of eating to lose weight, and in this sense, Garfield said it right, “DIET is DIE with a T.” There are many different definitions of the word diet, but one definition that puts diet in a positive light comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here it’s defined simply as “habitual nourishment.” I love thinking of food this way. I grew up on a farm with an abundance of fresh produce. We canned a lot of fruits and veggies for the winter and made our own jam. We even raised a pig every year to eat. From a young age, I loved good nutrition and physical activity, and my passion brought me to what I do today, so I am thankful for that.

Now I have a family of my own, and we are trying our best to instill good habits for our little girl. Thankfully my husband loves to garden and eat good food. He devotes much of his time to cooking good meals for us. We are a “whole foods” family – we drink whole milk, eat real butter, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. We buy our pork from a local farmer and make sure that there are no nitrates or MSG added at the butcher. We participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), go to local farmer’s markets, and try to buy organic, grass-fed, cage free etc. when possible. We rarely go out to eat, cooking most of our meals at home, but we’re definitely not perfect when it comes to food. No one should be. And although we try following all the good things I listed above, it doesn’t always happen, and we tend to follow the “everything in moderation” rule. Besides…Who can pass up those hostess cream filled chocolate cupcakes?

I really had no desire to look into the Whole30 when it came out. I hate all the fads that come and go, and I try to promote lifestyle changes for the people I work with. I’m not overweight, and I’m fairly physically active, so besides enjoying some sugary treats and having a glass of wine or a beer every now and again, I thought I was doing pretty good with my overall nutrition and health. A few years ago, though, I started having some health issues that took me almost 2 years to work through. During this time, I became really attuned to my body, and although the issues I was having didn’t stem from my diet, I became curious after I started feeling better. Was I feeling the best that I possibly could be? Could the Whole30 help me identify foods that aren’t working for me? Would elimination of these foods help me to run again without pain? Having felt really good for the last 6 months before I decided to try the Whole30, I really didn’t believe that I was going to feel much of a difference, but it turns out, I was wrong.

The first couple of days of the Whole30 were the worst…I’m not sure if everyone feels that way, but I was miserable. I felt like I was detoxing. I hated restricting myself from foods that I really wanted to eat, and not having my morning cup of coffee with whole milk and Organic Valley’s French vanilla half and half creamer was the worst. I also had a headache for the first four or five days, which could have been attributed to not drinking enough water, but nonetheless…I felt crappy. What I do know is that after about that first week, I started to feel good. Actually, I felt great. I had so much energy. I wasn’t experiencing that afternoon sluggishness around 2pm that makes you want to go to the nearest candy bowl on your co-worker’s desk. When my alarm went off at 4:45am, I felt well rested and ready for my morning swim. When I worked out, I felt amazing. I feel like I could go on and on about how great I felt, but then something really crazy happened after about two weeks….. I was able to run for the first time in 2 1/2 years without pain or stiffness.

Having completed the Whole30, I have a deeper appreciation of what eating healthy means to me, and to really eat well, feel good, and enjoy our food, I believe it takes a true conscious effort to eat mindfully. I’ve always told people to pay attention to how food makes them feel, and it’s not that I don’t pay attention to this myself, but the Whole30 required me to practice mindfulness as it relates to food every day for 30 days. Many people may do the Whole30 just to lose weight. They treat it as another fad diet that they are going to try and hope for results. Don’t get me wrong…you will lose weight, but if that’s all you are doing it for, you are missing the point, and as soon as you go back to your normal habits the weight will come back on. Eating mindfully – understanding what and why you are eating, taking the time to enjoy food, listening to whether you’re hungry or not, and understanding the effects food has on your body – is important for weight loss as well. Your body can’t do what it’s supposed to do if you are not fueling it correctly. This means that if you aren’t eating enough calories, or too many calories, or just not the right combination of foods, you’re not going to lose weight. This also means that if are fueling your body with foods that are causing inflammatory responses, you may just be sabotaging all your efforts to be healthy and lose weight as well.

Doing this 30-day challenge isn’t easy (or inexpensive). It takes a lot of preparation/cooking, time reading labels, space in your refrigerator, and self-discipline to do it. I’ve kept a lot of great habits from this process and found out what foods really impact the inflammation in my body. It hasn’t completely stopped me from eating these foods, but I do pay the price. I don’t know if there is anything else wrong in my body that is keeping me from running like I’d like, but now I know how food affects this already present inflammation. If you are thinking about trying it, I would ask you to the approach the Whole30 differently. Think of it as an experiment in helping you to take a mindful approach to your eating that will help you create new healthy habits that you’d like to continue once you’ve finished, and as a way to identify how food truly affects your body so you can try to limit these foods and avoid the ill effects.

