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

Honeydew Happiness and More Tips on Sleep

This week baby is the size of a honeydew melon. I think of honeydew as cantaloupe’s cousin. It has a similar shape, only a bit bigger, which explains why it’s the fruit for week #35 and not #34.

Honeydew’s sweet flesh is typically light green, while its skin has a white-yellow tone.

To find a sweet one, shake it. If you hear and feel the seeds inside jiggling around, you’ve got a winner. The rind should be smooth and waxy and bright, creamy yellow in color. It should also smell like fragrant flowers. Find the blossom end, which is opposite the end where it was attached to the vine. Give it a press with your thumb and it should feel slightly springy, with a little give.

Your melon will not ripen once it’s cut from the vine, so what you bring home is as good as it gets. 

Before cutting it, wash the rind well. Refrigerate.

Honeydew is full of nutrients and is a healthy addition to your diet.

Benefits of Eating Honeydew

*May help reduce blood pressure because it is low in sodium and high in potassium.

*It helps bone health due to folate, vitamin K, and magnesium.

*Fiber in the fruit may help control blood sugar levels over time and aid in digestive health.

*Electrolytes in the melon help hydrate better than water alone.

*Vitamin C content helps support immune function.

*Honeydew melon contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are known to support healthy eyes and vision.

This fruit is easy to add to your diet. It’s great alone or added to many different dishes, including salad, salsa, smoothies, soup or dessert.

It may be tricky to find a ripe one out of season. Hang in there, summer’s coming.

It’s National Sleep Awareness Month

This month, most of the country moves the clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time. March 14th is the date for us to spring ahead and lose that sacred hour of sleep.

That single hour really does make a difference, and many people feel out of whack for a couple weeks.

Not only can that lost hour make you feel groggy and irritable, studies have found that both heart attacks and fatal car accidents increase after the spring shift to Daylight Saving Time.

Here are 4 tips to help make the time change a bit easier on you. 

  1. Start preparing a few days early. About a week before “springing forward,” start going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. Your body needs that bit of extra time to make up for the lost hour.
  2. Stick to your schedule. Be consistent with eating, social, bed and exercise times during the transition to Daylight Saving Time. Exposing yourself to the bright light in the morning will also help you adjust.
  3. Don’t take long naps. Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. A long daytime nap could make it harder to get a full night’s sleep. If you must take a nap in order to get through your day, take it early and for no longer than 20 minutes.
  4. Avoid coffee and alcohol. Avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages four to six hours before bedtime. Alcohol also prohibits you from getting quality sleep, so avoid it late at night.

Remember last week’s tip to put that phone away 30 minutes before bedtime. Practice slowing down so that your body can relax.

Much love,

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” —John Steinbeck

Choosing Cantaloupe and a Tip for Better Sleep

Week #34 for baby. These weeks are flying for me. Seems like I just finish writing about one fruit, and it’s time for another. Bet my friend doesn’t think so. I think she’s had enough of this pregnancy stuff. Have I mentioned that this is her first?

It is the week of the cantaloupe. When I hear the word “cantaloupe,” I think of the fruit cups I get when I choose fruit instead of potatoes for breakfast. There are usually a few red grapes and some chunks of honeydew added in. These are pretty durable fruits that are probably easier to have on hand instead of berries.

Cantaloupe is loaded with beta-carotene—as much as carrots. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body. It can also act as a powerful antioxidant to help fight free radicals that attack cells in your body. 

Cantaloupe provides vitamin C, folate, water (it’s almost 90% water), fiber, potassium, and small amounts of many other nutrients. It’s low in calories (60 calories/cup) and offers some sweetness to your diet.

It’s a wonderful addition to any fruit salad and delicious all on its own—if you have a ripe one. I like it with my breakfast.

You could add a few chunks to your smoothie.

How to Choose Your Cantaloupe

These are sweeter and often more economical in the summer, although you can find them year-round.

To choose a ripe melon, look for one that is creamy, light-yellow orange with little to no green. It should be symmetrical and feel heavy—a sign that it will be juicy from lots of water. Ripe cantaloupe smells sweet.

It’s best to eat it within 3 days of purchasing for the freshest taste. Store cut cantaloupe in the fridge.

A Tip to Help You Get More Sleep

Seems that quite a few folks (besides my pregnant friend) have trouble falling asleep. A small study found that people who put their phone away 30 minutes before bedtime got a better night’s sleep.

Participants fell asleep 12 minutes faster and slept 18 minutes longer after four weeks compared to those who weren’t asked to restrict their phone use. Bonus: the quality of their sleep improved significantly too.

It makes sense, since your exposure to blue light is diminished. You also avoid any disturbing news, emails, videos, and social media posts that could get you riled up.

Remaining calm before bed is more conducive to a restful night’s sleep. 

It’s worth a try. Keep in mind that getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night improves your health and promotes weight loss/maintenance.

A good night’s sleep will help your attitude too.

Feeling stuck with sleep, weight loss, your exercise routine (or lack of), and not sure where to begin? Let’s talk.

