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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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October 17, 2019

A Story with Heart

When considering our health, so many times we think about starting better habits on Monday, or after a big celebration, or at the beginning of a new y

October 10, 2019

Ever Get Mad at…You?

I recently saw a post from a wonderful lady we’ll call Ann. (This is not her real name, so you can insert any name you prefer to use here. Maybe you

October 2, 2019

Managing Inherited Behaviors

Ice cream is still my favorite food. It has been my favorite food my entire life, as far back as I can recall. I firmly believe that my fondness for i

September 29, 2019

Fresh fruits and veggies, fish, good fats make healthy eating delicious

(The following article first appeared in the February 14, 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version) T

September 26, 2019

Applause for Your Consistency

Today, I acknowledge and applaud you for your commitment to consistency. Whether you consistently make a conscious effort to consume more vegetables f

September 19, 2019

No Time? Quick Meal Ideas

No time. Can you relate? I’ve been feeling the crunch of more scheduled evening events—and I no longer have kids going back to school! As I sat lo

September 12, 2019

The Biggest Nutritional Challenge

When it comes to losing weight and improving nutrition, what is the #1 challenge? Go ahead, take a guess. If your answer is, “I don’t know what I

September 5, 2019

Mr. Non-Compliant Ate Gross Greens

Miracles do happen and life is full of surprises. If your loved one is not keen on eating as healthy as you’d like, keep the faith. I offer you a st

August 28, 2019

The Other 84% of Health

In last week’s blog, I mentioned water intake, slower eating, and increased movement. Did you pick up on the fact that I never suggested WHAT to eat

August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

If Your Get Up and Go, Got Up and Went

For many of us who live in the Midwest, this time of year can be challenging. The colors are becoming vibrant and the nights are often cooler—which is why some of us feel a bit less energetic. How so?

In a nutshell, when daytime temperatures run in the 70’s or 80’s and dip suddenly to the 40’s or 50’s at night, it creates stress on the body. Days of needing to run the air conditioner intermingled with those when we feel the need to flip on the heat may contribute to restless sleep, lack of energy, allergy/cold symptoms, and even feeling a bit “down” with no specific reason. It’s a rollercoaster ride that goes on for weeks.

We often associate stress with those situations that involve people, work, life, loss–yet may not associate it with weather conditions. The shifts we go through in spring and fall take a physical toll on us, and show up in various ways.

When I worked in the pharmacy, the number of prescriptions for ulcer and anti-anxiety medications increased in spring and fall. Interesting.

If you are dealing with some other tough issues, this weather shift may be enough to push you over the edge. It also tends to be more difficult on women, probably due to the never-ending hormonal balancing act, possible low thyroid function, and the idea that we need to save the world. (Of course, if these troubles persist, check in with your physician.)

What to do?

  • Keep in mind that this too shall pass, when things stabilize a bit. When we consistently have cooler days and nights and less widespread temperature shifts, we will feel better. Allergies usually improve after the first frost. Not that I’m advocating the arrival of winter, I’m simply playing messenger here.
  • If you can put less pressure on yourself in another area of your life, do so. For example, I really don’t recall accomplishing much last Tuesday. I sort of drifted through the day and was okay with that—which is not typical. It’s the weather. Really. I’m not making this up.
  • Include some cold water fish in your diet. This increases your Omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation in the body, and in turn boosts your immune system. Canned tuna, sardines, cod, salmon, halibut, and whitefish are some that qualify. Always choose wild caught fish. These also provide another source of iodine, which is beneficial to your thyroid health!
  • Make a plan to allow for extra sleep.
  • Move around. My dog has gotten used to our daily walks to the park. She is spoiled. If your typical exercise routine feels like more than you can handle, do something less taxing until you get over the hump.
  • Do something nice for yourself and someone else. It will perk up your mood and improve your frame of mind. I think I had a bowl of ice cream AND gave one to my husband. Yep, that worked for me!

Now, before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, relax. I’ve been making lots of vegetables and sharing them too, which also helps everything. Try it!

RECIPE IDEA: Roast a variety of vegetables by cutting them in similar size pieces, tossing with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, (I like salt and pepper), and roasting in a 350 degree oven until they are done to your liking. EASY AND DELICIOUS!

“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” –Unknown

Have Some Fun

Do you love your plan to get yourself moving, get in your steps, burn some calories, bump up your energy level, what have you? Or is it pure torture and drudgery? Are you in the category of folks who claim, “I don’t have time,” when asked if you get any exercise?

Here’s the deal: if you aren’t having fun -–at least to some degree— you won’t make it part of your life. Motivation and inspiration only last so long. Excuses and very convincing stories are easy to come by.

Whatever you do, it has to be convenient and enjoyable. I can feel some of you rolling your eyes; you are the ones doing killer workouts several times a week and wondering if you will survive the next one. Honesty time—you enjoy these on some level or you would not keep going back for more. There is something addictive and magical about it, whether you go out and run miles in the cold and rain or do CrossFit.

If you recall one of my recent blogs, my friend Carol has changed many of her habits so that she can keep dancing. Zumba, belly dancing, and ballet fit keep her moving and she enjoys them. If anyone suggested she start running or join a gym, she’d never get off the couch. Well, except to walk her dog.

Movement is beneficial for our overall health and well-being. You may or may not be a gym person. It doesn’t matter, as long as you figure out what works for you. Here’s a bit of news that may surprise you, however. According to various studies, exercise ALONE does not affect fat or weight loss. Exercise IN COMBINATION with nutritional adjustments is the secret formula.

Strength/resistance training is critical to prevent muscle loss as we age. It improves bone density, increases metabolism, improves self-esteem, helps balance, reduces risk of injury, and more. (Try a few push-ups today.)

If you feel stuck with your current fitness routine, the weight or fat percentage needle isn’t moving, or you’re bored, then it’s time to seek out something new. Challenge yourself to expand your horizons and see what fitness adventures await, combining movement and food that work for YOU. 

As for me, I look forward to my various group workouts. Here’s a surprise: I love the social aspect of group activities. I do a Total Body Conditioning class once a week that pushes me to the place of “I hope I survive this.” The energy in the room is through the roof and we would all be disappointed and feel cheated with anything less than extreme. Thank you, Estelle! We keep coming back.

Perhaps you have your meals down when it comes to the nutritional component of the fitness puzzle, yet you struggle with snacks. Who doesn’t love snacks that taste great, provide good energy and don’t mess up your fitness goals? Oh, and did I mention EASY? If snacking is a challenge for you, join me for my upcoming Kitchen Coaching session: Let’s Do Snacks. We’ll have some fun!

7 Tips to Simplify Mealtime

One of the biggest issues families face today is mealtime—together. Lots of schedules, directions, agendas, and taste preferences. The idea of gathering for a home-cooked meal may even seem hopeless, which then leads to more eating out.

Eating in is typically healthier, more economical and often tastier than the alternative. Here are some ideas to make meals at home a bit simpler. Even if you aren’t all together at the same time, most of these are fine as a late plate.

  • When you have the opportunity to make meatloaf, casserole, soup, stew, anything, make extra for another meal. The leftovers can be frozen for another crazy day or eaten the next day or so for lunches and snacks. By doing this, you save time, energy, and aggravation—AND, you won’t dirty as many dishes to reheat the leftovers.
  • Check out the specials in the meat department. I recently picked up some pork chops that were seasoned with panko breadcrumbs, sundried tomatoes and other seasonings. They were reduced to unload them that day. I cooked rice and tossed a salad together with greens, tomatoes and other veggies, whiled the chops were on the grill. We had a tasty meal for very little money and effort in about half an hour. Sweet!
  • Remember those tasty rotisserie chickens that just about every grocery store carries these days. I found myself in a quandary about dinner this past week and needed to stop at the store to pick up chocolate milk for hubby. (It’s his special treat.) We hadn’t eaten dinner, it was getting late, I didn’t care to eat out and we were hungry—on the verge of hangry. (Combo of hungry and angry which can also be referred to as fussy.) I snatched up one of those chickens and it was perfect. You could add it to a salad, make a wrap, or add some vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Any type of burger—veggie burger, hamburger, pork burger, chicken burger, turkey burger—cooks very fast and makes a great lunch the next day.
  • Eggs cooked to your liking, along with sautéed vegetables are good anytime of day. When you are shopping, pick up the vegetables that are on special that week and be sure to get a variety of colors. Chop them up in similar size pieces and sauté in olive oil. This is quicker than roasting and more flavorful than steamed. I like a combo of potatoes (sweet and golden Yukon), mulit- colored sweet peppers, onions, Brussels sprouts, carrots.
  • If your family eats fish, this cooks quicker than just about anything. It is one of those foods that I don’t make extra of, since it’s not that great leftover. The exception is salmon, which is good cold or a bit warmed on greens.
  • Pasta is quick, easy, and most people like it. For those of you who avoid gluten, you might try quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta. (There are bean pastas, and those are not my favorite.) Add a sauce you enjoy and browned ground meat or poultry. Or, add the sautéed vegetables and skip the sauce. Pictured is last night’s meal. I used chicken sausage that I added along with the veggies. Again, this took less than 30 minutes and was delicious!

Keep in mind that the meal doesn’t have to be perfect to provide good nutrition and bring your family together. Celebrate any success you have in getting your family around the table, even if it’s for hot dogsorganic, of course!

“Research shows that the most important thing a child can do to assure long-term well being is eat meals with his or her family. The more meals together, the better!” –Dr. Bill Doherty, Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program, University of Minnesota

To Donut…or Not

This morning’s newspaper contained a FOOD section. No surprise, it is my favorite section of the paper. Today, Mr. Non-Compliant husband of mine took great delight in handing it over, saying, “Oh, you’ll want to be sure to read this!”

The main article was all about Northwest Indiana’s best-selling donuts. Now, my rule of “only eat it if it’s amazing” applies to donuts as it does any “non-compliant” food. I enjoy an amazing donut as much as anyone. At this point in my life, however, eating donuts in excess are not in my best interest. I could have gotten away with it back in high school when I was on the swim team. Long gone are those days. Bye-bye now.  

Here is a “treat” that will add a bit of spice to your fall mornings. These Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes help fill the craving for comfort food, without added sugar and gluten. The almond butter and eggs in them provide protein to start off your day. Pumpkin may be classified as a fruit or a vegetable, depending on whether you ask a botanist or culinary expert. Whatever you choose to call it, pumpkin offers vitamin A, fiber and a number of other vitamins and minerals.

I sometimes give a spoonful of canned pumpkin to my Sophie dog. She loves it and it aids with proper digestion.

These pancakes are not limited to breakfast. They make a tasty snack, even cold. I make a batch and they keep for several days in the fridge.

Oh, and for the record, my favorite donut when I choose to indulge is the cake variety with chocolate frosting. YUM! Happy pancaking.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

2 eggs
2 Tablespoons almond butter                                  
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
1⁄2-1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 -1 teaspoon stevia
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Drop by tablespoonful into a preheated skillet with a bit of coconut oil melted in it to prevent sticking. Cook on each side until nicely brown.

Serve with fresh fruit and/or eggs. You could also use the pancakes in place of bread or English muffins to make an egg sandwich.

(Any type of berry may be added for variety. If you are in the mood for a special treat, add a few chocolate chips!)

Freeze leftover pumpkin in pre-measured amounts in baggies and you are all set for for the next batch– or you could toss into your protein smoothie.

“Waffles are just pancakes with abs.”