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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

Acai What?

Acai. Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, this berry comes from palm trees located along the riverbanks of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.

If you figured that acai berries are healthy, since I’m writing about them, you are correct.

They’re bluish-purple, similar in size and shape to large blueberries, yet they contain more antioxidants than other berries.

Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants have the potential to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and various conditions related to the aging process.

I’ve seen acai berries in the candy aisle coated with dark chocolate, and I may have even tried a few at one time. As I recall, they were pretty tasty…

I digress.

Acai berries contain healthy omega fats—like we find in fish oil, avocados, and olive oil.

They have a slightly bitter taste, similar to blackberries. 

I found Sambazon Acai Superfruit Packs in the frozen food section that are perfect for making smoothies. They come 4 packets to a package. Each packet contains 10 grams of protein.

Yesterday’s smoothie contained one frozen acai packet, oat milk, one-half of a frozen banana, a handful of cilantro, another scoop each of protein and collagen powder, about a teaspoonful of monk fruit, and a couple ice cubes.

It tasted like a very berry shake, with a hint of cilantro. Kind of weird with the cilantro, but I really am trying to like it.

If you missed the cilantro blog post, explaining why it is so good for us, here’s the link: https://inkwellcoaching.com/2022/08/11/an-herb-that-helps-reduce-anxiety-induce-sleep-and-more/

When you’re feeling adventurous, give the acai superfruit packs a whirl. If you like berries, you’ll enjoy including them in your breakfast/snack rotations.

I Need Your Help!

Each year from pre-Thanksgiving to Christmas, there are Holiday guide inserts in our local newspaper.

These guides have a variety of topics written by a number of contributing editors, including yours truly. I, obviously, write articles relating to food, health and how to not gain 10 or 20 pounds in this time frame.

I have one article a week for 6 weeks. Since this is my 5th year of writing them, I’ve covered many typical holiday food issues, such as how to eat smart and not gain weight, how to handle food sensitivities when serving guests, what to do with all those Christmas cookies that are screaming at you to eat them, etc.

What would YOU like to know if you were reading these holiday guides? 

If you have a topic that you think may be of interest, PLEASE email me your idea. I may have already written about it, however there may be another angle I could address, or it may spark a new thought that I could expand upon.

 Thanks in advance for your help! I appreciate all of you who take the time to read my blogs, whether it’s weekly, or once in a blue moon, when you have a couple extra minutes.

Oh, and thanks for sharing them with the people you love. Most of my clients come by way of referrals.

With gratitude, love, and a little acai,
Health Coach Carol

 “September days have the warmth of summer in their briefer hours, but in their lengthening evenings a prophetic breath of autumn.”― Rowland E. Robinson

The Art of Doing Nothing

A friend of mine recently mentioned that she wastes lots of time.

While wasting time is a real thing, there is also the art of doing nothing.

There’s a BIG difference.

It’s all in the perspective, intention, and result.

This week, I practiced the art of doing nothing for part of a day. I found it to be refreshing, restorative, and very necessary.

I sat with toes dangling in a cool lake looking at lots of water and blue sky. I did absolutely nothing, while my “To Do” list for the week sat idle.

Nothing was happening or getting checked off.     

This concept may send some of you into a frenzy. The more frenzied you become, the more you would probably benefit.

Doing nothing and enjoying it gave me the fuel to tackle the “To Do’s” with better focus and drive.

We all have challenges that tend to be energy zapping. Stuff happens and our response is, “Really?”

Big hairy stuff, little annoying stuff, and everything in between.

Choosing to enjoy doing nothing may bring a bit of peace and calm into your world. It can be meditative in nature, or not.

Wasting time happens when you spend an hour or more thinking about what you “should” be doing and finding yourself in a frenzy because you didn’t do the thing and didn’t enjoy the time you spent thinking about it.

Perhaps that is the art of procrastination, which I am also very good at some days.

This week may be a good one to spend a little time intentionally doing nothing. Five minutes or a day. You get to choose. If you’ve recently sent children and young adults off to school, you may need a day.

Doing nothing can happen anywhere. And it’s free unless you play hooky from work and lose on your paycheck.

 Watch a movie, sit on your porch, dangle your toes in a lake. Do nothing.

A Special Note to Empty Nesters

If you and your partner find yourself in this category and need help figuring out a plan to get in better shape, better health, and enjoy a life that no longer revolves around sporting events, graduation parties, and lots of other hoopla, let’s talk.

It can feel weird when everyone leaves home and there’s no other chatter around the dinner table.

It’s a big adjustment.

Now is YOUR time.

Working with couples is one of my specialties. Together, we get stuff done and have fun in the process.

