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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.

For the Love of Sugar

Sugar tastes good and most of us enjoy it. My Mr. Non-Compliant and I are included in this category, especially when it comes to ice cream. Oh, he likes donuts too. As I contemplated what you might like to know, here is in an extremely simplified version of lots of detail I read through to write this!

I checked a variety of sources and got similar numbers. We eat too much sugar! The average American consumes approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, or roughly 130 pounds per year. The American Heart Association states that the maximum amount of ADDED sugar in your day be:

Men: 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons
Women: 25 grams or 6 teaspoons

Again, these numbers indicate added sugars. What does that mean? Food that comes packaged and you see sugar on the nutrition facts label with the number of grams per serving. You will see these labels on cereals, ice cream, candy, soft drinks, spaghetti sauce, yogurt, nutrition bars, protein supplements, etc. Sugar is added to many foods so that you become addicted to them, since sugar has the same addictive properties as cocaine! Now, that is a bit scary.

Beware of beverages like fruit juice! These sometimes contain more sugar than soda. Some alcoholic drinks contain sugar as well. Those sugar grams add up over the course of a day.

As an experiment, go about your typical day and track how many sugar grams you are consuming that you may not have been aware of. Do this for several days and get YOUR average. If you are struggling with your weight, type II diabetes or pre-diabetes, even high blood triglycerides or cardiovascular disease, could a high sugar intake be contributing to the problem? Sugar also suppresses the immune system, causes tooth decay, may contribute to deficiencies in essential nutrients, increases stress, and more. Yikes!

Some of the most troublesome foods include:

  • baked goods
  • soft drinks
  • fruit juices
  • candy and other treats
  • dried fruits
  • canned fruits in syrup
  • low-fat or diet foods

What about fresh fruit and other real foods? Eat them. Yes, there are natural sugars in fruits and even some vegetables. These are better options than eating foods with added sugars. Some fruits and vegetables are higher in sugar content than others; however, I doubt that this is THE reason you are overweight, if you are. Play detective and scrutinize your other food choices before you start blaming the fruits and vegetables!

What are some choices you can make instead?

  • Water with lemon or lime or fruit infused is sugar free, naturally
  • Fresh fruit instead of juices, dried or canned in syrup
  • Add fresh fruit to oatmeal, yogurt or other foods that benefit with some added sweetness
  • Try cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and other natural ways to add flavor
  • Eat REAL food–it is not processed and does not have added sugar or chemicals
  • Choose ONE thing you can do in the course of your day to decrease the amount of sugar you are consuming.

Do not switch to artificial sweeteners to replace your sugar habit! This is my material for another upcoming BLOG POST. Please just trust me on this for now. Sometimes I add a bit of sweetener to a recipe and I use pure maple syrup, organic sugar or honey. They are all added sugar, of no health benefit, and I keep them to a minimum. (The topic of the differences in all types of sweeteners can get pretty scientific and I wouldn’t want any of you to start snoring while you are reading my BLOG.)

By doing just a LITTLE BIT better daily, weekly, monthly, you will notice improvements in your health, and your life!

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” ~ Julia Child

Food Survival Strategies When Your Spouse is Non-Compliant

My husband loves hot dogs. He also loves pasta, chocolate peanut butter cups, and ice cream—with chocolate syrup and bananas.

Now for years I knew about the peanut butter cups and ice cream, but the hot dog thing really caught me off guard.

A typical Saturday for him would include a trip to the local hardware store. I found it interesting, once I noticed the pattern, that this little trip would often occur around lunchtime. My suspicious radar went up. Hmmmm.

I stared him right in the face one day upon his return and said, “You can’t possibly need more tools or gadgets, since you have a fully equipped toolkit. Our house isn’t that broken. Are you eating those hot dogs they sell on the way out?”

BUSTED.

He had been sneaking out to eat hot dogs right under my nose. Imagine! Actually, I bet some of you reading this probably can, because you too, have a NON-COMPLIANT spouse!

