Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Dr. Gourmet Newsletter:
September 18, 2006

Dr. Tim Says...

Food safety is always a tough issue to write about, because I love food so much and I don't like to have to think that it might not be safe. I don't consider Dr. Gourmet to be the "food police," and I want readers to love and enjoy what they eat. I do, however, think about safety every time I am in the kitchen, and this week's report of contaminated spinach in the marketplace points out how aware we must all be.

There are commonly contaminated foods that physicians learn about during medical school that can easily make one ill if not handled carefully. The classic example is the potato or macaroni salad made with mayonnaise that sits on a picnic table in the hot sun. We also are made well aware of the risk of poultry, ground meats and some fish.

That said, this week's announcement on September 14th by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that they're tracking cases of bagged spinach that are contaminated with a particularly bad strain of E. coli, is especially worrisome. As of an update on September 17th, 109 cases of illness with E. coli 0157.H7 have been linked to spinach sold in bags by Natural Selection Foods. Food Safety

Ask Dr. Gourmet

My mother is on Coumadin. She is also on Vicodin for pain. She is chronically tired all the time! Is Coumadin a contributing factor for this tiredness? I know that the Vicodin is. Can you help me know what foods she could eat to boost her energy?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Your question is a common one that I often encounter. Certainly the Vicodin can be a major contributing factor to your mother's fatigue. Using narcotics in the elderly for pain control can be a challenge.

Fatigue is not a common complaint of those using Coumadin® (warfarin), but I have learned in my practice that patients will react to medications in different ways - so it is possible that your mother's tiredness is related. As a physician I always have to ask if there is some medication that I might be prescribing that could cause issues. There are common medications that some take while taking Coumadin that might be involved. These include beta blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, etc.), calcium channel blockers (amlodipine, diltiazem) as well as many anti-depressants. More on Coumadin and Fatigue

Featured Recipe:
Oven Seared Hanger Steak

Julia Child once said, "The only time to eat diet food is while you are waiting for the steak to cook."

I couldn't agree more. Eating great food is eating healthy and eating healthy starts with great food. Hanger steak is a great choice because it's full of flavor but lower in fat. This is a quick and easy recipe that works fantastically for a weeknight meal or an elegant dinner party. Oven Seared Hanger Steak

Featured Ingredient:
Hanger Steak

This cut of beef has become quite popular lately. The name of the cut is derived from the fact that the steak "hangs" between the last rib and the loin. It is part of the diaphragm and is a very tender cut except for the tough membrane that runs through the center of the steak. After the beef on either side of the membrane is cut away they resemble two small tenderloins. (If you are not experienced, your butcher can trim this for you.)

The trimmed steak is very lean yet intensely flavored. Cook it as you would tenderloin or flank steak over high heat either grilling, broiling or pan grilling in the oven.

4 ounces hanger steak = 174 calories, 8g fat, 3g sat fat, 3g mono fat, 24g protein, <1g carbohydrates, 60mg sodium, 39mg cholesterol, Vitamin K 1 mcg.

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.

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