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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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October 21, 2021

The “No Diet” Approach to Health

As promised last week, I’ll present the last 5 principles of Intuitive Eating. In review, the first five are: Reject the Diet Mentality Honor Your H

October 14, 2021

Diets vs. Intuitive Eating

Diet: a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight; to eat sparingly or according to prescribed rules. (Merriam-Webs

October 7, 2021

This Weather is Making Me Tired

Some of us haven’t seen the sun in…well, days. There’s been so much rain that I’ve been looking around town to see if anyone is building an ar

September 30, 2021

Knocking Excuses Down for the Loss

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past year, you probably recall the weekly countdown to the birth of baby Angelos. We followed his size in the

September 23, 2021

Have Fun While Staying the Course

Yes, it truly is possible to do both. Many believe it’s an EITHER, OR situation. This past week I received the following text: “Down 1 pound 🙂

September 16, 2021

Celebrate September with Food

Now that we’ve gotten past the almost official end of summer, Labor Day weekend, thoughts of pumpkins and turkeys begin to dance in our heads. Not.

September 9, 2021

Pinky, the Ice Cream Truck

Last Sunday I was outside and heard the familiar sound of an ice cream truck in the neighborhood. I hadn’t seen one of these in…well, quite a long

September 2, 2021

Delicious Memories and a Recipe

I recently received a head of green cabbage as a gift. Now, I’m not one to buy cabbage, although I like it on occasion. Roasting it seemed like a go

August 26, 2021

Love Chocolate

The good news is that chocolate is actually healthy for us. The bad news is that we must be selective in the quality of chocolate we choose in order f

August 23, 2021

Chocolate Nut Clusters

1 cup bittersweet (at least 70% cacao) chocolate, chopped or wafers 1 cup raw almonds                                           

5 Steps to Improve Memory and Brain Health

Over the past couple of weeks, I tuned in to the 12-day video series, Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention. I find this information fascinating and very important for many reasons:

  • I watched my mother’s health decline from this disease for over a decade
  • There is currently no cure that comes in the form of pharmaceuticals
  • Seeking health through food and lifestyle choices is my passion
  • If I can avoid putting my loved ones through this pain, I will

Much of what I learned from the series, I’ve heard from other experts in the field before. Here’s the really good news: there is HOPE, no matter what your genetics may, or may not, indicate. Having the genes for Alzheimer’s, or not, does not determine whether or not you get the disease.  

It is never too early or too late, to take charge of your brain’s health. We can improve brain function at any age with lifestyle changes.

Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, and host of this series, explains that we can experience improved cognitive function by making changes today. Knowledge is power.

While Alzheimer’s prevention is multi-faceted, here are 5 steps you can take to make sure you’re on the right track for a healthy brain.

  1. Practice eating a brain smart diet that is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates. I know, this is a real challenge for most people, especially with Halloween candy in every aisle of the grocery, and Christmas cookies on the horizon. PRACTICE cutting back, or totally cut out, whichever is easier. Replace those sweets with fresh fruit. Eat one AMAZING cookie instead of 3. At least be conscious of what you’re eating and begin to notice your intake of non-vegetable carbohydrates—bread, pasta, treats, sodas, and the like.
  2. Get some exercise. Moving our bodies gets blood and oxygen and nutrients to our brains. This is important. If you are on an exercise regimen that hits at least 150 minutes a week, stick with it. If not, begin walking a little each day. Increase, as you’re able. The key in habitual exercise is doing something fun that makes you happy. Get creative and figure out what works best.
  3. Find a way to de-stress daily, even for 5 minutes. Exercise counts, so that could be a 2 for 1. Sweet! Try a meditation practice. There are lots of guided meditations online that are free. (I like the CALM app.) Read, pray, do yoga, listen to your favorite music, spend time with friends. Do what helps you feel less frazzled.
  4. Get quality, restorative, sleep. Sleep is Nature’s brain tonic. You can’t lose weight when you’re sleep deprived, since certain hormones get out of whack. Poor decisions are made. It messes up your immune system. And lots more. The goal is 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night. It’s like a shampoo for your brain. Sleep is sacred.   
  5. Challenge your brain. Learning at every age is critical: a foreign language (apps like Duolingo are helpful for this), a musical instrument, a new hobby such as painting or sewing, play chess.

There are lots of things you can do TODAY to improve the health of your brain. Choose ONE and practice until it’s a habit. Then choose something else. Do not feel overwhelmed and do nothing.

This is not all or none. Every little bit counts!

To Brain Health,
Carol

P.S. This entire series will replay all weekend long from 12:00 noon Friday, October 25th – October 27th at 11:59 PM! I’ll put the link on my Inkwell Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page on Friday morning, so you can learn for yourself how we can control the health of our brains!

“If we could put exercise benefits in a pill form, it’d be the most powerful pill that we have in existence. Walking shoes are more, or as effective, as a pill for Alzheimer’s.” –Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention.

A Story with Heart

When considering our health, so many times we think about starting better habits on Monday, or after a big celebration, or at the beginning of a new year, or…

I received an email after posting last week’s blog that sends a very clear message. That being the case, today’s guest blog is written by Mike, with permission.

