Steven Masley MD, LLC Tune up your brain, heart, energy, waistline, and sex life! Sat, 09 Nov 2019 02:36:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Steven Masley MD, LLC 32 32 Bean Picadillo Sat, 09 Nov 2019 02:34:01 +0000 The post Bean Picadillo appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Here is an easy to prepare dish from E. Hazelbower. This recipe has multiple ingredients, yet they are easy to combine and provide a wonderful flavor. Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries and the Philippines that is like hash. It is traditionally made with ground beef (in this recipe we substituted beans), plus tomatoes, raisins, olives, and other ingredients that vary by region.  Best is to soak kidney beans overnight and cook them until cooked but still a touch al dente, but using canned beans makes this recipe quicker. Caution with using jalapeno pepper; 1 pepper does not seem like much, but some people would find it too spicy—use less or more depending upon your tolerance for hot and spicy.

Prep Time: 35 Minutes

Serves: 4


3 tablespoons avocado oil

1 large white onion, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped and seeds discarded

1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

28 ounces (about 4-5 cups) plum tomatoes, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup green olives, chopped

2-15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups corn

1/2 cup raisins 

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat, add oil, then the onion, salt, and black pepper and sauté for 2 minutes with an occasional stir. Then add jalapeno, celery, spices, salt, and black pepper, stir occasionally for 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, garlic, and green olives, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 3-4 minutes with an occasional stir.

Add cooked kidney beans, corn, raisins and vinegar and simmer another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast sliced almonds in a small to medium sauté pan over medium heat until warm and fragrant, but do not allow to burn.

Add vegetable and bean picadillo to a serving dish, and garnish with toasted almonds and serve.


Steven Masley, MD


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Which diet is the easiest to follow and most effective for weight loss? Tue, 05 Nov 2019 02:03:53 +0000 The post Which diet is the easiest to follow and most effective for weight loss? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


​As we all know, weight control is a BIG problem in the United States. More than two thirds of Americans are overweight, and nearly forty percent are obese. But it isn’t just the US, most western and affluent countries are struggling with weight problems.

Dieting has become a global obsession, but sadly very few people are having long term success with the diets they try.

Yet the latest research shows that there is a solution that is easy to follow and effective, and what is amazing is the food you eat can be delicious and easy-to-prepare.

In published research, Dr. Joseph G. Mancini and his colleagues evaluated five randomized weight loss trials involving more than 1,000 patients on different weight-loss regimens (low-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean diet, etc.) who were followed for over 12 months.

There are hundreds of short-term studies published, but this 12-months-plus follow-up time is especially impressive because it means that researchers were able to track whether a diet delivered long-term weight-loss results—the true marker of success.

Unfortunately, we’re often swayed and distracted by headlines and hype from short-term studies of trendy diets that show weight loss over 4-6-12 weeks, but as you likely know, all that weight loss bounces back, adding an extra 5 pounds in the end.

What is even more deceiving are weight loss books touting, “Lose up to 10 pounds in 10 days.” The reality is that you can only lose at most 1-2 pounds of fat per week. Any additional weight you lose means you are losing water, or far worse, you might be losing muscle mass (an essential aspect of health and vitality).

According to these multiple clinical studies, a Mediterranean diet was equally effective for weight-loss as was a low-carb eating plan (such as Paleo), and more effective than a standard low-fat eating plan. Plus:  when comparing to a low-fat or low-carb diet, followers of a Mediterranean diet showed more improvement in cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure control than any other diet plan.

What was equally important was long term compliance. People following a low-fat or low-carb eating plan tended to abandon their diet either immediately or after the initial 4-6-12 weeks, while those following the Mediterranean eating plan had the highest long term adherence.

Over a year follow up, the average long-term weight loss among Mediterranean diet followers ranged from 10-22 pounds—and the weight stayed off throughout the 12-month follow-up period.

Even for people with type 2 diabetes, the Mediterranean diet turns out to be the best path for weight-loss. In a different meta-analysis of nine randomized dietary trials with over 1,000 patients, researchers concluded that when a Mediterranean diet was compared to the American Diabetic Association diet, a low-fat diet, or a low-carb diet, once again the Mediterranean diet showed superior results for blood sugar control, weight-loss, and lipid profile changes.

The idea that you could lose 10-22 pounds (and keep the weight off), improve your blood sugar and cholesterol profile, and lower systemic inflammation, all while enjoying delicious Mediterranean food, sounds almost too good to be true. 

But…it is true!

There is more good news. Not only is the Mediterranean diet the most effective and easiest to follow for weight control, but it is also the best diet to prevent heart disease and memory loss. Those multiple benefits are why The US World Report ranks the Mediterranean diet consistently as the #1 diet on the planet, a fact borne out by extensive research.

I am delighted to announce that my newest book, The Mediterranean Method—Your Complete Plan to Harness the Power of the Healthiest Diet on the Planet, Lose Weight, Prevent Heart Disease and More, is being published December 31, 2019 by Harmony Books.

In this new book, I show you how easy it is to follow a Mediterranean diet, and how to enjoy delicious food at the same time. Plus, I will share 50 recipes that I created while sailing across the Mediterranean Sea.

Pre-order your book now, CLICK HERE.

Next month, I will be offering FREE Video Cooking Classes to anyone who pre-orders the book before December 31, so be sure to save your purchase receipt.

I do not want you to have to wait so I am giving you a sneak peak at The Mediterranean Method.  Receive my free gift, The Mediterranean Method Essential Tools and Pantry List.  CLICK HERE, to get your quick start guide to ensure you have the proper tools and pantry ingredients to follow a Mediterranean diet

I wish you the best of health!

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

PS: When you pre-order the book, remember to save a copy of your receipt, as next month I will be sending you an email to receive my Mediterranean Method cooking classes FREE.



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Greek Burgers with Roasted Tomato Topping Sat, 26 Oct 2019 02:09:33 +0000 The post Greek Burgers with Roasted Tomato Topping appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This recipe is adapted from one of our community members, Ann Musico. She is a certified holistic health coach from NY. You can learn more about her work here

This is a delicious burger recipe and the topping can be used with other proteins such as chicken, fish, and even over eggs.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Burger Cooking Time: Grill over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side (you can always bake these at 350 degrees or sauté in a pan with avocado oil until nicely browned and cooked to your liking)

Topping Baking Time: 20-30 minutes

Serves: 4 (makes 4 patties)


1 lb. grass-fed and finished beef (these can be made with any quality ground meat, even pasture-raised, organic turkey or chicken.) To keep it very traditional, grass-fed lamb is my choice.)

1 organic shallot, finely minced

½ cup of organic spinach (if fresh, chop it, if frozen choose chopped, thaw and squeeze excess liquid out)

1/3 cup pureed, cooked black beans or any bean of your choice (lentils, chickpeas, or cannellini beans)

1 teaspoon vegetable stock or water (to help puree beans)

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (organic)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon cinnamon (this is what gives it that true Greek flavor)

Tomato Topping Ingredients:

1 pint mixed grape tomatoes (organic)

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

½ tablespoon avocado oil


Tomato Topping: Combine all the ingredients and drizzle with avocado oil. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tomatoes burst and soften.

Burgers: Combine all ingredients in a bowl making sure all ingredients are well combined with the meat.

Form into 4 generous patties and either grill over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes per side, or bake in a 350-degree oven or sauté in a pan in avocado oil until nicely browned and fully cooked inside.

Serve with tomato topping. If the tomatoes are too large simply chop the mixture up a bit.


Steven Masley, MD

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Why Are Greek Children Becoming Obese at Alarming Rates Tue, 22 Oct 2019 01:10:50 +0000 The post Why Are Greek Children Becoming Obese at Alarming Rates appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Over the last three months, Nicole and I have sailed over 1,500 miles across Greece. We have been awed by beautiful scenery, enjoyed the wholesome food, yet been surprised by high rates of obesity, not just in adults, but especially in young children.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) European office for prevention of noncommunicable diseases, Dr. Joao Breda, has said that the Mediterranean diet in Greece is dead and even Swedish children do a better job at following a Mediterranean diet.

Yes, there are awesome Mediterranean food options available, but far too many Greeks (like far too many Americans) have stopped eating them, especially children. A traditional Greek diet based on vegetables, fruits, beans, seafood, plain yogurt, red wine, and olive oil is being replaced by bread, French fries, sweets, candy, ice cream, and sugary drinks. And to stay trim and fit, this is what we should be eating as well.

Not only have the Greeks changed what they eat, but their activity levels have plummeted as well, which is the same trend we are seeing in the United States.

Although adult Greek obesity rates remain lower than in the US for the moment (US adult obesity rates are 38-39% versus 24-25% in Greece), there is a substantial increase in recent years and much higher than other nearby countries that do better at following a Mediterranean diet, such as France, Italy, and Spain.

In Greece, the biggest concern is the change in rates of overweight and obesity rates in children. Unfortunately, the US has also been seeing an increase in children who are obese or overweight, too.

Rates for children being overweight are:                    

Greece               44% boys          38% girls

US                        30% boys          30% girls

Mexico              28% boys          29% girls

Canada              25% boys          24% girls

France                15% boys          15% girls

The economic crisis in Greece has only made things worse. Unemployment rates are nearly 25%, spending on health and social services are down, the country’s mood has clearly worsened with the economic depression, and cheap processed food intake has increased substantially. It seems like Greeks are starting to eat fast, processed food like Americans, and it is killing them.

