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!

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Halloween Special Issue: Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Dr. Tim Says….

 Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year, but the challenge is that there’s always a lot of leftover candy. Having all those sweets around the office can be tempting, and it’s pretty easy to rack up a ton of extra calories at this time of year. You can, however, make the season work for you.

Here are five simple tips that can keep you from feeling like you’ve spent the days after Halloween at the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory:

1. Keep it Hidden: There’s great research to show that keeping the treats out of sight and less accessible can help you manage how much candy you eat. Halloween Candy Is Your Friend: Really! »

Chef Tim Says….

Halloween’s coming up and there’s always discussion about healthy alternatives to all that candy given out during Trick or Treating.

When I was a kid there was a family down the street that always gave apples. It was a popular stop, as the mother had a terrific act. She would dress up in a dramatic witch costume and hand out “magical” apples. Sometimes getting us to eat better is just in how the message is delivered! Halloween Candy »

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Miso Root Vegetables : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Miso Root Vegetables

This is a great side dish to serve with Asian meals. It is also perfect with a simple piece of seared tuna or chicken breast.

Miso Eggplant Stir Fry

This dish does require three pans, but it is so worth it. The rice cooks easily and the water for the eggs heats while you are prepping the stir fry. You can simply add the eggs at the end of the stir fry and not bother to poach them – as you would with a fried rice dish – and save a step.

The 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes offers a mild to moderate heat. You can add more if you wish or cut back for a milder dish.

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Cut calories by planning ahead : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

When patients ask me to help them to lose weight, one of the first things I do is ask them what they eat for breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them do not take their lunch to work, but instead go out and buy their lunch. They might go to the cafeteria in their building or the Subway down the block – or they might go to a sit down restaurant. The point is that they don’t know what they’re going to have for lunch, and too often that means choosing their lunch by looking at a menu (or through the counter glass) and choosing the first thing that looks good. And that, as you probably know, is unlikely to be the healthiest choice you could be making.

These days many businesses are looking for ways to help their employees be healthier – and not just by offering discounts for gym memberships. Researchers at the Center for Urban Health Policy partnered with the Health and Wellness department of Einstein Healthcare Network in Pennsylvania to find ways to help people make healthier choices at lunchtime (Appetite 2014;84:88-97). Cut calories by planning ahead »

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Cajun Food from Savoie's Foods : Dr. Gourmet Reviews

Savoie’s Foods

Shrimp Etouffee and
Seafood Penne Pasta

New Orleans loves its Cajun and Creole food, and we and the tourists who visit us sure eat a lot of it. The problem is that so many of the restaurants that serve Cajun and Creole food have fallen prey to something a chef friend of mine observed years ago. He said, “As a chef, it’s easy to hide your sins with fat and salt.” In too many well-known restaurants here in New Orleans you can easily have a meal of an appetizer, main course, and dessert that contains upwards of 3,000 milligrams of sodium (remember that the American Heart Association recommends less than 2,400 milligrams per day – not at one meal) and sometimes more. Lots more.

But given how much we love our Cajun and Creole food, it’s no surprise that there are a fair number of local food companies whose meals appear in the frozen food aisle. Zatarain’s, for example, is perhaps best known outside New Orleans for its seasonings, but their frozen foods appear in just about every grocery store in town. We here at Dr. Gourmet haven’t reviewed these local frozen food brands before mostly because they’re not widely available outside the New Orleans area, but also because these foods, like the foods served in our restaurants, tend to be really high in sodium. Cajun Food from Savoie’s »

Did You Know?

We’ve reviewed over 700 convenience meals, ingredients, and even desserts! Check out our listings by main ingredient or brand name to find out if that meal that looks so good in the freezer case is really worth the money. Read more Dr. Gourmet’s Food Reviews »

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Eggs Benedict with Eggplant : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Eggs Benedict with Eggplant

This is a rich and decadent weekend breakfast that is made better by the creamy roasted eggplant.

Mustard Hollandaise Sauce

Look for the flavors and textures in your traditional recipes that let you maximize the taste without sacrifice.

Miso Glazed Salmon

“Soy sauce is really a multi-purpose seasoning.”
-Martin Yan

Martin Yan is right. Soy sauce is a great all-purpose sauce with saltiness and umami that complements recipes. It does take some restraint and using just a bit goes a long way.

Miso is the same way. It contains a lot of salt but a special tangy umami flavor and takes only a bit to have a major impact on a dish. Pair with big flavors like salmon, beef and pork for a great meal.

Asian Hash Browns

These hash browns are a twist on an old standby and will go well with a simple meal of poached eggs. For dinner, pair them with Miso Glazed Salmon or Seared Tuna with Saki-Wasabi Sauce.

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DASH diet may help treat effects of PCOS : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects as many as 18% of women worldwide. Despite its name, it is an endocrine (hormonal) disorder that is not directly caused by the ovaries; in fact, it is a combination of several different hormonal and metabolic disorders.

The name itself describes a fairly common effect of the disorder: multiple cycsts on the ovaries that are believed to represent failed ovulation, which is also reflected by the infrequent or completely absent menstruation and infertility that is a symptom of the syndrome. Women with PCOS might not necessarily have cysts on their ovaries, but they do usually have increased levels of androgen (symptoms of which include excess body or facial hair or acne), and some level of Metabolic Syndrome, which includes high insulin levels, insulin resistance, and a tendency toward abdominal obesity, which put them at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This combination of disorders also causes poorer cholesterol scores as well as higher markers of oxidative stress (inflammation), which is likely to contribute to PCOS sufferers’ higher risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.

There is no specific cure for PCOS, but some symptoms may be relieved by weight loss and exercise along with oral contraceptives and medications to help control blood sugars. Researchers in Iran noted that there have been reports that a 5% loss of body weight in obese women with PCOS seemed to help alleviate symptoms, as did a low-glycemic-index diet. Since the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been shown to help treat type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in addition to high blood pressure, they wondered, would a DASH diet also help treat the symptoms of PCOS (Nutrition 2014;30:1287-1293)? DASH diet and PCOS »

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Miso Glazed Salmon : Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Dr. Tim Says….

 It’s clear that eating fish is great for you and one of my favorites is salmon. This is both because I love the flavor and because there are remarkably high levels of Omega 3 fats found in this delicious and versatile fish. I have a lot of folks write in and ask about all the different choices in the market and which is best for their recipes.

When you step up to the fish counter the salmon you find won’t necessarily be clearly labeled. You can, however, fairly easily tell a lot about it. Firstly, salmon is divided into two broad categories – Atlantic and Pacific. Salmon »

A Healthy Pregnancy
with Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNNeed an additional reason to avoid going through the fast food drive through for French fries?

A recently published article (Diabetologia DOI 10.1007/s00125-0141-3382_x) indicated that women who eat fried foods more than once per week increase their risk of getting gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can be dangerous to both women and their developing babies during pregnancy but can also impact long term health for both mother and baby. Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes »

Miso Glazed Salmon

“Soy sauce is really a multi-purpose seasoning.”
-Martin Yan

Martin Yan is right. Soy sauce is a great all-purpose sauce with saltiness and umami that complements recipes. It does take some restraint and using just a bit goes a long way.

Miso is the same way. It contains a lot of salt but a special tangy umami flavor and takes only a bit to have a major impact on a dish. Pair with big flavors like salmon, beef and pork for a great meal.

Asian Hash Browns

These hash browns are a twist on an old standby and will go well with a simple meal of poached eggs. For dinner, pair them with Miso Glazed Salmon or Seared Tuna with Saki-Wasabi Sauce.

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Breakfast Burritos from Amy's Foods : Dr. Gourmet Reviews

Amy’s Foods

Breakfast Burrito and
Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap

This week we’re continuing what my wife is calling “the breakfast burrito tour of the frozen food aisle.” A couple of weeks ago we discovered two breakfast burritos from Sweet Earth Natural Foods, a company new to Dr. Gourmet, that our panel thought were truly excellent. Today we’re returning to a company we’ve known for years: Amy’s Foods.

Over ten years ago we reviewed Amy’s Breakfast Burrito and gave it poor marks. After ten years, we thought it might have improved. According to the numbers on the package, it would appear to have been changed somehow: there are 20 more calories in today’s burrito, along with slightly more fat and saturated fat (1g and 0.5g, respectively), 1 gram more fiber, 1 less gram of sugar, and more protein (3 grams more). Amy’s Breakfast Burritos »

Did You Know?

We’ve reviewed over 700 convenience meals, ingredients, and even desserts! Check out our listings by main ingredient or brand name to find out if that meal that looks so good in the freezer case is really worth the money. Read more Dr. Gourmet’s Food Reviews »

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Root Vegetable Pasta : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Root Vegetable Pasta

This is a quick, easy weeknight pasta with a few twists. The all veggie sauce has the savory taste of a meat sauce because of the umami from the parmesan but offers sweetness from the carrots and parsnips, tang from the tomato sauce and a slight bitterness from the radishes. A great balance.

Ratatouille

This is a recipe that I almost decided not to work on. I served ratatouille in my restaurant because it was made by an old hippie that worked as a prep cook. I had his recipe and, as with most vegetarian dishes, it was full of fat (and not very good fat I might add). I am so glad that I worked on it. The key is the highest quality fresh mozzarella you can find. But even more important, the fresh herbs make the dish possible. I am not sure I would do this with dried herbs – it would taste like it was made in a bad vegetarian restaurant.

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Fish for your brain : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

Fish for your brain

We know that following an overall Mediterranean-style diet can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 60%. Some research has suggested that it is the fish intake that has that effect, and yet other studies focus on the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. For example, in 2007 I reported on a prospective study that looked at the effect of eating fish on the participants’ scores on a common cognition test, the Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE). In a five-year study of over 200 Netherlanders, those who ate the least fish had their scores in the MMSE fall four times faster than those who ate the most fish – regardless of the type of fish consumed. On the other hand, in 2006 researchers in Sweden gave participants with mild to moderate dementia either an Omega-3 supplement or a placebo for 6 months. Those with Alzheimer’s Disease saw their cognition decline more slowly if they were taking the supplement.

With today’s research, a team in Pittsburgh sought to clarify this distinction. They made use of data gathered through the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS-CS), which is part of the larger Cardiovascular Health Study, a large-scale, long-term prospective study of risk factors of heart disease and stroke in persons over the age of 65. Those in the Cognition Study were evaluated for signs of dementia or mild cognitive impairment and had an MRI done of their brains. For their research, the Pittsburgh team limited their study to those participants who had no sign of dementia or cognitive impairment (Am J Prev Med 2014;47(4)444-451). Fish and your brain »

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