Written by Kristin Kipp

Kristin is the Director of Employee Wellness at Marquette University and is a Registered Dietitian.

Marquette Wellness Ambassadors

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As promised at the beginning of the semester, Marquette University Employee Wellness has some exciting new changes and improvements going on. We already celebrated the grand opening of the new employee wellness space! And now we are excited to bring you the news of the formation of Marquette University Wellness Ambassadors.

The Wellness Ambassadors program was formed with the vision of being able to better promote, support and encourage healthy choices. I have always been a firm believer that it is so much easier to make better choices for yourself when you have great support from others backing you. For me it is so much easier to stick to my fitness goals and really push myself when everyone around me is doing so too, this is why I find having workout buddies or going to the gym where everyone around you is working out to be so beneficial. The same thing holds true when we are talking about making healthy food choices or discussing our mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. And this is why it is so difficult to maintain our healthy eating habits around the holidays: everyone is eating cookies, cakes and unhealthy snacks. It is extremely difficult to maintain healthy choices when we give way to social eating or “I’ll just have one.” This is why support systems with healthy intentions and encouragement are so vital to our own healthy choices.

The Marquette Wellness Ambassadors (MWA) will work to create these networks of support and encouragement. The goal for the ambassadors is to help others work towards healthy lifestyle choices at work, identify environmental supports to influence and enhance co-workers healthy lifestyle, create peer support networks and other wellness and health related topics. If you are passionate about wellness, or just want to take on a new challenge for yourself and your peers, the Ambassador team is looking for individuals who can be enthusiastic and inspiring in a wellness role and lead by example. Our motto here is BE THE HEALTHY DIFFERENCE. If this sounds like you, you can fill out the application or contact Kristin Kipp at kristin.kipp@mu.edu for more information on the Marquette Wellness Ambassadors program.

Even if you decide not to become a MWA I still urge you to make a healthy difference in your own life and those around you. We all have to power and ability to make healthy choices and changes in our lives. Choose to do that now and you will thank yourself later.

Alicia Diedrich

Fall recipe: roasted vegetables

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While it may not have felt like fall at all the last few days, the first day of fall was actually last week. And in the spirit and anticipation of fall-like weather (along with keeping my tradition of posting seasonally themed recipes), I am bringing you a delicious, and healthy, fall themed recipe.

The fresh vegetables of fall are definitely one of the greatest parts of this season, so I say we all take advantage of the in-season produce. Make sure you are picking up your ingredients at a local farmer’s market, I picked up a haul of fresh produce at the farmers market held on campus last week. It is the easiest way to ensure you are getting quality, healthy, delicious ingredients. And, the best part about this recipe is that it has a really short prep time, giving you plenty of time to still enjoy the crisp weather of the season while you wait for your vegetables to cook.

What you need:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

½ pound of butternut squash, peeled and cubed

10 baby potatoes, sliced in half

½ pound green beans

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and halved

8 ounce package baby bella mushrooms

½ red onion, cut in wedges

1 head garlic, peeled

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp italian seasoning

2 tsp salt

Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Fresh thyme, to taste

Now for the preparation, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place all of your prepared vegetables onto a large baking sheet, toss the vegetables with the vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings. Then, bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

This recipe is so quick, and is easily customizable. I have sweet peppers sitting around that I am planning to throw in the next time I make this recipe. So, have some fun with this recipe and use it to dive head first into fall like I am planning to do, after all it is my favorite season! Hope you enjoy, and be sure to share pictures of your completed recipe with us!

Alicia Diedrich

The recipe was found at: http://www.colorfulrecipes.com/roasted-fall-vegetables/

New employee wellness space

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Hello again Marquette! I am bringing you some exciting news this week. You may have already heard, but yesterday we celebrated the grand opening of our new employee-dedicated wellness space located in the lower level of Coughlin Hall. I hope you all had the opportunity to join us at the grand opening yesterday afternoon.

This new wellness space is such a wonderful addition to campus, the MU Employee Wellness team is certainly very excited about it! This new space allows Marquette’s employees to utilize the space to improve themselves and their wellness. It has a similar concept to Marquette’s Interfaith Meditation Space, allowing individuals to reflect on their own or possessing the ability to hold group sessions dedicated to wellness. The Interfaith Meditation Space is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am to 11:45 pm, and Sunday from 9:00 am to 11:45 pm. That already gives our campus a extensive lot of time to access the space and to work on our wellness.