According to health experts at the WHO, the solution to the weight gain crisis in Greece is for Greeks (as well as for people who are overweight in the US) to resume eating a traditional Mediterranean diet. The critical shift is to stop eating processed food with sugar and flour, and to eat more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, plain yogurt, and seafood—flavored with olive oil, plus herbs and spices.

Multiple studies have shown that the closer you follow a traditional Mediterranean diet, the slimmer you become, and the healthier you will be with less heart disease, less memory loss, and lower rates of cancer as well.

Along with the multiple health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, the weight loss benefits of following a Mediterranean diet has compelled me to research and write my latest book, The Mediterranean Method– Your Complete Plan to Harness the Power of the Healthiest Diet on the Planet — Lose Weight, Prevent Heart Disease, and More! publication date December 31, 2019. The book material comes with 50 awesome recipes, including 20 color photos.

To pre-order The Mediterranean Method, click here.

PS: to learn more of my sailboat travels across Greece and see photos, please visit my Facebook page: MasleyMD

I wish you the best of health!

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



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White Bean, Cauliflower, and Hazelnut Dip Fri, 11 Oct 2019 17:38:44 +0000 The post White Bean, Cauliflower, and Hazelnut Dip appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This dip pairs well with sliced vegetables. Canned beans make this even simpler to prepare (if you prepare your own, use 2 cups of cooked beans). Adapted from The Better Brain Solution, pg.265

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Baking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6 (makes 3 cups)


½ head cauliflower florets, cut into 1- inch pieces (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons avocado oil

½ cup hazelnuts

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

One 15- ounce can white beans, cooked, rinsed, and drained

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup low- sodium vegetable broth (or water)



Preheat the oven to 375°F.

On a baking sheet, mix the cauliflower florets with the avocado oil. Bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 350°F.

Add the hazelnuts to an ovenproof dish and bake for 10 minutes.

At the same time, remove baking sheet with the cauliflower, stir in the garlic, and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the roasted cauliflower, the hazelnuts, beans, olive oil, salt, and vegetable broth.

Blend until smooth. Serve warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled.


Steven Masley, MD

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Share Your Favorite Recipe! Fri, 27 Sep 2019 21:10:08 +0000 The post Share Your Favorite Recipe! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Do you have a favorite recipe that features Mediterranean ingredients? If, so we would love to hear from YOU!

Over the years, I have had many people offer to share their favorite recipes.  It would be my great pleasure if you would submit one of your top recipes so my entire community could benefit. Of course, giving credit to the creator (or leaving it anonymous if you prefer). And, some lucky recipes may also be featured in one of my future books (only if you give your permission).

I always encourage recipes that are easy-to-prepare, but for a special occasion a dish that includes extra effort is always welcome.

There is an incredible variety of Mediterranean flavors. Your dish could be Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Israeli, Egyptian, Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, and/or depending on the ingredients, even Portuguese.

I may request to modify your dish, if needed, to meet the recommendations of my next book, The Mediterranean Method, Harmony books. The publication date is December 31, 2019.

The guidelines are easy to follow:  Please read below.

  • For oil, use extra-virgin olive oil, or if you are using high heat cooking/baking (more than 400 degrees F), you can use avocado oil or almond oil.
  • Be generous with portions for vegetables, spices, herbs, and garlic.
  • Bean dishes are encouraged.
  • Dishes that use nuts are urged as well.
  • If using dairy, make sure you choose an organic source. You can use either low-fat or full fat products, although with full fat options, please keep the portion size moderate. You are also welcome to use dairy free alternatives, such as organic (Non-GMO) soy or almond milk products as preferred.
  • If using animal protein, it should be cage-free, organically raised, and/or wild. Poultry, fish, and shellfish are all welcome.
  • If you pick a dish using whole grains, keep the grain portion small.
  • Avoid using grain flour, although almond flour (technically almond meal) is clearly acceptable.
  • If using pasta, use protein and fiber enriched pasta, and keep the portion size small.
  • For desserts, focus on fruit, chocolate, and optionally, small amounts of honey.
  • Avoid sugar and sweeteners, although something naturally sweet, such as, dried, no sugar added fruit, a small amount of honey, maple syrup, or molasses in a dessert are ok, provided it has ample fiber from other sources, such as fruit and/or a whole grain.
  • I like to cook with wine, but if you want it alcohol-free, use broth instead.
  • If you are recommending a beverage with the meal, focus on water, herbal infusions, and optionally red wine.
  • If you can include ideas that make cooking your dish fun, and/or that include people working together in the kitchen, that is a bonus!

You are encouraged to send a photo of your completed recipe (a simple phone photo is adequate), although a photo is not required.

**Please email your recipe to with Recipe Request in the subject line, by October 30th.

I am grateful for your time and consideration, and I look forward to seeing what you submit.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

Steven Masley, MD

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How to Buy and Cook with Olive Oil Tue, 10 Sep 2019 18:10:16 +0000 The post How to Buy and Cook with Olive Oil appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


As Nicole and I sail across Greece, exploring a Greek version of a Mediterranean Diet, we see olive trees growing everywhere, olive oil on every restaurant table, and menus that proudly state “they only cook with extra-virgin olive oil”.

For millennia, the Greeks have promoted olive oil. Homer, the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, referred to olive oil as “liquid gold.” Hippocrates, a physician known as the father of Western medicine, called it “the great healer” and prescribed it as a therapy for more than 60 different medical conditions.

Olives were used as food and as fuel, as the oil was a basic product in lighting lamps, used in medicine and cosmetics, plus the export of the oil was of great economic importance.

Pedanius Dioscorides, another Greek physician and botanist, and author of De Materia Medica– a 5-volume Greek encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances, was one of the first to recognize that the healthiest olive oils were those freshly extracted from unripe olives.

It’s no coincidence that Mediterranean populations tend to live longer and suffer less heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes than North Americans and northern Europeans. This observation has inspired great interest in the Mediterranean diet, particularly olive oil, one of its main components.

In recent years, hundreds of studies have shown that olive oil consumption will reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar levels, and fight cancer.

Mary M. Flynn, PhD, RD, a Brown University professor and dietician at the Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island, explains that there is a “common misperception that the health benefits of olive oil are due to the monounsaturated fat content,” which is often correctly viewed as being healthier than saturated fat and trans fat. However, olive oil offers far more than that, according to Flynn: “Studies done in animals and in test tubes have shown that the phenols in olive oil have amazing health benefits, such as selectively killing cancer cells, decreasing inflammation, and inhibiting tumor growth.”

Much of the recent research on olive oil has focused on the contribution of polyphenols, which are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidants. Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the type of olive oil that tends to be richest in polyphenols; it is unrefined, and refining destroys many of the healthy compounds. (The amount and type of polyphenols varies from one EVOO to another, and virgin olive oil also contains smaller amounts of them.) Extra-virgin oil is, therefore, recommended for those seeking maximum health benefits.

The polyphenols in extra-virgin olive oil also have many anti-inflammatory properties, similar to the drug Ibuprofen. This anti-inflammatory activity is significant since many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and arthritis, are associated with chronic inflammation. High-phenolic EVOO has also been shown to reduce the blood clotting and narrowing of arteries that can lead to cardiovascular diseases, and one of the key components, oleocanthal, has even killed cancer cells in test tubes, without harming healthy cells.

Bottom line………..consuming extra-virgin olive oil is good for you!

Buying and Cooking with Olive Oil

There are three mistakes many Americans make with olive oil when they’re incorporating it into their daily diets. The first is using regular (non extra-virgin) olive oil. The second is cooking with it at high-heat.  The third is using too little or too much of it.

The first-time olives are pressed to produce oil, that product is called extra-virgin olive oil, which has the highest concentration polyphenols and the most health benefit. The second pressing is called virgin olive oil, still acceptable but less beneficial. Next, they heat the olives and use chemicals to extract the remaining regular oil from the olives, creating regular olive oil. I strongly recommend that you avoid regular processed olive oil, as the oil is likely damaged from the exposure to heat and it is also contaminated with chemical residues.

Do not use olive oil for high-heat cooking. The smoke point for extra-virgin olive oil is only 400 degrees F. High-heat obliterates its nutrients and even turns it into an unhealthy fat. It also destroys the taste—making it bitter, another reason why it’s a waste of money to ruin your good oil with high heat. You can cook with extra-virgin olive oil at low or medium heat, but not high heat, and you can use it when baking if you stay under 395 degrees F. Of course, it is fantastic when used with salads or dressings. On occasion, when you need high heat, use avocado oil, almond oil, or ghee. 

One serving of olive oil varies anywhere from 1 to 2 teaspoons to 1 to 2 tablespoons per person per dish. Published studies show that consuming up to a ½ cup of olive oil per person per day is associated with weight loss and better health. Still, it’s not hard to pour a half-cup of oil into a single meal recipe if you’re not paying attention. (A tablespoon of any oil has 120 calories, which is reasonable, while 1/2 half cup provides 960 calories, which would be over the top.) Just 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon in a serving of food can provide a wonderful smooth texture and a lovely flavor. You likely need at least 2-4 tablespoons per day per person to benefit from its health-related properties.

Beware of suspiciously cheap olive oil. It’s likely adulterated with other oils such as soybean or canola oils, or it may not actually be extra-virgin.

Much has been made of the origins of olive oil and where the “best” oil comes from. It’s largely a matter of taste—and also availability. Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, California, Turkey, Australia, and most recently Tunisia produce significant volumes of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. In fact, Spain—home to the healthiest, longest-lived people in the Western world—is the largest producer of olive oil on the globe and produces one of my personal favorites.

