1-219-765-8600

carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

Top
August 18, 2022

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 swe

August 11, 2022

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 no

August 4, 2022

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day may inspire some baking… While preparations have begun for those going back to school, there’s still lots of su

July 28, 2022

A Summer Meal with a Kick

While many of us would like to add more vegetables to our diet, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas. Discovering main dishes that are vege

July 27, 2022

Spicy Mushroom Tacos

These vegan tacos have a kick, so if you’re not a fan of spicy foods, cut back on the cayenne or omit.  Serves 4 Ingredients 1 lb. mixed mushrooms

July 21, 2022

Are They Eggs or Just Eggs?

In an effort to help those who are allergic or choose not to eat chicken eggs, this blog’s for you. And if you love chicken eggs, biscuits and gravy

July 13, 2022

Lipstick on a Pig

For any of my new blog followers, cauliflower is one of the few vegetables that I’m not fond of.  I’ve tried it all sorts of ways. Readers have s

July 13, 2022

Super Simple Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

After rinsing the head of cauliflower, cut it into florets, remove the thick stem portions, and slice it very thin. Arrange in a single layer on a sto

July 7, 2022

Vidalia Onions, Salsa, and Qigong

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s still possible to find Vidalia onions in local stores. I’m not sure how long they will last, so now is the tim

June 30, 2022

Navigating the Holiday Weekend Deliciously

Happy almost 4th of July weekend! The celebrations are about to begin. Parades, barbecues, picnics, watermelon, fireworks, adult beverages, and probab

Eating to Boost Immunity and Stay Healthy

Today, more than ever, we’re looking for ways to stay healthy. To be clear, there is no magic potion, exercise routine, supplement, or diet plan that will guarantee your optimal health.

The good news is that there are many ways you can increase your odds of avoiding illness.

While it’s important to reduce stress levels, get good quality sleep (7-9 hours), move your body, and wash your hands (I’ve never been told to wash my hands this much since I was a kid), in today’s blog, I’m going to focus on proper nutrition.   

Making lots of changes at one time is overwhelming and fleeting. As you look at immune boosting practices, choose one that is simple for you to implement today. When it seems easy to manage, add another one. Mastering good habits slowly, over time, is the way to make them permanent.

By making good nutrition a priority, you will increase your body’s ability to fight off illness now and in the years to come.

Avoid deficiencies by eating a variety of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, protein, and healthy fats. Stay away from processed products as much as possible—you know what I’m referring to–those packaged goods that have ingredient lists filled with words you can’t pronounce–and that you can barely read without cheaters.

Protein
Aim for a serving of protein at every meal/snack. A typical serving for women is one palm size, and for men, 2 palm sizes. Sources of protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy. Beans and legumes are protein sources for plant-based eaters.

Protein is the building block of antibodies. People who are protein-deficient are more susceptible to infectious disease.

Vitamin C
Whole foods are the best sources, as vitamin C is needed to prevent and fight infections. Because this vitamin is water-soluble, we need to replenish it daily. Some of the more common foods high in vitamin C are kale, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, oranges, lemons, yellow sweet peppers, chili peppers, guava, thyme, parsley, mustard spinach, kiwis, broccoli, papayas.

Aim for 1-2 servings per day. For vegetables, a serving is 1-2 fists worth. For fruits (carbs), 1-2 cupped handfuls.  

Vitamin D
Unless you live near the equator, you’ll probably need to supplement. There are foods fortified with vitamin D, however we typically need more. The only way to determine how much you need in a supplement is by determining your blood level. Most people need to supplement with anywhere from 600-4,000 IU’s per day.

Vitamin D helps protect against respiratory infections. Check with your healthcare provider for the supplement and dose that is right for you.

NOTE: When the body is experiencing significant inflammation, such as can occur in some people who become severely sick from COVID-19 infection, vitamin D should be temporarily discontinued. It may be resumed upon return to health. (per the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine)

Zinc
Whole food sources like whole grains, oysters, and scallops are best. Zinc lozenges may help those who are already sick.

Zinc supports T-cells which fight off infection.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Eat plant sources such as chia seeds, walnuts, and ground flax seeds daily. (You won’t reap as many benefits from whole flax seeds, as your intestines cannot break down the tough outer shell of the seeds.) Consume oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and anchovies, 2-3 times per week. Consider a supplement if you don’t eat fish.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help white blood cells fight off infection and disease.

Is there more we can do? There’s always more. This is a great start.

Focus on what you CAN control. Most of us can control what we eat.

To your health,
Carol

“The ability to keep doing what you love doing is so fragile.”—Dr. John Berardi

Carol’s Healthier Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients
4 large Russet, Idaho, or Yukon Gold potatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter or equal parts of each)  
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Paprika

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Leave potato skins on, or peel, your choice. Place the potato in a large wooden or metal spoon, and using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato the short way, about an 1/8th inch apart. Gently cut down to the lip of the spoon, not all the way through the potato. The slices should stay connected at the bottom, and the spoon helps keep the depth even.

Slice all the potatoes in this manner and place them cut side up in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish or stone. Brush potatoes with half the oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika, or your favorite seasonings.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the remaining oil on the potatoes and season with a little more salt, pepper, and paprika. Return to the oven and bake another 20 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.

Note: Hasselback potatoes may be topped with grated cheese and dried bread crumbs, as well as other variations.

For the Love of Potatoes

As of late, I’ve had quite a thing for potatoes. I’ve baked them, roasted them, Hasselbacked them, mashed them. And, I’ve eaten them. Lots of them.

There may be some of you who are of the opinion that potatoes are “bad.” They are not bad. (Technically speaking, there are no “bad” foods, which is an entire topic for another blog post on another Thursday.) Potatoes and sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and starch.  

The starch and fiber in potatoes does not digest, but instead ferments in the gut to become short-chain fatty acids. Enough technical stuff for one day. Why is this important?

Here’s why. Short-chain fatty acids may:

  • Keep you fuller longer
  • Act as fuel for healthy gut bacteria (this is good for your immune system)
  • Inhibit growth of harmful bacteria
  • Stimulate blood flow to the colon
  • Increase mineral absorption and nutrient circulation
  • Prevent absorption of toxins
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Decrease risk of colon cancer

That’s a lot of good stuff. Potatoes do not deserve to be looked down upon. What we need to look at is what we are putting ON the potato—and how much we are actually eating.

Seasoning them with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper, are great choices. Loading them with butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese, on a regular basis, is not the best option when you have health and fitness goals to keep.

The amount? Eat one to two cupped handfuls of carbohydrate-rich foods at each meal. This can be potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grains, lentils, or fruit. Scale this amount up or down depending on body size, activity level, fitness goals (fat loss, mass gain, or athletic performance).

Potatoes and sweet potatoes, when incorporated into a balanced diet, are satisfying and provide energy. I’ve recently been enjoying them made this way. Here’s the recipe. Hope you like it!

 

Carol’s Healthier Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients
4 large Russet, Idaho, or Yukon Gold potatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter or equal parts of each)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Paprika

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Leave potato skins on, or peel, your choice. Place the potato in a large wooden or metal spoon, and using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato the short way, about an 1/8th inch apart. Gently cut down to the lip of the spoon, not all the way through the potato. The slices should stay connected at the bottom, and the spoon helps keep the depth even.

Slice all the potatoes in this manner and place them cut side up in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish or stone. Brush potatoes with half the oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika, or your favorite seasonings.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the remaining oil on the potatoes and season with a little more salt, pepper, and paprika. Return to the oven and bake another 20 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.

Be well,
Carol

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
― A.A. Milne

Cookies, the Quarantine 15, and Easter

Curious minds want to know: Did Mr. Non-Compliant ever get his cookies?

Answer: Yes.

Thank you to several readers who offered to share their stash of flour, and a special thank you to my dear friend who dropped off an entire bag at my front door within 8 hours of reading my blog.  

Many gifts and blessings are presenting themselves in the midst of this crisis.

This past week I received an anxiety ridden email about the prediction of the “quarantine 15.”

What? Who says? I don’t plan on using a global pandemic to gain 15 pounds. Now, my freshman year in college was another story…for another day.

My email response went something like this: those of you who are currently working with me, have worked with me, or follow my blogs and/or Get Healthy articles, do not fall into that category. In fact, several of you are losing weight and finding creative ways to exercise.

YES!

YOU understand what you need to do to stay on course with your food, fitness, and your entire wellbeing—body, mind, and soul.

You’ve got this. We’ve got this.

Should you be tempted to stray, consider that the healthier you are in body, mind, and soul, the more likely you are to overcome any type of illness, at any time.

If you’re struggling, remember to join me this Saturday for Zoom group coaching. This is currently a GIFT to my community to help maneuver challenging times. Our discussions cover a variety of topics, and we’d love to have you join in.

This Sunday is Easter for some. I was reminded by another dear friend, that the first Easter was not a big celebration of singing, praising, enjoying ham, or chocolate bunnies. The disciples were locked in their house, fearing for their lives.

Their best friend had been crucified, and they thought they could be next.

They had heard the good news from some women, yet it seemed too good to be true. How could it be that life and love had overcome death?

Hope and faith won out, and those first disciples eventually had the courage to go into the world and share God’s love.  

Today, there is danger, and we must stay in our homes. It is like the first Easter. Yet, we maintain hope that we will soon be able to go out and see smiling faces instead of masks, hug our loved ones, and enjoy a deeper appreciation of what we mean to one another.

I wish you a peaceful, blessed, and happy Easter.

Much love,
Carol

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”—Pope John Paul II