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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

1020 Woodhollow Drive, Schererville, IN

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December 6, 2018

Slow Down to Speed Up

This mantra seems counterintuitive, especially since there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yet, it hit me during a recent time of stillness. It also

November 29, 2018

Always Do Something

It’s time to embrace imperfection. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not

November 14, 2018

We Fry a Turkey

Yes, you read that correctly. The Slager family fries a turkey (or two) each year to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know. Fried food is not a healthy optio

November 1, 2018

A Fun Day of Celebrations

I find it quite curious that the day after many folks around the world celebrate Halloween, we find ourselves with more than we bargained for on Novem

October 25, 2018

Healthy Diet = Brighter Brain

The age-old question I hear is this, “What is the best diet for me?” Although some people have food sensitivities or allergies, there is a way of

October 18, 2018

Warm Up with a Frittata

It’s that time of year when it actually feels good to turn on the oven. The warmth in the kitchen helps take the bite out of the chilly morning air.

October 18, 2018

Fall Frittata

8 ounces organic uncured turkey bacon, diced (I like Applegate brand)      2 green onions, including much of the green, diced 1 bunch asparagus, ch

October 11, 2018

Embracing the Uncomfortable

Today’s topic hit me like a brick when I was doing just that–embracing the uncomfortable. Why would anyone do such a crazy thing? It hardly ma

October 4, 2018

Farewell, Flag Pants

“You’re getting a little wide in the beam, aren’t you kid?” Those words literally kicked me into the basement of reality and sadness, all

September 27, 2018

Share the Love

Today, give some positive encouragement to another human being. This person may be a workout buddy, neighbor, co-worker, friend, family member, strang

It’s Berry Time

Indiana plus June equals strawberries. ‘Tis the season to enjoy the best of the best.

When my boys were little, we would make the trip to Johnson’s Farm in Hobart on Ridge Road and ride the school bus out to the fields to pick the tastiest strawberries. I still remember the dust that would float through the open bus windows and settle over the old green seats. One of our favorite things, besides eating as many as we could while we were busy finding the most perfect ones, was to put our faces down into the buckets as we filled them, and simply inhale. The aroma was so intoxicating that it made us giggle aloud!

Another equation for strawberry picking goes like this: Two little boys + plants low to the ground + intense sun as it approaches noon + heat = COMPLAINING. Fun memories, and I recommend giving it a try. Hint: Go early in the day.

Whether you are into picking your own or paying a bit more for someone else to do the labor, local strawberries are typically available through June. Berries of all kind are a great fruit to enjoy–low glycemic index (so it will not cause a spike in your blood sugar) and lots of antioxidants. How about it—they are delicious AND healthy!

Ideas for AMAZING ways to eat them, besides straight up: (it’s all about the balance!)

  • Homemade shortcake, muffins, pancakes or bread
  • Sprinkled with regular, chocolate, or other flavored balsamic vinegar
  • Topped with CoCoWhip (a whipped coconut oil instead of Cool Whip)
  • Pie (plain strawberry or with rhubarb)
  • Jelly or jam, which is what I used to make back in our picking days
  • Mixed with Greek yogurt
  • Protein smoothies
  • In oatmeal
  • With chocolate coconut mousse

I’m sure there are many more, but at least this will get you started. Of course, if you are trying to cut back on gluten, carbs, sugar, etc., then plain is perfect. When they are this fresh, “just the strawberries, please” is perfect.

I have six plants in my garden; however, they are not quite producing a bumper crop. Here’s the good news:  Johnson’s Farm in Hobart still lets you pick your own if you wish. It is a good idea to call before you go to make sure they have plenty of berries available. Picking the berries could be your exercise for the day. Oh, and remember to wear your sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

Enjoy~

“Strawberry Fields is anywhere you want to go.” –John Lennon

Got Joy? Share Joy

Are you feeling joyful today? If you are, why? Is there a way you can share it?

These are loaded questions, so let’s explore some thoughts on the topic.

I know people who are grandparents. When I ask them anything about their grandchildren, their faces light up like a sky of fireworks on the fourth of July. They beam with joy.

When I listen to the symphony, as the conductor and musicians are playing the composition, they exude a joy I can see, hear and feel.

If you’ve ever watched a chef prepare a dish, whether in person or on television, he or she exudes joy while creating the beautiful, delicious meal. Then, when that first bite is taken that we have no way of sharing…WOW! I want that!

Now I’m going to push the envelope: is there some part of living in a healthy way that brings you joy?

  • Maybe you love going to the gym, and your friends there are fun. Joy.
  • You thought you hated eggplant, until you stumbled upon a recipe that was simple and intriguing, so you tried it AND liked it. Joy.
  • When you go out to eat and you remember your rule about taking home a box with some of your AMAZING meal so you have leftovers for lunch the next day…Joy.
  • Gardening is a nice hobby that keeps you moving and agile. The flowers and vegetables are a great benefit. Joy.

Now, how can you take a slice of your fitness joy and share it with a friend, spouse or colleague that may be stuck? Perhaps they are having some life challenges and feeling bad—bad about their life, their lack of motivation, and their absence of JOY.

Ideas:

  • Try a new recipe and have them over to dine with you.
  • Share your most motivating workout song with them.
  • Call them and make a plan to do some activity together—golf, walk, tennis, coffee. (Sometimes you have to start really small.)
  • Go to a “new” restaurant and find the two healthiest items on the menu and split them. Remember your rule about the box going home.
  • Check out one of the farmer’s markets and buy a vegetable that scares you—just a little. Find a recipe and make it together.
  • Start a dinner club that eats together once a month and try “healthy” recipes from various countries. We used to do this years ago and took turns hosting. We ate well and it was really FUN!

So today, zero in on your joy and then think of a way to share it. Even if it seemingly has nothing to do with fitness, you will help somebody feel better.

Whatever you come up with, the world will shine a bit brighter because of it!

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” –Mark Twain

Fruits and Vegetables Made Easy

‘Tis the season of Farmer’s Markets and an abundance of fruits and vegetables grown locally. Well, almost. In winter, it can be such a challenge to find a tasty tomato or strawberry.

June is the month in Indiana for homegrown strawberries. July is for blueberries and corn on the cob, and August is the month of peaches. I realize corn on the cob does not really count as a vegetable, however it is a wonderful vehicle for butter and salt. When it’s amazing, and we live in the heartland, we enjoy it.

Here is a real eye-opener: Eating at least 10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day may help lower your blood cholesterol. There are numerous substances in food that have cholesterol-lowering properties. Many are found in vegetables and fruits. Mother knows best, again. Now I know why she made me eat those stinkin’ green beans! (I like them now.)

Of course, there are many other reasons to increase your intake of vegetables and fruits. Among them:

  • They are alkaline producing, which can help to preserve bone mass and muscle tissue.
  • They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.
  • They contain lots of water to help you stay hydrated.
  • Because fruits and vegetables have a high water and fiber content, they’re low in calories relative to their volume. Consuming them on a regular basis can result in a higher volume of food intake. A high consumption of low calorie density foods can help to control overall food intake and manage body weight. In other words, when you fill up on fruits and vegetables instead of other foods, it can help you lose weight. Sweet!

If your goal is to reduce body fat, the ratio of vegetables to fruits should be 5:1. To maintain your current numbers, the ratio is 3:1.

I will admit, 10 servings of these wonderful foods do not quite make it on a daily basis with our family. We can do better, so we practice. I enjoy growing a few vegetables among all the weeds, especially tomatoes. Give it a try, even if you only have room for a couple pots on a patio. (Less to weed then!)

Another thing I like to do is bring home a “new” vegetable and then figure out a tasty way to prepare it. I challenge you to do the same. If you get stuck, shoot me an email and we’ll figure it out together.

The more colors and variety, the better. Have fun with this. Buying local produce helps support those who live in or near your community, is fresher than produce coming from another country, and has a higher nutrient content. What’s not to like?

For those of us who live in Indiana, the arrival of Farmer’s Markets is simply another reason to be glad it’s spring!

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” – Doug Larson

Choosing Wisely

Sometimes we attend luncheons or dinners, and the fare offered is rather limited. Perhaps, as I wrote in my blog last week, we feel like we are using up our 20% of the 80/20 rule. But maybe, just maybe, we can get by unscathed. Here are my tips on how to make choices that are just a little bit healthier, so you can save your 20% for another meal! (Friday night pizza?)

I’ll give you a couple of scenarios so you get the general idea. Let’s say you are at a business luncheon with buffet options:

  • Tossed green salad with several dressings
  • Rolls for sandwich making or as a side
  • Thinly sliced roast beef with au jus
  • Italian sausage
  • Hamburgers
  • Sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, etc. to dress up a sandwich
  • Assorted drinks: water, diet soda, regular soda, unsweetened ice tea, coffee
  • Assorted fresh fruits
  • Brownies (you can tell by looking that they are NOT AMAZING)

For this blog’s sake, pretend summer is just around the corner and you may need to put on shorts or a swimsuit. You are committed to cutting back on breads, sugars, and want to eat more vegetables. Here’s how you make this lunch part of your 80% instead of 20%.

Begin with a GENEROUS helping of salad. Choose the least amount of dressing you need to add flavor without distracting from the taste of the greens and other salad components. An oil and vinegar based option is typically a better choice than thick and creamy, since you need more of the creamy types to go around.

Next, if you make a sandwich, add more vegetables to it. Maybe you could even make an open-faced sandwich and use a big piece of lettuce as a topper, instead of eating the entire roll. Or, skip the roll totally and you have the meal concept: main dish with side salad. The best drink option is water, then the tea or coffee. If you select soda, you will get more than your day’s maximum of sugar, and the chemicals in diet soda are not good. Enjoy your natural sugar from the fresh fruit.

If you typically bypass the salad, eat the sandwich and drink a soda, practice switching just one of those options. Slow and steady…

The brownie…it’s not amazing, so skip it. Save up for a treat you will REALLY enjoy later.

When you attend a sit-down dinner and the food is plated for you, you get what you get. However, these are usually pretty standard: salad, soup, protein (beef, chicken, fish), vegetable (green beans, broccoli, or cauliflower) and starch (baked potato or pasta). Can you tell I’ve been to lots of these? If the chicken is fried, removing the skin is a good move. Avoiding fried foods as much as possible is preferable. Rolls are almost always present and may certainly be skipped in case the dessert IS AMAZING! (I have been known to eat the bread when the main course is not the best or if it is rather skimpy. There are times…)

This is simply a matter of making choices that are a little better than you may have made a year ago, or six months ago. It depends on your personal health and fitness goals and what works for you. Bon Appetit!

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” ― Thomas Edison