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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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July 9, 2020

Cheers for Rainiers

What is this Saturday, July 11, you ask? Why, it’s National Rainier Cherry Day! In 1952, Harry Fogle of Washington State University developed the Ra

July 2, 2020

It’s Summer, so Bring on the Ribs

In our family, summer means grilling. One of our favorites: baby back ribs cooked to perfection. There’s a rib joint in Porter by the name of Wagner

June 25, 2020

Sniff. What’s That Smell?

How does summer smell to you? What aromas make you happy? Maybe you haven’t thought about it much, unless you have seasonal allergies or a cold. Tod

June 18, 2020

A Time to Celebrate

Big weekend ahead. I wish all you fathers and like-fathers a very special Father’s Day this Sunday. May you enjoy a day filled with love, happiness,

June 17, 2020

Salmon Dill Nicoise Salad

Although a classic Nicoise salad is made with tuna, it’s nice with perfectly cooked salmon. Nicoise salad has all the light and vibrant flavors of a

June 11, 2020

Relax into Summer

The amazing season known as summer is nearly upon us. When I think of it, my mind sees beaches, hammocks, pitchers of iced tea, grills in action, all

June 4, 2020

I’m a Honey Fan

I am often asked about honey—if it’s healthier than sugar. Honey does contain sugar. Per tablespoon, honey has 64 calories and 17g of sugar. That

June 2, 2020

Strawberry Crumble

4 cups strawberries, halved 2 Tablespoons arrowroot (or cornstarch or tapioca starch)      2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 Tablespoon fresh lemo

June 2, 2020

Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe makes a delicious substitute for peanut butter cookies that avoids many of the common food allergens. And they’re vegan and gluten f

June 2, 2020

Nothing to Sneeze At: New theories explored to stem the growth of food allergies, intolerance in children

(The following article first appeared in the March 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version) Every mo

Eating Your Way into 2020

With Thanksgiving only 2 weeks out, and Christmas not far behind, what’s your plan? By that I mean, what is your mindset as you move into the holiday season?

Are you prepared to make self-care a priority?

Now is the time to decide how you’ll begin 2020. How about a fresh start that is actually a continuum of today?

Be advised: deciding to NOT think about how you’ll eat, move, and enjoy your holidays, is in itself, a decision. Heading into January with the idea that you’ll start living healthier after the parties, is not the best self-care.  

I’ve heard the same line for years. “Once the holidays are over, I’ll eat right and go to the gym.”

Every decision you make either moves your health in a positive direction or a negative direction. There is no neutral.

I’m not saying you need to avoid all the fun stuff. I, too, enjoy the parties and special treats that make their appearance for a few brief weeks. My goal is to keep my eating on track 80% of the time. The other 20%…

Use moderation and choose wisely. Save your sugary treat consumption for something really special and amazing—like grandma’s nutroll. Be aware of drinking your calories. The dinner rolls simply take up stomach space that may better be served eating a piece of homemade pumpkin pie. Stop eating before you’re full and avoid misery.

Get your sleep, drink your water, stick with your workout regimen, and decide how you’ll maneuver the party before you arrive. Eat a small nutritious snack or drink a small protein shake before you go so you’re not tempted to overeat. It’s tough to nibble and make conversation anyway. Enjoy one favorite cocktail or glass of wine, then switch to sparkling or plain water with lemon.

There will be times when you deviate from your plan. When that happens, begin again. Avoid the temptation to wait until a later date. Your life is happening now.  

If you have a pattern of falling into the holiday eating trap, I’d like to help. Send me an email. Make 2020 the year you feel really good about your body January 1. It’s a great way to ring in the New Year.

Much love,
Carol

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ― François de La Rochefoucauld

The Holidays are Coming, so Relax

This time of year, people tend to be wound pretty tight. The intensity gains momentum as we move into December. My suggestion: slow down, and relax.

You may think this sounds crazy, so let’s analyze the facts:

  • Stress causes LOTS of health problems and can sometimes make us cranky.
  • When we feel rushed, we tend to make mistakes, forget important details and even get hurt.
  • Sleep deprivation contributes to us being less productive in the long run, throws off our hormones, and has the potential to help us gain weight.
  • We make poor food choices when we don’t plan ahead, giving us one more thing to feel guilty about.
  • Our exercise routine is likely to get pushed aside because we think we are much too busy for self-care, when actually the exercise will help us feel better.
  • Working, shopping, decorating, entertaining are all more enjoyable when we are able to go through the process in a calm, relaxed manner.    

Whether you choose to be uptight or relaxed, time will pass just the same. Thanksgiving dinner will come and go whether you are a frazzled mess or lighthearted and calm. Everything will be ok, and it won’t be perfect.

Here are some ideas to help you RELAX your way into 2020:

  • When you feel anxious, focus on your breathing. Take some slow, deep, breaths by breathing in for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling for eight. Try to take breaths that go into your belly. Doing this little exercise for even a minute or two will allow you to drop into the present.
  • Allow more time than you think you need for your tasks. By doing this, you won’t feel rushed and you might even enjoy the process.
  • Plan a few minutes at the end of the day for quiet time. Do some light reading, listen to your favorite music, or sit and pet your dog.  
  • When you have lots to accomplish and feel stressed, ASK for help. Are there other members of your family who can run and pick up the item you forgot at the store, or wrap the last-minute gift? This small favor may give you a chance to sit for 5 minutes and breathe.
  • Exercise when you think you don’t have time. You do have time and you will feel much better because you did.
  • Do something fun that makes you happy.

If you need help sorting it out, let me know. We’ll create a plan for you to begin the New Year feeling great!

Blessings and love,
Health Coach Carol

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…Including you.” — Anne Lamott

Pears, Pumpkins, and America’s Favorite Halloween Candy

Leave it to the health coach to check out the Halloween favorites. Interestingly, Mr. Non-Compliant is in agreement with the rest of the country.

The top Halloween candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Second place goes to Snickers, and M&Ms are third. Any tricksters that show up at my door will be receiving Reese’s or M&Ms, if the candy doesn’t mysteriously disappear before then. Mr. NC, I’m watching you…  

I know, shame on me for not giving out apples or some other healthy snack. I’ve considered handing out bags of peanuts, but then there’s the allergy thing. When I was young, I wasn’t allowed to eat the apples because of the razor blade risk.

It’s tricky.

My advice: before you eat the treats or send out the little ones, eat a meal that includes a vegetable or two and a helping of chicken, beef, or some other protein. Lay down some good stuff first.

The more nutritious food you eat, the less sugar you’ll consume because you’re full. Moderation.

‘Tis the season of pears and pumpkins, both of which (surprise!) are ranked above Reese’s PB Cups in nutrition and health benefits. They provide fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, protect against certain diseases, and are weight-loss friendly.

Pears come in lots of varieties and are priced right because of their seasonal abundance. Leave them at room temperature until they ripen to your liking, then eat or refrigerate. They’ll stay good for several days under refrigeration.

 

Mixed Greens with Pears, Goat Cheese and Pecans

To your favorite variety of mixed greens, add pear slices, crumbled goat cheese and pecans. Toss with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. If you have extra time, you could toast the pecans. Dried cranberries make a sweet addition. The blend of flavors makes this taste like a fancy salad, yet I sometimes eat it for lunch. It is quick and easy to toss together.

 

Pumpkin is in everything these days: coffee, ice cream, creamer, pies, and the list goes on. Beware, along with the pumpkin is probably lots of sugar.   

Basic canned pumpkin is very versatile and offers the health benefits I mentioned above. I like to add a couple tablespoons to my protein smoothies for a fall treat. Tastes great and no added sugar.

If you’d like another pumpkin recipe, check out Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes. They make a great breakfast or snack.

Remember to freeze those leftover treats and enjoy them occasionally. Keep in mind that this health thing is not an all-or-none sport, and everything matters. Eat your salad.

Happy Haunting Halloween!
Health Coach Carol

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”– Eden Phillpots

5 Steps to Improve Memory and Brain Health

Over the past couple of weeks, I tuned in to the 12-day video series, Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention. I find this information fascinating and very important for many reasons:

  • I watched my mother’s health decline from this disease for over a decade
  • There is currently no cure that comes in the form of pharmaceuticals
  • Seeking health through food and lifestyle choices is my passion
  • If I can avoid putting my loved ones through this pain, I will

Much of what I learned from the series, I’ve heard from other experts in the field before. Here’s the really good news: there is HOPE, no matter what your genetics may, or may not, indicate. Having the genes for Alzheimer’s, or not, does not determine whether or not you get the disease.  

It is never too early or too late, to take charge of your brain’s health. We can improve brain function at any age with lifestyle changes.

Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, and host of this series, explains that we can experience improved cognitive function by making changes today. Knowledge is power.

While Alzheimer’s prevention is multi-faceted, here are 5 steps you can take to make sure you’re on the right track for a healthy brain.

  1. Practice eating a brain smart diet that is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates. I know, this is a real challenge for most people, especially with Halloween candy in every aisle of the grocery, and Christmas cookies on the horizon. PRACTICE cutting back, or totally cut out, whichever is easier. Replace those sweets with fresh fruit. Eat one AMAZING cookie instead of 3. At least be conscious of what you’re eating and begin to notice your intake of non-vegetable carbohydrates—bread, pasta, treats, sodas, and the like.
  2. Get some exercise. Moving our bodies gets blood and oxygen and nutrients to our brains. This is important. If you are on an exercise regimen that hits at least 150 minutes a week, stick with it. If not, begin walking a little each day. Increase, as you’re able. The key in habitual exercise is doing something fun that makes you happy. Get creative and figure out what works best.
  3. Find a way to de-stress daily, even for 5 minutes. Exercise counts, so that could be a 2 for 1. Sweet! Try a meditation practice. There are lots of guided meditations online that are free. (I like the CALM app.) Read, pray, do yoga, listen to your favorite music, spend time with friends. Do what helps you feel less frazzled.
  4. Get quality, restorative, sleep. Sleep is Nature’s brain tonic. You can’t lose weight when you’re sleep deprived, since certain hormones get out of whack. Poor decisions are made. It messes up your immune system. And lots more. The goal is 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night. It’s like a shampoo for your brain. Sleep is sacred.   
  5. Challenge your brain. Learning at every age is critical: a foreign language (apps like Duolingo are helpful for this), a musical instrument, a new hobby such as painting or sewing, play chess.

There are lots of things you can do TODAY to improve the health of your brain. Choose ONE and practice until it’s a habit. Then choose something else. Do not feel overwhelmed and do nothing.

This is not all or none. Every little bit counts!

To Brain Health,
Carol

P.S. This entire series will replay all weekend long from 12:00 noon Friday, October 25th – October 27th at 11:59 PM! I’ll put the link on my Inkwell Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page on Friday morning, so you can learn for yourself how we can control the health of our brains!

“If we could put exercise benefits in a pill form, it’d be the most powerful pill that we have in existence. Walking shoes are more, or as effective, as a pill for Alzheimer’s.” –Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention.