Archive for the 'Food Writing' Category

Pareve Peach Pie

This entry is also posted on Dr. Sukol’s blog, Your Health is on Your Plate.

About a year ago, a friend of mine got interested in the raw food movement.  Raw foodists prefer their food, as advertised, raw.  Uncooked.  She said it changed her life.  OK, lots of people say stuff like that.  But I have to admit that I see the difference – she is more relaxed, and brimming with beauty and energy.  Four kids?  No problem!

What if You Already Have Diabetes?

This entry is cross-posted at Your Health is on Your Plate.

Last summer, after my patient Mrs. Price heard me say that her blood sugar was 204, a single tear ran down her cheek as she said,  “My eldest granddaughter is getting married next year.”  A blood sugar measurement over 200 is one way to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes.  Her parents had both died in their 60’s from complications of chronically elevated high blood sugars.  Here is what I told her.

Coffee Whiteners

When I ask patients what they put in their coffee, they almost always say “cream.”  So I say, “Like from a cow?”  And they usually say no.

What do they mean by “cream” then?  They mean coffee whiteners.   “Cremora Rich ‘n Creamy!”, “Coffee-mate Lite The  Original,” “International Delights Coffee House Interpretations Vanilla Latte,” “Spoon ‘N’ Stir Non-Dairy Creamer,” and so on.  They mean corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.  Translation?  Sugar and trans fat.  Some of my patients even have a favorite flavor, now that the folks who make and market coffee whiteners have identified and exploited the consumer’s insatiable desire for variety.

Coffee whiteners are everywhere.  They’re at the office, at meetings, at the workshop I attended last week, and at parties given by folks otherwise committed to fresh food, backyard gardens, and the like.  Like some kind of stealth bomber, they slip in under everybody’s radar.  Coffee whiteners are Trojan horses filled with diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, and strokes.

A Kosher Chicken in Every Pot – Part 1


Wise Organic Pastures – The Processing Plant

This Article is Cross-Posted on

Our Bubbie and “grand” Bubbies may have known how to make a famous roast chicken and of course, chicken soup, but certainly did not face the same chicken challenges that the kosher shopper faces today. Most chicken is no longer raised in the back yard! The consumer is now faced with numerous choices in quality, type and price.

Chicken has become a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Kosher chicken is no exception, but is somewhat more complicated. There has been extraordinary growth in kosher poultry sales in the last few decades. Along with observant Jews, many non-Jews and Jews who don’t necessarily adhere to kosher laws now purchase kosher poultry. Why? There is a perception that kosher certification adds a layer of clarity and transparency to poultry purchases. In addition to the FDA and government regulatory agencies, the processing plant must adhere to the specifications of a supervising kosher agency and rabbinical authority. Many consumers welcome this extra layer of inspection.

What We Used to Eat

This entry is cross-posted at .

 I spent most of the day yesterday on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Not literally.  I was reading Jane Ziegelman’s new book, 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.  I wanted to know what they ate in the days before Crisco, Cool Whip, corn syrup, and Cocoa Puffs. 

White Flour & Sugar


This essay is cross-posted at http://yourhealthisonyourplate

Have you ever heard anyone say that all you have to do to have a more nutritious diet is to stop eating white flour and sugar?  That seems pretty radical to most people.  What’s the point?  What’s wrong with white flour and sugar?  And what would such a change accomplish?  Simply put, why? 

By now, if you’ve been following the blog regularly, you probably know me well enough to know that I’m not going to say you can never eat white flour and sugar.  I’ll never say never — moderation is my motto.  I think that most people can tolerate a little bit of most things now and then.  But that’s not what’s happening.  Let’s look at what the standard American day looks like, food-wise. 

What’s for Breakfast?

This entry is cross-posted at .

I am pretty excited this morning, because today’s the day that the grounds manager from a small local college is coming over to spend a few hours helping me salvage a row of overgrown, antique quince bushes and convert a small corner of my yard into an edible garden.  I expect that we’ll be working pretty hard, so before he gets here I need to eat breakfast, and that’s what we’ll be discussing today.

Delicious, Flavorful, Versatile Yogurt

This entry is cross-posted at

Some time ago I wrote a post about store-bought, flavored yogurt and the absurd amounts of sugar contained therein,  called Everything You Wanted to Know About Yogurt but Were Afraid To Ask.  But the truth is there’s a lot more to know about yogurt, and don’t worry — it’s all good.

