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

Cool Crisp Days and My Craving for Waffles

As we turn the corner into cooler days and nights, my body thinks it needs more carbs.

My mind agrees.

This is typical for me. Every year when the seasons change, I notice a slight increase in my potato, pasta, and bread consumption. (Gluten free and equally as satisfying.)

I feel like a bear storing up for a long winter’s nap. Some mornings I feel as though the hibernation process is already in progress.

And it’s only October.

A week or so ago, I took a self-care morning. It was very refreshing.   

I decided to indulge my intuitive voice—the one that is often overridden by the dutiful voice.

“What is it I need TODAY to promote good health and happiness?”

In response to this question, I stayed in bed longer than usual and skipped my morning workout. I then proceeded to make waffles from scratch for Mr. Non-Compliant and myself.

It was wonderful.

Sometimes it’s good to listen to that voice that tells you to step back, break a self-imposed rule, and take some time to get off the hamster wheel of life.

Sometimes you just have to eat waffles. (Not the frozen variety either.)

Your method of self-care may look much different than mine, however the result is that you experience great joy in the moment.

Stepping back for an hour, a morning, or a day, has the potential to change your attitude and offer you a fresh outlook on current situations. You will probably find that when you get back into your routine, you are more focused and more productive.

My waffle morning was a mini-retreat and I didn’t even have to leave my home.

As for the carb cravings, the situation is not out of control. It is my “normal” for now. This too shall pass.

One really chilly day, I baked some potatoes so that I could use the oven. It was a win-win, since I wasn’t quite ready to turn on the furnace.

Meal prep is in transition mode. I’m pulling out the crock and instant pots, turning on the oven more, and picking the last of my garden tomatoes. So long tomato pie… 🙁

New adventures in eating are possible with fall produce in abundance. It’s time to roast winter squash, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Make extra so you have leftovers for snacks or another meal.  

If you’re craving a few more carbs these days, take comfort in knowing you are not alone. This girl is right there with you.

FUN OFFER: What are you craving these days? Send me an email and share your out-of-control cravings and I’ll gift you with a 50-minute coaching call to help you come up with a way to manage them.

Peace, potatoes, and pumpkins,

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”—Julia Child

Do You Suffer from Food Trauma?

(The following article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version

If you’ve ever had a disturbing experience involving food and gastric upset, then you are no stranger to food trauma. This can show up in a variety of ways and have different causes. Food trauma, in my case, involved Cream of Wheat when I was about 5 years old.

Cream of Wheat was a breakfast staple in our house, especially in winter. My mother would brown butter and pour it over the top so it fell around the sides of the bowl, enveloping the steamy farina. The idea was to swirl a bite of cereal around in the butter before eating, and have a delightful breakfast experience. I was usually fine with it, unless I came across a lump of uncooked cereal that hid beneath the surface. The taste of that made me gag. On this particular day I wasn’t feeling well and told my mother that if she made me eat the cereal I would throw up. She must have thought I was faking it, since she made me eat it anyway. Being an honest child, I kept my word. To this day, I will not eat Cream of Wheat. Interestingly, I still really like butter.  

What was not a favorite food to begin with, got the boot when it pushed me over the edge. I was already sick and that did me in. It’s not really the cereal’s fault, however, the association is one that I don’t care to try and overcome.

My husband feels the same way about chipped beef. As a youngster, he ate so much of it on an occasion of extreme hunger that it came back up. In all our years together, he has never requested chipped beef for dinner. My father felt the same way because he was served way too much of it in the Army.

In my sampling of those I surveyed about food trauma, most of the people that had this experience as a youngster had no desire to try to overcome their adversity to the food. Ever.

Some of the food trauma stories from my group: food poisoning from seafood salad; Red Hawaiian Punch thrown up in front of entire kindergarten class; too much cheesecake at a party with resulting tummy trouble and pain; chicken, after chomping on a tendon or something in a chicken breast that caused violent gagging to the point of sore abdominal muscles; those perfect little ham cubes thrown up all over the desk in fifth grade.

Other foods of trauma, with no particular story: guacamole, tomato sauce, pasta salad, spaghetti, peanut butter, coconut, kale, hard boiled eggs, fruitcake, and green peas. Oh, and tequila was mentioned numerous times, even though it’s not technically a food.  

There are also the stories resulting from pregnancy and the foods that came up, so to speak. Pregnancy presents a different category of “trauma” altogether. A few of the foods that are on the permanent unwanted list include: lamb, ice cream (bummer), and oregano.

There are some instances when after getting sick on a favorite food, the person was able to overcome adversity and return to a happy relationship. One individual had the flu and chocolate was the innocent victim. It took time, and I’m happy to report that they now get along great again.

Extinction is a process that can help those individuals who have had a negative experience with food, remove the stress it causes. By repeatedly trying the food over time, the stress associated with it will eventually diminish or become extinct. In other words, after trying the food and not getting sick, the fear of it causing gastric upset goes away. This is probably how the chocolate relationship was repaired.

It seems as though the really intense, negative reactions with food happened when these people were children. The memories associated with food involve all our senses and are the strongest of associative memories. Basic survival tactics also come into play, which is why when you get food poisoning, your body says “No,” to eating that particular food, ingredient, or visiting that particular restaurant again. This is what is known as conditioned taste aversion.   

