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

No longer limited to ‘the pottery that grows,’ chia seeds add fiber, antioxidant oomph to your diet

(The following article was written for the March 2022 issue of Get Healthy magazine, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.)

Chia seeds have been popular since they appeared on a ch-ch-ch-Chia Pet ram in 1982.

To answer your burning question, yes, the seeds are the same as those in health food stores. However, the Chia Pet seeds shouldn’t be eaten because they’re not thoroughly cleaned or approved for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration.

The chia seeds that you add to your diet are FDA approved and available at your local grocery or health food store. They are highly nutritious and add an interesting texture to many foods.

Native to Mexico and Guatemala, chia seeds were a staple for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. The word “chia” means “strength” in Mayan, indicating the seeds’ power was well known. 

Nutritional value

Chia seeds are considered a superfood, rich in compounds such as antioxidants, fiber or fatty acids considered exceptionally beneficial to a person’s health. An ounce (2 tablespoons) of these seeds, provides 10 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and a large amount of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds offer all nine essential amino acids, available only from dietary sources and essential to life. Their most abundant minerals are magnesium, calcium, copper, phosphorous, manganese and selenium.

Health benefits

The benefits of these tiny seeds include improved blood sugar control, increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids, increased weight loss, enhanced regularity, better digestion, stronger bones, enhanced oral health, improved energy and exercise performance, glowing skin, improved heart health and lower blood pressure.

How to eat them

When you go to purchase chia seeds, you may see that you have the option of choosing black or white seeds. Any nutritional differences are marginal, so make your choice based on aesthetics. You may even find a mixture of the two. But pass on an obvious number of brown seeds. Though they aren’t harmful to eat, they are either immature and lack optimal nutrition or are some form of weed seed. Choose organically grown when possible and be sure to check the expiration date. They are naturally gluten-free.

Since chia seeds are mild in taste, they’ll take on the flavor of other recipe ingredients. Soaking them in water before adding them to your food gets rid of the protective layer around the shell, which the body can have trouble breaking down. Soaking creates a gel like substance, makes them easier to digest and allows you to get the most nutrients and benefits. Ground chia seeds don’t have the protective layer, so no need to soak.

Depending on how you plan to use them, you can soak 2 tablespoons of seeds in a cup of water, milk or milk alternative for at least 30 minutes; two hours to overnight is ideal.

Add the soaked seeds:

*To smoothies, Greek yogurt, oatmeal or other hot or cold cereals and salads. The longer they soak, the more liquid they absorb and the thicker your final product.
*To soup to thicken it at the end of cooking.
*To homemade jam instead of pectin to thicken it.
*To baked goods as a substitute for eggs. Combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 3 tablespoons water; let sit for 5 minutes. This mixture replaces one egg in your baked goods.
*To salad dressings, sauces, marinades or cake/muffin/bread batter.
*To tea, juice or water to help you stay hydrated longer.
*To other grains — mix one tablespoon of seeds with a cup of other grains such as rice or quinoa. Ground chia seeds can be combined with your favorite coating for meat, chicken or fish or used in place of it.

Chia pudding variations make a great breakfast, snack or dessert. Make homemade breakfast or protein bars.

Special concerns

Since chia seeds are high in fiber, incorporate them into your diet slowly to prevent digestive issues such as bloating and gas. Soaking them and staying well hydrated will help guard against unpleasant effects.

It is not advisable to eat dry chia seeds by themselves. Since they absorb 10-12 times their weight in liquid, they can easily swell and become lodged in the throat. This is of special concern with people who have problems swallowing. Large doses of omega-3 fats, such as those from fish oils, may have blood-thinning effects. Since chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, you may want to check with your doctor if you’re on blood thinning medications and plan to eat large amounts of chia seeds.

Consumed in moderation, most people experience no negative effects from chia seeds. One to three tablespoons per day is the typical recommendation.

The Scoop on Avocados

The avocado can sometimes be a heartbreaker.

If you’re a fan, you know what I’m referring to. You buy what appears to be a beautiful avocado.

You allow it to sit the perfect number of days until it is just right. 

Finally, you’re ready to add it to your fish tacos or make it the star of your avocado toast. You cut it in half. 

Heartbreak. It’s black and ugly inside, with nothing worth salvaging.

It’s highly disappointing.

While I don’t have the answers on how to prevent this from ever happening to you, or me, again, I do have some storage tips to help keep them fresh and delicious.

Tips to Keep Haas Avocados Fresh and Delicious

  • When choosing your avocado, the proper way to feel for ripeness is to gently squeeze it with the palm of your hand–not your fingers. Firm avocados will need to ripen at home on your kitchen counter.
  • If you want them to ripen more quickly, put your avocados in a paper bag with bananas or apples. They all produce ethylene gas and the ripening process will be accelerated for them all.
  • Once they are ripe, eat them or move them (unpeeled) to the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They’ll keep for up to one to two weeks, as refrigeration stops the ripening process.
  • Avocados contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which causes the flesh to brown when exposed to oxygen. To help prevent this in cut avocados, there are a few tricks you can try. Leave the pit in the half you are going to store so that there’s less flesh exposed. Store it in a sealed container with a piece of onion. Or rub with lemon or lime juice or olive oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Always refrigerate cut avocados. Eat soon.

The good news about avocados: they are full of nutrients, contain more potassium than bananas, provide heart-healthy fat, are loaded with fiber, help you absorb nutrients from other plant foods, contain antioxidants that contribute to eye health, and help you feel—and stay—full.

Happy Easter Season!

Last week I told of the blessing of Easter baskets on Holy Saturday.

It was a beautiful sight.

I hope you had a wonderful celebration. He is risen!

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“Yesterday, I really wanted avocado toast. Now, I’m eating avocado toast. Follow your dreams.”—Unknown

Time for a Reset


The time of year when we think of new life, cleaning, outdoors, daffodils—and rain. Lots of rain.

Winter was mild here in the Region. Thankfully. The season was still long, cold, and extremely dreary.

There were at least two weeks when my sunglasses never left their case. 

I’m ready for the freshness and warmth of spring. Unless you live in Florida, my guess is that you are too.

As we enter the second quarter of 2023, how are you feeling?

Don’t say, “Fine.” How are you REALLY feeling?

Perhaps you set some goals back in January. Are they still important to you? Have you accomplished some of them, or are you in the process of working through them?

Do you need to do some adjusting?

Maybe you haven’t given it much thought.

Whatever the answers are to these questions, it’s okay. Now is the time to correct the autopilot of day-to-day life if you’re not pleased with your year to date.

If you’re finding it hard to believe that we are one-fourth of the way through the year already, I encourage you to take a bit of time in the next week and consider what is important to you.

What, and who, deserves your attention and precious time?

This is all “Deep Health” stuff. Everything affects everything.

Good health is about much more than your cholesterol, body composition, and fitness level.

Research shows it’s also about your mental and emotional well-being, feeling connected to others, and just enjoying life overall.

Should you need more clarity around living out your goals, I’m just an email away.

Easter Blessings

For Christians, Holy Thursday through Easter (or Pascha or Resurrection Sunday), is the most holy time of year.

When I was a little girl, my mother and grandma would gather the specially prepared Easter foods in our baskets. We would then go to church on Holy Saturday morning to have the foods blessed.

Beautifully decorated eggs, pascha bread (a sweet, egg-rich round bread made especially for Easter), Polish sausage, nutroll, chocolate bunnies, lamb-shaped butter, beet horseradish, ham. 

It felt like more penance because everyone had these baskets filled with delicious (smelling) foods and we couldn’t eat any of it until Easter Sunday.

Although the contents of my basket are a bit different, I still carry on that tradition today.

Food connects us, invokes memories, comforts during tough times, helps us celebrate everything.

If you celebrate Easter, and even if you don’t, I hope your Pascha Sunday is filled with your favorite people and foods.

May you enjoy the blessings of spring and new life.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

 “You are here. You are loved. God is good. And that’s enough.”—Brandon Heath, from his song That’s Enough

Foods for Healthy Skin

Here’s a big surprise (not): your diet influences the health of your skin.

Besides the natural aging process, other factors that affect our skin include sun exposure, alcohol consumption, stress, smoking, high intake of processed foods, dry weather, certain soaps.

Dairy products and whey protein have been linked to acne in some studies.

A diet high in refined sugars, carbohydrates and unhealthy fats contributes to inflammation in the body and may lead to breakouts and other skin conditions.

Remember: if you choose to eat foods that don’t serve your health, do so in moderation and only when they are AMAZING! (Mr. Non-Compliant has gotten very good at this rule. Applause.) 

Foods that help nourish and support healthy skin:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild-caught salmon (or canned sockeye or pink from Alaska), mackerel, herring, sardines, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds
  • Tomatoes
  • Foods high in Vitamin C: citrus fruits, bell peppers (recall last week’s blog—red bell peppers have loads of Vitamin C), broccoli, strawberries, kiwi (did you know that the skin is edible and has lots of fiber and antioxidants?)
  • Foods high in Vitamin E: almonds, sunflower seeds
  • Tea (especially green) and coffee—be mindful of your caffeine intake, since not everyone can metabolize it easily. Decaf is an option.
  • Grapes
  • Dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa/cacao. About an ounce is plenty.
  • Hydrate your skin by consuming plenty of water each day.

Be sure to see your dermatologist for annual cancer screenings, perhaps more often if you have a family history of skin cancer, experience increased sun exposure or notice any skin changes.

Oh by the way, if you’re looking for my recommendation on skin care products that also promote healthy, hydrated skin, shoot me an email. They don’t take the place of healthy eating and lifestyle habits; however, they help!

No Regrets Workbook

In February, I wrote about No Regrets: A Fable About Living Your 4th Quarter Intentionally by Allen Hunt and Matthew Kelly.

A number of you have told me how much that book has inspired you to practice a specific virtue in your fourth quarter. Or, second or third quarter, depending.

The accompanying The Fourth Quarter of Your Life Workbook is back in stock. You can order it for 33% off and get free shipping by clicking Check out the Workbook


May you live today, and every day, with intention.

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“It’s not just what substances you put on your skin. Inappropriate inflammation is rooted in diet, how you handle stress, how you rest and your exposure to environmental toxins.”—Andrew Weil