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

Do What You Can

I feel as though time is accelerating, even though we turned the clocks back an hour.

That hour always messes with me—and my dog. She looks for her breakfast and dinner earlier.

I stay up too late and wake up earlier with the dog. And I’m tired why?   

Fortunately, we’ll be back on track in a couple weeks.

In the meantime, there seems to be more to do in preparation of the upcoming holidays than time allows. Even with that bonus hour.

One idea is to let go of the perfection monster.

We do not live a Hallmark movie life. As Mr. Non-Compliant says, “Even the snow is perfect.” He only knows this because he sneaks up on me and catches me with the Hallmark channel on occasionally.

I can only watch “The Martian” with him so many times. (Spoiler alert here, if you’ve never watched either.) At least we both watch movies with happy endings.

It’s our nature as human beings to focus on the “To Do List” items that we can’t do or won’t get to, then feel inadequate.

Same thing happens when it comes to compliments vs. criticism. You could get 100 thumbs up, but it’s the one thumb down and negative comment that will bug you when you can’t sleep.

For the sake of experimentation, which life is full of anyway, I’m going to do my best to focus on what I CAN do and feel content with that.

For example, as I mentioned last week, I bought my Thanksgiving staples already so that I’m not running from one store to another to find an item the night before.

That’s a big win for me. Can do and did. Gratitude.

When it comes to (lots of) decorations vs. food—the food wins every time. My family would rather have their favorite homemade cookies instead of extra Christmas lights.   

You get the idea.

It’s also important to continue my daily routines. I’m constantly realizing how much I can get done in a mere 15 minutes—or not.

So, as I look at my list at the end of each day, I’m practicing the art of appreciating what I’ve accomplished, instead of beating myself up about all that is left to do.

Being happy and focusing on what we can do may bring about more gratitude this Thanksgiving and holiday season. It’s worth experimenting to find out.

Speaking of Cookies

 I’ll be hosting The Amazing Cookie Bake with Health Coach Carol on Zoom, Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10:00am to 11:30am CST. We had a delicious time last year, baking our favorites together with the help of technology.

Mark your calendar to join me for this FREE event! More details coming soon.

Thank you, veterans, as we honor you today for your service.

Sending you love,
Health Coach Carol

 “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”—John Wooden

Protein Shake Ideas

The basic shake before adding any extras:

  • 8-12 ounces of unsweetened nut or other non-dairy milk, cow’s milk, water, iced green tea
  • 3 or 4 ice cubes
  • 2 scoops quality protein powder (Anywhere from 20 grams to 40 grams is usually sufficient, depending on your size and activity level. Check your brand for proper measure.)

Protein powders come in all varieties. Find one that is easy for you to digest and that tastes good. Expect to pay more for a high-quality protein, i.e., whey protein from grass-fed cows, vegan proteins that are non-GMO and certified gluten-free. Some protein powders have been found to contain heavy metals. If you need assistance, let me know and I’ll give you a more personalized recommendation.   

Next, add a vegetable, like a handful or two of spinach, kale or other leafy greens. You won’t taste it, and you’ll add lots of nutrients and fiber to help keep you full longer. You could add a couple tablespoons of roasted sweet potatoes along with some cinnamon to vanilla protein.

Another layer to add are fruits. They provide great flavor and more fiber to keep you full. When using frozen fruit, you may not need as much ice. Experiment with a handful of berries, half a banana, mango, orange slices, apple.  A couple tablespoons of canned pumpkin and spices mimics pumpkin pie. Store leftovers in single serving baggies in the freezer for future shakes. Cucumbers are refreshing with iced green tea. (Yes, pumpkin and cucumbers are actually fruits!)

Nuts or nut butters, measure about a thumb-size worth, to provide good fat. Avocado adds a creamy texture and good fat as well.

To chocolate or vanilla protein try adding any of these options:

  • peanut butter
  • peppermint leaf or extract
  • strawberries
  • walnuts
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 1/3-1/2 avocado

The more ice or frozen fruit you add, the thicker your shake will be.  The wand hand mixer should work well to blend any of these ingredients. For greens, a blender does a better job.

If you only have vanilla or unflavored protein and would like to try chocolate for a change, add a tablespoonful or so of cocoa/cacao powder.

Other fruits and vegetables work well too.  Have fun experimenting with your creative side.

A protein shake may be a meal replacement or healthy snack/treat (instead of ice cream).

Here are a few recipes to get you started. Blend ingredients until smooth and creamy. Adjust liquid or ice amounts as desired.

