Happy Halloween and What To Do With the Candy?

Happy Halloween!  Do you enjoy the holiday or dislike it?  I like to see the little kids dressed up, the Halloween parade, pumpkins and apple cider (especially the kicked up version my friend Donna makes – it can have you talkin’ loud and saying nothing).  I can do without the eggs though.

Although we really don’t get many trick or treaters I still like to have something on hand for those that show up.  While I am not a fan of a lot of sugary foods, I get that it’s a holiday and these are treat items.  I don’t give out fruit because most parents will not let the kids eat it and, really, what kid wants fruit.  Still, I don’t like to give out things with dyes and too much artifical junk.  I went with Hershey Kisses – milk and dark – no nuts in case of allergies.  I like the Kisses but not enough to want to pick at them. 

The leftover candy can be the downfall of many of us and if you have kids there will be candy around which can be tempting to nibble on.  Putting it out of your sight can help all of you.  Work out how much candy you’ll let the kids eat and stick to that.  Pick out a treat for yourself, have it and move on.  Remember the day is a one day holiday not a weeklong candy festival.  There are plenty of other festive seasonal foods that you can enjoy that will keep your blood sugar stable and your energy up.

A lovely way to rid yourself of extra candy is to send it to our troops.  The candy goes to those who are injured and recovering as well as those who are overseas and fighting.  You can find out more about this program at http://www.treatsfortroops.info/default.html.  Consider buying back some of the candy from your kids to send as well.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
serves 1

1 c canned or fresh roasted pumpkin
1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or low-fat milk)
1/2 large banana
1 -2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs ground flax seed
ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth, enjoy! 
You can add 1 Tbs of almond butter for protein & healthy fat.

To discuss other strategies for Halloween survival or for a free health history please contact me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com or visit my website:  http://empoweredplate.com/.

Saying Yes to a Taboo Food

I was watching Eat, Pray, Love last night and there was a small scene in the movie that really stuck in my head.  Liz and Sofie were having pizza in Napoli and Sofie was not eating hers.  (which I know did not happen in the book so it really caught my attention).  When asked why Sofie explained she gained ten pounds and had asked what the roll was called.  “A muffin top,” laughed Liz, “I have one too.  So what?  When you are with your boyfriend does he ever tell you to put your clothes back on?  No, of course not, he’s so happy to be there with you naked.”  Liz goes on to say how she’s tired of saying no to foods and to always being on a diet.  She doesn’t want to be obese but she does want to enjoy food.

I think this resonated so much because I used to be heavy and I was always dieting.  I love Weight Watchers for showing me portion control but I am sad that avocados, olive oil and nuts were so taboo because they were high on the points scale.  Fat free artificially flavored foods were really pushed and I lost sense of what to eat when I wasn’t trying to lose weight. 

I believe there’s a balance.  We need some healthy fat to feel full and satiated.  Saying no to real food to eat some man made item that doesn’t quite classify as food seems so ridiculous now.  I no longer count points or calories; avocados, nuts, low-fat and whole yogurt are in my fridge and I have not gained weight.  I don’t look for as much extra junk because I’m satisfied by the foods I do eat.  I have treats but no where near as many as I did while dieting.  (low in calorie that they might have been).

I am not saying go out and eat with abandon.  But if you are in Naples eat the pizza! 

So here is my weird and delicious way to use avocados.  It is from Gena at Choosingraw.com. 

My husband enjoys this and likes none of the ingredients individually, except for the chocolate.  We like it less sweet and use 4 dates per avocado.  You really need to keep blending this in the food processor to avoid date chunks.  You can also add a spoon of coconut oil for additional flavor. 

Avocado Chocolate Pudding (aka, Chocomole!)
1 ripe avocado, pitted
6-10 dates (depending on size of dates and desired sweetness – I’m usually happy with 8 medjool dates), soaked if necessary
½ tsp vanilla
4 heaping Tbsp cocoa or 2 Tbsp. carob powder
½ cup water

Place all ingredients in a food processor (you can use a blender or Vita, but food processors work much better for this recipe) and begin blending.

Tired of the diet treadmill?  Want to have more energy and feel good?  Check out my website at http://empoweredplate.com/ or email me at:  janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.

Cold Rainy Days and Comfort Foods

I woke up crazy early today to rain and darkness,  now almost four hours later it’s still rainy and gloomy.  You know it’s bad when the dog is cuddled up on the couch and not looking for her walk.  Days like this have us wanting comfort, something to ease us through the day.  Often times we crave something sweet or a heavy comfort food.  Occasionally a treat food is fine but, while tasting delicious, these foods don’t always sustain us throughout our busy day.  A coffee and muffin leads to mid-morning slump and hunger, heavy foods leave us feeling sleepy and wanting a nap. 

