Steven Masley MD, LLC https://drmasley.com Tune up your brain, heart, energy, waistline, and sex life! Fri, 14 May 2021 02:42:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://drmasley.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/cropped-PAN1360re-32x32.jpg Steven Masley MD, LLC https://drmasley.com 32 32 Callaloo Soup with Nutmeg, Bay Leaf, and Coconut Milk https://drmasley.com/callaloo-soup-with-nutmeg-bay-leaf-and-coconut-milk/ https://drmasley.com/callaloo-soup-with-nutmeg-bay-leaf-and-coconut-milk/#respond Sat, 15 May 2021 02:29:13 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=9068 The post Callaloo Soup with Nutmeg, Bay Leaf, and Coconut Milk appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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My favorite soup while sailing along the eastern Caribbean island chain was Callaloo Soup with a gentle blend of Caribbean spices. It is easy to prepare, savory, and flavorful.

Callaloo leaves come from taro or amaranth plants. The leave is packed with healthy nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, K, and are high in potassium, fiber, iron, and calcium. Although finding callaloo leaves in the United States might be a challenge; using either spinach and/or collard greens provides a similar alternative to this delicious soup with comparable flavor and nutrient value.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Simmering Time: 25 Minutes

Makes: 4 Cups

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,

1 medium onion, chopped

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

10 ounces fresh Callaloo leaves, stems removed – (Alternatively use 7 ounces (7 cups) fresh spinach leaves and 3 ounces (3 cups) collard greens, chopped (or use all spinach if collard greens are not available)

2 tablespoons water

1.5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

½ cup whole coconut milk

Directions:

Heat a large soup pot to medium heat. Add olive oil, then onion, salt, black pepper, and ground nutmeg. Stir occasionally for 3 minutes until onion softens.

Add either callaloo/spinach/or collard greens and water to the pot and heat with an occasional stir until leaves wilt. Remove pot from heat.

Transfer onion and cooked leaves to a blender, add broth and blend until fairly smooth.

Return to the pot, add a bay leaf, heat until bubbling gently, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add coconut milk, simmer for another five minutes, remove bay leaf, and serve.

(Use only low heat after you add the coconut milk as with high heat it will curdle.)

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

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TIPS TO PREVENT MIGRAINE HEADACHES https://drmasley.com/tips-to-prevent-migraine-headaches/ https://drmasley.com/tips-to-prevent-migraine-headaches/#comments Tue, 11 May 2021 00:25:40 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=9055 The post TIPS TO PREVENT MIGRAINE HEADACHES appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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A migraine headache can cause severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. In contrast to other types of headaches, migraine headaches are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for several hours and up to a few days. The pain is often so intense that it interferes with your daily activities.

About 39 million Americans have migraines, making it quite common. We recently did a survey from people who receive my blogs, and info on preventing migraines was at the top of the topic list, which is why I selected this subject.

Migraines occur three times more often in women than in men and can begin at any age. Most commonly the first migraine headache occurs in teenagers. Migraines often become more intense during your 30s, and gradually become less severe and less frequent after age 50.

For some people, a warning symptom known as an aura occurs before or with the headache. An aura can include visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or blind spots, or focal neurological symptoms with tingling on one side of the face, or in an arm or leg, or difficulty speaking. Shortly after the aura occurs, the headache begins.

Sensitivity to light is bothersome, but also reassuring. Most other headaches (tension and sinus headaches or more rarely a headache from a brain tumor) do not become more intense with bright light exposure. If in doubt about what type of headache you have, especially if they are worsening over time, always see your physician to discuss the diagnosis and treatment options.

Common Triggers That Cause Migraine Headache to Occur Include:

  • Specific foods (deli meats like hot dogs, sausage, and bacon, aged cheese, red wine, and chocolate)
  • Food additives (such as MSG) and artificial sweeteners
  • Lack of sleep or irregular sleep hours
  • Bright intense lights or flashing lights (such as glare from bright sunlight, driving at night with oncoming headlights, strobe lights)
  • Loud noises
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Dramatic changes in the weather
  • For women, changes in menstrual cycle. Many women tend to experience more migraine headaches during, or just before, their menstrual period. Some women notice a significant improvement in migraine intensity and frequency when they go through menopause.
  • Inactivity (and in contrast, over-exertion from very intense activity)
  • High levels of acute stress

By identifying and avoiding specific triggers, many people can minimize their chances of having a migraine.

Tips to Decrease Migraine Frequency and Intensity:

1. Sleep well and consistently. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, and some people need 8-9 hours of sleep daily. Aim to go to bed and wake up within one hour every day. Irregular sleep cycles and lack of sleep have been shown to cause migraine headaches.

2. Choose moderate activity daily. Inactivity appears to increase the frequency of migraines, and daily moderate activity helps to prevent migraine headaches. Stay active, but avoid extreme activity levels.

3. Avoid food triggers and skipping meals. Specific foods impact people differently. Identify foods that appear to trigger your migraines and avoid them. Also, avoid skipping meals. For people with frequent migraines, I recommend following an elimination diet, especially avoiding gluten, and diary products, for at least 3 weeks to see how you respond. It can also be very helpful to make a food diary and write down what you have eaten 24 hours before a migraine occurs—looking for food patterns that might help you identify food triggers.

4. Take Magnesium. 70% of Americans and people from western countries are magnesium deficient, causing migraine headaches along with many other health issues. Good food sources for magnesium are nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Yet even healthy eaters often benefit from taking a magnesium supplement (such as magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate, or magnesium chelate) with 200 to 400 mg daily. Cheap sources of magnesium, such as magnesium oxide, can cause gastro-intestinal distress. Excess magnesium can cause loose stools.

5. Proactively Manage Your Stress. It is hard to avoid all stress, but you can take steps to proactively manage it with yoga, meditation, and software tools like HeartMath.

6. Consider Taking a Butterbur Supplement. Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is an herbal remedy that comes as a purified root extract in pill form to treat headaches and migraines. A 2012 study published in Neurology concluded that it is effective for migraine prevention when taken as 50- to 75-milligram doses twice daily. Although it does help some people, not everyone will improve with this therapy. If you live in Europe, Butterbur might be hard for you to obtain — the U.K. and Germany have both banned butterbur from being sold because of safety concerns with the leading manufacturers.

What to Do When You Have a Migraine Headache

Consider the following treatment options.

  • Caffeine. Drink a caffeinated beverage. In small amounts, caffeine alone can relieve migraine pain in the early stages or enhance the pain-reducing effects of acetaminophen and aspirin. Be aware that excess caffeine intake can cause migraines to recur. Drinking too much caffeine too often can lead to withdrawal headaches later on. And having caffeine too late in the day may interfere with your sleep, which can also affect migraines.
  • Find a Dark and Quiet Room. Find a quiet, dark room, and lie down and relax.
  • Aromatherapy with Lavender. Known for its sweet smell, lavender oil (made from the flowers of the lavender plant) is highly fragrant. A 2012 study suggests that inhaling lavender oil during a migraine may help relieve symptoms quickly. To use lavender oil, best is to use an aromatherapy diffuser with a diluted solution, or apply a diluted solution to the temples. Undiluted lavender oil can irritate the skin and can be toxic if taken in excess dosages, so follow the product recommendations for dilution.
  • Over the Counter Medications (OTC). OTC medications such as Acetaminophen and NSAIDS (such as Naprosyn and Ibuprofen) can help with migraine headache pain but also have side effects. Always discuss these options with your doctor before using.

If your migraine headaches worsen in frequency or intensity over time, there are a variety of medications that can be used to help prevent your symptoms and abort headaches when they occur. Always check with your physician as to the best option for you.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

 

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Tamarind Chicken with Mixed Vegetables and Pineapple https://drmasley.com/tamarind-chicken-with-mixed-vegetables-and-pineapple/ https://drmasley.com/tamarind-chicken-with-mixed-vegetables-and-pineapple/#respond Sat, 01 May 2021 05:47:46 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=9034 The post Tamarind Chicken with Mixed Vegetables and Pineapple appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Tamarind adds a lovely flavor to dishes. Tamarind trees grow throughout the Caribbean, and after peeling and discarding the outer shells from the dried tamarind pods, it makes a delightful snack. In this recipe, you can substitute shrimp or tofu for the chicken if desired. Once the skin and center seed are removed, cayote squash adds a pleasant flavor and texture to a mixed vegetable dish, although you can substitute nearly any squash if you do not find it in your market.

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Serves: Two

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon avocado oil

14 ounces de-boned chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch strips, pat and dry with paper towels

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 medium onion, chopped,

1 medium cayote squash, peeled, center seed removed, chopped (or use 1 medium zucchini, or yellow squash)

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 medium bell pepper (red, green, orange, or yellow), seeds and core removed, chopped

2 medium green onions, chopped

1 cup pineapple, chopped

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ cup tamarind concentrate (or paste)

½ cup low-sodium veggie broth (or white wine—if using wine or water, add an extra ¼ teaspoon of salt)

1/8 – ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add chicken, salt, black pepper, and thyme. Heat for 4-5 minutes with an occasional stir until chicken is lightly browned. Spoon chicken into a bowl and set aside.

Add onion to the sauté pan and heat for two minutes with an occasional stir, then add carrots and cayote, heat another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to medium and add bell pepper, green onions, pineapple, and nutmeg. Then add chicken back into the pan.

Combine tamarind and broth in a bowl and stir until well mixed.

Optionally add the crushed red pepper flakes to the solution. Add tamarind solution to the sauté pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer for five minutes.

Serve in a bowl.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Food, Health, and Travel Across the Eastern Caribbean https://drmasley.com/travel/ https://drmasley.com/travel/#comments Thu, 22 Apr 2021 03:51:34 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=9011 The post Food, Health, and Travel Across the Eastern Caribbean appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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My wife Nicole and I recently completed our zig-zag, 600-mile sailing trip from St Martin to Grenada, along the eastern edge of the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles Island chain. It was an amazing trip packed with beautiful tropical forests with rugged mountain peaks, stunning beaches, beautiful reefs, friendly people, and a wide variety of delicious food.

There were a variety of pleasant surprises along the way, especially many new Creole dishes that combined ingredients in a way that was new to us, and remarkable health ideas—such as finding an island in the Caribbean with the most 100+ year olds for its population on the planet.

The sail itself was a challenge, as due to all the covid travel restrictions, none of the guests who hoped to join us were able to come. Nicole and I managed to sail the entire distance by ourselves, and sail we did, as there was a strong easterly trade wind breeze day and night, at least 15 knots and sometimes 30-35, as well as occasional high seas when crossing from island to island, often up to 2-3 meters, or 6-10 feet. The breeze wasa blessing in many ways, as the trade winds keep the temperatures comfortable, and the breeze is especially welcome when it is hot and humid, day and night. Ironically, the best fishing was when the waves were at their highest while crossing from island to island, which made landing a fish with only two of us while under full sail, a real task—the reward was super fresh tuna for several meals.

Caribbean food is diverse, especially with its French, British,African, and local island influence. The common theme was the use of local fresh fish, local vegetables, and fruits. In particular, we learned to cook using more chayote (perhaps one of the most popular vegetable in the Caribbean which is also called mirliton squash or chocho), onion, eggplant, green bell peppers, tomatoes, callaloo greens (similar to spinach), and use of their featured spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and clove. They also cook with fruit and use mango, plantain, guava, and pineapple, plus coconut milk in many dishes.

Most of the Caribbean islands are influenced by Creole cuisine. Like the people, Creole food is a blend of the various cultures of West African, French, Spanish, Caribbean, and Native American ingredients and flavor. In the US, we can find Creole cooking most easily in New Orleans, although it is fairly unknown in the rest of the US.

There is a clear cultural, food, and financial divide between the French Antilles and the English-speaking Antilles islands. Not only do the French Islands (Saint Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, plus to a lesser degree St Martin) receive financial help from France with housing, roads, health care, and schools, but they also receive food shipped at discount prices from France. Additionally, the French culture has maintained the quality of many French foods, such as bread, pastries, cheese, cream, and wine—products that are hard to find at this level of quality and a discounted price compared to the English-speaking islands. Not surprisingly then, the French population in the French Antilles has a higher standard of living than we could see in the other unsupported islands. And of course, the dominant language spoken is French, although the tourist industries all speak English as well.

While visiting the French islands, the food was awesome almost everywhere. We enjoyed snorkeling and diving the most in Martinique, and the gardens and tropical forest hiking in Guadeloupe.

Several islands produce good quality, locally grown chocolate, in particular Dominica,  Grenada, and Martinique. I had seen cocoa pods before coming to the Caribbean, but I did not realize until we picked and sliced a few cocoa pods that the white milky and sticky substance inside the cocoa pods surrounding the cocoa beans is delicious to eat. I enjoyed tasting the milky substance surrounding the beans as much as I do the chocolate that is produced from the cocoa beans—although Nicole clearly prefers the chocolate.

Turns out that Dominica, an island in the middle of the eastern Caribbean island chain, holds the record for the highest number of centenarians in the world (centenarians are people who are more than 100 years old). In 2020, there were 27 centenarians living on this lovely island (with a total population of about 50,000 to 70,000). At one point, they had four centenarians living on the same street within a short walk of each other! Given that Dominica is one of the less wealthy countries in the Caribbean with an economy dependent upon agriculture and tourism, this is a remarkable achievement. For details on why people live so long in Dominica, please Click Here to read my recent blog on this topic.

Dominica is better known for its pristine and beautiful environment (nicknamed the “nature island” with good reason). It does not have mass tourism or as many immaculate beaches as seen across the Caribbean but has far more mountain hikes that are surrounded by lush tropical forest, waterfalls, and canyons, making it a lure for ecoadventure tourism.

The primary downside of travel in the Caribbean was the recurrent covid testing and repeated quarantines. Nicole and I had at least a dozen PCR covid nasal/oral tests over four months as we traveled from north to south through the islands. At least for now, if one is planning to fly from the US to the islands, best would be to get through the testing, the quarantine, and stay on one island, otherwise, every island requires repeated testing and quarantine periods. Hopefully, the quarantine requirements will disappear as more and more people become vaccinated. The advantage of traveling by boat was at least we were able to quarantine and stay on our boat, with an occasional swim to cool off.

Of all the islands, Dominica also had the most lenient and still effective covid quarantine requirements; you had to arrive with a negative PCR test, quarantine for 5 days, then get released when your repeat covid test comes back negative, but they allow you to stay in covid hotels that allow scuba diving and hiking, amusement while you wait to be released from your quarantine, in contrast to other islands that limit you to your own hotel room and room service, unable to leave your room.

St Vincent and the Grenadines with dozens of islands to explore was by far the most remote of the islands we explored. Pristine beaches on minimally inhabited islands with limited infrastructure were common. The views and bays where we anchored were stunning.

Our last stop was Grenada. The island is beautiful, the people friendly, with lots of infrastructure like hotels, and restaurants to complement the awesome beaches, fishing, and tropical mountain hikes. The main downside with our visit to Grenada was the prolonged quarantine, as they kept us locked up four days longer than the 5-6 days originally promised before we arrived. On the upside, Grenada has had only 38 cases of Covid from the beginning, nearly all of which were in tourists traveling to Grenada—the locals have remained mostly covid-free. We were delighted to get our clearance to explore some of the island and several restaurants before traveling home.

It was an amazing four-month voyage, and we are left with memories of trade winds, lush tropical forests, lovely beaches, colorful reefs, friendly people, and plenty of flavourful and creative food. We look forward to returning next year after the hurricane season.

Look for more Caribbean recipes to follow.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

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Caribbean Piña Colada https://drmasley.com/caribbean-pina-colada/ https://drmasley.com/caribbean-pina-colada/#respond Sat, 10 Apr 2021 00:43:33 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8963 The post Caribbean Piña Colada appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Piña Coladas appear to be one of the more popular drinks in the Caribbean. I have to admit that I am not a great fan of mixed drinks using hard liquor, as I cannot think of any health benefits to hard liquor, and there are several health risks if used regularly. But by adding fresh pineapple and coconut milk with the rum, this is about as good as a mixed drink can get (provided you don’t add sugar to it).

If you prefer a cocktail without alcohol, then just skip the rum, and you have an awesome and refreshing drink.

Piña Coladas originated in Puerto Rico—the recipe generally includes 3 parts pineapple juice, 1 part light rum, and 1 part coconut cream (typically with lots of sugar added). Adding the fresh pineapple, real coconut milk (no sugar added), and cinnamon adds valuable fiber, nutrients, and it tastes better too. The fresh pineapple adds plenty of natural sweetness. The cinnamon also can help block any rise in blood sugar level from the natural sugar in the pineapple.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Serves: Four

Ingredients:

1.5 cups fresh pineapple chunks

½ cup whole coconut milk

½ cup dark rum (optional)

½ cup ice

4 dashes cinnamon powder

Directions:

Combine pineapple, coconut milk, rum, and ice in a blender and blend until smooth.

Garnish each serving with a couple dashes of cinnamon powder and a pineapple wedge.

 

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

 

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Which Country Has the Highest Percentage of People Over 100 Years of Age? https://drmasley.com/which-country-has-the-highest-percentage-of-people-over-100-years-of-age/ https://drmasley.com/which-country-has-the-highest-percentage-of-people-over-100-years-of-age/#comments Tue, 06 Apr 2021 04:24:43 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8991 The post Which Country Has the Highest Percentage of People Over 100 Years of Age? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Who would have thought that a third-world country in the Caribbean would have the highest percentage of people who live to be more than 100 years of age!

I admit that I was pleasantly surprised, as I would not have guessed that it would be a beautiful Caribbean island with mountain peaks, rain forest walks, hot springs, windsurfing, and scuba diving.

Turns out that Dominica, an island in the eastern Caribbean island chain, holds the record for the highest number of centenarians in the world (centenarians are people who are more than 100 years old).

Some call this island the home of the fountain of youth. In 2020, there were 27 centenarians living on this lovely island (with a total population of about 72,000). At one point, they had four centenarians living on the same street within a short walk of each other!

This is nearly four people per 10,000, which is 50 percent higher than Japan, 65 percent higher than in the United States, and three times as many as in Great Britain.

Given that Dominica is one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean with an economy dependent upon agriculture and tourism, this is a remarkable achievement.

Why do people live so long in Dominica?

  • People have cited Dominica’s pristine, unspoiled environment as the main reason for longevity on the island. Dominica’s waters are unpolluted, and its vegetation is largely pesticide-free. There is no large-scale industry on this island.
  • A healthy diet also contributes to a high life expectancy. Traditionally, a Dominican’s diet includes natural foods that are grown in gardens, fruits and herbs that grow wild, and fish that are caught locally. Animal protein is largely wild or pasture-raised. Herbal teas (bush tea) and clear freshwater are consumed in abundance.
  • People on Dominica have also been very physically active. The islanders worked the land over their lifespan and today’s elderly had to walk long distances on rough terrain in their youth because there were few roads until well into the 1960s. Walking was a necessity of everyday life, along with hard physical work.
  • People benefit from community and spiritual support. They live within extended families and self-sufficient communities and they respect and care for their elders. They also have a deeply rooted belief in God.

Dominica is the home of the oldest documented person on the planet, Ma Pampo Israel, who died in 2003 at age 128. During an interview, she ascribed her long life to hard physical work, natural food straight from the earth without pesticides, and a relationship with God.

