I have been working hard creating a new website for the new needs of a new business.
Check out KlarCareDPC.com for more information about my next move!
I will begin moving content from this site to the new one in the New Year.
I wanted to write a quick note as I’m getting everything together. I don’t have all the details, but should in the course of the next few weeks to one month. I will be opening my own Family Practice office in Portage, with a proposed start date of January 1st, 2022. It will be a form of care called Direct Primary Care. My office will not be associated with Aspirus at all; they will be two different businesses, so no one at Aspirus will be able to answer questions about it. As a disclaimer, I am not recommending anyone leave Aspirus nor am I soliciting any patients from the Aspirus healthcare system.
The practice I am building is a new, innovative approach to healthcare that challenges this whole concept of assembly line medicine and instead, really puts an emphasis back on the doctor-patient relationship. So what sets direct primary care practices apart is that we do not require or bill through insurance at all. The reason for that is insurance dictated healthcare comes with a lot of baggage — really opaque billing. That’s hard for families. People have high copays, surprise medical bills. There’s a lot of paperwork, administrative burden and costs associated with that…and long wait times, just for very short, rushed visits (I’m sure every patient has been through that). And a lot of that is really not at the hands of doctors or nurses, but really an insurance issue. So what direct primary care does is it tries to sort of remove that insurance middleman, to improve patient access and give people a more personal primary care experience, while also saving them a lot of money. Think $65 for an Xray paid immediately on the spot instead of $900, as I was charged the last time I got an Xray, and the bill didn’t come until 2 months later when I wasn’t expecting a bill like that. Will insurance pay for it, or won’t they? Was the diagnosis code correct? etc.
The way we work is that we use a monthly membership fee with completely transparent pricing. So a flat, affordable monthly membership fee covers pretty much everything I do at the office. Everything from routine physicals, preventive care, chronic care like diabetes, hypertension, sick visits, illness, injury, even things like procedures — all of that is included in that membership fee. What that means for patients is they have predictable healthcare costs that they can budget for just like a gym membership or Netflix or anything that’s a membership. They’re not getting those surprise bills and it also is giving them this access. I will also have access to steeply discounted medications, imaging, preventive care studies. I will limit my practice to 500 people, which allows me to let patients call me or text me or email me and they know me and I know them. And then from my perspective, it means I can see fewer patients. I can sit with them longer, and be a little bit more intentional in my visits and spend my time listening and looking them in the eyes instead of checking boxes and running room to room. It’s really something that benefits both doctors and patients.
I wanted to get this out there because I have resigned from Aspirus, and wanted to make sure I’m communicating with my community about what’s going on. Again, I’m busy tying up some loose ends but will have details soon.
Rather than this post being a single recipe, it will be a generalized guide to healthy dishes with cranberries to use during the holiday season.
Wisconsin produces half of the world supply of cranberries, and 60% of the supply for the United States. This is a local food of which we should be proud! We know of over two dozen antioxidant phytonutrients in cranberries. In addition, cranberry phytonutrients raise the overall antioxidant capacity in our bloodstream and to help reduce risk of oxidative stress. Put in a simpler way: cranberries reduce promoters of aging and inflammation, the basis of all disease, because of all the healthy food chemicals they contain.
Although cranberries are rich in antioxidants have a slew of health benefits… for whatever reason they are often coated with sugar, making it almost a sum zero as far as all the health benefits. An easy fix for this is just pairing them with oranges, which are sweet and pair perfectly to take the edge off their sour bite, or other sweeter fruits. Excited to try this recipe!: Cranberry Fruit Salad
You can also make an easy Cranberry Relish to use as a side- add equal parts cranberries, raspberries, apples.
This is a YouTube video by Chef AJ and Dr. Fuhrman showing how to make a sugar free cranberry relish in a cooking show style format: Sugar Free Raw Cranberry Relish.
One trick I often use to make a healthier version of ice cream is to make a sorbet with banana as the base. Dr. Fuhrman popularized this way of creating healthy dessert on his website/in his books and calls it “Nice Cream.” The banana adds sweet creaminess, and then you can add whatever other ingredients you want- roasted pecans and vanilla, peanut butter and cocoa, etc. You can create a chocolate cranberry Nice Cream using the following recipe:
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk (or regular milk if you don’t have a milk sensitivity and that’s what you’ve got around); 2 regular dates or 1 medjool date, pitted; 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or pure vanilla bean powder; 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries; 2 large ripe bananas, frozen (Freeze ripe bananas at least 8 hours in advance. Peel bananas and seal in a plastic bag before freezing).
Directions: Add non-dairy milk, dates, cocoa powder, cranberries and vanilla to a high-powered blender or food processor and start to blend. Drop frozen banana pieces in slowly. Add additional non-dairy milk if needed to reach desired consistency.
You can also add cranberries to cookie recipes, oatmeal, anything to which you would add other berries.
The possibilities are endless.
And really… which of these looks better…
Cheers to a healthy holiday season this year!
I love cooking. BUT, in the summer, food’s gotta be cool and fresh without much cooking time. Or put it out on the grill. Any way you slice it, even if you love cooking, spending time over a hot stove is more of a winter activity than a summer activity for sure.
Enter the ubiquitous pasta salad, using tons of healthy veggies, non-refined flour pasta (bean-based, whole-grain based or vegetable-based), AND a healthy dressing. That last part is the part that tends to trip everyone up; there will be a reference section for healthy dressing recipes at the bottom of the post.
What I typically do is make up a big container as pictured below, then put it into serving size containers, dressing it with a different dressing every morning for lunch. You can also bring the salad to potlucks (post COVID, I guess!) instead of less healthy options that tend to flood these social events. Five minutes in the morning saves me money, time, and gives my body what it needs to take care of me so I don’t get sick. Piquant jalapeno-mint dressing, flavorful pomegranate balsamic vinegar and blood orange olive oil dressing, ranch dressing I’ve made with a mix for ranch dressing and an avocado instead of using mayonnaise… the possibilities are endless and again, summarized at the bottom of the post.
So, traditionally pasta salads really aren’t that healthy for you. The main bulk of the dish is white refined flour pasta, usually a sugary or saturated or trans-fat laden dressing is used, and there’s not a lot of redeeming nutritional value in this side dish.
This is an easy fix! Pasta salad can become an easy summer staple that is loaded with nutrients and has metabolism-supportive (read: weight loss) effects on your endocrine system instead of being a trash heap of worthless calories.
Easy changes to the traditional recipe:
1.) Transform the white flour pasta into nutrient-dense pasta made from beans or veggies.
My favorite option for pasta is bean-based pastas, made from lentils or chickpeas. Most of my patients are aware that I am always singing the praises of the health benefits of beans, as they are high in iron, calcium, fiber, folate, and tons of other micronutrients, and are a large part of the diet of the healthiest civilizations in the world (The Blue Zones). But, they also raise blood glucose slowly after a meal. Choosing foods that do this is important to maintaining a healthy weight, and is one of the reasons why increased bean consumption is linked to weight loss. The two hormones that cause weight gain in the body are insulin and cortisol. This means if you eat two foods that have the same amount of calories, but one spikes your post meal blood sugar and the other causes a slow rise, you will gain more weight from eating the first food because insulin (the fat storing hormone) is how the body responds to sugar spikes. Conversely, having white flour pasta will spike your sugar like crazy and encourage weight gain.
Other options for non-white-pasta noodles: noodles made from zucchini, spaghetti squash or other veggies. You can make these at home using a kitchen gadget, or buy prepped from the store in the frozen veggies section. The benefits of these are similar to bean pastas- better metabolic profile/doesn’t spike sugar or insulin and full of nutrients instead of just being a worthless heap of calories with no nutritional benefit.
2.) Load the salad with healthy fruits and veggies.
This is what summer cooking is ABOUT- access to an insane amount of fresh fruits and veggies. Flyte Family farms has an outdoor produce mart in front of Culver’s and on the way into Baraboo. There is a farmer’s market in downtown Portage from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursdays. Home gardens are bursting. Fresh sweet corn is coming in from the fields. If you use sweet fruits and vegetables like carrots, corn, dried fruit, pineapple, you can replace the sugar used in dressings with these items and have a whole-food alternative to sugar.
However, if the time it takes to chop of vegetables is stopping you from making a salad like this, go ahead and thaw a bag of frozen veggies and throw it in there with the cooked pasta.
Early summer veggies: green onions, peas, baby carrots, early greens like spinach, sorrel, arugula, chard, radishes.
Mid summer veggies: all of the above plus tomatoes of sooo many varieties, sweet corn, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, sweet peppers, hot peppers, eggplant (normally would be cooked rather than raw in a salad, e.g. Eggplant Bacon), zucchini
Late summer/fall veggies: squash (with a curry based dressing, yum!) like butternut, acorn, or pumpkin; sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, beets, Brussels sprouts.
3.) Use a healthy dressing
Check out the dressings from the store- most of them have sugar or high-fructose corn syrup as the first, second or third ingredient, or have refined oils as a base. You screw up all the health benefits of your salad if we skimp on the dressing- and there’s no need to do that! The name of the game with this should be to use whole foods that contain the flavors you want instead of refined fat and sugar. Nature normally gives us the toxin with the cure- so although fruits have sugar in them, they also are typically very high in fiber to slow the entry of sugar into the blood stream. OR, if you use an avocado for a fatty flavor instead of avocado oil, the avocado has fiber and plant sterols so that you end up LOWERING cholesterol instead of raising cholesterol by eating this fatty food. Plant sterols can be taken as a supplement to lower cholesterol, and they are found in fatty plant foods like nuts, seeds, avocadoes and coconuts. But if you only remove the oil from those foods and get rid of the protective compounds, the refined oils are not as healthy as the whole food is.
Quick examples of healthy/quick dressings: vinegars like apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or aged balsamics and olive oil with dijon mustard; mix an avocado with dried ranch dip mix; if you like spice, mix 1 jalapeno with 1/4 c packed mint leaves, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2 cup soaked cashews (if your salad has dried fruit in it, you likely won’t need to sweeten this for flavor; if not add a little honey to round it out).
Links to other examples:
Three Vegan Summer Salad Dressings from The Glowing Fridge blog
5 Minute Anything Glow Sauce from The Glowing Fridge blog
Lemon Garlic Aioli with cashews instead of Mayo from The Simple Veganista
Green Tahini Sauce from Sweet Potato Soul Blog; some of the ingredients she has for her sweet potato burgers in this recipe would also be AH-MAY-zing mixed into one of these salad combos.
Salads are a celebration of seasonal produce.
Iceberg lettuce and grainy tomatoes with sugar laden dressing is not a salad. Potatoes laden with mayonnaise is not a salad.
When people tell me that holidays cause weight gain and dietary slips and all kinds of reasons to be upset, it makes me sad just like the myth that salads are boring makes me sad. The two myths are interrelated.
This Fall Bounty Salad is just one example of a Fall/Winter Holiday salad that is delicious, healthy, and seasonally appropriate. There are many more!
Fall Bounty Salad- Serves 4
2 cups of Brussel Sprouts
1 small or 1/2 large Butternut Squash
1 cup Pecans
3/4 c dried cranberries
2 tablespoons avocado oil or other high smoke point oil
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds, and peel the squash.
2. Chop prepared squash into one inch cubes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Chop off the bottoms of the Brussel Sprouts, then chop in half. Combine the Sprouts and the squash in a large bowl.
5. Mix the maple syrup and oil. Pour over the Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash, and mix well.
6. Line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Pour Sprouts and butternut squash on the pan, and cook in the 400 degree oven until squash is fork tender and Brussels Sprouts are browned, 25-30 min.
7. While veggies are roasting, chop pecans, then sauté them in a warm pan for a few minutes until fragrant but not burned.
8. Combine all ingredients; can be served warm or prepared ahead of time and served room temp. Wait to add the pecans until the time the salad is served so that the crispy pecans don’t become soggy.
Spaghetti Squash is the answer to Easy, Healthy Weeknight meal prayers. I got this squash for $1 from Flyte Family Farms. I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it upside down on a Jelly Roll pan in a half inch of water for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. I had a hearty tomato based sauce I put on top from the fridge. Done.
So the one thing that’s not basically ready-made is the tomato based sauce. I had this sauce hanging out in the fridge from when friends were visiting last week, heated it up, and put it on the squash- however even if you don’t have leftover tomato sauce in the fridge, it’s still pretty easy- lemme get to that in the next paragraph. Whole meal took 30 minutes, but really just 10 minutes of actual work. I would even argue cooking spaghetti squash is easier than making white pasta because you don’t have to watch it while it’s cooking to make sure it doesn’t boil over….. and it’s a food with all kinds of fantastic nutrition (potassium, magnesium, fiber, calcium, vitamin C) instead of just processed carbs with no nutritional value like white pasta.
Back to easy, healthy tomato sauce: sauté a diced onion in a tablespoon of water (instead of oil), add more water if it sticks. Sauté until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add a 15oz can of drained garbanzo beans, a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, a tablespoon of garlic powder, and black pepper, oregano and marjoram to taste. If you have some frozen corn and peas you can throw those in, too. If you have absolutely no time, you could combine pasta sauce and a can of beans for a fast, delicious, hearty meal with 5 minutes of work.
I love Autumn and all it’s squash-y goodness!
This month’s discussion will be on “Understanding the Diabetic Diet and Label Reading”, led by Emily Kraemer, Dietitian at Divine Savior Healthcare.
It’s the third Wednesday of every month, so that’s this Wednesday the 18th!
Sunday brunch is both delicious and healthy. If you are having white flour pancakes with butter and maple syrup or full fat bacon and eggs, then it may be delicious but you will also be getting your full day’s supply of calories in one meal without a lot of nutrition. No thanks… here’s a healthy spin on typical Sunday brunch fare to make sure you start off your week both healthy AND satisfied.
Comparison of nutrients in a 100 gram serving of typical brunch fare (bacon) to the updated fare (portobello recipe). Percentages refer to % daily value and was obtained from nutritiondata.self.com/
|Griddled Portobello (one full cap, 100 grams)||Bacon, 100 grams|
|Calories per servings||144 cal, 14 grams of fat (mostly from added avocado oil), 4.9 g carb||541 cal, 42 grams of fat, 1.4 g carb|
|Other nutrients per serving||This recipe has anti-inflammatory spices like paprika and garlic added during the cooking process that reduce risk of disease.|
2.2 grams fiber
* Calcium 4.0 mg 0%
* Iron 0.6 mg 3%
* Magnesium 15.0 mg 4%
* Phosphorus 150 mg 15%
* Potassium 521
* Sodium 700.0 mg
0% (if using low-salt version of recipe has minimal salt)
* Zinc 0.7 mg 5%
* Copper 0.5 mg 25%
* Manganese 0.1 mg
*Selenium 17.7 mcg
|Has nitrates added during the curing process, which becomes nitrosamine during the cooking process- a cancer forming compound.|
Contains no fiber.
* Calcium 11.0 mg
* Iron 1.4 mg 8%
* Magnesium 33.0 mg 8%
* Phosphorus 533 mg 53%
* Potassium 565 mg
* Sodium 1030 mg 43%
* Zinc 3.5 mg 23%
* Thiamin 0.4 . mg, 27%
* Riboflavin 0.3 mg, 16% of daily value
* Niacin 11.1 mg, 56%
* Vitamin B6 . 0.3 mg, 17% daily value
1.) Combine oil, vinegar and/or soy sauce, and seasonings.
2.) Marinate mushroom slices in the above mixture for at least 10 minutes.
3.) Warm a cast iron griddle to medium heat.
4.) Place sliced mushrooms onto a cast iron griddle. Cook for several minutes on each side; enough to brown but not blacken the slices.
5.) Line a plate with a layer of paper towels. Use spatula or tongs to place mushroom slices on the plate with paper towels, and pat off any excess fat. Serve warm.
*** Low-salt version: Use 1/8 cup red wine vinegar mixed with one teaspoon no salt Harissa (a Middle Eastern spice blend) and use this instead of soy sauce if you need to limit salt intake***
Tofu scramble– serves 4
1.) Dice onion, then saute in a few tablespoons of water until translucent. Add more water if the water completely evaporates off.
2.) Combine other ingredients in a bowl with a potato masher.
3.) Add the tofu mixture to the onion, add more water or a tablespoon of a high smoke point oil so it doesn’t burn, saute for about 5 minutes until warm and serve.
We ended up getting a collection of fantastic summer veggies from our local Community Supported Agriculture Share- Orange Cat Community Farm.* I couldn’t wait to make this reeks-of-summer dish with the tomatoes, summer squash, onion, and eggplant we received in the share, along with some basil, parsley and thyme from my own yard. I know I already discussed Ratatouille in a previous post last summer/late fall, but I just can’t help myself I love it so much. It’s like warm apple cider in the fall or asparagus in the spring… Ratatouille IS summer bounty. And this time I have an actual recipe instead of just suggestions.
for 6 servings
Nutrition info/serving: Calories 164, Fat 5 g, Carbs 26 g, Fiber 8 grams, Sugar 15 g, Protein 5 g
*Regarding Orange Cat Community Farm– it’s a great local Community Supported Agriculture farm to support, meaning you don’t ship veggies in from California on a truck or a plane to eat them… they are grown right where we live so it is fresher, tastes amazing every time, and keeps money and resources in our local community!