Dr. Gourmet Newsletter: August 3, 2007

Chef Tim Says....

TomatillosTomatillos: These lovely fruits are in the same family as tomatoes and are often called Mexican Green Tomatoes or Tomatoes Verde. Sometimes they are called Husk-tomatoes. Native to Central America, like tomatoes, they were taken back to Europe and the widest cultivation there has been in Spain. They are widely available in markets and most large chain grocery stores.

While tomatillos look like small green tomatoes covered with a papery husk, that is where the resemblance ends. The skin of the tomatillo is tougher and the meat of the fruit is coarse to mealy (of course a lot of the tomatoes on the market now are coarse and mealy but in a bad way). Tomatillos

Featured Recipe

Chicken with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce
This is a great summer sauce and goes well on almost any fish, meat or poultry that you can grill. It's probably best to choose ingredients that have some flavor on their own. Chicken, pork tenderloin, top round of beef are all great choices. If you're going to have fish, choose one with a lot of flavor. Trout or catfish might get lost where salmon, red snapper or sea bass would work great. The sauce is not too spicy but can be made more or less with a little more or less cayenne pepper.

Ask Dr. Gourmet

My question to you is not about foods containing Vitamin K but rather the use of nutritional supplements while on medication. I am not only taking warfarin due to two incidents of DVT and being Factor V Leiden Mutation positive, but also:

1) Hydrochlorot and Diovan for blood pressure
2) Actos and Metformin for Type II Diabetes
3) Vytorin for cholesterol

I want to get as healthy as I can with natural alternatives, perhaps even eliminating the need for these medications. I am 41, overweight and a non-smoker/non-drinker.

Can you provide any insight into which supplements would be beneficial and which I should absolutely avoid?

I have some specific examples in mind. What do you think of the following?
1) Rhodiola Rosea
2) Aralia Mandshurica
3) Georgian Pomegranate
4) Caucasian Bilberry

Dr. Gourmet Says....

You should absolutely avoid such supplements while taking warfarin. There is very little solid research done on supplements and you are putting yourself at very high risk by taking them along with your Coumadin�. There is with the other medications you are taking as well. While there are specific reports about bilberry having interactions with warfarin, it is more complicated than simply whether a specific supplement will cause a problem for you.

Because there is little regulation of the supplement industry, you are never completely sure of what you are getting. Just because the label says bilberry doesn't mean that there are not other supplements contained in the pill you take. Likewise, the source of these products, the quality and the potency varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. I recommend that my patients absolutely avoid such "natural" alternatives.

The best natural alternative for you is to discuss a plan with your physician for diet and exercise to help you lose weight. At 41, with the health problems that you have, you want to be in top form. The evidence for the positive effect on health and longevity of eating a lower calorie diet and exercise is compelling. You can read about many such studies on my website in the Dr. Tim Says... section. More....

Chicken Safety, Temperature of the Meat, Cleanup...

Unfortunately, in this day and age you have to be very careful when handling chicken. The estimates by the CDC of contamination with bacteria are frightening.

Use the freshest chicken possible. If there is any odd odor don�t use it. Rinse the chicken thoroughly in cold water prior to preparing it.

Only cut chicken on a plastic cutting board and wash the cutting board, your hands, and your knives in soapy water as soon as you are finished. This reduces the risk of spreading the bacteria to other foods.

Cooking thoroughly is the key to good handling of chicken. Use a small instant thermometer to check for the right temperatures. Whole chicken (or any poultry) should reach 180°F in the thigh or 170°F in the breast. The recommendation is similar for pieces of cut chicken.

Free range chickens have not been proven to be safer. Many of the growers of free range chickens don't use antibiotics and feed their chickens carefully, but there is no proof that this results in a bacteria-free bird. My experience is, however, that free range chickens taste better.

Did You Know?

What's Your Body Mass Index?
A lower Body Mass Index means you live a longer, healthier life. Do you need to reduce your BMI? Find out now.

Waist-Hip Ratio
This easy-to-calculate measurement is a good indicator of your risk of health problems like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. What's your WHR?

Hand on Heart

Hand on Heart

Dr. Harlan's latest cookbook, Hand on Heart, includes several of the recipes from drgourmet.com, plus a few that were developed specifically for the book, like Banoffee Pie! More on what's inside.

Cooking to Reduce the Burn

Cooking to Reduce the Burn

Cooking to Reduce the Burn was created specifically for those suffering from GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease). With Tummy Tips and easy recipes to help you eat well and eat healthy without painful acid reflux. Download it for FREE!

© 2007 Harlan Bros. Productions | www.drgourmet.com
Can't see the images? Read it online at http://www.drgourmet.com/newsletter/080607.shtml | Read past issues.