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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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June 13, 2024

Refreshing Drink Recipes to Beat the Heat

As the summer sun reaches its peak, staying hydrated is more important than ever. But who says hydration has to be boring? Here are some simple recipe

June 6, 2024

Fun and Healthy Summer Snacks

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh, light, and delicious snacks that not only keep you cool but also pack a nutritional punch. Here are some fu

May 30, 2024

The Surprising Link Between Texting and Better Eating

Ever notice how you just feel a little lighter after a laugh with friends, or a heartfelt conversation with a loved one? These kinds of positive socia

May 22, 2024

Uncovering the Hidden Sweetness in Everyday Foods

(The following article was written for the December 2020 issue of Get Healthy magazine, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. I’m sharin

May 16, 2024

Mastering the Art of Cleaning Produce

Last week I promised that I’d offer some various ways to effectively clean your produce. Before preparing fruits and vegetables, wash your hands wel

May 9, 2024

Navigating Pesticides in Produce

To buy organic or conventional produce? That is the question of the day. Organic produce, by definition, is grown without synthetic pesticides, synthe

May 2, 2024

Diverse Protein Sources for a Healthier You

Last week I covered the topic of how much protein we need in a day and dispelled the idea that protein causes kidney damage. In case you missed it, he

April 25, 2024

Is Too Much Protein Dangerous?

Twenty-five years ago, there was plenty of skepticism about protein. After all, bodybuilders ate lots of it—and they experimented with all kinds of

April 18, 2024

The #1 Nutrition Principle

“Red wine is better than white wine!” “Kale is better than spinach!” “GRAINS ARE EVIL!!” Ever feel like good nutrition is just too complic

April 11, 2024

Angelos Update and Green Thumb Time

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years, you may recall my weekly posts that were written comparing the size of my friend’s baby in utero

More Brain-Boosting Foods

Last week I shared a list of brain-boosting foods with the promise of more to come.

Here are some additional foods that you may choose to include in your diet to help improve brain health.

  1. Whole Grains: Brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, and other whole grains provide a steady supply of glucose, which the brain needs for energy.
  2. Lean Proteins: Sources like poultry, lean beef, and legumes contain amino acids necessary for the production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood and cognitive function.
  3. Beets: Rich in nitrates, which can help increase blood flow to the brain, thereby potentially improving mental performance.
  4. Tomatoes: They contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may protect against cell damage. 
  5. Pomegranate: This fruit is high in antioxidants and may help improve memory and cognitive function.
  6. Dark Chocolate: Contains antioxidants, including flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants like cocoa. It also helps boost mood.
  7. Green Tea: Contains caffeine and L-theanine, which can have synergistic effects on brain function.
  8. Bone Broth: Contains nutrients like collagen, glycine, and proline, which may support brain health.
  9. Coffee: Increases alertness, improves mood, enhances concentration. Drinking coffee over the long-term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This could at least be partly due to coffee’s high concentration of antioxidants and caffeine. My choice for a clean organic coffee is Lifeboost. Here’s a link to my recent blog post on coffee. https://inkwellcoaching.com/2023/06/08/some-coffee-caffeine-chatter/

Improving brain health involves a holistic approach that encompasses various lifestyle factors. Here are a few other things we can do to promote cognitive well-being:

Regular Exercise: Physical activity has been linked to improved cognitive function, increased brain volume, and reduced risk of cognitive decline. Aim for a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises.

Adequate Sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for cognitive function. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support memory consolidation, problem-solving abilities, and overall brain health.

Stress Management: Chronic stress can have negative effects on the brain. Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, mindfulness, or spending time in nature. 

Limit Alcohol Consumption and Avoid Smoking: Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can have detrimental effects on brain health. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation, and if you smoke, consider quitting.

Try focusing on one aspect at a time, which can help prevent overwhelm and foster a sense of achievement. Remember, progress is a journey, and each small step you take contributes to your overall brain health.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

 “I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.”—Dr. Seuss

Ten Brain-Boosting Foods

Thank you for the many recommendations of farm stands with tasty corn on the cob.

Mr. Non-Compliant happened to be in the vicinity of VanDerGriends Farm Stand located on Glenwood Lansing Road in Lansing, Illinois. This spot was recommended by one my readers, so he stopped.

He came home with corn, a very fragrant cantaloupe, and some of the biggest Michigan peaches I’ve ever seen.

Mr. Non-Compliant did good. Everything was delicious and he was delighted with the corn.

I ate a peach and the juice dripped down my chin. Yes, it was that good. 

I’m grateful that we (in Northwest Indiana) can continue to enjoy farm fresh fruits and vegetables for about 3 more weeks.

If you’d like to increase the number of plants you include in your diet, now is a good time to practice adding a few more into your week.

It’s never too early, or too late, to improve your health habits.

Foods that Improve Brain Health

I was recently asked about foods that help improve brain health.

While it’s best to follow a balanced diet, some foods are power houses when it comes to the brain.

Here’s a partial list for you with more to come next week.