My wife, Nicole, and I arrived here in Dominica recently with our sailboat, Mariposa, and have been traveling across this lovely island, meeting the people and enjoying the pristine and beautiful environment (nicknamed the “nature island” with good reason). It does not have mass tourism or many pristine beaches as seen across the Caribbean. This has been a welcome change as its lure is geared more to ecoadventure tourism.

The population is friendly, English is the primary language spoken, with 86% percent of the population of African descent, 9% of mixed descent with European heritage, and 2.9% uniquely made up of indigenous Carib natives who lived on the island before Europeans or slaves arrived; this is one of the very few islands that has any Carib natives, as they were exterminated in the rest of the Caribbean by European settlers. Dominica was the last island to be colonized in the region.

Some fear that the story of Dominica’s remarkable centenarians will come to an end within the next couple decades. This is because of the lifestyle changes of the island’s younger generation. Younger adults show a tendency to eating American-style fast food, increased television viewing, and a rapid drop in outdoor agricultural work. Obesity, unheard of in older generations, is now becoming common in younger adults.

In contrast, Dominica still has most of the older generations who have not known life-shortening habits.

I feel that there is a great deal that we can learn from the traditional Dominican lifestyle.

I wish you the best of health,

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

 

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Caribbean Pineapple Curry https://drmasley.com/caribbean-pineapple-curry/ https://drmasley.com/caribbean-pineapple-curry/#comments Sat, 27 Mar 2021 06:40:34 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8975 The post Caribbean Pineapple Curry appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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I first saw this dish on a menu on the island of Dominica, home to the most centenarians on the planet, and was eager to try it. The flavors are fantastic, serving it in a carved-out pineapple shell really added flavor, not to mention, a lovely presentation. For protein, you can use chicken, fish, or tofu, whichever meets your needs, if using fresh fish, try snapper or cod.

Chayote (also called christophene or cho-cho in the Caribbean) is rich in fiber, vitamin C, and minerals, and is likely the most commonly used vegetable in the Caribbean; if you are unable to find chayote, I suggest using a cup of cauliflower florets or cubed sweet potato.

You will notice that a whole pineapple is double the amount of fruit needed for this recipe, so plan to use the rest for dessert, breakfast, or for a Caribbean Pina Colada—recipe to follow. You could make this without fresh pineapple using pineapple chunks, but using fresh pineapple provides a beautiful presentation and extra flavor.

Prep Time: 40 Minutes

Serves: Two

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons avocado oil

12 ounces chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 medium chayote, peeled, inner seed removed, and cubed

2 tablespoons curry powder (or 2 tablespoons of your own spice mixture)

1 large green bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

8 ounces coconut milk

1 medium-small pineapple, top removed, sliced in half lengthwise. With a paring knife, remove and discard fibrous center core, then carve out the pineapple in small pieces until the shell has been excavated. (gently scraping out pineapple and juice at the end with a spoon). Be careful not to puncture the shell, as then it will leak when the curry is added.

Garnish

2 tablespoons fresh mint and cilantro, chopped

4 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts

Directions:

Prep the pineapple as mentioned above and reserve 1 ½ cups of the fruit chunks, set aside. Keep remaining pineapple for another use.

Heat a large sauté pan with a lid to medium-high heat, add avocado oil, then chicken, salt, and black pepper, and with an occasional stir, heat until chicken is lightly browned.

Remove the chicken from the sauté pan and set aside. Add onion to the sauté pan and heat with an occasional stir for 2 minutes. Add carrot, chayote, and curry powder, stir, and heat about 3-4 minutes. Add bell pepper, tomato, and heat another two minutes with occasional stirring.

Add coconut milk, cooked chicken, and pineapple chunks to the sauté pan with vegetables and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

To serve, place carved out pineapple halves on a serving platter or individual plates and fill with curry mixture. Garnish with herbs and peanuts. There should be enough curry to refill each shell and have second helpings or refrigerate and enjoy the following day.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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The Latest State-of-the-Art Tips to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease! https://drmasley.com/the-latest-state-of-the-art-tips-to-prevent-and-reverse-heart-disease/ https://drmasley.com/the-latest-state-of-the-art-tips-to-prevent-and-reverse-heart-disease/#respond Tue, 23 Mar 2021 03:17:57 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8943 The post The Latest State-of-the-Art Tips to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Cardiovascular disease remains America’s #1 killer for both men and women, and while many doctors display tunnel vision focused on lowering cholesterol, they are overlooking the most critical culprits: arterial plaque growth, abnormal blood sugar levels, and poor gut health.

The good news is that everyone—regardless of size, genetics, gender, or age—can stop the growth of arterial plaque, improve overall health, and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Published, solid research shows that we can prevent 90% of heart issues with lifestyle.

Published findings from The Masley Optimal Health Center have shown that my average patient shrinks their arterial plaque over time and hundreds of my patients have had a whopping ten percent reduction in arterial plaque load—making their arteries 10 years younger! Now is your chance to achieve similar results.

I am proud to announce that the latest revision of The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, is available wherever books are sold.

Inside this new revision you will discover:

  • A delicious diet designed to supercharge your heart
  • Exercises to improve circulation, fitness, and strengthen your entire cardiovascular system
  • Creative and effective techniques for stress management
  • A customized supplement plan
  • Steps to improve your circulation and romantic function—for women and men
  • Cutting-edge science on the fascinating ways the bacteria in your gut can enhance the health of your heart.
  • Many of my all-time favorite recipes

This fully revised and updated edition of The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up includes the latest science on the surprising connections between your gut and your heart as well as tons of new information on reducing cardiovascular risk factors like obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol profiles, and chronic inflammation through diet, nutrients, stress management, and exercise. It will also clarify how abnormal cholesterol levels are more important than high cholesterol levels. This transformational program will help you get healthy—and stay healthy—for life.

Now is your chance to follow this easy, step-by-step program to optimize your cardiovascular health, boost your energy, slim your waistline, improve your brain function, and heat up your sex life—all while enjoying sixty delicious recipes!

GET YOUR COPY NOW, CLICK HERE!

I wish you and your loved ones the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

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Caribbean Mixed Salad https://drmasley.com/caribbean-mixed-salad/ https://drmasley.com/caribbean-mixed-salad/#respond Sat, 27 Feb 2021 05:42:26 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8886 The post Caribbean Mixed Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Variation of the Caribbean Mixed Salad

There are numerous variations on this easy-to-prepare salad, yet fresh greens, pineapple, and
avocado seem to be the central theme with additional fresh vegetables and fruit as available. As an example, if you can’t find star fruit, consider using sliced grapefruit segments instead. It can be served as mentioned below, a simple salad, or as a full meal with shrimp, fish, beans, or chicken as added protein.

Prep Time: 15

Minutes Serves: Two

Ingredients:

Salad
3 cups mixed organic salad greens
1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into thin slices
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium vine-ripened tomato, cut into thin slices
1 cup pineapple in bite-sized pieces
1 medium star fruit, cut into thin ¼-inch thick stars (or substitute with grapefruit)

Vinaigrette
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon citrus juice (orange, lemon, or grapefruit)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and minced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnish
1 Haas avocado, cut into thin slices
¼ cup roasted peanuts

Directions:
Prep salad ingredients. Whisk dressing together then toss with salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Garnish with avocado and peanuts to serve.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

 

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​Caribbean Fish Ceviche with Coconut Milk https://drmasley.com/%e2%80%8bcaribbean-fish-ceviche-with-coconut-milk/ https://drmasley.com/%e2%80%8bcaribbean-fish-ceviche-with-coconut-milk/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2021 03:30:50 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8867 The post ​Caribbean Fish Ceviche with Coconut Milk appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This dish originates from French Polynesia (Tahiti) where the fish is served nearly raw with perhaps 15-20 minutes of marinating time in lime juice—which is easier to do when you catch the fish (typically tuna) the same day and keep it on ice. From my restaurant experience in the French Antilles, the fish seems to have been marinated a bit longer, perhaps 30-60 minutes. If the fish you will use was caught during the last few days (not few hours) and is not super fresh from the sea, better to marinate it in lime juice a bit longer, for 1 hour and up to 2 hours, the longer it marinates the more cooked it will be and the stronger the lime flavor.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Marinating Time: Varies from 30 minutes to 1 hour

Serves: 2 as a meal, 4 as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh snapper (or ahi tuna, or other sushi-grade fish), diced into ½-inch cubes

4 limes juiced (barely enough juice to cover most of the fish in a bowl)

¼ medium red onion, minced

½ red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, diced finely

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 medium Haas avocado, sliced into ½-inch cubes

4-6 ounces coconut milk (chilled in the refrigerator)

2 tablespoons cilantro (or parsley), chopped

4-8 fresh lettuce leaves (or encircle the plate with endive leaves)

Optional garnish, dash of cayenne (less than 1/8 of a teaspoon), or use paprika

Directions:

Marinate cubed fish in a bowl with lime juice in the refrigerator for 30 minutes with an occasional stir and up to 1 hour as desired to your taste. Add onion, red bell pepper, salt and black pepper and return to the refrigerator, and marinate another 10 minutes.

Add avocado, coconut milk, and cilantro, stir gently and serve on a bed of lettuce. Garnish with a dash of cayenne, or if you prefer less heat use paprika.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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For 2021, What Is the Best Diet on the Planet? https://drmasley.com/for-2021-what-is-the-best-diet-on-the-planet/ https://drmasley.com/for-2021-what-is-the-best-diet-on-the-planet/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2021 18:03:23 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8849 The post For 2021, What Is the Best Diet on the Planet? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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For 2021, The US News and World Report rated the Mediterranean diet as:

  • The best diet overall
  • Tied for 1st as:
    • The best heart-healthy diet
    • The best diabetes diet
    • The best diet for healthy eating
    • The best plant-based diet
  • And importantly, it is also rated as the easiest diet to follow

Let alone that the Mediterranean Diet provides delicious food that is fairly easy to prepare.

The Mediterranean Diet is based upon the eating habits of people living around the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, as well as middle eastern and northern African countries. It provides a huge variety of foods to eat.