On the flip side, these same powerful associations help us remember the good times we had at grandma’s house, enjoying her apple pie. The power of food memories, along with where we were, the people we were with, and the occasion, create nostalgia. This explains why we tend to make the same traditional foods for holidays.

If there is a food you’ve had trauma with, odds are good that you’re fine never eating it again. If there’s a food you once loved that you are struggling with, give the extinction process a try. You may fall in love all over again. As for tequila, it managed to make a successful comeback for all the folks in my survey group. Cheers.

A Little Secret

This may come as quite a shocker.

People in the health and fitness industry sometimes fall off the health and fitness wagon.

Yep, it happens.

Some “fall-offs” I’ve recently learned about:

  • Several fitness instructors found themselves overindulging in wine during the Covid lockdown.
  • Another fitness guru stopped teaching yoga and working out (Covid related) and is having a really tough time getting back in the groove.
  • And yet another trainer/coach ravenously eats whatever is in the fridge when playing video games at night.
  • Oh, and one more. You’ll love this: mindless snacking on chips and sweets.  

Can you relate with any of these? Are you surprised?

We KNOW BETTER! We help others overcome challenges, and yet…

…we all have our struggles.

I’ve admitted to occasional emotional ice cream eating.

None of us are perfect, yet we think others have it all together all the time.

They don’t. Not even the health and fitness professionals.

As you practice living your desired life, remember that one key element to creating good habits and having them stick is doing them most of the time. 100% is an ideal that will ultimately bring you down.

The 100% thinking can do you a real disservice. One missed session at the gym or overindulgence of pizza will make you feel bad. Get over it and move on. Most of the time is a winning option.

So, what are those fitness folks doing to get back on track?

One solution is to change the environmental cues that trigger a certain behavior.

The video game player is rearranging the fridge so the first thing he sees is cut up veggies or fruit. This puts distance between him and more enticing foods that are better for daytime.

The chip and sweet eater knows that having those foods in the house is a BAD idea. Replacing them with healthier options that she can grab when the munchies strike is key to creating a habit that makes her feel good.

The wine people didn’t like how they felt, so that was the impetus to discontinue the nightly habit. Also, getting out of the house was the distraction that changed the environment.

The yoga teacher has scheduled workouts in her calendar, so it looks hopeful.  

Whatever it is you’d like to work on, begin by making a plan that’s EASY so that you set yourself up for success.

Small daily wins add up to a life of a champion.

FUN OFFER: I sometimes do Zoom kitchen coaching sessions. In the past we’ve made tomato pie and baked a cake. What would YOU like to make during a future session? Send me an email with your idea and I’ll gift you with a 50-minute coaching call to help set you up for success around ONE habit you’d like to change.

Cheers to you,

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”—James Clear, “Atomic Habits”

Pumpkins, Apples, and Pears, Oh My

Welcome to fall and an abundance of pumpkins, apples, and pears. These are just a few favorites that enjoy a big debut this time of year.

The Great Pumpkin
Pumpkin is packed with fiber and a multitude of nutrients that benefit your health—and no, I’m not referring to the lattés that are loaded with calories and sugar. Sorry.

Pumpkin purée can obviously be made from a pumpkin; however, I prefer to buy the canned variety because it’s much easier. The only ingredient in it is PUMPKIN. Be sure to check the label if you pick the easy route too.  

Some ways to incorporate pumpkin purée into your life:

  • Add a couple tablespoons to your protein smoothie. Freeze the remainder of the canned purée in separate baggies to toss in when you have a hankering.
  • Stir a few spoonfuls into your warm oatmeal in the morning.
  • Blend it into just about any creamy vegetable soup for added fall flavor.
  • Mix with equal parts ricotta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with pasta.
  • Bake something pumpkinny. Mix up your favorite pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake without a crust. Try pumpkin bread, muffins, cookies, anything.
  • Make pumpkin pancakes. (you can find this in my Recipe section under breakfasts)

The Incredible Apple
My favorite variety is the Honeycrisp. They taste just like their name. The best Honeycrisp apples you will eat are harvested September through November. They are typically more expensive than other varieties because they are hard to grow.

I’ve been adding these to my fall fruit salads, eating them with peanut butter or cheese, and all by themselves. The crunch is very satisfying when you get the urge to snack and have taken on the identity of a health conscious individual.

Apples are also a healthy food, so enjoy. Whenever possible, choose organic apples, as conventional apples are highly likely to be contaminated with pesticides.  

Pears: The Other Fall Fruit
While apples take center stage, don’t forget about the supporting role of the pear. This is their big season too. I believe that you can substitute pears for just about anything you can think of that calls for apples.

Allow pears to ripen at room temperature. They’re one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree. Therefore, they need time for the sugars to develop, which is why you may have to leave them on the counter for a few days once you get home.

A pear is ripe when the area around the stem gives a little with a gentle squeeze. Then store in the refrigerator and consume within 3-5 days for best quality.

Like the apple, organic is best. The pear is a nutritional powerhouse and excellent source of fiber.

Pears are a great addition to a mixed green salad with blue or goat cheese, and candied (or plain) pecans. Toss with a homemade balsamic dressing, or other favorite.

With options like these, it’s easy to debunk the myth that eating nutrient-dense food is boring.

Bon Appétit,

“If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry.”—Michael Pollan