Some bottlers sell a “blend” of extra-virgin olive oils from different countries, but buyer, beware: If it’s sold in a giant plastic jug or tin container, and it’s really cheap, it’s probably not the real thing. (Some reports suggest that up to half of all olive oil from Europe has been diluted with cheaper, less healthy oils.) Ideally, look for some form of certification, such as the California Olive Oil Council, to ensure that you are getting the real thing.

In general, when buying olive oil, it is best to buy from retailers that let you taste the oil to ensure you enjoy the flavor, and in small quantities, as once the container is opened, the oil deteriorates quickly. It’s also better to buy olive oil in dark colored glass bottles as the light can damage it. Avoid buying olive oil that comes in a plastic bottle, as the chemicals in plastic leak into the oil.

Finally, try to buy olive oil that is less than a year old, as it will have the greatest antioxidant activity. (Look for the “pressed on” or “harvested on” date on the bottle.).

I have personally used olive oil from the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club. They import fresh pressed artisanal olive oil from producers around the world during harvest season. It is the most flavorful and healthiest extra virgin olive oil on the planet. All the oils are independently lab tested and certified for 100% purity. If you would like to try a bottle of their olive oil you can for just $1, click here.

Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the true win/win food ingredients that you should have in your kitchen, as it has a delicious flavor and using it is good for your health!

I wish you the best of health,

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

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Shrimp Saganaki (Shrimp with Tomato Sauce, Garlic, and Feta) Sat, 07 Sep 2019 00:22:09 +0000 The post Shrimp Saganaki (Shrimp with Tomato Sauce, Garlic, and Feta) appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This easy-to-prepare meal has been one of my favorite items on Greek restaurant menus. You will also find Mussels Saganaki and Chicken Saganaki—simply swap the protein portion to modify the dish, although I have had chopped bell peppers added with the chicken version. I suspect this would be good with cubed, firm tofu as well.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1.5 pounds large uncooked shrimp, deveined and shelled

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped finely

15 ounces tomato sauce

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped


Heat a large sauté pan to medium heat, add olive oil, then onion, salt, black pepper, and oregano. Heat for 2-3 minutes until onions start to soften, stirring occasionally.

Add shrimp and sauté another 3 minutes, until they turn pink. Add tomatoes, garlic, and tomato sauce, bring to a gentle boil, add feta cheese, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with chopped parsley.


Steven Masley, MD

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Watermelon Gazpacho Fri, 23 Aug 2019 15:25:42 +0000 The post Watermelon Gazpacho appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


A Greek friend prepared this for me on our sailboat while exploring islands in Greece, when watermelon and tomatoes are at their peak. This dish in incredibly refreshing and flavorful, perfect for a warm summer evening.

Roasting Time: 1 Hour

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 4


3 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

2 medium garlic cloves (whole)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 cups watermelon, rind removed, chopped, seeds discarded

2 tablespoons fresh mint

1 small cucumber, half the skin peeled, diced into ½-inch cubes


Preheat oven to 375° (F).

In an ovenproof dish, combine tomatoes, bell pepper, salt, black pepper, oregano, garlic, and olive oil. Roast in the oven for one hour.

Combine roasted tomato and bell pepper mixture with watermelon and mint in a blender at low speed and blend, leaving a few small chunks of tomato and pepper.

Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate at least one hour, stir in cucumber, and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Six Reasons Italians Eat Pasta and Don’t Gain Weight Mon, 19 Aug 2019 13:09:05 +0000 The post Six Reasons Italians Eat Pasta and Don’t Gain Weight appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Compared to the USA with a massive obesity rate of 39.8%, Italy’s obesity rate of 10% seems tiny. Not only are they much slimmer, but they live longer, too. The average lifespan in Italy is 82.5 years (2016 data) compared to 78.6 years in the US; Italians have one of the longest lifespans on the planet.

If we compare BMI (Body Mass Index with normal weight being less than 24, overweight is 24 to 29.9, and obese is over 30), the average Italian has a BMI of 24.3 while the average American has a BMI of 29.5.

How can this be, when they eat all that pasta? The average Italian eats pasta about 3-4 times per week, which is about three times more often than we eat pasta in the US. So how do they get away with that without it impacting their waistline?

As Nicole and I travel in our sailboat along the Italian coastline this last month (sailing south from Elba in Tuscany towards Sicily, and south through the straights of Medina), not only have we been eating out and shopping in markets (and yes eating pasta a few times per week), but I’ve been researching the overall good health of the Italian population, and studying how the Italians eat.

I have found there are at least six reasons that Italians get away with eating pasta so often, and still manage to control their weight and live longer than we do.  Let’s dive in and discuss each of them:

  1. Portion size

A typical serving of pasta in the US is 2 ounces of dry pasta per person, which is about 4 ounces once cooked. On top of that, often we serve ourselves a second portion (and sometimes even more), and many US restaurants will serve a platter with 4 to 8 ounces of cooked pasta per person.

In Italy, they commonly serve 1 to 1.5 ounces of dry pasta, which is 2-3 ounces cooked, and in a fine dining restaurant, the serving will often be even smaller. They don’t have a second serving either, as this is a defined course that comes with a full dinner.

A full meal may include:

  • Antipasto (an appetizer),
  • Next, the primi piatti (the first course) which is typically pasta or rice served with a tomato sauce, seafood, or with vegetables,
  • Followed by a secondi piatti (the second or main course) which is some form of protein, plus a side serving of vegetables
  • And finely fruit for dessert.

The bottom line is that they eat a modest pasta portion (likely half or one-third of what we would eat) and they don’t get an extra serving.

  1. Pasta Has a Lower Glycemic Load than Other Starches, and They Cook Pasta Only until It Is Al Dente

If you eat the same portion size of pasta, bread, rice, or potatoes, pasta provides the lowest rise in blood sugar levels and insulin production (if you recall from my earlier blogs, insulin is the hunger-stimulating hormone). Glycemic load refers to how high your blood sugar levels rise after eating a serving of food and reflects how big a load of sugar you get from eating one serving. The reason for its low glycemic load is that pasta has greater density, and because of this, it is digested and absorbed more slowly.

The longer you cook your pasta, the less dense it becomes, and the greater the rise in glycemic load after eating it. So don’t eat overcooked pasta!

After having ordered pasta multiple times over the last month, I’ve been surprised how al dente (chewy) it is served. It definitely has a bite to it. For years, I have been trying to make my pasta al dente by cooking typical dry pasta for only 9 minutes, but to match the Italian pasta makers, I have had to drop my cooking time to not more than 7-8 minutes.

Chef’s Note: A few pasta cooking rules. First, make sure the water has salt added to it and it is boiling briskly (not just a few bubbles coming to the surface—you want a crazy boiling pot), and that you use extra water in a big pot (do not try cooking pasta in a medium saucepan as the pasta will cool off the water when added and you have to wait for it to reheat and boil). Stir to separate the pasta strands and cook about 7-8 minutes until you test the pasta by biting into it and it is cooked but still chewy—do not wait until the pasta is soft! (As an example, Nicole and I were counting how many times we had to chew before swallowing al dente pasta in a restaurant to clarify how pasta is served here in Italy. Most of the time it takes 7-10 chews for each spiral bite of pasta, far more al dente than you’ll find your pasta cooked in a restaurant in the US.) Turn off the heat and immediately pour it into a colander to drain and serve immediately. Hot pasta will continue to cook and soften if left in a bowl over time.

  1. Italians Are Starting to Buy Pasta Made with Added Fiber and Protein

Not only do they cook their pasta al dente so that it has a lower glycemic load, they are starting to produce pasta that has more fiber and protein in it, with less carbohydrate as well. Companies like Barilla have started adding garbanzo (chickpea) flour to their protein-enriched pasta flour blend, and the result is a pasta that still tastes great but has a lower glycemic load. Look in your supermarket for pasta with added garbanzo flour—it is often called protein or fiber-enriched, and/or low carb pasta.

  1. They eat Mediterranean food with their pasta

They don’t just have pasta for dinner. Italians serve it with an abundance of vegetables, plus beans and protein, flavored with olive oil, herbs, and spices, plus some fruit for dessert. They avoid processed food. Following a Mediterranean eating plan has been shown to be the most effective diet on the planet for both controlling your waistline and enhancing your health.

  1. They go for a walk before and/or after dinner

The Italians have a lovely tradition, fare una passeggiata (take a walk or a stroll), which is typically done after dinner. Instead of sitting in front of a TV or computer screen, Italians go for a walk in the evening. From 7 to 10 pm in the evening, the streets are packed with couples, friends, and families out walking. It is a lovely sight to see. Walking after dinner not only improves your digestion and burns calories, but it helps to boost your calorie-burning speed (basal metabolic rate—BMR) as well.

  1. They Do Not Eat Pasta Made from GMO Wheat

Italy, like most of Europe, has avoided planting genetically modified (GMO) wheat. GMO wheat has been genetically modified to increase its gluten content, yet an unintended consequence is that most experts believe that GMO wheat has a higher inflammatory score than original wheat strains. Inflammation won’t only increase how achy you feel, but it lowers your basal metabolic rate (your calorie-burning rate) and makes it easier for you to gain weight.

If you do buy pasta, I recommend brands that are made in Italy that avoid GMO wheat.


Should you start eating pasta every day……… Probably not, but if you eat it like an Italian, you could have it 2-3 times per week and stay slim.

When you do eat starchy carbs, pasta, especially protein and fiber-enriched pasta is a good choice to make, and from a weight control and blood sugar perspective, it would be a better choice than rice, bread, or potatoes.