Carol,

Good morning, Sunshine. Boy, you seem to know what to say and when to say it. I recently got out of the hospital after having an angioplasty on three of my arteries. One was 90%, the others were 80% and 60 % blocked (tell Mr. Non-Compliant that one). Anyway, I thank the Lord that I am here today. I had NO symptoms at all. They found it with a heart scan.

I’m thankful that our paths crossed. You have been an inspiration to me many times. Now I am on a strict diet of NO pork, red meat, no dairy and very limited carbs. I can have all the turkey breast, chicken and veggies I want– actually it’s not too bad. Also, I will be starting an exercise program after my cardiologist gives me the ok. 

When you are laying in bed in the ICU at 4am, you have a lot of time to reflect and finally realize: your mistakes in life; to turn toward the Lord for strength in getting through your trials; to quit relying solely on self; to realize you have had a support group this whole time that truly cares for you. 

If it’s possible for me to convey one message to people from this experience, it would be to love your family and friends with all your heart, put them before work or money, and make the changes in your habits that your body is telling you to make while you can.  

I was very blessed that this turned out the way it did. I was a walking dead man and did not know it.

I very much look forward to attending another of your classes. Tell Mr. NC hello and to get it together.

Mike 

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your story.

Blessings and love,
Carol

Love your family and friends with all your heart, put them before work or money, and make the changes in your habits that your body is telling you to make while you can.”–Mike

Ever Get Mad at…You?

I recently saw a post from a wonderful lady we’ll call Ann. (This is not her real name, so you can insert any name you prefer to use here. Maybe yours?)

She was extremely angry with herself for getting stuck OUT of her normal exercise routine—for two months.

As I followed this post along, others kept jumping in with similar feelings. Angry, mad, hating oneself–you get the idea. Falling out of a routine that helps us feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally, is the pits. It’s REALLY hard to get back in the groove.  

My word of the day: GRACE. Give yourself grace for being human. Give yourself grace for messing up. Give yourself grace because someone else could use some too.

We are SO good at beating ourselves up for messing up. I do believe we are better at forgiving others than we are at forgiving ourselves.

If you can relate, understand that we are all in this camp at one time or another. We are on a great roll (not the kind you eat) with eating nutritional food, moving, getting plenty of sleep, and then—BAM! Real life hits and we lose it.

In times such as these, give yourself the grace to do the next right thing. Maybe that means lacing up your favorite snappy sneakers and walking around the block for 5 minutes.

Or maybe you make a tossed salad for lunch and add one other vegetable into the mix. 

Or maybe you eat one cookie instead of 10.

The alternative: keep mentally beating yourself up.

You choose. You decide how you’d like to live your life today. Yes, you may mess up again tomorrow, or you may add another 5 minutes to your walk.

Do the next right thing. Trust me on this. You’ll feel happier, snappier, and more alive. And while you’re at it, encourage your friends to do the same. Sharing grace makes the world a happier place.

Stuck and can’t decide the next right thing? I’ll help you sort it out. Send me an email, as that is the next right thing.

Much love,
Carol

“Laughter is the key that grace has arrived.”– Anne Lamott (one of my favorite authors who admits to messing up sometimes)

Managing Inherited Behaviors

Ice cream is still my favorite food. It has been my favorite food my entire life, as far back as I can recall.

I firmly believe that my fondness for ice cream is sewn into my DNA as strongly as the color of my eyes. My parents were ice cream fans, hence, the inherited “ice cream gene.” 

So, what am I doing about it? We all know that ice cream is loaded with sugar, fat, empty calories, and provides no nutritional value whatsoever. I’ve tried “the cream provides calcium” reasoning. Lame.

We all have strong ties to some foods, behaviors, and ideas that we’ve grown up with. Think about it. What do you “blame” your family for?

Back to my “ice cream gene” behavior. Since I know that ice cream is a food that does not serve my health in a positive way, I’ve curtailed my consumption. If I were perfect, I would kick it out totally.

News Flash: I am not perfect, just ask Mr. Non-Compliant. I’ve been known to sneak a few of his M&M’s. There are some days I forget to eat a vegetable. Life Happens.

What I do is MANAGE my behavior in a way that better serves me. If I were to totally deny myself the pleasure of the occasional ice cream habit, the day would come that I’d go off the deep end and eat an entire half-gallon in one sitting. Not a good idea.

By carefully choosing when to enjoy my favorite food, I am still able to tie into all those great childhood memories that make me happy, and not feel deprived.

I DO NOT NEED ICE CREAM EVERYDAY. I used to think I did.

This, my dear reader, is progress. And this is how we manage those foods and behaviors that feel like they are such a strong part of who we are.

Incorporating our identity into ways that help us live and play full out is the ticket. It takes some creativity, and that is where I can help.

Together we achieve whatever it is that’s important for your health and well-being, in a way that is sustainable for you. I don’t do diets. I do “eat the best way for YOU.”

Let me know if you’d like to learn more about how we can work together. It begins with a complimentary conversation that dials into your unique “ice cream gene” traits.

Much love,
Carol

“Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.”—Jonathan Safran Foer