Crown Point, IN

September 28, 2023

Why You Can’t Stop Eating Junk Food

“Who ate all these chips?!” You look around and, alas, not even a dog to blame. Oops. It’s not your fault.  If you’ve had this experience—r

September 21, 2023

Harvesting the Balance of Autumn

September 23rd ushers in the autumn equinox, a time when day and night are in perfect balance. It also opens the official season of cozy sweaters, pum

September 14, 2023

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 y

September 7, 2023

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 Fa

August 31, 2023

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

August 24, 2023

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. Hypothyroid

August 17, 2023

Healthy Anytime Toast

Since my encounter with bar food last week, I’ve been focused on eating more plants. I came across this idea to enjoy “toast” and get more veggi

August 10, 2023

Confessions from The Antler

What does one eat when in a bar? Bar food, of course. The bar options: The Brown Bear vs. The Antler: Horniest Bar Around (There were deer heads with

August 3, 2023

6 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation at Home

August. Already. Is summer slipping by too quickly? Feel as though you’ve not experienced enough lazy days? Can’t manage to get away for one reaso

July 26, 2023

The Wonder of Apricots

When I think about the abundant fruits of summer, apricots make the list. Although some of you may not be fans, I ask that you consider giving this da

Tips for Thanksgiving Preparations

So much to do, so little time.

I bet I’m not the only one who’s thinking this right now.

However, I’ve always managed to get everything done enough so that we could enjoy a delicious (and fairly compliant) Thanksgiving meal. Interesting how that works.

We are one week away from the big day, and there is plenty of time to calmly prepare for the feast.

Here are some tips to help you. And yes, I plan on taking my own advice.

  1. Take about 10-20 minutes to make a list of what must happen in order for you to be ready for Thanksgiving festivities. This could include things like when you’ll grocery shop, menu planning, getting your house in order, food assignments if you’re hosting a pitch-in, decorating. Plan your work, then work your plan.
  2. Usually there is competition for refrigerator space once I bring home the turkey. If you can relate, toss items out now that are outdated and taking up valuable space. Eat or freeze leftovers that you won’t need once you enjoy the feast. This will help eliminate frustration a week from now.   
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of 10 minutes here and there throughout your day. While there may be the temptation to sit idle or scroll social media, return to your To Do list and knock off a simple chore. Another option is to relax and intentionally make that your idle or social media time. Planning to waste time is not time wasted.
  4. Remember to plan your meals for the days prior to and after Thanksgiving. Make sure you have the necessary ingredients to make the turkey pot pie, for example. Ok, that is specifically a reminder for me since it’s our Saturday dinner tradition. Have fresh fruit and vegetables handy for lighter snacking to help offset all that pie.
  5. When you start to feel panicky, go do something physical. Take a walk or run, vacuum, head to the gym, rake leaves (I have plenty if you need some to rake). Or practice some deep breathing exercises to calm you.
  6. If you have a frozen turkey, allow 1 day in the fridge for each 4-5 lbs. for thawing. I ordered a fresh turkey from Whole Foods and scheduled the pickup time online. Easy!
  7. Ask for specific help when you need it. People are usually happy to help you if they know what to do.
  8. Still too much to do, cook, prepare? Get real and cut back. Let go of perfection. You’ll have a more enjoyable day with family and friends.
  9. No matter what happens, be grateful.
  10. If you found this post to be helpful, please share it with your friends. They’ll be happy that you thought about them.

So that stinker Mr. Non-Compliant (my hubby) left me a recipe for pumpkin caramel flan. He loves pumpkin pie and he loves flan. Looks as though he’ll have to choose because he’s only getting ONE dessert. 

Guess he figured that it doesn’t hurt to ask.

I’m betting he’ll stick with the pie. Stay tuned…

Wishing you a blessed pre-Thanksgiving week.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“Everything changed when I switched from saying ‘I have to do this’ to ‘I GET to do this.'” — Charlotte Eriksson

Versatile gourd adds fiber, flavor and health benefits to fall foods

(The following article was written for and published in the October 13, 2021 edition of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.)