If you do eat pasta on occasion, be sure to eat it like an Italian. Keep the serving size small (about 1 ounce of dry pasta per person) and serve it with a meal that includes lots of vegetables with either beans or animal protein to go with that meal. When you cook the pasta, keep it al dente.

Take a walk after dinner. And when you buy pasta, choose gluten-free or Italian pasta that is made from non-GMO wheat flour.

I wish you the best of health and Bon Appétit!


Best regards from Italy,

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

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Caprese Salad Sat, 10 Aug 2019 00:32:19 +0000 The post Caprese Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


When tomatoes are ripe and flavorful, and you have access to good quality mozzarella cheese, Caprese Salad is fantastic.

The first time I tried this dish was decades ago, when I worked as a sailboat captain for a summer in France. I had been invited to a French family’s home for dinner. They turned eating Caprese Salad into a friendly competition. We drove to the local farmer’s market and with basket in hand we selected our ingredients. First you had to find the most flavorful tomatoes, next the best fresh mozzarella cheese available, and once back home, create proportions with just the right amount of mozzarella, tomato, olive oil, and fresh basil to make the perfect bite. The five of us each bought enough ingredients for one serving and tried to create the best tasting combo while feeding each other. This was one of the best salads I have ever had.

 Unless you are growing heirloom tomatoes in your own garden, finding flavorful tomatoes in the US is problematic, as most tomatoes are picked green and don’t have much flavor. Heirloom (commonly called “ugly tomatoes”) often have the better flavor of those sold in most stores, and in late summer are a good choice. Although using a large sliced tomatoes makes the best presentation, the most consistent best tasting tomatoes are cherry tomatoes as they are picked when they are completely ripe, and they are usually sweet and flavorful.

You can find very good quality mozzarella cheese in the US, but you need to know what to look for, and the key is “fresh mozzarella”. Traditionally the best quality mozzarella cheese is made from whole milk (low fat versions tend to be less moist) and are sold the same day it is made; fresh mozzarella can be kept in brine solution for up to 7 days, so ideally you want to know the packaging date, not just the expiration date. In contrast, low-moisture mozzarella can be kept refrigerated for up to a month, and some shredded low-moisture mozzarella is sold with a shelf life of up to six months, despite that the longer it’s stored, the less flavor and moisture it will have. Some of the best brands come from buffalo milk (Mozzarella di Bufala) instead of cow’s milk as it is creamier, although they are often double the price, and often you need a specialty store to find them. Whatever the brand, your challenge is to find fresh, whole milk mozzarella, and if using whole milk, then be sure to buy an organic brand as well. The bottom line is look for “fresh” (not more than 7 days old in brine solution), organic, whole milk mozzarella cheese for making Caprese Salad.

Finding good quality extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar is also important, but far less of a challenge as good qualify products are readily available, as is fresh basil. Some recipes will suggest a dash or two of dried oregano, yet if you have good quality ingredients, simpler is better. 

Prep Time: 5-10 Minutes

Serves: 4


4 large vine-ripe tomatoes, cut horizontally into ½-inch slices (or 3 cups of cherry tomatoes sliced in half)

16 ounces fresh, organic mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼-inch slices

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup fresh basil leaves

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


On a serving platter, arrange tomatoes and mozzarella in an alternating pattern.

Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the basil leaves over the tomatoes and mozzarella.

Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.


Steven Masley, MD


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Classic Gazpacho Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:07:35 +0000 The post Classic Gazpacho appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This dish from southern Spain is fantastic when tomatoes are in season, lush and flavorful, and on a hot day this chilled soup is so refreshing. If regular tomatoes aren’t bursting with flavor, then skip the medium tomatoes and use 8 cups of cherry tomatoes, as out of peak season, they have more flavor.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: Four


4 medium tomatoes (divided)

4 cups cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

2 medium garlic cloves

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Jerez (sherry) vinegar

1 small English cucumber, peeled, diced into ¼-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced into ¼-inch pieces

2 green onions, roots removed, finely chopped


In a blender, combine 2 medium tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, oregano, olive oil, and vinegar. Blend until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine cucumber, red bell pepper, and green onions. Dice the remaining two tomatoes and add to the bowl. Stir to combine. Pour ¼ of the diced vegetable mixture into the blender. Blend until smooth.

Combine pureed and diced ingredients in a serving bowl or pitcher.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 10 hours, then serve. Garnish each bowl with basil leaves or a sprig of parsley.


Steven Masley, MD

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Stuffed Eggplant a la Bonifacio Fri, 05 Jul 2019 22:48:44 +0000 The post Stuffed Eggplant a la Bonifacio appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


It is eggplant season, July 1 through the end of September, and you should see shiny, plump and heavy eggplants in the market. This is the time to make dishes with eggplant!

Over the last two weeks, Nicole and I have been sailing around the amazing island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. The western coastline is rugged with mountain peaks rising out of the sea, jagged granite cliffs, and crystal clear water. The land appears mostly uninhabited, with occasional ancient villages appearing from time to time, especially near good ports.

It has been hot all week, day and night, so we’ve started swimming more often. This is also likely perfect weather for eggplant producers.

At the southern tip of the island is the town of Bonifacio, a fairy tale like town centuries old with a citadel situated on cliffs overlooking the sea. The setting is nothing short of stunning.

The most common dish we’ve tried in restaurants, one that is served nearly everywhere is Stuffed Eggplant a la Bonifacio, roasted eggplant with bread crumbs, topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese. I’ve tried several versions of this dish on the boat, aiming to drop the bread crumbs, and my latest version of this recipe really hits the spot. If you like eggplant, I think you’ll love this dish.

Properly roasted eggplant is super flavorful and melts in your mouth, especially with a bit of crunch from walnuts. Add a layer of tomato sauce, herbs, and melted goat’s cheese and this makes a fantastic side dish. Look for firm, heavy eggplants with shiny skin.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Baking Time: 60 Minutes

Serves: Four


2 medium eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise, then scored in a 1-inch diamond pattern sliced into the eggplant flesh

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ medium white onion, chopped finely

½ cup walnuts, chopped finely

½ cup tomato sauce

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence (or Italian Herb Seasoning)

3 inches roll goat cheese, sliced into ¼ inch slices

4 basil leaves, sliced into thin strips


Preheat oven to 375° (F).

Brush 4 teaspoons of olive oil over cut face of eggplant. Sprinkle on ¼ teaspoon of salt. Place in an ovenproof pan, cut surface facing up, and bake for 45-50 minutes until eggplant softens, and flesh can be scooped from the skin—keeping skin intact for stuffing.

Meanwhile, heat a medium sauté pan to medium, add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of olive oil, then the onion, 1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir occasionally for 2 minutes until onion softens, then add chopped walnuts, heat another 1 minute, and remove from heat, and once eggplant has been removed from skin, combine onion and herbs in a bowl with eggplant scooped from skins.

Heat the same pan to medium, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, then garlic plus 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence. Sauté for 1 minute, then add tomato sauce, simmer for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

Stuff onion-eggplant-walnut mixture back into eggplant skin in the ovenproof pan.

Spoon tomato sauce with garlic and herbs over the stuffed eggplants. Add slices of goat cheese.

Return to the oven and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Garnish with basil leaf strips and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Oven Baked Fish à la Provençale Mon, 17 Jun 2019 16:35:08 +0000 The post Oven Baked Fish à la Provençale appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This is a regional dish from Provence, southeastern France. This dish is typically made with a fish called Dorade (sea bream). Many other white fish options will work nicely, including snapper, sea bass, hogfish, and tilapia. The key with any fish meal is fresh fish—the eyes should be plump, the skin shiny, and the fish should smell like the sea; it should not smell fishy.

I ordered this meal in Antibes, France one of the oldest cities in Provence on the Côte d’Azur. 40 years ago I 

spent a summer living and working in nearby Cannes as a sailboat captain and cook, and came to Antibes to meet friends. It feels wonderful to be back enjoying this region.Oven Baked Fish à la Provençale

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Baking Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: Two


2 one-pound whole fish, gutted, scaled, fins trimmed away (or if fresh whole fish isn’t available 14 ounces fish fillets)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)

¾ teaspoon sea salt (divided)

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ medium sweet onion, chopped

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (or Italian herb seasoning)

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 medium garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

6 black olives with pits, sliced in half lengthwise and with pits removed 


Preheat oven to 375° (F). 

Place fish in an ovenproof casserole dish. Rub with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt, and thyme over fish, inside and out. bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until fish meat flakes and temperature is 150-160° (F) with a meat thermometer.

While fish is baking, heat a sauté pan to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, then onion, ½ teaspoon of sea salt, black pepper, and Herbs de Provence and heat for 3 minutes with an occasional stir until onion softens. Add tomatoes and with an occasional stir, heat another 3 minutes. Add garlic and basil, reduce to simmer, stir occasionally and heat for 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Pour sauce into a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth.

Transfer puree to a saucepan, add black olives and continue to simmer at low heat.

When fish is baked, transfer to a serving plate and spoon sauce over fish and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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What is the #1 source of household toxins (hint: it enters your skin) Mon, 03 Jun 2019 17:13:03 +0000 The post What is the #1 source of household toxins (hint: it enters your skin) appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


As you might guess, mainstream or “big brand” laundry products are LOADED with toxins.

In fact, there are OVER 16,000 research studies on sodium lauryl sulfate (just ONE of many toxic ingredients common in laundry detergent)…

… showing it can cause irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, reproductive issues, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, cellular damage, and even cancer.

Here’s why this is so important for you and your family:

  • Every minute of your life, (outside of showering) your skin is in contact with your clothing, bedding, towels and beyond… 
  • +90% of store-bought laundry products are loaded with not one, but DOZENS of toxic chemicals
  • These chemicals are now in full contact with your skin (the largest organ of your body) all the time.

So given all this, why isn’t everyone ditching the chemicals and using non-toxic products?

Simple: most “natural” or eco-friendly products simply DON’T WORK — certainly not as well as the big brands.

Luckily, a company called MyGreenFills is changing that story — making the first non-toxic line of laundry products that clean better than the major retail brands. I met the company president Stephen, through my mastermind group, and was very happy to get to know such a committed and nice person with a mission to help us avoid one of the most common toxins in our homes.

You can learn more about their revolutionary mission and get your 1st 50 LOADS FREE 

So, my wife Nicole and I had a deep discussion about avoiding toxins in our home (and on our sailboat) and we have been using their products for nearly one year.

To be completely honest, in the past I have not been very picky about laundry detergent and truthfully, Nicole does 90% of the laundry in our household. She is super selective about laundry products so I was pretty amazed that she really liked the “quality” of MyGreenFills products and immediately started using them.

MyGreenFills uses natural detergent that is easy to use, the clothes come out clean, and they feel nice on our skin. They are shipped in concentrated form which saves in shipping costs. By using these products, we are exposed to far fewer toxins (especially by not using commercial dryer sheets), and it is environmentally friendly, which is even more important when you are living on a boat.

The products are so good that Nicole brought them on our trip to Europe; and considering that our baggage allowance flying here was limited, bringing them says a great deal.

And here is the other great thing about MyGreenFills:

Their products aren’t just non-toxic AND effective… the company is also committed to protecting the environment and planet on a deeper level.

This is why they offer REFILLABLE laundry jugs — which you use over and over again, along with their refillable plant-based, non-toxic packets of rinse, wash, dry and more — all of which work better than the chemical stuff.


  • Free “last jug you’ll ever own” – guaranteed for life
  • Free lifetime shipping* (International rates apply)
  • Choose your next refill shipment in 30 or 60 days
  • Easily modify anything, anytime – in under a minute

50 Loads of Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent, including No Shipping Costs for $0.00!

It’s literally $0.00 when you purchase any laundry product. (No minimum $ amount either).


1 product for $14 each

3 products for $12 each

5 products for $9 each

Just CLICK HERE to get your toxic-free products today!

There are also some amazing deals + bonus goodies once you start shopping.  

Bottom line: this is by far the BEST non-toxic laundry solution I’ve ever come across.

It truly takes all the hassle (and chemicals!) out of doing laundry, forever.

I wish you the best of health!

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


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Salmorejo with Pineapple and Shrimp Fri, 31 May 2019 17:36:23 +0000 The post Salmorejo with Pineapple and Shrimp appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Traditionally Salmorejo is made by blending tomatoes, garlic, bread, and olive oil, plus adding egg and ham. I’m substituting pineapple for the bread and shrimp and avocado for the egg and ham, adding a bit of sweet and tartness from the pineapple, which goes nicely with the shrimp, and with a far less glycemic load than you’d get from bread. This dish is best if you can find flavorful, fully ripened tomatoes.

Serves: Four

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Chilling Time: 30 Minutes


2  pounds ripe tomatoes (4 or 5 large)

½  small onion, peeled

½ cup cubed pineapple

2  cloves garlic, peeled

1/4  cup olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

16  large shrimp, cooked, cooled, and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 medium Haas avocado, diced


Quarter the tomatoes and onion; combine with the pineapple, garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper in a blender.

Put the mixture in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until smooth, (work in batches if necessary).

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve in bowls topped cooked shrimp and cubed avocado.


Steven Masley, MD

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What Are 12 Steps to Raise Testosterone Activity Naturally? Tue, 21 May 2019 02:11:12 +0000 The post What Are 12 Steps to Raise Testosterone Activity Naturally? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Testosterone improves not only your sex drive, but your exercise drive, energy for work, mental sharpness, muscle repair, and revs your metabolism to help with weight control. Although improving testosterone levels has not yet been shown to increase lifespan, having a healthy testosterone level improves quality of life for both men and women.

In men, the first sign of low testosterone levels is fatigue and decreased drive, feeling tired and spent at the end of the day. This impacts a man’s drive to work, exercise, and libido as well. As testosterone levels drop over time, men can also develop depression, anxiety, and insomnia, and eventually, sexual dysfunction. The majority of men with low-level symptoms and confirmed low levels are reluctant to start testosterone therapy, yet 90 percent of those who try therapy and achieve normal levels for their age, describe the difference like the change from night to day, with a dramatic improvement in quality of life.

Men typically have testosterone levels that are ten times higher than women, yet when women have low levels, they can also experience low energy, low drive, and low libido. Often times it is the change in level that has the biggest impact.

A normal testosterone level for a middle-aged man is considered to range from 300 to 850 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), yet anything less than 400-450 can result in low testosterone symptoms. 18 to 22-year-old males may have healthy levels as high as 1,000 to 1,200 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), but that doesn’t mean that a 50+ guy should aim for that level with therapy.

For women, normal levels range from 20-60, although some laboratories list a level over 10 as normal, yet most women with a level of 10-20 typically show some symptoms of low testosterone.

There are three ways to increase testosterone activity naturally with simple lifestyle choices. The first is to increase total testosterone production. Second is to increase the amount of free and active testosterone that can stimulate testosterone receptors. The third is to unblock testosterone receptors, opening them up for testosterone stimulation.

Keep in mind, lifestyle choices can increase testosterone levels by 50-150 points. So for a man with a level of 350-450 with moderate symptoms, lifestyle changes might push his levels to 450-550 and eliminate his symptoms. They won’t transform levels from 250 to 700—that level of change would require testosterone pharmaceutical therapy, in the form of a weekly injection or daily topical therapy.

To Raise Testosterone Levels Naturally:

  1. Get enough sleep. Most testosterone is made during the sleep cycle. If you are sleep deprived, you won’t produce enough testosterone.
  2. Lose body fat. Fat cells convert testosterone to estrogen. Lose 10-20 pounds and you will see a significant increase in testosterone levels. In men, this conversion of testosterone to estrogen commonly can cause breast tissue formation (man boobs), something most guys want to avoid.
  3. Eat more healthy fat. (Enjoy fat from avocados, nuts, olive oil, seafood). Testosterone is made from fat and people on low-fat diets have a drop in testosterone levels.
  4. Get enough zinc. Men who are zinc deficient have a drop in testosterone production. Good sources of zinc are oysters, dark chocolate, legumes, grass-fed meat, shellfish, and a good quality multivitamin. However, men with normal zinc levels will not make more testosterone by taking extra zinc.

Increase free testosterone. Your body makes testosterone, but most of it is bound to protein and is not free and available to stimulate testosterone receptors at the cellular level. If testosterone is bound (stuck) to protein, it isn’t free to stimulate testosterone receptors and activate testosterone activity.

  1. Get enough vitamin D. 1500 to 2000 IU daily are recommended. Adequate vitamin D lowers sex hormone binding globulin, which binds to testosterone.
  2. Avoid eating sugar and refined carbs. (any source of flour or sugar). A jump in blood sugar levels increases blood stickiness, binding testosterone to protein.
  3. Do interval or burst exercise training. Intense exercise increases free testosterone levels by releasing testosterone that is stuck to proteins. Intense exercise improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels too.
  4. Do strength training to build muscle mass. Building mass increases free testosterone levels, which also improves blood sugar control.

Unblock testosterone receptors

  1. Either eat hormone-free dairy, poultry, and meats or go vegan. Many animals are fed estrogen-like compounds to promote weight gain and milk production. Those estrogen-like compounds block testosterone receptors, decreasing testosterone activity. Avoid consuming dietary hormones by choosing organic, free-range or grass-fed animal protein, or stop eating them altogether.
  2. Avoid cooking food with plastic. Plastics contain estrogen-like compounds that block testosterone receptors. When you heat food in a plastic container, your food absorbs plastic compounds. Avoid heating food with plastic wrap—that can melt like cheese into your food.
  3. Minimize drinking out of plastic bottles. Soft plastic bottles release plastic compounds (estrogen-like molecules) into the liquid.
  4. Avoid cans and containers lined with BPA. Most cans in the USA are lined with a cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting plastic lining, such as a compound called BPA. Avoid canned products that contain BPA; I always look for the wording BPA-free when buying canned foods, or I buy food that comes in glass jars.

Bonus Tip:

If you take a statin drug (cholesterol-lowering medication), it will lower your testosterone level by as much as 75 to 150 points (nanograms per deciliter, ng/dL). If you start with a level of 700 and it drops to 600, you likely won’t notice. If your level is 400 and it drops to 275, you will clearly notice a big drop in energy and drive. As I noted above, you need cholesterol to make testosterone.

With the proper diet, you can markedly improve your cholesterol level, shrink your arterial plaque load, and do this without causing a decrease in testosterone levels. I’ve helped hundreds of men and women improve their hormone profile and their cholesterol profile by following my eating plan.

If you are taking a statin medication and have symptoms of low testosterone levels, talk to your doctor about therapy options—either testosterone therapy or perhaps stopping your statin therapy.


The bottom line is that men and women can improve their drive, energy, mental energy, and libido by making the proper lifestyle changes, and these same changes will also help you control your weight, prevent heart disease and memory loss, and extend your lifespan.

I wish you the best of health!