  1. Fatty Fish: Fish like salmon, trout, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is essential for brain health. Wild caught fish are best.
  2. Blueberries: They are high in antioxidants, including flavonoids, which have been shown to improve memory and cognitive function. Wyman’s wild blueberries found in the frozen food section are best.
  3. Turmeric: Contains a compound called curcumin, which has been studied for its potential to cross the blood-brain barrier and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
  4. Broccoli: High in antioxidants and vitamin K, which is believed to support brain health.
  5. Pumpkin Seeds: These are a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper, which are all important for brain function.
  6. Dark Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in nutrients like folate, vitamin K, and antioxidants that may provide benefits for brain health.
  7. Nuts: Particularly walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, which are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamin E.
  8. Oranges: High in vitamin C, which is key for preventing mental decline.
  9. Eggs: Rich in several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline.
  10. Avocado: Contains monounsaturated fats, which contribute to healthy blood flow, and also lower blood pressure, which is important for brain health. 

Additionally, staying hydrated and getting regular exercise are important factors in maintaining good brain health.

May you enjoy a happy and healthy week.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it – because they do.”—Michael Greger

Mr. Non-Compliant’s Unwavering Passion for…Corn

Mr. Non-Compliant LOVES corn on the cob. Since the corn season is rather brief, I do my best to oblige him with this indulgence.

And as my dear cousin Roger says, “Corn on the cob is a vehicle for salt and butter.”

Yep, that’s my family. I do miss the farm as I recall summer days when we could pick corn and tomatoes from our backyard garden and eat it all immediately.

Talk about good eatin’.

This season, my tomatoes are small and many are still green. I have no space to grow corn. 

We’re at the mercy of grocery stores, as I seem to keep missing the farmer’s markets and produce stands.

I’ve not had the best luck finding tender corn in the stores. When the price is lower, the corn is too mature and rather tough.

When I find what looks like imported corn from some southern state, it’s sometimes $1.00 or more an ear. It’s shucked, packaged and just happens to be pretty delicious.

It somehow feels very wrong to be eating already-shucked corn from another state this time of year.

Such a conundrum.

My father used to claim that any corn more than 5 minutes old when it hits the boiling water is not fit to eat.

I have definitely compromised my standards for Mr. NC.

If you discover some local tasty corn, please let me know where you found it.

Prior to adding the salt and butter, corn does have some redeeming qualities.

It is one of the most popular cereal grains and is primarily composed of carbohydrates. It also has a fair amount of fiber, mostly insoluble meaning it does not dissolve in water and is left intact and undigested.

Corn is a high-antioxidant food (a good thing), and is a source of protein, vitamin C, certain B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.

Because it is a complex carbohydrate food that is also high in fiber, it supports steady energy levels, and ranks low or medium on the glycemic index scale.

It is naturally gluten free and can be a good substitute for wheat or other gluten-containing foods. 

Sweet corn, the kind we usually eat whole, off the cob, is mostly non-GMO corn.

Field corn, the kind used to make corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, livestock feed, and many chemical ingredients that are added to packaged, processed foods, is usually genetically modified.

 When purchasing corn tortillas or other corn products, look for “non-GMO” on the label.

Enjoy the local produce while we still have a bit of summer left.

Wishing you a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“Alas, summer sun can’t last forever. The days will grow cooler and shorter, and our skin will once again pale.”— Sarah MacLean

Tips for a Sluggish Thyroid

Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions about the little gland known as the thyroid.

It seems to be underperforming for many of you.

Hypothyroidism—a.k.a. low thyroid—is way more prevalent in women than men.

And it’s no fun: Along with a host of difficult symptoms—fatigue, low mood, constipation, dry skin, fertility issues—a low-functioning thyroid can slow metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight (and harder to lose it).

In fact, research suggests that people with mild to moderate hypothyroidism may experience a metabolic slowdown of 140 to 360 calories a day.

As if weight loss wasn’t hard enough, right?   

However, if you do have hypothyroidism, it doesn’t mean you should double-down on restriction, willpower, and strenuous gym labor.

That often fails.

Here’s what to do instead.

(And by the way, this is a good process for anyone looking to lose weight and/or improve their health.)

Nail the basics.

Many people with hypothyroidism want to start with fairly intense and specific dietary changes they’ve read about on the internet.

Like most, those with hypothyroidism typically benefit more from simpler strategies, done with high consistency: Emphasize minimally processed foods, get regular physical activity, prioritize sleep, and eat slowly and mindfully.

(If these sound too basic, ask yourself how well you’re doing all these things consistently now.)

Target specific nutrition issues.

Several deficiencies can contribute to hypothyroidism, making weight loss—and better health overall—harder.

Some common deficiencies that contribute to thyroid function include: iodine, iron, selenium, copper, zinc, and tyrosine. Eating a wide variety of whole foods is a great place to start when attempting to fill those nutritional gaps.

I can easily get stuck in a rut, eating the same fruits and vegetables day after day. Challenge yourself to be adventurous and try something “new” each week.

Or, if you’ve not been very consistent eating whole foods in general, begin today to make this a priority.

Envision a hopeful future—then take action.

Develop a crystal-clear vision of what a healthier you looks like. Then begin embodying it. 

Action often drives motivation, not the other way around.

While every case is unique, practicing these simple strategies is a good way to begin to help your thyroid work more effectively.

If you’d like to continue the conversation on the topic of hypothyroidism and how it’s specifically affecting you, send me an email so that we can figure out a time to connect.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“When Diet Is Wrong, Medicine Is Of No Use. When Diet Is Correct, Medicine Is Of No Need.” – Ayurvedic Proverb