Dr. Gourmet Newsletter: September 28, 2009

Dr. Tim Says....

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.[This is another in our series on the How and Why of Eating Healthy.]

The government created rules back in the 1980s for nutrition information labeling on packaged foods. Before the regulations were passed, the only information required was a listing of the ingredients in the package, in order from the largest amount to the smallest amount. Other than that, we were pretty much on our own, and had to guess how much of something might or might not be in any particular food. Fortunately, it's a bit easier now.

Even so, reading a food label can be a bit of a challenge because of all the different numbers one is faced with. For sodium, the percentages listed on packages are based on a total daily intake of 2,400 milligrams (mg). This is a much lower sodium intake than most of us are eating today, with the average American consuming between 4,000 and 6,000 mg per day. Some estimates place that intake much higher - in the 10,000 mg per day range for western diets (that's ten GRAMS of sodium). How to Look at Sodium on Food Labels

Featured Recipes

Cheesy Quinoa | Low Sodium Version

ParmigianoThis is a super simple recipe, but don't let that deceive you. Most of the time the most simple dishes are the most sublime and this is one of them. The quinoa has a nice nutty flavor and if you like cheese grits, this is sort of like that but with so much more depth of flavor. You can serve this with any recipe that you would grits. A poached egg on top is especially delicious, but as a side dish for an omelet or scrambled eggs it's perfect. Instead of Barbecue Shrimp and Grits use this Cheese Quinoa recipe. Yum!

Of course you could take this in so many directions. A bit of roasted garlic, some caramelized onions or a few sprigs of fresh rosemary is a bit like gilding the lily but go on and do it anyway.

This recipe is safe for those on Coumadin (warfarin) and those with GERD / Acid Reflux. It is gluten-free. Those who are lactose-intolerant but can tolerate cheese may be able to enjoy it.

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