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

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Linguine with Frutti di Mare Fri, 17 May 2019 14:09:21 +0000 The post Linguine with Frutti di Mare appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Classic Italian seafood pasta dish with tasty fresh shellfish and olive oil, garlic, and parsley. This is a fun meal to prepare with an assistant, especially as you’ll be doing more than one step at a time. You’ll notice that this dish has triple the vegetables and half the pasta than the traditional restaurant-cookbook portion, increasing the flavor and lowering the sugar load of this wonderful dish. When available, select fiber- and protein-rich pasta; it has double the protein, double the fiber, and far less refined carbs. Choose the freshest shellfish available, or use frozen options— if frozen thaw, drain, and pat dry—selecting the best mussels, shrimp, sea scallops, clams, squid, or bay scallops available.

Preparation Time: 30-35 minutes       

Serves: 4


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)

1 medium onion, diced

2 tsp Italian herb seasoning

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

¼ to ½ tsp chili flakes (to taste)

3 cups button mushrooms, sliced

1 medium sweet bell pepper, sliced

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

8 medium cloves garlic, diced (divided)

1 ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped (divided)

Pot of water with salt

4 ounces linguine fiber- and protein-enriched pasta (Barilla is a popular brand or gluten-free linguine pasta)

2 Tbsp avocado oil

¾ pound large shrimp (26-30/lb), peeled and deveined, shells removed

8 large sea scallops (about 8 ounces)

¼ cup dry white wine

¾ pound mussels (in the shell), rinsed and beards removed (or clams)


Bring a pot of water with salt to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan to medium heat, add 3 tablespoons extra olive oil, then onions, Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, and mushrooms and heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomatoes and heat another 2-3 minutes with a sporadic stir, then add 4 diced garlic cloves and ¾ cup diced parsley, heat 2 minutes until garlic is cooked but not browned. Transfer olive oil and cooked vegetables to a large holding bowl.

When water is boiling briskly, and after vegetables have been transferred to a holding bowl, add pasta, stir occasionally, cook about 8 minutes, until pasta is al dente, ideally slightly undercooked. Don’t overcook the pasta. When pasta is cooked, drain well, and combine in the bowl with olive oil and vegetables.

As the pasta begins to cook, pat dry the shrimp and scallops with paper towels. As you start to cook the pasta in a separate pot with boiling water, heat the same sauté pan that held the olive oil and vegetables to medium-high heat, there should be small bits of onion, herbs, and parsley in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons avocado oil, then add shrimp and scallops, and sear for 30 seconds on each side.  Add white wine, then mussels, cover, and steam for about 3-4 minutes until mussels open; discard any mussels that refuse to open in this time. Pour the vegetable mixture with pasta into the seafood sauté pan, mix, cover, and heat for 1-2 minutes until warm.

As the seafood, vegetable, and pasta mixture is warming together, bring a separate pan to medium heat, add remaining 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, remaining ½ cup chopped parsley, and remaining 4 diced garlic cloves. Simmer for 2 minutes until cooked, but don’t let the garlic brown.

With tongs, transfer pasta from the pan on to a serving platter, then with a slotted spoon serve shellfish and vegetables over the pasta. Mix together. Lastly, pour the olive oil, garlic, and parsley sauce as a garnish over the dish and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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How to Decrease the Sugar and Chemicals in Wine Mon, 06 May 2019 22:30:04 +0000 The post How to Decrease the Sugar and Chemicals in Wine appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Multiple global studies have shown that moderate wine intake, in particular, red wine, decreases your risk for heart disease, dementia, and diabetes, plus it is associated with a longer lifespan. Moderate intake is defined as 1-2 servings per day for women, and 2-3 servings per day for men.

Men get a bit more wine allowance, not because they are usually bigger in size (which also helps), but because estrogen and progesterone decrease the metabolism of alcohol, meaning women (even after menopause) get a higher blood level of alcohol if they drink the same amount as men.

However, the health benefits are different when you look at total alcohol intake, as beer and hard liquor do not have all the same benefits, and even in small dosages, consuming beer and hard liquor increase your risk for cancer. Drinking more than 3 servings of red wine a day will also increase cancer risk, so nobody should be exceeding moderate intake, which is overdoing a good thing.

I am not going to say that people who avoid all alcohol need to start drinking wine. Many people cannot drink in moderation, and once they start, they overdo it. Excess alcohol intake is clearly harmful to your health and your social connections as well. Some people just don’t feel right even if they drink alcohol in moderation, so if you don’t drink, you might have good reason to avoid alcohol, and I recommend you do what is best for you.

If you do drink alcohol, then clearly red wine has more health benefit than other forms of alcohol, although white wine appears to have some but not all the benefits of red wine.

Beer also has a much higher sugar content (glycemic load) than wine, over 500% more sugar load. That is one reason that the term beer belly comes to mind when you think of beer drinkers.

Can you lower the sugar content in wine even further? Could you also drop the chemical usage in wine? Of course, you can, it is what European, small-scale vintners have been doing for centuries.

Over the last fifty years, large scale wine producers have lowered the quality of wine by choosing cheap, fast methods of production.

The U.S. leads the world in the irrigation of grapevines with almost 100% of all vineyards in the U.S. being drip irrigated. This might seem like a harmless enough practice, but much of Europe has outlawed irrigation of wine vineyards, and for good reason.

When grapes ripen on a grapevine, the physiology of that ripening process is deeply impacted by irrigation…. This is the reason that many Europeans vintners don’t allow artificial irrigation and depend solely on natural rainfall. It’s because the character of the taste of the fruit fundamentally changes.

And it’s not just the taste that’s impacted. Higher water content means the grape will need to have a higher sugar content to make good tasting wine. The higher the sugar content at the time of picking, the higher the level of alcohol (and sugar byproducts like glycol) in the final product, which can lead to hangovers the next day.

Dry farming practices (avoiding irrigation), make the grapevine grow deeper roots, produce more complex tasting fruit, and lower the water, sugar, and final alcohol content.

Not only do US vintners use irrigation, but to make wine production easier, they also use more chemicals in wine production than they do in Europe. Many regions of Europe have banned the use of chemical additives during the fermentation process, insisting on natural processes.

A few years ago, I met Todd White, President of Dry Farm Wines, at one of my mastermind group meetings. Nicole and I joined his wine club and have been members for the last several years.

Todd has been committed to finding wine with less sugar and less chemicals. And for this reason, he recommends wine not from the U.S. or the Napa Valley, as you might think, but wine that comes mostly from small vineyards in Europe. Over time, Todd has created the United States’ Premier Natural, Organic, Health-Oriented Wine Club.

Dry Farm wines are: 

  • Produced by small organic vintners who use dry farming (no irrigation)
  • Have low sulfite levels (less than 75 ppm)
  • Mold free, without additives
  • Sugar-free (less than 1 gram/liter)
  • Low alcohol content (less than 12.5%)

If you’d like to try some of their wine, Click here to learn more about Dry Farm Wines.  You can claim a bottle of wine for just a penny ($29 value) and receive their Natural Wine ebook Free!!

Now that Nicole and I are living in Europe and shopping in local markets several days per week, it has been easy to meet local vintners and wine sellers who offer organic wine using dry farming techniques.

It isn’t nearly that easy back home in the United States when we are shopping in our local grocery store, which is why we joined Dry Farm Wines.


I wish you the best of health,

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


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Spanish Tortilla (Omelet) Sat, 04 May 2019 00:10:45 +0000 The post Spanish Tortilla (Omelet) appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


The Spanish Tortilla (we call it an omelet) is traditionally made with only a few ingredients: eggs, potatoes, onions, olive oil, and parsley. It is not only served for breakfast but also for lunch, dinner, and it is also served as part of a Tapas spread.

If you’ve read my blog over time, you will have noticed that I generally avoid potatoes, as they have a high glycemic (sugar) load. Yet potatoes are the traditional ingredient in this Spanish dish, and they do provide a good source of fiber and nutrients.

A way to lower the glycemic load is to select small, fingerling 1- to 2-inch potatoes, use a smaller portion of potatoes, and boil and refrigerate the cooked potatoes in advance. It takes a bit of planning, and a couple extra steps, but if you have the patience, it’s worth it. Baby potatoes with the skin that are boiled and chilled have a much lower glycemic load than regular peeled potatoes that are baked or sautéed, and they still taste great. Simply boil the sliced potatoes in advance until al dente (about 7-9 minutes), drain, refrigerate for 4-24 hours until chilled, and then heat with the oil and onions as noted below, but you’ll only need to sauté them for 5 minutes as they are already pre-cooked.

Serves: Two

Prep and Cooking Time: 30 Minutes


4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)

1 ¼ cups (1/3 pound) baby potatoes (1×2 inches in size), sliced with the skin into 1/4-inch thick slices

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

½ medium red bell pepper, diced

5 large organic, cage-free eggs

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped


For the quick traditional method, heat a medium sauté pan or skillet to medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, then sliced potatoes, onion, bell pepper, and simmer covered, turning potatoes and onions every 5 minutes or so until potatoes are soft and tender, about 15 minutes. (Or see my instructions noted in the intro above.)

Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk eggs with salt, pepper, and parsley.

When potatoes are ready, remove pan from heat, and spoon potatoes, onions, and bell pepper into the bowl with eggs and mix. With a paper towel, wipe the bottom of the sauté pan to remove any sticky material.

Heat the same medium sauté pan to medium heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then pour egg and potato mixture into the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 4-5 minutes.  When nearly set and the underside is lightly golden, invert the omelet on a plate, and slide it back into the sauté pan and cook a few more minutes. When the underside is golden, slide back onto a plate and serve.


