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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

The Seasons Change and I Feel Icky…Why?

Summer changes to autumn. It is a beautiful time of year here in the Midwest. So, why are you so tired, you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, your nose is runny and your throat and head hurt, your indigestion has kicked up, and you just feel icky? If any of this sounds familiar, read on. If not, you are blessed and I wish you well.
Autumn BeachThe body needs stress to survive, and even thrive—to an extent. When we have too much stress in our everyday, we get sick. We may not always get indicators, but stress is cumulative. It is kind of like the straw that broke the camel’s back. One more thing and…we are done.

The beautiful change in season is simply one more stressor. It is a physical stress that cannot be avoided when you live in the Midwest. Think about it: we have had 40-something degree nights and tomorrow could be near 70. These radical swings happen often until we settle into the next season, so we pay a price. (Review some symptoms in paragraph #1.) It is tough on our endocrine system and our immune system gets kicked too. When I practiced pharmacy, the prescriptions for ulcers, anxiety and sleep increased in spring and fall.

Once we have a hard frost and temperatures stay more consistent, we will all feel better. Here are some tips to help reduce some stress so you can make it through another day:

*Breathe—deeply and often.
*Move—walk, dance, run, find a sport you enjoy.
*Drink pure spring water. Lots of it.
*Eat only when hungry, and steer clear of sugar and refined carbohydrates. In other words, eat pure food and stay away from those that come in packages.
*If it’s not delicious, don’t eat it.
*Laugh more often.
*Create boundaries.
*Stay away from negative people.
*Begin and end the day with prayer, meditation, reflection.
*Be instead of do.
*Cultivate gratitude.

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These are some suggestions (with adaptation) from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance. (A great book, by the way.) You may not get rid of your stuffy nose, but you will a happier, calmer person with a stuffy nose.

Live well,
Carol

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

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The year was 1984. President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This year, that special day happens to be July 19th. Hmmm, wonder how we should best celebrate?

I was raised in a family that cherished ice cream. Childhood memories of my mother making a rich and delicious cream concoction that my father would freeze into an amazing treat are vivid. The flavors were vanilla, peach, banana or strawberry. Much to my dismay, chocolate was never even in the running, since I was the only one who voted for it. Gratefully we had plenty of chocolate syrup on hand, which I generously poured over everything.IMG_20150612_002352 Today, as your wellness coach and healthy lifestyle advocate, I will celebrate National Ice Cream Day by enjoying a scoop– ok, two–of my beloved childhood treat. Life is about the balance. Permission granted to celebrate with me.

“Keep Calm and Eat Ice Cream”

 

About Those Carbohydrates…aka “Carbs”

How much is too much? Are there “good” carbs and “bad” carbs? What is a carb anyway?

Carbohydrates–foods that contain sugars, starches and fibers–are sometimes not considered to be our friends. Truth of the matter is this: we need some carbohydrates in our diet to help supply energy and provide enough food (glucose) to the brain. The number of grams of carbohydrates we need in a day will vary depending on our size, metabolism, activity level and lots of other parameters. The problem seems to be that most Americans consume way too many refined, low fiber, processed carbohydrates. Too much of anything can cause trouble, especially when it comes to maintaining good health. 01396

 

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has suggested 130 grams per day as the minimum, but again, that number will not work for every body. To measure the amount of  carbohydrates you should eat with most of your meals, cup your hand. Women should eat one cupped-hand size portion and men should eat two.  This is for the carbohydrate-dense foods, such as grains, fruits, starches, and figuring you may eat four times a day.  A good starting point for most people.  Pretty simple!

Calories? They are not created equal. And, they are not fun to count. I know. After my freshman year in college, I spent the summer counting them to lose 25 pounds. One-hundred calories of a spinach, strawberry salad will provide lots more nutrients than one-hundred calories of cookies.

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The best carbs to eat are these: vegetables, fruits, and whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, whole oats (not the oats in little packages with loads of sugar), legumes. Examples of the “bad” or refined carbs and those you should do your best to minimize are: store-bought breads (white or wheat), white rice, white pastas, cereals, cookies, etc. and foods with added sugars. It is the refined carbs that contribute to Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, weight gain, and the list goes on.

Is it possible to lose weight by cutting carbs? Yes, especially when the carbs we eliminate are the breads, cookies, cereals, candy…you get the idea…and you replace them with extra vegetables, fruit and lean protein.  Oh, and check out my prior post on making some very tasty vegetables!

“Eat your vegetables!” Mom

Vegetables with Taste

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We need to eat more vegetables, but it can be a challenge if they are mushy and have no flavor. I remember having a major dislike of green beans as a child. (Interesting that my youngest son claimed green beans to be “my worst enemy” when he was growing up. Could it be an inherited trait?) Thankfully, we both outgrew it!

I now enjoy most vegetables, especially when they are roasted. This is so simple and will work for any single or combination of vegetables you like.

For example, take a bunch of asparagus. Wash and snap off the ends just above the point where the asparagus bends like rubber. Toss the spears in a tablespoonful or two of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt or your favorite seasonings to taste. Place in a single layer on a stone bar pan or your favorite roasting pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes, tossing half way through. The time may vary depending on how crisp you like your vegetables. I like mine to be a bit on the brown and crispy side.

If you roast a variety of vegetables, do your best to cut them into pieces of similar size, so they cook evenly. Instead of olive oil, another option is to melt some coconut oil in your pan (unless it’s summer and the oil is already a liquid), then add the vegetables and toss to coat.

Have fun trying “new to you” or seasonal vegetables. You might be surprised how tasty they are! I roasted Brussels sprouts (one of my husband’s least favorite things) and they disappeared. He even went back for seconds, claiming that they were “ok.” Moral of this story: make enough so you have some for lunch or snacks the next day

Live well,
Carol

What vegetable did Noah not take on the ark? Leeks