The best part about the new wellness space though? It’s open 24 hours a day! This means that if you’re on campus until late at night, you can go to the wellness center. Or if you decide you absolutely need to get away from home for some time to yourself, you can come in at 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 am and it will be there for you! This space is here to help all of our staff achieve their wellness goals and find some calmness and peace of mind in the midst of our hectic, busy lives. There are plans for the new wellness space to soon hold free, on-demand, Immersive Fitness & Meditation Classes. This is such a huge step for our community because now there will be wellness classes that work with your schedule! If you are too busy to attend the regularly scheduled classes, you will now have the ability to make your own time for these classes, so no more excuses! Get out to Coughlin Hall and work on your wellness.

We will soon have more information and links on how to access the space, so when this information becomes available, this post will be updated to include these links to make it easy for you to find the information you need to achieve your new wellness goals. Remember, we are going to make this our best year yet!

Alicia Diedrich

GROW with us

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With a new semester comes so many different opportunities to grow your mind, body and spirit. Marquette offers GROW classes throughout the semester to help you do just that and more.

There are classes on everything from IT training to learning about the life of Ignatius to health topics classes and classes about beekeeping. Whatever it is you want to learn about, I am sure Marquette’s GROW classes have something to offer you during the semester. There are such a wide variety of class offerings that there is bound to be something new that you can attend every time. The goal is to help our faculty and staff to continually grow both their personal and professional knowledge and enrich their lives.

Some of the classes focus on the development of workplace skills including technology training that you can bring into your classrooms or your offices. The technology classes range from working with iPads, Skype, Powerpoint, Sharepoint, and more. Other GROW classes focus on the skills behind these: dealing with change or learning about your own work style preferences and attributes. On another hand, there are classes about sinus and allergy issues, about flu season and our immune systems, about pregnancy, and other important health topics and issues. And when I say these classes offer something for everyone, I really mean it. You can learn about sustainable gardening, or the Marquette University Mission and Ministry. Find something that interests you!

 
The classes are already underway but there are plenty of upcoming opportunities in the next couple weeks and months for you all to take part in. The best part? The GROW classes are free to Marquette’s employees. So, I urge all of you to look through the list of classes, and attend at least one during the semester. Have a wonderful week Marquette, we look forward to GROWing with you this semester. 

I am so excited to bring you a great blog on our new Employee Wellness Space next week! Make sure to join us for the grand opening on Monday, September 18th between 3 and 5 in the lower level of Coughlin Hall.

Alicia Diedrich

Sendik’s: benefits and drawbacks

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I hope today finds all of you rested and ready to tackle the second week back at Marquette after the three-day weekend. If you didn’t already know, Marquette has a new addition to campus this semester: a grocery store, Sendik’s Fresh2Go. This addition to campus has been anticipated for years and years.

President Lovell had eagerly attempted to establish a grocery store on campus ever since he became president in 2014. This is a huge advancement for the campus and near west side, as they have been stranded in a food desert for far too long. This is the 19th grocery store for Sendik’s markets, which have a great local reputation for providing excellent, fresh, healthy choices for its’ customers. The new Sendik’s Fresh2Go on campus features a salad bar, olive bar, and a made to order sushi bar along with easy, individual grab and go meals. These features have been Sendik’s key attraction points for their new location.

However, when inside the store it is discovered that although there is a very generous sushi bar and salad bar, it appears to be lacking in other to-go meals that it could be offering. The individual ready made meals are limited to mostly boxed chicken dinners. There is an opportunity here for Sendik’s to introduce soups, pastas, prepared vegetables, and other deli items that are typically found in some of Sendik’s other locations. While the store may be limited on their space, if Sendik’s cut down on their liquor selection, it would free up space for the fresh items this community really needs. Considering the majority of students on campus are underage, the size of the liquor section is slightly unnecessary. We are in more need of fresh, healthy options than alcohol.

In addition, while the introduction of this Sendik’s Fresh2Go store to the near west side creates a new opportunity for residents, it still leaves the community faced with some issues. Namely, the prices. Most Sendik’s items may only be a few cents more than large chain grocery stores, when customers are buying multiple items, these few cents can mean a lot to an already struggling community. At this time, the addition of this store may also be taking away from the Near West Side Farmers Market located on 20th and Kilbourn in Avenues West. The farmers market was started with the vision of bringing fresh food options to Milwaukee’s near west side neighborhoods. The farmers market is still available through September 14th, so be sure to check it out before we are confined to grocery store shopping in the dead of winter.

And although there are some drawbacks to the new Sendik’s store on Marquette’s campus, it is a huge leap in the right direction for the surrounding community. We would love to hear your opinions in the comments. Enjoy the rest of your week and eat some healthy produce!

Alicia Diedrich


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