Steven Masley MD, LLC Tune up your brain, heart, energy, waistline, and sex life! Fri, 07 Dec 2018 09:56:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Steven Masley MD, LLC 32 32 Gift Recipes for the Holidays!! Fri, 07 Dec 2018 09:56:58 +0000 The post Gift Recipes for the Holidays!! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


The recipes below are great to give as gifts or to bring to a party during the holidays!

Mango Chutney

This is a lovely condiment for curry dishes and also serves as a great holiday gift!

Preparation and Canning Time: 1 ½ hours

Yields:  12 Cups


1 ⅓ cup sugar or 1 cup xylitol

1 cup cider vinegar

2 medium limes, Juiced

1 teaspoon ground clove

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 large mangos, firm not overripe

4 tablespoons ginger root, peeled and minced

2 cups onion, minced

1 cup raisins

1 cup dried cranberries


Have ready a large canning pot with water and bring to a boil. Sterilize the utensils you will use including canning jars and lids. You can use any size canning jars you like, yielding 12 cups.

In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, lime juice, cloves, cardamom, cayenne, and salt to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel mangoes and remove pulp from the seed. Dice pulp and combine with the minced ginger, onion, raisins, and cranberries. Add these to the vinegar solution and bring to a boil once more. Lower heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.

As soon as the chutney is done simmering, remove the sterilized jars and set them on the counter. Carefully fill each jar with the chutney allowing only about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space from the rim. To ensure rims are perfectly clean, wipe them with a wet paper towel (dipped in the boiling water), then immediately seal the jars with the new sterilize canning lids and hand tighten.

Place the filled jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes (be sure the water is at a rolling boil and that you have each jar covered with at least 2 inches of water from the top of the jar to the surface).

Remove jars from the water and allow to cool. Once the jars have cooled, check each lid to make sure it is sealed properly. The jar should have created a vacuum and the lid should be flat.

You are now ready to label and date your jars.

Dried Fruit-Nut Balls

These fruit-nut balls are fun to make and are great to bring to a party.  Vary the dried fruit and nuts as you like.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 65 Balls


½ cup almond flour

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup dried figs

2 tablespoons powdered sugar (or substitute with 2 tablespoons of Xylitol)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon rum (or 1 teaspoon orange extract)

2 ounces Semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup hazelnuts, finely chopped


In a food processor, process 3/5 cup of almonds to make 1/2 cup of almond flour, or buy prepared almond flour. Add dried cherries and figs and process again. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, and rum.

Melt chocolate and blend with puree. Roll mixture into hazelnut-sized balls, 1 ½ teaspoon per ball. (Messy but fun!)

On a cookie sheet, spread out chopped hazelnuts. Roll fruit-nut balls in chopped hazelnuts, forming a delicate nut covering.

Freeze or refrigerate fruit-nut balls until ready to serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Do You Get Enough Vitamin K1 and K2? Tue, 04 Dec 2018 01:45:06 +0000 The post Do You Get Enough Vitamin K1 and K2? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Vitamin K is essential for clotting, bone health, and preventing calcification of your arteries. Most Americans don’t meet even the minimal intake guidelines for Vitamin K.

Vitamin K was first identified to be essential for normal clotting, (vitamin K as in German for koagulation), otherwise one might bleed to death after a minor cut.

Over time, we have discovered that vitamin K is also essential for bone and artery health. Without adequate vitamin K, bones lose calcium, increasing your risk for osteoporosis and a debilitating fracture later in life. Arteries become stiff and hard as they can’t get rid of calcium from their walls, leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

There are two forms of vitamin K: K1 and K2. K2 is the more physiologically active of the two forms, but much more challenging to get in your diet. Vitamin K1 comes from eating green leafy vegetables and is fairly easy to get from food. Both forms are beneficial to your health.

How much Vitamin K1 do you need for your bones and arteries?

  • The minimum for proper clotting is around 100 mcg of vitamin K1 per day (90mcg for women, and 120 mcg for men). Many Americans don’t even achieve this minimal intake.
  • Yet for your bones and arteries, they function much better with at least 200 mcg of Vitamin K1 daily, and most experts in this field suggest that for optimum function you get 500 to 1,000 mcg daily.

Here are some great sources of Vitamin K1:

Food Content                               Measure             mcg of K1

Kale, cooked, drained                              1 cup                 1,062

Collards, cooked drained                        1 cup                 1,059

Spinach, cooked (or ~7 cups raw)           1 cup                   889

Beets, cooked                                            1 cup                   697

Broccoli, cooked                                        1 cup                   220

Brussels sprouts, cooked                         1 cup                   219

Onions, raw                                                 1 cup                  207

Parsley                                                        10 sprigs             164

Cabbage, cooked (or ~ 3 cups raw)          1 cup                 163

Asparagus, cooked                                      1 cup                 144

Lettuce, iceberg                                           1/4 head              3

The bottom line is that nearly everyone should be able to meet their needs for Vitamin K1 with food.

However, there is one contraindication to consuming vitamin K, and that applies to people receiving certain anti-coagulation drugs that decrease clotting. The drug warfarin (Coumadin) decreases vitamin K coagulation activity and taking extra vitamin K can block the medication’s action. In a person requiring this form of medication, taking extra Vitamin K could cause life-threatening clot formation. So, for people taking this type of medication, they should speak to their own physician managing their care before trying to increase their vitamin k intake, either from food, or from supplements. My goal with my own patients on warfarin is that they should eat a consistent amount of green leafy vegetables every day and modify their medication dosage as needed, but this can only be done with your doctor testing for the impact of vitamin K rich foods on your drug activity and blood levels, absolutely not something a person should try on their own.

As noted above, vitamin K2 is the more potent form of vitamin K, and provides additional bone and cardiovascular health benefits. This is especially important for people who already have known heart disease, or known bone loss and osteopenia or osteoporosis.

In the Rotterdam Study with 4800 subjects followed over 10 years, greater dietary vitamin K2 intake is associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. They compared people with less than 21 mcg of vitamin K2 per day, with 21 to 32 mcg per day, to more than 32 mcg/day. Those with more than 32 mcg per day had 57% less risk for heart disease than those with less than 21 mcg days.

For bone health, studies have shown that people likely need at least 50 mcg of vitamin K2 per day to lower their risk for osteoporosis and bone density loss, and up to 200 mcg might be a more optimal dose for people with osteopenia or heart disease.

In the table below, you can see foods that are high in vitamin K2. Apart from Natto (fermented soy), the amount needed to achieve at least 32-50 mcg a day for a heart disease benefit would be difficult to do with food alone.

You would have to consume a very large amount of saturated fat from either:

  • 14 tablespoons of butter
  • 5 ounces of raw-unpasteurized cheese that are aged and probiotic rich (some might call fermented cheese smelly)
  • 8 egg yolks

And to reach more than 200 mcg per day vitamin K2 intake to achieve a bone health benefit seems only achievable with a very large serving of natto (fermented soy).

FOOD                       Serving size        Vitamin K2 mcg/100 mg

Natto (fermented soy)      0.5 cups                        257

Munster cheese              1.5 ounces                       34

Camembert cheese        1.5 ounces                        27

Aged gouda cheese        1.5 ounces                        20

Roquefort cheese           1.5 ounces                        16

Swiss cheese                    1.5 ounces                       3.5

Mozzarella cheese          1.5 ounces                        1.7

Butter                                7 tablespoons                  15

Egg yolk (large)                 4                                        15

Animal meat                     3.5 ounces                       4.5

Fish                                   3.5 ounces                        0.9

Milk                                   3.5 ounces                        1.1

Green vegetables             2/3 cup                             0

Sauerkraut                        2/3 cup                             5

Fruit                                   2/3 cup                              0

Bread                                2 slices                               0

There is some conversion of vitamin K1 to vitamin K 2 both in the human intestinal tract and intracellularly. The challenge is that the amount of conversion varies from person to person, and it remains unknown if this conversion is adequate to meet the benefits provided by adequate vitamin K2 intake.

Specific drugs block the conversion of vitamin K1 to K2, in particular statin medications, alendronate (Fosamax), and warfarin (Coumadin). Anyone on these medications need to take extra precaution to add extra vitamin K2 daily, but if you are taking a medication such as warfarin, you must talk to your physician in advance to see if this is appropriate for you, be super consistent with your daily dosage, and work with your physician to modify your warfarin dosage appropriately.

Supplements provide a convenient way to increase intake for both vitamin K1 and K2. You can find vitamin K added to either multivitamins, fish oil, and vitamin D supplements.

While you should be able to meet your needs for vitamin K1 easily enough with green leafy vegetables, unless you enjoy eating ¼ cup of natto daily (this is definitely an acquired flavor), you’ll need to consider a supplement to meet your optimal intake.

Below are the supplements that I use with my patients to boost their vitamin K1 and K2 intake:

For people with advanced osteoporosis, there are studies that have used dramatically higher dosages of vitamin K2 daily to treat bone loss and risk for bone fractures. Dosages up to 15 mg to 45 mg daily have been used, but you should always discuss this dosing option with your own physician to clarify what is the best medical option for you.