Keep in mind, I live with Mr. Non-Compliant. I get it if one of you is all in and the other is, well, a bit on the non-compliant side.

I’m here if you need me.

Wishing you a fabulous week as you practice the art of doing nothing.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“The hardest thing is to do nothing and do it well.”Marty Rubin 

Mr. Non-Compliant vs. Mr. Corn

It’s that time of year when my dear cousin, Roger, aka Mr. Corn, and his wife Barb, come to Indiana for a visit. They now live in Florida, where sweet corn is not optimal.

Nothing beats Midwestern corn in August. It is truly amazing.

Even though it doesn’t need salt and butter, as Roger says, the corn is a vehicle for both. 

Earlier this week, Mr. Corn and Mr. Non-Compliant had a corn eating duel. The two of them took down at least 11 of the 18 ears, plus sausage and farm fresh tomatoes.

Summer eating at its best.

Yes, I enjoyed a few ears too.

Corn 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.

Does Eating Organic Really Matter?

While shopping this week, I heard the woman next to me (Heather) wondering aloud if the meat that was labeled organic was really organic.

She stated that she felt very confused about food, and although she knew she needed to make some changes, she really didn’t know how to begin.

As luck would have it, I was the person who overheard her comments.

I choose organic products often. While it is impossible to completely avoid all chemicals in the air, food, water, and other products, every little bit helps. 

Some produce items are more laden with pesticides than others. To review, check out my blog from June with the Dirty Dozen list: https://inkwellcoaching.com/2022/06/02/in-celebration-of-june-and-the-dirty-dozen/

Animal products may contain hormones, steroids, and/or antibiotics, so I look for those that are free of those extra ingredients.

As I told Heather, our health journey is not one of perfection, but of doing just a little bit better.

Have questions? Confused about how to get back on track? Shoot me an email and we’ll create a plan that best suits you.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“Up in Indiana where the tall corn grows / I do a little thinkin` bout a girl named Rose / Hair blonde as hay and long as a rope / Up in Indiana where the tall corn grows” – Lyle Lovett

An Herb that Helps Reduce Anxiety, Induce Sleep, and More

I find it fascinating when one single food, or in this case, an herb, can contribute so much to our health.

Cilantro is one such herb. While it’s not one of my favorites, I’m trying to creatively sneak it into my life because of its benefits.

By including fresh cilantro in your diet, you may benefit in the following ways:

  • Rid the body of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, lead, and mercury. Cilantro has been shown to bind toxic metals together, loosening them from tissue and facilitating their elimination from the body.
  • Protect against oxidative stress, in part due to the flavonoid quercetin. Oxidative stress is linked to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more.
  • Reduce anxiety and help improve sleep. Cilantro extract is a preferred option over drugs that may produce a variety of side effects.
  • Prevent urinary tract infections due to antibacterial activity.     
  • Soothe skin irritations such as hives, poison ivy, and sunburns. To use externally, blend fresh cilantro with coconut oil and apply to affected area. For double benefits, blend cilantro with water (instead of coconut oil), strain, apply to skin, and drink remaining juice. This is especially helpful when you are experiencing an allergic reaction.
  • Lower blood sugar.
  • Improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
  • Aid digestion by helping produce digestive enzymes. Add chopped cilantro to spicy dishes to help prevent heartburn. Add to legumes and salads to reduce gas and bloating.

Coriander and cilantro are from the same plant. The term “cilantro” refers to the stalks and leaves, while “coriander” refers to dried cilantro seeds. Coriander is often used as a substitute for cumin, caraway seeds or fennel due to its similarities in taste.

Fresh cilantro is used to season soups, salsas, sauces, and chutneys. It brings a refreshing flavor and citrusy undertones to recipes. Add to dishes at the end of cooking to preserve nutrients and flavor.

Not a fan of cilantro? Turns out that there is a genetic variation that explains why some love it and others think it tastes like soap and can’t stand the smell of it.

I’ve been adding a handful of cilantro to my protein smoothies which sort of camouflages the taste.

Other ways to use cilantro:

  • Add to sour cream or Greek yogurt before adding to soups, chili, stews, potatoes, dips. 
  • Toss with rice along with a twist of lime.
  • Blend into your vinaigrette or citrus salad dressings.
  • Add to your stir-fry at the end of cooking.
  • Use it in your chutney.
  • Stir into your salsa.

While no single food is THE superfood of superfoods, cilantro is another one for your health food toolbox.

Much love to you,
Health Coach Carol

 “The real secret to guacamole is that you use exactly the elements that you need, which is cilantro, onion, tomato, and jalapenos. And, of course, avocado.”— Demian Bichir