Steven Masley, MD 

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Nicole and I are back in Spain researching the Mediterranean Diet Tue, 23 Apr 2019 01:42:33 +0000 The post Nicole and I are back in Spain researching the Mediterranean Diet appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Nicole and I have started the first leg on our six-month journey, sailing from Spain to Turkey this spring and summer.

Supporting this trip, I received a contract from Harmony Books (Penguin/RandomHouse) to write another book, The Mediterranean Method, a Plan to Help You Lose Weight, Prevent Heart Disease and Memory Loss, and Support Your Gut.  My goal during this trip is to search for local, delicious, and easy-to-prepare recipes and health tips.

Raising the Sails

Our plan has been to sail north along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, east along the southern coast of France, sail around Corsica, and then down the western coast of Italy. Next, sail across to Greece and on to Turkey. This is truly an amazing trip, something that has been on my bucket list for decades, and I have to pinch myself from time to time to confirm that it is really happening. Next summer we hope to sail the boat from Turkey back to Spain via a different route, and then next winter from Spain to The Caribbean Sea.

Nicole and I spent the first week on the boat cleaning and organizing. We had to re-raise the sails, treat and polish the chrome, wash down the dusty decks, set up all the safety equipment, have the engine overhauled after the winter, swap the filters on the water maker, restock supplies, and make the boat ship shape. We had very busy 10-12 hour days.

A local fish market

We should be used to it by now, but we are still amazed by the quality of the food (and it costs one third to half the price that we pay at home). The seafood is amazingly fresh, the produce is fantastic, the wine is far less expensive, and most of the dairy products are organic. Our boat mechanic arranged for us to tour a greenhouse in the region (this part of Spain produces much of the vegetables and fruits during the winter for all of Europe). During that trip, we received a whole box of the best tomatoes that we have ever tasted, with flavors that literally explode in your mouth. We have been finding new ways to eat tomatoes over the last 10 days.


Nicole with our boat mechanic

They have a fantastic offer at local restaurants in this region of Spain (Almeria). Order a glass of wine or a beer and you get a tapa dish for free; tapas, like the rest of Spain, are typically a small plate appetizer. And a good glass of wine here doesn’t cost $6-10 US either—typically it will be about two Euros, which is $2.30 US. Along with all the boat preparation, we went out to eat tapas at least once per day to explore new recipes.

Last week was our planned departure from Almerimar, Spain. There was a front coming in with 30-35 knot winds, so we were trying to get out of Almerimar and get up the coast out of the way of the high winds that can last a week or more, essentially trapping us in port.

We took off early from Almerimar as planned. The forecast was for 15-20 knot wind on our nose, but instead we ended up with 25-30 knot winds start the day and it was a bit pounding, with 1-2 meter seas, not quite what we were hoping for our first day back after six months on land. The boat performed very nicely. We sailed for 11 hours to get far ahead of the coming high winds in the straight, and the next morning we had sunny skies, a trace of breeze, and were moored in a pretty fishing port with fantastic food, called Garrucha.

We spent a couple days in Garrucha riding our bicycles, shopping, and getting some rest. Many restaurants in the town were having a special competition (Who has the best tapa?). Order a glass of wine or a beer, and get a tapa to go with the beverage for 3 Euros, about $3.40 US. I love these wonderful food and drink deals. We floated from restaurant to restaurant, trying various specials.

Then we sailed on to Cartagena. Again, we were expecting 15-20 knots, and we ended up with 25-30+ knot winds with 2-meter seas, this time, fortunately the wind was behind us. The boat performed beautifully, and because we were sailing downwind (actually surfing hitting 9-10 knots), it wasn’t pounding. We were very happy to sail into the harbor and tie up to the dock for the evening.

Nicole at the ancient Roman Theatre in Cartagena

Cartagena is a beautiful city with inspiring architecture, although it has also been the most touristy city we have visited by boat in Spain, as cruise ships also stop here. We really enjoyed seeing the ancient Roman theatre in the city center, and shopping at the city market here in Cartagena—it is loaded with amazing food options.

We will be spending 3-4 days enjoying the city before we continue north. We’ve picked a couple of days when the wind should be calmer (we are hoping for 8-15 knots this time), so we’ll see.

I feel blessed to be on this adventure and look forward to sharing health tips and recipes with you along the way. I hope that you have a dream trip planned sometime in your future and that someday you’ll make sure it happens.

I wish you the best of health!

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

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Greek Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Lemon Vinaigrette Fri, 19 Apr 2019 22:45:11 +0000 The post Greek Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Lemon Vinaigrette appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


In Greece, a classic Greek Salad rarely will come with lettuce, but with all the wonderful produce included, you won’t miss it. The Garbanzo beans are optional, by adding them this turns your salad into a full meal. Regarding olives, pitted olives that come in a jar or can tend to be mushy and lose flavor; far better is to buy un-pitted olives in a jar, and if you want to remove the pits before serving for your guests, then do that manually.

Prep Time: 20-25 Minutes

Serves: Four


1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

4 medium tomatoes, sliced into bite-sized wedges

1 large cucumber, sliced lengthwise, then slice again into half rounds

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2-3-inch strips

1 green bell pepper, sliced into 2-3-inch strips

8 ounces kalamata olives (unpitted), drained

4 tablespoons capers

8-12 Peperoncini (small spicy peppers)

15 ounces garbanzo beans, cooked, rinsed, and drained

1 teaspoon dried oregano


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


6 ounces (about 1 cup) feta cheese crumbled in large chunks


In a large salad bowl, combine onion, tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, olives, capers, Peperoncini peppers, garbanzo beans, and oregano.

Whisk dressing ingredients together: olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper. Pour dressing over salad, toss, then garnish with crumbled feta cheese, and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Experiment causes accidental fat loss Tue, 09 Apr 2019 20:11:59 +0000 The post Experiment causes accidental fat loss appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


One study done nearly ten years ago accidentally lead to significant fat loss in certain men and women. The study was designed to treat symptoms that were being caused by irritable bowel disease. The subjects in the treatment group showed less gastrointestinal symptoms with therapy, but they also showed a result nobody initially anticipated, weight loss.

Researchers were surprised at the sudden fat loss.

They eventually found the source.

There are specific “living nutrients” that led to the fat loss…bacteria that could populate the gut microbiome. Over time, there are now five specific strains of probiotic bacteria that have been studied in randomized weight loss studies. Five strains have been shown to promote fat loss.

How do the right gut bacteria promote weight loss?

1. Some bacteria are better at converting food into energy and storing away that energy as fat than others. The right bacteria don’t promote excessive calorie absorption and weight gain.

2. Some bacteria produce a compound called proprionic acid, which travels from the gut to the brain and promotes cravings for sugar and refined carbs. When you eat more sugar and refined carbs, you grow more of these bacteria that produce proprionic acid and it becomes a vicious cycle. When you eat more fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts, you produce bacteria that inhibit the growth of proprionic producing bacteria. You can also take a supplement with the right bacteria that help prevent cravings.

3. Bad bacteria increase gut inflammation, leading to a variety of health problems. Systemic inflammation is one of the leading causes of accelerated aging, but inflammation also slows down your basal metabolism, making you more likely to gain weight. Adding the proper gut bacteria will help to lower gut inflammation, and restore normal calorie burning.

Yet, supporting your gut will do more than help you lose weight. The gut microbiome helps to support many aspects of your health, reduce inflammation, and even support your heart and brain.

Recently, I was consulted by a company that wanted to combine these five bacteria strains into a single capsule that could be taken daily.

If you’d like more information on the five bacteria species that have been studied and shown to support weight loss, then please, Click Here.

In addition to repopulating your gut with healthy bacterial species, please note that you also need to eat ample fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts to nourish and support these bacteria. A healthy diet, with the right nutrient support, should include probiotic bacteria to support your gut.

You should also support your gut microbiome by consuming probiotic microbes.

Excellent sources of live probiotics include:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Natto, tempeh, miso, kombucha
  • Olives, Pickled vegetables, Sauerkraut

You can get 2 to 5 billion microbes per serving of these pro-biotic rich foods every day. Many supplements, however, provide 25 billion microbes per capsule and are a much faster way to repopulate your gut microbiome. Taking a gut probiotic will help shift your gut microbiome within a 2-3 month window of time.

The best way to support your gut is with the combination of eating lots of fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts, consuming probiotic-rich foods regularly, and boosting your gut microbiome with the right bacteria. Click here to learn more about FloraSpring’s five probiotic strains.

I wish you the best of health!

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

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Roasted Chicken Marinated with Lemon, Mint, and Parsley Fri, 05 Apr 2019 22:00:25 +0000 The post Roasted Chicken Marinated with Lemon, Mint, and Parsley appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Flavorful, super easy meal to prepare.

Serves: Four

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Marinating Time: 1-2 hours

Baking time: 1 hour 10 minutes


Small hen, whole chicken, about 3.5 pounds (organic-fed, cage-free)

2 medium lemons, chopped (rind and juice, seeds discarded)

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper


Marinate chicken with chopped lemon, mint and parsley for 1-2 hours, occasionally turning the chicken and spooning liquid and herbs over the bird and into the cavity.

Preheat oven to 395° (F). Transfer chicken to a roasting pan. Massage olive oil, Italian herbs, salt, and black pepper over the chicken. Bake for about 70-75 minutes, until deep thigh temperature reaches at least 165° F with a meat thermometer. Transfer whole chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.


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

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How to Heal Leaky Gut (It Could Be Caused by Antibiotic Use) Mon, 25 Mar 2019 22:00:26 +0000 The post How to Heal Leaky Gut (It Could Be Caused by Antibiotic Use) appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Leaky gut has become an epidemic that affects millions of people around the world—even though many of them aren’t aware of the underlying condition that causes their symptoms ranging from digestive problems and mood imbalances to autoimmunity, and other chronic illnesses.

Some of the common triggers that can initiate leaky gut syndrome is antibiotic use, which can kill billions of gut microbes and leave you prone to this condition, and from following the SAD Standard American Diet, which is fiber deficient and loaded with sugar.

Traditionally-trained physicians often fail to recognize the critical importance of gut health, or how a leaky gut can affect your whole body and mind. Yet, many traditionally trained doctors will start you on a course of antibiotics for an infection, and ignore the importance of restoring and repopulating your gut microbiome. Your intestinal tract is the foundation of your body’s immune system and a key gatekeeper that lets in nutrients while preventing pathogens and toxins from entering your bloodstream.

When the lining of the intestinal tract is injured, such as when bad microbes overwhelm our gut (in medical circles we call this dysbiosis) the gut lining becomes inflamed and starts to leak food and microbes from the gut lumen into the blood stream. Our gut is designed to allow nutrients to pass from the gut lumen to our blood stream, but food and stool are not supposed to leak across this lining into the blood stream.

A leaky gut causes a cascade of problems, as foreign particles leak into the blood stream. The body responds with inflammatory compounds and body wide inflammation increases dramatically. The inflamed gut with microbes and foreign particles passing across the gut lining alerts the immune system to attack, causing additional damage, and as the system inflammation increases, this creates a vicious circle that is hard to stop.

In the short term a leaky gut makes you achier, you might notice brain fog and decreased concentration, your energy drops, and you have increased bloating and other GI symptoms. If this is allowed to continue long term, it can trigger an auto-immune attack with your immune system attacking your own tissues (such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, and psoriasis). Over time, the dysbiosis will lead to substantial weight gain, and the prolonged rise in inflammation increases your risk for heart disease and memory loss.

People who consume probiotic food sources generally have a healthy gut microbiome and are less likely to develop gut inflammation and gut leaking. Great sources of probiotic foods include sources with and without dairy and/or soy:

  • Plain, organic yogurt, plain, organic kefir, Cottage cheese
  • Miso, tempeh, kombucha, natto
  • Sauerkraut, pickles, olives in brine, pickled vegetables

The leaky gut syndrome is common in people who follow the SAD Standard American Diet, which lacks adequate fiber and includes an overload of sugar and refined carbs that cause inflammation and overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Some medications can also cause a leaky gut, in particular antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Aleve, Advil, Celebrex) are used to treat joint, tendon, and muscle aches. They do temporarily decrease joint pain and inflammation, but they can also cause major gastro-intestinal injury, bleeding, and initiate leaky gut syndrome. My general rule with my patients is to avoid the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and if you use them, make it rare use, and not more than 5-10 days per year.

Microbiome Killers

There are a variety of compounds that if consumed, can kill billions of healthy gut microbes. Some of the most common are antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals we are exposed to, such as weed killers.


Just one short 5-7-10 day course of antibiotics can kill billions of gut microbes and disrupt the normal balance in your intestinal tract for months or even years. This is why I’ve been adamant with my clinic patients that they avoid taking antibiotics for cold, bronchitis, or intestinal symptoms that will likely resolve on their own. Antibiotics play a vital role when treating serious infections, such as pneumonia, cellulitis, or a kidney infection, but according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) well over one third of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are used inappropriately. Always ask your physician if you can safely give an infection time to recover on its own before starting a course of antibiotics.

If you do need to start a course of antibiotic therapy, you should also start a probiotic course that contains at least 25-50 billion bacteria per dose per day for several months to help restore normal gut microbes. If this seems like a big dose, consider that you have trillions of microbes in your intestinal tract and most of them will die with they pass through stomach acid, this is the minimal dosage that will likely make a difference.  It is also important to follow a high fiber diet that is loaded with vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts as this is a great way to provide prebiotic fiber for your gut bacteria to multiply and repopulate your intestinal tract; without fiber, your gut microbes will starve and die. One of my favorite probiotic supplements is called ProMed50—I’ll share more on this probiotic shortly.

Weed Killers

One of the most commonly used weed killers in the United States today, and globally, is Roundup, a glyphosate compound. Not only does it turn out that it kills weeds, but if consumed it also kills healthy gut bacteria. Multiple studies show that trace quantities of a glyphosate will kill healthy gut microbes. There is also plenty of concern that consuming Roundup might increase cancer risk. Roundup use is extremely common, and many agricultural products are tainted with this product. The only way to effectively avoid it is to buy organically grown foods that ban the use of Roundup.

Artificial Sweeteners

Whoever initially created the artificial sweetener Splenda (sucralose) must have thought that they found a gold mine. By attaching chloride to a sugar molecule, you block the absorption of sugar across the intestinal tract. When you consume chlorinated sugar, you taste sweetness, but don’t absorb any calories. Initially, this seems like a great way to allow people to consume sweet tasting food products without the calories and impact on blood sugar levels.

But the same way chlorinated water kills bacteria in water, chlorinated sugar kills some of the healthy bacteria in your gut. So, this turned out not to be such a great idea after all.

Many scientists have reported that a variety of artificial chemical sweeteners (Splenda®, Saccarhin® and Nutrasweet®) impact healthy gut bacteria, and promote populations of gut bacteria that are more efficient at absorbing calories. And the impact of artificial sweeteners on the gut microbiome appears to apply to other compounds as well, not just those related to chlorinated sugar. One group of Israeli researchers have reported that artificial sweeteners enhance the populations of gut bacteria that are more efficient at pulling energy from our food and turning that energy into fat.

My best advice is to avoid all sweeteners, but if you must use one, then choose a natural option, such as stevia or xylitol (or erythritol).

Of interest, many Europeans have called for artificial sweeteners to be banned, and their use has never reached the same levels noticed in the United States. The European appeal for natural food sources, and an abhorrence to the idea of artificial flavors may have saved many people in European countries from being harmed by excessive use of artificial sweeteners.

Functional Medicine Steps to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome:

  • Remove or reduce negative factors such as inflammatory foods (sugar, gluten), infections, use of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil), and artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Nutrasweet, and Saccarhin).
  • Replace depleted ingredients that promote gut health, such as digestive enzymes and 10 servings of fiber per day.
  • Re-inoculate beneficial bacteria to restore a healthy balance in your gut.
  • Repair your gut by providing essential ingredients (L-Glutamine is essential).

If you are going to add a probiotic supplement, ideally you need multiple strains (at least types of bacteria), preferably with strains that will survive passage through the stomach, and at ann adequate dosage. After a non-avoidable course of antibiotics, aim for a dosage of at least 50 billion microbes daily for at least two months.

My favorite probiotic supplement to repopulate your gut is: ProbioMed 50, which has the following features:

  • HIGH POTENCY 50 BILLION CFU – Featuring ten of the most highly-researched probiotic strains, with each strain and specific CFU count being fully disclosed. These strains are capable of surviving the harsh journey to the intestines, where they can support GI health & immune health.
  • DELAYED-RELEASE TECHNOLOGY – These capsules use delayed release technology as well as unique moisture-resistant, desiccant-lined packaging to further enhance survivability.
  • SHELF STABLE & DAIRY FREE – This novel packaging removes the need for refrigeration, making this dairy-free probiotic convenient for travelers and anyone on the go.
  • HIGHER STANDARDS. BETTER RESULTS – Designs for Health maintains a strict, no-compromises approach to quality raw material selection. We never cut corners with substandard ingredients. This product is Non-GMO.

How does L-Glutamine Repair Leaky Gut?

L-Glutamine is the most common amino acid in your body and a critical building block that your body uses to produce proteins. The cells along the lining of your intestine are higher dependent upon L-Glutamine to repair themselves; this is the primary amino acid that they use.

Regenerate Cells Faster to Restore Your Gut Lining. The great news is that your gut cells naturally turn over every few days, which is why my patients often fully repair their intestinal lining in only 3-4 weeks. L-Glutamine also helps to seal the leaks in your gut (tight junctions that exist between intestinal cells) in your gut and restores your gut lining to a healthy state even faster.

L-glutamine has also been shown to help help to heal stomach ulcers. It also helps support normal gut healing for anyone struggling with irritable bowel syndrome.

To provide your gut with the nutrients it needs, plan to take at 3,000 mg of L-glutamine daily for at least 4 weeks. If you avoid microbiome toxins, and you support your gut properly, the good news is that it only takes about one month to heal your gut. Options are a L-glutamine powder  (or use two capsules of 850 mg of L-Glutamine twice per day.

Another product that I have used to heal heartburn, is also useful to heal a leaky gut. It is called GI Revive. It contains a mixture of compounds that help to heal a leaky gut. Notice that if you are also using GI Revive, you’ll only need half the original L-glutamine dosage as this product also provides L-glutamine:

  • Glutamine 1,500 mg daily
  • Aloe Vera, which supports the intestinal mucosal lining
  • Slippery elm and marshmallow root support mucous membrane health
  • Licorice extract to soothe the stomach and intestinal lining

The key to preventing leaky gut syndrome is to eat ample fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts daily, to consume at least 1-2 servings of a probiotic food source daily, and to avoid microbiome toxins, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and artificial chemical sweeteners.

To heal your leaky gut, focus on taking all the same preventative steps, plus supporting your gut with supplements such as probiotics, L-glutamine , and an additional supplement, such as GI Revive.


I wish you the best of health!

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

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