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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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February 18, 2021

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 he

February 11, 2021

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 pa

February 4, 2021

Sumo, Coconut, and the Birth Month

If you’re an orange lover, I have some REALLY GOOD NEWS! The Sumo are here. Sumo oranges, that is. I wrote about them last year. If you missed that

January 28, 2021

5 Reasons Why Your Snack Bar May Not Be Your Friend

In a recent conversation, the topic of cereal/granola/protein bars came up. They appear to be a healthy snack, especially for a very busy person who i

January 21, 2021

Getting Back on Track

Baby size at 29 weeks is a butternut squash. And, like last week’s eggplant, butternut squash is technically a fruit. Since I wouldn’t care to eat

January 14, 2021

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28. Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from

January 7, 2021

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of… …a head of cauliflower. Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried. Truth is that cauli

December 31, 2020

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion. The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green on

December 24, 2020

The Hope and Excitement of a Baby

A bit of background for my new readers: I’m taking the produce journey along with my good friend who is expecting. As we track the progression, we l

Good vs. Bad Thinking

I hear it time and time and time again. “Carol, I was bad. I ate pizza,” or whatever the food is that makes you feel “bad.” (Since I hear about pizza more than any other food, I’m going with it.)

You are not bad. Pizza is not necessarily bad. What is sometimes bad is the effect it has on the body (if it is greasy, there is a food sensitivity, or we over do it) and the mental state we take on when we are supposed to be eating healthy.

To be clear, I enjoy pizza. I enjoy ice cream. I enjoy many foods that could be classified as “bad.” The foods we choose to eat either lead us toward our health and fitness goals, or away from our health and fitness goals. There is not really neutral territory here.

I recommend you stop thinking that you are bad when you eat the pizza and good when you eat the salad. The way we think is our reality, and eating a certain food does not make us bad or good. This thinking only gives you a complex that is based on crazy evidence.

Here’s a healthier way to think about this whole thing. For the most part, if we eat in a way that leads us toward our health goals most of the time, say 80%, we will probably meet them. Allowing 20% for the occasions when we choose the pizza or ice cream or whatever, will not break us. Of course, if you discover you feel much better when you choose the 80% way, you may be inclined to increase that number. Do I hear 85%?

Another thought: stop eating said food before you are stuffed. Stop eating when you are 80% full. Eat slowly and savor whatever it is that you’re eating, whether it’s the salad or the coconut cake. Stop before you need to loosen your belt a notch or unbutton that top button on your pants. Allow your stomach to tell your brain that you need to stop or you will feel bad—not so much because of what you ate, but because you overate!

One of the habits I try to follow is eating a tossed salad before or with the pizza. By doing this, I take the edge off my appetite. I enjoy the pizza, I am satisfied and I don’t eat so much pizza that I feel bad. This is a much better tactic than complete denial of a favorite food, then going off the deep end one day and eating uncontrollably.

Another trick is to drink plenty of water, no matter what. We need to hydrate daily, winter and summer, and this helps stop out-of-control eating.

There are options when it comes to choosing foods that seem rather indulgent. Homemade (from scratch) pizza will most likely be healthier than frozen. If you make your pizza using quality ingredients, vegetables, lean protein, and a thin whole grain crust, you take it to an entirely different level. There are frozen varieties that are organic or gluten free or have fewer preservatives.

Sometimes, we simply have to meet up with our friends, have fun and go with the flow. Then you know my rule: Only eat it if it’s AMAZING! Enjoy every bite and feel good.

“Consistency not novelty is the secret to uncommon results.”- Dr. John Berardi.

A Bank of Hope

I recently had the privilege of visiting and learning more about Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Prior to my visit, I knew that it offered degrees in the fields of engineering, medicine, law, dentistry, art and design, and that it was located in downtown Indianapolis. I also knew that I was able to take (and pass!) a physics class there that fulfilled my requirement to graduate from pharmacy school at Butler. That was about it. What I know now: there is an enormous amount of research that happens at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Did you know that there is a tissue bank where researchers are working tirelessly to end breast cancer, right in our own backyard? Well, so to speak, if you live in Indiana.

There is a repository of healthy breast tissue at the IU Simon Cancer Center. It is the only one of its kind in the WORLD. So, what does all this mean? The mission is to look at a healthy breast cell and discover what causes it to become cancerous. At the tissue bank, they collect, store and disperse healthy tissue samples with the intent to end this terrible disease.

Since 2007, more than 5,000 women have donated non-cancerous breast tissue and more than 10,000 women have donated blood samples to help this cause. The samples are stored and frozen. The data collected, along with the samples, are accessible to researchers around the globe, so the same trials and tests aren’t repeated unnecessarily. The healthy tissue serves as a control to compare with cancerous tissue in various experiments.

Think about it! It’s tough to figure out what goes wrong with a healthy cell if all you ever have to compare it with are other diseased cells. The research team conducts follow-up studies with all donors on a yearly basis. This is critical, since there are numerous factors that play a role in developing, as well as preventing, cancer.

