Earlier this winter I had the opportunity to connect with Matt Dexter, Founder and Executive Director of the Christine B Foundation, and learn more about the upcoming Eastern Trek for Cancer. I am proud that Wilcox Wellness & Fitness is a sponsor of the 2019 team in their 7-day, 300 mile trek from Portland, ME to New York, NY.
Since 2015 this event has raised more than $110,000 to help CBF build a community of support for those affected by cancer in Eastern Maine, with 100% of the funds raised going directly to support the CBF mission. Participants pledge to raise at least $2,500, and will make stops along to trek to connect personally with cancer patients and their families.
I was completely blown away by the level of commitment of those participating and wanted to learn more about what inspired them to get involved at such a large scale. Matt offered to introduce me to Kate, a Bowdoin student from Southwestern, Connecticut.
Kate is participating as a runner in the trek as well as Mission Coordinator. In addition to this SEVEN DAY event from Portland to NYC, Kate is also intimately involved in the planning and coordination that occurs before the trek itself. As mission coordinator Kate manages and confirms service events such as those at the Ronald McDonald Home of Springfield and the St. Francis Hospital Cancer Center, both of which she will visit during the trek, as well as reviewing and ranking the scholarship submissions for the 2019 Christine B Dexter Scholarship, another component of this amazing foundation and fund raiser.
When I asked Kate how she got involved she shared how she learned about the event on campus. Her mother had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma over the summer, and she saw the trek as a way for her to counteract cancer's devastating power. Seeing a loved one suffer from cancer fueled her desire to get involved in this way. While she finds the biological aspects of cancer to be out of her control she hopes that by raising money, volunteering, and connecting with people along the trek she'll have the ability to lighten the load, if even by a small amount, for people like her Mom.
To help the 2019 CBF Team in their 7-day, 300 mile trek we will be collecting supplies here at the gym.
One of the many aspects that attracted me to opening a Wilcox Wellness & Fitness is the commitment to give back to the community. Not only do I feel that this is an important responsibility as a local business owner, but I am also aware of the incredible health benefits that are associated with acts of giving. We focus a lot on how nutrition and exercise make us feel, and I find it so interesting to learn more about how other factors impact our overall feelings of wellbeing. It's amazing to me how these factors can have such a positive impact on our overall health and quality of life.
Studies indicate that the act of giving boosts one's health, happiness and wellbeing through the release of neurotransmitters in our brain. Interestingly, these neurotransmitters are connected with motivation, memory, learning, sleep, digestion and appetite.
Through acts of giving we can literally feel better, and this can ultimately influence our behavior and how we engage with those around us in such a positive way. As a result, one act of giving can create a ripple effect throughout our lives and the quality of the life that we live.
Acts of giving don't have to be enormous and huge consumers of time. Even the simplest acts of giving can make an incredible impact, and can influence those around you in a very real way.
Many times it's the cumulative effect of many people coming together, making smaller contributions through donations of money, goods or service. Even in situations where one person may be making a much bigger commitment to a cause, they rely upon these smaller, incremental acts of giving from others in order to bring together a larger impact for the cause.
These kinds of incremental contributions have helped to support Kate in her fund raising efforts.
When I asked Kate what was most daunting in her preparation for the trek she noted the fund raising requirement. Kate spread the word about her initiative on social media, sent hand-written letters to friends and family, and distributed donation containers at local businesses in her home town, and to date has raised over $4900 through the generous support of her donors.
The outpouring of support was overwhelming for Kate. Through this experience Kate has become acutely aware of the support and kindness of everyone from those closest to her to complete strangers. Through this experience Kate has learned that "no act of kindness is without worth".
The response that Kate experienced, and the ripple effect that can be felt across a community through the act of giving can be quite profound.
Furthermore, altruism is contagious. The act of giving doesn't start and stop with the act itself, but actually propels others to get on board and continue the ripple.
So, let's continue the ripple that Kate, Matt and the rest of the Christine B Foundation team has started in our community and beyond. Their commitment is absolutely inspiring, and I can tell you that I'm already feeling the contagiousness of their drive and passion. I hope you do too.
