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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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February 14, 2019

Love, Snacks, and a Recipe for You

Last Sunday, Float Sixty Northwest Indiana held a “Fit February Love Yourself Wellness Event.” In attendance were a variety of local businesses al

February 7, 2019

Birthday, Birth Month, Birth Year

Yes, friends, it is that time again. Another birthday is heading straight my way, and it’s a pretty big one. The BIG SIX-O. It is my official duty t

January 31, 2019

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The other day I was searching for ketchup without high fructose corn syrup, also known as HFCS. I bet I spent at least 10 minutes reading labels until

January 24, 2019

No Excuses

You’ve made your plan to get to the gym. It’s important for many reasons. Oh, but it’s been a long day and you remember that you need to run to

January 17, 2019

Now is Your Time

Are you waiting for the perfect time to deal with your nutrition, fitness, and health? If so, when is that time? Next week? Once you have a break in y

January 10, 2019

Perspective

The other day I headed to the gym to do a cardio step class. I’m a huge fan of classes—for the obvious social reasons. They also push me to work h

January 3, 2019

Keeping it Simple

Happy First Week of 2019! Now that the celebrations are a fond memory, I am ready to settle myself down and focus on a daily routine that brings me ev

December 30, 2018

Gluten Free Bread

Ingredients 3 1/2 cups Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend 1 1/2 cups milk, any kind (I like unsweetened, plain almond milk) 1 Tbsp cider vinegar 2 Tbsp

December 30, 2018

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookes

Ingredients 1 egg 1/3 cup unsweetened, smooth almond butter 1/2 cup canned 100% pumpkin 1/2 cup organic cane sugar 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 1/3 cu

December 27, 2018

Tips for Your New Year’s Resolve

As we count down to the arrival of another year, most of us have the desire to start fresh with some part of our lives–or all of them. How about

Pre-Thanksgiving Tips

A week out from Thanksgiving and I’m feeling the pressure of lots to do and my ability to pull it all off without experiencing symptoms of a panic attack. Can you relate?

As I was thinking of some ideas, I figured perhaps some of you could benefit from them as well. Here goes.             

*If you are hosting dinner, or contributing your favorite dish to a gathering, this week is a good time to pull out your favorite recipes and put your grocery list together. Buying your groceries before Tuesday would also be ideal. It’s good to avoid the frustration of empty shelves, jammed aisles, and extremely long checkout lines whenever possible. I’ve messed this up on many occasions and I am certainly old enough to know better!

*In preparation for all the food that will be filling your refrigerator and pantry shelves, see if you can use what you currently have on hand to make dinners this week. Are there some meats or vegetables that can be made into soup? Do you still have a bag of frozen cranberries from last year? Take inventory. Google recipes to use whatever you find, be bold, and experiment. By doing this, you do a little clearing out and save money. Sweet!

*Even though you have a million things on your “To Do” list, remember to take care of you. Continue to get your sleep, drink your water, eat a salad, get some exercise, and spend some time at the end of your day relaxing in a way that suits you. Some days the energy just isn’t there, so honor the way you feel and remember the words of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, “After all, tomorrow is another day!”

*When there is more to do than you can handle, ask for help. Family members may not volunteer to do dishes, vacuum or run an errand, however, most of them are willing to help when they know EXACTLY what to do. I used to take pride in doing it all myself, which led to exhaustion and crankiness. Those days are long gone and now I assign tasks for projects like Thanksgiving dinner. This leads to even more gratitude and a sunnier disposition on my part.

*As you do your grocery shopping, remember the many food drives that are accepting non-perishable goods. If you are able, add a few cans of vegetables or fruit to your cart to donate.

*Enjoy the process of getting to the Thanksgiving dinner finish line. Each year I am amazed at how quickly the actual meal is consumed, yet the preparations begin days, even weeks, earlier.

Full disclosure: we fry our turkey on Thanksgiving and it’s AMAZING!

Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family~

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Ingredient Substitutes for the Holidays

Recent text from my son: “Say something involves breadcrumbs and looks good and I want to make it. Any suggestions/alternatives to stay away from the breadcrumbs? LOL”

I picked up the phone. Too much texting to cover that ground and my fingers get tired. It’s a great question, and with the holiday gatherings almost upon us, I thought it was the perfect time to cover substitutes for some allergenic foods.

 Instead of breadcrumbs in case of gluten intolerance

A few options to choose from: 1) Grated Parmigiano or some other type of hard, aged cheese is good. A bonus with hard cheeses is that there is little to no lactose in them, since most of it disappears when the whey is poured off. If you are using them to top a dish, shake a bit of paprika on top too for a bit more color; 2) Find rice or other gluten-free crackers that have only a few ingredients. The fewer, the better! Crush them into a fine meal-type consistency. At this point, you could add some type of fat like melted butter, coconut oil or olive oil to lightly dampen the crumbs. Add any seasonings you like and remember the paprika trick. Sprinkle on your casserole or whatever it is you are making. If the recipe calls for breadcrumbs IN the dish as a binder (like in meatloaf), I would choose the cracker crumbs, since the cheese may change the flavor too much; 3) Finely grated nuts could also be used to top a casserole. Again, keep in mind the flavor that you may add by choosing this option; 4) Gluten-free oatmeal finely ground in a food processor or grinder is a good binder. I have made my meatloaf with basic oatmeal, soaked in some water, for decades—no food processing needed.

Instead of nuts

There are a variety of tree nut and peanut (a legume) allergies today. Many dishes taste delicious even when the nuts are omitted. You may substitute sunflower or pumpkin seeds for nuts.

 Instead of cow milk in your pumpkin pie (or other dishes)

When you make your pie filling, use plain, unsweetened almond milk or fresh or reconstituted goat milk (my choice). I have used goat milk for years, the same amount as the evaporated milk. It’s delicious and no one can tell the difference.

 Instead of regular pie crust with gluten

Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend is a very good substitute for regular wheat flour. I have used it to make bread, pie crust, brownies, coffee cake, etc. and the final product always disappears. There is a Namaste website that offers some great recipes.

 Instead of Cool Whip or Whipped Cream

CocoWhip, which is found in the frozen food section of the grocery, is made with coconut milk and is delicious. No dairy and no partially hydrogenated fats.

Instead of mashed potatoes

Okay, this is one I won’t do, however there are lots of folks that love this: Mashed cauliflower. I suppose if you add lots of garlic, butter, bacon and cheddar cheese, I could force it down. LOL. There are a variety of ways to make these if potatoes aren’t your thing, or if you have an allergy to them (nightshade family). This Thanksgiving, I’m going to stick with my usual REAL mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole, eat them slowly, and stop at 80% full.

Remember, unless there is an allergy or food sensitivity, there are times when the best option is to eat the AMAZING dish and savor every moment. Have fun planning your holiday meals!

“You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.”– Unknown

Healthy Aging…at Any Age

Healthy aging. It almost sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Is this even possible? The simple answer is, YES!

There are numerous ways we can maintain good health as the years add up. I know this will surprise you—they all involve lifestyle!

First of all, the younger we are when we start doing these things, the better. So, no matter what age you are today, begin now and you’re right on schedule.

Note: When I refer to inflammation in the information below, I’m referring to chronic, unregulated inflammation that is found with autoimmune conditions, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, allergies. Well-regulated inflammation saves our lives! There are many ways we can keep inflammation (and disease) reduced. Some of them are listed.

A Few Tips for Healthy Aging:

*Exercise. This is about more than burning calories and working out so you can eat ice cream (yes, I have used this reasoning). Moving helps your immune system and autonomic nervous system (the system that controls functions you don’t have to consciously think about, like your heart beating and food digesting). Lots of things count. Choose activities you enjoy so you reap the most benefit. Choosing activities you hate are not beneficial for relieving the stress—plus, you won’t be committed.

*Play a musical instrument. I’ve heard numerous people in their later years express the desire to learn how to play something. JUST DO IT! This is great, especially when you do it with other people, like in an orchestra or band. Doesn’t playing (fill in the instrument of your choice here) with a bunch of your friends sound like fun? Who knows where that could lead!

