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Holiday Recipes III - Kale Cranberry Yuletide Salad!

>> Friday, December 27, 2013

Need a lighter meal this week?  Here's a festive, healthy salad to enjoy for a break between heavier meals this holiday season.  I've modified from the original recipe, to give less calories but even more flavor!


1 bunch of kale (about 6 cups)
¼ cup slivered or crushed toasted almonds
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper


1.  Remove the tough inner ribs on the kale, slice into ribbons and place in a large bowl.

2.  Smash the garlic with the back of a knife, add a sprinkle of salt and crush the garlic until a smooth paste forms.  Add the vinegar and lemon juice to the garlic and then slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.  To dress the salad, pour the dressing over the kale and using your fingers work the dressing into the leaves making sure that everything is well coated.  Add the cranberries, parmesan, almonds and ¾ of the breadcrumbs to the mixture and toss to combine.  Garnish the salad with the remaining breadcrumbs when you are ready to serve.  

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving (approximately):

  • 200 calories
  • 25g carbs
  • 9g protein
  • 10g fat

Thanks to my best friend Deb for the heads' up on this great recipe!

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2013


Happy Holidays!

>> Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wishing all of my readers the very best this holiday season!  May your life be filled with health, love, and happiness, and may the New Year bring much joy, adventure, and fulfillment to all.

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2013


Holiday Recipes II - Dr Sue's Dessert Collection

>> Wednesday, December 18, 2013

As the second of my three-part series of holiday recipes, I've brought together a collection of the top 5 DrSue holiday desserts that I've gathered over the years on my website.   Enjoy!

Baked Pears with Walnuts & Cranberries  - throw a little arugula under this one and it doubles as a salad!

Holiday Pumpkin Pancakes - a Christmas morning crowd pleaser

Chocolate Espresso Brownies (pictured above) - can't beat this, at only 115 calories each!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie - skipping the crust on your pie brings this recipe down to a slim 65 calories per slice!

Blueberry Crisp Yuletide Dessert - a healthy version of a traditional favorite!

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2013


Holiday Appy - Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms!

>> Monday, December 16, 2013

Searching for a healthy appetizer to dazzle guests this holiday season?  Try out these delicious stuffed mushrooms - for once, I have not needed to 'doctor' this recipe - it is fabulous as is!  At around only 20-25 calories per mushroom (yes, you read that right), you really can't beat it.   The original recipe can be found here - but you can use any brand of cottage cheese, of course. :)


1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed)       
1 cup low fat Cottage Cheese      
1/4 cup chopped chives        
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil       
1/8 teaspoon salt        
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper       
16 medium to large button mushrooms, stems removed  
3 tablespoons fresh whole wheat bread crumbs


Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a glass measuring cup. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the tomatoes; soak for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain the tomatoes. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the drained tomatoes, the cottage cheese, chives, basil, salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms, stem-side down, on a baking pan; spray with cooking spray. Turn the mushrooms back stem-side up. Spoon a scant tablespoon of filling into each mushroom cap. Top each with about 1/2 teaspoon of bread crumbs. Bake the mushrooms for 10 minutes or until the bread crumbs are toasted and the mushrooms are heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Tip: 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley can be substituted for the basil. 

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2013


Mythbusting Garcinia cambogia

>> Sunday, December 8, 2013

There are a kajillion substances, herbs, and naturopathic remedies that are all over the internet, purporting their magical abilities to cause weight loss, but which do not have evidence to support that they actually work.  You can add Garcinia canbogia to this list.

Garcinia cambogia extract comes from a type of tamarind tree native to Asia.  In addition to being available as an extract, it is also an ingredient in Hydroxycut, which has been associated with cases of liver toxicity.  Now that Dr Oz has been throwing his weight behind Garcinia, it's getting more attention than ever before.  (More on my thoughts re Dr Oz here.)

We can put to rest the controversy behind Garcinia simply by looking at the science.  A randomized controlled trial was conducted long ago, back in 1998, showing that Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss compared to placebo.

Friends, today's blog is short and not so sweet: Garcinia cambogia has been proven NOT to work, and it may be harmful.

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2013


Obesity Prevention Starts In Your Mother's Belly

>> Monday, December 2, 2013

With the struggles our societies face in the battle against obesity, we need to look not only at treatment strategies for people who already struggle with their weight, but also at how we can prevent obesity in the first place.  As we look earlier and earlier in life, risk factors have emerged going all the way back to not only infancy, but even to before we were born, when we were just lil' wee blobs of cells inside our mothers' bellies.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published an excellent article describing the power of some of the risk factors during fetal life and infancy on obesity later in childhood.   They discuss a study that looked at 4 risk factors for childhood obesity in a group of children aged 7-10 years:

  • mother smoked in pregnancy
  • mother gained excessive weight during pregnancy
  • breast feeding for less than 12 months
  • slept less than 12 hours per day during infancy

They found that only 6% of kids who had none of these risk factors were obese, compared to 29% of kids who had all four of these risk factors. 

So how can factors before we are even born influence our risk of obesity?  These observations can be explained at least in part by epigenetic changes - in other words, changes to our DNA that happen while we are growing inside our mother's belly.  (Exposure to toxins besides smoking in the environment play a role as well - read more about this here.)

While not every mother is able to breastfeed, it is recommended to try, as there are a number of health benefits including a lower risk of obesity later in childhood - read more on this here.

As for sleep, there is a rapidly expanding body of evidence teaching us about the powerful connection between sleep deprivation and obesity - go to my main page and type 'sleep' in the search box for more reading on this. 

Another interesting risk factor for childhood obesity is being born by C-section.  This may be partly due to the fact that the infant's gut is colonized with normal, healthy bacterial at the time of passage through the vaginal birth canal.  We are learning that the type of bacteria we have in our gut have an influence on our body weight as well, so it may be that the healthier bacteria acquired during vaginal birth leave us less prone to developing obesity later in life. 

The good news is that some of the above risk factors are at least partially under our control - especially not smoking during pregnancy - and some of them can often be improved upon, with the appropriate care, support, and education of expecting mothers and new parents.  

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2013



I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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