Monthly Archives: September 2009

Power breakfast?

For me, breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Don’t believe it? Check out this summary of the positive impact of breakfast on kids’ academic achievement. Or this Web MD feature on the benefits of breakfast. Once I started reading food blogs, my breakfasts were really kicked up a notch and that “boring” bowl of oats has been transformed into all kinds of magic by a creative rotation of toppings including nut butters, coconut flakes, dried or fresh fruit and even chocolate or butterscotch chips.

However, we all get in a rut or leave the house late and have to grab something to go . . . which happened to me a few weeks ago when I chose my breakfast at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru on the way to work. I realized that my plain toasted bagel with cream cheese, though delicious and something I hadn’t had in ages, maybe wasn’t the best nutritionally. My post-meal analysis from the Dunkin’ site has revealed that the bagel was 330 calories, 3g fat, 3g fiber with cream cheese of 150 calories, 15g fat and no fiber. I’m a Weight Watchers fan and while I can’t tell you the actual Weight Watchers points of that meal, let’s just say it was HALF my daily allowance, all before 9am! Did I learn my lesson? Maybe . . . the following week, same situation. I chose the grilled cheese flatbread and later found out it has 370 calories, 18g fat and 1 g fiber. Almost the same number of WW points! If I run into this again, the best choice would be the egg white veggie flatbread, which has 290 calories, 9g fat and 3g fiber. This is about equivalent to the points for my big bowl of oats with toppings, which has about 250 calories, 15g fat (healthy fat from nut butter) and the oats have 4g fiber per serving with nut butter about 3g fiber.  Unfortunately, mornings are often not the best for a slow, sit-down breakfast when running off to work or school. Below are some ideas from the above Web MD article.

Choosing the Right Breakfast Foods

This just goes to show how important it is to choose the right foods for breakfast. A healthy breakfast meal should contain a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, and lean protein. 

Even if you think you don’t have time to eat breakfast, there are grab-and-go options that fill the bill. Some quick and healthy choices include:

  • A veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast
  • A whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and slice of tomato or lean ham
  • Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
  • Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
  • Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
  • Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
  • Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
  • Hard-boiled egg and a banana

Yet another role for Vitamin D

One of my favorite discussions to have with patients is about osteoporosis, a condition that sometimes falls prey to being an orphan, or not having one single specialty wholly associated with its diagnosis and management. Primary care providers, Rheumatologists, Endrocrinologists and OB-Gyns all treat patients with low bone mass. One part of the equation is sufficient vitamin D. Indeed, it seems like every women’s magazine and TV news or talk show have had features on vitamin D and its proposed role in preventing cancer, improving musculoskeletal health and in my specialty, possible roles in regulating inflammatory conditions. Last week’s New York Times article discusses Vitamin D and athletic performance.

Chia fun

 

Chia seeds

Chia seeds

Several months ago I stumbled upon the food blog “Tales of Expansion,” which I believe is the first time I heard mention of the chia seed as food. Yes, this is the very same seed that you mix with water and spread on ceramic figurines to make “hair” grow. But apparently they are a hot foodie item praised for high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.  I’ve seen bloggers mix them into oatmeal, make puddings out of them and sprinkle them into salads or yogurt. I found a bag of them at Whole Foods and decided to give it a try.

I used the above raw pudding recipe, which contains cashews, water, vanilla and almond extracts, agave nectar (my favorite sweetener, but that’s a post for another day) and chia seeds. I like the concept. It really does taste like a vanilla pudding, but the chia seeds turn into a thick gel when mixed with liquid. That’s their power, though. It’s a good source of fiber. I just couldn’t get over the texture and the overpowering smell of the almond extract. It was fun to experiment with them and I can definitely see sprinkling them over oats, but I’ll have to visit here for more recipes for my next excursion into cooking with chia seeds.

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Is it the flu?

With the upcoming flu season, plus H1N1,  fast approaching and October being the typical month to start flu shots, I see daily posts about all kinds of flu-related information. One of the best is from CBS’ doc dot com, seen here on the excellent blog, “Better Health.” Check out “Top 10 Things to Know About the H1N1 Flu.”

The thousand-mile journey!

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao-tzu, Chinese Philosopher, 604-531 BC

After months and months of reading health, nutrition, exercise, diet and medical blogs, the itch to create one for myself has developed. Enter, “The Doctors’ Rheum.” As a Rheumatologist, I talk a lot with my patients about many tips, tricks and techniques for losing weight, exercising, eating healthier, as well as how to decipher all the hundreds of medical sites out there. I’ll introduce you to some of my favorite bloggers out there, help search out accurate and informative infomation and even occasionally let you in on my own health and wellness journey. Sometimes that thousand mile journey seems overwhelming, but usually just taking the first step starts you on your way.