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Parsnip, Roasted Apple, and Pear Soup!

>> Sunday, December 21, 2014

For my last post of 2014, here's a delicious recipe sure to keep you warm during the holiday season.  I've adapted it from the original by cutting WAY back on the oil, using a dollop of fat free sour cream or crème fraiche on top rather than putting it into the soup itself, and making the portions a little smaller (remember that during holiday season especially, portion control is key!).


  • 1 kg parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 large apple (use a sweet variety like Gala or Honeycrisp), peeled, cored & seeded
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored & seeded
  • 2 leeks, white part only, cut into half moons, 1/2" wide
  • 1/8 cup olive oil + 1 tbsp extra
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss parsnips, apple, and pear with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread out on a sheet tray and roast until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. In a medium pot, combine leeks, olive oil, rosemary and bay leaf. Cook over medium heat to sweat, not color, leeks (about 10 mins).  If leeks start to brown, turn heat to low. Add parsnips, apple, pear, and leeks. Add water to cover and bring to a simmer.
3. Remove bay leaf and rosemary stem. Transfer to blender and puree in batches. (Do not cover blender completely, hot liquid will explode!)  Season with salt and thin with water as needed. Add a tablespoon of cider vinegar as needed to balance flavor. Ladle into bowls and serve warm.
Add an optional dollop of sour cream on top.


  • calories: 240
  • protein: 2g
  • carbs: 44g
  • fat: 6.5g
Enjoy!   Thanks so much to my friend Mona for the heads' up on this great recipe. 

Happy holidays, and a bright 2015 to all!

Follow me on twitter! @drsuepedersen © 2014


Endocrine Society Recommends Against Testosterone Treatment in Women

>> Sunday, December 14, 2014

There is a lot of conflicting information out there for women who seek answers about testosterone.  To answer many important questions around this issue, the Endocrine Society has recently released an updated Clinical Practice Guideline about testosterone treatment in women.

Key points in these guidelines:

1. They recommend against diagnosing 'testosterone deficiency' in women.

Reason: The data out there is unclear as to whether low testosterone levels correlate with symptoms or not.  Also, it is normal for testosterone levels to decrease with reproductive aging.

2.  They recommend against treatment of women with testosterone.   The only exception to this is postmenopausal women who have been formally diagnosed with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).   They specifically recommend against treating with testosterone for reason of: infertility; cognitive, cardiovascular, metabolic, or bone health; sexual dysfunction (other than HSDD); or general well being.

Reason:  It has not been proven that testosterone treatment is of clear benefit for uses other than in HSDD; government approved and monitored preparations of testosterone for women are not readily available; and, there is not evidence to prove long term safety of testosterone treatment.  Further, there is a concern that testosterone treatment could stimulate hormone responsive cancers to grow.

3.  They recommend against treatment of women with DHEA.

Reason: It has not been proven that DHEA treatment is of clear benefit; and, there is not evidence to prove long term safety.  This holds true for women with and without adrenal insufficiency.

Follow me on twitter! @drsuepedersen © 2014


Are All Milks Created Equal?

>> Saturday, December 6, 2014

Alternatives to cow’s milk are growing ever popular, due to aggressive marketing campaigns suggesting that these other milks may be healthier.  Many options are available, from goat to almond to soy to coconut, hemp, flax or oat.  Not only are a growing number of adults drinking these milks, but parents may choose to provide these milks to their kids because of a perceived health benefit. 

Because these alternative milks are not required to be vitamin D fortified (whereas it is mandatory that all cow’s milk in Canada is fortified with vitamin D), the concern has been raised as to whether Canadian kids who drink non-cow’s milk are getting enough vitamin D.     

A recent Canadian study looked at this question in children age 1-6, using the TARGet Kids research network in Toronto.   They found that kids who drank non-cow’s milk were almost three times more likely to have insufficient levels of vitamin D, compared to kids who drank cow’s milk.   (Remember that most Canadians do not get enough vitamin D naturally, because we live too far from the equator to get enough sun exposure to make vitamin D.  There are a few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, including salmon, trout, tuna, and egg yolks.)

In addition, research has suggested that we may not absorb dietary calcium as well from non-natural calcium sources, compared to calcium occurring naturally in food such as cow’s or goat's milk, other dairy products, and green leafy veggies like spinach and kale.  Alternative milks are often (but not always) fortified with calcium – in other words, calcium is not naturally occurring in these alternative milk products.  (Recommended intake of calcium from Health Canada can be found here, and more on my thoughts re dietary vs supplemental calcium here).

Another plus of cow’s milk (and goat’s milk) is that it contains about 9 grams of protein per cup, whereas many alternative milks contain only 1-3 grams of protein per cup.

So, it seems that the health benefits of protein and naturally occurring calcium put cow’s milk (or goat’s milk) on top as the healthier milk. 

We will likely see a growing number of alternative milk products containing vitamin D as the manufacturers catch on that this is important, and perhaps legislation will someday mandate fortification of alternative milks in addition to cow’s milk.  Until then, it’s important that Canadian kids who drink non-cow’s milk are getting adequate vitamin D through supplementation (read more about vitamin D needs at all ages from Health Canada here, and my summary from the 2010 Osteoporosis Canada guidelines regarding adults here).   

Sporting my Dairyland milk moustache..... 

Follow me on twitter! @drsuepedersen © 2014

Disclaimer: I have no conflicts of interest in writing this post.



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