What to do?  Make a healthier version of your favorite food.  I love a pumpkin muffin or sweet bread this time of year but for 500+ calories a pop I could have a plate of spaghetti with meatballs and sausage.  (not really what I’d like for breakfast but you get the idea).  So I had oatmeal with pumpkin, unsweetend almond milk, a tablesspoon of cacao nibs,tablespoon of walnuts, teaspoon of honey, pumpkin pie spice and a sprinkle (about 1/2 tsp) of vanilla sugar on top.  It had all the flavors of my favorite pumpkin bread and no guilt.  There is fiber, whole grains, protein and healthy fat in one bowl.  It clocks in under 400 calories and will keep me full and energized throughout the morning.

Lunch today will be soup and a toasted cheese sandwich.  I made soup yesterday with an eye toward the wet and chilly weather.  I control the ingredients in the soup so I know it’s low sodium, healthy and full of fresh ingredients.  The sandwich will be part skim mozzarella with tomatoes on a sprouted grain bread.  Again, quality ingredients that will keep me full and energized.  I realize a lot of people will buy lunch today.  A broth based soup will be less caloric than a cream based soup.  A lentil, split pea or black bean will have a great mix of protein and fiber – perfect for energy and satiety.  Choose a whole-wheat bread for your sandwich and say yes to lettuce & tomato to keep you full for longer and your blood sugar even. 

Little tweaks in your recipes can make a big difference in your health.  Whatever the dish make sure it’s got a mix of protein, healthy carbs (vegetables are carbs) and a healthy fat so you can keep your energy levels up for anything that pops up during your day. 

If you’d like to speak more about this or would like a free health history please email me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com or visit my website:  http://empoweredplate.com/.

What does a runner do when she’s unable to “just do it?”

Many of you know I run, that it’s a weird addiction and that I only started about 3 years ago.  I have had injuries, like a lot of other runners, and I always get back on the running path when I’m better.  It clears my head, keeps me fit and presents challenges along the way.  I like plotting out where I’m going to run as well as knowing I have favorite routes when I don’t want to think about it.  I like the solitary run and I like the company of running with my Team In Training teammates. 

I have chronic plantar fasciitits since June, well really May but I had a race that I wanted to do.  (runners are a stubborn group)  I have refrained from running for a little while, iced the foot, stretched and visited the podiatrist.  Three cortisone shots, countless acupuncture treatments, icing & stretching have not really offered much in the way of relief.  It’s better then it’s not.  It’s not bad and then it is.  It’s frustrating.

And, as crazy as I am, I have not been running.  I’m not supposed to do high impact exercise and I let my gym membership go when I left my job for school.  Bike riding is fine but I am not about to ride in the rain.  So, what to do?  I have to move, plain and simple.  I’ve been strength training, doing kickboxing without jumping, yoga & pilates and it’s good but not the same. 

Now I think I’ve found it: athletic training.  I lumber on all fours with straight limbs like a bear, I walk like a crab, a duck and a creepy crawler.  All of these are broken up by a series of punches and kicks that do not include jumping.  My heart races, I sweat and my back is starting to be as toned as my legs.  (bonus)!  I have to plot my route of movement throughout the house.  This routine requires some space.  I’m beat halfway through and I’m grinning when it’s over.  Not, it’s not running but I’m happy.

With some searching you can find what inspires you to “just do it.”

Changing With the Season

It’s getting cooler again, or so the weather people are promising.  In the fall I start craving soups and heavier foods then I had been eating over the summer.  Salad is okay as a side but I want more grounding and filling meals this time of year.  I have a love of squash, beets and apples and I indulge in root vegetables in the fall. 

On my must make list for the next week are: butternut squash soup with apples; pumpkin curry and a white bean escarole soup.  The butternut squash soup has a blend of savory & sweet and the curry is just delicous.  The escarole soup reminds me of childhood and is as satisfying as it is comforting. 

I bought my squash, apples, escarole and pumpkin at the Farmers Market this week.  All are fresh, seasonal, grown without pesticides and nutritional powerhouses.

Winter Squash – excellent source of Vitamins A & C; good source of folate & minerals, including calcium, magnesium & potasium and a good source of fiber. 

Pumpkin – also an excellent source of Vitamin A, as well as vitamins E & C.  Again it is a good source of folate, calcium, magnesium, potasium and fiber.  That bright orange hue means it’s full of antioxidants and will fight off free radicals that produce wrinkles.  No expensive creams – eat richly hued pumpkin!

Apples – low in sugar, good source of potasium and it has a little calcium.

Escarole – a powerhouse of nutrition with super low calorie content.  It’s full of vitamins K, A & folate.  It also contains vitamins C, E and B; calcium, potatssium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium. 

So take another look at the veggies in season and make something wonderful for yourself.  (maybe even share with someone if you’re so inclined)! 

If you would like to speak more about your health, nutritional and seasonal eating visit my website, empoweredplate.com or contact me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.  I’d love to set up a time to speak with you!