If you’ve been following Dr. Gourmet even a little while, there’s a good chance you’ve heard something about nuts. We’ve seen nuts help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes – with walnuts specifically or through increasing your magnesium intake, improve your cholesterol scores with pistachios (or other nuts), and cut your risk of metabolic syndrome. More broadly, they’ve been associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
What about overall health – at least, in terms of living longer? Scientists from multiple institutions in Massachusetts, from Harvard to the VA in Boston, used data collected through The Physician’s Health Study (Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101:407-12), a large-scale, long-term trial of the effects of aspirin and beta-carotene on the risk of cancers or cardiovascular disease in over 20,000 male physicians. The study includes detailed dietary, health, and lifestyle questionnaires gathered on a yearly basis for nearly ten years. Even more reason to eat nuts »
Udi’s Gluten Free
Sweet Potato Ravioli and
Ziti & Meatballs
We’ve been watching for the arrival of more frozen single-serving meals from Udi’s Gluten Free since we discovered their new line back in March of last year. While their two variations on Mac and Cheese weren’t terribly impressive, the lasagnas were much better,with the Broccoli & Kale Lasagna being particularly good. Two more varieties appeared in our local Whole Foods Market this week, so we snapped them up for review. Sweet Potato Ravioli and Ziti & Meatballs »
These go by a lot of names: summer rolls, basil rolls, Vietnamese rolls, Thai basil rolls… and I have even seen them on menus as spring rolls (not deep fried).
There are endless varieties and you don’t have to be restricted by this recipe. You can use pork instead of shrimp or shrimp and pork. Cilantro along with the basil or with some mint is great. Thinly sliced cucumber instead of the carrot or along with it is a good idea. Red cabbage maybe?
The key is to plan carefully so that you don’t over fill the rolls.
These little rolls seem so complicated, but when you get started it is really simple. Blend some ingredients and spices in the food processor, roll into balls, roll into the rice papers and cook. The result is so satisfying and amazingly tasty.
If you don’t want to make your own peanut sauce, there are good ones on the market. Check the sodium content and choose the one that’s lowest in sodium.
As I’ve noted in the past, medicine is not like algebra, where if A = B and B = C, then A = C. So if a food contains an ingredient, and that ingredient has been linked with a certain positive or negative effect, it does not necessarily follow that the food will also have that effect. (Boy, it would be great if it did!) In medicine, it’s critical to connect those dots with specific research.
Chocolate is a case in point. Cocoa, from which chocolate is made, is high in flavonoids (an antioxidant) and contains both caffeine and magnesium. All three of those ingredients have been separately linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, while cocoa and chocolate have been linked with reduced oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance – all three of which are associated with diabetes. Chocolate and diabetes »
Dear Dr. Gourmet,
Q: I like the Red Bull Energy Drink a lot, specially the “Light” one, which only has 8 calories. I like its flavor and indeed gives me more energy. Is there anything wrong with this drink? Is is healthy to drink it, especially the Red Bull Light given it only has 8 calories?
A: Red Bull and similar energy drinks use caffeine as the primary ingredient to give you energy. There are two other ingredients in Red Bull are taurine and glucuronolactone. The claims are that these are helpful with neural function. There’s not a lot of good research to support this, however. The other main ingredient is sugar (they do make a sugar free version as you note). RedBull »
Q: My father has been on Coumadin for 4 weeks and his doctor told him he could not eat home-grown garden tomatoes – just hot-house tomatoes! From viewing your website, the tomato is low in vitamin K, so what is the deal?
A: I must admit that I very much enjoyed your question. My first reaction was that tomatoes are tomatoes, but when answering Ask Dr. Gourmet questions I always want to make sure that the reply is correct. As I wasn’t 100% certain that a tomato is a tomato when it comes to Vitamin K content, I consulted some experts at the USDA. Vitamin K in tomatoes »
Q: I would like to lose some weight. I try to eat very healthy food, no red meat, limited cheese, plenty of fiber and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and I try to snack wisely. Here is my question: What should I do when I am hungry? Can I eat all the (unadorned) fruits and vegetables that I want?
A: It sounds as if you are on the right track and making great choices. While you can and should snack, I don’t think that you should eat all you want. Your idea of eating fruit is great but keep an eye on the calories. Snacking is really important to keep you from being hungry and your choice of fruits is a great one. The calories will vary depending on what you choose, but generally speaking come in around 100 calories. Smart snacking »
Have a question? Send it to email@example.com and your question may be answered in this newsletter. Dr. Harlan regrets that due to time constraints, he can not answer all questions submitted. Your question may already have been answered in our Ask Dr. Gourmet archive.
Saffron Road Food
Beef Chile Colorado and Achiote Roasted Chicken
The last time we reviewed something from Saffron Road Food was almost eight months ago, and it was a disaster. Nifty packaging led us to try their Korean Style Tacos, which were beyond awful. What a disappointment from a company whose other offerings, from chicken broth to Macaroni and Cheese, have so often been really good.
We kept an eye out for signs that they were returning to what we here at Dr. Gourmet consider their core competency: frozen meals. Today we have two new items from their foray into Mexican cuisine:Beef Chile Colorado and Achiote Roasted Chicken »
A colleague gave me some cabbage from their garden the other day, and when my wife proposed that I make a variation of this soup, I was skeptical. The ingredients seem so odd, so old-worldly. This is in fact a traditional Polish soup, and as with many traditional foods, there are endless variations. I like this one with the split peas to make it very hearty.
I thought that sauerkraut had a lot of sodium and it does, sort of. There’s about 160 mg of sodium in 2 tablespoons, but that would be OK as a seasoning. Sausage is not that much of a problem and if you are careful, it’s easy to find kielbasa with about 150 mg of sodium per ounce. Like the sauerkraut, the sausage, sliced thinly, will also add lots of flavor and saltiness. All of this combines with the sweetness of the onions and cabbage as well as the creaminess of the split peas to make a great soup.
This recipe will also work well with ground lamb, but ground turkey would be a bit dry. This a savory, sweet, spicy dish that’s even better the second or third day.