What these cuisines have in common is the consumption of fresh, whole foods featuring vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, herbs and spices; the predominate use of extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter, margarine, or vegetable oils; moderate amounts of seafood and poultry; and the moderate consumption of red wine. What the Mediterranean diet specifically has avoided is processed foods, sugar, and artificial flavors. Red meats are rarely on the menu or are used sparingly to flavor a dish.

These accolades should not be too surprising, as Mediterranean countries have some of the longest life spans on the planet, despite that they have higher rates of tobacco use, and they have lower rates of heart disease, memory loss, cancer, and obesity. The people of Spain, who follow the

Mediterranean diet closely, have the longest lifespan and the best health of any country in the Western world, and are anticipated to surpass Japan soon as the longest-lived country on the planet.

In light of all these benefits, I wrote a book to share how easy it can be to follow and benefit from the Mediterranean eating plan, The Mediterranean Method.

Preventing Heart Disease

Heart disease remains the #1 killer for men and women, even though studies have shown we can prevent 90 percent of heart disease with the right lifestyle changes—our biggest challenge is finding a diet and lifestyle that people are willing to follow long-term.

Back in the 1950s, the physiologist, Ancel Keys, became a vocal advocate for the Mediterranean diet, especially to prevent heart disease, which he expanded upon with his Seven Countries Study. A turning point for proof of the cardiac benefits of a Mediterranean diet was the Lyon Diet Heart Study, published in 1994, which showed that in a randomized clinical trial, compared to the more standard, low-fat, American Heart Association diet, a Mediterranean diet was more effective at preventing heart disease.

In 2003, the Greek EPIC trial showed that the closer subjects followed a Mediterranean eating plan, the lower their rate of cardiovascular events. Subsequent studies have shown that the closer people living outside the Mediterranean follow this same diet, the less heart disease and longer life they enjoy.

Then in 2018, the large-scale landmark PREDIMED study with over 7,000 subjects published in The New England Journal of Medicine affirmed the CVD-fighting reputation of the Mediterranean Diet; those who followed a Mediterranean diet and added extra nuts or olive oil had 30% fewer events than those following a low-fat diet.

Data published from my own clinic has shown that in patients who follow a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the average person shows a regression of carotid intimal media thickness (IMT) scores, and hundreds of our patients had more than a 10% regression in their arterial plaque load.

Enhancing Cognition and Preventing Memory Loss

The most expensive disease in the U.S. is dementia; recent estimates are that the total bill to treat it exceeds $215,000 billion per year. More startling is that the rates of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are predicted to double over the next 15 years.

Yet, just as we can prevent most cases or heart disease, there is now growing evidence that we can also prevent dementia and cognitive decline with the right lifestyle changes. PREDIMED researchers tracked the impact on cognition of the dietary interventions over 6.5 years on over 500 participants and controlled for multiple lifestyle and health factors. Those randomized to a low-fat diet had lower overall cognitive scores and more progression to dementia than those in the Mediterranean diet group, plus the Mediterranean group showed greater compliance following the diet recommendations.

Other studies have also shown cognitive improvement and/or reduced cognitive impairment with following a Mediterranean diet, including the FINGER trial, Three-City study in France, the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), and in a group of more than 1,200 Puerto Rican adults living in the U.S.

Data published from my own clinic confirmed that the closer a person follows these dietary recommendations, the better their brain processing speed and cognitive scores, results which have continued over 12 years of follow up.

Better Weight Control

In 2016, Dr. Joseph Mancini and his colleagues evaluated five randomized weight-loss trials with more than 1,000 subjects on various dietary regimens including low-fat, low-carb, and Mediterranean. These subjects were followed for at least 12 months, a meaningful length of time given most people lose weight in only the short term and regain it later. The research found that the Mediterranean Diet was more effective than the low-fat diet, and equally as effective as a low-carb diet over the long-term. What’s more, they concluded that those following the Mediterranean Diet not only lost weight, but they had the best improvements in lipid and metabolic profile. The typical weight loss ranged from 10 to 22 pounds lost throughout the 12-months.

In a separate meta-analysis of nine randomized dietary trials with over 1,000 patients in subjects with Type 2 diabetes, again researchers concluded that a Mediterranean diet was the best compared to other diets for weight loss and improvements in metabolic markers long-term.

Adapting the Mediterranean Diet to the 21st Century

Despite all these clear health benefits, there are some limitations and myths related to the Mediterranean diet that should be applied to living in the 21st century.

For instance, some think that the Mediterranean diet promotes large portions of pasta, bread, and pizza—and that adding olive oil, marinara sauce, and red wine will render any food healthy. These are truly myths.

First and foremost, the original Mediterranean diet was followed by farmers, fisherman, and herders–men and women who were physically active for 6 to 10 hours per day. Very few can achieve this much activity today. We, therefore, need to modify an eating plan with a lower sugar and grain flour intake (glycemic load) to match our activity level.

Second, studies that have evaluated the Mediterranean diet have also assessed what components of the traditional eating plan had the most and least benefit. Results from the EPIC trial showed that consuming vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and olive oil provided the greatest benefit, and eating whole grains provided the least—likely related to their glycemic load.

A more recent study, The EPIC Greek Cohort study, published in 2012, analyzed adherence to a Mediterranean Diet, and glycemic load intake. It concluded that those who adhered to a Mediterranean Diet and had the lowest glycemic load intake had the best health benefits of all. And if the subjects were overweight, the benefits of following a low-glycemic load version of a Mediterranean Diet were even greater.

This low-glycemic version has the added advantage of appealing to many people who have already shifted towards a low-carb and/or Paleo eating plan.

Beyond Food

Though there are many proven benefits to following a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle are not solely limited to food intake. Mediterranean people are more active than we are in the U.S., they spend more time walking and cycling to work and for daily shopping, and they spend more time outdoors and with nature.

How they eat is important as well. They enjoy long, leisurely meals typically with friends and family, which fosters close social connections, which is perhaps related to the fact that they have lower rates of anxiety and depression than are found in the U.S.

In summary, let me share my version of the food and lifestyle pyramid of a low-glycemic Mediterranean diet, adapted from my book, The Mediterranean Method.

The pyramid’s foundation is the lifestyle, which features activity, social interaction, cooking, and mindful-leisurely eating. Foods and beverages that are consumed daily include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices, yogurt, dark chocolate, and water, with moderate intake of red wine and coffee or tea. Seafood, poultry, eggs, and other probiotic-rich dairy products are on the menu several times a week, as are whole grains though in small portions (and gluten-free as needed). My pyramid limits but does not eliminate red meat, sweets, and potatoes.

The Mediterranean Diet is not just a short-term eating plan. It has been followed for centuries and tested in numerous long-term clinical studies and been found to be the best diet on the planet for long-term adherence and for healthy eating. The food is delicious, generally simple, easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. This is an eating plan that truly combines proven health benefits with delicious food—no other diet can embrace the saying as well.

If you have not yet purchased your own copy of The Mediterranean Method, containing 50-plus awesome recipes and many photos, now is your chance, click here.

To Your Health & Bon Appétit!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can You Reverse Thyroid Disease? https://drmasley.com/can-you-reverse-thyroid-disease/ https://drmasley.com/can-you-reverse-thyroid-disease/#respond Wed, 20 Jan 2021 16:45:29 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8816 The post Can You Reverse Thyroid Disease? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Thyroid disease is common for women and men—20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Many people struggle with thyroid symptoms without knowing that there is a potential dietary solution to reverse it.

Symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, hair loss, cold intolerance, and weight gain are not only bothersome, but too often these symptoms persist even after starting medication for thyroid conditions, and even after your doctor says that with thyroid therapy your levels are normal.

Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) is related to excess iodine intake. Overactive thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) is also related to iodine intake.

My good friend and medical colleague that I highly respect, Alan Christianson ND, has recently written a book about the relationship between iodine intake, thyroid function, and thyroid disease. His book is called The Thyroid Reset Diet and is the first nutrition plan that has been clinically shown to reverse thyroid disease and/or improve thyroid symptoms for two-thirds of people who suffer from thyroid problems.

How does it work? The key is to eat foods that are low in iodine because you may be exceeding your iodine requirements through the food you eat (in addition to products you might be applying to your skin). In his book, The Thyroid Reset Diet, Dr. Christianson provides a detailed and easy-to-follow plan to overcome excess iodine intake and to help restore thyroid function and symptoms.

The book provides useful information, 65 delicious recipes, weekly meal plans, and long-term maintenance information. I highly recommend that anyone with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, or hyperthyroidism read this book and that you share it with your loved ones if they suffer from thyroid disease.

Recently Dr. Christianson and I talked about iodine, thyroid disease, and his new book. If you would like to view my interview with Dr. Christianson, click here.

To simply buy his book, click here.

I wish you the best of health,

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

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Apple Pie with a Gluten Free Crust https://drmasley.com/apple-pie-with-a-gluten-free-crust/ https://drmasley.com/apple-pie-with-a-gluten-free-crust/#comments Sat, 16 Jan 2021 03:04:31 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8803 The post Apple Pie with a Gluten Free Crust appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Pre-baked pie crust

For a special occasion, I enjoy baking an apple pie and sharing with friends and family. This crust is much healthier without the inflammatory gluten compounds and it has a lower glycemic load than you would find with a traditional wheat flour crust. Yet for me this crust is still flaky and flavorful. You can substitute the apple with other fruit options in the pie as desired.

Prep Time: 50 Minutes

Refrigeration Time: 1 Hour

Baking Time: 30 Minutes

Crust:

1.5 cups almond flour (blanched, super finely ground almond meal)

½ cup oat flour

½ cup organic rolled oats

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cage-free organic-raised egg, whisked

¾ cup organic, unsalted, cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

Filling:

4 medium apples, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons water

½ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated is best)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Kuzu powder (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch)

Optional garnish, organic whipped cream

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse almond flour, oat flour, rolled oats, and salt until well mixed. Whisk the egg in a bowl, then pulse the egg with the dried ingredients. Next, add cubed butter and pulse until pea-size pieces of butter and dough form. Press the dough into a ball and refrigerator for 45-60 minutes (or up to 3 days covered).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with parchment paper. Flatten dough in the pie plate, press into the bottom, and up along the sides. Indent the edges if desired. Poke holes in the bottom and sides using a fork to prevent bubbling. Trim any lose edges of the parchment paper.

Bake in the oven on a middle rack for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sliced apples and lemon juice together in a bowl and mix well until apple is coated with juice.

Add butter, water, maple syrup, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until the butter melts. Add apples and lemon juice and stir. Heat for about 8-10 minutes with an occasional stir, until apples begin to soften.

Combine remaining 6 tablespoons of water with kuzu (or cornstarch) and stir until mixed. Stir into the apple mixture and heat another 2 minutes.

When pie crust has baked for 15 minutes, remove from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour hot apple mixture into the crust. Place pie plate on a middle rack in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Optionally garnish with organic whipped cream and a dash of ground cinnamon.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Quiche with Mushrooms, Onion, and Spinach—Gluten Free https://drmasley.com/quiche-with-mushrooms-onion-and-spinach-gluten-free/ https://drmasley.com/quiche-with-mushrooms-onion-and-spinach-gluten-free/#comments Sat, 02 Jan 2021 00:32:30 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8785 The post Quiche with Mushrooms, Onion, and Spinach—Gluten Free appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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​People have been making quiche for hundreds of years. You can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is served for take-out, in fine restaurants, and with a little time is relatively easy to make at home. It is loaded with dairy, so please choose organic dairy options. The biggest health concern with traditional quiche is the crust, loaded with white wheat flour—full of sugar and inflammatory compounds. In this recipe, the egg provides a hint of protein, normally provided by the gluten protein, to hold the flour together. And this flour combination manages to provide a flaky crust—I have used this same pie crust to make dessert pies, too.

 

 

Prep Time: 50 Minutes

Refrigeration Time: 1 Hour 

Baking Time: 30 Minutes

Crust:

1.5 cups almond flour (blanched, super finely ground almond meal)

½ cup oat flour

½ cup organic rolled oats

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cage-free organic-raised egg, whisked

¾ cup organic, unsalted, cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

Filling:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium-large white onion, chopped finely

2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3 ounces fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon almond flour

4 large organically-fed, free-range chicken eggs

½ cup half and half

4 ounces Conté cheese, grated (or grated Gruyère), divided

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse almond flour, oat flour, rolled oats, and salt until well mixed. Whisk the egg in a bowl, then pulse egg with the dried ingredients. Next, add cubed butter and pulse until pea-size pieces of butter and dough form. Press the dough into a ball and refrigerator for 45-60 minutes (or up to 3 days covered).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with parchment paper. Flatten dough in the pie plate, press into the bottom, and up along the sides. Indent the edges if desired. Poke holes in the bottom and sides using a fork to prevent bubbling. Trim any lose edges of the parchment paper.

Bake in the oven on a middle shelf for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan to medium heat, add olive oil, then onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes with an occasional stir until onions soften. (Don’t let the onions brown, reduce heat to low if needed.) Add mushrooms, salt, black pepper, thyme and heat at medium to low heat with an occasional stir for 5-6 minutes, until mushrooms have softened. Add spinach, stir, and heat until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in almond flour, reduce heat to simmer, and heat for an additional 5 minutes with an occasional stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk eggs, half and half, and half the grated cheese. Combine with sauteed onions and mushroom mixture.

When pie crust has baked for 15 minutes, remove from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Next pour onion, mushroom, egg, and half and half contents into the pie crust, then sprinkle the remaining half of the grated cheese on top.

Place pie plate on a middle shelf in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserts and comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Who Should Get the New Vaccine? Who Should Wait? https://drmasley.com/who-should-get-the-new-vaccine-who-should-wait/ https://drmasley.com/who-should-get-the-new-vaccine-who-should-wait/#comments Tue, 15 Dec 2020 02:36:24 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8774 The post Who Should Get the New Vaccine? Who Should Wait? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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The Covid-19 virus continues to ravage communities and spread around the world, especially in countries that have been unwilling or unable to follow common sense and effective public health measures. Despite being one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, the United States has led the world in new cases and deaths since April 2020, with rapidly increasing infections and death rates in recent weeks. After all that we have learned about the virus, right now there are more new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths than ever over the past year.

The rare, good news has been that several vaccines are on the way, and because the infection and death rates have been so exceedingly high, the clinical trials using the vaccines have yielded positive results in an extremely short period of time.

Over the last 12 months, we have learned that Covid-19 infections have hit the elderly and those with heart and lung disease the hardest, yet it has also killed young people, people who are healthy, and those who have chronic disease in often unpredictable ways. With improvements in therapy for hospitalized patients over the last 6-9 months, death rates have decreased from 3-4% of new reported cases to 1.5-2% of cases, an important but limited improvement, making a vaccine essential.

The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, called BNT162b2, as well as Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, called mRNA-1273, have made front-page news for the last few weeks as they represent a bright light at the end of what has been a long dark tunnel.

These new vaccines are made of a piece of modified RNA (virus genetic material) that encodes a version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, a novel concept in vaccine development. As a protein, the vaccine cannot cause an infection, but can boost immunity and protect us from becoming sick.

Experience with previous coronaviruses (SARS in 2002 and the more deadly MERS in 2012) failed to produce an effective vaccine. This makes the recent publicity about the latest vaccine studies welcome news.

Just this week, the actual Pfizer vaccine results have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine for all to review, and December 12th the FDA advisors recommended authorization of the vaccine for emergency use. Although this remains an ongoing study with results that are not yet final, the data thus far is highly encouraging. You can read the article for free with this link: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2034577?query=RP. The Moderna study results will likely be published and available very soon.

Highlights of Pfizer Vaccine Study Results

From the results published to date, findings show that the vaccine reduces infection rates by about 95%–truly amazing! In the primary analysis with over 40,000 subjects, only 8 cases of Covid-19 were seen in the vaccine group, as compared with 162 in the placebo group. These same results appear to be true for both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, with both vaccines produced in a similar way. Thus far, subjects who were either young or old, black or white, healthy or with chronic health problems have shown similar reductions in infection rates—more good news.

In the clinical trial published this week, 21,720 participants received the BNT162b2 vaccine and 21,728 received a placebo. The Moderna study will also share results from a similar large sample size, helping to reveal any safety concerns associated with the vaccine use. Both Pfizer vaccine groups received two injections spaced 21 days apart, the Moderna vaccine also used two injections 4 weeks apart. Persons with obesity or other coexisting conditions were well represented, as well as many different ethnic communities, and more than 40% of participants were older than 55 years of age.

One important limitation of this study is that to date, the Pfizer vaccine findings represent only 2 months of safety data after the second vaccine was given. Important to know is that the results presented are only initial findings and part of an ongoing study.

To me, two months does not initially sound like much time for a clinical study to determine safety, yet fortunately, from hundreds of previous vaccine studies, we know that most serious side effects (such as a heart attack or neurological injury) occur within the first couple of months. Reassuring is that in this study so far, the vaccine subjects have had less serious events occur than the placebo subjects. However, out of 21,000 vaccinated subjects so far with published results, there were 4 cases of Bell’s palsy reported, which is often a temporary weakness in a facial nerve, which represents 1 event per 5,000 people vaccinated, A 0.02% risk.

The common side effects reported have been a reaction to the vaccine at the local injection site with soreness and redness, fatigue, and headache over the first 24-48 hours, and more rarely fever, which is typical for many vaccines. After the second vaccine, about 25% more vaccine subjects had these reported common side effects compared to the placebo group. These side effects were more frequent after the second dosage than the first.

If you think about it, I believe a 25% increased chance of mild arm soreness and cold symptoms for 1-2 days is well worth the 95% protection I would get from a potentially life-threatening Covid-19 infection that could impact me or someone dear that I love!

Does the Vaccine Prevent Severe Infections?

The critical and most important question, “Does this new vaccine prevent severe infections?” has not been fully answered yet. Thus far, the data again is reassuring. Ten severe Covid infections have occurred in both Pfizer study groups thus far, 1 in the vaccine group and 9 in the placebo group, which appears to be a nearly 90% reduction in severe cases with the vaccine.

Yet, this is not enough information to draw any final conclusions on severe infection rates and researchers will have to continue to collect data to answer this critical question. The Moderna results have not yet been published, but their severe infection rate has been reported to show similar dramatic reductions in the vaccinated group.

Who Should Get the Vaccine Now?

The vaccine is already being offered to people in the United Kingdom and in Canada.

The FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use, and assuming approval for the Moderna vaccine as well next week, in December 2020, 20 million doses from Pfizer and 20 million doses from Moderna will be available almost immediately, and as two shots are needed for each person, this will provide a vaccination for 20 million people in the US. Other countries will follow soon.

The CDC has recommended that the following two groups should be the first to get vaccinated:

  1. Health care workers (people at high risk for exposure and who are essential to treating new cases which are skyrocketing)
  2. The elderly with co-existing health disease (especially those living in nursing homes and those who receive medical assistance in retirement homes) that make them high risk for severe infections and death if they become infected.

Health care works and the elderly with co-existing health problems will likely use up the 40 million doses that are available initially.

In January 2021, another 50-100 million doses will be available for those the CDC believes are at high risk of infection, high risk of severe infections, and/or are essential workers, including:

  • School teachers and staff
  • Police and other emergency workers (fire departments, medics, etc)
  • Public transport drivers
  • Daycare workers
  • People over age 65-75 (age cut off to be determined)
  • People who are not elderly but have health conditions that increase their risk for severe complications if they become infected, including people with diabetes and heart disease.

Based upon the information available at this time, I am hopeful and optimistic that by the time the vaccine is available to the general public in February or March 2021, far more data will confirm its safety.

The bottom line is that the new Covid-19 vaccines being produced by Pfizer (as well as a similar vaccine created by Moderna) appear to have more benefit than risk!

Who Should Wait a Few Months or Longer Before Getting the Vaccine?

Children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people have not been included in studies thus far and should wait until the vaccine is proven to be safe for them. I anticipate a vaccine will be studied in children within the next year, and pregnant women and immunocompromised people will likely be included in future studies as well.

For now, everyone, but especially children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people should practice public health prevention measures (mask-wearing and social distancing) and hope that as many people as possible are vaccinated as soon as possible to protect them via herd immunity. If you fall into one of these unstudied groups, your unique situation will determine your risk and benefit with the vaccine and the best advice would be to talk to your physician who knows you personally.

Initial experience from the ongoing vaccination program in the United Kingdom with people who have a history of severe anaphylactic reactions (Anaphylaxis, which is a severe and rapidly progressive allergic reaction; people with this condition use an Epi-Pen when they have a life-threatening reaction to bee stings, peanut allergies, shellfish allergies, etc) suggests that they are at increased risk for a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine as well. If you have a history of anaphylactic reactions, check with your physician before getting the vaccine.

What Else Do We Need to Do Besides Get the Vaccine?

Until 80-90% of the population has developed immunity to Covid-19, infections will continue to ravage our economy and to kill people on a large scale. Likely 10% of people have already been infected and have developed some immunity, so until at least 70% of us have been vaccinated, the new infection rates will remain uncontrolled.

For the near future, we still need to:

  1. Wear masks whenever we leave our homes,
  2. Social distance,
  3. Avoid crowds and social gatherings (especially indoors), and
  4. Practice common sense measures like washing hands and using hand sanitizer when we touch anything in a public setting.

If we want to avoid unnecessary deaths and suffering, prevent shutdowns that harm our economy, and help get people back to work, following each of these four steps remains essential.

What Unknown Information Do We Need to Watch For?

Thus far, only about 20,000 people have received the Pfizer vaccine, and about another 20,000 people have received the Moderna vaccine, with only 2 months of safety information on the vaccine, yet what rare but serious side effects might occur long term? The truth is that we do not yet know.

As an example, the influenza vaccine appears to cause Guillain Barré Syndrome once in every 500,000 people vaccinated, with clearly more benefit than harm, yet while there should be more benefit than risk, there are always rare hazards to any vaccination program. Similar rare side effects are likely to occur with this new Covid-19 vaccine as well.

We also do not know how effective 1 injection instead of 2 injections 3-4 weeks apart will be. For now, everyone who gets the first shot should plan to get the second injection, unless they develop a rare adverse reaction to the first shot.

Will the vaccine prevent asymptomatic infections and reduce the spread of infections? We do not yet know the answer to this question, but studies will collect antibody response data soon and this information will become available. The risk is that the vaccine reduces all symptoms and leaves people contagious to spread the disease. Until this is clear, everyone who gets the vaccine needs to wear a mask and practice social distancing!  I am optimistic that the vaccine will prevent asymptomatic carriers, but this needs to be confirmed, not just assumed.

How Long will the Vaccine Be Effective?

Many scientists expect the Covid-19 virus to mutate over time and predict that we may need annual Covid-19 vaccines, like we do with the annual new influenza vaccine. For now, we hope that this vaccine is effective for at least 1 year, hopefully longer. Time will tell.

What Am I Going to Do?

I am in my mid-60’s, so I plan to get this vaccine as soon as it becomes available to me.

I hope this blog gives you the information you need to decide what to do as the vaccine becomes available.

Please be safe and follow all the public health guidelines for at least the next several months.

 

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

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Cauliflower, Cheese, and Burger Casserole https://drmasley.com/cauliflower-cheese-and-burger-casserole/ https://drmasley.com/cauliflower-cheese-and-burger-casserole/#comments Sat, 12 Dec 2020 03:00:26 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8758 The post Cauliflower, Cheese, and Burger Casserole appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Casseroles are inviting, especially on a cold day. The oven warms the kitchen, sending a delicious aroma through the house, and the rich food is deeply satisfying for the whole family, plus this dish is easy to prepare. Traditionally this type of casserole would use potatoes or macaroni as a filler; here the cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts provide the added texture with a lovely flavor and a powerful load of nutrients without any gluten and without a huge load of sugar from the potatoes or pasta.

For burger options, you can use a plant-based burger (vegetarian), ground organic turkey, or free-range ground sirloin—please avoid ground hamburger as it is loaded with junk ingredients. Recently, I have been using plant-based burger products from Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger and I have been pleasantly surprised by how good these products taste. Both make amazing burgers, although I like the ingredients in Beyond Burger the best.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Baking Time: 30 Minutes

Serves: Six

Ingredients:

6 cups cauliflower florets, chopped into bite sized pieces (1 medium-large head cauliflower)

2 cups Brussel Sprouts, stem removed and sliced in half lengthwise

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups button mushrooms, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

1-pound burger (choose from plant-based, organic ground turkey, or free-range sirloin)

4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

 

3 organic-fed, free-range chicken eggs

1 cup organic full cream (or for a lower dairy fat option, organic low-fat milk)

10 ounces grated organic cheese, divided (For organic cheese options, I prefer Conte, Gruyere, or Sharp-Aged Cheddar, or use a blend of your favorite options that melt well.)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Prep cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts, add to a cookie sheet with sides, toss with olive oil. Place in the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 25-30 minutes, until veggies are tender but still al dente. After the initial 15 minutes of roasting, pull the tray out of the oven and stir to mix the veggies, then return to the oven to continue roasting.

While veggies are baking, heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat, add avocado oil, then onion, and sauté for 1 minute with an occasional stir, then add mushrooms, salt, black pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning and heat with an occasional stir for another 2 minutes. Next, add the burger to the pan (plant-based, turkey, or sirloin), and with a wooden spoon break into small pieces. Continue to heat with occasional stirring until burger is lightly browned, reduce heat to low, stir in garlic and heat another 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Next whisk eggs in a bowl, add cream (or milk), and whisk again, then stir in half the grated cheese.

When the cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts have been roasted, reduce oven heat to 375°. Grease an oven-proof casserole dish, 9” x 13”, with extra-virgin olive oil. Add cooked burger, onion, and mushrooms to the bottom of the dish. Next, add cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts over the burger, then pour the mixture of egg, cream, and half the grated cheese over the pan contents. Sprinkle remaining half of grated cheese over the top.

Place dish in the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. If need be, switch from bake to broil for the final 4-5 minutes. Let stand on the counter for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Gluten-Free Crab Cakes https://drmasley.com/gluten-free-crab-cakes/ https://drmasley.com/gluten-free-crab-cakes/#comments Sat, 28 Nov 2020 00:36:33 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8747 The post Gluten-Free Crab Cakes appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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I have always liked crab cakes but have felt that the traditional use of breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs has ruined them by adding gluten and a large sugar load. In contrast, here is a lovely recipe, easy-to-make, delicious, and both gluten-free and low in refined carbs.

Prep Time: 25-30 Minutes

Serves: Four (Makes 8 cakes)

Ingredients:

2 large, organic-fed, cage-free eggs lightly beaten

1 pound fresh lump crabmeat

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ medium sweet onion, chopped finely

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped finely

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped finely

¾ cup blanched finely ground almond flour

2 tablespoons ghee

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg. Mix in the crabmeat. Mix well with a fork, breaking up any large pieces, but be sure to leave small chunks of crab meat so that you can taste the crab. Mix in the mustard and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan (or skillet) to medium heat. Add olive oil, then onion, and heat for 2-3 minutes with an occasional stir. Add salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic, heat another 2 minutes, then set aside.

Add parsley to the crabmeat mixture. Then add sautéed onion mixture. Add flour and stir until well mixed.

Use a 1/4 cup scoop to portion out portions of the mixture. Use your hands to form the portions into eight 1/2-inch-thick patties and place on wax paper.

Reheat the large sauté pan to medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Next, add 4 of the crab cakes. Heat them for about 4 minutes without moving, until the edges on the bottom are lightly browned.

Carefully, flip the crab cakes, use a second spatula if needed. Cook on the other side, about 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned.

Then cook the other 4 crab cakes in a second pan, or repeat and cook in the same pan using remaining ghee and olive oil.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

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Are artificial sweeteners worse than sugar? https://drmasley.com/are-artificial-sweeteners-worse-than-sugar/ https://drmasley.com/are-artificial-sweeteners-worse-than-sugar/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2020 19:00:06 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8731 The post Are artificial sweeteners worse than sugar? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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For decades, we have known that consuming sugar increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, cancer, and weight gain.

A recent study published in Circulation showed that women who had sugary beverages less than once per month, compared to those who had more than two servings a day — defined as a standard glass, bottle, or can — had a 63% increased risk of premature death. And those who only had 1 serving per day showed less risk than those with 2 or more servings per day, but much more than those who had none.

This risk has led many people and even many doctors to use diet drinks with artificial sweeteners and other food products instead of products with sugar.

Have diet products helped with weight loss? The reality is not much, and many would say long term that there is no sustained weight loss from choosing artificially sweetened products.

Now the latest study assessing the safety of artificially sweetened drinks was published in October 2020 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

French researchers published their initial results after following 105,000 people over the last 6.6 years in a prospective observational study that is still ongoing. Study subjects completed dietary records every six months. The results were assessed sugar intake with non-calorie sweetener intake. Their aim was to assess how sugar intake and sweetener intake affect the risk for cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac death.

In this study, sugary drinks consisted of all beverages containing at least 5% sugar (i.e., soft drinks, syrups, 100% juice, fruit drinks).

For sugar, they compared:

  • Non-consumers (less than 1 serving per month)
  • Occasional users (less than 2 servings per day)
  • High consumers (2 or more servings per day)

For non-caloric sweeteners, they compared:

  • Non-consumers (less than 1 serving per month)
  • Occasional users (less than 2 servings per day)
  • High consumers (2 or more servings per day)

For sugar, the results showed that occasional sugar users showed a 5% increased risk for cardiovascular events and high consumers had a 20% increased risk.

For sweetener use, the results showed that occasional sweetener users showed a 15% increased risk for cardiovascular events and high consumers had a 32% increased risk. The most common sweeteners used in this study appear to be the artificial sweeteners, aspartame (sold as Equal and NutraSweet) and Sucralose (sold as Splenda).

This initial data from an ongoing study shows that drinking beverages with artificial sweeteners are equally harmful to drinking beverages with sugar, and artificial sweeteners may be even worse for you.

It was not a surprise to anyone that drinking beverages with sugar increased the risk for serious cardiovascular events. Yet, the results showing harm from diet drinks should be eye-opening and a major wake-up call for people who use artificial sweeteners regularly.

The most likely mechanism for the harm caused by artificial sweeteners is that they have been shown to kill good bacteria in the gut and promote the growth of bad microbes, causing gut microbiome chaos and disorder.

We know that healthy gut microbes help us in many important ways:

  • They help us lose weight
  • Improve blood pressure levels
  • Reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels to normal
  • Improve blood sugar control
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce levels of TMAO, a compound produced by gut bacteria that is associated with increasing cardiovascular events by 62%.

The bad gut microbes show the opposite harmful effects.

The reality is that artificial sweeteners kill the healthy gut microbes that protect us from nearly all the risk factors for cardiovascular events. With this in mind, we should not be surprised that consuming artificial sweeteners increase our risk for heart disease.

A previous study was published in Nature, showing that the most commonly used artificial sweeteners saccharin, sucralose, or aspartame all adversely impacted the gut microbiome and worsened blood sugar control.

One limitation of this ongoing French study is that researchers combined natural sweeteners, such as stevia, with artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (sold as NutraSweet and Equal) and Sucralose (sold as Splenda). It would be far better if they were looking at them separately.

To date, there is no evidence that natural sweeteners (Stevia) harm the gut microbiome, or cause any other significant harm, yet this will require further observation over time. There is some limited information that stevia and other natural sweeteners (like Xylitol) may block the growth of some beneficial bacterial species, limiting their proliferation. Even though they do not appear to kill large numbers of good bacteria, they may inhibit some good bacteria from growing.

For now, I strongly recommend that all of us avoid the use of sugar and artificial sweeteners—including aspartame (blue packs), saccharin (pink packs), and sucralose (yellow packs). It is ironic that these artificial sweeteners were initially created to help prevent diabetes and weight gain, but that they may actually cause the same problem that they were intended to prevent.

Our best choice is to enjoy food that is unsweetened, natural, and unprocessed! Food can still taste delicious without overwhelming our taste buds with sweetness.

For an occasional treat when you want to celebrate a special occasion, stick with a natural ingredient, such as a small quantity of honey. If you use natural sweeteners, do so only occasionally.

Although not as sweet as sugar or artificial sweeteners, fresh fruit offers our palate some sweetness, without a jump in blood sugar levels and it nourishes our healthy gut microbes. Fresh fruit is good for us, and we should eat 2-3 servings daily.

HOLIDAY: We will celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday and if you are as well, I hope you have a wonderful holiday.  If you are looking for some Thanksgiving day recipes, click here!

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

References:

  1. Jotham Suez et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. NATURE 9 October 2014;514:181-86. doi:10.1038/nature13793
  2. Affect of stevia on Lactobacillus reuteri. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 2014;58.3: 278-284.

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Roasted Chicken with Wild Mushroom-Saffron Sauce https://drmasley.com/roasted-chicken-with-wild-mushroom-saffron-sauce/ https://drmasley.com/roasted-chicken-with-wild-mushroom-saffron-sauce/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2020 18:16:44 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8714 The post Roasted Chicken with Wild Mushroom-Saffron Sauce appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This recipe has been adapted from a delightful dish that Nicole and I enjoyed on the Atlantic Coast of Spain, which was made with quail and a mushroom-saffron sauce.  It is easy to prepare and has a lovely and delicate flavor. I am assuming that most people would have trouble finding quail or pheasant for this recipe, so I chose chicken, and you can use chicken breast or chicken thighs as you prefer. For a vegetarian option, you could even substitute tofu for the chicken, and cover it with the mushroom-saffron sauce, using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. I recommend serving this dish with a steamed green vegetable on the side to compliment the flavor and provide a splash of color.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Oven Baking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

12 ounces chicken breast, cut into 1-inch wide strips

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

 

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

1 pinch saffron (1/4 teaspoon)

 

2 tablespoons ghee

½ medium white onion, chopped finely

4 cups wild mushrooms, sliced (chanterelles, shiitake, porcini, or oyster mushrooms)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons almond flour (or almond meal)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°(F).

Meanwhile, in a baking dish, combine chicken, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and thyme. Bake for 30 minutes until internal chicken temperature reaches 165-170°, about 30 minutes.

While chicken is baking, heat chicken stock in a saucepan until gently bubbling. Smash saffron stamens between your fingers and drop them into the stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Then remove the pan from heat and set aside.

Next, prep onion and mushrooms, then heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat, add ghee, onion and heat with an occasional stir for two minutes. Next, add mushrooms and salt and cook with an occasional stir for 3 minutes until mushrooms have softened.

Reduce heat to medium, add flour and stir occasionally with mushrooms for about 4 minutes.

Pour chicken stock with saffron from the saucepan into the sauté pan and reduce to a low simmer for about 10 minutes with a rare stir and continue to heat until chicken is cooked. You want the liquid to thicken into a sauce, but if it becomes a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of water or white wine to maintain a medium-thick sauce.

Lastly, add chicken to a serving dish, pour the mushroom-saffron sauce into the serving dish mixing with the chicken, and serve.

 

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

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Shrimp and Avocado Cocktail https://drmasley.com/shrimp-and-avocado-cocktail/ https://drmasley.com/shrimp-and-avocado-cocktail/#respond Fri, 30 Oct 2020 22:48:01 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8689 The post Shrimp and Avocado Cocktail appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Avocados are in season in Florida, and I am looking for ways to use these delicious and super healthy fruits. This is a variation of a recipe that we enjoyed in Spain, easy to prepare and terrific to eat.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped finely

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

Optional, 1/8 teaspoon dried cayenne powder

1 Haas avocado, diced into ½-inch pieces

Directions:

Heat a sauté pan to medium heat, add olive oil, then onion and heat for 3 minutes with an occasional stir until the onion softens, add salt, black pepper, thyme, and shrimp, and heat another 3 minutes with occasional stirring until shrimp are cooked.

Transfer to a bowl and toss with cilantro and lime juice. If you enjoy spicy heat, add the optional cayenne powder. Stir in avocado.

To serve, spoon mixture into small bowls and gently pack contents to the bottom. Invert bowls over a salad plate.

Garnish with a sprig of cilantro and/or a whole shrimp. Serve immediately.

If serving later, drizzle lemon juice over the mound, then cover and refrigerate.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

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New Tips to Prevent and Reverse Memory Loss https://drmasley.com/new-tips-to-prevent-and-reverse-memory-loss/ https://drmasley.com/new-tips-to-prevent-and-reverse-memory-loss/#respond Mon, 26 Oct 2020 19:23:06 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8646 The post New Tips to Prevent and Reverse Memory Loss appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Evidence is growing that we can prevent and even reverse memory loss, and the earlier we start, the greater our success.

This is an extremely important issue, as cognitive decline is the most expensive and debilitating disease in the US and the western world.

What makes this even more alarming is that the rates for memory loss are projected to double between now and 2030, just a decade away.

Memory loss is also the disease that people dread the most, even more than cancer, as nobody wants to lose their independence and become a long-term burden on their loved ones.

Sugar (and flour) consumption with consequential abnormal blood sugar control remains the #1 cause for memory loss and taking steps to improve insulin sensitivity seems fundamental to prevent this rapidly growing problem. Even mild elevations in blood sugar levels result in a dramatic increase in your risk for cognitive decline. However, blood sugar control is not the only cause and at least two dozen other factors contribute to cognitive decline.

Here are tips from my book, The Better Brain Solution, that will help improve your brain performance and decrease your risk for memory loss:

  1. Avoid consuming sugar and flour, such as sweets, bread, cereals, and crackers.
  2. Add daily activity, with a mixture of strength training and aerobic movement.
  3. Follow a Mediterranean diet, eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seafood, olive oil, beans, spices and herbs.
  4. Meet your brain nutrient needs, especially for long-chain omega-fats, vitamin B12 and natural folate, magnesium, vitamin D, and probiotics.
  5. Manage your stress proactively, adding meditation daily and a good night’s sleep.
  6. Avoid brain toxins, like tobacco, mercury, nitrosamines, and inorganic copper.

There are brand new tips to help you prevent and reverse memory decline in the latest book, The End of Alzheimer’s Program, by my colleague Dr. Dale Bredesen, MD. For people with early memory loss, it will help to restore brain function and quality of life. Dr. Bredesen has even helped some people reverse Alzheimer’s disease, something that was previously thought impossible.

Fasting is one of Dr. Bredesen’s simple to follow steps. Fast for at least 12 hours (and up to 15 hours) either every day or most days of the week. Basically, you avoid eating or drinking food and beverages starting at 8 pm at night and do not consume any calories until 8 am the following day. The time you chose to fast is up to you. Fasting helps prevent you from forming beta-amyloid, the protein that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Fasting also appears to help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

Below you will find the interview I did with Dr. Dale Bredesen discussing his NEW book The End of Alzheimer’s Program.  