I found this fascinating, since there is so much to be learned from tissue, blood and DNA samples. For example, Natascia Marino, PhD, identified a marker in the blood of women who have donated healthy tissue and gone on to develop breast cancer, signaling there may be a way to predict breast cancer before a tumor develops. That is huge.

How beautiful that there are so many women who are willing to pay it forward to help others. If you would like to learn more about this program and/or what is involved in becoming a donor, go to https://komentissuebank.iu.edu/

And the next time someone asks you what is so great about Indiana, you have this to brag about. Women helping women live better and longer lives.

“I don’t know a name. I don’t know a face, but I know the love and joy of helping another life by giving of oneself through research and sacrifice. I hope donating tissue and time will save someone, someday.” –Dawn and Pearl

Avoiding the All or None Trap

Sometimes I get sidelined due to the “all or none” syndrome. I’ll think about organizing a room or my desk, consider the time involved to do the work, and talk myself out of it. The project FEELS monumental; I know I won’t be able to get it done perfectly in the allotted amount of time, so why bother at all? I’ll wait until another day when I can do it right. Nothing happens. The perfection monster wins again.

In reality, I am certainly capable of spending a small chunk of time, say 15 or 30 minutes a day, to work on the project. Over the course of a week, whatever it is that I’m working on will be greatly improved.

The same scenario often happens with fitness programs and healthy eating. We make a plan to work out three times a week and cut out processed foods. For a couple weeks, all goes well and we are feeling good. Then, one of the kids gets sick, we’re up late and miss our date at the gym, or a friend has a birthday celebration and we join the pizza party. We not only miss a workout, we eat the pizza. The “all or none” syndrome and perfection monster strike again, and we feel bad.

I have my workouts scheduled on my calendar and I consciously consider food choices that are most beneficial for my health goals. Sometimes things happen and my plans get derailed with both. Sometimes I choose to eat the donut because it’s amazing. I don’t think about making up my missed workouts on the weekend (which for me is not realistic), or starving for a day. My solution is to pick up where I left off. It’s not perfect. It still works.

With anything, consistency is the key to accomplishing a goal. It’s also known as “The Slight Edge” principle, which I learned about in the book by the same name. Jeff Olson is the author and it’s one of my favorite books. For example, taking a 20 minute walk everyday is easy to do and easy to not do. Consider the difference in your health if you do it almost everyday for a year, or if you don’t do it at all. Taking that walk even 80% of the time will bring about positive results.

The same idea, if I implement it, will help me organize my desk. A little time spent working on this project each day will bring me less chaos.

This coming week, I’ll work on my desk and get to the gym. Is there some goal that you can commit to doing that will improve your health or your life? It’s okay if we don’t get it perfect. In the world of “all or none” thinking, “none” usually wins. Today, I’m going for good enough.

“Have no fear of perfection–you’ll never reach it.”–Salvador Dali

New Year Tips

Happy New Year!

How are you feeling, now that the Christmas cookie siege has passed? My guess, if you’re reading this, is that you have some type of plan in place to improve your fitness. You’re in good company, since the majority of Americans do, including me.

I have already noticed an increase in the number of potential new friends hanging out at the gym. The classes have been full and that is awesome! My hope is that my potential new friends keep attending class long enough for me to get to know them. If you’ve noticed this same phenomenon where you exercise, be sure to encourage any newcomers and help them stay committed. Something as simple as, “Hey, see you next time,” may hit them two days later when it’s snowing or below zero and staying home seems like the best option. It’s almost like a promise– and it would not be good to let your new friend down.

Friends at the gym are a huge incentive to help keep you on track. Accountability.

As I mentioned in my last blog, my plan is to meditate on a regular basis, preferably daily—for at least 10 minutes. I think I’ve already messed up, and it’s only been 3 days, which brings me to my next point: accepting imperfection with your plan. Daily is pretty unrealistic, so let’s say I sit quietly and focus on my breathing most days of the week. That’s an improvement over last year. And that, my friends, is a win.

Remember in all your life goals, to set realistic expectations and delight in improvement. It’s similar to my healthy eating rule of 80/20. Most of us know what foods contribute to better energy, improved fitness and overall well-being. We sometimes go unconscious and eat all the chips or M&M’s or whatever. So, keep it in perspective and if you follow your plan 80% of the time, you’re probably going to be fine.

A couple more things that have come to mind: be sure to drink your water, whether you’re in a warm or freezing climate. Those of us in the freezing climate have dry air from the furnaces continuously running. If you don’t want to shrivel up like a prune, you had better drink your water. (Take your weight and divide by two. That is the approximate number of ounces you need each day. Non-caffeinated and non-carbonated beverages may count toward that total, along with fruits and vegetables.)

The other thing is to get your sleep. I continue to read and listen to seminars preaching that ideally we need 7-8 hours each night. The reasons are many—enough for another blog. Trust me on this and we’ll talk about it another time. Here’s the best reason for flu season: lack of proper rest takes a toll on your immune system which means it is tougher to fight off germs.

Sweet dreams,
Carol

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson