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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Special Issue: Thanksgiving Celebration Menu : Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Dr. Tim Says….

 Days like Thanksgiving and Christmas and your birthday are the ones when you’re not supposed to “behave.” There’s a time and a place to splurge, and these are those times.

Eating healthy is not about keeping yourself from enjoying life. It is about embracing food, eating thoughtfully, and choosing things that taste good and are good for you. To single out “behaving” on a few days a year is not the best way to eat healthy. Holidays are times to enjoy yourself and be with family and friends.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Dr. Gourmet!

Holiday Celebration Menu

Roasted Turkey Breast

with Mashed Yams – or - Cornbread Dressing

and Roasted Beets – or - Lemon Butter Brussels Sprouts
- or - Herbed Zucchini

and for dessert: Pumpkin Tarts

Download the Shopping List (PDF)
Note: Shopping list designed to serve 8.

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Daily juice intake linked to higher central blood pressure : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

If you’ve kicked your soda habit in favor of juice – because it seems healthier – you might want to rethink that decision.

A study recently published in Appetite (2014;84:68-72) correlated the juice intake of 146 elderly men and women with their central blood pressures, finding that those who reported drinking fruit juice on a daily basis had “significantly” higher central blood pressures than those who never drank juice or only drank it rarely.

Central blood pressure refers to the blood pressure in the aorta, close to the heart, and is more directly related to the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cognitive impairment than what is known as brachial blood pressure – the blood pressure as taken with a cuff, on your arm. As a person ages, the aorta loses its elasticity and becomes stiffer, resulting in higher central blood pressure. This is often not reflected, or reflected only minimally, in the brachial blood pressure, making it an important indicator of heart health in the elderly. Daily juice intake »

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Why can I eat goat cheese but not cow cheese? : Ask Dr. Gourmet

Dear Dr. Gourmet,

Q: Can you give me some ideas about where to find complete nutritional info on goat cheese? I am lactose intolerant but find that I can eat goat cheese. I am looking for research info or hard facts on goats cheese. Specifically fat content, and cholesterol info. It’s said to have smaller fat molecules, be easier to digest, etc.

A: Lactose is only found in milk made by mammals (as opposed to milk from nuts or soy). It is a two molecule sugar (called a disaccharide) made up of one molecule glucose and one molecule galactose. The body produces an enzyme called lactase that breaks the bond between these two saccharides so that the body can absorb them from the intestine. Many people will lose the ability to make this enzyme and because the lactose can’t be split it passes into the large intestine. The result can be gas, pain, bloating and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance and goat cheese »

Q: Are there any foods or food groups that contribute to migraine headaches? Are there any foods or food groups that assuage migraine headaches?

A: There are no foods that have been definitively shown to help relieve migraines. We do have some evidence that foods that are high in tyramine can provoke migraine. Here’s a list of some foods that are high in tyramine. In general, if it says aged, dried, fermented, salted, smoked or pickled, you should suspect that this is high in tyramine. Foods high in tyramine »

Q: A diabetic friend recently clued me in to how most processed foods have sugar added to them. Virtually all! I was amazed, especially by the orange juice. Prior to reading the food labels, I thought my own intake of sugars was really limited, but I have come to learn differently.

Two questions jump to mind as a result:

1- Is there a difference/health impact upon our bodies between how we deal with honey as opposed to processed sugar?

2- At what point should one become concerned about processed sugars?

A: Books have been written about sugar, as you might expect, and I won’t take the time to detail all about this amazing substance. A great work that can help you understand processed foods today is Twinkie, Deconstructed. It includes a good, short and sweet (pun intended) chapter on sugar as an ingredient. Sugar, honey, and processed foods »

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.

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Breakfast Burritos from evol Foods : Dr. Gourmet Reviews

Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Burrito and Sausage, Egg & Smoked Gouda Breakfast Burrito

We’re returning to our tour of the frozen breakfast burrito offerings this week. So far the breakfast burrito offerings have been largely good with the notable exception of Amy’s Breakfast Burrito (still bad after all of these years).

Similarly, evol Foods’ burritos have been largely good – only one burrito has gotten a bad review from us (although plenty of their other foods have). So the prospect of a breakfast burrito from evol Foods had the panel feeling like today would not be one of those days that we live up to our motto of “We eat it, so you don’t have to.™” Breakfast Burritos from evol Foods »

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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Roasted Chicken Breast : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Chef Tim Says….

Not everyone gathers for a large holiday meal. While we might get together with family and friends, some years it might just be a couple of you. In that case, making a big Thanksgiving dinner may seem daunting – but there are a lot of great alternatives.

This week’s recipe, Roasted Chicken Breast, is designed for just those times and for folks who might be having a smaller holiday meal. It serves four so you will have a bit leftover for sandwiches the next day (after all, Thanksgiving is really about sandwiches on the Friday after, right?).

You can use the dried herb of your choice with this recipe. I like sage because it has all the flavors of a holiday meal to me. Rosemary does as well and works great, but if you like thyme or marjoram, that’s OK too.