Everyone at the minimum should ensure they meet their needs for vitamin K1 and get at least 250 mcg to 1000 mcg daily, something that you should be able to do by eating one cup of green leafy vegetables every day.

For people at high risk for bone loss or heart disease, especially for those who already have been diagnosed with either of these problems, adding vitamin K2 from either food (natto daily) or a supplement is appealing and worth discussing with your own medical provider.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Potato, Cheese, & Herbs Fri, 30 Nov 2018 19:30:07 +0000 The post Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Potato, Cheese, & Herbs appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This is a cheerful and tasty dish for a holiday party. You can always substitute mashed cauliflower for the potato if you want to lower the glycemic load.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Makes: 20 Bite-size Appetizers


1 small Russet potato

1 teaspoon virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

½ small white onion minced

½ teaspoon sea salt

20 medium cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated

4 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch pieces


Peel and cube potato. Boil until very soft. Mash or whip in a food processor. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add onion and salt. Sauté 3-4 minutes until onion turns yellow. Add herbs and heat 1 minute. Set aside.

Slice a sliver off the bottom of each cherry tomato to form a flat base. Slice off the top third of the tomato. Set base and top aside. Repeat this process with each tomato.

Combine potato, sautéed onion, and grated cheese. Spoon or pipe 1/2 teaspoon filling over each tomato base and cover with top hat. Garnish with herbs.

Arrange on a serving plate. Garnish plate with remaining chives and a few sprigs of parsley.

Steven Masley, MD

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Duck with Port Wine Sauce and Mashed Sweet Potato Sat, 24 Nov 2018 04:22:04 +0000 The post Duck with Port Wine Sauce and Mashed Sweet Potato appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Duck is a popular recipe option in restaurants and home cooking in Europe. To my surprise and in contrast to the US, duck is featured on restaurant menus more often than is chicken. Duck is easy to prepare and has a rich flavor. As with buying chicken, always look for organically raised, cage-free duck.

Sauce Simmering Time: 25 minutes

Sweet Potato Baking Time: 40-50 minutes

Remaining Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Two



medium sweet potatoes

2 teaspoons organic ghee (clarified butter)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup unsweetened almond milk, warmed

Port Wine Sauce:

1 cup of Port wine

1/8 teaspoon sea salt


Two 7-8 ounce (200 gram) duck breasts

2 tablespoons avocado oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, diced (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)


Preheat oven to 400° F. Pierce each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 40-50 minutes.

Meanwhile, with a small sharp knife, score duck skin in a crosshatch pattern. In a bowl, combine duck breast, oil, salt, black pepper, and thyme. Marinate stirring occasionally.

In a saucepan, add port wine and salt. Heat to a gentle boil and reduce heat to a simmer until volume has reduced from 1 cup to ¼ of a cup, and sauce thickens to syrup, about 25 minutes. When sauce is properly reduced, set aside.

When the sweet potatoes are 10-15 minutes from being adequately baked, heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat. Pour duck marinade sauce into the pan, and sear duck skin side down covered for about 5-6 minutes, skin should be a little crispy, then sear the other side for another 4-5 minutes until cooked. Please note that the USDA recommends cooking duck breasts to an internal temperature of 170°F (medium to well done) to ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed, but most restaurants (with the proper health warning) typically serve duck meat medium-rare and cook it to only 140-145°F.

Once duck breasts are cooked, and sweet potatoes are nearly baked, return reduced port sauce to low heat.

When tender, remove sweet potatoes from the oven, make a slit in the top of each sweet potato. Spoon sweet potato from skin into a food processor. Add ghee, salt, cinnamon, and warmed almond milk. Purée until smooth.

Meanwhile, cut duck breast into ½-inch thick slices at a 45-degree angle.

To serve, spoon mashed sweet potato mixture on each plate. Fan duck slices over the sweet potato, and drizzle warm port sauce over duck and serve immediately.


Steven Masley, MD

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Need New Recipes for Thanksgiving? Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:04:09 +0000 The post Need New Recipes for Thanksgiving? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


For Thanksgiving, I've been working on recipes that taste fantastic, something your family and friends will love, yet will nourish their heart, brain, and soul. If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t, as many of the themes for Thanksgiving are naturally healthy, such as Turkey, baked butternut squash stuffed with wild rice and quinoa, cranberry sauce, mushroom gravy, and mashed cauliflower and potatoes.

Check out the recipes below.

I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Serve your loved ones a succulent turkey with moist meat and fabulous flavor. Ideally, order a pasture-raised, organically-fed turkey in advance for your holiday, and don't be surprised if you need to visit your local health food store to find one. Brining a turkey adds time and an extra step, but it very easy to do, and it really helps prevent the meat from drying out and provides a flavorful delight.


One 15-20-pound fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed from the cavity

Brine Solution:

1 quart water

2 cups dry white wine

1 1/2 cups coarse salt

2 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning

1 Tbsp peppercorns

1 onion, diced

7 quarts water


Bring 1 quart of water and salt to a simmer to dissolve salt. Then add to a large enough pot for the turkey, combine wine, salt, herbs, peppercorns, onion, and remaining water. Add turkey, cover, and refrigerate for 12 to 36 hours.

Remove turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature.

Place rack on lowest level in oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare basting sauce.

Smart Butter Basting Sauce

1/4 cup organic ghee (clarified butter), melted,

1/2 cup avocado oil

3/4 cup dry white wine (Riesling, Chablis)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning

1 tsp grated lemon rind


Combine basting sauce ingredients in a saucepan, heat to medium low heat until combined. Warm gently each time before basting the turkey.

Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. If the turkey comes with a pop-up timer, discard it; an instant-read thermometer is a much more reliable. Fold wing tips under turkey. Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string (a bow will be easy to untie later). Rub turkey with 4 Tbsp of the smart butter basting sauce. Soak cheesecloth or a small clean kitchen towel in a bowl and moisten with stock, then squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the turkey. Place the turkey in the oven.

Cook for 30 minutes. Gently remove the towel, warm basting sauce until melted, then using a pastry brush, baste exposed turkey with smart butter sauce. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 30-60 minutes and watching pan juices; if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.

After a total of 3 hours of baking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. After a few tests, the temperature should reach at least 170-175 degrees (if you are using stuffing, pack it loosely, the stuffing temperature should reach at least 165 degrees) and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If the turkey is below 170 degrees, baste the turkey with pan juices with a pastry brush, and return turkey to the oven. Continue to cook and baste every 30 minutes, checking the temperature each time, until it is 170-175. If the stuffing does not reach 165 degrees and the turkey temperature reaches 170 degrees, remove stuffing from the cavity, and bake stuffing separately in an oven casserole pan until it reaches 165 degrees.

When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and before carving, let rest for about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 5-10 minutes, then skim it off.

Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Blueberries

This is a colorful, flavorful, holiday sauce. Serve as a side dish, or over baked squash. I like to prepare it a day in advance, and refrigerate until ready to use. If you want to add a sweetener, I'd suggest a little maple syrup, or if you prefer sugar-free, Xylitol. Sweeten to taste, but be sure to keep it a little tart and not over sweet.

Prep Time: 10 minutes  

Simmering Time: 10 minutes   

Serves: 10 (makes 3 cups)


Juice of 1 orange

12 ounces cranberries, frozen or fresh

1 medium orange, peeled, divided, and cut in ½ inch pieces

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Garnish: 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves

If preferred, add maple syrup or Xylitol to taste for sweetness.


Heat juice in a saucepan. When gently bubbling, add cranberries and orange, simmer 5 minutes. Add blueberries and simmer another 3-4 minutes until cranberries open and sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with mint leaves. 

Butternut Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Quinoa, Mushrooms, and Pecans

Lovely side dish for a Thanksgiving holiday. You can prepare one day in advance, refrigerate overnight, and place in the oven 15-20 minutes before serving. If you add cubed, firm tofu, it would provide a vegetarian main course.

Prep Time: 30 minutes   

Baking and cooking time: 1 hour   

Serves: 10-12


1 cup wild rice and 5 cups water

1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water

3 medium butternut squashes

2 Tbsp avocado oil

1 medium leek, diced (white part and the first inch of light green)

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

2 cups of broccoli flowerets, sliced

½ cup pecans, chopped and roasted

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

½ cup cranberries, fresh or frozen


Few parsley sprigs

2 Tbsp cranberries, dried


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Bring water to a boil for wild rice, add wild rice and simmer for 45-50 minutes, until rice kernels start to pop, but still al dente. Rinse and set aside. Bring water to a boil for quinoa. Rinse quinoa in a screen, then add to water, and simmer 15 minutes until tender but still firm. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp. Place in the oven, cut side down, on an oven pan with sides and bake for 30-40 minutes. (Squash should be tender but slightly under-cooked). Scoop out a depression for the stuffing, leaving at least half the squash remaining, and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Add leek and mushrooms, sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add herbs, salt, pepper, and broccoli until broccoli is tender but still al dente. Remove from heat. Roast pecans in a pan for 1-2 minutes, don’t brown.

