Tag Archives: nutrition
Airport Food: Trying to Eat Health?

Airport Food: Trying to Eat Health?


So as I sit here for an evening flight to Minneapolis, I realize that because of the flight delay, I’m going to have to force myself to eat something at the airport. My original plan was to tough it through the flights with nothing more than water, and eat something on the healthier side once I landed. Strolling around the B terminal of Bush Intercontinental Airport, the selection for healthy food is slim to none. Patrons are surrounded by fast food chains that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. Nothing is nutritious.

After a few laps around the terminal, I settle on a veggie bowl at Bullritos. I’m not denying that this is fast food, but with some careful choices, it can turn into a halfway decent meal.

Skipping the meat is a no-brainer. While the choices are a few different varieties of beef and chicken, they appear to be high in fat and salt. The quality of the meat is also suspect. Sitting in a puddle of grease doesn’t seem all that appealing. My selection tonight includes cilantro rice, grilled onions and peppers, grilled corn, medium hot sauce, pico de gallo, and some chopped romaine lettuce. A small scoop of freshly made guacamole topped it off.

I don’t feel too guilty with the meal I ate at the gate. I was able to manage to get some decent dietary fiber, some vegetables, and most importantly, the avoidance of meat.

So what’s the message for weary travelers, who unfortunately have to do this much more often than I do? The answer is simple. Choose wisely. While it would be optimal to bring food from home, when you are forced to eat the food at the airport, avoid fast food like the plague. Meals where you have the option to add or subtract components gives you the most control, and likely a healthier choice. At the larger terminals, there appears to be a new breed of healthier food choices, including freshly prepared salads and sandwiches. The sandwich choices I’ve seen allows for lots of vegetable toppings, and what would appear to be lean meats. Some even offer a breadless sandwich.

Feel free to share your dietary travel stories with us.

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Salad for Breakfast: Really? Another Twist to Try

Salad for Breakfast: Really? Another Twist to Try

Over the years, I have written about the benefits of eating salad for breakfast. Usually, this is received with an assortment of facial expressions, and the obligatory polite statement that they would “give it a try”. To date, numerous colleagues and patients have admitted that they’ve made salad for breakfast. Others frown. Despite this, I continued to eat it myself, as well as preach the benefits of eating a fresh salad for breakfast.

Mark Bittman, an author and columnist for the New York Times, is quite serious about preparing salad for breakfast. In his new book, VB6, he outlines the benefits of eating salad for breakfast, and supplying a number of wonderful recipes to readers.

This morning, I prepared an off the top of my head salad for breakfast. This included a bed of fresh romaine lettuce. Side note: I am rethinking bagged salad, which is proliferating at grocery stores around the country. I’m a bit concerned about foodborne illnesses that are becoming routine stories on the nightly news related to a wide assortment of prepackaged salads.

More on this morning’s salad.

After cleaning the romaine lettuce, I used half a can of white navy beans, rinsed them thoroughly, and mashed them with a fork in a bowl. I added copious amounts of extra-virgin olive oil, along with salt and garlic powder to taste. With a little more time, I would’ve used a clove of freshly crushed garlic. Placing this in the center of the romaine bed, I added to it the following items:

Half of a banana sliced
One whole fresh tomato sliced
One green pepper chopped into small pieces (normally I would’ve tried for a red pepper but the green one is all I had handy)
One fresh orange divided and sliced

I drizzled a small amount of a prepared raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing low in sodium, sugar, and overall calories.

I won’t bother with analyzing the nutritional content with regard to fruit and vegetable servings, dietary fiber, phytonutrient content, calories, and fat. It’s clear from any observer that this is a nutrient rich breakfast, that is inherently high in nutritional value and simply good for you. There’s no chemicals, artificial flavors, or ingredients that are not natural.

This breakfast took me less than 10 minutes to prepare. The contents should be readily available in a house that takes nutrition serious. I feel good about myself this morning, and I’m confident that I am off to a good start.

Seriously think about having salad for breakfast at least once a week. I believe you’ll find it’s not as bad as it sounds.

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Liver Transplant Houston: Is There a Special Diet to Follow?

A common question I am asked daily is in regard to “what kind of diet do I need to be on while waiting for my liver transplant?”. There is a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding this, that it deserves a few simple comments.

The simple answer is that there is no special diet you have to follow if you have cirrhosis. The central area of concern is dietary sodium or salt. The goal is to have a reduced salt diet, in the neighborhood of 1,500-2,000 mg per day. This is a very restrictive diet compared to the standard American diet (aka SAD). The SAD may include well over 6,000 mg per day. Too much!

The simplest way to achieve such a restricted diet is to eliminate all processes foods, avoid all foods in a can, bag, or box. If it has more than 5 ingredients on the label, keep away.

