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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here β€” please stay awhile!




Whole Being Health & Wellness | Part 1: The Physical.

February 25, 2020

This is post one of what I plan to be a mini three-part series called “whole being health & wellness.” Today’s post will focus on the physical aspects of health & wellness, namely exercise and nutrition, while the following two posts will be about the mental/spiritual and financial sides of our overall health!

Before I continue and get into any specifics I want to share in today’s post, I first want to talk briefly about the WHY behind doing this mini series as it is very personal to me. For so long (I’m pretty much talking my whole life here up until about 18ish months ago) I REALLY struggled with consistency in my wellness journey. Looking back, my history was like a rollercoaster with so many ups and downs. An amazing season of nutrition but lacking in exercise … followed by a great season of exercise and feeling mentally positive but really lacking in nutrition. Seasons of overspending, seasons of restriction, seasons of balance … nothing was CONSISTENT.

About 18 months ago I got to this place where I felt like I had learned and grown so much in all of these different areas (definitely something to celebrate!) but it was almost as if I was also growing weary of just learning what I actually wanted to be was β€” stable? Steady? Consistent?

Really, I just wanted to feel WHOLLY and CONSISTENTLY good.

I so strongly desired a lifestyle where I felt wholly good (physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially). And I really believe I have landed in that place, maintaining said lifestyle for the better part of a year and a half. This is not about perfection, at all, but more so about finding what works for you in each of these areas to achieve what you desire in regards to your own whole being health & wellness.

I cannot stress enough how much I believe that each person (and family) needs to find what works for them – you cannot simply “copy and paste.” No two lifestyles will look exactly the same as we are all different people with different goals. But I do hope that in sharing what I’ve found to work for me, I can help give ideas and spread good intentions with anyone reading : )

My Physical Whole Being Health & Wellness Mantras

  • Move your body every day
  • Drink Water
  • Eat *Mostly* Plant-Based
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night

As you can now see, my mantras are SIMPLE and easy to remember. I’m done overcomplicating things.

I want to move my body every day because I feel SO GOOD when I move my body. This could be walking with a friend, going to a bootcamp class, running with Vivian, hiking, or a number of other things – just move! And be intentional about it. When I don’t feel like moving, I always ask myself, “What will your future self want?” I know I will never regret choosing to move and my future self can also verify that : )

Water is now my main drink of choice. I have a BIG tumbler mug with a BIG straw because a bigger straw means I get more water with each sip! I keep it by my side at all times … well, pretty much all times. The having-to-pee-a-lot thing can be annoying at first but you get used to it and your body adjusts. Water flushes lots of junk out of your body and honestly, I just feel so much better when I’m hydrated. I don’t necessarily need to know the science behind it, I am experiencing the good and that works for me!

Caleb and I have chosen to eat a primarily plant-based diet because it is what works for us and makes us FEEL good. That is the main “why” for us on this one … though do you sense a theme with each of these? : ) It was a decision that we intentionally made and did slowly; first, we cut out meat and then after about a year of being primarily vegetarian, we cut out dairy. As of the past six months, we have chosen to forgo gluten at home as well. There is SO MUCH (a ridiculously overwhelming amount) of information out there on nutrition and you simply have to just do what works for you, makes you feel good, and is sustainable for that desired lifestyle change. Whole foods and plant-based is where we’ve landed but you know what? I LOVE CHEESE. And don’t get Caleb started on a burger fresh off the grill paired with a beer (or two…). So we eat *mostly* plant-based. When we’re out at a restaurant or at a friend’s house, we eat anything! And we ENJOYYYY it. This has allowed us to maintain a plant-based diet as a whole-life lifestyle.

While I know that kids will change this for a season, I am otherwise adamant about 7-8 hours of sleep per night. When you sleep, your brain and body heals itself. There is so much research on the importance of sleep and I feel better both physically and mentally when I’m well-rested therefore it is a huge priority for me!

To close, I’m going to link a few of our favorite plant-based recipes because lots of people have asked! If you have any questions, comments, or things that have worked in your journey, please leave a note below and I will respond as soon as possible! : ) Parts 2 & 3 coming soon!

A Few Favorite Plant-Based Recipes

Red Lentil Butternut Squash Soup

Stir Fry Sauce (we make lots of veggies with different versions of this sauce and serve with rice or quinoa!)

1 Pot Butternut Squash Quinoa Chili

Curried Lentil, Tomato and Coconut Soup

Butternut Squash, Kale and Crunchy Pepitas Tacos

Wild Rice Soup

1 Pot Golden Curry Lentil Soup

Kale and Wild Rice-Stuffed Winter Squash (we substitute nutritional yeast for the small amount of cheese in recipes like this where it’s just mixed in, to get the flavor!)

Easy Vegan Potato Soup


  1. Jenny Evans says:

    We really like the Power Plates cookbook by Gena Hamshaw. If you are ever looking for new recipes I highly recommend it!!!

  2. Julia says:

    Maison this is so good! Thank you for writing this. I went Vegan about 3 weeks ago and can’t wait to try these recipes. I love the grounded ness in what you are sharing and choosing. It is inspiring ❀️

    • Maison Engel says:

      Thanks so much, Julia! πŸ’—πŸ’— I have a feeling you won’t be going back now that you’ve gone plant-based! It’s good ☺️ I have lots more recipes and resources so let me know if you are ever curious! Sending SO much love to you πŸ’•βœ¨

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