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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

1020 Woodhollow Drive, Schererville, IN

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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

April 11, 2019

Good Snacks

As I mentioned last week, I had to put together some serious snacks to get me through a busy weekend. I was highly successful! Here’s what I packed

April 4, 2019

Cauliflower, Commitment, and Courage

As many of you know, I am not a cauliflower fan, even though I’m fond of most other vegetables. I’ve been challenged by lots of you on various wa

March 28, 2019

What Lights You Up?

In the course of your day, what makes you happy, brings up your energy, and makes you feel truly alive? What lights you up? Did a number of things com

March 21, 2019

To Instant Pot…or Not

I recently took the plunge and bought The Instant Pot. I’m not what I would consider a gadget junkie, however when I learned the ease with which I c

March 7, 2019

The Power of Food

Is there a particular food(s) that has power over you? For some people, if there is a bag of chips, cookies, chocolate—you get the idea—in the hou

February 28, 2019

What Are You Grateful For?

I walked past a couple people recently and overheard a comment that went something like this: “There’s got to be more to life than getting old and

February 21, 2019

What Are You Committed To?

Commitment: the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose. Today, I’d like you to consider what you are committed to that is all about you.

5 Festival Food Tips

Summer Solstice and Festival Fun! These are the days we long for in winter. The trick for many is sticking with a reasonable food and fitness routine through ninety-degree days, corn dogs and elephant ears.

Here’s one idea: You could put it all off until August when the kids go back to school and chalk it up to summer vacation fun. The catch with this plan is that once school begins, life gets fairly hectic and the pressure is on with scheduled activities. Once that rush is over, we’re almost to the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, and we know what happens then. Next thing we know…oops, time for those resolutions. Sorry to be “Johnny Rain Cloud,” –it’s the pattern I see repeated over and over on a regular basis.

Time to break the cycle and try something new! There truly IS a way to balance life and health, while maintaining sanity and having fun.

To get you going, here are my 5 simple tips to help you negotiate festivals, celebrations and summer vacations! By choosing even ONE, you will feel more positive about your health.

  1. Drink plenty of water every day. I could write a lengthy essay about the reasons this is important, and actually, I did. I covered this in my blog in January 2016 (link: Water Habit Blog just in case you need a refresher). Besides lots of health benefits and combatting dehydration during these extremely hot days, there are zero calories, zero artificial colors and zero sweeteners to contend with. You will feel full on less food and also “save” those calories for something really decadent.
  2. Find and eat a vegetable. I’ve scoped out lots of food establishments, festivals, county fairs, etc. and it IS possible to find some type of vegetable that’s not battered and fried. So, if you are away from home for an extended period of time, eat something in this category that is redemptive at some point. Recently I spotted a fair vendor with beef tips who also offered sautéed vegetables. When on the road, most fast food places offer a salad—which is a good option instead of the fries. I recently had a very good salad with grilled chicken from Culver’s. It’s rare to go to any party and not see something green—besides the M&M’s. I know there is a bit of resistance to eating vegetables at celebrations. Do the best you can and just give it a try.
  3. Check out all the food options, whether you’re at a picnic, festival, or party, before you begin filling your plate. By doing this, you can pace yourself and determine which fun food you want to be sure to enjoy so you feel balanced. Or, sometimes you know what your fun splurge is going to be before you even reach your destination. Make your plan, then stick to it.
  4. When you know in advance that something you are planning to eat will not agree with you, consider passing on it. Do you really want to feel lousy for the next few hours after you eat the elephant ear or fried Twinkie? If there is something you really want to try for novelty, consider sharing it with friends. And for the record, sometimes we need to eat something and then feel bad as a reminder as to why we only do it on occasion. (Depending on your age, you may not understand this theory. Trust me, one day you will.)
  5. If there is a food you absolutely love and it is AMAZING, enjoy it fully. No guilt. No justification. No stories. I ate the Dairy Belle ice cream because I love it. These days, I can skip the elephant ears and corn dogs because skipping the indigestion does not make me feel deprived.

Enjoy your summer and all the delightful celebrations that come with it. Make YOUR plan, then stick with it. Living a healthier lifestyle is about making small changes that add up over time.

For some light-hearted entertainment, check out my Food, Festivals and Fun video by clicking HERE

“The beach is not a place to work; to read, write or to think.” —Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

My Hot Dog Confession and Easy Grilled Vegetables

It was Friday afternoon and someone (my dear husband, “Mr. Non-Compliant”) got hungry and wanted a hot dog. We were about to get on a highway with bumper-to-bumper traffic and Madvek’s Dog House was nearby, so we caved. Yes, I caved. I ate a Chicago style hot dog. Check it out. It was covered with lots of vegetables and CELERY salt. I truly enjoyed it–AMAZING. Once in a while… However, for the record, I DID NOT EAT THE FRIES. Now, moving on to a more redemptive topic: Grilled Vegetables.

One of the best things about summer is the grill. Less cleanup for me, since my dear husband is also a Grill Master. It’s easier to feed a crowd and enjoy entertaining when the cooking is done outdoors.

Here’s an idea for grilling vegetables:

Cut an assortment of fresh vegetables such as yellow zucchini, red bell peppers, Vidalia onions, green beans–whatever you like best or have on hand—into fairly equal pieces. Don’t be concerned about making too many because leftovers are perfect for a snack or with your morning eggs.

Take a large piece of foil and pour a couple tablespoonfuls of olive oil on it to coat. Add the chopped vegetables. Season with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, onion powder or simply salt and pepper. Drizzle with another couple tablespoonfuls of olive oil and seal the foil. Double wrap with another piece of foil. This ensures that you don’t loose your contents. Keep in mind that the more vegetables you have in a packet, the longer the cooking time. I often make two packets and make the packet more flat than round, so the vegetables cook evenly.

Place on the grill and turn halfway through cooking. As far as timing, if your heat is at 300 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes is a good range. Of course, this is only a suggestion to gauge from, since it depends on how you like them cooked and how direct your heat is.

Potatoes are great like this too. Slice them thin or cube them and follow the same instructions. These take about an hour to cook and they are really tasty when some of them get crispy. I like to mix sweet potatoes with the Yukon Gold variety. This works well when there are people who aren’t as fond of the sweet potatoes. Yep, you guessed it–Mr. Non-Compliant.

With such an abundance of summer vegetables to choose from, you can mix, match and try new combinations, which adds great variety to your meals. Happy grilling!

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” –Ann Wigmore

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