Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yummy Sweet Potato Puree

With Thanksgiving only a couple of months away and a new diet regimen to follow, I have been trying to find some recipes that have fewer calories and are not on my "Foods to Avoid" list.  One of the dishes I typically serve at Thanksgiving is a sweet potato casserole that probably has as many calories in one serving as the average complete meal.   This recipe has been a staple on our holiday table for decades, so if I am going to replace it, it better be with something good!

Enter Martha Rose Shulman and her Sweet Potato Puree recipe.  When the family got together a couple of weeks back, I whipped this up and asked for permission to use it in place of our traditional sweet potato dish.  Thumbs up all around!

Made with fresh sweet potatoes, apples, honey and just a little butter to keep it interesting, this is a truly healthy alternative to the sweet potato casseroles of days gone by.

Give it a try!

In good health...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fighting Cervical Cancer With Vinegar and Ingenuity

Amazing, just amazing!  Every year, more than 250,000 women die of cervical cancer, nearly 85 percent of them in poor and middle-income countries. Now it appears that household vinegar is the miracle cure, with diagnosis simple, brief, inexpensive and readily available.

Read more:

In good health...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Mark Bittman's column on junk food is a revealing counter to the argument that eating junk food is cheaper than a healthy home-cooked meal.  He smashes the myth by pricing dinner for four at McDonald's ($28.00) versus a home-cooked roast chicken, vegetables, salad and milk for four to six ($14.00).   Click here for the cost breakdown and here for the roast chicken dinner recipe.

BTW, he also smashes the "I'm too busy" myth.  In 2010 the average American, regardless of weekly earnings, watched no less than an hour and a half of television per day.  So if you factor that along with the time it takes to drive to and order food at a fast food restaurant, it would seem that time is not the issue.

More troubling were the results of a study by the Scripps Research Institute that follow:
A 2009 study by the Scripps Research Institute indicates that overconsumption of fast food “triggers addiction-like neuroaddictive responses” in the brain, making it harder to trigger the release of dopamine. In other words the more fast food we eat, the more we need to give us pleasure; thus the report suggests that the same mechanisms underlie drug addiction and obesity.

In another study from the University of North Carolina that tracked the eating habits of 5,000 people over 15 years, researchers found that living near a supermarket had little impact on how healthly people ate and that for every grocery store there are five fast-food restaurants.  This would seem to reinforce the "addiction" results from the study done by the Scripps Research Institute.

To read Bittman's full column, click here:

To read more on America's "Food deserts" click here:

In good health...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Patient Voices: Sjogren’s Syndrome

How nice to find such comprehensive coverage of Sjogren's in the New York Times Health section today.  There are a number of articles--some a few years old, others written in the last couple of weeks, since Venus Williams' diagnosis came to light.  Click here... to read an interview with Dr. Vivino, Director of the Penn Sjogren's Syndome Center in Philadelphia, published back in 2008.  Then make sure to roam around and read other articles.

But if you do nothing else, listen to the interviews of the Sjogren's patients.    Click here...and listen to five people tell the story of our lives!  The combination of the articles and the interviews provide the reader with both knowledge and understanding of the challenges Sjoggies face on a daily basis.  Good job NY Times!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Immune System Trained to Kill Cancer

Wow!  An amazing article that takes a look at what was done to cure two patients of leukemia with a gene therapy that may be useful against other cancers.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly. John F. Kennedy 
Remembering 9/11

At home...

A beautiful nighttime shot of the new "Tower 1"

A stunning shot across one of the reflecting pools

Families around the reflecting pool provide some perspective on 
the tremendous height of the fountain walls

A day to put politics aside

The ceremony at the World Trade Center

The President and First Lady in  Shanksville, PA

The Shanksville, PA ceremony

The flag displayed at the Pentagon

The memorial park at the Pentagon

...and Remembering 9/11
around the world

Enormous American flag being displayed in Paris, France

Doves released in Berlin, Germany

A rally in Jakarta, Indonesia

High school students by a damaged replica of the Statue of Liberty in Ishinomaki, Japan

Gawad Kalinga village in Baseco Compound in Manila, Philippines pays tribute

Soldiers in Kunar Province in Afghanistan

Soldiers in Paktika, Afghanistan

Soldier at US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan

US Marines in New Plymouth, New Zealand

Londoner pays tribute at the memorial entitled "After 9/11"

Clerkenwell Fire Station in London

Prince Charles in London

U.S. Consul General Frank C. Urbancic, Jr. lays a wreath at Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Australia

Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.   Jawaharlal Nehru

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering September 11, 2001

The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.  --Rudolph W. Giuliani. December 31, 2001.
I live in the New York metropolitan area and even though we visit the city on a fairly regular basis, I have never gone down to "Ground Zero."  Initially we felt no need to go down and view the ruins--our son's emotional well-being was paramount.  As an eye-witness to the tragedy and one of the thousands of people who had to find their way out of the ruins, our focus was on him, as he came to terms with the horrific events he had witnessed.

Now, ten years later, I reflect on the World Trade Center that was and the World Trade Center that will be.  While all the victims of 9/11 and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers, I have no need to revisit the tragic events of that day.  Instead I choose to share two websites I found that pay tribute to the New York spirit.  The New York Times has provided an interactive, panoramic re-creation of the World Trade Center complex that we knew before that tragic day ten years ago.  To view, click here.

The second link is all about tomorrow's promise.  This video provides footage of the new tower going up and the beautiful reflecting pools that sit in the footprints of the original towers.  It took a long, long time to get to this point, but the resulting memorial park is beautifully done and the new Tower 1 is going up at warp speed.