Please consider a small donation to help "Fuel the Trekkers" in their incredible journey from Portland to New York! Drop your donation in the box at the gym from June 10th -20th.
It's hard to believe that we've been in business here in Brunswick for 17 weeks, and during that time we have really enjoyed welcoming new people into our community, supporting them in their fitness journey, and celebrating their accomplishments with them. In the spirit of celebrating our incredible community and the many achievements that we hear about the Brunswick team would like to recognize one client each month with a "High Five Award".
Our first high five award goes to Marty Neely! Marty joined WILCOX Brunswick during our very first week launch, then participated in the first ever Brunswick KickStart Program, and has since continued on as a client with us. We are just delighted to be working with Marty and enjoy seeing him every time he's here.
Marty always arrives for every training session with a big smile on his face and ready to foam roll with Paul or Tennyson. He always makes his training sessions even when his muscles are sore knowing that the activity will be well rewarded. His positive attitude is absolutely contagious and inspirational to anyone who talks with him.
Thank you Marty! Keep up the great work and inspiring all of us at WILCOX! We love having you in our community!
Learn more about our KickStart Program!
KickStart is a 4-week program that is designed to help you implement healthy habits that are sustainable for a lifetime, and to help you build momentum in getting active.
Would you or someone you know benefit from our KickStart program? Click below to learn more, and to schedule a call to talk through any questions that you have and determine if KickStart is right for you.
Over the course of the past couple of weeks I have had a few different people ask me for my thoughts on Monk Fruit Sugar. At Wilcox Wellness & Fitness we promote a whole foods based diet. That means eating foods that are as close to mother nature as possible, and are minimally processed. When ever I hear about new sugar alternatives on the market the first thing I wonder about is the extent to which that product was processed, taking it away from it's original form the way that mother nature intended.
Another sugar alternative that I have been asked about is Stevia. This is a great example of a natural product being processed into the product that you buy in the store. There are natural forms that are made into tinctures from the leaves, but many forms are highly processed and go through dozens of steps before making it into the bottle that you buy in the store.
Monk fruit sugar isn't as processed as Stevia, but it is a few steps away from its fully natural form. Monk fruit produces an antioxidant called mogrosides that is responsible for its sweetness. Monk fruit sugar is 150 - 250 times sweeter than sugar, and due to this highly intense sweetness the final product is mixed with other ingredients to level out the sweetness to something more palatable. Monk fruit sugar contains the sugar alcohol erythritol, which helps to balance out the sweetness as well as dextrose in some versions.
Erythritol is one sugar alcohol among many. Another sugar alcohol you may be familiar with is xylitol. Unlike xylitol, erythritol is absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted through the urine, so this helps to reduce the gastrointestinal effects commonly associated with sugar alcohols. Other sugar alcohols travel to the intestines and colon where they ferment and can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea. Some sources report gastrointestinal issues even with erythritol, so it is possible that monk fruit sugar can cause problems for some.
Monk fruit sugar is a new comer to the sugar alternative scene, so there is limited research on the long term effects. Some known issues to be aware of include:
Furthermore, there is something to be said for providing our bodies with intensely sweet flavors all of the time.
Frances Largemen-Roth, registered dietician, editor for Health Magazine, and author of "Eating in Color" warns that Americans are so used to food tasting incredibly sweet, and cautions against overuse of artificial and naturally derived, but calorie-free sweeteners, that can taste hundreds of times sweeter than sugar.
It is also thought that providing our bodies with a sweet flavor that doesn't spike blood sugar can actually confuse our bodies. Spiking our blood sugar is not a good thing to do, but when our bodies are expecting that spike but doesn't get it there can be consequences to how our bodies recognize the food in general. This is a concept that is being further studied.
Any sugar should be used in moderation, but we recommend using a whole food sugar when a little touch of sweetness is wanted. Honey and Maple Syrup are great whole food options. Both of these are not processed and contain some nutritional value, although not significant. Another whole food sugar that is a good option when a more traditional sugar flavor is wanted is Sucanant. Sucanant (Sucrose natural) is evaporated cane sugar, and retains the nutritional benefits of cane juice. Again, all sugars should be used sparingly, but looking to the most natural source is going to be best unless you have health issues that require you to avoid sugar.
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.