Combine half of the cooked wild rice and quinoa with half of the sautéed vegetable mixture, and add pecans, and tomatoes. Then spoon combined mixture into halved squash. Mix the remaining half of wild rice-quinoa and vegetable mixture and place into a serving bowl. Bake squash and rice-veggie mix for 10-15 minutes. (If preparing this with turkey, place in the oven after the turkey has been transferred to the serving platter.) To serve, place stuffed squash on a platter on a bed of remaining rice-quinoa and vegetable mix. Garnish with parsley and cranberries.

Mushroom Gravy

You can prepare the initial steps in advance, reheat, and add pan juices or hot broth just prior to serving.

Prep time: 15 minutes  

Simmering Time: 20 minutes   

Serves: 10-14


2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

2 medium sweet onions, diced

4 cups mushrooms, minced

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 cup red wine

1 Tbsp Tamari sauce

1 cup turkey stock (prepared from simmering turkey neck and giblets with ½ onion diced and  1 ½ cups of water, then strain to obtain stock while the turkey is baking), or substitute with vegetable or chicken broth)

1 cup from rack pan juices (pour pan juices into a container, let stand 10 minutes, then skim away grease that rises to the surface, use remaining 1 cup of juice for gravy. If you only have ½ cup of juice, then use 1 ½ cups of stock). If you don't reserve the juice from the rack pan, substitute with vegetable or chicken broth.


Heat a skillet over medium heat, add oil, then onions, mushrooms, and salt and pepper. Stir until onions are soft and golden, about 4-6 minutes. Reduce to medium-low heat, add red wine and Tamari sauce, then add stock and pan liquid, and simmer until it thickens. In a blender, puree mixture until smooth. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat to serve later.

Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

Cauliflower and roasted garlic make a terrific addition to regular mashed potatoes.

Prep time: 45 Minutes   

Serves: 10-12   


1 head of garlic

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds baby potatoes, cut in half (scrubbed and any dark areas peeled away, leaving half the skin)

2 medium heads of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 Tbsp organic butter

¼ cup organic sour cream

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Place in a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil inside the head of garlic. Wrap garlic with foil and place on a cookie sheet and bake until tender and fragrant, roughly 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel the outside off the bulb of garlic, then gently squeeze each clove out.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add potatoes and gently boil for 15 minutes. Add cauliflower and boil another 8-10 minutes until soft. Drain. Puree potatoes and cauliflower in a food processor until smooth, add roasted garlic, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper and puree briefly. Serve.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Why do people stop taking their supplements? Mon, 12 Nov 2018 22:21:56 +0000 The post Why do people stop taking their supplements? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Over the years I have learned the obstacles that keep my patients from staying on a good supplement plan. My goal is to help them overcome these obstacles and ensure that they meet their critical nutrient needs.

Without a customized plan, 85% of the patients I see have major nutrient deficiencies that impact their risk for heart disease, memory loss, cancer, and bone loss. These deficiencies impact their energy and quality of life. A deficiency in vitamin D by itself can increase the risk for a fatal cancer by more than 50%.

So here is what I have learned to help my patients succeed in meeting their daily nutrient needs: Start with a simple plan that meets your needs, and offer an on-line recurring order system to ensure you don’t have to think about getting more when you run out.

Some of the biggest reasons people stop taking their supplements relate to three factors: convenience, excessive pill counts, and cost.

Focus on quality, not quantity. More is not always better but good quality is essential. When taking supplements, you need to focus on your basic daily needs and give yourself the best absorbable and clean product so your body can receive the most benefit. You will compensate for the extra cost of buying a quality supplement by no longer taking products that have not been shown to nourish you.

Choosing to take too many pills initially often ends up in pill-taking fatigue later on. You are better off if you prioritize and focus on meeting your essential needs, not trying to take everything possible under the sun.

Offer an affordable option for all. If cost is a major issue for you, try to get most of your nutrients from good, healthy food and supplement with at least a quality multivitamin with extra vitamin D, vitamin B12, plus be sure the food you eat provides you with adequate magnesium, vitamin K, and long chain omega-3 fats (as in fish oil). Yet be sure to take a supplement for magnesium, vitamin K, and fish oil if you can’t realistically meet your needs with food.

My goal is to help you meet your basic nutrient needs, and most people need at a minimum to take a two-pill multivitamin with adequate B12, vitamin D, plus 1-2 capsules of a well-absorbed form of magnesium.

To make it easier, more accessible and affordable to my patients, I’ve coordinated with Designs for Health, the high-quality supplement company I use most often, to provide a direct link for ordering with free shipping. To get you started, you get 20% off your first order.  Go to, click login and create an account then on the cart page enter coupon code FIRST20 for 20% off your 1st order.

My Brain and Heart Support packs and my Joint Support Plus packs (the pack I personally take daily), are also available on this site

Alternately, you can order Designs for Health supplements directly through their Amazon store. To get 25% off your first order, go to and enter code: DFH38082 on the final checkout page under promotional code or gift card. You can set up subscribe and save to automatically receive your supplements.

If you are looking for some other popular supplement products, such as a gluten digestive enzyme, probiotics, or heavy metal detox support, you can find the links for them all listed here:

My ultimate goal is to help you achieve optimal health for decades to come, and that starts with meeting your essential nutrient requirements. First by eating the proper foods, and then to supplement as needed with the appropriate support. I hope these links will make it easy for you to meet your needs now and into the future.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Spanish Tapas Thu, 08 Nov 2018 21:40:07 +0000 The post Spanish Tapas appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Tapas with Shrimp, Pepper, Garlic, and Chili

Here is one of our favorite tapa recipes from Andalucía, the southern region in Spain. It is simple and quick to prepare and with good quality shrimp, terrific.

Serves: Four small tapa portions (two dinner portions)

Prep Time: 10-12 minutes


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, sliced into thin strips

¼ to ½ teaspoon of crushed red chili pepper flakes (to taste)

12 ounces (325 grams) of large shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ teaspoon dried oregano

3 medium cloves of garlic, minced


Heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add oil and sauté the peppers and chili flakes for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring occasionally, and heat for 2 minutes. Finally, add garlic and heat another 1 minute, until shrimp are cooked. Remove from heat and serve hot.


Wild Mushroom Tapas

Wild mushrooms, (in particular setas) are very popular in Spain. After an autumn rain, many people drive or walk out to the countryside and spend the day picking them. I grew up in the Pacific NW picking chanterelle mushrooms with my dad, so I appreciate this traditional way of gathering food. It was fun, and once cooked at the end of the day, the mushrooms tasted amazing.

Fall is a great time for mushrooms recipes. Visit your local market and find out what options you have available. Consider setas, oyster, shiitake, chanterelle, beech, and maitake varieties, but you can also use traditional cremini or baby portobellos, or button mushrooms in this recipe, too.

Serves: Tapas for Four

Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes


4 cups mushrooms, cleaned, rinsed, and sliced into bite-sized pieces

3 tablespoons extra-virgin Spanish olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup (150 cc) dry white wine

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat, add mushrooms, stirring occasionally. As they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes, you might notice that the mushrooms start to make a squeaking sound as they shrink in size and are stirred. At that point, reduce heat to medium; add olive oil, thyme, and garlic. Continue to stir intermittently for 2 minutes. Before garlic browns, add salt, white wine, and stir. Continue to cook another 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately while hot.


Steven Masley, MD

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Should You Get the New Shingles Vaccine? Tue, 06 Nov 2018 17:49:41 +0000 Whether to vaccinate or not has become a discussion that creates a great deal of disagreement, and on websites, this conversation often leads to a heated debate. One of the latest controversies has been the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix. I’ve had multiple patients in my clinic ask me about this vaccine over the last month. […]

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Whether to vaccinate or not has become a discussion that creates a great deal of disagreement, and on websites, this conversation often leads to a heated debate. One of the latest controversies has been the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix. I’ve had multiple patients in my clinic ask me about this vaccine over the last month.

Who Is At Risk for Shingles?

Anyone who had the chicken pox (a varicella virus infection with body wide blisters) is at risk to get shingles later in life. Chickenpox (varicella) is a viral infection with small, fluid filled blisters that itch and  occur body wide. Prior to routine chickenpox vaccinations in the 1990s, nearly everyone became infected before they reached adulthood.

If you’ve had chickenpox, you are at risk later in life to develop shingles, caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The varicella-zoster virus can remain dormant in your nerve cells for multiple decades, waiting for a future date to reappear. Not surprisingly, when you are stressed or ill, you are more likely to suffer from an outbreak of the varicella-zoster virus along that nerve.

Shingles typically involves one nerve root and appears as a horizontal stripe of painful blisters over the course of that nerve. It can occur around your left or right trunk, on your face, extend into the eye, or even into your genitals. Shingles can be awful with painful blisters that last up to one month.

Even worse, up to 10% of people who get shingles develop permanent, severe nerve pain that continues after the infection itself resolves, a condition called post herpetic neuralgia. This dreadful condition can last a lifetime.

Without a shingles vaccine, 95-99% of people are at risk to get shingles, and about one-third of the US population will have it during their lifetime. Since 10% will have a serious complication, that means 3% of us are at risk for debilitating long term pain from post herpetic neuralgia. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any foods, supplements, or activities that will prevent a person from getting shingles.

