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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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January 14, 2021

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28. Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from

January 7, 2021

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of… …a head of cauliflower. Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried. Truth is that cauli

December 31, 2020

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion. The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green on

December 24, 2020

The Hope and Excitement of a Baby

A bit of background for my new readers: I’m taking the produce journey along with my good friend who is expecting. As we track the progression, we l

December 17, 2020

Create Your Own Cookbook and Mr. Non-Compliant’s Favorite Vegetable

Those of us who attended the Zoom “Amazing Cookie Bake” had a delicious time baking our cookies. My cookie press was missing its piston—a critic

December 10, 2020

We’re Baking Cookies Together… Sort of

I’m baking cookies this coming Saturday morning, and I’d love for you to join me! Through the magic of ZOOM, we are all gathering to bake and soci

December 2, 2020

So, the Marshmallows Caught Fire…

Thanksgiving Day is but a faint memory, as we fast forward into Advent and the season of Christmas. It was quiet around the Slager home, until the mar

November 25, 2020

Cookies, Carrots, and Giving Thanks

Here it is November, and everything is still pretty weird. I find it hard to believe that we’ve almost blown through another year, even though it se

November 19, 2020

Are Bananas Good for You?

Bananas sometimes get a bad rap. The truth is, they have lots of redemptive qualities. They are among the most important food crops on the planet. Alt

November 12, 2020

What to Make for Dinner When the Power Goes Out

As I was writing this, my power went out. It wasn’t just a flicker. It was a full OUTAGE in our local area. Concerned that this could linger into th

The Skinny on Fat

When you need a quick snack, are you better off eating a handful of walnuts or a bowl of ice cream? (Read on for the answer!)

About 30% of our diet should consist of fat. This may seem contrary to what we have heard. However, a diet that does not include a variety of HEALTHY fats isn’t ideal either.

We need fat in our diets to provide energy; help manufacture and balance hormones; support our immune system; form our cell membranes, brains, nervous systems; transport fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K); and provide two essential fatty acids that the body can’t make.

There are three types of fats we will focus on:

  • Saturated
  • Monounsaturated
  • Polyunsaturated

Ideally, we should eat 1/3 of each type for best health.

The foods that provide these fats:

Saturated fats: animals (eggs, dairy, meats, butter, cheeses, etc.). Also, coconut oil, palm oil. If you choose to eat these oils, be sure to choose them in their most natural form—unrefined, whole, cold-pressed, extra-virgin. We typically eat an overabundance of foods containing saturated fats and not enough plant foods. These, combined with the many refined carbohydrates we consume (white sugar and flour), contribute to a long list of health problems.

Monounsaturated fats: macadamias, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, tahini, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, olives, olive oil, avocados

Polyunsaturated fats: wild-caught fish, hemp seeds, algae oils, safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanuts, canola oil, walnuts, flax seeds and oil, chia seeds, Brazil nuts

The easiest way to balance our heavy saturated fat intake is to focus on adding foods from the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated categories—so, eat a variety of nuts and seeds. And if you guessed that walnuts (polyunsaturated) are a better snack than ice cream (saturated), you are correct! We are trying to achieve better fat balance. You probably had animal (saturated) fat at a meal, and the sugar in the ice cream does nothing to promote good health. Sorry.

A word about trans fats: avoid them. These are processed fats that have hydrogen added to make liquid vegetable oils more solid. They are cheap, easy to make, and increase the shelf life of foods. ANY food that has partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil on the label should be avoided. These fats may contribute to high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, cardiac and other chronic health issues. They interfere with fat metabolism and cause inflammation and pain. Trans fats are found in margarine, shortening, many fried and baked goods, such as donuts, crackers, cookies, pies, cakes, etc.

A great idea: eat mostly natural, unprocessed, whole foods. Oh, and eat more vegetables. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has told me they need to lose a few pounds because they eat too many greens.

 “Increase your consumption of healthful fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild fish, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. At the same time, keep in mind that modified fats like hydrogenated or trans fats are the worst choices for brain health.” –Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain

Tips to Overcome the Dreaded Plateau

It happens. You are practicing good eating and exercise habits. You feel yourself becoming fit, healthier, and even weighing a bit less. It’s exciting! You are highly motivated and encouraged to stay the course.

And then, IT happens. You plateau, just as things were going so very well! This is just supposed to happen to other people, NOT YOU! It’s simply not fair.

Here is some awesome advice from Dr. John Berardi, along with the reason of WHY this happens.

In addition to calorie and carb cycling, here are some other tips that you may help you get to the “lighter” side:

*Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. A simple rule is to take your weight and divide the number in half. That is a good estimate of the number of ounces you need in the course of your day. Of course, when you are more active and the weather is extremely warm, you may need more. Remember:  fruits, vegetables, broth, and herbal, non-caffeinated teas contribute to this amount as well.

*Look at your fruit intake compared to your vegetable intake. If you are trying to lose fat, your vegetable to fruit ratio needs to be about 5:1. Vegetables typically contain less natural sugar.

*Are you eating enough? As Dr. John mentioned, when you don’t eat enough, your body slows down, similar to a hibernating bear. You actually hang on to fat for protection. Of course, since we usually have grocery stores in close proximity to our homes, this is not as much of an issue as it was when our ancestors had to hunt for their next meal.

*Change up your exercise routine and try something new. Our bodies get accustomed to the same workouts and need a little shake up now and then. (Of course, if you are new to exercise, get clearance from your doctor first.)

*Make sure that strength training is included in your program. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. Yes, muscle does weigh more, and it is worth the extra pounds to have it!

*If you are eating foods that you know bother you, stop it. Foods that upset your body cause inflammation, get in the way of weight loss, and may eventually cause disease. So, if you eat sugar (or artificial sweeteners, white flour, dairy, processed or fried foods– you get the idea) and you are experiencing symptoms, STOP. In fact, many of these and more–are not a good idea for any of us. Eat mostly whole foods.

Hope some of these tips help you continue your journey to a healthier, lighter you.

If you could use some guidance to take charge of your health, and your life, shoot me an email and we’ll make it happen! carol@inkwellcoaching.com

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”—Fred DeVito

Stress and Weight Retention

I’ve heard this frustration more than once: I eat pretty well, I am faithful with my workouts and I still am not able to lose weight. What is the problem?

Are you stressed? What is your stress level on a scale of 1-10 in any area of your life? Chances are if you are at a “10,” or close to it, the stress could be part of the problem.

So, now what? Quit your job, leave your family, and disappear to a tropical island? Not realistic and you would then be concerned about money, your family, or if you could get blown away by a hurricane.

There are much better options.

First of all, if you are feeling stress from every direction and doing killer workouts besides, you may not be doing yourself any favors. Try implementing some form of movement that is a bit more calming, restorative, and meditative. Some examples: walking, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, dance, and any combination of them. By slowing down a bit, you are better able to focus on your breath. Practicing deep, belly breaths as opposed to taking rapid, shallow breaths, is extremely beneficial in restoring balance. These types of exercises also have the potential to keep you in the present moment, which is the best moment of your day, since it’s the only one you’ve got.

This is not to say that you still can’t “kill it” at the gym. What I’m suggesting is finding the balance. Assess how you feel on a particular day and choose accordingly. What is it you need today? Let’s face it, some days we are Energizer bunnies, then there are… others.

What are you incorporating into your life that brings you joy? This idea is about YOU—not your kids, your spouse, your friends or colleagues—but YOU. When was the last time you went out and did something for fun because you could? Or perhaps there is a hobby that you’ve neglected because you feel you don’t have time. Think about something you could do that would make you smile and feel happy. Put it in your calendar for the coming week and treat it as your most important commitment. This could be something as simple as sitting at the park on a sunny day and doing nothing for 10 minutes. Bask in the warmth of summer and breathe. 

Sometimes you simply need to BE. Park yourself somewhere and daydream. Setting time aside to do nothing is not wasted time. Give it a try. Kick it back a notch and see if you notice a shift—not only in your weight, but also in your life.

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace.” –Milan Kundera

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