Step Up For Your City!

Halfway through – register today!

Get a team of co-workers together or participate on your own. Every minute of tracked physical activity counts!
Log in to and click on the Health & Wellness tab on the top right of your screen. Then select Join the Challenge.
Track your physical activity until June 30 to get your team—and your city—to the top of the leaderboard.
Ramp up the rivalry! Share your activities on social media and tag them with #TwinCitiesHealthyRivalry.

What’s the goal?

The city with the highest average of minutes tracked will be declared the winner—and the winning city will receive a challenge trophy (and bragging rights).

Move It and Improve It!

The first 100 to sign up get this awesome backpack!

The Capital City Wind Ensemble

We are a concert band made up of city, county, and other downtown employees and practice on Thursdays 12-1 in the court house basement. Currently, we have more retired members than actively working members so would like to recruit more people. We accept anyone who can play an instrument and there are no auditions to join. In fact, most of us haven’t played for 10+ years before joining. All you need to do is show up to Thursday lunch hour rehearsals and you can join us.

The band is conducted by Roger Grupp (public works) and Mary Livingston (Parks and Rec), both retirees of Saint Paul. We perform 7-10 times a year at various places around the city such as Saint Paul City Hall and Ramsey County Courthouse, the St. Paul Winter Carnival, Rice Park, Mears Park, Kellogg Blvd, Landmark center, court house lobby, and nursing homes. Most of these concerts are during the lunch hour 12-1pm so we don’t have to take any time off work.

The Capital City Wind Ensemble was founded by the legendary Max Metzger in 2002. The ensemble consists of City and Ramsey County employees and retirees, plus other Downtown St. Paul and University of Minnesota workers, and a few friends, too.

The CCWE is always looking for new members, find out more at


May 21st
Nutrition Presentation– What is Nutrition?

We will cover many aspects of nutrition such as nutrients, vitamins, fats, proteins and carbs and what the best options
are for a healthy lifestyle.

Time: 11am – 12pm or 12-1pm

Location: SPFD Headquarters

First Floor Meeting Room

50 Points will be given to those who attend.

Feel free to bring your lunch while you listen and learn.

A delicious Fruit Smoothie (nondairy and yogurt) will be made during the presentation to try a healthy food option.

A Message from the Mayor:

Team Saint Paul:

meQuilibrium, a stress management tool, is newly available to all City of Saint Paul employees. Stressors are all around us and how we react to them can make a big difference in our resiliency and overall health. Our resiliency helps us perform better in all conditions whether at work, at home, or in our community.

We know that stress, anxiety and depression are often silently-borne burdens. As a part of Team Saint Paul, we care about your wellbeing and sought a partner to offer easy and effective resilience tools. meQuilibrium can help with improving your mood and behaviors, and promote healthier choices to enhance sleep, diet, and overall wellness. If you participate in the Healthy Saint Paul program, you can also earn points toward your incentive with meQuilibrium.

How does this work?

Go to to enroll in meQuilibrium and answer a few questions. You will discover your stress personality and thinking patterns, uncover habitual reactions to stress, and increase self-understanding. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Based on your responses, a unique program is created for you. You’ll be guided step-by-step through the program to learn new skills through activities and short videos. And you do it at your own pace.

You can also download the meQuilibrium app to your phone. Get quick access to daily stress-busting tips and inspiration whenever and wherever you need it.

Your meQuilibrium journey is personalized to your needs, and your results are completely private. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy the experience of proactively managing your resiliency and health.

Thank you for all you do to make Saint Paul a city that works for all of us.

Melvin Carter, Mayor

My Health Rewards Journeys*– Helping you develop healthy new behaviors

Take a Journey to better health!

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, be more active or reduce stress, Journeys are interactive online activities that can help you reach your goals. Each Journey can last 4-6 weeks, depending on your unique path. You pick your Journey topic and as you succeed in completing the steps in your Journey, you’ll unlock small celebrations such as challenges.

