In Our Winter Holiday 2015-2016 Issue

By Jon Gast | Last Updated December 15, 2015
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A Tasty (& Effective) Wellness Plan

I have a personal trainer. She’s my wife and Leslie is as persistent as any trained professional in the area of at least one healthy pursuit. She insists on a nightly walk no matter the season, the temperature or the wind gauge. She doesn’t particularly like getting wet so, like baseball, rain can prevent or cut short any excursion.

This issue of Edible Door has a strong emphasis on wellness and while writing the piece on the Live Algoma program, I was struck by something Algoma School Superintendent Nick Cochart told me about the initiative’s basic goal. He said the idea is to get community members to make a one degree shift in their lifestyle. To make a commitment to do one thing to improve their health.

It could be something as simple as drinking more water, he said.

Leslie and I made a commitment to walking a long time ago. Like so many people, it was prompted by dog ownership. Dogs live to walk. Dogs demand to be walked.

We no longer have a dog. The last was a Golden Retriever who lived to the ripe old age of 15, a long life for that particular breed and it was those nightly walks that I’m convinced contributed to her good health.

Now I’m sure there are a number of you out there who would readily admit that you don’t like to walk. I might get you to do 10 leg rest raises on your Barcalounger.

But we’ve developed a sure-fire incentive plan to get out of the house and ensure a walk before settling in for the evening.

Living a mile from downtown Sturgeon Bay, our walks are an appropriate distance to a restaurant that features tasty bakery treats. While this may seem like blasphemy when such walks are done in the name of healthy exercise, we excuse ourselves from such ridicule by modifying our portions to help eradicate any guilt.

Yes, we split the muffin, or cookie, or scone. It’s amazing what half a muffin can do to get one out the door and on your way. Studies have shown that as little as 15 minutes of walking has significant health benefits when incorporated into a daily exercise regiment.

Our walks generally take about 40 minutes, including the few minutes it takes to buy a muffin or cookie. In short, we more than make up for the ingested muffin calories.

Clearly, not all of you live within a mile of a bakery and are finding yourselves wondering how you could possibly incorporate the Gast’s model to a healthier lifestyle into your life.

Checking out the real estate listing for a home in relative close proximity to a bakery is one possibly, but creating an incentive to exercise need not be so expensive. Simply pack a little guilty snack before you leave to be shared once you reach a pre-determined location.

Keep pushing your boundaries and if the distance of that pre-determined location seems too far just increase the reward. There isn’t a distance that can’t be conquered with a well-positioned brownie. Still, always remember that the key to this program is the bond you develop with your walking mate. Your reward must be shared.

Remember, this is a marathon and not a sprint. This is long-term plan. By going out after dinner for your nightly walk and foregoing the dessert in favor of a tasty reward, you are making strides towards better health and by splitting the reward you are accomplishing it at a half the calories and half the cost.

-Jon Gast, Co-Owner/Editor of Edible Door

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