You know it’s fall when pumpkin spice makes its appearance in everything from coffee to donuts to maple syrup. I even spied seasonal Pumpkin Spice Cheerios the other day. The popularity of adding pumpkin to a variety of beverages and foods increases from September through November, peak pumpkin harvest season in the Midwest.

Pumpkin is a winter squash that is delicious and offers numerous health benefits. While thought of as a vegetable, it is technically a fruit since it is a product of a seed-bearing structure of a flowering plant. Vegetables are edible parts of plants, such as leaves, stems, and roots.   

There are over 100 varieties of pumpkins, including blue pumpkins, mini pumpkins, white pumpkins, giant pumpkins, and flat pumpkins. All varieties are edible; however, some are tastier than others. The best pumpkins for eating are often labeled “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins. They’re typically smaller than carving pumpkins, are less fibrous, and the flesh is dense and sweet. The Libby company uses a variety known as Dickinson to make its canned pumpkin.

Pumpkins and their seeds rank high on the nutrition scale. Besides looking very festive, the pumpkin is full of fiber and low in calories. Fiber helps us stay full longer, aids in healthy digestion and keeps us humming. A small amount of 100% pure canned pumpkin helps doggy digestion too. Beware of brands that have added sugar.

Pumpkins contain potassium, various minerals and vitamins A, C and E. Health benefits include a boost to the immune system and reduced inflammation. Inflammation in the body can lead to a variety of chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and type-2 diabetes.

The carotenoids, which give pumpkins their bright orange color, offer protection from certain cancers and heart disease. These compounds also lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. The alpha-carotene component may slow the aging process.

Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, magnesium, carotenoids, fiber and vitamin E. They also help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.

Should you decide to go on a search for your Great Pumpkin, you’ll most likely be coming home with a Howden, Connecticut Field, or Jack-O’Lantern variety. These are the old-time favorites for decorating and carving jack-o’-lanterns.

Pumpkin flashback. When I was about ten years old, my dad grew a pumpkin that weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of forty pounds. Together we had carved a very scary jack-o’-lantern. It glowed from our front porch on Halloween night. At some point during the treating festivities, a trick was played, and my jack-o’-lantern disappeared. Mom called the police to report the theft, but since we didn’t have enough sound evidence for a description of the pumpkin (it was big and orange), or the pranksters (they were in costume), no arrests were made. I later saw what I believed to be my pumpkin in the middle of the street, made into purée. No sugar added.

If you’re looking for fresh pumpkin to cook or bake with, you may consider visiting a local farm or farmer’s market to get the best variety for your use. I’ve noticed smaller varieties in the grocery marketed as pie pumpkins, as well as assorted decorative pumpkins. My favorite way to buy pumpkin for baking is to visit the baking aisle and pick up a can of 100% pure pumpkin. This is not to be confused with canned pumpkin pie filling, which is typically sweetened and made with spices like cinnamon, clove, allspice and ginger. 

Should you need only a portion of your canned pumpkin, store any remaining in an airtight container for up to five days. Alternatively, you can freeze canned pumpkin in an airtight container for up to three months.

Ways to get more pumpkin in your diet: add pumpkin purée to soup, pasta sauce, stew or chili to increase the nutritional value (it will not significantly alter the flavor); use it in place of oil in a bread or muffin recipe; add some to a bowl of oatmeal, pancake or waffle batter, protein smoothie, or plain Greek yogurt; try it in your hummus recipe. Of course, pumpkin pie is an all-time favorite. Enjoy the flavor with less fuss and fewer calories by making crustless pumpkin pie or pumpkin custard.

While fresh pumpkins are only available for a short season, keep in mind that you can enjoy the goodness of canned pumpkin year-round, long after the pumpkin spice lattes and Pumpkin Spice Cheerios have disappeared.

Advice From A Pumpkin: Be Well-Rounded. Get Plenty of Sunshine. Have Thick Skin. Keep Growing. Be Outstanding In Your Field. Think Big.

The Outward Olive

Today I bring you some happy news about fat.

(It’s okay to cheer about this.)

Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is good for you to consume. Experts agree that it may be the healthiest oil on the planet!

Especially extra virgin olive oil. 