You’ll leave our conversation with clarity, renewed energy, and a plan to get back on track.

Sweet dreams,

“Instead of working toward retirement, work toward your ideal lifestyle. There is usually a path to get there in a few years instead of a few decades.”—James Clear

One of the Healthiest Fruits on the Planet

We are on week #33, counting down with my expectant friend. As some of you know from experience, she is getting pretty uncomfortable.

My prayer for her, and her dear hubby, is a restful night’s sleep BEFORE the little one arrives.

We’ll keep this quiet—but once baby is here, getting sleep is a bit challenging. Shhhh….

I’m pretty excited about this week’s baby size fruit: the pineapple. 

The pineapple is indeed a fruit. A tropical one. No goofy reclassification like we had with the eggplant, which I thought to be a vegetable and is really a fruit.

Pineapple makes the list of “20 healthiest fruits on the planet.” And it is very delicious, in my opinion.

Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and manganese. It also contains a mixture of enzymes that help reduce inflammation and digest proteins. Its antioxidant properties help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

All of these benefits promote a healthy immune system which equates to a healthier you. And it’s WAY tastier that cauliflower—again, my opinion.

Ways to incorporate pineapple into your diet

  • Keep frozen on hand to add to smoothies
  • Add to a mixed fruit salad
  • Top your homemade pizza
  • Make a salad with roasted chicken, pineapple, blueberries (another top 20 fruit), and almonds. Serve on a bed of greens.
  • Top your burger with a pineapple ring for a Hawaiian flair
  • Goes great with cottage cheese (this makes a nice breakfast when you’re tired of the usual foods)
  • Eat it all by itself

How to choose a tasty pineapple

  1. Look for a bit of yellow, which should be present at the eyes at the base of the fruit, but a green tint elsewhere is fine. The leaves should be a vibrant shade of green.
  2. Squeeze it. The body of the pineapple should not be soft. It should be firm and give slightly with pressure.
  3. Sniff near the stem. It should smell sweet. No scent means it’s not ripe. If it smells like vinegar or alcohol, put it down. It’s past its prime and you don’t want anything to do with it.
  4. The heavier, the better. As with melons, there’s more water so it’s juicy.
  5. I also read that if you store it upside down before you cut it, the sweet juice from the bottom which was connected to the plant, circulates throughout the pineapple. 

I sometimes let it sit on my counter for a few too many days and it goes bad. Putting it in the fridge if I’m not quite ready to cut it helps keep it from spoiling.

If you have trouble cutting a pineapple, check out one of the videos on YouTube. It’s much easier than trying to explain it. Cutting a fresh pineapple is not hard once you know how to go about it.

It is definitely worth the effort.

Welcome to the 40 days of Lent

We are now marking the time until Easter. Lent is a great time to reflect and perhaps make some changes. It’s an opportunity for personal spiritual growth.

In the midst of winter, with snow piled so high that I have to shovel a path for my little Sophie dog, the Lenten season brings hope.

About the time we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we also see the beauty of spring in bloom.

My friend will be a new mom.

How will you spend these 40 days?

Much love,

“Do not be afraid to dream. Perhaps your fear is of failure. There is no shame in trying to attempt mighty things and failing. The shame is in failing to attempt those things.”—Matthew Kelly

Fun with Jicama

At week #32, baby is a jicama in size. That’s right, a jicama. Starts with a J and sounds like an H.

Jicama is a globe-shaped root vegetable with papery, golden-brown skin and a starchy white interior.

Raw, it tastes similar to an apple. It crunches like one too and is a tasty addition to salads.

Cooked jicama takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with.

You can substitute jicamas for potatoes. The good news is that they are low in carbs, fat, calories, and sugar. They are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, fiber, and prebiotics (they help increase the good bacteria in your gut).

Unlike a potato, you must peel jicama before eating. This is best accomplished with a sharp knife.

The way I buy jicama is already peeled, cut, and packaged. Yes, that’s correct. I cheat. 

Ways to include jicama in your life:

  • Add it to a vegetable salad for extra crunch
  • Combine with mango, pineapple or papaya for a tropical fruit salad
  • Cut it into thick slices and serve with a dip like guacamole or hummus
  • Add it to a vegetable platter
  • Stir-fry it with sesame oil and rice vinegar
  • Sprinkle it with lime juice and chili powder for a spicy snack

 Jicama can be baked just like a potato. Simply pierce the whole, washed jicama with a fork and bake it at about 375 degrees until softened, approximately 45 minutes. Serve it, sliced open, with butter, sour cream or Greek yogurt and chives.

Or make jicama fries:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Either microwave the jicama in a bowl of water for approximately 6 minutes or pour boiling hot water over the jicama fries and allow to set for 10 minutes. This gives them the crispy French fry quality when roasted. Drain jicama fries and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with salt or seasonings of your choice. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Have fun experimenting with jicama.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Much love,

“Cooking is like love: It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” — Harriet van Horne