Salt is the enemy to anyone with chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The body’s handling of salt and sodium are malfunctioning, resulting in fluid retention, edema, and the development of ascites. In many circumstances, diuretics (water pills) need to be used to remove the excess salt and fluid from the body.

All of our patients need to consume fresh fruits and vegetables, lean fresh meat and fish, and foods found in their natural state. This may be an overwhelming challenge to those accustomed to eating out and or consuming large quantities of processed foods. It is impossible to meet this less than 2,000 mg salt intake by eating out.

I highlight numerous tips from
past entries that will help you with this mission. Read labels, stop eating out, and eat foods found in their natural state.

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31 Day of Wellness 2013: Start with Brussels Sprouts

Every January, we post the 31 Days of Wellness, with entries from myself and my good friend, Chuck Garcia. Together, with additional bloggers, we present an outline for the year, to get you started on a path to health and wellness. The simplest way to think of the next 31 days is consider the following points:

1. What are the foods to avoid?

2. What are the new foods to try, and incorporate into your diet?

3. What exercise to I need to participate in?

4. What are the other habits I need to follow that will lead to better health and the prevention of disease? Todays first entry, penned by Chuck Garcia, discussed one of the many “super foods” that we will discuss this month. We enjoy discussing Brussels Sprouts, because they are filled with needed vitamins and minerals. Most of my patients are unfamiliar with them, unaware of how to select to cook them,  but with a little guidance, they come to enjoy these little treats, making them part of their weekly vegetable repertoire.

I am a big fan of bacon.  By itself or mixed in with something else.  Bacon just makes everything taste better.  Bacon however is popular (rightfully so) and consumed all the time. One vegetable that is not so popular (what a shame) and should be is Brussels sprouts.  Woefully misunderstood (your Mom made you eat it when you were a kid), many people have a bad impression of this great vegetable and refuse to give it a try.  When combined with bacon, this is a great addition to any meal.  What is the deal on Brussels sprouts and why should you eat it? Consumed since the 13th century, this powerhouse is related to cabbage and kale.  Thankfully, it is finally earning some respect.  I travel a lot on business and eat out when on the road.   I have noticed that this vegetable is making resurgence and appearing on menus more often; especially in steak houses offered as a side. Good thing.

This is a powerhouse of a vegetable.  There are many benefits including these:

Antioxidants A host of antioxidant ingredients are found in Brussels sprouts, including Vitamins C, E, and A, as well as the mineral manganese. Furthermore, flavonoid antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol also serve well to protect against oxidative stress on the body’s cells.

Inflammation Glucobrassicin, a glucosinolate particularly abundant in Brussels sprouts, has been shown to fight inflammation on a genetic level once converted into the molecule indole-3-carbinol, or ITC. Furthermore, one and a half cups of Brussels sprouts contain about 430 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids (about ⅓ of the daily recommended amount) that are an essential part of our body’s anti-inflammatory messaging molecules. Finally, the wealth of vitamin K found in Brussels sprouts has been shown to effectively regulate our body’s inflammatory responses.

Cancer Prevention Glucosinolates in Brussels sprouts and their detox-activating isothiocyanates are shown to fight against and even prevent various cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer. Cardiovascular Support Brussels sprouts contain the isothiocyanate sulforaphane made from glucosinolates. This powerful compounds not only triggers anti-inflammatory activity in our cardiovascular system but may also prevent and even possibly help reverse blood vessel damage. By regulating inflammation within the body, Brussels sprouts can fight against the onset of heart attacks, ischemic heart disease, and arteriosclerosis. Furthermore, the lowered cholesterol mentioned earlier may also lessen the possibility of arterial blockage. How best to eat it: There are multiple ways to eat Brussels sprouts.

In keeping with bacon as its best complement, I recommend taking a recipe out of Rachel Ray’s play book:


  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, small spouts left whole, larger spouts halved
  • Salt and pepper, to your taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Directions Brown bacon in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, 1 turn. Add shallots to the pan and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add Brussels spouts and coat in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook Brussels sprouts 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften, then add broth. Bring broth to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 10 minutes, until tender. Transfer sprouts to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and top with cooked bacon bits.  I recommend serving this on the side of any protein source.  Fish, steak, chicken, take your pick. Serve it when friends are coming over.  Don’t tell them in advance or they are likely to resist.  Put it on the plate and watch their reaction.  They will be surprised and impressed!

Click here for Rachel Ray’s recipe.

Your feedback is important to all of us. Let us know what you think.

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Dr. Joe Galati and Your Health First: Behind the Scenes

For the past eight years, I have been producing and hosting “Your Health First“, on Clear Channel’s 740 KTRH. It is a great pleasure for me to discuss health and wellness topics with all of our listeners.

