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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

Mon
Hi: 42
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Wed
Hi: 32
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A few extra calories at a holiday meal won't make you Santa-shaped. Promise.
A few extra calories at a holiday meal won't make you Santa-shaped. Promise.

Give yourself the gift of smart eating

Christmas decorations and retail holiday gift sets have been on display since the end of September, so it’s not surprising that nutritional propaganda about holiday eating started being jousted at consumers in conjunction with the early onslaught of sleigh bells and gift wrapping.

Mixed messages in the media abound with images of indulgent holiday classics like iced fruit cake juxtaposed with the latest diet fads and fitness trends in anticipation of Jan. 1.

Last month, I opened up my complimentary subscription to "Cooking Light" and saw an article touting how to save 555 calories at Thanksgiving. I could not stifle the guffaw as I examined the visual of two plates side by side, comparing 20 calories saved by choosing cranberry sauce over gravy or the 27-calorie deficit from putting 4 ounces of light and dark meat turkey on your plate versus 4 ounces of white meat with skin.

While these sensible swaps are great ideas to integrate into healthier daily eating habits, it seems really trivial, borderline shallow and unnecessarily obsessive to be worrying about a few hundred calories on one or two really special days of the year when you are hopefully surrounded by friends and family that will love you whether you are at your "happy" weight or a few pounds over.

It’s a given that this time of year includes an inevitable packing on of the pounds, but I am certain this is not just happening from a single meal at Thanksgiving or one Christmas dinner. It’s from a collective burning of fewer calories since most people engage in less activity due to colder temps and shorter days and repeated increased calorie consumption from more social eating and drinking with the boost in holiday get-togethers.

No one’s diet or training program was ever totally sabotaged from one indulgence. And certainly not from a few bites or even an entire satisfying holiday meal made special by Grandma or Auntie June. Healthy eating and living is a true lifestyle choice; it’s not a temporary…

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Lindsay learns lifeboarding lessons, including safety is not second.
Lindsay learns lifeboarding lessons, including safety is not second.

Zen and the art of longboarding

Always listen to your mother.

And to your husband. And friends. And especially to your "gut." Really, just listen to anyone who knows you well enough to know better - more on this in a bit.

After I learned to surf in Maui two years ago, I’ve been obsessed with the feeling I caught riding those waves. The athleticism. The freedom. The relaxation I felt combined with an endorphin releasing excitement that I have since to match. I have craved a piece of that lifestyle that merges sport with ocean.

But, I don’t live near any body of water that has waves worthy of more than a leisurely canoe outing. I do have Apple TV though. And while streaming ABC News I overheard the term "landsurfing." That was all it took.

I was instantly glued to a piece on KOTA Longboards, a Colorado-based company owned by a former US Navy Pilot that manufactures longboards right here in the USA.

KOTA stands for Knights of the Air, paying homage to military aviators and honoring the veteran hiring practices that are part of the company.

What exactly is a longboard? Well, it sure looks like a skateboard. But, it’s longer and wider with larger wheels. The sport originated in Hawaii and was called "sidewalk surfing," by the surfers who created it as a way for them to cross train in the off- season and on crappy wave days.

If a connection between Wisconsin and longboarding seems impossible, think again. Every KOTA longboard is born from Wisconsin wood. According to their website, "Only the best Hard Rock Maple becomes a KOTA longboard. We specify American Hard Rock Maple from Wisconsin for its strength, durability and beauty. Each veneer is individually inspected. If it makes the grade it becomes a KOTA deck."

As innovators of the longboard, KOTA’s boards have a distinct, hand-painted, vintage look. A very unique yet, functional aesthetic feature of KOTA longboards is the glossy finish on each deck. That’s their signature KOTAgrip – which they developed to provide grip to rubber-soled sh…

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So good ... and so bad.
So good ... and so bad.

"The Soberhead Challenge"

For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Locavore, the newest restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."

"You can’t just go back to doing what you used to after you finish The Soberhead Challenge," my know-it-all husband barked at me with a proverbial finger-wagging that made me feel about three years old.

"Excuse me?" I said with more attitude than a drag queen who just had her favorite wig snatched away – forever.

"You just can’t use it the same way, the same amount," he clarified.

My eyes narrowed with a glance that communicated the way my stomach had just dropped with this newfound insight, while my lips curled into a slightly satisfied smile.

"Say that again," I prodded.

My husband stopped any further words from flowing. I saw the gears in his mind click into place. Consciousness of the gravity of his words weighed on his expression.

"Oh my God. It sounds like you are an addict," he uttered, color dropping from his cheeks as he continued to realize the enormity of his statement.

"I told you," I shared with true pride, not in any way with narcissism, smugness or arrogance. "This challenge was the perfect parallel to understanding what drug and alcohol addiction are like for those affected with it."

The conversation above actually took place as I fantasized about this very moment. This very moment I am having as I sit at my computer and relay this story to you, the moment of having my first cup of coffee since Sept. 3, 2014.

That dialog was spurred as we drove by my favorite coffee shop (that serves java with atomic levels of caffeine) and I declared that I was going to put them out of business with my "off the wagon" consumption. Scary thought, especially considering the parallels to addiction and recovery I had been experiencin…

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"BJJ has changed the way I feel, the way I view the world, and has provided me a new sense of awareness that I never had."
"BJJ has changed the way I feel, the way I view the world, and has provided me a new sense of awareness that I never had."

What's BJJ?

The stream of blood makes an audible "swoosh" as it exits the nose it used to inhabit. Beads of sweat drop from the locks of long hair. There is an unhinged tooth lying in the center of the ring. The fighters in this professional combat breathe heavily and emit grunts of effort in a range more soprano than alto or bass.

No. This is not an episode of "Orange is the New Black."

These are the sights and sounds of the all-female cast of the Ultimate Fighter Series, "The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion will be Crowned." The show is the culmination of an increasing trend of female participation in a sport that formerly was strictly a boys’ club.

Has broadcasting the glory of 115-pound females fighting it out for a championship belt increased the popularity of "regular" women undertaking mixed martial arts for sports, fitness or professional goals?

A component of this fighting style is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or "BJJ" and Nova Gyms in Oak Creek just happens to specialize in this martial art.

Nova franchise executive and corporate wellness guru Chris Martin weighs in on female fighting, the effectiveness of using a martial art like BJJ to get in shape, the importance of family fitness and more.

Martin is also offering OnMilwaukee.com readers "The Dream Package Every Fighter Needs" for men and women whose interest is piqued! It’s 30 days for $30. This includes three private lessons with three different trainers and an all-inclusive pass for readers to try all that Nova Gyms Martial Arts & Fitness has to offer for one month.

Prospective "fighters" should go to Chris' website or Nova Gyms' website and enter "onmilwaukee" in the subject line along with their contact information to get the deal. Read on to get inspired to get yourself in fighting shape. 

Lindsay Garric: Tell me about you and your role at Nova Gyms.

Chris Martin: First and foremost, I am a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu junkie (BJJ). The sport has transformed my life.

As a Milwaukee native and Marquette grad who s…

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