The first step to restoring yogurt to its healthful place in smart eating is to buy it plain.  You can try your hand at making your own yogurt, but you’ll still need some plain yogurt to get started.  “Plain,” by the way, is what I would have called yogurt if I wanted consumers to be more interested in other, fancier options, especially if I could increase profits by doing so.  But that’s not what I want for you, so  I would call it “pure” yogurt.  So the first step is to buy plain, whole-milk yogurt.  Now, if you aren’t ready to switch from low-fat to whole fat, we can compromise for now.  Just please make sure it’s plain yogurt, with live, active cultures (check the label).

What’s Wrong With “Wheat Bread”?

This article is crossposted at Your Health is on Your Plate

Most of the time I feel like we’re really making progress.  Patients are looking younger, losing inches, feeling better and decreasing their medications.  Still, not a day goes by that Angie, Barb, Chuck, Doris, Elijah, Fritz, or Gayle doesn’t tell me proudly that they have switched to “wheat bread.”  I thought I covered that, I say to myself.  I thought we discussed the fact that practically all bread is made from wheat.  That buying “wheat bread” is the same as buying “bread.”  That the word “wheat” means nothing in terms of good nutrition unless it is prefaced by the word “whole,” as in “whole wheat.”  That someone is trying to confuse you, and they are succeeding.  That’s when I feel as if I’m climbing a mountain with a Wonder Bread truck tethered to my backpack.

One Step at a Time

This entry is cross-posted at

Last week, Gene [not his real name] the computer guy showed up at my office for the first time in a while.  Right away, I knew something had changed.  I said, Gene, how are you? You’re looking very well!   He responded with an uncharacteristic grin, and answered by telling me one thing all of us know, but few believe (despite numerous confirmatory personal experiences!).   I sat up fast when he said,  Diets don’t work.

Dill Pesto

This entry has been cross-posted at

Right now, the dill is taking over my herb garden in its lovely, flavorful and feathery bloom. My attempts to use it don’t usually make a dent in the amount growing, even as I leave plenty to seed next year’s crop, or to share with the next interested gardener. Mostly, I have been cutting it into salads. I could also add it to butter, or make pickles, or hang some upside down to dry. The dill is everywhere, self seeding from beautiful, zebra-colored seeds given to me a few years ago by a patient who also grows startlingly lovely lavender roses.

Go for the Gusto

This entry is cross-posted on

Two months ago, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published its own commentary on the obesity epidemic with a series whose cover page spelled out, in large type, the words, Eat, drink, and be sorry. Excuse me? Eat, drink, and be SORRY? The actual quote,from Ecclesiastes,reads, Eat, drink, and be merry, so that joy will accompany him in his work all the days of his life And herein lies the problem.

Fire Up the Barbecue

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This morning my daughter and I stopped by our neighborhood butcher to buy something to grill tomorrow. Arriving only 10 minutes before closing, we were absolutely astonished to discover that just a few packages of chicken remained, along with some knockwurst and hamburgers. Not a single steak, roast, chop or rib.

It seems odd, but we celebrate Memorial Day by eating meat. Its a meat lovers holiday. Is this a good thing? Despite the U.S. dietary guidelines, which recommend eating less red and processed meat, I think eating meat is a fine thing.

Dr. Renata Micha, of the Harvard School of Public Health, would probably agree. She published the results of a very interesting experiment in this month’s journal, Circulation. Dr. Michas team contacted the authors of 20 previously published studies about the effects of eating meat (evaluating a total of 1 million adults in 10 countries on 4 continents), and asked them to go back and separate the results of their raw data into processed (smoked, cured or salted) and unprocessed meat. All the meat contained similar amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. The researchers found that eating the equivalent of one hot dog, or 2 slices of deli meat, per day was associated with a 42% increase in the risk of heart disease, and a 19% increase in the risk of diabetes. But eating twice as much unprocessed red meat was associated with neither.

What’s With All the Foodies?

Ever since I read the New York Times article about the proliferation of food blogs, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about them. How did the number of foodies explode in what seems like all of a sudden?

I think back to when I was in college in the late nineties, a time when people weren’t yet using digital cameras or blogs, there was no social networking, and people were just starting to get into going online. So certainly people probably weren’t photographing every meal to post to the world; just food photographers would have done such a thing.