Peanut Butter & Jelly
9 oz. milk of your choice
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
Handful of greens
1 cup berries
1 T. natural peanut butter or powdered peanut butter
2 T. oats (optional, depending on carb need)
3-4 ice cubes

Fundango Mango
9 oz. milk of your choice
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
Handful of greens
½ cup blueberries
½ cup mango chunks (or peach if preferred)
3-4 ice cubes

Be My Valentine
9 oz. milk of your choice
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
Handful of greens
1 cup strawberries or raspberries
3-4 ice cubes

Happy Elephant
9 oz. milk of your choice
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
Handful of greens
1 T. natural peanut butter or powdered peanut butter
3-4 ice cubes



Less Stress, More Fun this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away. In this moment, it feels as though we have plenty of time to prepare.

And we do. IF we start NOW!

It hit me when I stopped in the grocery to pick up some fish for dinner yesterday and noticed all sorts of Thanksgiving dinner fixings on the endcaps.

Jellied cranberry sauce, pumpkin purée, miniature marshmallows, boxed gluten free turkey gravy…

I thought to myself, how many times do I think that I’ll have plenty of shopping trips to pick these items up, and guess what happens?

Yep, I’m in the store the week of Thanksgiving losing my mind.   

Typical scenario: Can you believe everyone else already bought ALL the jellied cranberry sauce and now I have to go to yet another store? (Mr. Non-Compliant must have his canned sauce with those can rings around it, or it’s not Thanksgiving.)

This year, I will not be a crazed Thanksgiving week shopper.

Many of those non-perishable items are tucked safely away in my pantry, just hanging out for the next 3 weeks.

My plan is to review my menu and make a list of the remaining items and pick them up later this week. The fresh items I’ll pick up on Monday of Thanksgiving week.

Less stress, more fun. I’m in.

Maybe this is something that could work well for you. Give it some thought, and if not, let it go.

Extra Halloween Candy

For those of you who live in Northwest Indiana, candy may be dropped off at all Franciscan Health Fitness Centers now through November 10th. Take it to the Service Desk and it will be sent to the men and women of our Armed Forces.

We gave out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, not veggies. The goblins were pretty happy with those.

I took our extras to the Service Desk before Mr. Non-Compliant could squirrel more away for future snacking.

Please don’t feel sorry for him. He has enough leftovers to keep him happy until the pumpkin pie shows up.

Not only that, I have his cranberry jelly tucked away, right next to the pumpkin purée. 

Save the Date

I’ll be hosting The Amazing Cookie Bake with Health Coach Carol on Zoom, Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10:00am to 11:30am CST. We had a delicious time last year, baking our favorites together with the help of technology.

Mark your calendar to join me for this FREE event! More details coming soon.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” – Joan Borysenko

The Halloween Candy Quandary

Every year, the question is the same. What kind of candy to buy for those little trick-or-treaters?

Here are some options:

  1. Buy your favorite in case there’s candy left over
  2. Buy your least favorite in case there’s candy left over
  3. Don’t buy any and leave home for the evening
  4. Buy your state’s favorite and hope to please most of the little goblins
  5. Buy a big variety pack and pass out your favorites or least favorites first, depending on if you prefer answer A or B
  6. Give out something on the healthier side and risk getting your pumpkin smashed

Should you buy your favorite, you may consider freezing leftovers (if it’s a kind you can freeze) so that you aren’t tempted to eat too much at once. 

If you buy your least favorite, give the last tricksters any leftovers and turn out your porch light.

Disappearing for the evening gets you out of any big candy decisions.

Buying your state’s favorite makes good sense, and perhaps you’ll make the locals happy.

According to a recent survey (which in my mind means it’s just fun info), here are the favorite Halloween candies of a few states:

  • Indiana: Peanut M&M’s
  • Ohio: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Michigan: Kit Kat
  • Illinois: Airheads
  • Florida & California: Jolly Rancher Hard Candy (REALLY? Maybe because the chocolate melts.)
  • Georgia: Skittles
  • Kentucky: 100 Grand Bar
  • Wisconsin: Twix

I think there may be some dental offices that take candy after Halloween and do something with it that benefits others. It’s been a while since I’ve had little ones, so maybe not.

At any rate, it’s fun to see kids and adults get decked out in their costumes and be someone or something else for an evening.

And should you happen to overdo the candy thing, just eat a little bit better with your next meal or snack.

A mixed green salad with the addition of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, or any other vegetable you choose, will get you right back on track. 

As for our treat selection? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Plain M&M’s, since that’s what Mr. Non-Compliant likes best. We usually get only a handful of trick-or-treaters, so Mr. NC has a small stash in the freezer for emergencies.

Could it be that the neighbors think I’ll hand out those mini bags of apples or some vegetable, so they skip our house?

Perhaps. At any rate…

…Wishing you a delightfully scary Halloween!

Health Coach Carol

“A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality.”—Lucy Van Pelt, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”