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Author: Meredith Mitchell

Life’s a Balancing Act

Life’s a Balancing Act


This week I would like to talk about balance. In the monthbalancing dr seuss February, the “New Year, New Me” attitude starts to fade with our daily grind taking its place. In March it doesn’t get much better.  Guess what… that’s not such a terrible thing. It’s a challenge to make changes no matter how small they are. So, instead of feeling guilty about falling off the Change Wagon let’s not.

“We work hard, we eat right, we exercise, pay our bills, care for our families…
So even though it’s hard to break the pattern, be fine with eating some extra bread, taking a few days off, or sleeping in.
These are not rewards, they’re simply a balancing effect of diligence.
You won’t crumble.
You won’t fall apart.
And you’ll be a more adaptable human being”. -Jessica York




2017 McKinley Wellness Challenge

2017 McKinley Wellness Challenge

“A new year is a time to get your options clear and to make a significant decision to do what it is that makes you really happy. The real issue here is that you must take each day as a new opportunity to keep moving towards what you want. Do not look at what will happen in a year but more what will you do each day you awake to change, to move forward, to put into action knowing that each day wasted can never be found again. Each day is a new beginning, the chance to do with it what should be done and not to be seen as simply another day to put in time”
~ Catherine Pulsifer

Happy New Year McKinley!!
We have something very exciting for you all to get involved in this year…The 2017 McKinley Wellness Challenge!!! For this challenge you will have the opportunity to complete whole being wellness activities that focus on financial, emotional, physical and social wellbeing to earn points. Once you reach 100 points, you will receive a $50 gift card of your choice and your name will be placed into the end of the year drawing for a MacBook Pro!!!
Below you will find the spreadsheet with the list of activities and their point values. You will keep track of your own points on the spreadsheet and submit your spreadsheet to me once you have earned your 100 points. Starting January, 1st 2017 you will have the entire year to earn your 100 points. However, I realize there are some of you go-getters out there that will reach your goal in the first quarter:-). To keep you motivated to continue doing whole being wellness activities, for every 100 points you earn your name will be entered again into the end of the year drawing!!

Leaders, please pass this along to the rest of your team and make sure they are aware of this awesome opportunity. Feel free to reach out with any questions you have.
Before you ring in the New Year, I want to encourage you to read the quote at the top of the email a few times…maybe even print it out and put it on your bathroom mirror:-).

Yours in Health and Wellness,



Individual Quarterly Cardio Challenge

Individual Quarterly Cardio Challenge

Hi Everyone!!

Are you ready to participate in the Individual Quarterly Cardio Challenge?!?!? If you are – the first 25 people who meet the mileage/minute requirements for the quarter will earn a $50 gift card of their choice!!!!!!! Enter the challenge by emailing me at the beginning of the quarter to say “I’m IN!!!!”

***We added a discipline – Exercise Classes!!!!***

There are several of you who take exercise classes that don’t necessarily include “getting your miles in”.  For this reason, we are adding Exercise Classes as one of the disciplines that will be based on minutes.  Here are some examples of classes you can take for the minutes to count:

  • Spinning, Cardio Drumming, HIIT, Circuit Training, Jazzercise, Boot Camp, Orange Theory, Line Dancing, Salsa or Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, Water Aerobics.

Mileage/Minute Requirements For the Cardio Challenge– The 4 Disciplines:
• The 4 Disciplines are running (you can choose to walk, jog or run), cycling, swimming and exercise classes. You can choose to do 1, 2, 3 or 4 of the disciplines. The mileage/minute requirements are below for each single discipline or combination. If you choose to do 1 discipline, your goal will be the mileage/minutes listed beside #1 for that discipline. If you choose to do 2 disciplines, your goal will be 2 of the 4 mileage/minutes listed beside #2 for each discipline. If you choose to do 3 disciplines, your goal will be 3 of the 4 mileage/minutes listed beside #3 for each discipline. You will keep track of your own miles/minutes and submit them to me through email as soon as you complete the requirements.  I will send out an email at the beginning and end of every quarter to remind you to submit your miles or your entry for the challenge.

If you have NEVER completed a Quarterly Cardio Challenge, these are your mileage/minute requirements:

1. 200 Miles
2. 100 Miles
3. 67 Miles

1. 500 Miles
2. 250 Miles
3. 167 Miles

1. 60,000 Meters
2. 30,000 Meters
3. 20,000 Meters

  • Exercise Class Minutes:
    1. 1800
    2. 900
    3. 600

If you DID complete the Cardio Challenge for the previous quarter, your mileage requirements are below:

• Walk/Jog/Run:
1. 240 Miles
2. 130 Miles
3. 90 Miles

1. 565 Miles
2. 285 Miles
3. 195 Miles

1. 90,000 Meters
2. 50,000 Meters
3. 30,000 Meters

  • Exercise Class Minutes:
    1. 1800
    2. 900
    3. 600

Email me with any questions 🙂

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell


Healthy Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Healthy Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Hi Everybody!!