Having seen my own patients in the past suffer from a shingles outbreak that caused them debilitating pain for decades, and how awful that can be, I don’t want any of my patients, or for you, to develop shingles.

Nearly 12 years ago, the first shingles vaccine, Zostavax, was released to protect people from getting shingles. It was shown to be relatively safe and fairly effective in the short term, but sadly, after five years the vaccine effectiveness dropped far more than was originally predicted. I had the Zostavax vaccine when I turned 60, but now I realize that it won’t be highly effective long term.

The good news is that there is this new, better shingles vaccine called Shingrix. As of January 25, 2018, the CDC has started recommending it to people over age 50, including those who got Zostavax previously.

Shingrix is more effective and lasts longer (10-15 times more effective in preventing shingles) than the prior vaccine, Zostavax, but requires two vaccines given 2-6 months apart. There is an annoying downside with the production of this vaccine, as there is more demand than there is vaccine, and most of my patients who want it are on a waiting list to receive it.

What About Vaccine Side Effects?

Like any vaccine, the Shingrix vaccine has side effects, in fact higher side effects than occurred with Zostavax. With the first shot, at least 25% of people will have fever, chills, and muscle aches for a few days, so best is to receive it when you have a few days without major responsibilities, such as on a Friday when you have the weekend off.

With several vaccines, including the influenza vaccine, there is also the very rare risk of a neurological condition, such as Guillain Barré Syndrome, causing muscle weakness and partial paralysis that can last for weeks to months. This is reported to occur with various vaccinations in about 1/500,000 to 1/1,00,000 subjects who receive them. They have not identified that Shingrix can cause Guillain Barré Syndrome, but it would be prudent to assume it might have the same rare risk associated with it.

Your challenge is to compare the benefit with the real risk. If you don’t get vaccinated, there is a 33% chance you will develop shingles in your lifetime, and a 3% chance you’ll develop permanent, potentially debilitating nerve pain related to it. Compare that with a 25% chance of a short term viral like syndrome that lasts 2-3 days, and a very rare risk (1 per million) of something more complicated. Which problem sounds greater?

How to Minimize Your Risk with Any Vaccine:

All vaccines have risk, but there are things you can do to minimize your risk when you receive them:

  • Avoid vaccines that use mercury as a preservative in multi-dose vials. Mercury is a neurological toxin. I think it is stupid to save a few dollars and receive a vaccine from a multi-dose vial with mercury (typically 20 doses per vial), when single dose vials that are free of mercury are available. This tip applies for the influenza (flu) vaccine as well.
  • Don’t receive a vaccine when you are sick with a cold or other infection. When you are sick, you are already inflamed. Don’t increase your risk for a reaction to the vaccine when you can avoid it.
  • Likewise, don’t have multiple vaccines at the same time. If you need more than one vaccination, better is to space them out so they are given weekly or monthly, even if that means the inconvenience of going back for a second trip. Multiple vaccines at the same time increase your total inflammatory reaction and increase your risk for a side effect. This doesn’t apply to just adults, but to children as well.


I believe that there is both a risk and a benefit with any vaccine, yet with the Shingrix shingles vaccine, I think the benefit is greater. Because there is so much bias, I think it is important to share the facts and let you decide what is best for you. I feel that if you have the right information, you’ll be able to make the best choice for you.

For my clinic patients with a history of having had chicken pox, I have started offering the Shingrix vaccine when they are between 50-60 years of age, and it is available for older adults as well. If people had the Zostavax previously, then I’m suggesting that they still get the Shingrix vaccine as a precaution. I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Apple-Fennel Chicken Salad Fri, 02 Nov 2018 15:51:22 +0000 The post Apple-Fennel Chicken Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Here is a fun tapa dish with an exciting new mix of flavors. Avoid buying large fennel bulbs, more than 4 inches, as they may be tough.  I’ve chosen to serve this salad mixture on sliced cucumber, but you could also use endive or lettuce leaves as a serving vehicle for the chicken salad.

Prep Time: 30-40 Minutes, refrigerate before serving at least 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

Serves: Tapa Portion for Four


2 tablespoons almond oil (or avocado oil)

¾ pound organically-fed, cage-free chicken breast, cut into ½-inch cubes

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped

¼ medium yellow onion, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

3 tablespoon organic mayonnaise (ideally homemade mayo)

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 small-medium apple, diced into ½-inch cubes

1 medium cucumber, sliced into 1/3-inch thick slices

Garnish with dried paprika powder


Heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat; add almond oil, chicken, salt and black pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked. Spoon into a bowl and set aside.

Heat the same pan to medium heat, add olive oil, then fennel, onion, salt, and Italian seasoning and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fennel is tender. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, parsley, and apple, then mix with sautéed chicken and fennel-onion mixture. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

To serve, spoon approximately 2 teaspoons of mixture on each slice of cucumber. Lastly, garnish with paprika.


Steven Masley, MD

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Where do Tapas Come From? Mon, 29 Oct 2018 21:09:31 +0000 The post Where do Tapas Come From? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Tapas are small, savory dishes that originated in Spain. They can be served on small plates as snacks, appetizers, mini-sandwich canapés, or a small serving dish that comes with a beverage. In Spain, lunch is typically served from 1 to 3 pm, and the dinner menu isn’t available until after 8:00 pm. If you want to eat between this time frame, that generally means buying tapas. Sometimes smaller restaurants will give you a tapa on the side for free when you order a drink, similar to getting peanuts at a bar in the US.

There are a variety of stories as to the origin of tapas. One of these stories claims that during the middle of the 19th century, while on a trip in southern Spain near Cadiz, King Alfonso stopped to rest in a town and ordered a glass of sherry. It was windy, so the innkeeper served his sherry covered by a slice of ham to prevent the sherry from getting dirt in the glass. King Alfonso liked the idea so much, that when he asked for a second glass, he requested another tapa (which means lid or cover), just like the first beverage.

If you go to the Basque Country in northern Spain, these same dishes are called Pintxos, and the Basques claim that they were the first to serve these small snack dishes.

Tapas vary tremendously by region and even from village to village. You’ll see everything from a small bowl of olives on a toothpick, to grilled shrimp, roasted vegetables, a small piece of tuna, grilled sardines, a thin slice of roasted beef, and even a skewer with pickled vegetables. Too often for my taste, tapas also include a variety of canapé sandwiches, featuring two, three, and sometimes even four layers of bread.

In the US, instead of ordering tapas for a snack, and then going to dinner later, we often order a variety of tapas together and call that dinner.

When ordering tapas in a restaurant, I always recommend ordering a variety of vegetable options to go with more traditional protein choices; some of my favorite veggie options are the roasted vegetables, sautéed peppers, and wild mushroom tapas.

Over the next month, I’ll share several individual tapa recipes. Combined together, you could host your own tapas party.

Below is a recipe to get you started!

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS


Sautéed Pepper Tapas

Padron chilies were served as appetizer (tapa) dishes throughout restaurants in Spain, and we started buying them in the market as well. Most of these chilies are sweet, although occasionally you’ll find some moderately spicy chilies in the bunch. In the US, we don’t find classic Padron chilies often, but you could make this tapa dish with either shishito peppers (they are a bit spicy), or use baby bell peppers.

Serves Four

Prep Time: 10 Minutes


3 cups small sweet peppers

2 tablespoons extra-virgin Spanish olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

4 medium garlic cloves, diced


Heat a sauté pan or skillet to medium-high heat, add chilies, cover, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until chilies start to lightly brown. Reduce heat to medium-low, add olive oil, salt, and garlic, and heat 2 more minutes, stirring intermittently.

Serve immediately.

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Shellfish Paella with Cauliflower Rice Fri, 26 Oct 2018 14:27:04 +0000 The post Shellfish Paella with Cauliflower Rice appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


The word Paella comes from the phrase, “para ella,” in Spanish this means “for her”. In the distant past in Spain, women and men ate separately. The men were served first with generous portions of poultry, sausage, seafood, and rice, and the women basically ate together and got the leftovers. Fortunately, the women had a strategy that created one of Spain’s most popular and delicious dishes, Paella.

To create this dish, the women would sauté onion, vegetables, and rice over medium heat with Spanish olive oil and gradually add stock or broth. Next, they added whatever they had, such as poultry, sausage and seafood, such as shrimp, mussels, clams, squid, fish, and/or crab. They would season this dish with a few herbs and spices like paprika and oregano, but they saved the most precious spice for themselves, a few pinches of saffron threads, providing a delicious and fragrant dish with wonderful flavors. As this spice is extremely special and delicate, you don’t want to overload it with chili spices or other strong flavors.

In the recipe I am sharing with you, I wanted to keep it simple and extra healthy. For protein options, I included shrimp, clams and/or mussels. There are no rules about which seafood you use – feel free to choose your favorite though some form of shellfish is a must. Seafood paella will include many of the seafood items listed above, plus you have the option to add pieces of poultry or meat as preferred. 

Despite the extended number of ingredients, this is an awesome, easy-to-make, one-large-pan dish that is ready to serve in 35-40 minutes, and provides a wonderful, satisfying meal, and the clean-up is easy, too.

In Spain, I ordered Paella several times, but the obvious health problem with traditional paella is the excessive amount of rice that is included, and the gigantic, unhealthy glycemic load that comes with it. I considered that a healthier option would be to cut the rice volume in traditional paella by one third to one half but then discovered that substituting cauliflower rice makes this dish easier, quicker to prepare, dramatically healthier, and equally delicious.

Cauliflower rice is essentially cauliflower that has been finely chopped in a food processor and works surprisingly well with these delicate flavors. You can process it yourself or purchase it already “riced”.

The only challenge with this amazing dish is buying the classic spice, saffron. Saffron is one of the most precious spices in the world. It is expensive because it is an extremely labor-intensive crop, produced only with Crocus sativa, or the saffron crocus. Each flower has three tiny, thread-like stigmas in the center, and is typically picked by hand. The result is an amazing, concentrated flavor. Saffron may be hard to find (though now it is easy to order online), and ¾ to 1 teaspoon (which is 1/10 of an ounce) may cost anywhere from $5-10. If you can’t get it, you can still enjoy this dish without the saffron, although I hope you’ll find that the occasional treat in this amazing meal is totally worth it!


Serves: Four

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 Minutes


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, diced

¼ teaspoon sea salt

4 cups cauliflower rice (fresh or frozen)

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Zest of 1 medium organic lemon

4 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

¼ cup vegetable broth (or fish stock, or white wine)

2 pinches saffron (about ¾ to 1 teaspoon)

1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

1 pound shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined

1.5 to 2 pounds clams and/or mussels (12 mussels = 0.5 pounds; 12 clams = 1 pound)

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped


Heat a large pan (I use a 40 cm paella pan, you can also use a large 16-inch skillet, or two 8- to 9-inch sauté pans), to medium heat and add onions and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently until translucent. Add bell pepper and cauliflower rice, and cook another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in paprika, oregano, garlic, tomato, broth, saffron, and sauté another 3 minutes, stirring as needed.

Over this mixture, sprinkle peas, shrimp, clams and/or mussels (clams and mussels placed on their hinge so they open facing up). Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered with a lid or aluminum foil for about 12-14 minutes until seafood is nearly cooked and clams and mussels have opened. Avoid stirring after adding seafood to the pan, allowing base vegetables to develop a little crunchiness. Uncover, and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.


Steven Masley, MD

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Almond, Tahini, and Date Cookies Fri, 19 Oct 2018 16:52:35 +0000 The post Almond, Tahini, and Date Cookies appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


These cookie ingredients provide wonderful flavors for a special occasion, such as a holiday or a birthday event. The combo of almonds, tahini, and dates are also rich in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and calcium. At home, I use tahini often as it is loaded with nutrients and it has a nutty, rich flavor and a luscious texture, and it is fantastic with falafel, cauliflower, celery, and eggplant—and here is a great way to enjoy it with dessert. Cinnamon is a wonderful spice for desserts, both for its flavor, and as it helps control blood sugar levels.

Makes about 24 cookies (They store well in the freezer for several weeks)

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Baking Time: 8-11 minutes


1 ½ cups almond meal

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup almonds, finely chopped (or use slivered almonds)

¾ cup tahini

1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)

2 large organic, cage-free eggs, whisked

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup dates, chopped


Preheat oven to 375° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix almond flour with cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and chopped almonds. In a second large bowl, mix tahini with maple syrup, whisked eggs, vanilla, and dates. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then flatten and distribute over the baking sheets. (If the dough feels dry, dampen your hands with water and knead the dough again.)

Bake cookies with a convection oven for about 8-11 minutes, until the bottoms are golden. If you don’t have a convection oven, bake in a regular oven and simply shift the pans from top to bottom halfway through the baking process.

Transfer the cookies to a rack and let cool before serving.


Steven Masley, MD

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Should you throw away your aspirin? Tue, 16 Oct 2018 02:53:00 +0000 The post Should you throw away your aspirin? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

Last month, media headlines claimed that aspirin had more risk than benefit for older adults, and a few media articles went so far as to suggest that people throw away their aspirin.  The truth is that the recently published studies didn't make this recommendation. It does bring up an important point since everyone should know who might still benefit from aspirin therapy, and who is likely to be harmed by it.  Aspirin is derived from the bark of willow trees. It has been used for centuries for pain, fever, and inflammation. Baby aspirin has also been used for decades to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Yet, aspirin has been shown to carry both benefits and risk for people taking it.  The established benefit has been reducing the risk for a heart attack or stroke by blocking clot formation in arteries. The known risk of taking aspirin has been from spontaneous bleeding, with sometimes fatal or disabling consequences. For the past 20 years, standard medical recommendations have been that people at high risk for a heart attack or stroke have had more benefit from taking a baby aspirin daily (84-100 mg per day). In contrast, people at low risk for a heart attack or stroke were more likely to be harmed by bleeding and should avoid using it. Last month, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), published three research articles with findings from the ASPREE trial.  These publications have achieved worldwide media attention, and due to this broadcasting sensation, several of my patients have called my office confused and seeking advice. After reading the articles in detail, here is the information that I shared with them. What was the purpose of the ASPREE trial? The Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (RCT) that investigated whether the potential primary prevention benefits of low-dose aspirin outweighed the risks in healthy older adults. Participants were randomized to two groups; one group received daily aspirin (100 mg per day) and the other received daily matching placebo that contained no active ingredients. The study was designed to answer one primary research question: Would daily use of aspirin for 5 years prolong disability-free life in healthy older adults? The secondary research questions from this study aimed to see if daily use of aspirin for 5 years would impact death rates, heart attacks and strokes, cardiovascular procedures, cancer, dementia, memory loss, depression, physical disability, and clinically significant bleeding in healthy older adults. The main hypothesis of the study was that daily low-dose aspirin would extend disability-free and dementia-free life in these healthy elder adults. To understand the results of this trial, it is important to know who was excluded and who was included in this trial. The subjects in the ASPREE trial were healthier than the average general public of similar ages. From 2010 through 2014, they enrolled community-dwelling persons in Australia and the United States who were 70 years of age or older (or ≥65 years of age among blacks and Hispanics in the United States) and did not have cardiovascular disease, dementia, or disability. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 100 mg of enteric-coated aspirin or placebo. The following people were excluded:

  • Anyone with significant chronic disease that would likely limit their survival to <5 years, excluding people with lung disease, kidney disease, or a history of cancer.
  • Anyone with any history of cardiovascular disease
  • Anyone with a major physical disability, including memory loss

What did the ASPREE trial find? Of the 19,114 persons who were enrolled, 9525 were assigned to receive aspirin and 9589 to receive placebo. A total of 1052 deaths occurred during a median of  4.7 years of follow-up. The risk of death from any cause was 12.7 events per 1000 person-years in the aspirin group and 11.1 events per 1000 person-years in the placebo group; this means taking aspirin in this subject population increased the risk of death by 1.6%. A surprise finding was that cancer was the major contributor to the higher mortality in the aspirin group, accounting for 1.6 excess deaths per 1000 person-years. Cancer-related deaths occurred in 3.1% of the participants in the aspirin group and 2.3% in the placebo group, a 0.8% increase. The bottom line is that for healthy adults over the age of 65-70, taking a baby aspirin did not prevent death rates. And in these healthy, older adults, they had a higher risk for a major bleeding event and death from any cause. There was a slight decrease in heart attacks and strokes, but this was offset by a greater risk for bleeding and/or cancer, in particular, colon cancer. The findings from the ASPREE trial support prior recommendations that healthy adults experience more harm than benefit from taking a baby aspirin daily. Keep in mind, the ASPREE study did not evaluate the benefits of aspirin for adults that are at high risk for a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke), who have already had a heart attack or stroke, or who have a history of colon polyps or colon cancer. For patients with a past history of a heart attack or stroke, or those who are high risk for a cardiovascular event and have excess arterial plaque (such as from a carotid IMT study), then I still recommend that they take a baby aspirin daily. Also, for people with a history of colon polyps and colon cancer, prior studies have shown that taking low-dose aspirin reduces the risk for recurrent colorectal adenomas compared to placebo and that they are less likely to suffer from metastatic colon cancer as well. Summary If you are healthy there is more harm than benefit from taking low-dose aspirin daily long term. If you are high risk for a heart attack or stroke, or have had prior colon polyps or colon cancer, then you might benefit from daily low-dose aspirin therapy; therefore, talk to your doctor to clarify if you would have greater benefit than risk from taking a baby aspirin daily. I wish you the best of health! Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS References

  • McNeil JJ, et al. Effect of aspirin on disability-free survival in the healthy elderly. NEJM. 2018. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1800722.
  • McNeil JJ, et al. Effect of aspirin on cardiovascular events and bleeding in the healthy elderly. NEJM. 2018. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1805819.
  • McNeil JJ, et al. Effect of aspirin on all-cause mortality in the healthy elderly. NEJM. 2018. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1803955.

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Roasted Chickpeas, Bell Pepper, and Cauliflower with a Lemon-Yogurt Sauce Fri, 12 Oct 2018 18:01:02 +0000 The post Roasted Chickpeas, Bell Pepper, and Cauliflower with a Lemon-Yogurt Sauce appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Here is a quick and easy dish, loaded with brain and heart-healthy ingredients. Curry spices reduce inflammation and have essential health benefits. If you’d like to add a bit of heat to the dish, add your favorite spicy chili sauce, or a dash of ground cayenne pepper.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Baking Time: 35-40 minutes


¼ cup avocado oil

2 teaspoons ground curry spice

1 teaspoon ground paprika (optionally, add ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper)

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds (1 medium head) cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

30 ounces cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained


1 cup organic, plain low-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried dill weed (or 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed)

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped


Preheat oven to 400° (F).

In a large bowl, whisk oil, curry spices, paprika, salt and black pepper together. Toss mixture with cauliflower, onion, bell pepper, and garbanzo beans. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, combine yogurt, lemon juice, dill weed, and mint in a bowl.

Spoon roasted vegetables onto a serving plate, and drizzle lemon-yogurt sauce over the dish and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Sautéed Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Garlic Fri, 05 Oct 2018 15:45:32 +0000 The post Sautéed Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Garlic appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


While traveling this summer in Spain and Portugal, fava beans were one of the most common vegetables we encountered in local markets, and they were often featured as a side dish in restaurants. Fava beans (also called faba beans or broad beans), are super large green beans, and they are loaded with nutrients, including:  vitamin K, vitamin B6, zinc, selenium, magnesium, folate, and of course fiber. They are also a very good source of lean protein.

You could shell and discard the pod and just eat the inner beans, but far more traditional is to cook the whole bean, similar to serving whole French green beans. Many people notice that they are tough when only sautéed. The trick is steaming or boiling them for a few minutes, before they are sautéed, making them tender and delicious, just be sure to avoid overcooking them.

Serves: Two

Prep Time: 15 minutes


½ pound whole fava beans (200 grams)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ medium red onion, sliced thinly

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 medium garlic cloves, diced

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, diced


Remove stems from fava beans. Add to briskly boiling water for 4-5 minutes, until beans become fairly tender but still very al dente, then soak in cold water for 1 minute, drain, and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan to medium heat, add olive oil, then red onion with salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften.

Stir in fava beans, cover, and sauté with an occasional stir for another 2-3 minutes until fava beans are tender and still al dente.

Reduce heat to a simmer, stir in garlic and basil and cook about 1 additional minute. (Avoid overcooking until the beans are soft, as they lose their flavor and texture.) Serve immediately.


Steven Masley, MD

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Should You Eat Figs? Fri, 28 Sep 2018 16:55:20 +0000 The post Should You Eat Figs? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


There are over 600 species of fig plants that produce fruit across the planet—yet despite their diversity, they all have one thing in common—their fruit is naturally sweet, flavorful, and highly nutritious.

Figs have a fairly short market life as they don’t store well and we typically see them sporadically in the grocery store at the end of summer. Because they don’t have a long shelf life, they are a bit more expensive than other fruit. Yet, they are easy to grow in many regions (I’ve grown them in Washington state, Arizona, and Florida), so consider planting a fig tree in your yard with the right species for your region.

Most figs are sold as dried fruit (dried figs), yet when you find fresh figs, they are a great treat. Dried figs, like most dried fruit, have concentrated sugar and a medium-high sugar content (glycemic load for a serving of dried figs is 16), yet fresh figs have a fairly low sugar load per serving and are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. They clearly should be encouraged as part of a healthy diet.

Caution when picking figs. First, because they don’t last and if they are ripe you’ll want to consume them within 1-2 days. Second, if they are overripe, they may have firm seeds that are dry and crunchy and makes them less desirable. Overripe figs are also prone to mold and will need to be thrown away if they go bad.

Over the last two months, Nicole and I have been sailing along the coastlines of Spain and Portugal, and the figs in the markets have been amazing. I’ve been working on an easy-to-prepare dessert recipe.

If you are lucky enough to find fresh figs in your market, try the recipe below.

Figs with Port, Yogurt, & Orange Rind

I’ve tried this recipe with different figs, including small and large varieties of purple figs, and small green figs. My favorite are small purple figs as they tend to have the most flavor.

As I’ve been testing this recipe here in Portugal, Port wine has seemed like a good ingredient to go with figs. I prefer Tawny Port, which is more complex and nuttier, although you could use Ruby Port which is more fruity and sweeter. Simmering Port wine creates a luscious syrup, and with cooking, it becomes essentially alcohol- free.

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: Four to Six


1 cup Port wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

16 figs, sliced vertically into six thin slices

1 cup organic, plain yogurt (divided into four portions)

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted (or you could use sliced almonds or chopped filberts)

1-2 tablespoons freshly grated organic orange rind


In a saucepan, combine port wine, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt.  Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 4 minutes uncovered. Add sliced figs, cover, and simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until figs have softened, and the sauce has thickened about 4-6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, toast nuts until warmed and remove from the pan; don’t heat until browned.

Spoon yogurt into small bowls. Pour fig sauce over yogurt, and sprinkle toasted nuts on top.  Lastly, grate orange rind as a garnish over the bowls, and serve warm.


Steven Masley, MD




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Why is food less expensive and better quality in Europe than in the US? Mon, 24 Sep 2018 18:22:09 +0000 For the past 8 weeks, I have been amazed while food shopping in SW Europe, including France, Spain, and Portugal. Fruits and vegetables are 30-50-70 percent less expensive, and usually, they are organic and much better quality (flavorful and aromatic). Poultry has been 30-50 percent less costly, and seafood is extremely fresh, with much local […]

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For the past 8 weeks, I have been amazed while food shopping in SW Europe, including France, Spain, and Portugal. Fruits and vegetables are 30-50-70 percent less expensive, and usually, they are organic and much better quality (flavorful and aromatic). Poultry has been 30-50 percent less costly, and seafood is extremely fresh, with much local variety, far better quality, and 50-75 percent less expensive.

How is this possible considering Europe’s cost of living is higher or equal than the US?

I should add that processed food seems fairly expensive in Europe. If you buy something in a package or prepared, it may cost as much or more than I may pay at home.

There are a couple of factors an individual cannot control, such as:

  1. There is more competition with retail food sales. Many small producers, and even the large European producers, are committed to keeping prices low and competitive.
  2. European governments subsidize fresh, wholesome food production. In the US, the government subsidizes mostly big farm production, for sugar, wheat, flour, corn, dairy and soybeans, with limited if any support for seafood, organic animal products, or fresh produce.

Yet there are several factors that we can impact, as in Europe:

  1. People eat what is produced locally. The markets and the supermarkets offer locally grown and produced products. The fruit and vegetables, the seafood, and even the dairy products are all produced locally and often by small farmers. They don’t have the expense of shipping food across the country when people eat locally.
  2. People eat what is seasonal. When peaches are in season, everyone seems to know that they should buy peaches. The same is true for most of the food here. People are aware of the seasons and buy their food when it reaches its peak.
  3. Local farmers sell their products to local markets. They don’t have massive food farms producing food on a national scale. The money flows locally. This eliminates many of the middle-level buyers who are buying and selling food.
  4. European food doesn’t have set sizes and color requirements. Generally speaking, Europeans care far more about the freshness and quality, than how it looks. It doesn’t have to have a standard appearance, specific size, or single color. An apple is acceptable if it has spots, a tomato is fine if it has bumps, and it is fine if things come in different sizes. In the US, food producers throw away vast quantities of food that don’t meet a pre-set standard appearance.
  5. Buyers in Europe expect fresh, excellent quality, and they won’t settle for less. They won’t buy inferior products, in contrast in the US in particular, where most of our food sold in the grocery store seems to be perfected shaped and colored, but of marginal flavor, we have become used to buying inferior fresh food products. Most of the time, our peaches are hard and without flavor, melons have almost no fragrance and little taste and tomatoes have the perfect shape and color, but almost no flavor. In Europe, people expect their food to be fresh and flavorful or they won’t buy it. In the US, we seem to care too much about finding the perfect color and shape, causing tons of food to be thrown away, and not picky enough about the flavor of food, and our quality suffers as a result.
  6. If you are able to shop at the local market in Europe (which exists in every small town) instead of a large grocery store, the food is often less expensive.

When you add all the factors together and shop in stores and markets, you’ll find that you get far more food in Europe at a lower price than what we spend at home.

What steps could we take to reduce our food expense and quality:

  1. Buy fresh food that is grown locally.
  2. Buy food that is seasonal.
  3. Buy direct from local growers. For seafood, look for sources of locally caught seafood options (lakes, rivers, and sea as is feasible with where you live).
  4. Accept food of varying sizes, colors, and shapes.
  5. When you can, support your local organic markets.
  6. Insist upon high-quality food, or skip it.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Asturian White Bean Soup Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:19:23 +0000 The post Asturian White Bean Soup appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Large white beans are popular in Asturia, Spain, a northern region with an extensive coastline along the Bay of Biscay. They use local faba white beans, (the best beans are hand selected) but if you can’t find them easily, you can opt for large white kidney beans, lima beans, or cannellini beans. The region is known for its cold, wet climate, making a hearty soup heart-warming. It has been beautiful sailing in and out of multiple scenic ports along this amazingly rugged coastline.

You could use pre-cooked canned or jarred beans, but I find them always a bit overcooked, lacking the proper texture and flavor. Ideally, you would soak them overnight, rinse them in the morning, and cook them the following day, details below.

Traditionally, the people of this region use bacon or pork sausage (chorizo) in their soup, but my personal preference is to skip it. If you do use pork products, be sure to buy organic and pasture-raised, with about 1 pound of spicy sausage and 4 strips of sliced bacon for this recipe.


Bean Soaking Time: 10-12 hours

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Simmering Time: 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours (depends upon the type of bean you choose)

Express Version: You can make the express version with pre-cooked beans start to finish in 30 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings


2 ½ cups large dried white beans (soaked in water for 10-12 hours) (For the express version, you will use six cups of cooked beans, rinsed and drained (or four 15-ounce cans)

2 medium white onions, chopped

4 tablespoons extra-virgin Spanish olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

8 medium garlic cloves, chopped

½ cup parsley, chopped

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

4 cups water


In a large bowl, add enough water until beans have an extra 2 inches (5 cm) of water covering them, add more water to keep covered as needed. Soak overnight (preferably 10-12 hours), drain in the morning, and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat a large pot over medium heat, add oil, then onions, salt, and black pepper, and sauté stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes, until onions soften, then add carrots, green pepper, bay leaves, vinegar, paprika and thyme, and heat another 3-4 minutes with an occasional stir. Add garlic and parsley and heat another 1-2 minutes.

Add pre-soaked beans, broth, and water, bring to a gentle boil, then simmer on low heat for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, until beans have softened, but are still slightly al dente. Discard bay leaves and serve. (If you are making the express version, add pre-cooked beans, bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, and serve.)


Steven Masley, MD

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Camel’s Milk???—A low allergenic alternative to cow’s milk Mon, 17 Sep 2018 21:25:11 +0000 The post Camel’s Milk???—A low allergenic alternative to cow’s milk appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


If you gave up drinking cow’s milk because it made you sick, or because you were worried about hormones and chemicals that are in cow’s milk, and you’ve missed having an occasional drink, or a dab that you can add to your coffee or tea, there is a new intriguing alternative.

I was recently re-introduced to camel’s milk while attending my quarterly mastermind meeting, which I share with other medical providers with an online business. A friend and colleague, Walid, shared his new brand of camel’s milk, and to be honest, I was quite curious, so I drank some plain, put a bit in my tea, and even tried some in coffee—it was pretty good! So intrigued, I researched the potential benefits of camel’s milk.

When I say “re-introduced” to camel’s milk, I should clarify, because the last time I had tried camel’s milk was back in the 1970’s. During a break from college, I was traveling across Asia via local buses, in route to work as a volunteer in a hospital in India. During this six-week bus ride across Asia, we got a flat tire in the middle of rural Afghanistan, which took an entire day to get fixed. Nearby was a group of local Afghan herders with camels. I walked over to visit and was greeted with bowls of camels milk and yogurt, and I remember being surprised at how good it tasted—fresh from the camel. I paid them back for their generosity by entertaining them as I held on for dear life while riding a camel around their campsite. They laughed themselves silly.

How Is Camel’s Milk Different from Cow’s Milk?

It turns out camel’s milk is as different from cow’s milk as a camel is from a cow, by a great deal.

  • IT HAS DIFFERENT PROTEIN: While both are high in protein, camel’s milk does not contain Casein A1 and lactoglubulin (which are responsible for dairy intolerance in many people)
  • IT HAS DIFFERENT FAT: The fat is different too, as it has smaller fat molecules and camel’s milk does not need to be homogenized. Homogenization is the process by which milk is blended to create less curdling. However, the milk gets oxidized in the process, which creates potential harmful free radicals. The fact that camel’s milk does not need to undergo homogenization makes it free of free radicals, which is a benefit when comparing it to cow’s milk. Camel’s milk has less saturated fat and cholesterol content.
  • NUTRIENT CONTENT IS DIFFERENT –Camel’s milk has a greater concentration of:
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Organic copper
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • CAMEL’S MILK IS LESS ALLERGENIC THAN COW’S MILK. In a study published in Allergy Asthma Proceedings, researchers showed that in children with cow’s milk allergy as shown by skin prick testing, only 20% of them reacted to camel’s milk.
  • CAMEL’S MILK HAS MORE IMMUNOGLOBULINS. Camel’s milk is closer to the makeup of colostrum in human breast milk than is cow’s milk, with a rich supply of immune supporting whey based immunoglobulins.

Are there Risks to Drinking Camel’s Milk?

  • One thing that both camel’s and cow’s milk have in common is lactose. If you are lactose intolerant, you won’t tolerate either, so avoid both.
  • If you are allergic to cow’s milk, there is a 20% chance you’ll be allergic to camel’s milk as well. To be sure, consider a skin prick test with your allergist. Or if you have a mild reaction to cow’s milk, then you could just drink it to experiment and find out.
  • It isn’t a risk, but as you can likely imagine, when you add shipping expenses, camel’s milk isn’t cheap. It is 3-5 times the price of cow’s milk (not counting shipping). If you only use a bit in your tea or coffee, that shouldn’t affect you greatly, but if you are planning to substitute camel’s milk for cow’s milk and consume a few glasses per day, you will clearly notice the difference in price.
  • Some forms of camel’s milk are sold as raw milk, which is unpasteurized. While this improves the nutritional content, it does mean that there is a rare risk for bacterial contamination. Therefore, if you have an immune deficiency or other complicated medical problems, either I suggest you talk to your own physician or avoid drinking raw milk products. Be sure to clarify what type of milk you are buying if you order camel’s milk.

What Does It Taste Like?

My impression is that camel’s milk tastes a great deal like whole milk, creamy and satisfying. Although I like using almond milk in my smoothie, I can’t say I like drinking almond milk or coconut milk plain, nor do I like the flavor of almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk in my coffee or tea. So for someone looking for a cow’s milk alternative, camel’s milk is a good option.

Bottom Line:

If you are looking for a cow’s milk alternative, without the hormones and allergic reactions, consider giving camel’s milk a try. Below is my link to sample it.

Where to Get Camel’s Milk?

You likely won’t find it on the aisle of your local grocery store, nor at your local health food store. Since camel’s milk is not produced from a hoofed animal (such as a cow or goat), it isn’t regulated by the same laws and is available online.

The best source I’ve found for camel’s milk is from Desert Farms, pasture-raised, hormone-free, and is available for shipping anywhere in the continental US and Canada. Click here, to receive 4 sample bottles of camel milk, just cover the shipping & handling.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Strawberry Gazpacho Fri, 14 Sep 2018 15:19:56 +0000 The post Strawberry Gazpacho appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


I had this delightful dish with friends in a restaurant on a warm evening in Porto, Portugal. The chilled soup had an amazing flavor and was very refreshing. We spent time guessing the ingredients and here is my version of this wonderful recipe.

Serves: Four

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Chilling Time: 10 or more minutes


1-pound (400 grams) strawberries (divided in half)

1-pound (400 grams) cherry tomatoes

¼ cup fresh herbs (basil, parsley, mint, thyme)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup port wine

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 medium cucumber, diced

½ cup fresh organic mozzarella cheese (1/2-inch balls, or cut into ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped


In a blender, puree half the strawberries with cherry tomatoes, salt, port, fresh herbs, and lemon juice. Dice the remaining strawberries into ¼-inch pieces, then in a serving bowl, combine diced strawberries and cucumber with the puree, and finally stir in mozzarella cheese and mint. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or all day. Serve chilled.


Steven Masley, MD

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Little Grilled Squid (Chipirones) Thu, 06 Sep 2018 16:49:30 +0000 The post Little Grilled Squid (Chipirones) appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Little grilled squid is a highly popular dish here in Spain. They are delicious and very easy to prepare and served either as an appetizer or as part of the main meal. This dish is similar to the traditional calamari dish we have at home, except these are tiny squid in contrast to the large squid served at home that are cut into rings, and they don’t bread the squid.

The challenge is finding fresh squid, as often frozen squid have a fishy smell and taste. At night, we have noticed families fishing along the docks, jigging fishing lines with fluorescent lures, or a hook and line with fluorescent glow sticks, joyfully filling a bucket with fresh little squid.

If you ever happen to travel to Spain, especially along the coast, I highly encourage you to try Chipirones (little-grilled squid).

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Marinade Time: 10 minutes

Grill Time: 8-10 minutes


2.2 pounds (1 kilo) small whole squid, cleaned

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 medium garlic cloves, finely diced

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground paprika

½ teaspoon dried thyme

4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped


Clean squid, drain, then dry with paper towels.

Combine ingredients and marinate for at least 10 minutes, up to 2 hours refrigerated.

At least on my boat, after marinating the squid, I add 2 sheets of aluminum foil to the grill. Set the grill at medium heat, and place the squid tentacles and bodies spread over the grill with space between them.

Sprinkle garlic and herbs over the squid, then grill on each side for about 4-5 minutes until lightly browned and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Southwestern Europe Travel Update Mon, 03 Sep 2018 20:00:32 +0000 Nicole and I are four weeks into our trip around the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), departing from Les Sables-d’Olonne in France and aiming to reach southern Spain over 8 weeks. After months of preparing for this trip, we are underway. To get ready, I passed my European boating captain’s license with, obtained a […]

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Nicole and I are four weeks into our trip around the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), departing from Les Sables-d’Olonne in France and aiming to reach southern Spain over 8 weeks.

After months of preparing for this trip, we are underway. To get ready, I passed my European boating captain’s license with, obtained a practical sailing certification on a 47-foot catamaran offered by the Royal Yachting Association out of the UK, and completed a radio operator course with the FCC. Fortunately, my past experience made the studying easier, as I have well over 300 days of sailing experience from over the last 40 years.

We spent 10 days provisioning the boat with supplies, sailing equipment, and wiring electronic gear in Les Sables-d’Olonne. Not only was our boat baptized in this town, but coincidentally Nicole’s father, Jean Vidal, was also born in this same town. We were up early and got to bed late reading manuals and getting used to all the new equipment.

We had some awesome meals in town and were amazed the by the quality of fresh food. The seafood has been incredibly fresh and delicious. The produce is excellent quality and 30-50% less than what we pay at home in the US for the same items. Our favorite dish in Les Sables-d’Olonne was Moules Meuniere. (Mussels steamed with onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, butter, and white wine.) This same dish can be called Moules Marinara, as there are many ways to make the latter.

Fortunately, our Swiss friends, Beat and Hildegard joined us and helped to prep the boat and were with us for the first two weeks. Beat and I worked together during residency training in a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland 35 years ago. Six months later, I randomly ran into him again in a small restaurant on the beach in Bali, Indonesia (my next work stop was Australia and he was on vacation with his wife, Hildegard). We have children with similar ages, and we have been friends ever since. They have extensive sailing experience, which has come in handy.

Our first day was surprisingly calm, sailing south on the Bay of Biscay, an area known for storms and huge waves. During the second day, we had 2-4 meter seas (6-12 feet), 15-25 knot winds, and were unable to enter the narrow inlet we had intended in the evening, as surf was breaking over the entrance. We were forced to sail all night offshore to the next port in an agitated sea, 10-12 hours away, dodging fishing boats along the way. We got all our emergency gear together and took two-hour shifts with two people together watching for boats as we bounced along.

At dawn, we were very happy to sail into St-Jean-de-Luz, one of the last French ports before arriving in Spain and moor on a buoy with a splendid view of the town. St Jean is packed with tourists in August, children sailing boats and paddling kayaks, and families wandering the streets. We walked along beautiful narrow streets and enjoyed the mixture of Basque and French cuisine, unique to this part of the world. My favorite dish was chicken a la Basquaise prepared with a Basque tomato sauce, and for vegetarian followers, I suspect the same sauce would be wonderful with grilled seitan or Cannellini beans.

A week ago, we sailed into San Sebastian, a charming Basque town on the northern coast of Spain. Again we had 15-25 knot winds with 2-4 meter (6-12 foot) waves and it was a short but choppy sail.

Unfortunately, our generator, which we use to produce power for plugs and appliances has yet to work, and now the battery for it is dead and won’t charge, so we went searching the streets looking for a battery booster. We hope to have this issue solved in the next few days, and have the wiring changed so that its battery will charge when we run our two ship engines.

San Sebastian is situated on a beautiful C-shaped bay, with a historical old town, loaded with restaurants and tapa bars. Here we had the same Basque tomato sauce with very fresh squid—simply amazing. It’s unfortunate how hard it is to find good quality fresh squid in the US, but they don’t seem to have any trouble here.

Back on the sailboat, it has been mostly gorgeous days with sunny skies, a rugged, green, mountainous coastline as we sail west along the Spanish coast. The last few days, the seas have been gentle, and we have had a moderate following wind. We have had several good sailing days as we cruise through the regions of Cantabria and Asturia, more than we could have hoped for.

Follow me on Facebook to see pictures and videos of my travels as well as recipes on YouTube.  Be sure to like and subscribe so you get notified when I post pictures and videos.

Wishing you fair winds and following seas.

Steven Masley, MD

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Chicken Basquaise Fri, 31 Aug 2018 18:50:33 +0000 The post Chicken Basquaise appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Here is a delicious sauce with chicken from the Basque region of northern Spain, which is renowned for its fantastic food. Easy to make, flavorful, and you can change the protein options as desired. We had this in a restaurant with squid and it was fabulous. For a vegetarian option, this is great with seitan. Piment d’Espelette is a popular spice in Basque country and similar to paprika but it is mildly spicy. If you don’t have piment d’Espelette, you can substitute paprika with a touch of cayenne pepper.

Serves: Four
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Simmering Time: 20-30 minutes


2 tablespoons avocado oil
4 chicken legs and 4 chicken thighs
1½ medium onions, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme)
½-1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or use ½-1 teaspoon ground paprika and ⅛-¼ teaspoon ground cayenne)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
½ cup dry (75 ml) white wine (or low sodium broth)
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, diced
4 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

Heat a skillet or large sauté pan to medium-high heat, add oil, then sauté chicken for 8-10 minutes (or other protein option), turning occasionally until all sides are lightly browned.

Remove chicken, and in the same pan, sauté onions with salt, pepper spice, and thyme until onions have softened over 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium, add olive oil, bell peppers, and sauté another 3 minutes.

Add wine to deglaze and stir gently for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, garlic, and lightly browned chicken to the pan and simmer at a gentle bubble for 20-25 minutes, until chicken reaches a temperature of 170 degrees F (76 degrees C) and half the liquid has evaporated.

Garnish with parsley and serve.

View me cooking the recipe here!

Steven Masley, MD

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Vine-ripened Tomatoes, Avocado, Heart of Palm, and Cannellini Bean Salad Fri, 24 Aug 2018 16:35:57 +0000 The post Vine-ripened Tomatoes, Avocado, Heart of Palm, and Cannellini Bean Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Summer is a great time for a salad with vine-ripened tomatoes and avocado. This dish is loaded with nutrients, fiber, and flavor.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2


Garlic-Basil Vinaigrette:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 medium garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon basil leaves, minced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

3 medium tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch wedges
1 medium Haas avocado
15 ounces heart of palms, drained and sliced into quarters lengthwise
15 ounces cannellini beans, cooked, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves cut into thin slices
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled (optional)


Combine vinaigrette ingredients.

Gently toss sliced tomatoes, avocado, heart of palm, and cannellini beans with vinaigrette dressing. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and goat cheese. Serve.

Steven Masley, MD

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8 Reasons Why the Spanish Live Longer than Americans and other Europeans? Mon, 20 Aug 2018 18:38:52 +0000 The post 8 Reasons Why the Spanish Live Longer than Americans and other Europeans? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Not only do the Spanish live longer than Americans, but they live longer than Canadians and everyone else in Europe giving them the longest lifespan in the western world. They are second only behind Japan for life expectancy on the planet:

Lifespans for Men & Women in Years, by country: 

USA: 78.7     

France: 82.7        

Spain: 83.4          

Portugal: 81.5           

Canada: 82

As you are reading this blog, I am sailing across northern Spain with my wife Nicole, visiting ports and villages along the way. Not only are many of the towns gorgeous and loaded with history, the people are beautiful and healthy looking as well.

What are eight key reasons that make people live longer in Spain?

1. People walk more. They often walk to work, to shop for groceries, and to get around the neighborhood. They are far less dependent on their cars.

2. Their food is typically unprocessed. People buy real food with basic ingredients and that makes their food taste better. And they are exposed to fewer toxins and hormones in their food than we are as well. They cook, instead of buying prepared meals. They do have prepared food, but it is relatively more expensive than in the US.

3. Eating is a pleasure. People don’t eat alone in front of a TV, or at their desk. They socialize over meals and enjoy food with family and friends.

4. They follow a Mediterranean diet, with more vegetables, fruits, beans, and seafood, with lots of spices and herbs, and of course, plenty of olive oil. They enjoy fresh fruit daily, although one area even the Spanish need to improve on is to eat more green leafy vegetables daily—only half of the Spanish eat a green leafy vegetable every day, but that is double of what we do in the US. Eating one serving of green leafy veggies daily makes your brain 11 years younger than someone who doesn’t eat them.

5. They also appear fitter and more active than the average person in the US, with more than 60% of people reporting exercise beyond walking. They also enjoy being outdoors, and they walk extensively. They even eat their meals outside, soaking up some sunshine and making more vitamin D.

6. The Spanish have one third less obesity than we have in the US, (2016) with only 23.8% of the population listed as obese, compared to 36.2% of Americans.

7. Spain also has very good health care. Far more people have access to good quality health care; only 1% of the Spanish report that their medical needs were not met, compared to the US where 59 million Americans do not have health insurance.

8. Having traveled across many areas of Spain, they generally seem happy. In fact, they have one of the lowest suicide rates in the world.

When you add it all up, it’s no wonder they live longer.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD

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