Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Breakfast- What to Eat??

Dr. Steven Horvitz- Reading between the Lines:
Bringing you healthcare information you can trust!

Breakfast: The first meal of the day, usually eaten in the morning. Comes from medieval times "to break the fast."

Many of us do not give ourselves enough time for breakfast as we rush out the door in the morning. We either skip breakfast, or grab something quick on the fly, such as a cup of coffee, a bagel, or a pastry. We need to stay away from processed carbohydrates such as cereals, pastries, bagels and breads. These processed carbs get digested quickly and drop our blood sugar within a few hours, leaving us hungry, tired, and cranky. Not the best of choices to fuel our body for the rest of the day!

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By comparison, protein, fat and fiber will satisfy your hunger, and should keep you going well through lunchtime. A balanced meal contains a good amount of protein, some healthy fat and fiber, and a small amount of non-processed carbohydrates. At home this can be a few eggs and fresh fruit. It can be a fresh apple with peanut butter. It can even be leftover tuna or chicken salad. Don't say "eeehhww, tuna or chicken for breakfast." How many of you have eggs for dinner?

So what do I have for breakfast? First a quick little story. In just the past year, my wife started enjoying a Starbucks latte. Of course, being the kind husband that I am, I was "volunteered" to go to Starbucks and pick up the latte for her. Now how many of us can go to a store and purchase food or beverage for someone, and not get one ourselves? Since I am not a coffee drinker, one morning I decided to try one of their protein shakes. It was a blend of orange-mango juice, milk, a banana, and some protein powder. A strange thing happened. I finished the shake by 9am, and when lunch came around at 1PM, I was not hungry. And I had not had any snacks to keep me going. I felt good, my work was getting done, and I felt well balanced. So I decided to continue with the Starbucks protein shakes. One small problem. When I received my credit card bill and saw the amount I spent just at Starbucks, I understood why their stock was the darling of Wall Street many years ago.

So what does one do? I decided to pull out my blender and try to make some protein shakes on my own. I will not mention my first few attempts, but my last two turned out very good, and kept my appetite at bay until lunchtime, and saved me on my last credit card bill as well.
Recipes can be seen below:

Orange-Banana Protein Shake - close to Starbucks Vivanno shake
Take about 6-8 ice cubes and crush them in your blender.
Add 4 ounces or orange juice or orange-mango juice.
Add 3 ounces of milk. I prefer 2% milk.
Add 1 banana, best if in the fridge overnight.
Add 1 scoop of whey protein powder.
Blend all above until mixed through.
Apple-Cinnamon spice protein shake - my daughter's favorite
Take about 6-8 ice cubes and crush them in your blender.
Add 2 ounces of brewed apple-cinnamon spice tea
Add 3 ounces of apple cider
Add 2 ounces of milk. I prefer 2% milk.
Add 1 banana, best if in the fridge overnight.
Add 1 scoop of whey protein powder.
Blend all above until mixed through.

If you have any good homemade protein shake recipes that you would like to share, please send them to me at

Take-home message:

Breakfast is important. Do not skip it. Keep the carbs low and the the protein moderate to keep you going well through lunchtime!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Medicine
Founder of The Institute for Medical Wellness

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stomach Bugs and Peanut Butter Recall

January 22, 2009
I have seen alot of cases of a "stomach bug" at my office recently. While most of these cases resolve on their own within 24-48 hours, some take longer to resolve. Usually, our bodies have the ability to rid itself of the infection on its own. In fact, the vomitting and diarrhea episodes are our bodies defensive reaction to rid itself of the infection. Unfortunately, this "defensive reaction" does not feel very good, and can cause some nasty side effects such as dehydration, mineral imbalances and sometimes hospitalization. These infections are more worrisome in infants and the elderly, as these groups tend to dehydrate more easily. As most of these bugs are caused by a virus, there is no antibiotic that will work as treatment.
A food recall is now in the news. Some peanut butter products have been found to contain salmonella, a bacteria that can also cause severe gastrointestinal illness, and sometimes deaths. The following is from Yahoo News:

Excerpts from the article below:
FDA: 125-plus products recalled in peanut outbreak
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer - Wed Jan 21, 2:57 PM PST
WASHINGTON - More than 125 products have been recalled in a salmonella-and-peanuts investigation that keeps getting bigger, federal health officials said Wednesday. The list ranges from goodies like cookies and ice cream to energy bars. Even food for pooches may not be entirely safe, with a national company recalling some of its dog treats.

On Tuesday, PetSmart recalled seven kinds of its Grreat Choice dog biscuits. On Wednesday, the weight loss company NutriSystem issued a recall for peanut butter granola bars. And some Asian foods made with peanut sauces are starting to turn up on the recalls list.

To help consumers, the Food and Drug Administration has set up on its Web site a searchable database of recalled peanut products. "We expect (the) number to continue to increase," said Stephen Sundlof, head of the FDA's food safety program. No major brands of peanut butter sold in jars are implicated.
FDA peanut products database:

Should you have a "stomach bug" that lasts more than 3-4 days, or you feel dehydrated, you should contact the office at 856-231-0590 to be evaluated, as there may be other causes for your illness other than a "stomach bug".
On a brighter note, it is now Girl Scout Cookie Sales time. As many of you know, my daughter has been selling Girl Scout Cookies for a few years now. Luckily these cookies have been deemed safe from the peanut butter recall.
While most of you know that I am not a proponent of "processed carbohydrates", it is tough to turn down a girl scout, especially when it is your daughter. So we will be helping her sell the cookies, and they are now available at the office.
Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Medicine
Founder of The Institute for Medical Wellness