About Dr. Gourmet

My name is Timothy Harlan and I am both a physician and a chef. This blog is a general collection of information and random ideas on eating great food and eating healthy.

You can find out more at the Dr. Gourmet web site. Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Categories

Death from all causes: even more reason to eat nuts : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

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 intakeimprove 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 »

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Cooking Substitutes: Ask Dr. Gourmet

Dear Dr. Gourmet,

Q: My daughter is allergic to all forms of sesame and peanuts. What can I use in stir fries to substitute for sesame oil yet maintain a nice Asian flavour?

A: This is a bit of a challenge and I don’t feel you will get all the flavor that comes with sesame oil with any alternative oil. Your best bet would be to use an oil with less flavor such as canola or grapeseed oil and find the Asian flavor in other ways. Asian flavor without sesame oil »

Q: Some cakes need up to 8 eggs… Can half of them be replaced with starch and will there be a big difference in taste?

A: Reducing the amount of eggs in baking can be a challenge. One can’t really simply eliminate eggs from a recipe and replace it with another ingredient and expect the same result. This is not so much a matter of changing the taste of the cake or muffin but the texture. Eggs in baking »

Q: My wife and I like Thai curry, but coconut milk is so high fat and saturated fat. Do you have a replacement suggestion? I’ve seen soy milk or evaporated milk suggested.

Also, I was wondering if in fact coconut milk’s saturated fat (and plant sources of saturated fat) were in fact healthy.

A: Coconut milk has gotten a bit of a bad rap because it is high in saturated fat. These types of fat are likely not as much of an issue as those saturated fats found in animal products.

That said, I always use light coconut milk in my recipes. It’s widely available now and far lower in fat and calories but with all the flavor of regular coconut milk (and more than enough creaminess).Coconut milk »

Have a question? Send it to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.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.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Whitefish with Roasted Root Vegetable Salad : Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Today’s column is #8 in our “How to Eat Healthy” series. Each week we’ll post the next in the series, and if you follow the suggestions and make small changes each week, by the end of 2015 you’ll know how easy it is to eat great food that’s great for you.

Dr. Tim Says….

Almost every day I have patients ask me what they should weigh and how much they need to lose. I will admit that sometimes I am a bit evasive, saying such things as, “Start working on your weight, and I’ll tell you when to stop.”

Why am I not always more direct? Because folks can often be pretty unrealistic about their health and their weight. Usually people are shocked when I tell them what an ideal weight would be for them. While shock is their first reaction, folks usually say something like “Oh, I’ll do that, it’s easy for me to lose 50 pounds and you’ll see when I come back in three months.”

Man, oh man, do I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said that (and another dollar for those who return in three months and have not lost any weight at all). I have no doubt that this mentality comes from fad diet books and pills that repeatedly claim that people can easily lose that much weight in such a short period. Look, if it were true there wouldn’t be such an obesity problem: people would lose weight and keep it off. What is a healthy weekly weight loss? »

A Healthy Pregnancy
with Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNYou may have seen on the news recently that the Council for Responsible Nutrition has recommended that all pregnant and breastfeeding women take a supplement that includes 150 micrograms of iodine daily. They further encouraged supplement manufacturers to include this amount of iodine in any supplements designed for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition is a trade organization for the supplement industry. Is this simply a matter of a group marketing supplements or does it reflect a potentially serious health issue?Iodine supplements – should you take them? »

Whitefish with Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

This seems like a complex dish but is, in fact, really easy and good for weeknight dinner because the prep takes only about 20 minutes. The roasted veggies can be made in advance as can the vinaigrette and the olive tapenade. Cooking the fish only takes 10 minutes so, all in all, a simple but elegant dinner.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Pasta Dishes from Udi's Gluten Free : Reviews by Dr. Gourmet

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 »

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Summer Rolls : New Recipes from DrGourmet.com

Summer Rolls

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.

Chicken Potstickers

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.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Will chocolate prevent diabetes? : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

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 »

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Hothouse vs. Home-grown tomatoes; More: Ask Dr. Gourmet

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 askdrgourmet@drgourmet.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.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Make Your Own Potstickers : Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Today’s column is #7 in our “How to Eat Healthy” series. Each week we’ll post the next in the series, and if you follow the suggestions and make small changes each week, by the end of 2015 you’ll know how easy it is to eat great food that’s great for you.

Dr. Tim Says….

There are a lot of fantastic reasons to make a change in what and how you eat. Everyone has their motivation.

Looking at the most successful titles in the Diet and Nutrition section of the bookstore, the main reason that folks want to change how they eat is to lose weight. O.K., that’s alright, but for most people that means they want to lose a lot of pounds really fast. The concern is that this has been shown time and again to not be effective because you’ll gain it all back, plus some. The landscape is littered with failed diet books and celebrities who’ve lost and gained and lost and gained. So much has been written proving that many diets simply offer users only a yo-yo pattern of weight gain and weight loss.

This is why I would like for you to consider exactly what you are looking to accomplish by changing how you eat. Staying motivated »

Chicken Potstickers

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.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Mexican Cuisine from Saffron Road Food : Reviews by Dr. Gourmet

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 »

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites

Kapusta : New Recipes from DrGourmet.com

Kapusta

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.

Tuscan Meatballs with Cabbage

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.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MSN Reporter
  • NewsVine
  • FriendFeed
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites