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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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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

August 27, 2020

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready? Or are you waiting for the perfect time to…                             …learn a new skill? …write the book? …ea

August 25, 2020

Gluten Free Pie Crust

This recipe yields two 9-inch pie crusts. 2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend (Namaste and King Arthur are brands I’ve used)  1/2 teaspo

August 20, 2020

It’s Tomato Time

As I was caring for my tomato plants, I had the memory of my father teaching me about cutting off the suckers–those shoots that show up between

August 13, 2020

Enjoy a Bit of Sabbath Today

Today, take some time to lighten things up a bit and do something you really enjoy—for about an hour. Warning: this may take some discipline. Monks

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

November’s Healthy Lifestyle Habit

RELAX!

This time of year, people tend to be wound pretty tight. The intensity gains momentum as we move into December, in preparation for the holidays. This month, stockings-1816094_640make it a habit to relax.

You may think this relaxing idea sounds crazy, so let’s analyze the facts:

  • Stress causes LOTS of health problems and can sometimes make us cranky
  • When we feel rushed, we tend to make mistakes, forget important details and even get hurt
  • Burning the candle at both ends may contribute to us being less productive in the long run
  • We make poor food choices when we don’t take some time to plan ahead, which leads to unnecessary remorse
  • Our exercise routine is likely to get pushed aside because we think we are much too busy for self-care, when the exercise will help us feel better
  • Working, shopping, decorating, entertaining are all more enjoyable when you are able to go through the process in a calm, relaxed manner

Have I sold you on this idea yet? Keep in mind that whether you choose to be uptight or relaxed, time will pass you by just the same. YOU decide how you want to live your life, one day at a time. Thanksgiving dinner will come and go whether you are a frazzled mess or lighthearted and calm. Everything works out fine in the end, even if it isn’t perfect!

Okay, so this all sounds like a fairytale, right? Doesn’t have to be. Here are some ideas to help you RELAX your way into 2017:

  • When you feel anxious, focus on your breathing. Take some slow, deep, breaths by breathing in for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling for eight. Try to breaths that go into your belly. Doing this little exercise for even a minute or two will allow you to relax into the present moment.
  • Allow more time than you think you need for your tasks. By doing this, you won’t be as apt to rush. For example: shopping at the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving is going to take more time than if you do it the Monday before the holiday. Expect it to take time and if that is the only day you are able to shop, mentally prepare for this and enjoy the process. Odds are good you will run into your neighbors and friends during the outing, so enjoy it!
  • Plan a few minutes at the end of the day for quiet time. You may choose to read something light, listen to your favorite music, or sit in silence and pet your dog. girl-1561943_640(My Sophie likes that last idea best!)
  • When you have lots to accomplish and feel stressed, ASK for help. Are there other members of your family who can run and pick up the item you forgot at the store, or wrap the last-minute gift? This small favor may give you a chance to sit for 5 minutes and breathe.
  • Go ahead and exercise when you think you don’t have time. You DO have time and you will feel much more relaxed because you did!
  • What is it that you love to do? Whatever it is, do it, even if it is only for half an hour or so.

I have a client that recently went on an overnight retreat. She unexpectedly had extra time the day she was preparing to leave and spent oodles of time packing. It was very relaxing and peaceful, and it set her up to enjoy her experience of the retreat even more fully.board-393835_640

So, what will I do differently? I am having guests for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I have already begun the process of cleaning the house, so I am not running around like a turkey with my head cut off on Wednesday. I am looking at the week ahead and deciding when I will do the shopping, make the pies, set the table, etc. Simply reviewing the list of what needs to happen and PLANNING makes me feel more relaxed.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. I wish you and your family a most blessed Thanksgiving!