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

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 reason or another?

 Staycation retreats at home can be a wonderful way to relax, recharge, and pamper yourself without the hassle of traveling.

The key, as in everything, is to plan your day, then stick to your plan. No exceptions. 

Note: If you have children at home, plan something that you’ll all enjoy, or have your staycation when they go back to school.

Here are some ideas.

  1. Have a spa day. The day before, clear your immediate environment (and your calendar) of any clutter to create a sense of calm and tranquility. Make sure you have the necessary ingredients ready for your meals and snacks. That morning, create a delicious and nutritious smoothie using a variety of fruits and greens. For example, try a spinach-banana-pineapple or berry-mint smoothie. Turn on your favorite soothing music and prepare a luxurious bath with Epsom salts or your favorite products. Give yourself a facial. Make a hearty salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and a lemon juice and olive oil dressing for lunch. Sit inside or outside and enjoy doing nothing. Hide your phone and computer for the day. Drink plenty of water and herbal tea. Do some easy stretching or yoga. Need a cat nap? Take one for 20-30 minutes. Read, write or watch a favorite movie. Beat the heat with a cold tomato-based gazpacho soup loaded with vegetables and herbs for your dinner. Layer Greek yogurt with fresh fruits like berries, mangoes, and kiwi for a refreshing and healthy dessert. It’s your day to relax, so you get to plan it any way you choose.
  2. Plan an entire day of movie-watching. Have a movie marathon with your favorite films or explore new genres. Make popcorn and wear your comfiest clothes. Hide your phone and computer for the day.
  3. Spend time in Nature. Take leisurely walks in nearby parks or nature preserves to reconnect with Mother Earth. Spend the day at the beach or sit by a stream or lake and daydream. During the evening, stargaze and identify constellations. Eat your meals al fresco. Hide your phone and computer for the day.
  4. Explore Local Cuisine: Order takeout to be delivered or cook dishes from various local restaurants to experience different cuisines without leaving your home. If you enjoy being in the kitchen, cook some dishes that you’ve been wanting to try and never have the time. Hide your phone and computer for the day—use only when you need to call for takeout.
  5. Reading Retreat: Dive into a pile of books you’ve been wanting to read, creating a cozy reading nook. Have your snacks ready. Hide your phone and computer for the day. 
  6. Creative Pursuits: Engage in hobbies like painting, writing, crafting, gardening or playing a musical instrument. Is there something that you’ve been putting off that you’d like to do? Now is the time to get started—which is always the toughest part. Hide your phone and computer for the day.

Remember, the key to a successful staycation retreat is to create an environment that allows you to relax, indulge in self-care, and escape from daily routines. Tailor your activities to your preferences and take the time to truly enjoy each moment. Happy staycation!

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“Just lying on my couch with the warm sun on my face is enough to make my staycation at home a wonderful experience.”—author unknown

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 dainty little fruit another taste.

If your current rating for them is thumbs down, consider cutting an apricot into your next fruit salad so that you can ease into the flavor and texture of it.

When selecting apricots, look for those that are plump, firm, and have a deep orange color. Avoid those that are too hard or too soft. Ripe apricots should have a sweet aroma and yield slightly to gentle pressure.

Like peaches and nectarines, they can ripen once you get them home. If they’re not quite the way you like them, store your apricots at room temperature for a couple days or so, checking them daily. Refrigerate to stop further ripening.

Of course, as with all fruits and veggies, there are some delicious health benefits.

  1. Nutrient-rich: Apricots are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and dietary fiber. They are low in calories and contain no saturated fats, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
  2. Rich in Antioxidants: Apricots are rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene, which help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants may contribute to better overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  3. Eye Health: The high levels of beta-carotene in apricots are beneficial for eye health and may help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
  4. Heart Health: The potassium content in apricots supports heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  5. Digestive Health: Apricots contain dietary fiber, which aids digestion and promotes bowel regularity.

The peak season for apricots varies depending on the region and the specific variety. Generally, fresh apricots are available during late spring and early summer, typically from May to July in the Northern Hemisphere. During this time, you’ll find the most flavorful and sweet apricots.

There are many different apricot varieties, each with its unique characteristics, flavors, and uses. Some popular apricot varieties include:

  1. Blenheim: Known for its excellent flavor and sweetness, Blenheim apricots are widely grown in California.
  2. Moorpark: This variety has a rich and sweet taste and is commonly used for drying due to its high sugar content.
  3. Royal/Royalty: These apricots are reddish orange with a sweet and tangy flavor.
  4. Tomcot: Large, orange fruit with firm, sweet flesh. Slightly tart, old-time apricot flavor.
  5. Goldrich: This variety has a smooth texture and is favored for its sweetness.
  6. Harlayne: A late-ripening apricot with a delicate flavor.

I happened to discover Le Crème Apricots when I was at Whole Foods and decided to give them a try. 

They’re grown in Washington and are a white fleshed apricot. When I brought them home, they were too firm to eat.

Now they’re just right—sweet, juicy, delicious.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

 “Five tender apricots in a blue bowl, a brief and exact promise of things to come.”– Frances Mayes

Why Potatoes are a Health Food

Potatoes have gotten a bad rap. Because of fries. And Pringles. And chain restaurant menu items that start with “loaded.”

