Monthly Archives: April 2014

Is Pinterest High-Jacking Our Taste Buds?

greensmoothie

Is Pinterest high-jacking our taste buds?

I read a lot of food blogs and I regularly pin other bloggers’ gorgeous food photos. (If you are not yet addicted to Pinterest then you probably should thank the God of Wasted Time and back away from the Pin). But I digress.

I found stunning photos of Rainbow colored smoothies. Colorful fruits and vegetables should be a part of your diet every day so I am in no way discounting their importance. But are we posting photos of beautiful foods just to get pinned? Are we letting Pinterest high-jack our taste buds for the allure of the perfect photo?

 Apparently, green smoothies are all the rage because there were a thousand pictures of green smoothies promising Clearer skin, better Sex, INSTANT weight loss, DeTox, essentially NIRVANA in a glass. I picked an almond, kale, pear, ginger and lemon extravaganza. I think it promised to give me X-ray vision.

I gathered the ingredients to make my smoothie: fresh kale, almonds, organic pears, ginger root and a lemon. I plugged in my Vitamix, washed the produce and began to chop. My senses were engaged. I was hungry and I started to salivate. The kale was crisp and succulent. The pear was perfectly ripe. The lemon smelled like sunshine and I got a devine whiff of the pungent wizened piece of ginger.
saladinablender
I was in love with my ingredients and then it hit me. Why am I going to whirl these lovely pieces of sunshine into a glop of green liquid? Why are we promoting green smoothies? Is it because green is the new color of detox or because it looks great in photos? I love green leafy veggies but if I didn’t like them, then forcing me to drink florescent green smoothies would never entice me to change my mind. And for those of us who already know the health benefits of greens what’s the point of drinking greens?

Making a green smoothie takes the same amount of time as making a salad. I ask my patients not to drink calories and here I was making a liquid salad. How ridiculous is that?
Eat the salad people. Assemble your smoothie ingredients on a plate, grate a dash of ginger, splash with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and voila, its a magically delicious smoothie salad. I guarantee that it will satisfy you longer, it will give your teeth something to do, and salads are beautiful in their own right.

kalepearsalad-copy

And bonus, there’s no glop in the bottom of the glass that might occasionally make a girl gag.
greenglop

I know you greenies know what I’m talking about.

Don’t even get me started about beet smoothies. Beautiful to photograph but arrrgh, I hate beet smoothies (dirt flavors in a glass) even though I love beets in a salad. You decide for yourself. Green glop in a glass or an almond, kale, pear, lemon, ginger salad? Stay tuned for future rants about detox. Eat your greens. They provide vitamin K and C, antioxidants, fiber and maybe Weight lose, better Sex, clearer Skin, and SUPER human POWERS. Hello X-ray vision!

 

Take what you need and savor every bite.

Don’t Fear the Fish


I’ve never met a fish I didn’t like. Ok that is a lie. I can’t eat trout.  I spent many years with my father fishing for trout; rainbow, brook, steelhead. It didn’t matter to my Dad as long as he was outdoors and there was flowing water and a fishing pole.  My Dad didn’t eat trout either which probably explains my trout aversion. All childhood influences aside, I seriously don’t like the taste of trout.  If you don’t like one fish try another until you find one that you like. Fish is low in calories and fat. Small fish are low in mercury. Fish is versatile, flavorful and low in Weight Watchers points. Don’t paint all fish with the same brush.

  I hear people say all the time that they hate fish.  I agree that bad fish is really bad.  If it smells like fish then it is not fresh and don’t buy it. Fish should smell like the sea, not like a dead fish. When I buy fish, I ask to smell the fish or shrimp before I buy. Good fish sellers will not be offended and can tell you what is fresh. The more good fish you eat, the more good fish you want to eat.  Halibut is light and not fishy when fresh.   Line caught halibut from Alaska is out of the reach for most people but if you find a good price on fresh or frozen halibut then jump on it.  This recipe is a simple, low calorie, and  one dish meal.  You can substitute any fish.