There is a lot of fear around the skin on poultry. It has been demonized for about 25 years now. There are additional calories and fat, yes, but that’s OK every now and then. This is especially true at holiday times and many of us think of Thanksgiving as not just roast turkey but the crispy skin.

It’s OK.

If you are cooking a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, pair this with Holiday Rice and Roasted Savory Brussels Sprouts.

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
Dr. Gourmet

Roasted Chicken Breast

Holiday Rice Stuffing

The great thing about this recipe is that it is two side dishes in one – rice and veggies. It can make your holiday meal so much easier by making one side dish rather than two. If it is just two of you for an intimate meal, this lets you focus more on the meal than cooking itself.

You can, of course, use dried herbs that you like best in place of the marjoram and thyme – rosemary (about a teaspoon), sage (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) or basil and oregano (about a teaspoon each). For those with GERD: the onions are cooked enough that they may be safe. Use your judgment.

Roasted Savory Brussels Sprouts

“Brussels sprouts are really quite versatile.”
Yotam Ottolenghi

Chef Yotam is right. Brussels sprouts are fantastically versatile. There is no question that they are misunderstood and often not cooked right. Roasting is one of my favorite ways for making brussels sprouts because the caramelized flavor adds sweetness and richness to the bitter sprouts. Using the bacon and sage as flavoring gives these a great Fall flavor – perfect for holiday meals.

More ideas for your intimate holiday menu planning

Roast Turkey Breast
Eat the skin if you like because holidays are the time to splurge and roast turkey is the perfect comfort food to splurge on.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
This is a wonderful recipe. The nutrition information reflects the chicken eaten with the skin on. I almost never do this: after you are used to not eating the skin it can really taste too rich. Nonetheless, in an effort to be fair to those who have a craving for a lovely roast chicken at Sunday lunch this is a pretty healthy way to roast it.

Mashed Yams with Mint
I love plain mashed yams, but the hint of peppermint makes these sweet and savory and a bit spicy.

Wild Rice with Cranberries
This is the perfect recipe for holiday meals. The savory mushrooms and wild rice combine with the sweet cranberries to hit all the taste buds. Serve this with holiday turkey or roast pork tenderloin.

Mashed Parsnips
I also like to use a potato ricer to make my mashed parsnips. It gives the recipe a smoother texture but there’s still some body to the dish.

Yellow Squash and Onions
This recipe is quick and easy, full of flavor and by not overcooking the squash it has great texture.

Eating Healthy Made Easy

Just Tell Me What to Eat! is the practical, daily guide to following a Mediterranean-style diet at home. This six week plan includes familiar recipes like Taco Salad, Red Beans and Rice, and Fettuccine Alfredo – yes, they are part of a Mediterranean diet! Find out how eating these and other family favorites can help you improve cholesterol scores, reduce your blood pressure, and even manage your Type 2 diabetes – even if you don’t want to lose a single pound.

Buy the paperback: $15.00 + s/h
Buy the hardback: $19.99 + s/h

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Fast food linked to depression in kids : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

ack in 2012 I shared with you a study that looked at the relationship between eating fast food and depression in adults. In a sample of nearly 9,000 adults, those who ate the most fast food – about 22 times more, by weight, than those who ate the least – were 40% more likely to report developing depression over the course of the 8-year study.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 20% of all children suffer from a mental health disorder, and as many as half of all mental health issues are known to first appear in adolescence. With childhood obesity a major concern as well, a group of researchers in Pakistan sought to determine if there was a link between symptoms of mental health disorders and diet in children.Fast food and depression »

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Thanksgiving is Coming! : Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Dr. Tim Says….

 I was speaking to a group last week and there was a question from the audience about “how can we do all this and still be healthy with Thanksgiving coming up?” There are a lot of answers to this question but first and foremost is the concept that Thanksgiving food is usually the healthiest. Why? Because the ideal Thanksgiving dinner is one that we actually cook ourselves.

Roast turkey? Healthy. Stuffing? Good recipes are healthy? Green beans? Yams? Broccoli? All healthy.

We do often eat too much on Thanksgiving, but that is the day to indulge. Eating well is not about a single day or one meal. Taking care of yourself is a day-to-day thing and holidays should be part of that.

There are also a lot of great recipes that are easy to make and really healthy for your Thanksgiving dinner. Today’s recipe is a Savory Brussels Sprouts flavored with bacon and sage. We have included a list of other great, healthy side dishes for you to start building your Thanksgiving menu.

In the coming weeks we are going to offer dozens of recipes that are perfect for your holiday menu whether this is for two people or twenty.

Roasted Savory Brussels Sprouts

“Brussels sprouts are really quite versatile.”
Yotam Ottolenghi

Chef Yotam is right. Brussels sprouts are fantastically versatile. There is no question that they are misunderstood and often not cooked right. Roasting is one of my favorite ways for making brussels sprouts because the caramelized flavor adds sweetness and richness to the bitter sprouts. Using the bacon and sage as flavoring gives these a great Fall flavor – perfect for holiday meals.