Can this marriage be saved? Relax, it can.

Here are some tips to help those of you who have walked, and are still staying on the same path, in these shoes.

  • Don’t lie. I tried it and it isn’t ever good. When he asked me if I could pick up some hot dogs at the grocery store so he wouldn’t have to sneak out of the house anymore, I told him that they don’t carry them. Not true. Even Whole Foods has “healthier” hot dogs. I have seen them in other grocery stores too. I buy organic hot dogs, thinking that if he is going to eat them anyway, I may as well provide something that is a bit better. I dress them up Chicago style, with the onions, tomatoes, pickles, relish, mustard and celery salt. I figure it’s a serving of vegetables.
  • Slow and steady a healthy lifestyle makes. As you switch out organic hot dogs for regular (and don’t worry, they are delicious), chocolate syrup that is free of high fructose corn syrup, increase the vegetables, eat extra salads, choose brown rice or whole grain pasta over regular, do not do them all at once. Small changes over time will give you good health benefits that really do add up!
  • Have your own space. If your spouse likes snacks and cold foods that you are trying to stay away from, designate a shelf in the cupboard and refrigerator that is your own. If you notice one day that your quinoa salad has disappeared and you weren’t the one who ate it, are you really going to get mad? Both events– that he or she ate the quinoa AND that you didn’t get mad is what I refer to as Divine Intervention and is indeed, a victory.
  • When questioned about why you are going to such great lengths to eat healthier, be honest. This kind of goes back to tip #1, but it’s important that you and your loved ones understand why this matters. Let your spouse know your BIG WHY. By the way, if you are struggling with the answer, please reach out to me and we will figure it out together.
  • Keep moving. Make dates to walk together if possible. If you have a dog (a canine), you have a supportive buddy who will love your enthusiasm for better health and more walks or runs. Remember that house cleaning and yard work, parking further from the store, and taking the stairs all count.
  • Reach out to those who support your healthy lifestyle endeavors, which may or may not include family. Community is important in life. We become who we surround ourselves with and what we read. My family teased me for years about organic, reading labels, lots of vegetables, etc. For the most part, they have come around. There is hope. 
  • Have a plan. When you plan your grocery shopping, food prep, workouts, date night, and feel a little less like you are flying out of control, you will experience more balance and peace in your day. (By the way, when you let your spouse know that date night is part of your healthy lifestyle plan, you may get less resistance.)
  • Share the health. The reality is that if your spouse isn’t concerned about eating whole foods and avoiding excess sugar and chemicals, there could be health issues at some point in the future. We may choose to invest in our health now, or pay for our sickness later. Once health deteriorates, it is not always possible to reclaim it.

I hope some of these tips help you with your Non-Compliant spouse. If you’re the Non-Compliant one reading this, know that your health is important to your partner. If you weren’t so loved, it wouldn’t matter, now would it?

P.S. Sometimes I eat the hot dog too, and we laugh over our serving of vegetables.

“Let us remember to always rediscover one another because we are forever changing.”  –Kamand Kojouri

3 Tips for Meal Planning

I would say the Number One challenge when it comes to eating healthy foods is planning. Most people I have interviewed and worked with have a general idea of what they ought to eat. The trick is making it happen!

Today, I am happy to share 3 tips that will help make this magic trick a reality!

Number One: Find a day during the week or weekend when you have a couple hours to look at the week ahead and figure out what you need to do to eat well. Determine:

*When you need a crock pot meal or leftovers, and when you may have 30-45 minutes to prepare a meal
*What you will be making
*What you need from the grocery store
*When you will enjoy your shopping spree –remember, this is supposed to be fun

Number Two: Plan and schedule the times you will be in the kitchen cooking, chopping, prepping, dividing, and whatever you need to do so you remain calm. Things to consider:

*When you make a meal, double it so you have plenty for another meal or lunches. It is just as easy to make two meatloaves as it is one, and you can freeze it.
*Wash and chop produce to last about 3 days (any more than that may get soggy or wilted) so you can grab for snacks, lunches, or stir-fry with chicken or beef. Store in airtight containers and you are good to go.
*If you would like to have a crock pot meal waiting for you one evening, when will you put the ingredients together? Schedule it in your calendar. 
*Think about cooking protein you use often in bulk to freeze. For example, I like to make soups with browned ground beef. Instead of cooking up only one pound for my recipe, I will cook extra and freeze in one-pound packages. By doing this, I am already one step ahead of the game next time. Oh, and one less dirty pot, which is a bonus.

Number Three: Have back up plans for those times when numbers one and two don’t happen. Ideas:

*Keep emergency items in your pantry, fridge and freezer that will feed you in less than 30 minutes. An array of frozen vegetables, canned chicken/tuna, marinara sauce, whole wheat or brown rice pasta (for gluten-free folks), eggs—you get the idea.
*Have a list of 5 go-to meals that are acceptable for your family and are quick. It may not be your ideal healthy meal—so add a salad. Whatever you make will be a better choice than fast food that is fried.
*Take advantage of the many grocery stores that have hot/cold food bars with meals you can take home. Yes, you pay for the convenience, but isn’t peace and calm priceless? Rotisserie chicken is usually very economical and when you add a salad, it’s awesome!
*One of my favorite speedy go-to meals is fresh fish. Sauté or broil just until it flakes apart. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh squeezed lemon– add a vegetable and salad. If you are nervous about what fish to choose and how to prepare it, I have found that the person behind the counter is extremely helpful. 

If these tips are still a bit much for you, then choose ONE idea from them that will simplify your life and help you feel better about your choices. Practice that one thing until you consistently do it well. THEN add another idea into your routine. Rinse and repeat.

Do what works for you and your life. When we do a little bit better on even one thing consistently, we advance on our journey of living well.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” ―Anthony Robbins

Enjoy the Game

Enjoy the Game.

Many people think about health and fitness as drudgery. It’s work, requires discipline, and inflicts a certain amount of pain. We have to stop eating food we REALLY like that brings us immediate gratification and comfort. Then, we have to face the music of what happens later.

I get it. Some days I feel like giving up. Some days when the wind chill is below zero or it is pouring down rain, I don’t want to go to the gym.

Then, there is the food part of the equation. All the workouts in the world will not compensate for a junky diet. What is up with that? Currently, with this extremely cold weather, I want to eat every CARB that isn’t moving—which is all of them. Bread, bagels, cookies, pasta. You get the idea. 

So, what’s a human to do? We would love to be healthy without having to take medication, exercise, and still be able to eat whatever we want.

Enjoy the Game. Have fun trying new things, whether it is new-to-you “healthier” foods, some new fitness program, or finding an accountability buddy to support you. Think of this entire experience as an experiment. Try something and decide if you like the results. If it works, GREAT! If not, try something else.

How can you make healthy FUN? As we move into 2017, my plan is to offer some ways to take the drudgery out of health and fitness. Hint: it’s all about our attitude.

When we enjoy the game, we stay in the game. Why do I STILL go to the gym when it’s freezing or I’m tired? When I go, I am surrounded by FUN friends who may not want to be there either. We purposely tell one another, “See you tomorrow,” and we like to stay honest. We keep each other on track. I NEED them!

About those carbs? Well, I ate macaroni and cheese yesterday (and didn’t do so well with my vegetables). I REALLY enjoyed it and today I am just fine. The key here is that I sometimes consciously cave a little, so I don’t go crazy one day and EAT EVERYTHING. Every so often, I do eat everything anyway, and then I move on. Balance, balance, balance.

And on that note, enjoy the holidays in a way that is special for you. I am excited to spend Christmas with my family and eat our traditional foods that my Grandma Mary used to make. Today I made nutrolls that are AMAZING! We eat them on Christmas morning. Enjoy the Game! 

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!”Benjamin Franklin