Tag Archives: wellness
Pop-Tarts Nation: Misery is Optional

Pop-Tarts Nation: Misery is Optional

Pop-Tarts and Milk: Guilt Free Mornings?

Pop-Tarts and Milk: Guilt Free Mornings?

While walking through my local supermarket this weekend, I strolled by the Pop-Tarts aisle to see what was happening in this section. Over the years, I’ve made fun of Pop-Tarts, not only because of their total lack of nutritional value, but because of the important place they have taken on the breakfast tables across America since 1964. So many individuals, especially parents, in an effort to get their kids up out of bed, hair combed, and dressed for school or other morning activities in a timely fashion, slap down a Pop-Tarts, as a quick and easy breakfast. This requires absolutely minimal thought our planning for this activity. For many, it is mission accomplished; Little Johnny and Mary have had breakfast, and are scooted out the door.

What parents should be saying to themselves, as well as anyone else who’s eating a Pop-Tarts, is basically that they’ve eaten a sugar-filled breakfast, with effectively no nutritional value, setting these kids up (and yourself) for hunger soon afterwards, and further bad eating habits for rest of the day, and possibly rest of their lives.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and sadly, Pop-Tarts are doing nothing to help this along. With the ever-growing problem of childhood obesity, we have to stop for a minute and take stock of what we’re feeding kids for breakfast. This has been a passion of mine for over 20 years.

What struck me during this stroll down the Pop-Tarts aisle was a rather eye-catching advertisement that was out in plain sight. It caught my attention, and I photographed it here. Essentially, the message is that a combination of a Pop-Tarts with a glass of fat free milk is the perfect way to start a breakfast off, and none of us should feel guilty feeding our kids such a crappy meal. This is marketing 101 at its finest. Any parent or consumer walking down the aisle, looking at this sign, is granted license to buy Pop-Tarts, and serve them to their kids and family. This subliminal message tells you, “hey it’s OK to feed little Johnny and Mary Pop-Tarts”. Adding a little bit of milk makes whatever reservations you have about Pop-Tarts vanish.

Unfortunately, falling into this advertising trap does nothing for us as individuals, or collectively as an obese nation. I swung back through the fresh produce section, and saw no such advertisement helping to steer consumers to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, or other unprocessed forms of proteins to be served at breakfast table across America. It just isn’t any fun to eat a scrambled egg, a small bowl of fresh blueberries, with a quarter of an avocado. A small cup of unsweetened yogurt would also be an excellent addition to this power breakfast for your 10-year-old.

So before everyone e-mails me back saying that I am out of line, please take personal stock of how much time and effort you invest personally in crafting meals for yourselves and your families. Cooking real food, which is unprocessed, and thus nutritious for you, takes time. Time to plan the meals, shop, and cook them. And yes, cooking fresh meals at home is messy. In all of my years of practicing medicine, it is far more messy, and far much more of a pain in the butt to suffer the consequences of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

You make the choice. Pop-Tarts in the morning, or hemodialysis? Misery is optional.

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31 Days of Wellness: Starting 2016 on the Right Step

31 Days of Wellness: Starting 2016 on the Right Step

Each January, I do my best to post 30 daily entries, allowing all of our readers to get a daily dose of inspiration to start off the new

year. While the vast majority of New Years resolutions are “health related”, the majority fail by months end. The reason for this high failure rate is simple-people don’t change habits easily. These resolutions require some sort of change in a person’s daily routine. Weight loss, eating better, spending more time exercising, cutting back on alcohol use are common themes each year, yet the difficulty in changing entrenched behaviors is what makes all of this so hard. So why should we even talk about this? My feeling is that while the failure rate is high, there are those that are able to make the changes needed to improve their health. I remain optimistic that there are those of you that have finally seen the light, and make the bold steps to change for the right reasons.

For today, let me leave you with this message (and challenge):

IMG_4379Make plans to try one new vegetable each week. Pretty simple. With the vegetable you select, try various recipes until you find one you like. Get feedback from your family and those you eat with. You may have to experiment until you get it right.

One of my favorite websites for learning about vegetables and fruits is Worlds Healthiest Foods. Use this site as a starting point to fine new foods to try.


Happy 2016.

Let me know what you think. Share these daily entries with those you care about.


Joe Galati, M.D.


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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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January 2: Garlic – Much More Than an Addition to Tomato Sauce

January 2: Garlic – Much More Than an Addition to Tomato Sauce

Chuck Garcia lends his thoughts on adding more garlic to your diet…a great idea to promote health and wellness this month.  Enjoy  Dr. Galati

Eat More Garlic in 2011

Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years (I hope by now you are beginning to see the connection between food and medicine).  It is even mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud. Again I reference Hippocrates who used garlic to cure ailments as varied as poor digestion, respiratory problems, and low energy.  Its use in China was first mentioned in the fifth century. 

Adding a bit of modern science, raw garlic is a source of many vitamins including B, C and calcium.  In test tubes, garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.  Also, many health practitioners use it to prevent disease and cure a variety of ills.  Garlic is also rich in antioxidants which help destroy free radicals.  Most practically, there are no shortages of studies to demonstrate how it helps prevent the common cold.  Also, when faced with a cold, many people find the symptoms dissipate more quickly when eating or taking more garlic than usual. 

There are several ways to ingest garlic from raw to dried garlic tablets, old and extracts (all available in most health stores).  As always, follow the directions of your health provider with knowledge in herbal medicine for the appropriate amounts. 

Now that you have connected the dots between food and medicine (a recurring theme on www.yourhealthfirst.com), fast forward to modern times.  What are the flavorful and culinary uses?  

Food (finally):  Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment.  It is a fundamental component in many dishes in Asia, the Middle East, and of course Italy.  The flavor varies in intensity and aroma and is often paired with onions, tomatoes, and ginger.  The parchment-like skin is much like an onion (they’re cousins) and is typically removed before using in raw or cooked form. 

I find garlic is best applied to bread (who doesn’t like garlic bread?), bruschetta (great appetizer), and of course tomato sauce.  Also, many cooks add garlic powder.  If using as a substitute for fresh garlic, 1/8 of a teaspoon is equivalent to one garlic clove.  Don’t be shy about its use.  Crush it or use cloves in chicken and/or fish recipes.  Vegetarians appreciate its ability to spice up the salads they so often eat. 

Downside?  Due to its strong odor, garlic is often associated with bad breath (and rightfully so).  Since it takes time to digest, it can hang around for hours.  Some people allege that it can be alleviated by eating parsley (another strong Italian association).  Don’t sweat it.  Its benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Make garlic (in whatever form) a staple of your diet; not only for its good taste but for optimizing the health benefits.  For more on garlic, go to:

The Garlic Store

 The Gilroy Garlic Festival

Garlic Recipes

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