Go to your member website,, and click on the Health & Wellness tab to get started. On your My Health Rewards homepage, scroll down to the Find a Journey that’s right for you section and click on the SEE WHAT’S POSSIBLE button. If you have completed your health assessment, the site will identify and recommend Journeys that may be of interest to you. To view all Journeys, scroll through the list of Journeys on the page or sort by topic on the left menu.

You can earn 50 points for every Journey you complete, up to 300 points per year.

View the Journeys video to learn more!

*RedBrick Journeys is a registered trademark owned by RedBrick Health Corporation.

Rachel Larson

Rachel has been a Benefits Specialist at the City since July of 2017. New employees know her from introducing them to their City of Saint Paul benefits.

Rachel has quit smoking at earlier times in her life, but always found herself starting again. This past winter, Rachel’s chronic asthma, combined with the cold winter weather and smoking, made her very sick. She was hospitalized twice for pneumonia in the past 6 months. In her words, “My body was rejecting cigarette smoke. It was breaking down, reacting severely even when I cut back to smoking many fewer cigarettes.”

It got to the point where Rachel was unable to even walk and talk at the same time without running out of breath. She was getting out of breath just going down the hall.
While she had used the patch in past attempts, Rachel quit cold turkey this winter. Her body’s reaction scared her so much that the withdrawals were bearable compared to the fear of another hospitalization.

She also started taking two 15-minute walks per day. It was easier than an entire half hour at once. Those healthy habits led to more – Rachel began a food diary where she journals everything she eats, as well as her weight on a weekly basis. She discovered through her journaling just how much sugar she was eating. “I was eating candy like a little kid. I needed to grow up.”

Rachel also has lupus, which along with asthma is a disease related to inflammation. Reducing sugar has a very beneficial effect by lowering the level of inflammation in the body.
Rachel is feeling so much more energetic. She is excited to see the continuing improvement as she keeps up her new healthy habits.

Congratulations, Rachel!

MONJ– Helping you improve the way you eat

Monj is an online food and lifestyle program. It’s designed to increase your overall wellness by developing healthy eating skills that will last a lifetime. With an interactive, learn-by-doing approach, the Monj program will teach you to create healthy (and amazing) meals at home and help you navigate restaurant menus, deli counters and social events. You will achieve goals as you advance through an engaging, science-based behavior change curriculum packaged in units called daily missions.

How to access Monj

Log on to and click on the Health & Wellness tab to access your My Health Rewards site. On the homepage, scroll down to the Make life delicious with Monj tile and click on the LET’S START COOKING button.

If you are accessing Monj for the first time, your browser will prompt: Allow the application Make Life Delicious by RedBrick Health to access your account?. Click the Yes button after checking the box next to Remember this decision?. This will ensure that the Monj site syncs with your My Health Rewards site.

Register and complete your Monj profile

To get started with Monj, enter your name and email address and create a password.

Next, click on the personalize button and answer the questions that follow to complete your profile and earn 25 points.

The Monj profile is quick and easy to complete. It provides an opportunity for you to share any preferences you may have, such as a dairy-free, gluten-free or vegetarian diet, as well as goals you may have such as wanting to be healthier, feel more energized, or explore new cooking skills and techniques.

Complete Daily Missions or quizzes

Daily Missions are short commitments you can make ranging from cookbook swaps to trying new food items. Quizzes are fun ways to test your knowledge about healthy eating and cooking.
By participating, you’ll boost your knowledge and earn 1 point (up to 200 per year) for each Daily Mission or quiz you complete. These can change every day, so make sure to check back frequently.

Set goals

Goals customize your experience with Monj and help you track your progress as you work toward becoming a Monj Master.
Earn badges by completing Daily Missions, Cooking Lessons, Power Ups and Essentials. In the My Goals area on the homepage, you can see a snapshot of your progress toward specific goals you’ve set. If you’d like to set or change your goals, click on the My Goals tab at the top of the page.

To set or change your goals, use the toggle switches in each of the categories.

Take Cooking Lessons

Click on the Cooking Lessons tab to explore step-by-step cooking tutorials. On the left side of the page, you can filter cooking lessons by method, level, or dietary concern.
Watch Power Ups videos

Watch Power Ups videos to get ideas about transforming simple staples into power-packed meals and snacks.
Go to your member website,, and click on the Health & Wellness tab to get started.

Watch this video to learn more

Healthy Cooking Classes

Jim Hensrud, Physical Fitness Coordinator Saint Paul PD

This month Healthy Saint Paul sponsored two Healthy Cooking Classes that SPPD Physical Fitness Coordinator Jim Hensrud presented to employees of the police department. The goal of these classes was to present meal ideas to employees that are delicious, budget friendly and easy to prepare. Class participants got to enjoy a freshly prepared meal while Jim provided tips on cooking the meal. The first class Jim prepared a simple lunch recipe of chicken wraps with cucumber, tomato, hummus and feta cheese. The 2nd class was a chicken chickpea and veggie curry over rice. (recipe below) Both of the classes received very positive feedback:

“Thank you Chef Jim and Healthy Saint Paul for introducing quick, easy and healthy meals. It was great to be introduced to new flavors.”

“The warm, delicious, spicy meal hit the spot! Thank you Jim for putting it together!”

“I really appreciate the chance to taste the recipes before making them at home! Thank you for doing this.”

“Thank you Jim for the healthy cooking tips! The food was delicious!

This meal is often prepared without chicken as I often do myself. Adding chicken makes it a little more filling and appealing to carnivores.
You can use chicken from a previous meal or cook it slow in a crockpot and shred it for this meal.
You can use any curry mix you choose for this meal. I highly recommend going to a local Penzey’s spice shop to buy spices. You get to smell the spices so you know what you are buying. I also recommend the sweet curry or vindaloo curry from Penzey’s for this recipe.

Do you have questions for our featured employee? Send them to us at and we will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

Heart Health: Conversation Starters

It can be hard to talk to a family member or friend about making healthy lifestyle changes. Use these tips to start a conversation about heart-healthy changes like quitting smoking or getting more physical activity.


Begin by saying that you care.

You can say:

  • “I want you to live a long and healthy life.”
  • “I hope you’ll be around for a long time.”
  • “I want to help you make healthy changes so you can keep enjoying the things you love to do.”

Share the facts.

Let your loved one know how serious heart disease can be:

  • “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.”
  • “Heart disease causes more deaths in the United States than all types of cancer combined.”

Explain that it’s possible to prevent heart disease.

Make it clear that taking these steps can improve heart health:

  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Eat healthy. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Limit saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt).
  • Get active. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.

Offer to help.

Ask how you can help:

  • “What changes are the hardest for you to make? What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can we get healthy together?”
  • “You don’t have to do this alone. What can I do to help you?”

Try suggesting these ideas:

  • Go shopping together for heart-healthy foods. Then cook and enjoy a healthy meal.
  • Get active together. A good way to start is to meet every day for a fast walk.
  • If your loved one smokes, encourage him to get free help quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

For more information on preventing heart disease, visit:

Kara Hirdman

Kara was recently hired as the Health and Wellness Coordinator for the St. Paul Fire Department. Kara’s experience in athletics, fitness, health and education have a long history. She played softball at Como High School, took boxing lessons as a teen and worked in the University of St. Thomas Athletic Department while working toward her BA degree in Psychology and Communications. She was part of a Rugby team in Venezuela, taught English and learned Spanish while living there and later taught Nutrition and Family Education classes in high schools throughout the Twin Cities following receiving her MA degree in Education. She has been a fitness instructor and personal trainer, was a strength and conditioning coach for the Hamline University Gymnastics team and most recently was Director of Healthy Living at the Downtown St. Paul YMCA.

In her new role as the Health and Wellness director she will support current groups addressing peer fitness, peer support and the cancer task force. She plans to help coach and support firefighters, create educational opportunities and build a positive environment for personal, professional and organizational growth.
Kara believes in lifelong learning and attempts to keep up with the newest research in all areas of health and fitness. She lives with her two children in the St. Paul area.