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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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January 21, 2021

Getting Back on Track

Baby size at 29 weeks is a butternut squash. And, like last week’s eggplant, butternut squash is technically a fruit. Since I wouldn’t care to eat

January 14, 2021

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28. Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from

January 7, 2021

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of… …a head of cauliflower. Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried. Truth is that cauli

December 31, 2020

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion. The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green on

December 24, 2020

The Hope and Excitement of a Baby

A bit of background for my new readers: I’m taking the produce journey along with my good friend who is expecting. As we track the progression, we l

December 17, 2020

Create Your Own Cookbook and Mr. Non-Compliant’s Favorite Vegetable

Those of us who attended the Zoom “Amazing Cookie Bake” had a delicious time baking our cookies. My cookie press was missing its piston—a critic

December 10, 2020

We’re Baking Cookies Together… Sort of

I’m baking cookies this coming Saturday morning, and I’d love for you to join me! Through the magic of ZOOM, we are all gathering to bake and soci

December 2, 2020

So, the Marshmallows Caught Fire…

Thanksgiving Day is but a faint memory, as we fast forward into Advent and the season of Christmas. It was quiet around the Slager home, until the mar

November 25, 2020

Cookies, Carrots, and Giving Thanks

Here it is November, and everything is still pretty weird. I find it hard to believe that we’ve almost blown through another year, even though it se

November 19, 2020

Are Bananas Good for You?

Bananas sometimes get a bad rap. The truth is, they have lots of redemptive qualities. They are among the most important food crops on the planet. Alt

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.

A Story with Heart

When considering our health, so many times we think about starting better habits on Monday, or after a big celebration, or at the beginning of a new year, or…

I received an email after posting last week’s blog that sends a very clear message. That being the case, today’s guest blog is written by Mike, with permission.

Carol,

Good morning, Sunshine. Boy, you seem to know what to say and when to say it. I recently got out of the hospital after having an angioplasty on three of my arteries. One was 90%, the others were 80% and 60 % blocked (tell Mr. Non-Compliant that one). Anyway, I thank the Lord that I am here today. I had NO symptoms at all. They found it with a heart scan.

I’m thankful that our paths crossed. You have been an inspiration to me many times. Now I am on a strict diet of NO pork, red meat, no dairy and very limited carbs. I can have all the turkey breast, chicken and veggies I want– actually it’s not too bad. Also, I will be starting an exercise program after my cardiologist gives me the ok. 

When you are laying in bed in the ICU at 4am, you have a lot of time to reflect and finally realize: your mistakes in life; to turn toward the Lord for strength in getting through your trials; to quit relying solely on self; to realize you have had a support group this whole time that truly cares for you. 

If it’s possible for me to convey one message to people from this experience, it would be to love your family and friends with all your heart, put them before work or money, and make the changes in your habits that your body is telling you to make while you can.  

I was very blessed that this turned out the way it did. I was a walking dead man and did not know it.

I very much look forward to attending another of your classes. Tell Mr. NC hello and to get it together.

Mike 

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your story.

Blessings and love,
Carol

Love your family and friends with all your heart, put them before work or money, and make the changes in your habits that your body is telling you to make while you can.”–Mike