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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

1020 Woodhollow Drive, Schererville, IN

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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

How a Dancer Found Her “Happy Place”

Today, I have a story that will hopefully change your mindset if you are one of those people who thinks it is SO HARD to live in a healthy manner and still enjoy your life. You CAN do this, without eating a diet consisting of rice cakes and berries and living at your local gym.

Meet Carol. No, this is not about me. Carol has been slowly incorporating small changes in her life for about a year. She has found her “happy place” with food and fitness and loves to share her tips with co-workers and friends. Even her non-compliant husband has made some changes! There are apparently more couples that are split on this issue than I thought.

Carol’s BIG WHY: She wanted to keep dancing. She has taken ballet for years and it was getting tough. Her weight and energy were not ideal. She knew that if she didn’t do something different, she’d have to hang up her ballet shoes permanently. Sad, and motivating. Lesson: You need a BIG WHY to take a stand for your health. What is yours?

She began by implementing protein shakes for breakfast, Monday through Friday. Lesson: Start your day with some form of protein.

The snack monster shows up at her desk around 10AM and 3PM. The Skittles were eventually dumped for apples or other fruit. When she needs a chocolate fix, she has a homemade protein bar or a glass of chocolate almond milk with peanut butter powder added. Lesson: Be prepared for those times when you need energy.

She had a fierce Mountain Dew addiction that kept her sipping throughout the day to the tune of three 2-liter bottles per week. YIKES! She is now down to one bottle per week and drinks water. Lesson: Switching out your sugary drinks for water is significant, and a great first step.

Her lunches are chicken (she cooks in the crock pot for the week), and a salad. Dinners are some protein done on the grill, a vegetable and maybe potato or some other starch. Lesson: You don’t have to be a great chef or spend tons of time in the kitchen to eat well.  

Her fitness routine: Ballet fit, which is similar to Pilates, belly dancing, walking her dog and Zumba. Her fitbit typically reads between 10,000 and 20,000 steps per day. She suggests you get one because it is addictive! (Better than the Mountain Dew.) Lesson: You do not need to join a gym or do activities you hate to be fit. DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

The best part: Twice a month she eats fast food because she really enjoys it. Taco Bell and McDonald’s are her “fast food go-to spots.” Sometimes she eats pizza with her family and has a cookie. She doesn’t eat the whole pizza or a handful of cookies, and she does not feel deprived. Lesson: It’s about the balance.  

Measurable statistics: She has gone from 155 pounds to 136 pounds, lost 2 inches around her mid-section and lost weight in her thighs. She has maintained this for months. If she “cheats” a bit too much, it is easy for her to get back on track and return to her “happy place.”

Thank you, Carol, for allowing me to share your journey. I loved it when you told me you could wear a smaller belly dancing costume. Smile. May your story be an inspiration to others.

“Practice ONE new habit at a time until it becomes your way of life, a life that is filled with abundance… and your favorite dancing shoes.” — Carol Slager

It’s Not Just About the Food

When it comes to being a picture of health, it’s not just about the food. Granted, that’s mostly what I write about and I often say, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” And yes, you still need to eat your vegetables! 

Today, however, I’d like you to think about some other factors that will lead you to better health–body, mind and soul.   

Ten Things to Consider Besides the Food:

  1. Are you getting plenty of sleep? Seven to nine hours seems to be the ideal amount for most people. Sleep plays an important role in metabolism, immunity, mood, focus and of course, energy.
  2. When you go for the food, are you truly hungry? If you eat for other reasons besides hunger, note what those reasons are and see if you can make an adjustment.
  3. Do you get proper exercise? Or, are you getting any exercise? We are made to move.
  4. Breathing is extremely important. Do you take a bit of time each day to focus on your breath, slowing it down and deepening it so you even move your belly? (Also known as belly breathing, as opposed to shallow breathing.)
  5. Expressing gratitude to your Creator, God, the Universe—a higher power that’s bigger than you. Prayer, meditation, and living in the present moment are good practices.
  6. Proper hydration can be a challenge for most people. Drinking plenty of water alleviates a multitude of crummy symptoms and keeps your body in proper working order.
  7. When you eat, are you distracted? Focus on the fresh flavors of your food and eat slowly. Stop before you are 100% full. Practice eating to only 80% full and see how that works for you.
  8. Being around positive people is awesome! If you find yourself in the midst of negativity, see if you can help raise the energy a notch or two with your loving kindness.
  9. Spend time relaxing with family and friends. If you have a pet, hang out with said pet and enjoy the companionship.
  10. Seek work, service, or a hobby you are passionate about and do it. We all need to feel purposeful in our days.