We recently used a GoPro HD Hero video camera to record the program. There are plans to place each episode of the program on YouTube, allowing for greater reach of the information we discuss every week.

Your feedback on topics is welcomed. Review our website to see topics we have already discussed. New ideas are always welcomed by our team. Leave a message here and share your comments. We depend on your participation. Thanks.

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Is there a Special Diet for Hepatitis C?

In this video, Dr. Galati explains the commonly asked question about “special diets for hepatitis C”, or for that matter, any form of liver disease.


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Dr. Galati Talks Fruit and Veggies: Podcast From Your Health First Radio Program

This week I will be talking about the need to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. September is National Fruit and Veggie Awareness Month. Listen and be a better consumer of these vital super foods.

Let me know what your favorite fruit is.

Listen here.

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Thirty-One Days of Wellness: A Recap of the Month

During the month of January, Chuck Garcia and I posted 31 entries to reflect a broad range of topics related to health and wellness – topics that you can review for the entire year. To make them easily accessible, I have re-posted them on a single blog entry. Enjoy them again, and share them with your friends and family.

Day 1
A New Year, a New You

Day 2
Eating Salad for Breakfast

Day 3
Navigating the Grocery Store: Inner vs Outer Isles

Day 4
Foods Never to Eat 

Day 5
Foods Healing Power

Day 6
The Low Down on Wheat

Day 7
Gym Rules 

Day 8
Charles Barkley and Weight Watchers 

Day 9
Blueberries: A Superfood to Love

Day 10
Benefits of Coconuts 

Day 11
It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

Day 12
Adding Eggplant to Your Diet

Day 13
Wondering About WonderBread 

Day 14
How Bad is Read Meat: Dr. Galati and Matt Patrick KTRH Radio 

Day 15
The Value of Cross-Training

Day 16
MLK Holiday: Off

Talking Health and Wellness

Day 18
Ultimate Abdominal Exercise 

Day 19
Zucchini: Another Food to Love

Day 20
Beach Body 10-Minute Trainer

Day 21
Exuberant Animal 

Day 22
Dan Campolieta: Number 1 Meal: Breakfast

Day 23
Salad Dressing: Olive Oil and Vinegar 

Day 24
Beets: Good Nutrition

Day 25
Cuisinart Hand Mixer

Day 26
Health Benefits of Boxing

Day 27
Strength Training: Benefits of Lifting Heavy Things 

Day 28
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables: Dr. Galati Explains

Day 29
Paleo Playground: Chuck Garcia Explains

Day 30
Paleo Playground: Part 2

Day 31
Healthy Recommendations and Books We Like

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Eat Salad for Breakfast: Recommendations for a Better Breakfast Experience

Eat Salad for Breakfast: Recommendations for a Better Breakfast Experience



















This past week on Your Health First, I discussed why it’s a good idea to think about eating salad for breakfast.

Listen to the podcast here.

Let me know what you think.

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January 13: A Low Salt Diet-Simple Step to Improve Health

January 13: A Low Salt Diet-Simple Step to Improve Health

If there is one item to include in your quest for wellness, it is to assume a diet low in sodium. Every day, patients ask for the contents of a low salt diet. They have an idea, but never quite get it right. On questioning, the average adult and their family is consuming well over the recommended amounts that have been put forth by several major medical organizations. The American Heart Association is suggesting between 1500-1800 mg of sodium per day. This is restricted compared to the 4,000 mg/day the average American eats. To get in line with a low salt diet, you must read labels. All commercial food will list the sodium content. My opinion is that it is nearly impossible to maintain a low salt diet if you eat your meals out. The art of home cooked meals is a thing of the past. While I may sound somewhat pessimistic, I interview people for a living, and ask every patient what and where they eat. The answers are not pretty.

Here is a list of sodium in fast foods.

Ill effects of sodium include the following: Too much sodium in the diet can lead to health problems. It is one of the risk factors that contribute towards high blood pressure (hypertension), which substantially increases the risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

So what do you do now? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Read all food labels.
  2. Make sure you know how much is in a “serving” of the food you are looking at.
  3. Don’t eat any canned foods.
  4. Don’t eat anything out of a box, or ready to eat meal.
  5. Avoid ALL fast food, as well as chain restaurants.
  6. Learn to use other spices and herbs in your cooking.
  7. Beware of “salt substitutes” – these contain high levels of potassium and can be dangerous with certain health conditions and medications.
  8. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  9. Read all of the other blog entries from this month.

Past “salt” entries from our blog:

Salt: Institute of Medicine

Interview with a Dietitian

Educate Yourself on Salt

Start today on the road to reduced sodium.

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