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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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June 13, 2024

Refreshing Drink Recipes to Beat the Heat

As the summer sun reaches its peak, staying hydrated is more important than ever. But who says hydration has to be boring? Here are some simple recipe

June 6, 2024

Fun and Healthy Summer Snacks

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh, light, and delicious snacks that not only keep you cool but also pack a nutritional punch. Here are some fu

May 30, 2024

The Surprising Link Between Texting and Better Eating

Ever notice how you just feel a little lighter after a laugh with friends, or a heartfelt conversation with a loved one? These kinds of positive socia

May 22, 2024

Uncovering the Hidden Sweetness in Everyday Foods

(The following article was written for the December 2020 issue of Get Healthy magazine, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. I’m sharin

May 16, 2024

Mastering the Art of Cleaning Produce

Last week I promised that I’d offer some various ways to effectively clean your produce. Before preparing fruits and vegetables, wash your hands wel

May 9, 2024

Navigating Pesticides in Produce

To buy organic or conventional produce? That is the question of the day. Organic produce, by definition, is grown without synthetic pesticides, synthe

May 2, 2024

Diverse Protein Sources for a Healthier You

Last week I covered the topic of how much protein we need in a day and dispelled the idea that protein causes kidney damage. In case you missed it, he

April 25, 2024

Is Too Much Protein Dangerous?

Twenty-five years ago, there was plenty of skepticism about protein. After all, bodybuilders ate lots of it—and they experimented with all kinds of

April 18, 2024

The #1 Nutrition Principle

“Red wine is better than white wine!” “Kale is better than spinach!” “GRAINS ARE EVIL!!” Ever feel like good nutrition is just too complic

April 11, 2024

Angelos Update and Green Thumb Time

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years, you may recall my weekly posts that were written comparing the size of my friend’s baby in utero

Eating for Winter Wellness

Last week your favorite health coach wrote about the need to include foods that provide energy and warmth to best thrive in cold winter climates.

Hearty soups and stews, lentils, hearty grains, warm spices, herbal teas, root vegetables and protein-rich foods are excellent choices.

Today I offer you more tips to keep your “digestive fire” alive and well.     

  • Emphasize whole, natural and fresh foods, eaten to 80% fullness for optimal digestion.
  • Consume moist foods and good fats like olive oil or ghee to address winter dryness, particularly for skin health.
  • Finish evening meals about 3 hours before bedtime to ensure proper digestion. Try to eat smaller amounts later in the day.
  • Avoid fasting to maintain muscle mass and body tissues.
  • Encourage more home-cooked meals for quality control and nourishment.
  • Avoid eating on the go and only eat when truly hungry, not out of boredom.
  • Limit intake of dry foods like popcorn, chips and crackers and choose cooked vegetables over raw salads. (This is a tough one for me since I’m a salad-a-day girl. Oh, and I occasionally indulge in popcorn and a home movie.)
  • Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and/or ginger to your cold protein smoothies to “warm” them up for winter

These guidelines are a starting point. Experiment and adjust dietary choices to find what works best for you.

Eating in this way, focused on health and overall well-being, promotes an ideal plan for weight maintenance or weight loss.

Remember this mantra: How can I do just a little bit better?

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

”Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home” – Edith Sitwell

Embracing Winter Solstice

Welcome to Winter, which officially kicks off this evening, December 21st at 9:27pm CST.

In that moment, we are tilted as far away from the Sun as possible, resulting in the Sun taking its lowest and shortest path through the sky.

Winter Solstice.

In many cultures, the Winter Solstice symbolizes the rebirth of the sun and is often associated with renewal and new beginnings.

Monday, I attended a Winter Solstice Retreat presented by my friend Theuressa, Tea & Yoga. 

We were given the opportunity to reflect on our celebrations (highlights, peak experiences) and challenges (obstacles to connection, areas of potential growth, change) for the year.

While this week may be a bit crazy for you, (I’m still working on decorating the tree) perhaps before the New Year you can carve out a bit of time to reflect on the past 12 months.

Consider what’s working in your life and what needs to change.

What do you need to release? What will you continue doing? What new habits or adventures would you like to begin? How will you bring those changes about?  

Schedule a bit of quiet time to sketch out your plans.

Craving Warm and Comforting Foods?

With winter, we crave more substantial foods for energy and warmth. Our bodies need warm, moist foods like soups, stews and protein-rich foods.

The “digestive fire” we build in cold weather is crucial for health, immunity, weight management and overall well-being. Because this fire is strong in winter, we tend to be hungrier.

See, it’s not your imagination, you really ARE hungrier. I know I am.

This is the season to include spices like fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cloves and warm, herbal teas.

Plan to enjoy regular and more warm meals that include lentils, beans, whole grains and grounding (root) vegetables like beets, carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes. Avoid cold, raw food and drink.

Think of eating foods that provide comfort and energy and feel like a cozy bear hug.

A note of caution: avoid ultra-processed foods, artificial ingredients, refined sugar– and be careful not to overdo those delicious Christmas cookies.

I know–they’re AMAZING!

Well, do the best you can and remember to save some for Santa, served with a warm glass of oat milk.

I’ll share a few more ideas on winter eating next week.

Wishing you a season full of light, blessings, and your favorite celebrations.

Sending you love and a cozy bear hug,
Health Coach Carol

“There are two ways of spreading the light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”—Edith Wharton

Trim the Tree, Savor the Season, Eat Green Beans

It’s an interesting holiday season.

Perhaps part of the reason is because we are experiencing the shortest Advent possible. The latest that the First Sunday of Advent can fall is December 3rd.

That’s what happened.

If you feel as though you have less time to prepare for Christmas than you did last year, it’s because you really do have less time to prepare for Christmas. 

As is usually the case, some are finished decorating, sending cards, shopping, baking, etc. (If this is you, congratulations!)

And then there are the rest of us.

I’ve heard from some of you that it doesn’t even “feel” like Christmas or Hanukkah.

Many of us are trying to finish (or begin) decorating, bake that first Christmas cookie or buy a few gifts.

Some are missing loved ones.

Here’s Health Coach Carol’s idea:

Today, if you’re feeling a bit “off” your holiday spirit game, think about one thing you can do that would make you happy—or at least put a big smile on your face. Do that thing.

It may not have anything to do with the holidays, or maybe you’ll watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and hang stockings for Santa to fill.

Or maybe you’ll make some green beans.

If you choose that last option, here’s a tasty and simple recipe for you to try. I made it for Thanksgiving and will make it for our Christmas dinner too.

My family gives it a “thumbs up.” Yes, even Mr. Non-Compliant eats these green beans happily.

Hope this recipe will at least make you smile.

Bon appétit!
Health Coach Carol

Stovetop Green Beans and Mushrooms

(The following recipe was written for and published in a 2022 Holiday Guide in The Northwest Indiana Times.)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small, sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces baby bella, cremini, or button mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, swirling it around to coat the pan. Add the onion, mushrooms, and salt. Sauté until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms and they are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the green beans to the pan and stir to evenly distribute the onions and mushrooms. Pour the broth over the vegetables and cover the pan. Let cook, covered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, still covered, for another 5 minutes. Serve the green beans in a serving dish or shallow bowl, pouring the mushrooms and onions over the top. Serves 6.

 

  “Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.”—Clarence the Angel

Stovetop Green Beans and Mushrooms

(The following recipe was written for and published in a 2022 Holiday Guide in The Northwest Indiana Times.)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small, sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces baby bella, cremini, or button mushrooms, thinly sliced   
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, swirling it around to coat the pan. Add the onion, mushrooms, and salt. Sauté until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms and they are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the green beans to the pan and stir to evenly distribute the onions and mushrooms. Pour the broth over the vegetables and cover the pan. Let cook, covered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, still covered, for another 5 minutes. Serve the green beans in a serving dish or shallow bowl, pouring the mushrooms and onions over the top. Serves 6.