Below is the site plan and here is a link to the video on the World Trade Center website.

At long last, it is time to go back.

Friday, September 9, 2011

7 Tips for Transitioning to a Healthier Diet

I recently found this post by Sonnet Lauberth on One Green Planet and thought readers would find it useful.  Many of us understand the value of healthier eating, but making that transition to more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods is a daunting proposition.  These useful tips to help you get there are spot on!

...Read more

In good health...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pill Advised--Another Great Website!

The internet is a wonderful information source. Once again I have stumbled across a website that some of you may be aware of--I was not. It is called Pill Advised and it can aid in understanding the interaction between medications and supplements that you are taking or planning to take.


If you are taking medications and vitamins, but don’t know how they interact with each other, you can not only learn about any unintended consequences, you can find out how supplements can work in harmony with medications to enhance care or reduce their side effects.

In addition, the blog posts cover everything from Natural Anti- Inflammatory Foods and Supplements That Help Arthritis to Food Allergies Cause Migraine Headaches and everything in between.  Also included is an Herb Guide and a host of other interesting information.  In a nutshell, it combines the best of conventional and nutritional therapies.

The website's founder, Leo Galland, M.D., has been recognized internationally as a leader in the field of Nutritional Medicine for the past 20 years. A board-certified internist, Dr. Galland is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Nutrition, an Honorary Professor of the International College of Nutrition, and the author of more than 30 scientific articles and textbook chapters, including an invited chapter on Functional Foods in the Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition, 2nd Edition (Elsevier 2005). He has also written two highly acclaimed popular books, Superimmunity for Kids (Dell 1989) and Power Healing (Random House 1997), and has created Drug-Nutrient Workshop.

Dr. Galland received his education at Harvard University and the New York University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine at the N.Y.U.-Bellevue Medical Center. He has held faculty positions at New York University, Rockefeller University, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the University of Connecticut. In addition to a full-time private practice in New York City, Dr. Galland has been committed to educating physicians and other health professionals in the scientific application of nutrition to clinical practice.

If you are taking medications and supplements, don't miss this website.  You can check it all out at

In good health...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sjogren's in the News--Mixed Emotions

What a whirlwind of emotions!

I learned that Venus Williams had been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome back when the first Tweet was posted, but I held off on posting anything on my blog while I sorted through my thoughts on this stunning news. Like my fellow Sjoggies, I received phone calls and emails when friends and family heard the news.  Like my fellow Sjoggies, I felt a sense of satisfaction that this invisible illness had just been given airtime around the world.  Like my fellow Sjoggies, I then felt a bit guilty for feeling that satisfaction, because like my fellow Sjoggies I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone--particularly someone who is young and vibrant like Venus Williams.  And like my fellow Sjoggies, I hope that she will be able to get her symptoms under control and continue her career...but I worry that will be hard to do, given the amount of stress the game can produce.

So given the global airtime that has resulted from this announcement, I have been reading a lot. I have read countless articles with frustration, as they misrepresented the symptoms, complications, medications, etc. My personal favorite was Wesley Mizutani, a rheumatologist on staff at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley. He was quoted as saying it could be worse. "If I had to choose an autoimmune disease to get, Sjogren's would be one of the milder ones." Thanks Doc! I get what he is saying, but really! I'm not feeling the love!

Or how about this one posted yesterday:
Venus Williams and Sjogren’s Syndrome: Nothing to Drool Over
Shedding no tears.
I felt a tremendous sense of shame for the small-minded people who felt compelled to leave coarse and offensive remarks on the news feeds. But then I felt heartened by the incredibly supportive remarks the Sjogren's community have provided in their blogs over the days since the news broke.

I must say, I have only recently been diagnosed and joined in kinship with other folks who suffer the symptoms of Sjogren's.  Each of us is challenged by a unique set of symptoms and each of us is dealing with those symptoms in a different way.  But all of us respect one another and live in a community of understanding, mutual support and compassion.  It is, me thinks, the way the world should be.

In good health...  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Great Website for Indexing Your Recipes!

Now that I am into this whole new way of cooking, I have been challenged just to keep up with all the different recipes I have been testing.  I can never remember where I found what recipe and had resorted to putting post-it notes in each book with the recipes listed there.  Well, thank heavens, I just discovered this great website that helps me to stay organized.

Eat Your Books has a sophisticated search engine that searches for your recipes in your own cookbooks in a variety of ways. With over 440,000 recipes indexed from the most popular cookbooks over the last 30 years, you can search for your recipe and it will identify which book it is in. You can also bookmark your favorite recipes on the site (no more post-it notes needed!).  The complete recipe is not included but the ingredients are and with a click of a button it adds the main ingredients to your shopping list. In a couple of hours time I have added 16 cookbooks and over 10,000 recipes to my "Bookshelf."  I am also connected to three of the eight food blogs they have indexed, allowing me to search recipes there as well.
They have a forum for discussions, a blog, and you can also make comments on specific recipes for all to see.  So if you try a new recipe and want to comment on it, your comments are there for others to see and to aid you the next time around.

The only downside is that a number of the cookbooks I am using are not yet indexed, but they are only a couple of years old and new cookbooks and food blogs are being added every day.  As you can imagine, it is a constant work in progress. 

If you have not found this gem, I encourage you to check it out.  You can start, at no cost, by adding five cookbooks to see how it works.  It took me about an hour of enjoying this new way of managing my recipes to become a member.

Click to check it out at:

In good health...