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), part of the Mediterranean diet, is a traditional fat that has been a dietary staple for some of the world’s healthiest populations.

Benefits of EVOO include reduced inflammation (inflammation is responsible most illnesses/diseases), reduced risk of stroke and heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduced joint pain/swelling from rheumatoid arthritis, and antibacterial properties.

 You don’t need much in a day to experience the health benefits. 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons is a good amount. Keep in mind that it’s a high caloric food.

Use EVOO on your salads, veggies, fish, in place of butter, mixed with some balsamic for bread dipping. I often use (unflavored) EVOO in my baked goods with delicious results.

It’s important to buy the right kind of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest. Be sure that it is not diluted with other refined oils, so check the label for ingredients and quality certification.

When you’re looking for the best quality extra virgin olive oil, check out The Outward Olive, located in Crown Point, Indiana. They recently opened a tasting room and it’s fabulous!

They have oodles of flavors of EVOO and vinegars to try before you buy.  

How great it is to experience tasty AND healthy.

Jim and Kristina DeRolf and their four daughters are the owners of this beautiful business. They have a variety of other delicacies and gifts available too. 

From their website, “We have decided to offer only the highest quality of premium olive oils and vinegars. All of our products are hand crafted and hand bottled, vegan, made to order for maximum freshness, made from all natural flavorings, and are third party tested for both quality and purity.”

If you’re not local, not to worry. They will assist you with your personal order or help you design a gift basket and ship it. You just won’t get to taste. 🙁

To learn more, here’s the link to their website: https://theoutwardolive.com/

Experience a bit of the Mediterranean right here in the Midwest. Bon Appétit!

Much love to you,
Health Coach Carol

“To be outward is to live. …our purpose is greater than our fears.”—The DeRolf Family 

What’s Your Favorite Treat?

It’s that ghoulish time of year again (already) when we can pretend to be someone, or something, we’re not. Take a risk, get out of our comfort zone, scare people.

Or keep it simple and enjoy the treats instead.

Last October, Instacart reported that 116 TONS of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were purchased in this country. Those little delicacies walked away as the #1 Halloween candy.

The next most popular treat purchased during the 2021 Halloween season was plain M&M’s, with 94 tons sold. The peanut variety came in 3rd at 92 tons.

That’s a lot of candy. Bet it outranked vegetable purchases.   

Indiana’s favorite was the Reese’s.

Mr. Non-Compliant loves plain M&M’s. And Reese’s. Guess I’ll be handing out some of each to the little—and not so little—monsters that show up on Halloween.

Now I just need to work on my costume…

A Challenge for This Week

I’m a realist. I know that many of you will have Halloween candy in bowls decorating your coffee and end tables.

I also know that the candy is not just for the little goblins that show up on your doorstep.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is this: roast a big batch of vegetables to help balance out your candy intake. If you can, make enough for a couple meals.

You’ll probably even enjoy them.

Need some vegetable roasting guidance? Here you go. https://inkwellcoaching.com/2022/09/29/roasted-root-vegetables/

The Struggle is Real

Losing weight and keeping it off is hard.

There are numerous weight loss programs that help with meals, psychology, apps—all designed to help you reach your goals.

Then what? For some, the weight stays off and all is well.

For others, the struggle to maintain their desired weight is more of a challenge. Add the upcoming holidays into the mix and—well, party over.

If this scenario is a familiar one for you or someone you know, I can help.

Together, we’ll design a way of life that takes on the battle of weight loss once and for all.

The best part: it’s simple and you get to enjoy a variety of foods that are tasty AND healthy. And yes, we’ll even create a plan to navigate the holiday buffets in a way that makes sense for you. 

In addition to personal coaching, my programs include kitchen makeovers (of the non-construction variety), kitchen coaching (we cook together), grocery shopping trips/tips and more.

If you have a Mr. or Mrs. Non-Compliant in your life, we can tackle this as a team. Weight loss is easier when your Significant Other is on board.

Want to lose (instead of gain) weight during the holidays? Let’s get started. Shoot me an email.

Enjoy your vegetables…and your Halloween treats.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

 “There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.” —Robert Brault