Moving My Blog

Hello Everyone!  I recently decided to move my blog from wordpress to being a self-hosted site. The content, pages and look are the same, but some things like followers and likes don’t transfer over.

All my new content will be posted on the ‘new’ site at DrJorge.com, so please feel free to check it out, say hello, provide feedback and follow me!

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An Alternative To Fast Food Fruit Parfaits

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(Source: Jeanette’s health Living)

My guess is when you think of a fruit and yogurt parfait, your mind goes straight to the ones sold at McDonalds all day long.  It does come in a small portion, but that is all it has going for it it.  The trouble with it is the yogurt is sweetened, the fruit is far from fresh and comes in a syrupy sugary mash, not to mention the preservatives that go into keeping it from ‘freshly’ sellable for days at a time.  You lose vitamins and nutrients when food sits, not to mention when the fruit mash is pasteurized.  What you end up eating nothing more than caloric filler.

It is McDonald’s way of profiting on those working towards healthy lifestyles without actually being healthy.  Much like many fast food places started to offer ‘healthier’ alternatives like salads and apple slices in the last few years.  I once recall a fast food single salad which which was rated for 2 servings and containing more calories than a hamburger with all the fixings!

We go into these places out of convenience (or lack of choice) and they take advantage of that fact with foods that are cheaply filling, but ultimately harmful to our health.  But these chains shouldn’t be solely to blame.  We make the conscious decision to purchase their foods knowing it isn’t the best for our bodies.  A little here and there happens. Sometimes we have no choice when out with friends, short lunch breaks, etc.  For many unfortunately, it has become daily habit.  It is a regular addiction they can’t say no to and the consequences are riddled throughout their bodies as obesity, acid reflux, diabetes, cardio-vascular problems.  It may not be entirely visible, but their troubles are lurking beneath the surface, masked by medications and no one stepping in to provide an alternative.

In previous articles, I provided recipes for blue cheese and portebello grass-fed burgers, and baked sweet potato fries.  To make this fast food alternative meal complete, I’m posting the recipe for Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Parfaits.

Here’s the recipe:

2/3 cup pecan halves or pieces, whichever you prefer

2 ripe mangoes, Ataulfo variety if possible (see above photo)

1 pint of blueberries (substitute if strawberries don’t bother your stomach or use a half & half mixture of the two)

2 1/2 tablespoons demerara or turbindo sugar

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt or drained goat’s milk yogurt

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The prep work:

Preheat the oven for 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the pecans on a baking tray (baking sheet optional), placing in a middle rack.  Toast for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned.  It’s best if you keep an eye on them carefully as heat varies from oven to oven.  Not to mention each oven has a spot that’s warmer, which can result in burning.

A good way to test for this is with pieces of bread placed across the rack, toasting for 7-10 minutes.  Where you see browner spots (top and bottom) is where you’re getting more heat.

You can also microwave the pecans on a plate for 45-60 seconds.  Using a thick pan on the stove at medium heat would work as well, shaking every so often for 2-3 minutes.  The smell of the pecans will change, which is when you’ll know they’re done toasting.

Let the pecans cool and and chop into course pieces.

Peel the mangoes and slice the flesh off the pit.  A potato peeler works best.  Dice the mangoes into 1/2 inch cubes, place in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the blueberries, 1 tablespoon of sugar, all of the cinnamon, and all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pecans.

In another bowl, blend the yogurt, shredded coconut, the remaining sugar, and vanilla extract.

You’ll need 4 parfait glasses or wine glasses to layer the fruit and yogurt.  Short of those, champagne classes or even ramekins.  Start with a layer of yogurt and alternate with fruit.  A couple spoonfuls of each should do the trick!

Finish off each glass with the remaining toasted pecans. Voila!  A healthy dessert or snack if you halve the sugar, omit the vanilla, and add some toasted rolling oats.

A few additional notes I’d like to make:

The Fruit and nuts in this recipe are a great source of fiber as well as vitamins and antioxidents.  They compliment each other quite beautifully!  Yogurt is a probiotic, which means it contains good bacteria, which helps to aid in digestion.  Doctors will suggest eating yogurt after a course of antibiotics, which can wipe out the natural flora in your digestive tract.

To make the drained goat’s milk yogurt, place the yogurt in a coffee filter over a strainer for an hour or so.  What you will get will be a thicker, denser yogurt.  The remaining liquid, known as whey, can be discarded.  There is anecdotal evidence that whey can break down kidney stones.

Go with whatever mangoes you can find.  Most supermarkets will carry the Tommy Atkins mango, which is softball size, green with red/orange markings.  The Ataulfo (or manilla) mango I recommend is smaller, about the size of an avacado, all yellow or light yellow with a green tint. You can find these at Latino, Asian, and other ethnic market but their growing popularity is placing them in mainstream markets. When looking for a mango, you’ll want one that is firm, but not hard.  A bright vibrant color with a slight give means it’s ripe.  Soft or mushy means it’s overripe.

This recipe can easily be made with Tupperware for a snack at work and be made for a few days in advanced.

Palm sugar can be substituted for the above cane sugars.  It has a lower glycemic index than either sugar.

 

Cooking and Charity: Insights in the Unlikeliest of Places

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About a month ago I was approached to participate in a charity raffle.  I agreed, seeing as I am not the sort of person to say no to a good cause.  I offered to cook meals out of my book, “The Acid Reflux Solution” as my auctioned service.  The lucky winner paid 800 dollars for me to come to their home and prepare dinner!  Now, I should mention I am no chef.  While we both dawn white coats, that’s were the similarities end.  I can avoid burning pasta, but my meals won’t end up on the next issue of Bon Appétit or Cooking Light.

