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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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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

May 30, 2019

Avocado Toast

Shake up your morning and your taste buds with an order of avocado toast. I’ve seen this on some menus, and it’s a quick and easy dish to make at

May 23, 2019

Float Your Troubles Away

There are many ways to improve your state of mind and health that have nothing to do with food. Floating is one of them. Floating therapy is the relax

May 16, 2019

Fitness Made Simple

When you boil it all down, getting fit is really very simple. Here’s the secret: Create a habit that leads you in the direction of improving your he

May 9, 2019

I Ate Raw Cookie Dough

As I was making a batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies, I caught myself swiping my finger along the inside of the bowl. I then proceeded to lic

May 2, 2019

Delay, Don’t Deny

Welcome to May, the month of lilacs, celebrating mom, and getting out the summer wardrobe. If the mention of summer wardrobe makes you break out in a

April 25, 2019

How Do You Celebrate Spring?

I find the recent arrival of spring weather to be motivating. For example, my “To Do” list includes, and is not limited to: Clear away fall leaves

April 19, 2019

Frittata in a Mug

Serves 1 ½ cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves 2 Tablespoons water 2 large eggs 2 Tablespoons cottage cheese ¼ cup grated cheese 4 grape or cherry

April 18, 2019

Celebrate New Life

About two decades or so ago, a construction worker appeared at my pharmacy consultation window looking for advice. He needed help falling asleep, and

Embrace Imperfection

Wait, what? Embrace imperfection? Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not doing them at all.

It is about now that the seasonal roller coaster ride begins. It lets up, oh, sometime in February—or July. What often accompanies this roller coaster ride (also known as “real life”) is what one of my mentors, Dr. John Berardi, refers to as “pause-button mentality.”

Examples of this phenomenon go something like this:

*”With all the parties in December, I may as well wait until January to start my health and fitness program. It will be one of my resolutions.”

*”I’ll go to the gym once my job settles down, the kids finish their __________ season, and I get my mom moved into her condo.”

*”It will be easier to eat better meals once the holidays are over. With all the baking, card writing, shopping and decorating, I have NO time.”

*”I was going to start eating more vegetables this week, until I remembered it’s my Birth Month. So many of my friends like to take me to lunch, I can’t possibly consider doing such a crazy thing until NEXT month!” (I’ve used this one before…can you believe it?)

Do any of these stories sound familiar? Okay, perhaps they aren’t exact—you get the picture. For the record: I am guilty of playing the pause-button game. Also for the record: It doesn’t work very well.

We all like to start over, begin again, and erase the slate clean. So do I. The problem: Hitting the pause button delays us living our life and playing full out.

Say your “ideal” routine includes nicely balanced meals every evening, your favorite workouts 5 days a week, quiet prayer/meditative time daily, 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and a good dose of family and social time mixed in with work. Perfect!

We all know that what we plan in life and what happens are usually not the same. We have to take the good stuff along with the not-so-good stuff.

Short term, we can stick with a regimented plan, which is why there are lots of 30-day programs. Life may allow us to get away with a fairly “perfect” 30 days. Then what?

Here’s an alternative to hoping for perfect. Always do something. Pausing the button on various aspects of our life when things get out of whack only leads to regret, and sometimes a more difficult road in the future.

If you are unable to get in your typical workouts, take a 10-minute walk at some point in your day. It will bring mental and physical benefits. Can you get to the gym at least twice a week instead of five? Stay for thirty minutes instead of an hour?

So you can’t get in your wonderfully balanced meals every evening, eat a salad once a day and do the best you can. If you must resort to drive-thru, skip the soda and fries. Practice doing just a little bit better. A little bit better is awesome!

And all those holiday parties? Choose a few of the “healthier” options, drink lots of water, and go for those decadent treats only when they are AMAZING!

Living your best life is not about having lots of willpower, or constantly denying yourself the fun of parties, friends and great food. This game is about developing the skills to hang in there and do what you can, even when you really want to pause. It’s knowing that life is always going to happen, no matter how well you plan.

Plan to embrace the imperfection of doing something. Always.

“Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life. We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances. We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human. If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.”—Dr. John Berardi

Thanksgiving

Blessings to you this Thanksgiving, and throughout the year. Today I offer you this poem. I think it captures the realism of life; the struggle when some blessings are quite hidden, and the amazement when others are bigger than we could ever dream.

Thanksgiving

Sitting in gratitude
Every breath given, another opportunity
Alongside days of heaviness
Having potential to crush my spirit
Sadness of life and accompanying grief
And yet, I am blessed

Sitting in gratitude
Every breath given, another opportunity
To live my story
Intertwined with others’
Perhaps even lifting their narrative
And they, lifting mine

Sitting in gratitude
Every breath given, another opportunity
Appreciating this moment in all its glory
Receiving and waiting
Dazzled by the unfolding
Pursuing the dream

Sitting in gratitude
Every breath given, another opportunity
Joy beyond measure
Fleeting at times
Savor the richness and linger
Thanksgiving

Thank you for reading. Enjoy your day of Thanksgiving.

Much love,
Carol

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