Archive for the 'Health' Category

Egg Recall and Vegan Banana Bread

The massive egg recall has made many of us stop and think about how many eggs we use and, for some, questioning our use of them at all. According to the New York Times, “A Hen’s Space to Roost” Sunday August 15; 97 per cent of all eggs consumed in the USA are from hens raised in battery cages, six birds to a cage allowing 67 square inches for each hen for her entire life.

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.

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. 

Cooling Agua Frescas Beat Summer’s Heat


Here in the City of Angels, the thermometer has rocketed into the triple digits. It’s more like gehanna than heaven.

That means it’s time to celebrate Los Angeles’ cultural diversity and make some agua fresca.

An agua fresca is a cold beverage made with blended fruit or juice and water popular in Mexico and Central America. It is similar to a licuado, except a licuado is made with milk and more closely resembles what we call a smoothie.

Haiti’s Orphans are Still in Crisis. Where’s the Aid When They Need It?

Originally posted on Food Forever – The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

Today’s heart-breaking New York Times story about Haiti’s orphans is a painful reminder of the earthquake’s enduring devastation. The article offers a harrowing portrait of Daphne, a 14-year-old girl who watched her mother’s mangled body get carted away in a wheelbarrow from a shattered marketplace. Daphne then lived in a makeshift orphanage founded by Frades—a grassroots collective that specializes in microloans and began supporting abandoned and orphaned children after the earthquake. Daphne was just beginning to feel at home until she was claimed by a distant relative.

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.

Fighting Obesity and Food Insecurity, One Click at a Time

A long-time reader of The Jew and the Carrot, it’s easy for me to see the importance and power of conversations within the Jewish community regarding eating, nutrition, food politics, and sustainability. However, the Jewish imperative for justice does not allow us to stop at environmental or personal levels. Rather, we have to continue our pursuit of justice to ensure that everyone has access to fresh, seasonal produce, healthy food options, and the skills to prepare healthy meals. The Nourishing Kitchen of New York City is an organization working to do just that for the East Harlem community.

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

Thisentry is cross-posted on

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.

Introducing Dr. Roxanne Sukol

This past September I started “Your Health is on Your Plate” [] to help prevent diabetes and obesity by teaching folks how to tell the difference between real food and manufactured calories.At “Your Health is on Your Plate,”I encourage readers to restore traditional methods of food selection andpreparation. I focus on health, sustainability, and resource conservation.

Wanted: A Holistic Approach to Food Security and HIV/AIDS Prevention

Cross-posted on Food Foreverthe AJWS food justice blog.

Food aid, nutrition, AIDSit’s all connected. Ruth Messinger’s recent piece on and Huffington Post poses a response to this week’s New York Times article that paints a stark picture for the future of Uganda and the global fight against AIDS. Despite the incredible achievements of U.S. foreign aid in combating the AIDS epidemic, advocates and health providers are worried that the U.S. is giving this fight a cold shoulder. Messinger calls upon leaders to take a good hard look at the consequences of privileging cost effective interventions for malaria over expensive treatment for HIV/AIDS. Rather than addressing health problems in isolation, what we need, of course, is a holistic approach to strengthening health systems, aid distribution and food sovereignty all at once. Policy-wise, supporting the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act (S. 1524) to promote global development, good governance and a reduction of poverty and hunger is critical.