Will I Never Learn?!

Poison ivy plant isolated on black backgroundI was having a very productive day around the house on Monday. I got side-tracked when I took the dog outside and decided to do some yard work while I was out there. It was beautiful out and the weeds were wild so I couldn’t help myself. I also figured an hour of yard work was more fun & effective than working out to a video. I’d take care of two things at once!

I was yanking weeds with abandon and I didn’t put on gloves. I also had on a tee-shirt, bad move. I now have a rash that’s itchy as hell. Last time I had this I was told it’s contact dermatitis and was given some cream that didn’t really work. Nothing worked until my cousin took pity on me and had another cousin give me a tube of heavy-duty cortisone cream.

This time I went to the dermatologist and found out it’s not contact dermatitis, it’s poison ivy. I also have some eczema that now has poison ivy on top of it. I’m found out I’m not supposed to put the cream on with my fingers but with a Q-tip. That (and the scratching rubbing) would explain why every day I wake up with a few more spots.

It’s not the worst case of poison ivy but it’s still uncomfortable. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself while working out in the yard. Even better, learn what poisonous plants look like before you end up touching them!

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Quinoa Salad Recipe

quinoa saladGoing to a barbecue this weekend? Quinoa salad makes a great potluck dish, it’s quick, full of protein and fiber, and you can add whatever vegetables you enjoy. If you want a heartier salad you can either add in cubed chicken or chickpeas. It also makes a great weeknight dinner.

Quinoa Salad

  • 1C dry quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2C water
  • 1C chopped broccoli
  • 1C chopped cauliflower
  • 1C chopped green beans
  • 1C cherry tomatoes (cut in half if large)
  • 3/4C chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4C slivered almond (or almond pieces)


  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 – 3 TBS white vinegar
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 TBS minced chives or 1 Tsp dried chives
  • 1 Tsp honey to sweeten if needed


Boil the quinoa with the 2 cups of water and turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, steam or blanch the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans for 2 minutes. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.

When quinoa is done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain again, put quinoa into a large bowl and add in all of the vegetables and almonds.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat evenly.  You can eat this at room temperature or chilled.

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Why Judging Doesn’t Help

yoohooLast week some of my friends were angry over another bloggers post. She criticized a fellow parent for buying Yoohoo for his overweight daughter at 5:30 pm. The issue was it was close to dinner time (or what she believed their dinner time to be), it was full of sugar and the child already has a weight issue.

Others were upset that she was judging the parenting of this person, that it wasn’t her business what the child had and who knew if it was a once in a while treat. She was also accused of raising her kids to be “assholes” because of her attitude. (Really?!)

I will say flat-out I’m not a fan of giving empty calorie sugary drinks to children. We clearly have a problem with childhood obesity, kids learn their eating habits from those who raise them and there are better choices that could be made.

On the other hand saying no to every treat makes them that much more tempting. I know as a kid I used to buy Swiss rolls with money my uncle gave me because my mother wouldn’t keep them in the house. Maybe they were eating dinner late and the father wanted his child to have something she enjoyed to tide her over.

It’s hard not to judge when you see a shopping cart full of unhealthy choices and when you see overweight children eating unhealthy foods. Making judgments to a parent, no matter how well-meaning, is only going to make them defensive. If they’re truly clueless about food there are better ways to educate.

There are a variety of programs aimed at helping kids lead healthier lives, including 4-H, the YMCA and Action For Healthy Kids.

Do you want to commit to a healthier lifestyle for you and your family? Do you want meals that are quick, easy and delicious? Meals that even the picky eaters will try? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a 30 minute complimentary session to see if working with me is right for you.


It’s 3 pm, Are You Running Out for a Pick Me Up?

drinkcoffeeWhen I had an office job I fell into the rut of grabbing a muffin, juice and coffee for breakfast. Lunch was either what I brought from home, salad or yogurt & fruit from our cafeteria. I would need more coffee mid morning because I was exhausted. Around 3 I’d be hungry and need a snack or something sweet.

I know that I’m not alone here because the coffee places have lines between 10 – 10:30 and again around 3 – 3:30. Do you feel like your energy tanks around those times too? It is most likely what your eating. A bagel with cream cheese, muffins, cold cereal and energy bars don’t offer up enough real nutrition to keep us energized. Even plain oatmeal, while definitely a better choice, needs some help.

What’s wrong with the salad or the fruit and yogurt? What I was adding to my salad wasn’t enough to keep me full and there wasn’t enough nutrients to keep me energized. The same thing with the yogurt and fruit – I simply wasn’t eating the right things. Fat-free artificially sweetened yogurt is more of a franken-food (food like substance masquerading as food) than something your body recognizes as nutrition.

Simple changes can make a big difference. A full fat plain Greek yogurt has protein and fat to keep you full, add in berries and you have a much more balanced meal. Adding nuts and blueberries to your oatmeal ups the protein, fiber and vitamins which helps keep you full and alert.

Do you want to feel energized and have more pep? I am co-leading a free Energy Boost workshop on May 14, at 7pm. Jason Serapiglia, Owner/Coach of Pique Fitness, and I will teach you which foods and exercise can have the spark back in your day. The class will be held at Pique Fitness and you can register by sending me an email at: janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.


Surpassed My Goal and Had a Blast

Nike finishI loved my race and I was able to set a personal record (PR). It was a beautiful course and it was well-organized. It was breathtaking to turn a corner and run towards the Lincoln Memorial. (for some reason I am obsessed with the architecture of this building).

I didn’t sleep well the night before. I didn’t think I would but I didn’t expect to only have 2 hours. I ran my first race on 2 hours of sleep so I knew I would do it. I also told myself if I had to walk I’d walk. I didn’t train and travel to give it a pass.

I was planning on running with one of my training partners. We’ve been running together for months and this was the first long race we were both participating in. Except we were in different corals and I couldn’t get to her and she couldn’t move up to me. Damn.

I couldn’t find any of my team so I started solo. I soon found my coach and some teammates so I ran with Patti for a few miles. I had to slow down, I was running too fast and didn’t want to tank. I found her again around mile 6 and stopped to wait for some other teammates. After a few minutes I ended up taking off because I really did want to PR.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother runner started chatting with me around mile 8 as we hit the golf course and we stuck together until we had about 1/3 mile left to go. I don’t know her name, but she was a running coach from Canada and I thank her for the company and the distraction. She also helped me push my pace when I might have slowed down.

I am not a speedy runner, I’m a middle of the pack finisher. I’m thrilled that I ran faster than my goal and I wear my Tiffany necklace with pride. I’m looking forward to my next half in Brooklyn in a few weeks time. It’s a hillier race so I don’t expect to run it in the same time but I know I’ll have more confidence after this!

Tiffany necklace DC

Do you have a goal that you want to reach but aren’t sure how to get there? Maybe you want to lose weight, maybe you want to be around to dance at your grandchild’s wedding or you really want that promotion at work. Changing the way you eat could honestly change your life, I know because I’ve done it. Intrigued? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.