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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

Ever Dream of Being a Superhero?

I did something out of the ordinary this week. I went to see a movie with my girlfriends. We all needed a break from real life to relax and have fun. The “scenes” before the featured film showed regular, everyday people becoming Superheroes, seemingly overnight. Cool!

This got me thinking–each one of us has the potential to be a Superhero. We don’t need to morph into some special form or do battle with a force of evil from another world. We can simply support someone we care about as they face their personal battle.

Have a friend working too many hours? Or perhaps a co-worker struggling to stick with an exercise program or stop smoking? Are you feeling a bit down because snow is covering the beauty of the crocuses? Do you need to be a bit kinder to you?

There are times when I get caught up in my own stuff and lose sight of what someone else is experiencing. Everyone is dealing with something and so much of the time, whatever I may be feeling bad about, is not a big deal.

You may be reading this and having the best day, or possibly your worst day. Wherever you are in this picture, perhaps you can be a Superhero to someone. You don’t need any special powers to make this work. Oh, I take that back. You do need to pay attention and be present to the people around you. That in itself, is a special gift.

Whatever battle you are encountering, you will face it in a more powerful way because you helped someone else. Whether you offer someone kind words, encourage them to go with you to the gym, listen to their struggle, or take them to the movies, you are a Superhero. Every little thing we do matters.

If you are great at being the Superhero for your family and friends, at the expense of taking care of you, send me an email. We will work on this Superhero thing together.

“The door is more than it appears. It separates who you are from who you can be. You do not have to walk through it…you can run. –Franklin Richards (of The Fantastic Four)

Unlock The Door to Your Happiness

I’m working my way through a book entitled Resisting Happiness, by Matthew Kelly. This is a book you cannot simply read. Well, you could, but it would have minimal impact on your life. Therefore, I am working on the principles Matthew discusses. 

You may be wondering what this has to do with living a healthier lifestyle. My friend, it has EVERYTHING to do with it. Yes, I know I owe you an article on the negative effects of artificial sweeteners. Today, this is what I am supposed to give you.

Are you happy? Do you know what makes you happy? If you answered, “YES” to those questions, then this one is not for you. However, what I have discovered is that there are times we are not even sure WHAT makes us happy. And when we know, we may not understand what is getting in the way of our happiness.

As I am learning from Resisting Happiness, we are resistant to doing those things that ultimately lead to our happiness. It’s crazy, and it’s true.

I know that I am happiest when I get plenty of sleep, work out with my friends, eat nutrient dense foods, and feel as though I am fulfilling my life purpose. When my relationships are solid, when I take time for prayer, when I am of service, I am happy.

In the course of each day, there are hundreds of times I must overcome resistance to reach the happiness side of things. Here’s what I face as I practice happiness:

  • When I stay up too late, I don’t want to get up when my alarm goes off in the morning. When I ignore the alarm, the plan for my day is delayed and I feel defeated before I even get out of the gate. So much for my morning prayer and quiet time. Resistance.
  • It’s the lunch hour and I eat my green salad with chicken or tuna and then I think about ice cream. REALLY? Yes, really. I love ice cream. Resistance. I could have a cup of tea and an orange instead. How will I feel later, depending on my choice?
  • In order to be my best, I need to continue learning on a daily basis, which means lots of reading. Some days I think I don’t have enough time, or I’m too tired. (Those are excuses and are not acceptable. Resistance.) Could I have spent a little less time looking at Facebook or emails so I could read at least ten pages of a good book? Resistance.
  • Good relationships don’t just happen; they are built on solid foundations of communication and love. Have I reached out to my family and friends, or am I too busy doing other stuff? Resistance.

The next time you are deciding what to eat or if you should go to the gym or plan a night out with your spouse, you will face resistance. What will you do about it? Will you allow it to get in the way of your happiness?

The Action Step in the book is to write down all the times you encounter resistance for a week. Awareness is the first step in fixing the problem. Give it a try and see what you discover—especially if you don’t want to! Resistance.

“The hardest war to win is one you don’t even realize you are fighting, and the hardest enemy to defeat is the one you don’t even know exists. Every day you are at war with resistance.” –Matthew Kelly in Resisting Happiness

The Beauty of Community

Recently I attended a business retreat in San Francisco with over one hundred entrepreneurs from around the globe. We all have different passions, backgrounds, interests and personal beliefs. What we all have in common is our desire to have a positive impact in the world. Our mentor and his team have the same dream.

I bring this up because what was so significant was the spirit of community. The energy of knowing that there are so many others with a similar dream inspires and catapults us to another realm. We are cheerleaders for one another and the geographical miles matter not. We connect through our Facebook community and group phone sessions.

As you practice healthier habits—from fitness to food to taking care of YOU—it helps to know there are others “out there” doing the same. It helps to know that you are not in this challenge alone.

Another aspect of this is the concept of social networks and how they affect us physically, emotionally, and impact who we become. If you would like to become a more positive person, it is best to surround yourself with positive people. Weight gain, as well as weight loss, is contagious. And this is the case not only with our friends, but also with our friends’ friends’ friends!

In this TED talk by Nicholas Christakis, he addresses the influence of our social networks, not only when it comes to health, but our happiness, and more. Check it out and be prepared to be enlightened! You will learn how far-reaching and powerful the social network effect really is.

He concludes, “It is the ties between people that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.” And, “I think we form social networks because the benefits of a connected life outweigh the costs.” Oh, yes, I certainly agree.

If you are struggling with any aspect of your life, find those people who are looking to achieve the same goals and have a similar attitude, to support you. This is the reason I must leave my home and go to a fitness center to workout with a group. The mindset of those I spend my time with support who I am trying to become. I would not do as well by myself!

There are a variety of groups that support a healthy lifestyle, so find those that work for you. You may also choose to “Like” my Inkwell Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page. It is a public group and those who follow it are looking for ways to make small changes that add up over time. We are community, we support one another and we are better because we are not alone.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  –Mother Teresa

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