The bottom line is that there are many steps that will improve your cognitive function and potentially prevent memory loss.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

 

 

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Chili https://drmasley.com/chili/ https://drmasley.com/chili/#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 23:26:14 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8611 The post Chili appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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As the heat of summer abates, I look forward to making a pot of chili. This recipe is healthy and flavorful, and you have the option to make it with organic ground turkey; using grass-fed, pasture-raised ground sirloin; or make it vegetarian.

There is some debate as to whether the original recipe for chili had beans or was made with chili powder and meat, yet including beans makes it super healthy as beans are loaded with fiber, the most powerful antioxidants on the planet, plus many other nutrients. You can make it with cooked pinto beans or dark red kidney beans or a mixture of both. Adding organic corn provides a splash of color and flavor, plus if making a vegetarian version, the beans help balance the amino acids to form a complete protein. Whichever bean you choose, avoid canned beans with a BPA or BPS lining. The best option is to soak dried beans for 8-12 hours and cook them until they are just right—see instructions below.

How much chili powder (heat) to add is up to you; chili powder spice varies greatly as does people’s tolerance for it, so add it gradually as you assess how much spicy heat you want to provide. I like to use mild chili powder for flavor and adjust the heat level with cayenne.

Chef’s Note on Soaking and Cooking Beans

Pour your beans onto a cookie sheet and discard any that are shriveled or discolored (also discard any small rocks).

Rinse beans in a strainer. In a bowl, soak for 8-12 hours, as the beans will absorb the soaking water be sure they are covered in a couple of inches of water to start.

Soaking beans has four important benefits:

  • It shortens the cooking time.
  • They cook more evenly.
  • They are easier to digest and they will cause less gas and bloating when you eat them.
  • When you soak your own beans, you avoid canned beans that may be contaminated with toxins—BPA and BPS.

Rinse and drain the soaked beans (further reducing the compounds that cause bloating and gas formation). Add to a pot, cover with an inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Add a teaspoon of salt to the liquid and test the beans about every 15 minutes to see if they are fully cooked. You want beans that are completely smooth, tender, and soft; if the beans are even a little “crunchy,” they aren’t done, but you also do not want to overcook them until they become mushy. Soaked beans typically take 75 to 100 minutes to cook, unsoaked beans take 2-3 hours to cook.

1 cup of dried beans will typically make 3 cups cooked, or 1 1/3 cup of dried beans to make 4 cups of cooked beans.

Chili

Prep Time: 25-30 Minutes, plus the time to prepare the beans.

Makes: 6 Servings (which make great leftovers)

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked beans (pinto or dark red kidney beans), rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 medium celery stalks, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound organic ground turkey (or organic, grass-fed sirloin; or vegetarian crumbled burger)

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped

2 cups organic corn (frozen, jarred, or fresh)

1-4 teaspoons chili powder (add to taste)

¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

½ cup low-sodium broth (vegetarian broth or chicken stock)

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Optional Garnish: 1 avocado cubed and/or ¼ cup organic sour cream

Directions:

Rinse and drain cooked beans and set aside.

Heat a large pot to medium-high heat, add avocado oil, then onion, salt, and black pepper, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes until the onion softens. Add celery, oregano, and cumin and heat for another 2 minutes with an occasional stir. Add ground turkey, (ground sirloin, or vegetarian crumbles, stir frequently to break up the big clumps and heat until lightly browned.

Reduce to medium heat, add garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper, and corn. Heat another 5 minutes with an occasional stir. Add chili powder and/or cayenne pepper to taste, then stir in broth, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Just prior to serving, stir in cilantro. To serve, garnish individual bowls with cubed avocado and/or sour cream.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Healthy Southwest Avocado Bean Salad https://drmasley.com/healthy-southwest-avocado-bean-salad/ https://drmasley.com/healthy-southwest-avocado-bean-salad/#respond Fri, 02 Oct 2020 14:05:48 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8595 The post Healthy Southwest Avocado Bean Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This recipe is from The Fitchen, a great place for healthy, simple recipes that help you stay fit in the kitchen. There you’ll find mostly plant-based and gluten-free recipes.

If you have a delicious and healthy recipe that you would like to share please send a recipe to: info@drmasley.com. 

This recipe is a perfect side dish for bringing to gatherings. It is easy to make, with minimal clean-up, and full of mouthwatering southwest flavors. Much safer and easier than potato or egg salad!

Photo by Jordan Cord © TheFitchen

Prep Time: 10 mins

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 – 15 oz. can of black beans (use BPA/BPS free cans, or better, soak them in advance and make from scratch)

1 – 15 oz. can of pinto beans (use BPA/BPS free cans, or better, soak them in advance and make from scratch)

2 tomatoes, on the vine or roma

2 ripe avocados

1/3 cup frozen or fresh corn

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup red onion

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon oregano

a pinch of allspice

garnish with cilantro

Directions:

Drain beans and pour into a large bowl, preferably one that’s portable and has a lid!

Add sea salt and mix with beans.

Dice the onion and add to the bowl.

Chop tomatoes into ½-inch pieces and toss into the bowl.

Dice the avocados into ½-inch pieces and toss into the bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the bowl.

Add seasonings and mix everything together until well combined.

garnish with cilantro

Enjoy!

P.S. If you want to learn how to grow your own avocado tree or other great information on plants and gardening please check out The Gardener’s Path, here.

 

 

 

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What is the best source of water to drink? https://drmasley.com/what-is-the-best-source-of-water-to-drink/ https://drmasley.com/what-is-the-best-source-of-water-to-drink/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2020 00:33:49 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8572 The post What is the best source of water to drink? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Water is essential to life. About 70 percent of the human body is made up of water and, coincidentally, more than 70 percent of Earth is covered in water.

You can survive for 30-45 days without food, but you will only live for 3-4 days unless you consume water.

It is recommended you consume 4-8 cups of water per day; how much of that you need depends on your activity, temperature, and the quantity of vegetables and fruits you consume—fresh produce is an excellent source of hydration.

The best indication of hydration is NOT how much you drink, but the color of your urine. Ideally, your urine should be clear, not light yellow, and not dark yellow. (Although some supplements with extra riboflavin make the urine bright florescent yellow, so you may need to skip your supplement for a day to assess your hydration status.) The darker the color of your urine, the more dehydrated you are.

Waiting until you feel thirsty is too late, as thirst is a delayed sign of dehydration. The body functions best when you are fully hydrated. Notice how diligently athletes hydrate to ensure maximum physical performance.

Hydration is especially important for people with a history of kidney stones as concentrated urine has crystals that may produce stones, and keeping the urine diluted is the best way to avoid future stones.

Consuming some fluids such as alcohol, sodas, coffee, and tea, only provides limited net hydration because they increase urination— sadly, this is all some people drink. Drinking pure water is the best way to hydrate. Herbal infusions are another excellent source of hydration.

Obtaining pure water has become more complicated. Public water supplies are treated to kill microbes that can make us sick, which is not a bad thing, but water contamination and bad city plumbing can cause major problems. As we have heard from Flint, Michigan, some public water systems are also contaminated with harmful chemical compounds. Sadly, Flint was not a unique situation and many public water systems nationwide are contaminated.

Drinking water from plastic bottles is highly problematic. Plastic bottles leak phthalates into the water—a toxic compound that is an endocrine disrupter. In the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development, and male fertility issues.

Let alone that all that plastic ends up polluting the environment!

I am not worried if someone on occasion drinks water from a plastic bottle, but some people drink several plastic bottles every day, which would provide very high levels of phthalates.

If you buy water in a bottle, it should come in glass. The challenge is that drinking bottled water in glass is more expensive, and is rarely available.

At home, the most economical and healthy source of drinking water comes from reverse osmosis. The public water supply can be pumped under pressure through a membrane, producing very pure water (chemical-free). At our home and sailboat, we have a Reverse Osmosis water maker to produce water. It tastes much better than tap water too.

Filling a stainless steel water bottle (preferably not a plastic bottle) provides a useful way to carry water from home when you are out and about.

There are a variety of other filtration devices using carbon and ceramic filters, but clearly, the best source of home water is produced using reverse osmosis. A reverse osmosis unit can be installed under your kitchen sink and provide drinking and cooking water for your home. There are even countertop models that are now available. The cost to install a reverse osmosis unit in your home may vary from $200-$500, which is expensive upfront, but actually cheaper than drinking bottled water long term.

I recently received an article discussing reverse osmosis water production. The source of the article, WaterTechAdvice.com had nothing to sell but had very detailed information on reverse osmosis systems, which I thought was refreshing. Please click here to see more information on reverse osmosis.

I highly recommend that you hydrate with pure water daily, either drinking water from a glass bottle or from water produced through reverse osmosis.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

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Sicilian Orange Salad https://drmasley.com/sicilian-orange-salad/ https://drmasley.com/sicilian-orange-salad/#respond Thu, 17 Sep 2020 02:31:33 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8422 The post Sicilian Orange Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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We were served this delightful salad multiple times in Sicily. It is very refreshing on a hot day. Depending upon who is making it, fennel is optional, sometimes the onion is white and sometimes red, but it always has the orange wedges, parsley, and olive oil. Some serve it with a dusting of breadcrumbs—although I like it better with pistachio crumbs instead of breadcrumbs, both for the flavor and the lower glycemic load.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: Four

Salad

4 medium-large oranges, peel and cut into bite-sized wedges

1 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 medium-small fennel bulb, chopped into small pieces

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped finely

Dressing

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon honey

Garnish

1 teaspoon pistachio crumbs (finely chopped pistachios)

Directions:

 Add salad ingredients to a serving salad bowl.

Wisk vinaigrette dressing ingredients and toss with the salad.

Add salad to serving plates.

Garnish with pistachio crumbs.

Enjoy! 😊

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

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