What’s that on Your Plate?

food-plateLast year I posted on the USDA food pyramid and how it was changed to a plate. The difference is that recommendations for 1/2 the plate consists of vegetables and fruits, one-quarter for whole grains and one-quarter for protein.  Dairy was off to the side in a glass.

I eat pretty close to that but I don’t drink milk and I tend to add salad along with that.  I realize I eat more of the Mediterranean Food Pyramid than the American standard.  You can learn more about it here: Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid.  It’s about plant-based foods, olive oil, minimally processed foods, some fish, some poultry, minimal dairy, low in sugar, and maintaining a healthy weight.  It sounds good to me.

Not everyone can tolerate the same foods though.  Some people can’t tolerate gluten, some can’t tolerate dairy and others have trouble with certain vegetables.  Added to that there are a bunch of different dietary theories with conflicting ideas.  It’s confusing and it’s hard to know which theory is correct.

The thing is no one diet works for everyone.  It can be both frustrating and a relief to hear that.  Some people really do need to eat less carbohydrates and others really do better on less protein.  I do best with less sugar, minimal dairy, a lot of greens and a balance of whole grains and protein.  I only know this through experimenting and the elimination diet.  (which is not as creepy as it sounds, you give up a certain group of food for 10 days and then add it back in. to see how you feel).

Do you know which foods give you the most energy, leave you feeling satiated and not bloated, and have you powering through your day?  And, on the flip side, do you recognize which foods leave you feeling sluggish and too tired to go on without some sort of boost from caffeine or sugar?  It can really help with your day-to-day life as well as any sports or competitions that you participate in.

Helping people figure this out is what I do.  I’m available for in person consultations as well as phone and email.  Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, or leave a comment if you’re interested in learning more.  I’d love to hear from you!

What to Buy in the Grocery Store

GroceryBagThe other day a client asked me if I could recommend brands for her to buy at the grocery store.  I asked what she was looking for and she said can’t you just tell me what is in your refrigerator and cupboard and I’ll buy that?  I had to laugh because I knew that wasn’t going to help her.  We don’t shop at the same stores and I tend to stick with the house brand organic of Stop n Shop and Trader Joe’s.  They are local for me, we don’t have a Whole Foods or a co-op that I can shop in.

Of course there are certain brands that I like more than others and they are available in many stores.  But the real tool of food shopping is reading the labels and knowing what you are buying.  I am pretty certain that’s what she was hoping to avoid.  Unfortunately even within the brands I like there are ingredients I’m not fond of or I feel there is too much sodium in some of the products.

We’ve done a grocery store tour together and she has done my cleanse so she’s familiar with what I recommend.  I don;t generally name a lot of brands on my handouts but I do suggest foods, meats, dairy, condiments, beverages, staples, snacks, and fair trade, organic coffee.  I recommend organic, local, seasonal or frozen, grass-fed and hormone free. I teach people how to read labels and know what they are looking for.  If you have no idea what an ingredient is why would you eat it?

So we will have a mini refresher at our next meeting and we will do another grocery store together.  My next tour will be of Whole Foods, Tribeca on March 16th.  We’d love for you to join us, you can sign up by sending me an email: janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.

Rather do a cleanse that involves eating whole foods, instead of juicing? I’m leading one of those February 24th.  You can click here for more details: press the reset button.

Don’t Exercise for Weight Loss

i_july_photo_1That seems pretty radical to some when they hear me say that.  Some people perk up and some people look at me like I’m crazy.  I don’t mean that you get a free pass on exercising.  I mean that you shouldn’t be using exercise as your major method of weight control and it shouldn’t be something you dread.

If you are eating a fairly clean diet you shouldn’t need to kill yourself with exercise to lose weight.  Exercise accounts for only 20 – 30% of weight loss, diet is responsible for the other 70 – 80%.  Eating a crappy diet and exercising is not going to get you to your goals but rather sets you up to fail.

Think about a routine that you like, one that doesn’t feel like punishment.  Maybe it’s dancing, swimming, running around with your kids, playing tennis, or a game of volleyball.  Whatever gets you moving and doesn’t feel like a chore or feel boring is what you should be focusing on.  You want the feel good endorphins as well as they physical benefits.

For me exercise is a way for my brain to calm down, to work off stress, and to shake off a day of work.  I love the way I feel afterwards both mentally and physically.  When it’s something you enjoy the time flies and you aren’t worrying about what you have to do next.   You’re in the moment and almost disappointed when your time is up.  You may even exercise longer than you planned.  That’s really what’s radical!

So what exercise do you enjoy?  I’d love to hear from you!

Are you struggling with what to eat?  Do you want to reset your eating habits?  I’m leading a cleanse beginning February 24.  It’s a cleanse where you eat whole foods and learn which foods work best for your body.  For more details visit: press the reset button.

Powering Up Your Run

farmers marketLast week I did a nutrition clinic for Team in Training and had the most fun.  I love doing these clinics and helping people figure out what foods and beverages are going to power them up for their new training programs.  It’s also fun to see someone mentally reset what they believe about food and nutrition as well.

I identify with them because I was not a runner until around the time I turned 40 and then I also joined Team in Training.  As I started training for a half-marathon I was hungry all of the time and my diet plan that I had been on no longer served me.  Truly, it’s not fun to be chomping on carrots as you leave work because you’re hungry and they’re a free food.  I enjoy carrots but they were not filling me up!

Truth be told you need a certain amount of fats and carbohydrates in your daily diet. Fats and carbs are what powers a runner.  Quality carbs are not the enemy, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits are carbohydrates.  Fat is a necessity, your brain is made up of fat and cholesterol.  It also helps you absorb vitamins from foods and move calcium to your bones.

I definitely do not believe in a fat-free diet, there’s no skim milk or fat-free yogurt in my fridge. That’s still shocking for a lot of people.  But I’ve lost and kept off 60 pounds, whether I’m running or not.  And I’m not constantly hungry either.

Are you interested in learning what foods will work best for you? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com,  for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.  Together we can come up with a plan that empowers and supports you and your lifestyle.