Dr. Gourmet Newsletter: September 8, 2008

Dr. Tim Says....

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.I receive a lot of questions to the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature of the website about diverticulosis. Here are some examples:

“Is eating strawberries a no-no for persons with Diverticulitis? I note that you say that the seeds in cucumbers and tomatoes are really not a problem.”

“Will you please give me some information on how to eat for diverticulitis - do I really have to 'seed' a can of tomatoes? Can I still be a spontaneous cook?”

People with diverticulosis have small out-pouchings of the colon. It is a very common condition with 1/3 of the population developing diverticulosis by the age of 60 and 2/3 by the time they reach 85. Oftentimes the pouches will become infected and the result can be quite serious with abscess formation, hospitalization and frequently surgery. The longstanding theory has been that the seeds might become stuck in the small diverticula (pouches) and create a setting for infection (known as diverticulitis).

Those of you who follow Dr. Gourmet commentary know how important having clear evidence about a condition is before making recommendations to patients. Diverticulitis

Featured Recipe

Creole Frittata | Low Sodium Version

Bowl of Cajun / Creole SpiceFrittatas make an easy and elegant alternative to the ordinary breakfast and they only take a few minutes to make. You don't have to use the oven (if it's summer and you don't want to heat up the kitchen, for instance). Simply reduce the heat on the range to very low and put a cover over the pan. You'll want to remove the lid about every 3 - 4 minutes or so to let the steam escape.

When choosing Creole seasoning make sure to choose not only one labeled "no salt added" but also check to see that salt substitute is not an ingredient. Often potassium chloride is used and will give a salty metallic taste to your dishes.

I have used three excellent brands including Paul Prudhomme, McCormick and Spice Hunter. They are sodium and potassium free -- just spice.

This recipe is Coumadin® (warfarin) safe and gluten free. Those who are lactose intolerant should note that it contains cheese - you may or may not be able to tolerate it. It is likely too spicy for those with GERD / Acid Reflux.

Fat Per Ounce in Cheese

Cheese averages about 8 to 10 grams of fat per ounce. This is only part of the issue when using cheeses in recipes. Just because a cheese is "high fat" doesn't mean that it's off limits. I use cheeses that are higher in fat but in lower amounts. Two ounces of a bland low-fat cheese can easily have more fat and calories than an ounce of a good quality higher fat cheese.


The intense flavor of parmesan is a good example. Averaging about 9-10 grams per ounce, sometimes a half an ounce is almost too much for a recipe. As with any ingredient, using the best quality goes a long way. Using Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of domestic parmesan will enhance the flavor of a recipe without having to add more cheese (and thus more fat). Good quality blue cheese is another example. Full of flavor and you only need a little.

Don't get me wrong; there are a lot of lower fat cheeses with plenty of flavor. You can find low-fat cheddar and Swiss on the market that range between 4-6 grams per ounce. In many recipes these cheeses cook better because they don't separate when melting (as do full fat cheddar cheeses).

Non-fat or very low-fat cheeses are something to avoid. They taste terrible eaten plain or in recipes. They don't cook well and in some cases they won't melt at all (sort of like eating orange plastic).

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
Dr. Gourmet

eatTHISdiet for Coumadin Users:
The Book

Many of our readers have written to ask about a book on Coumadin use, and we're pleased to announce that eatTHISdiet for Coumadin Users is now available for purchase in both spiral-bound paperback and PDF format!

eatTHISdiet for Coumadin Users

Over 200 pages long, it's packed with vital information for Coumadin users, including information on dosage, interactions, and contra-indications. Most importantly, it contains a complete six-week eatTHISdiet for Coumadin Users, with weekly meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes, plus frequently asked questions and answers. It's just $27.95 for the spiral-bound book and 14.95 for the eBook! To purchase, visit: eatTHISdiet for Coumadin Users: The Book.

Try My eatTHISdiet!

My eatTHISdiet is Dr. Gourmet's newest version of his popular diet plan. This free and easy to use meal planner can help you create two-week meal plans for your entire family. It'll even make use of the leftovers!

Use it to lose weight or just eat healthier with Dr. Gourmet's delicious and healthy recipes. On Coumadin®? Lactose intolerant or gluten sensitive? Have GERD / acid reflux? My eatTHISdiet will create a plan for you, too! Get started on My eatTHISdiet.

Also available: My eatTHISdiet - The Comfort Food Diet. Eat the foods you love and still eat healthy!

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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