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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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October 15, 2020

Cool Crisp Days and My Craving for Waffles

As we turn the corner into cooler days and nights, my body thinks it needs more carbs. My mind agrees. This is typical for me. Every year when the sea

October 8, 2020

Do You Suffer from Food Trauma?

(The following article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version If you

October 1, 2020

A Little Secret

This may come as quite a shocker. People in the health and fitness industry sometimes fall off the health and fitness wagon. Yep, it happens. Some “

September 24, 2020

Pumpkins, Apples, and Pears, Oh My

Welcome to fall and an abundance of pumpkins, apples, and pears. These are just a few favorites that enjoy a big debut this time of year. The Great Pu

September 17, 2020

Creating Space…in Your Refrigerator, Freezer, Life

Lately I’ve noticed that I have the need for more space—physically, mentally, digitally, and when it comes to my schedule. And no, I do not want a

September 10, 2020

Standing in the Doorway of September

We’re standing in the doorway of September. Summer days still linger, yet autumn is inching its way into our lives—and wardrobes. It’s one more

September 3, 2020

Sometimes I Eat My Feelings

Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I eat my feelings. How about you? We feel sad, so we eat food that soothes us. We feel like celebrating, so we

September 2, 2020

Carob Brownies

(This recipe first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Ingredients:  1/2 cup all-purpos

September 1, 2020

High-fiber, low-fat legume adds the flavor without the drawbacks of chocolate

(The following article first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version Most pe

Fat Tuesday, St. Valentine and Lent

In the midst of this extremely cold and snowy February comes the arrival of not one, but two feasting frenzy opportunities.

Next week we will celebrate Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday. Celebrations occur  and rich foods are traditionally eaten (yes, yet another excuse to stray), before the Christian Lenten fast that begins on Ash Wednesday, AND Valentine’s Day this year. The last time this occurred was in 1945. Now, the double holiday may present a bit of a quandary for those who follow the rules of fasting for the beginning of Lent. Catholics typically eat only one full meal and abstain from meat. This means surf without the turf—did I get that right? Anyway, no steak with your sweetheart is what that means.

Seems a bit unfair to St. Valentine, so the Church recommends this solution: do double celebrating on February 13. It’s a two-fer! In case any of you Catholics missed the fine print, we are advised to celebrate our love for our sweetheart on Fat Tuesday and move into our fasting as we begin our Lenten journey with the Lord on Wednesday. Those of you who follow another religion may be able to split up your caloric intake—and have your surf AND turf. (Please don’t be offended if you have special rules that I neglect to mention. I’m doing well to get these straight!)

The Paczki, (POHNCH-kee), is the traditional Polish donut that is eaten to celebrate Fat Tuesday and–SURPRISE—is not the healthiest of foods. One of these offers somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 calories and about 20 fat grams, give or take–just ask My Fitness Pal. If you decide to indulge, it had better be AMAZING!

One year I had the fun of being in New Orleans during Mardi Gras celebrations, which occur for about two weeks before Lent begins. New Orleans is the American city most known for its “Carnival” and parties. There were lots of parades, costumes, beads, delicious food, and celebrating. No, I did not do anything crazy to get those beads! The people on the floats throw them like Hoosiers throw candy. It’s all big fun. Fat Tuesday has been a legal holiday in Louisiana since 1875. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season leading up to Easter, which is April 1 this year. No fooling.

And in case you’ve wondered, Easter Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after March 21, but calculations vary. This is the reason the date for Easter varies from year to year. Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter to allow for 40 weekdays of fasting and penance, which is a very good thing if you overindulged on the Paczki.

However you celebrate next week, remember to eat a few extra vegetables. It won’t hurt!  

You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” –Jodi Picoult, “My Sister’s Keeper”

Celebrating the Birth Month

This is my favorite blog post of the year. Celebrating the Birth Month. I write it in February because…yes, you guessed it. February, which happens to be the shortest month, is my Birth Month.

Celebrating my Birth Month has been my mantra for over a decade. I will be 59 years young, and one day of celebrating is simply not enough. Let’s face it– friends lose track of dates and then feel bad because their birthday greeting is belated. Please, do everyone a favor and join me in the Birth Month celebration.

When I turned 50 and my husband threw me a surprise party (and yes, I was moved-to-tears surprised), the question came up as to how the Birth Month time frame was calculated. Is it 30 days before, after, or the month in which the actual day falls? Well, since February got a bad deal, even on a Leap Year, I chose wisely. Short answer, “Yes.”

Some folks thought that was cheating. I think not. Besides, I made up the game; I figure I can make up the rules.

I know there are people who deny birthdays and their age. However, I think it is fun to enjoy coconut cake with a fellow Birth Month friend, celebrate lunch with others, blow out candles, wish good things, and get more Facebook messages than I can keep up with. Last year my wonderful, non-compliant husband baked me a birthday cake FROM SCRATCH! It was amazing, and yes, I ate it.

How does one manage eating through so many Birth Month festivities? Once again, it goes back to balance and making choices that keep me feeling not as old as 59 sounds: keep my workout dates at the gym, where I see lots of my friends and we are not eating; drink plenty of water; remember to eat more vegetables and fruits than coconut cake; eat slowly, savor every bite, and enjoy the company; save half of whatever I order to take home so I have another fun lunch the next day. I love to eat spinach salads with chicken, so it’s not that tough. Oh, and when you celebrate over about 60 days, you can space out those lunch dates so you aren’t feeling like a stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving.

The other cool thing about enjoying the Birth Month is that there is plenty of time to reflect. Am I spending my time on what truly matters to me today? If I am, perfect. If not, then I have this moment to make adjustments. With each Birth Month celebration comes a calm sense of urgency. Having a finite number of these forces me to Live Large now.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a fabulous February and consider joining me in the Birth Month mantra when it’s your time. Try it, you’ll like it. By the time 60 rolls around, I’ll probably be all about the Birth Year. In fact, I think I’ll begin today.

“Life is short; I wanna live it well.” —Switchfoot

 

Good vs. Bad Thinking

I hear it time and time and time again. “Carol, I was bad. I ate pizza,” or whatever the food is that makes you feel “bad.” (Since I hear about pizza more than any other food, I’m going with it.)

You are not bad. Pizza is not necessarily bad. What is sometimes bad is the effect it has on the body (if it is greasy, there is a food sensitivity, or we over do it) and the mental state we take on when we are supposed to be eating healthy.

To be clear, I enjoy pizza. I enjoy ice cream. I enjoy many foods that could be classified as “bad.” The foods we choose to eat either lead us toward our health and fitness goals, or away from our health and fitness goals. There is not really neutral territory here.

I recommend you stop thinking that you are bad when you eat the pizza and good when you eat the salad. The way we think is our reality, and eating a certain food does not make us bad or good. This thinking only gives you a complex that is based on crazy evidence.

Here’s a healthier way to think about this whole thing. For the most part, if we eat in a way that leads us toward our health goals most of the time, say 80%, we will probably meet them. Allowing 20% for the occasions when we choose the pizza or ice cream or whatever, will not break us. Of course, if you discover you feel much better when you choose the 80% way, you may be inclined to increase that number. Do I hear 85%?

Another thought: stop eating said food before you are stuffed. Stop eating when you are 80% full. Eat slowly and savor whatever it is that you’re eating, whether it’s the salad or the coconut cake. Stop before you need to loosen your belt a notch or unbutton that top button on your pants. Allow your stomach to tell your brain that you need to stop or you will feel bad—not so much because of what you ate, but because you overate!

One of the habits I try to follow is eating a tossed salad before or with the pizza. By doing this, I take the edge off my appetite. I enjoy the pizza, I am satisfied and I don’t eat so much pizza that I feel bad. This is a much better tactic than complete denial of a favorite food, then going off the deep end one day and eating uncontrollably.

Another trick is to drink plenty of water, no matter what. We need to hydrate daily, winter and summer, and this helps stop out-of-control eating.

There are options when it comes to choosing foods that seem rather indulgent. Homemade (from scratch) pizza will most likely be healthier than frozen. If you make your pizza using quality ingredients, vegetables, lean protein, and a thin whole grain crust, you take it to an entirely different level. There are frozen varieties that are organic or gluten free or have fewer preservatives.

Sometimes, we simply have to meet up with our friends, have fun and go with the flow. Then you know my rule: Only eat it if it’s AMAZING! Enjoy every bite and feel good.

“Consistency not novelty is the secret to uncommon results.”- Dr. John Berardi.

A Bank of Hope

I recently had the privilege of visiting and learning more about Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Prior to my visit, I knew that it offered degrees in the fields of engineering, medicine, law, dentistry, art and design, and that it was located in downtown Indianapolis. I also knew that I was able to take (and pass!) a physics class there that fulfilled my requirement to graduate from pharmacy school at Butler. That was about it. What I know now: there is an enormous amount of research that happens at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Did you know that there is a tissue bank where researchers are working tirelessly to end breast cancer, right in our own backyard? Well, so to speak, if you live in Indiana.

There is a repository of healthy breast tissue at the IU Simon Cancer Center. It is the only one of its kind in the WORLD. So, what does all this mean? The mission is to look at a healthy breast cell and discover what causes it to become cancerous. At the tissue bank, they collect, store and disperse healthy tissue samples with the intent to end this terrible disease.

Since 2007, more than 5,000 women have donated non-cancerous breast tissue and more than 10,000 women have donated blood samples to help this cause. The samples are stored and frozen. The data collected, along with the samples, are accessible to researchers around the globe, so the same trials and tests aren’t repeated unnecessarily. The healthy tissue serves as a control to compare with cancerous tissue in various experiments.

Think about it! It’s tough to figure out what goes wrong with a healthy cell if all you ever have to compare it with are other diseased cells. The research team conducts follow-up studies with all donors on a yearly basis. This is critical, since there are numerous factors that play a role in developing, as well as preventing, cancer.

I found this fascinating, since there is so much to be learned from tissue, blood and DNA samples. For example, Natascia Marino, PhD, identified a marker in the blood of women who have donated healthy tissue and gone on to develop breast cancer, signaling there may be a way to predict breast cancer before a tumor develops. That is huge.

How beautiful that there are so many women who are willing to pay it forward to help others. If you would like to learn more about this program and/or what is involved in becoming a donor, go to https://komentissuebank.iu.edu/

And the next time someone asks you what is so great about Indiana, you have this to brag about. Women helping women live better and longer lives.

“I don’t know a name. I don’t know a face, but I know the love and joy of helping another life by giving of oneself through research and sacrifice. I hope donating tissue and time will save someone, someday.” –Dawn and Pearl