But spuds themselves? They’re one of the most nutritious and filling foods on the planet.

And that’s true even if you’re trying to lose weight.

Here’s the real problem: For most (if not many, many, many) eaters, “potato” means the food items toward the right side of this handy chart:

Calling out potatoes for being fattening is like thinking the issue with creamed spinach is the spinach.

Here’s the thing: When you add lots of fat and salt to a potato, it can be really hard to stop eating it. (Here’s a fun test: Have a nice baked potato without any toppings—you’ll likely find it tasty and satisfying… but not irresistible.)



The continuum above can provide a good guideline for incorporating potatoes into a healthy eating pattern. Including the fried kind.

Here’s the happy news.

Potatoes are seriously good for you.

✅White potatoes are packed with healthful nutrients. They’re rich in vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, and a host of additional vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

✅ Nutritionally-speaking, white potatoes are right on par with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have more vitamin A, but otherwise, it’s a virtual tie.

✅The carbs in potatoes are mostly resistant starch and fiber, which help you feel full and support gut health.

To enjoy potatoes as part of a healthy diet, separately portion out add-ons like butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon when possible. You might, for example, treat potatoes more like you do other vegetables, such broccoli and asparagus.

Since most of us get a hankering for fries every so often, (yes, I’m in that camp), my treat for you this week is a recipe for amazing baked “fries.”

They’re Mr. Non-Compliant tested and approved.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

The secret to making fries with fluffy insides and crispy outsides is the cold-water soak, so don’t skip that step! The soaking removes excess starch from the exterior of the potatoes, allowing them to get crispy when baked.

Baked French Fries

  • 3 to 4 large baking potatoes (Russets are best), about 1 ½ pounds, scrubbed well, or peel if you prefer
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or take out your favorite stoneware pan. Cut potatoes into thin fries, about 1/4” thick. Let potatoes soak in cold water in a bowl for at least 30 minutes. Longer is ok too. Remove from water and dry very well with a paper towel. Toss fries with oil. Spread evenly in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet or stoneware pan. Bake for 20 minutes then flip fries and spread in a single layer again. Turn the oven up to 425°F and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes more. Shake the seasoned salt on them while hot and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Cheers to potatoes,
Health Coach Carol

“I’ll only eat one French fry, said no one ever.” —Carol Slager

The Simplest Way to Eat Better

\When it comes to improving our nutritional habits, we tend to get caught up in the minutiae:

  • “Do potatoes contribute to weight gain?”
  • “If I skip a protein shake after my workout, does exercising become pointless?”
  • “Is the keto diet truly the most effective way to shed pounds? Or should I be following the Paleo diet? Or maybe the alkaline diet?!”

Meanwhile, we hastily consume our meals over the kitchen sink, in our cars, or in a daze while glued to the television.

Is this a surprise? We have been conditioned to focus on WHAT we eat rather than HOW we eat. 

It’s unfortunate because…

Practicing slow and mindful eating can actually have a profound impact on transforming our well-being.

I’m guilty of eating too fast. I think it’s a habit I developed during my pharmacy days when I attempted to eat my PB&J as fast as I could between patients.

So, this is a habit I’m working on with you.

Instead of obsessing over what foods to eat, how often, and in what portions – all crucial considerations – simply eating slowly is the easiest method for all of us to begin experiencing immediate improvements in our eating habits and overall satisfaction. Oh, and better digestion.

Why? There are two reasons:

  • It takes roughly 20 minutes for our body’s signals of fullness to kick in. By eating slowly, we allow our system enough time to function properly, enabling us to better recognize when we’ve had enough.
  • When we slow down and truly relish our meals, we tend to feel content with smaller portions and experience fewer feelings of deprivation.


Many of us often struggle with adopting this habit.

Sometimes things that are simple aren’t necessarily easy.

So, what can be done?

Start by practicing the art of slow eating. You have my permission to not do it perfectly. It’s okay. That’s precisely why dedicating an entire month solely to cultivating this one habit is a worthwhile idea.

To assist you on this journey, here are a few helpful tips. You can experiment with them during a single meal or embark on a complete “30-day slow-eating challenge” if you’re up for it. 

Take a moment to breathe.

Before diving into your meal, take a brief pause. Inhale deeply. Take a bite. Then exhale. Proceed one bite and one breath at a time. That’s all it takes.

Extend mealtime by one minute.

At the start of each meal, set a timer and challenge yourself to make each subsequent meal last one minute longer than the previous one.

In addition to taking a breath (or three) between bites, try:

  • Putting down your utensils
  • Taking a sip of water
  • Engaging someone at the table in cheerful conversation

Savor the flavors.

While eating, truly indulge in the experience. Enjoy every bite. Delight in the taste. Is it salty? Sweet? Does it linger on the roof of your mouth? How does it feel in terms of texture? Ponder over these questions with every mouthful.

Observe the factors influencing your eating pace.

Even subtle factors like silence or background music can influence our eating speed. That’s why some individuals have found success by listening to a curated “slow eating” playlist lasting 20 minutes.

And finally…

Remember this golden rule: Refrain from loading your fork with food… if there’s still food in your mouth.

Happy slow eating,
Health Coach Carol

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”― Lucille Ball