More Thanksgiving Sides

Candied Carrots
Most candied carrots recipes are way too sweet and the amount of brown sugar or molasses or maple syrup masks the flavor of the carrots. The combination of the light spread and a small amount of maple syrup with the salt balances nicely with the natural sweetness of the carrots.

Green Beans Almondine
We used to call these string beans or snap beans when I was a kid because you had to snap the tip off and peel the string away from the pod. These days the beans have been bred to not have strings that need removing.

Pan Grilled Broccoli
Pre-cooked veggies, added to smoking hot pan with just a bit of oil, will sear and crisp the outside and add a fresh roasted flavor.

Southern Green Beans
You can cook these as long as you want. True southern beans are cooked to heck and gone and I do love them that way.

Roasted Tomatoes
You could sprinkle about 1/8 tsp salt over these after cooking, but I like the simple sweetness of the roasted tomatoes – especially when I am going to use them as an accompaniment for a salad or other dish that might be tart or salty.

Roasted Root Vegetables
This is the perfect accompaniment for roasts, whether it’s beef, chicken or lamb. A single pan, an oven, some herbs and you’re good to go.

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Roasted Squash Tacos : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Roasted Squash Tacos

When you mix together the wet rub, use a large mixing bowl. The rub will be very sticky because of the thickness of the molasses. Use a rubber spatula to mix because it will help blend the spice ingredients and then when you add the cut squash a bit of the moisture will help. Fold the squash until it is well coated.

When roasting the squash, toss frequently using a wooden or ovenproof rubber spatula to keep the squash and pumpkin seeds from sticking to the pan and burning.

Pulled Pork Tacos

This taco filling was designed to be savory without too much spice so that it is GERD/Acid Reflux friendly. The combination of milder cumin and cocoa evokes a mole flavor that is rich and satisfying.

This is great served with lettuce and cilantro as a topping. Simple, a bit sweet and savory and more likely to be GERD/Acid Reflux friendly.

Tacos served with slaw are terrific and you can top this with your favorite Cole Slaw.

Quick Cilantro Slaw

jh

Slaws go well with almost anything – burgers, picnics, tacos – but the problem is that a head of cabbage is HUGE. It makes enough slaw for a small army. Using baby bok choy is a great alternative. It is more expensive than a single head of cabbage, but if you want to just make slaw for two or four people, a lot less slaw will end up getting thrown away.

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Drinking milk may be bad for your bones : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

For years, if not decades, we have been told to drink our milk in order to build strong bones. Milk is a good source of calcium, Vitamin D, and phosphorus, all important nutrients for bone formation and maintenance, so many people are told that they should drink at least three glasses a day to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis.

The problem is that research on the effects of drinking milk on either bone density and the risk of fractures has been somewhat conflicting, with some studies focusing on calcium intake – from sources that include both milk and other sources of calcium – others focusing on Vitamin D, and yet other studies lumping all dairy intake together. Worse yet, milk is a major source of a substance called D-galactose, which is a byproduct of digesting the lactose in milk and has been linked, at least in theory, with increased levels of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which we know is linked to greater risk of heart disease and cancers as well as greater risk of bone loss. Milk: it does a body… »

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Which potatoes should I use? : Ask Dr. Gourmet

Dear Dr. Gourmet,

Q: Lately I have been hearing a lot about the benefits of pomegranate juice from helping with prostate cancer to weight loss and lowering cholesterol. Is this the new “wonder food?” Also, cinnamon seems to be another fabulous supplement, lowering blood sugar is the main claimed help. I am wondering if any of these claims have any medical proof?

A: There is no “wonder food.” It’s a shame, because it would make our lives a bit easier, but it just isn’t true.

There is some evidence that pomegranate juice contains a lot of antioxidants, and we know that consuming antioxidants can help prevent disease. In most research, however, it’s difficult to make substantial claims without having large controlled trials. Time and again, small trials have shown positive results only to be disproven with large scale studies. The proof for pomegranates and cinnamon »

Q: I want to add diabetic to my Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan profile of Coumadin and low sodium. It is not a choice on signin. How can I do that?

A: There’s no selection for a diabetic diet because the foundation of all Dr. Gourmet recipes as well as The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan is the Mediterranean style diet. Both the American Diabetic Association diet and the American Heart Association diet are based on this style diet. Diabetes and The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan »

Q: My brother, who has been diabetic for 15 years, said that Yukon gold potatoes are OK for his diet. I enjoy Yukon golds, but also enjoy red potatoes for salad, as our mother used. Would you list what type of potatoes are good for what type recipes such as for salads, for soups, for side dishes, etc.? Do the calories in different types of potatoes greatly differ?

A: Potatoes have gotten a bad rap, mostly because of the Atkins diet. We now know that low-carbohydrate diets are just plain silly (why quit eating entire food groups?) and eating potatoes is fine. There are a lot of good carb choices and potatoes should be part of your pantry along with brown rice, sweet potatoes or yams, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, polenta and corn. Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes »

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.

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