Category Archives: Expert Health Advice

Making Monday Meatless: Tasty Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

Posted on: August 11, 2015

Tasty Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

By Elisa Bremner

No question about it – a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat.  Eliminating or reducing our consumption of meat helps reduce our risks for many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.  It’s good for the Earth; anything that cuts out the middleman (i.e. animals that need to eat plants to grow) is less taxing on the environment.  And don’t forget – it’s easy on the pocketbook.  So why not take at least one day off from meat each week?  With these creative and delicious ideas, Meatless Monday could make that dreaded day of the week something to look forward to:

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Summer Safety Tips

Posted on: August 5, 2015

Summer Safety Tips

By Dr. Peter Richel

Keeping children healthy and safe through the summer months takes preventive measures. ChildreYoung Family Parents and Boy Son Cyclingn should wear protective gear for whatever activity they may be engaged in—helmets for biking and skateboarding, life jackets for swimming, and so on.

However, there is safety gear for activities you may not consider dangerous. Because ticks are such a concern, I recommend children wear shoes, socks, light pants tucked into the socks, and long sleeves when hiking in the woods. Clothing can be sprayed lightly with Deep Woods Off—but it’s too strong to use directly on children’s skin. For the skin, parents can apply Skintastic or Avon Skin-So-Soft with good repellent quality and demonstrated safety. (However, don’t use these on infants less than 6 months of age.) The best prevention is in daily tick and rash checks—just line up the kids at bath time!

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Surprising Findings for Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergies

Posted on: July 29, 2015

Does early introduction of peanut products reduce the incidence of peanut allergy?

By Dr. Craig Osleeb

Creamy Peanut Butter with PeanutsPeanut allergy is a major problem. It is currently one of the 6 most common causes of food allergy in childhood. The prevalence of peanut allergy has risen over the past decade and currently affects approximately 1.4% of the USA population. While many children will outgrow their food allergy to milk, egg, wheat and soy, 82% of those allergic to peanut will remain so for life. This is a great concern to parents, patient’s and the healthcare community at large. In February of this year the New England Journal of Medicine published a prospective placebo blinded study (Learning Early about Peanut Allergy, LEAP, study) that has far reaching implications for the prevention of peanut allergy.

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Ready to Run

Posted on: July 22, 2015

Ready to Run: Simple Stretches to Stave Off Injury

By Dennis McGovern

Each year, more and more people are inspired to start their own running program. Running provides both physical and mental benefits, the only equipment required is a pair of Runningrunning shoes and you can do it anywhere. I’m a big fan of setting fitness goals, and recommend taking a few precautions to help avoid injury.

A thorough warm up before running is a must. When you do any type of vigorous exercise, you get microtears in your muscles. That’s natural—when your body repairs your muscles, they become stronger. But if you aren’t properly warmed up, you’ll experience many more of these tears and you’ll be much sorer afterward.

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Organic, Natural, Local, Grass-fed: What does it all mean?

Posted on: July 20, 2015

Decoding Sustainable Foods

By Amy Rosenfeld

In our efforts to be healthy and mindful when choosing the foods we eat, we often come across many environmental food terms including local, grass-fed, organic, etc. But what do all these labels mean?

Food grown or raised in an ecologically and ethically responsible manner, where the environment is protected, human health safeguarded, animals are farmed humanely, and workers are treated fairly is called Sustainable Food.

Sustainable foods are thought to reduce exposure to many harmful substances including pesticides, antibiotics, and food additives.  Many sustainable foods are also higher in nutrients and antioxidants due to limited travel time required to reach the consumer. The less time food travels, the more nutrients it contains when it reaches its destination. Eating sustainably also supports an environmentally and socially responsible food system, promoting local farmers. To help you better understand food labeling, I’m sharing the United States Department of Agriculture’s definition of several sustainable food terms. Keep reading for a wonderful Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad recipe.

Common Sustainable Food Terms: (as defined by the USDA)
Local Food:
Food produced in the same geographical region as the consumer. The size of the geographical region is not specified (e.g. unspecified number of miles).
Free Range or Free Roaming: A method of farming in which animals are allowed to roam freely for a least some portion of the day rather than being confined to an enclosure for 24 hours per day. The amount of free-range time is not specified.
Natural: A product that contains no artificial ingredient or added color. The product was minimally processed meaning, it was processed in a way that does not fundamentally alter the product.
No Antibiotics or Hormones: Animals were raised without being given antibiotics or hormones.
Non-GMO: The acronym GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, which refers to any food product that has been altered at the gene level. Genetically modified foods are also frequently described as “genetically engineered,” “genetically altered,” or “genetically manipulated.”
Organic: Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using “most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” Organic food is also produced emphasizing environmental practices. In order for foods to receive an organic certification, the government-approved certifier inspects the farm for these qualifications.
Grass-Fed: Animals that are classified as grass-fed are to be provided a diet solely from forage consisting of grass, forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.

While eating sustainably is considered by many to be better for the environment and your health, many of these sustainable food choices are often more expensive and more difficult to find. If it is affordable for your family, consider trying to incorporate sustainable foods into your family’s diet, emphasizing local choices whenever possible.  I recommend shopping at local farmer’s markets to find these sustainable options.  My advice? Mix and match sustainable food choices from your local farmers market with options from your grocery store for the best bang for your buck.

Local Northern Westchester Farmers Markets:
Chappaqua Farmers Market
Pleasantville Farmers Market
Katonah – John Joay Homestead
Mt Kisco Farmers Market
Somers – Muscoot Farm
North Salem – Gossett Brothers Nursery
Yorktown – Hilltop Hanover Farm

Try out this seasonal recipe  from

Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad

(serves 8)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon white rum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 1/2 cups sliced peaches
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
1 pound heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add watermelon and next 5 ingredients (through tomatoes); toss gently. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until thoroughly chilled. Sprinkle with goat cheese just before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 90, Fat 3.8 g, Saturated Fat 1.1 g, Protein 2 g, Carbohydrate 12.5 g, Fiber 1.5 g, Sodium 95 mg

Editor’s Note: Amy Rosenfeld, MS RD CDN is a Registered Dietitian at Northern Westchester Hospital