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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, 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…

"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 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…

Kevin Schaefer has been recovering from substance abuse since 1989.
Kevin Schaefer has been recovering from substance abuse since 1989.

Schaefer paves roads to recovery

Kevin Schaefer is standing with his arms crossed in the parking lot of the Summerfest grounds. He is wearing a Motörhead T-shirt that shows off his sleeve of tattoos. His short spiky hair and dark sunglasses make him fit right in with the crowd of rock fans. If I didn’t know he was a Milwaukee-based nationally certified interventionist, recovery coach and substance abuse counselor I may have assumed he just stepped off his tour bus.

Schaefer is a new kind of rock star. The kind that is working tirelessly to save lives from drug and alcohol addiction. His titles cover the spectrum of the stages of addiction treatment and the recovery process, allowing him to provide full range care for his clients. His services are available here. 

Schaefer himself has been in long-term recovery since 1989. His journey has included traveling through Asia and spending time at a Korean Zen Monastery, both of which have influenced the techniques he employs in maintaining his own sobriety and in guiding the recovery of others. Breathing, meditation, yoga and 12-step are just a part of the holistic strategies he offers. He specializes in males addicted to drugs and alcohol between the ages of 16 and 60.

And although he deals with individuals who are not ready to accept help, Schaefer rejoices when sees his clients’ "eyes light up when they experience part of the solution to their problem" and when he sees what he calls, them catching the "recovery buzz."

It’s no secret that the entire nation is in the throws of an epidemic. The Washington Post states, "100 Americans die of drug overdoses each day… accounting for more deaths than traffic fatalities or gun homicides and suicides."

I turned on the National Nightly News twice this week and randomly saw a story about heroin each time. And according to Fox6 Milwaukee, "It is an epidemic that is quickly approaching a shocking milestone. The number of heroin-related deaths in Milwaukee County could soon surpass the total number of …

Wonder if this latte's on Facebook?
Wonder if this latte's on Facebook?

Tweet at your latte

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) has its own official Twitter account @TheRealPSL. L to the OL.

The seasonal beverage has a handle that enjoys "knitting, reading and cooking" and just "tried yoga for the first time." PSL is just like you in that she needs her morning coffee, but she can uniquely declare, "I am my morning coffee!" She’s into "Sharknado 2" and even posts selfies like the one ganked from her account to accompany this piece. She’s a wiz at witty banter and has 72.4K followers who are anxiously awaiting her annual appearance on the Starbucks menu.

While enjoying PSL’s knack for social media is a sugar-free way to indulge in the seasonal treat, imbibing one of the sweet fall drinks in serious moderation may be best for warding off an early appearance of the holiday bulge.

According to, an 8-ounce "short" (the smallest size the coffee conglomerate offers) made with 2 percent milk and whipped cream contains 210 calories, 8 grams of fat and 25 grams of sugar. In comparison, a whole Snickers bar has 250 calories, 12 grams of fat and 27 grams of sugar. Side by side those guys are not so different, however most even minimally health conscious folks would not consider consuming an entire Snickers bar daily for the entire autumn quarter. But, there are PSL lovers who have been waiting all year for their daily Starbucks fix to taste like a slice of pie.

Jump up just a size to a 12-ounce "tall" and a steaming hot mug of 38 grams of sugar will be absorbed into the bloodstream. That beats out Wisconsin favorite, Kopp’s Custard, estimated to be around 31 grams of sugar in a small dish of vanilla or chocolate.

Starbucks is unleashing the unassuming nutritional offender a week early this year, which could mean an additional 1,470 calories and (gulp) 175 grams of sugar for daily consumers of the "Short" size of the highly anticipated beverage. That’s a little less than half of what it mathematically takes to gain one pound a week from ex…