Wondering What the Heck to Eat?

968eThis morning Sharon Osbourne was on GMA talking about Atkins and her success with it. She’s lost 30 pounds and loves that she has frozen meals that she pops into the microwave to eat. (really? frozen meals everyday?  ugh.) Then I read a post by an author I like on how weight loss is not mysterious: you eat less, drink more water and walk more.  My third diet story was how only a certain blend of foods will have you losing weight. It was detailed and my attention span is short so that’s about all I can tell you on that one.

No wonder we’re a nation that does not know what to eat. Low-fat, fat-free, low-carb, low-protein, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, fruititarian, and carnivore.  What the heck to believe? Now I know not one diet works for everyone. We’re all built differently and have different likes and dislikes.

I believe weight loss can be easy and that food can be delicious and healthy at the same time. It’s a matter of making the choices that are right for you, making small changes consistently, having support, and being prepared. It doesn’t have to be complicated and involve math formulas or frozen meals.

Does that sound too good to be true? It is how I lost 60 pounds and kept it off. I do not know how many calories I eat in a day. I do know I enjoy what I eat and it doesn’t come out of a box. I’m not exercising for hours on end and I feel great.

Do you need help in figuring out what works for you? Want your energy to be through the roof and to fit into those skinny jeans? Visit my website, empoweredplate.com, to learn more about my new online program:  . Or send me an email, janinemchale@empowerdplate.com, for a free 1/2 hour strategy session – no strings.



Quick Shrimp, Asparagus & Pesto dinner

shrimp, asparagus, pesto pastaWe were out to dinner with my in-laws last week and Paul was tossed between a shrimp, asparagus, pesto and pasta dish and a stuffed-sole dish.  I told him pick the dish that he knew I would not be making.  Smart man knew I meant the stuffed sole.  His father laughed and said, “but when will she actually make the other dish?”

Silly man, of course I made the dish this week.  It’s an easy dish to cook and one  that is speedier because all of the ingredients are in my freezer.  I make pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays for single use servings.  (click here http://wp.me/p2O1nf-s  for my go to pesto recipe)  Frozen shrimp defrost in 10 minutes in cold water and cook in 3 minutes.  Asparagus cooks in less than 7 minutes.  And wheat or brown rice pasta also cook up in 10 minutes.

It’s much faster and healthier than takeout. It requires minimal energy, even if you use fresh asparagus.  I added some shiitake mushrooms to my portion because I like the taste and texture of them.

Shrimp, Pesto & Asparagus Pasta


  • 8 oz peeled shrimp (defrosted if using frozen)
  • 1/2 bunch or bag of asparagus (about 24 spears), cut up into pieces
  • 2 pesto cubes, defrosted
  • 4 oz whole wheat or brown rice pasta
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed or minced
  • Parmesan cheese, optional
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste


  • Boil pasta according to package instructions
  • heat garlic in olive oil over medium heat
  • add asparagus to olive oil and garlic, saute 5 minutes
  • add in pesto, cook 1 minute
  • add shrimp, cook until it starts to curve (3 minutes)
  • drain pasta and top with shrimp, pesto, asparagus mixture
  • top with cheese, if using, and fresh ground pepper.  Garnish with a few basil leaves if you have them on hand.

makes 2 servings

Want more healthy recipes? Click here http://empoweredplate.com to sign up for my monthly newsletter.  You’ll get tips on food, health and exercise; as well as the recipe of the month.


Happy for the Reset Button

bowl_of_chicken_soupIt’s day 5 of my cleanse and I have a pot of chicken stock simmering on the stove. For me it’s the perfect comfort food on a chilly damp winter day. The past few weeks have been busy and rough. The holidays were a whirl, then my godmother passed away and my family came to stay with me. It was stressful and it was nice to see my family but not under those circumstances.

I was leading a cleanse the following week and I didn’t really have as much time to prep myself for it. My clients had all they needed prior to the start date but I didn’t do my pre-tox.   It’s a little hard when you are running around and sometimes depending on others for your meals. Plus, let’s be brutally honest, leftover Christmas cookies are pretty damn comforting.

And yet, the cleanse came at a perfect time. My eating habits didn’t have enough time to be out of control because of the cleanse. I had to focus on helping out my participants, planning my own meals, and doing some self-care. I had lots of comforting healthy foods,  plenty of greens, and exercise. Not a bad thing after a sad or stressful event. It really did let me press the reset button!

It didn’t change the events that happened but it did let me change the way I was taking care of myself. That’s the real reason I like a cleanse. It lets you change what you’re doing and revert back to healthy habits (or create some new ones)! Even if you’ve been eating healthy there is always a benefit to eating really cleanly and making some extra time for yourself.

How do you change course when you realize that your eating is not at its best and you’re not taking care of yourself the way you should be?

Want to try a cleanse? One made up of delicious whole foods? You can click here for more information: http://empoweredplate.com/press-the-reset-button-cleanse.html.

I am going to share my soup, I know my uncle could use some comfort and a yummy home cooked meal too.

What’s the Worst Health or Diet Advice You’ve Heard?

A friend of mine was violently sick recently and unable to eat for a few days.  A mutual friend told her, “well that’s what I long for after the holidays.  A good stomach bug so I can lose the weight that I gained.”  Um, really?

That drives me crazy on a couple of levels:  It makes it seem as if you cannot lose weight unless you’re ill.  It absolves you from having to take any action on your own.  If you’re not changing your habits that weight comes right back as soon as you start eating again.  I could go on but you get the point.

Another tip that I was told was to eat baby food.  Just the thought of that makes me gag.  Can you imagine eating pureed foods for all or most of your meals?  Again, how in the hell are you supposed to learn how to eat normally from that tidbit? I think I’d crave all sorts of foods after that diet.

So what’s the nuttiest thing you’ve heard?  And what do you really do in order to get your eating back on track?

For me, I go back to eating whole foods.  I pull out my 5 day Press the Reset Button cleanse and go to town.  On foods that taste great, I can chew, not feel deprived, and are easy to make.

I don’t have hours to prep and cook meals, I’m guessing you don’t either.  I’m not a gourmet chef but I am a solid home cook.  What’s better than sitting down to a hot, home cooked meal that you didn’t have to spend an hour prepping & cooking?

I’m leading a cleanse on Monday, January 7.  I’d love for you to join us.  You can visit my webpage to learn more information and to sign up: http://empoweredplate.com/press-the-reset-button-cleanse.html.