Stephanie Genco loves long walks in the sunshine, avocado toast so loaded you can’t pick it up, a great cup of coffee, & a nice glass of wine. She loves adventures both “out on the town” and out in the woods. She loves meeting new people and trying new things. She loves routines: the way she practices gratitude, fuels her body, and the way she moves it in a celebration of strength.
As a wellness coach, blogger, and host of the weekly podcast “Be Well With Steph,” what Stephanie Genco really loves the most is helping others build healthy habits. Like so many, Genco tried multiple weight loss and fitness methods before finding the right approach. Growing up in a family that suffered various health ailments, she knew how important it was to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. What she discovered became her lifelong passion.
“I have always thought, ‘how can I learn more and how can I try more?’ I tried a lot of different fitness hobbies and diet plans while I was in college,” Genco says. “I found there was no one answer, no quick fix — it was more about how I continued to care about myself every day. So many people are focusing on the next trend instead of focusing on little things they can do every day that can make a difference.”
Educating others is a skill that comes naturally for Genco, a fifth-grade teacher at a local middle school. It wasn’t until watching the documentary What The Health that Genco transformed her life six years ago, deciding to share her knowledge with others and become a wellness coach. She’s realistic about what a balanced, healthy diet should resemble – after all, no one is perfect all the time.
“One of the things I did was remove animal products and consume whole plant-based foods. Within a few days, I was feeling great,” Genco says. She is quick to point out that weight loss is not the only advantage of plant-based eating: it has also been proven to boost cognitive functioning, decrease risks of cancer and diabetes, lower inflammation, and aid in treating a variety of chronic conditions.
Genco is passionate about happy, healthy living and the notion that we have the power to fend off disease and illness by changing what we put in our mouths.
“A plant-based perspective is more about what you should include,” Genco explains, “such as nutrient-based plant foods that contain vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water, which are all things that are going to help without being restrictive."
For those looking to drop a few pounds in the new year or simply adopt a healthier lifestyle, Genco has a few tips to offer that she has learned along her wellness journey.
“I would always say to avoid anything that feels too restrictive or anything you’re not going to enjoy doing for an extended period of time. Try not to dive all-in on something you’re not planning on finishing,” Genco emphasizes. “Also, avoid anything that puts the whole focus on weight loss without health. There are so many programs that guarantee us certain amounts of loss without knowing what is going to be healthy for us.”
Genco also advises to avoid any plans that insist you cannot eat a certain nutrient or include heavy restrictions on fats, proteins, or carbohydrates that the body requires.
By pursuing her fitness journey, Stephanie Genco gained control of her life and a renewed sense of well-being. Now, she focuses on teaching others about the benefits of a holistic lifestyle and how impactful small changes can be over time. Her self-improvement journey has come full circle, but she takes pride in helping others start their wellness journeys with practical and sensible advice.
In The Kitchen
HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS VEGAN BUFFALO CHICKEN WING DIP
• 2 cans jackfruit
• 1 package silken tofu
• 1 cup raw cashews
• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp dried dill
• 1 tbsp dried parsley
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot hot sauce
• 1/2 cup dairy-free cheese, if desired Steps
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet. Put cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.
2) Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Chop it into small pieces and spread on the baking sheet. (I like to lightly season with salt, pepper, and paprika, but you can also bake plain.) Bake about 20 minutes or until the edges start to get crispy, stirring occasionally.
3) Blend all remaining ingredients together!
4) Add cashews and blend until smooth.
5) Lower oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 glass baking dish.
6) Combine jackfruit with the rest of the mixture and spread evenly in the baking dish.
7) Top with dairy-free cheese if you’d like, or just an extra shake of nutritional yeast. Bake until the cheese melts or top starts to lightly brown.
9) Serve this dip hot with your favorite crackers or tortilla chips. I also love to eat it with raw vegetables!
MY VERSION OF A GREEK FALAFEL SALAD
• Trader Joe’s fully cooked, frozen Falafel
• Bag of salad mix (with so many options out there, choose your fave!)
• Diced tomatoes or cherry tomato halves
• Pickles (because why not?)
• Fresh herbs (parsley in this)
• My one splurge: plant-based feta crumbles
• Your favorite dressing (I went simple with olive oil & fresh lemon juice)
1) Cook falafel according to the box instructions.
2) Dump bag of salad into bowl.
3) Chop your tomatoes & herbs.
4) Add everything together (except dressing).
5) Here’s the best part: Separate into containers so you have lunch / dinner ready to go!
6) Make your bowl & add your dressing / fixings to your liking!
7) Assemble, take a picture, & enjoy!
Make sure to tag me ;) @bewellwithsteph
Create a Life You Love
Valentine’s Day Self-Love Challenge
This February, Stephanie would like to motivate and inspire her followers to a “free self-love challenge.” During the week of February 7th – February 13th, participants are welcome to join Genco on Instagram to learn methods of self-love and self-acceptance.
Without self-love there can be no self-improvement, and negative self-talk is a common mistake among those looking to lose weight. During the month of love, Genco promises to offer tips to combat negative self-talk and scrutiny along with positive affirmations and some fun surprises.
• Create your morning affirmations
How we talk to ourselves matters and can set the tone for our day. Speak to yourself with encouragement, confidence & self love today. (Maybe write them in a journal or on a note where you can see them. “I am enough. I do enough.” “Today I will do my best to serve others.”)
• Celebrate your wins!
Pause today to notice things that are going well. Notice where you’ve grown & appreciate your own accomplishments, big or small. Be proud! (Did you take a risk and make a new meal? Stick to your workouts all week? Push through a hard day? Stand up for yourself or someone else? Wash, dry, fold and put away your laundry in the same day?)
• Stop comparing
We’ve heard it for years: what we see online and read in some magazines is not reality. Unfollow any person or account who makes you feel anything less than amazing. (The picture-perfect world of social media can sometimes be rough; it can leave us looking at the picture-perfect lives of complete strangers, feeling like we don’t measure up. It’s time to clean up your feed and protect your mental health, out of love for yourself.)
Follow Steph Genco at https://www.bewellwithsteph.com/