 

Baked Halibut, Prosciutto and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Ingredients:

• 1 halibut filet about 8 oz

• 2 pieces of prosciutto

• 3-4 basil leaves

• 1 package of sliced, washed mushrooms or 8 oz of fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon of pepper

Directions

1. Salt and pepper the fish

2. Place mushrooms in a baking dish. I used a 2 quart dish.

3. Lay salted, peppered fish on the mushrooms.

4. Drape basil leaves over fish.

5. Drape Prosciutto over basil leaves.

6. Bake covered for 30 minute at 350 degrees F

Serving size is one 4 ounce filet and ½ the mushrooms

Weight watchers 5 points

 

Serving suggestions: Serve with kale salad and fresh fruit.

Procuitto Halibut

What If We Realized that Food Security Is Homeland Security?

Food insecurity in our tiniest citizens.

Breastfeeding Medicine

I’m waiting for my flight home from the 1,000 Days U.S. Leadership Roundtable, a spectacular meeting that was held today at the Gates Foundation in Washington, DC. Stakeholders in nutrition and maternal-child health gathered to discuss how we can galvanize support for nutrition during the 1,000 days from conception to age 2. This is the time when our youngest citizens build their bodies and brains, laying the foundation for long-term health. Investing in optimal nutrition during these crucial days improves health and productivity across a lifetime.

For too many of our children, however, this foundation is fractured. Poverty, food insecurity, and commercial pressures prevent moms and babies from achieving their full potential. During the meeting, 1,000 Days executive director Lucy Sullivan shared daunting statistics about the challenges facing children in America. One in eight infants and toddlers in the US lives in deep poverty, defined as less than half the poverty…

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Food Confusion

food confusion

“What should I eat, Doc, to lose weight, reduce disease, avoid diabetes, reduce heart disease, and stay healthy?”

Every day I speak to women who are profoundly confused by the “expert” diet advice being promoted every time they turn around. Should I be a Paleo, a primate, a vegan, a vegetarian, a lacto-ovo-pescetarian or a fruitarian? Eat low carbohydrate, low-fat, high fat, high protein or low protein? Only eat organic? Only eat in the Mediterranean? Only eat in a box with a fox?

My answer is always the same, “Eat real food and less of it.”
My advice is a spin-off from journalist and author, Michael Pollan’s brilliant words of wisdom, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Take this simple advice with you to the grocery store.
If it’s in a box, a can, or a bag then it probably isn’t real food. Would your grandmother have recognized it as food? Did it grow in or on the ground? Did it swim? Would a caveman know to eat it? Does the packaging have a label telling you how nutritious it is for you? Is the shelf life 2 years from the date of purchase? Is sugar the first ingredient and flour the second? These are obvious clues that it isn’t food. Just because you can ingest it does not mean that it is food.

Look at your pantry, your freezer, and your refrigerator.
Now throw out or at least acknowledge the non-food items. Awareness is half the battle. Children’s “snacks” are highly suspect. Why would you feed your child dyes, preservatives, fillers, and chemicals? Cut up an apple and sprinkle it with cinnamon, put out some carrot sticks, or make them a bowl of oatmeal with honey.

Shop the exterior aisles of any grocery store. That is where you will find the real food. Stop in the produce department first, wander by the meat counter and finish in the dairy case. I promise that on this path you will bypass the majority of expensive “trigger” non-foods. You’ll save money and calories. Here is a comprehensive article by Michael Pollan that will bring his advice into focus. It is also an in-depth explanation of the origins of the dietary confusion.
Take what you need and be well.

Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html

Frozen Greek Yogurt Tiramisu Cups

tiramisu5
Cooking inspiration comes in many forms. My tiramisu cups were inspired by Andrea at http://www.cookingwithawallflower.wordpress.com who made frozen yogurt blueberry cups. Check out her lovely inventive blog. Continue reading

The Caribbean cooking post that wasn’t

The Caribbean cooking post that never got off the ground

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I was all prepared to write a colorful Caribbean, cooking in a miniature kitchen with fresh local produce while living on a sailboat post, but instead you must hear about my two days in the hospital. And no I do not expect you to feel sorry for me because that is not the point. I promise I will get to the point eventually. I was all packed with my kitchen essentials for cooking in a galley (minuscule) kitchen; think camp stove, a 2 inch counter top, ice box, dull knives, a small charcoal grill off the stern, hard tack and rum.
Classic camping on water scenario

How to pack for a sailing and cooking adventure

I threw in a few bathing suits, shorts, T-shirts and a passport, but that’s not the important stuff. For cooking I packed a small cutting board, a couple of homemade spice mixes and a TSA approved corkscrew (in case of pirates). I was forced to leave my favorite chef’s knife at home because we were traveling light with carry on baggage only. The possibility of seeing a checked baggage arriving after 5 flights, 3 countries and 2 airlines seemed remote. I had preordered a box of local tropical seasonal produce and a selection of whatever fish was available. I dreamed of creating a tropical salsa and grilled fish rubbed with a perfectly piquant jerk seasoning while watching my sons frolic in a sea kayak under a peach colored tropical sunset. Please take a moment to savor the photos that you will never see. I’ll wait. Nice, right? You’re welcome for that tropical moment.

Now the real story

Two days before my scheduled departure for the sailing/cooking adventure, I was awaken at zero dark thirty with excruciating abdominal pain. Because I thought I was dying, which is the only reason to go to an ER in my opinion; I waited 6 more hours and then went to the emergency department, with the shortest wait time. Who knew you could check wait times on your smart phone? In theory it’s a great idea, but that might not be the wisest criteria to use when picking a hospital but I was sick and sick people make stupid decisions. Never listen to a sick person making irrational decisions. Just put them in the car and drive them to the best ER on their insurance.

I may not be a great patient

I confess that I am not the best patient but I did patiently tell my story over and over again to 4 nurses and 4 physicians. I followed everyone’s orders like a good girl until the last day in the hospital when a new phlebotomist tried to draw blood out of a nerve (and yes it does hurt as much as you would guess) at which point I politely threw her out of my room. I was sick and sleep deprived. Ok, yes and I’m a bad patient. IV fluids, antibiotics and sleep deprivation apparently cured me or at least entertained me until I got better on my own. I am home now and I think I know what was wrong with me and I think I understand my discharge instructions. I’m also alive with all of my body parts intact so that’s good.

Lessons learned

1) Go to the best hospital that is preferred by your insurance. You should know that before you get sick. Go check it out now.
2) Be prepared to tell your story. Why, when, how long, what is your immediate concern?
3) Be polite and ask what the plan is and what to expect. Several times if needed until you understand.
4) Be prepared to see several different doctors and nurses and to tell you story again and again. I actually don’t mind re-telling my story because someone might hear the part that let’s them solve the diagnostic mystery.
5) Ask questions! Who are you and what are you giving me or where are you taking me? I always introduce myself to patients so I was quite surprised that there were people wandering around the hospital doing things to and for you without introducing themselves first. Weird, right? I was actually astounded by this when it happened to me more than once. “Uh, hello who are you?”
6) If your family wants to stay by your side and watch you sleep then let them. Just be sick and let them help you. Everyone needs an advocate and a second set of ears when they are sick, even doctors.
7) The RN is your new best friend. She is the eyes, ears and hands of your physician. She also has the sharp objects and the keys to get the best drugs. I repeat. She is your best friend and ally. Thank her every chance you get. The medical assistant is your second best friend. She is the eyes and ears of your RN and controls the water pitcher, ice chips and the stuff a hospital calls food.
8) Don’t think for a minute that you can heal in a hospital. It’s a great place to get diagnosed and saved from imminent death but you will go home to heal. You will not rest. The staff will wake you up every time you get to sleep for another vital sign check, blood test, medication, etc. Be nice and they might let you sleep an extra hour without disturbing you. Be a jerk and … let’s just say you can’t win a battle with the night shift. Repeat after me, “I will sleep and heal when I get home. The hospital staff is trying to help me get home alive.”
9) Make sure you understand your discharge instructions because it will be your job to make the appointments for follow up with the specialist or primary care physician. I don’t think anyone actually cares what you do after you leave the hospital. Just saying. Be assertive. “I was just discharged from the hospital and I was told that I needed to be seen this week, this month, etc.” Unfortunately this only works if you have a relationship with an established practice. GET ESTABLISHED! Don’t wait until you’re sick and need that emergency follow up.

My take home lessons and perhaps the point of this rant are:

Always buy trip insurance for expensive trips. Period. I did not plan to get sick but luckily I had purchased travel insurance. The other advantage of travel insurance is that you are insuring that you can get transported back to the U.S. if needed for treatment. I am extremely grateful that this illness did not occur in the middle of the Caribbean on a sailboat with only a corkscrew and rum available for emergency surgery. Write this down. The RN is your new best friend. Do everything in your power to stay healthy so you can avoid hospitals and painful medical procedures.
What’s a habit you can change to stay healthy?