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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

August 15, 2019

The All or None Syndrome

Ever experience Pause Button Mentality? Perhaps during the holidays, your birthday, after vacation, when work gets crazy, or kids go back to school? H

August 8, 2019

Lessons from Nature, and Grounding

We must be moving into fall, as school supplies are in the sale ads. Didn’t summer vacation just get rolling? As I look around, I see many of my lil

August 1, 2019

Creative, Easy, Grilling Ideas

Summer is for taking it easy, and that includes mealtime. Lately, Mr. Non-Compliant and I have been playing with food. Our latest game: How much can w

July 18, 2019

Happy National Ice Cream Month

The year was 1984. President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This ye

July 11, 2019

How to Bok Choy

Summer is adventure time. With the abundance of various fruits and vegetables available at grocery stores and farmers markets, there is no reason to b

July 4, 2019

Relax and Enjoy

Welcome to the dog days of summer and simple eating. Unlike winter, when those crock pot soups and stews hit the spot, we are now in the season of lig

June 27, 2019

Atomic Habits

My current summer (now that it’s official!) read is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’m working on improving a few of mine—slowly—one at a

June 13, 2019

Ten of My Best Tips

Q. What to blog about when I have too many ideas flying around my brain and I simply am not able to choose? A. Tips that cover a variety of topics, wi

June 6, 2019

The Joys of June…and Strawberries

Along with June come some fun celebrations. Besides the new season of life celebrated by many graduates (and parents, now free of tuition payments), a

Spring Cleaning for Fitness

It’s the time of year when I feel the need to let go of things in my environment that no longer bring me joy. Relax; I’m keeping Mr. Non-Compliant and the dog.

Over the years, I’ve collected books the way Imelda Marcos collected shoes. (However, I do not have one thousand and sixty books, which is the number of pairs of shoes she claims to have owned.) Many of these books have served me well and are now making their way to the church book sale.

Our environment influences our well-being, habits, and life. Truth: if I have ice cream in my freezer, I’m going to eat it. The same can be said for salad greens, strawberries and avocados.

A Few Environmental Thoughts and Ideas

As a healthy and fit person, what do you choose to have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry? Do the other members of your household understand your expectations and support you? How about your friends and co-workers?

Almost everything around you should help you reach your goals. Keep your space positive and productive. (Too many books, shoes or potato chips?)

Could you plant a small garden with herbs and a few favorite vegetables?

Would a comfortable pair of sneakers (they’re not Imelda shoes) get you to spend more time walking the dog—and you?

If snacking is your downfall, are you prepared with snack foods that offer health benefits such as nut butters, hard boiled eggs, hummus, fresh fruits and vegetables?

How well are your daily sleep and relaxation rituals working for you?

Get rid of what hinders you and acquire whatever it is you need to help you.

This week, I challenge you to do a quick scan to determine if there is one thing you could add or eliminate to spring clean. The goal: do a little more, and a little better today.

And please, keep your family–and the dog.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell

It’s Party Time!

Graduations, Confirmations, Communions…the parties are in full force, and Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner. All these celebrations are filled with delectable foods and cupcakes with gobs of colorful frosting, not to mention bowls of assorted chips.

What is a fit person to do? Do not let your stomach (or your heart) be troubled. There are times when it is fine to break our normal ways of eating, with the very clear understanding that we are making a choice to enjoy the party.

It is a healthy indulgence.

Decide ahead of picnic time how you are going to eat. Start by thinking about how really good you feel when you are doing your workouts and eating clean:

  • energy is good
  • sleep is more restful
  • digestion is better
  • your mood is lighter (and perhaps, so are you!)

This is the lifestyle you are practicing and it suits you well. There is no reason to feel like you are blowing it all to bits with one little barbecue.

Start with some protein. For those of you who love fried chicken, it is preferable to remove the fried and simply eat the chicken. Enjoying the burger or sausage without the bun is a good trade-off for a helping of pasta salad, or maybe a few chips.

Salads, green and otherwise, are typically prevalent. Enjoy those that do not have a creamy dressing, which may not be so good in the heat anyway. A handful of nuts is a good option if they are around. Vegetables are like a “get of jail free” card.

I love baked beans and am the only one in my family who does, so this is my big opportunity to enjoy. Choose water or unsweetened ice tea instead of soda– diet or otherwise.

Remember the 80/20 rule. The weekend party is probably part of the 20; I’m going out on a limb here.

As for dessert, those cute cupcakes with little checkered flags flying in the frosting often look better than they taste. If I’m wrong about that and they are amazing, enjoy every bite. If not, go for the fresh fruit salad or have extra greens.

If you’re going to splurge, it had better be worth it!     

You are eating to live your best. Feel great and don’t carry the burden of starting over after the long weekend. Remember, it’s not about being perfect; it’s about doing just a little bit better. Cheers!

“A party without cake is just a meeting.”—Julia Child

Lemon Lovelies

These delightful lemon lovelies are dairy free and a childhood favorite of my boys.

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) softened Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the flour, Earth Balance, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Press the dough into an ungreased 8-inch square pan. Press the dough onto the sides of the pan as well. (Flour your hands if the dough is sticky.) Bake for about 20 minutes. Mix the remaining ingredients together until frothy. Pour over the hot crust. Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut…and it’s Okay

I think nuts sometimes get a bad rap, and it’s not fair. Nuts of all varieties (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.) and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax, sunflower) contain protein and therefore provide us with energy. Peanuts are technically not a nut, but a legume.

Nuts and seeds contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, folate (a B vitamin), vitamin E, magnesium and potassium. They also contain phytosterols—plant-derived compounds that are similar in structure and function to cholesterol.

Phytosterols actually compete for absorption with cholesterol in the digestive tract, thereby inhibiting the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

How does all this translate to health? If we are snacking on nuts, we are not snacking on foods that may cause more harm than good, such as candy and fried chips.

A daily intake of nuts/seeds of 1.5 ounces, which is equal to about 3 Tablespoons or a handful, may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Since different nuts provide different benefits, it is good to vary the kind of nuts we consume. Raw, unsalted nuts are the preferred choice. Store in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and keep them from becoming rancid.

And remember, too much of a good thing is not so good. A handful of nuts each day is plenty, especially when trying to lose weight.

Snack idea: mix several varieties of nuts and seeds with a bit of dried fruit and/or dark chocolate chips (the idea here is to keep the sugar content low) as your customized trail mix. Portion it out into small bags or containers that you can take on the go.

 “One secret of life is that the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day. Another secret is that laughter is carbonated holiness.” –Anne Lamott