It’s Basic, but not Simple

I was having a conversation with my friend Howard the other day. He’s a doc, too, and we enjoy talking together about practicing medicine, taking care of patients, what it’s like, what we learn from it, and how we can do better. I am very grateful for Howard, and for the fact that we have been having this conversation for almost 25 years.

I am engaged in a never-ending quest to better understand exactly what I do each day, and exactly how I am doing it. I feel that the more precisely I can say what it is I do, the better I can do it. I want patients to remain healthy; I want them not to become diabetic. I want to give them the tools to guarantee, to the greatest extent, this outcome.

I came up with this: “I show people what their actual choices are, and then I explain the consequences of those choices.”

Howard said, “It’s not simple; but it is basic.”

It’s as basic as it could possibly be. The American diet makes people sick. It causes diabetes, obesity, and all their consequences, including arthritis, stroke, and coronary artery disease. If you don’t like those options, which of course you don’t, you’ll want to skip the white flour, manufactured fats and sugar. That’s the basic message.

But Howard is right; it’s not simple. Not when most everyone you know eats the American diet. Not when you get most of your nutritional information from the processed food industry. Not when it’s the only way you’ve ever known. Not when it’s how your mother fed you when you were growing up, and how you learned to feed your own family once it was your turn. It’s not simple at all.

I continue my quest. Implementation may never be simple, but perhaps the message can: Eat fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains. Nutritious fats. High-quality protein.

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Late Summer Garden Casserole

I’m on my way to the farmer’s market to pick up the ingredients for this beautiful casserole, which reminds me of the Italian flag when it’s done! And here’s what you can guarantee at this time of year: there will be no shortage of zucchini, tomatoes or corn at the market, not to mention basil. Continue reading

A Novel Approach to Epic-Sized Portions

Most of us keep a budget of some kind; limits keep us on track. It may be tight and to the penny, or it may be simply a rough idea of what’s available. Whether you are used to flying commercial or private, eating off paper plates or porcelain, keeping your accounts flush and staying within a budget helps to avert disaster and to achieve long-term goals for yourself and your family. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Ratatouille Pasta

Here’s something special to make with a group of friends on a weekend evening. Give everyone an assignment, along with a glass of wine, and it will all come together in no time! Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Dr. Sukol’s Simply Saucy Spicy Peanut Sauce

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled a mostly empty jar of creamy peanut butter (organic and natural) out of the refrigerator. I looked at it upside down and sideways. I could almost hear it begging me to turn it into something snazzy. In a very lucky moment of inspiration, here’s what the doctor (me) ordered: Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Zucchini & Dill Soup

This is such a good project for the abundance of zucchini in your friends’, neighbors’ and coworkers’ gardens! You can make the soup now, with fresh zucchini, or you can make it in a few more months with frozen zucchini. Then again you can make soup now, and freeze that instead of raw cubes of zucchini. If you use frozen zucchini, remember to saute it a little bit longer. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Best Gazpacho I’ve Ever Made

August means it’s –YES — gazpacho time! I think of gazpacho as soup and salad, both at the same time. Chief-Cook-and-Bottle-Washer brought home a tray of golden, acid-free tomatoes last Friday, and (I admit it) I had my coveting eye on them from the minute they entered the house. We ate a few on Friday night, and more on Saturday. Couldn’t resist, so I swooped in on Sunday morning to pulverize the rest! Chief C&BW said it was okay, he would go buy more. Thank you, Chief. Continue reading

Be Kind to Yourself

It just came to me that I spend my days teaching people how to be kinder to themselves, and that this kindness is designed to manifest itself in three major spheres: 1) eating patterns, 2) activity patterns, and 3) rest & relaxation patterns. It’s all about being kind to yourself, about nourishing your heart and soul with better food, more movement, and quality rest. It will be so good for you. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Adzuki Sprouts Salad

Why is it that the likelihood of requests for a recipe is usually in direct proportion to the rapidity with which you threw it together!? Last week we had a potluck at work, and I threw together a little “early morning salad.” Don’t judge me!! for having this spectacular constellation of ingredients at hand, just in case, you know, I had to throw together an impressive, last-minute salad! Sometimes the stars just line up. Sometimes, on the other hand, Mercury is in retrograde. Okay, let’s give it a shot. Continue reading