Cooking is more art than science, some of us have it and some of us don’t.  But if someone like myself can prepare a dinner consisting of:

Savory goat cheese spread

Arugula Salad with avocado, melon & blueberries

Spanish Potatos Au Gratin

Grass-fed beef hamburgers with grilled portebello mushrooms & blue cheese

Blueberry-Mango Parfait

Then it is my belief that anyone can create great tasting meals!  The ingredients are relatively easy to find (the grass-fed beef might involve some investigation at your local Trader Joes or Whole Foods).  Nothing is exotic and involves much prep time.

I sought to help those suffering from GERD, of which millions suffer these ill-effects. Many more are unaware of what it was or what they could do to quell and eventually cure it.  Such was the case with the party I was cooking for.  Many of them were unaware of how their diets affected their health.  They still believed the old wives tales and subsequently, followed the wrong advice.  Their diets and bodies were a reflection of this.  Their figures were part of the ever-alarming Americans who were growing up to be obese.  They consumed food and drink until their bellies swelled, and when the acidic flames rose up at the end of meals, their soothing after-dinner mints were antacid tablets.  This needed rectification.  As a doctor, I felt it was my obligation to first listen, then educate my ‘patients’ about what they were experiencing and how they could do about it.

It was an interesting experience to learn more about the people I had written the book for.  They, as had I less than a couple of years ago, believed their heartburn was incurable.  It was something they lived with.  It was a fact of life.  I am a gastrologist and was previously entranced by the same spell.  I ate American super-sized portions, laid down too quickly after meals, consumed fatty foods, had a few spare pounds thanks to my lifestyle.  I was the unknowing average American.  And here I was talking to patients about their acid reflux!  That changed upon writing my book.  I maintain portion sizes at meals, walk around, stay hydrated with water – keeping the ship lean so to speak.  Because of this, I’ve lost 30 pounds without trying.    All because I decided to put an end to my acid relux troubles.

It was rewarding to present a meal to satiate their hunger and a solution to the ailments they saw no way out of.  I knew my participation in this fundraiser would help others in the world, I just didn’t expect to put several faces so close to home.

US News Health – 6 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Treat Yourself

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Some things you can treat yourself.  You don’t need to run to the doctor for every sneeze and sniffle, headache and paper cut hemorrhage.  But if something sticks around an abnormally long while, that’s when someone like myself should be consulted.

Everyone experiences the dread of what if something is wrong?  It’s human to put it off and see if the problem goes away on its own.  For the most part, you can probably get away with it.  But what if it’s something new?  Or turns into a reoccurring problem? Something like a headache around the bridge of the nose of your nose for several days could mean you have a sinus infection.

In the US News Health article, “6 symptoms you shouldn’t self-test” I bring up the matter of what if you ave heart burn and other digestive issues  more than twice a week?  What if you’re popping TUMS like they were cert after-dinner mints regularly?  as any of this been longer than 2 weeks?

There’s a good chance you have Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or some other form of digestive troubles.  While I do talk a great deal about fixing yourself without the use of pills with the use of less saturated fats, more fiber, more greens, and water, it might not fix what ails you if this has been a long term trouble.  Over the long run, ulcers can occur and from that, cancer.  In the former is where a doctor would prescribe a proton pump inhibitor to give the ulcers dissipate and stomach time to naturally heal. Same with the esophagus.

These medications aren’t a cure, just an intermediary to better health through better eating.  Their usage was meant to be short term.  You’re looking for a long term solution to rid yourself of acid reflux.  You need a diagnosis from a doctor to know what stage your condition is in, do you need treatment for it, is it a symptom of something far different.  It isn’t always clear cut.  But eating right and being active to begin with can save you a few less headaches (and doctor’s visits) down the road.

Ricki Lake Online: Before you reach for over-the-counter relief

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Osteoporosis is far more common you think.  It isn’t just an old woman well into her menopausal years.  It’s a younger and younger crowd due in part to poor dietary habits and the antacids taken to quell the fire in our bellies.

Taking Nexium or Prilosec over the long run increases the chances by a startling 44% if taken after a year.  That’s a dramatic increase!  Your body needs the stomach acid to break down vital vitamins and minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  Both of these are crucial to bone density.

In trying to solve one problem, you create another without knowing how one system of the body affects another.  There is a time and place for acid reducing drugs.  It’s a great intermediary, but it isn’t a fix.  You can’t keep your current lifestyle and fix your troubles with a pill.

For some tips on what you can do to naturally cure GERD, check out the rest of the article on TheRickShow.com

Cook Your Way to Heartburn Relief: The National Examiner

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It’s been a few months since my book debuted and reached #1 on Amazon’s Healthy Eating Book list.  The National Examiner recently ran a couple recipes from the book which I haven’t posted.

One is Tuscan Tuna & Bean Salad, and the other is Spanish Potato Gratin.  Since it is summer, you’ll probably be gravitating towards the Tuscan Tuna & Bean Salad  If you don’t mind a bit of heat in the kitchen in the summer, give the Spanish Potato Gratin a try.  Just remember to portion control this dish!

If you happened to have bought the book, this accompanies the Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb quite well!  Or the Crispy Braised Chicken with Smoked Paprika.