This is a pretty full list. See if there is one thing you can do just a little bit better today. You don’t need to do everything perfectly. Practice whatever “tugs” at you and feel a sense of accomplishment. 

During Carol’s Kitchen Coaching 101 on September 14 from 6-9pm, some of the above topics are sure to come up while I’m teaching about vegetables. I’ll address questions like: How do you have time to make, let alone eat the vegetables, when you are on the go from 7am until 9pm? How can I be positive when I can’t stand my work? I’ve never met a vegetable I like so what do I do with THAT?

My coaching practice focuses on food AND the stuff that goes with it. If you’d like to experience small group coaching in my kitchen, click HERE here to sign up today! (I’m offering a discounted rate for early sign-ups through September 7.)

3-Ingredient Brownies

3-INGREDIENT BROWNIES (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or any smooth nut butter)
2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder (more = richer taste)
You may like to add a small amount of coconut oil to make these a bit moister.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.

In a small glass bowl (for microwave) or in a pan (for stovetop) melt your nut butter. In a large mixing bowl, add the banana, nut butter and cocoa powder and mix very well. If you prefer a smoother texture to your brownies, use a mixer or blender.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.

These are best refrigerated–or frozen, my favorite–and they keep longer too. They may spoil rather quickly if kept at room temperature.

Two Steps Forward

The title of today’s blog is also the title of a book I finished reading last month. Two Steps Forward, is the second book in 3-book series by Sharon Garlough Brown. The stories revolve around the very different lives of four women as they are drawn into a spiritual formation journey at a retreat center. They all hit various roadblocks along the way and form the Sensible Shoes Club. To find out more, you’ll have to read the books.

So, of course, I am relating this to another aspect of life: food. Since our spiritual souls live in physical bodies, food is A REALLY BIG DEAL. As much as we may try (in vain, I might add) to not think about it, life is much about food.

Friends get together for breakfast, lunch, and meet up for dinner. I wonder how many business lunches happen across the country on any given day. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry and his pals were always meeting at Tom’s Restaurant. Friends cast found themselves at Central Perk. Jesus frequently ate with tax collectors and other colorful characters.

Life and food are inseparable; which is why I often say, “It’s all about the food.” Translation: “This is life.”

When we are practicing making better choices, the task of eating healthy may seem a bit daunting. We have every good intention of consuming LOTS of vegetables, minimizing sugar and red meat, getting to the gym. Then, life happens and we are involved in a food frenzy that seems to take us off course. When your friends suggest meeting for pizza on Friday night, your family celebrates the September birthdays on Saturday, and you have an anniversary brunch on Sunday at 11:00AM, well, two steps forward, one step back. Life, food, life.

What to do? Take it in stride by practicing the 80 (healthy foods)/20 (not ideal foods) rule. Remember portion control, adequate water intake, scheduled workout routines, and my favorite: only eat it if it’s AMAZING.

I love discovering food combinations that satisfy the need for comfort, sugar, chocolate, carbs, etc., yet do not make me feel as though I took one step back. You may call it cheating. I call it REAL.

This week, I am celebrating life with this simple recipe for brownies. Thank you, Shaina, for bringing these to my attention. The secret is to only eat one or two small brownies and savor every bite. Folks who are non-compliant (yes, like my husband) will not be fighting you for the last crumb, so relax and enjoy. Two steps forward, two steps forward. Victory!

3-INGREDIENT BROWNIES (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or any smooth nut butter)
2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder (more = richer taste)
You may like to add a small amount of coconut oil to make these a bit moister.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.

In a small glass bowl (for microwave) or in a pan (for stovetop) melt your nut butter. In a large mixing bowl, add the banana, nut butter and cocoa powder and mix very well. If you prefer a smoother texture to your brownies, use a mixer or blender.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.

These are best refrigerated and they keep longer too.

 “Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.”—Julia Cameron