We wanted to arm all of you with an arsenal of healthy Thanksgiving recipes to help you survive this upcoming holiday!! Feel free to scroll through some of these yummy recipes below to view some “healthified” common Thanksgiving dishes, and a few alternatives!!

Happy Eating and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Turkey Breast Recipe

Turkey 2


Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Cass


Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean


Mashed Turnips

Mashed Turnips

Mashed Turnips


Butternut Squash


Butternut Squash


Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes


Cranberry Sauce






Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake


Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie


Apple Pie

apple pie


Pecan Pie

pecan pie

Sweet Potato Pie

sweet potato pie

Happy Eating!!!












































































































SOLE-Food Check It Out

SOLE-Food Check It Out

Hello All,

This past Tuesday we had the pleasure of having Liza Baker as the leader of the Lunch N’ Learn . Liza is a certified Health Coach and chef that likes to place great emphasis on SOLE food: Seasonal, Organic, Local and Ethical and “from scratch” cooking.

  • Seasonal: Try to eat food that is in season—and with hoop houses, that variety has increased, even in the winter in Michigan!
  • Organic (and/or sustainably grown). Food should be raised in a way that is most beneficial (or at a minimum, the least harmful) to the environment.
  • Local: you can get at least 80% of your food—vegetables, some fruit, milk, meat, poultry, and eggs—directly from local farms.
  • Ethical: Try to purchase food that is grown/picked/transported in such a way that all the human beings who touch it along the food chain earn enough to feed themselves and their families and have other basic needs of stable work, shelter, clean air, and water taken care of.

Liza follows the belief of food being “healthful, “green”, fair and affordable for all”. She also takes the approach of simple, easy steps for at home cooking. Through fulfilling many roles in her life (one of the few being a busy parent), Liza identified a system to decrease the burden of from-scratch-at-home-cooking. Fl!P Your Kitchen is a system (and cookbook) that follows 4 basic steps:

  1. create a whole foods pantry
  2. learn some basic recipes and techniques
  3. plan your meals for the week
  4. ALWAYS cook for more than 1 meal

Liza applied these to the cooking demonstrations here at 320.

For example, during our lunch n’ learn, she created 4 meals using the main staple of rice and beans. Notice that these 2 ingredients are “whole” foods (no preservatives or other additives) that were cooked ahead of time and in bulk (several servings). Utilizing this method allowed Liza to quickly put together 4 meals: Southwest Rice & Beans Casserole, Black Bean Rollups, Tortilla Soup and Rice Fritters -all within an hour!

Liza’s goal is to “bring a deep mindfulness to cooking—not only by teaching people how to get back into the kitchen cooking from scratch on a regular basis but also by helping them see how our food can connect us to our own health, the health of the environment, and the health of our local community and economy”.

Liza’s recommendation for local sourcing (eating SOLE-fully):

*right click the links

You can always search for local sources by ZIP code at

If you are interested in getting her cookbook right-click HERE!

For a copy of the recipes cooked during the Lunch N’ Learn right-click

Plus, a bonus recipe for her Mexican Spice Blend:

(combine in these proportions and keep in a tightly covered container at room temperature):

  • 1 T chili powder (or use 1/2 tsp pure ground chile + 2.5 tsp paprika)
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • (salt + pepper to taste—start with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, or add to final seasoning of dish)

Please feel free to connect with myself or Meredith!

Happy Eating!!

October Challenge

October Challenge


Hello All,

It’s a very exciting time of year! The cool weather is slowly creeping its way to our neighborhood (at least for those of us in the northern regions), and with that comes the changing of the leaves. Mother nature is providing us great timing to transition into our October Health Challenge!!

Like the colors of the leaves we too are changing. How are we changing? We are reaching beyond typical, physical health goals (i.e. eat more fruits and veggies, reach “X” number of miles, etc.) through the introduction of money saving goals, stress management goals and socializing goals.  We will use this challenge to incorporate financial, work, social and physical well-being allowing us to create a great environment for whole-being-wellness.

Stefanie did a fantastic job putting together the attached spreadsheet (see link below) with several resources for each topic.  Each week you will get the chance to earn 5 points by doing one or more of the suggested activities within the spreadsheet. For example, week 1 is associated with stress management. There will be several stress-management tools/activities to participate in, do one or more 5 days out of the week and you will earn 1 point. The goal is to reach 5 points for each individual week.

In week 5, we will combine all of the previous weekly topics. During this week the goal will be to achieve 5 points (1 per day) by doing 3 of the 4 weekly topics in one day. It can be any combination of 3. For example, you can choose any activity from weeks 1, 2 & 3 or perhaps weeks 2, 3 & 4. Whatever works for you!

The challenge will begin Monday October, 3rd and the final week will end on Sunday November, 6th.  To enter the challenge, simply email me or Stefanie to let us know and then start tracking your progress on the spreadsheet. The first 5 participants that reach 25 points will receive a $25 gift card!!!

If you have any questions about the challenge feel free to contact me or Stefanie!

Meredith and Stefanie