*Get involved in your community and get socially connected. There are so many opportunities here and the social aspects are critical to longevity. Loneliness is associated with poor health, and greater sensitivity to pain. People who feel socially excluded and have negative emotions experience increased inflammation, which affects health adversely. Social stress and bullying have a more severe effect on immune functioning than other stressors.

*Volunteer. Volunteers have less inflammation, better quality of life, and less intensity of illness when it does strike. We need to care about others and feel cared about. Our lives must have meaning.

*Eat a diet that does not increase inflammation. This is a topic that is HUGE. I’ll break it down and cover it more in future blogs. For now, here’s the short story: the typical Western diet tends to increase inflammation. The Mediterranean way of eating is one good option. There are others, however, this is probably the most well-known. Basically, it consists of eating mostly plant-based food (beans and legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains); eating fish and poultry at least twice a week; eating primarily olive oil; limited red meats and sugars. None of this is a surprise.

*Meditation. Meditation can help maintain cognitive function and reduce inflammation. Simply sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing counts as meditating. There are Loving Kindness meditations and many others. This is not some hocus pocus idea, in case some of you are raising your eyebrows and thinking “Yeah, right!” In a couple controlled studies of stressed caregivers and lonely adults, it was discovered that the expression of genes in immune cells can indeed be influenced by meditation.

Breathe.

Cheers to one new habit today~

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. “—C.S. Lewis

Reference: Goehler, Dr. Lisa E., “Mind-Body Interactions and the Stress-Inflammation Connection.”

The Great Pumpkin

It was quite a disturbing incident for such a small, quiet town. Everybody knew everybody in Danville. To think that my great pumpkin had been stolen was incomprehensible!

I was only ten years old. My dad had grown the biggest pumpkin I had ever seen. It weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of forty pounds. Together we had carved the scariest, most evil looking jack-o-lantern you could imagine. It glowed from our front porch on Halloween night.

At some point during the treating festivities, a trick was played and my forty-pound scariest, most evil looking jack-o-lantern, disappeared. Mom called the police, but since we didn’t have enough sound evidence for a description—of the pumpkin (which ended up as purée)—or the perpetrators (we never saw them), nothing could be done. I was devastated.

What a laugh the police department must have had that night. My family has always been one to provide entertainment. And on that note…

These days, I eat canned pumpkin and leave the carving to other brave souls. This is the perfect time to review all the good stuff about pumpkin and offer ideas to include it in your diet.

Pumpkins and their seeds rank high on the nutrition scale. Besides looking very festive, the pumpkin is full of fiber. Fiber helps us stay full longer, aids in healthy digestion and keeps us humming. A small amount of pure, canned pumpkin helps doggy digestion too.

Pumpkins contain potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B-complex, C and E. Health benefits include a boost to the immune system and reduced inflammation. Inflammation in the body can lead to a variety of chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and type-2 diabetes.

The carotenoids, which give pumpkins their bright orange color, offer protection from certain cancers and heart disease. These compounds also lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. The alpha-carotene component may slow the aging process. Now we’re talking.

Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and vitamin E. Interesting tidbit: when roasting these at home, do not do so for longer than 20 minutes, as this causes an undesirable change in the seed fats.

Ways to get more pumpkin in your diet: add pumpkin purée to soup, pasta sauce, stew or chili to increase the nutritional value (it will not significantly alter the flavor); use it in place of oil in a bread or muffin recipe; add some to a bowl of oatmeal or plain Greek yogurt; try it in your hummus recipe.

I like to add it to my protein shake. Pour it into a fancy glass, sprinkle some nutmeg on top and it may even pass for eggnog.

Gobbly Good Protein Shake
9 oz. almond milk
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 T. canned pumpkin
½ tsp. cinnamon
3-4 ice cubes

Add ingredients to blender and mix until smooth. Note: When choosing canned pumpkin purée, be sure that the only ingredient is pumpkin. Some canned pie fillings contain sugar.

Linus [writing to the Great Pumpkin]: “You must get discouraged because more people believe in Santa Claus than you. Well, let’s face it; Santa Claus has had more publicity, but being #2, perhaps you try harder.”