Monthly Archives: April 2010

Foodie Friday: Gluten-Free in NYC

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=nyc&iid=7394770″ src=”6/e/b/c/NYC_Skyline_and_0e67.jpg?adImageId=12700585&imageId=7394770″ width=”337″ height=”506″ /] A few weeks ago I spent a fun weekend meeting up with friends and family in NYC. One of my travel companions follows a gluten-free diet and had read about the many gluten-free (GF) offerings at Bar Breton. Before we talk about the food, let’s digress a bit and have a mini medical segment about celiac disease. From WebMD,

Celiac disease — also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy — is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten. Glutens are a form of protein found in some grains. The damage to the intestine makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients, especially fat, calcium, iron, and folate.

If you do have celiac disease, wheat allergy or other reason to not eat wheat or gluten, you are no doubt familiar with the many excellent GF blogs out there. I tend to refer to celiac chicks for their creative approach to recipes, products and restaurants. In fact, I think we found out about this restaurant on their site.

Now, back to the food! The entire group loved the atmosphere and the menu, which revolves around buckwheat galettes. I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, you just said if you’re following a GF diet you can’t eat wheat. And now you’re recommending BUCKWHEAT?” Actually, buckwheat is gluten-free! You just have to make sure it is pure buckwheat and not mixed with wheat flour. Other GF grains include teff (which is used to make injera bread, common in Ethiopian cuisine) and quinoa, which is really a seed rather than a grain, but you get the idea. At the restaurant, the 6 diners in our party all got various starters and entrees, and all plates were almost licked clean. We particularly loved ending the meal with the Nutella-filled galette. In addition, the restaurant has a selection of several hard ciders. We sampled an apple and a pear and liked both. Beer is not allowed in a GF diet, although more and more brewers are developing GF beers using grains like sorghum and buckwheat.

I’d recommend this restaurant for GF and non-GF diners alike. Just to be fair, I’ll tell you that this is was 100% my opinion, I didn’t discuss my blog or that I might review it and we paid for our meal in full.

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Blogger Grand Rounds

I seem to have missed contributing to this roundup of patient and provider blogs with a women’s health theme this week. Check it out at:

http://www.chronicbabe.com/articles/835/

Foodie Friday: stroganoff

Almost as good as the Cooks’ Illustrated beef stew recipe is their beef stroganoff. When my husband suggested this a couple weeks ago, I decided I’d like to try something a little lighter. After pulling out some old issues of Cooking Light magazine (4/07 issue), I found a recipe for chicken stroganoff pasta. Let me tell you, it was amazing! Unfortunately it was one of those meals that was made, eaten, dishes washed and put away before I realized, “Hey, that would have been a great blog recipe.” I had never made it before and didn’t know it would become an instant favorite, so no photos. But you can find the recipe here. I would consider the following tweaks: possibly increasing the sage and adding some cayenne or red pepper flakes for just a bit of spice. Enjoy!

Do you flip or flop?

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=flip+flop&iid=170546″ src=”0166/fd45f1fc-d6ef-4381-adac-fc7043027c29.jpg?adImageId=12427288&imageId=170546″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

Some research out of Rush University in Chicago suggests that flip-flops or other flexible shoes may be easier on the knees than clogs or supportive walking shoes. I have to admit that I found this news contrary to what I have learned and what I usually advise patients. However, given all the recent interest in the running community about barefoot running, I must say I’m not entirely surprised. After reading the article, I asked for some advice from one of my foot and ankle orthopaedist friends on Twitter (@thomasleemd) and if you follow him, you can read his personal impressions of barefoot running. From the article,

“Stiffness is also a factor.  We’ve shown in earlier studies that barefoot walking is associated with lower knee loads than walking with conventional footwear.  It may be that the flexible movement of the bare foot is mechanically advantageous.  The natural flex of the foot when it contacts the ground probably attenuates the impact on the joint, compared to the artificial ‘stomping’ movement created by a stiff-soled shoe.”

In the present study, Shakoor said, flip-flops and the walking shoe were flat, flexible and lightweight and seemed to mimic the mechanics when walking with bare feet.

“Clogs and stability shoes, conventionally believed to provide appropriate cushioning and support, actually increased the loading on the knee joints, as opposed to shoes with less ‘support,’ flatter heels and more flexibility,” Shakoor said.

Will this change how I counsel patients? I suppose I won’t be quite so hard on flip-flop wearers. However, those with foot pain or “fallen arches” may need the stability of athletic shoes or shoes that accommodate orthotics. Personally, I have so far tried out a few dog walks in plain old flip-flops instead of putting on my running shoes as I would have done otherwise.

Foodie Friday: Tagine

I recently sampled a chicken tagine dish made by a friend who has been experimenting with this cooking style. Tagine, also sometimes tajine or tagin, is a North African dish named after the special cooking pot pictured above. Our favorite Wikipedia has some informtaion about tagine. I’m not sure of the exact recipe used, but this chicken with apricots from epicurious is similar. There are many tagine recipes online.  The flavors of this dish were sweet and spicy and the bright yellow color came from saffron. Served over couscous, it was delicious.

My wimpy palate avoided the chili paste that was used in the sauce, but I loved this beautiful little can!

More Vitamin D

I have to admit that I’m probably one of those people who jumped on the vitamin D bandwagon early. Having measured quite a few serum vitamin D levels on patients in the last 6-12 months, I’ve been surprised at just how many are deficient. No, I don’t think that vitamin D is the cure-all for everything, but it sounds like randomized studies looking at effects of vitamin D on various disease are in the works. I heard someone say recently, “throw ‘vitamin D’ into a research idea and you’ll get published.” However, the studies so far have been primarily observational. I previously wrote about vitamin D here. I just finished reading an NPR story called “Are We Overselling the Sunshine Vitamin?”  Also interesting. Since the patients I see have arthritic and/or autoimmune conditions, I will continue to recommend appropriate screening and supplementation and await the new guidelines.

Foodie Friday: Easter morning

With Easter this Sunday, I’m really looking forward to breakfast. The beet eggs are brining, the kielbasa has been purchased, the babka bread and ricotta pie have been ordered. Such a nice blending of ethnicities and flavors. I don’t even care about the main meal. For me, it’s all about the breakfast/brunch! (And not trying to make it healthy, just for one day)! Any special food traditions for you? Here’s a photo of last year’s spread: