Is it time to get back to “normal” ?

I know so many people are itching to get back out there, to get back to pre COVID-19 “normal.” But the truth is we are far from that possibility. At some point we will all, personally, be touched by this virus. 

Today, July 2, 2020 there have been 516,000 deaths reported worldwide from COVID-19.

FWIW I think in the end we will find that this is a significant underrepresentation of the numbers as it now appears that this virus was circulating for months before we caught wind of it. I bet anything that thousands of people in the US, or even tens of thousands who were thought to have died from pneumonia or stroke actually died of COVID-19 related pneumonia or stroke.

But let’s stick with reported numbers for now. In the US alone today total confirmed cases in the country have reached more than 2.7 million, with more than 130,000 deaths. 

And it’s not just old people or those with chronic illnesses who are falling prey to this virus.


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Cook This: Curried Coconut Quinoa Salmon Cakes with Cumin Aioli

I had some leftover salmon in the fridge and spent some time perusing my usual recipe haunts such as cookstr and epicurious for a salmon cake recipe to try. I made one and they fell apart (unfortunately trashed the link) and none of the other salmon cake recipes I found both fit my dietary requirements and looked remotely edible. Then I came upon a recipe for curried quinoa salmon cakes at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen blog. I typically really like the recipes (they tend to be pretty hard core health food) on this website but these also fell apart. Then I found some random guy’s recipe blog, made a few changes and ended up with a delicious winner!

curried coconut quinoa salmon cakes with aioli photo


•  2 cups cooked salmon, flaked. Avoid farmed salmon if you can.
•  1 cup cooked Quinoa
•  1 teaspoon curry
•  1/3 cup shredded coconut
•  1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
•  1/2 leek cleaned and finely chopped
•  1 egg plus one egg white
•  1/4 cup mayonnaise, more if needed to hold ingredients together when you grab a handful and squeeze
•  2-3 TBSP fresh chopped parsley or basil if desired

Make into patties and pan fry. I used olive oil but if you’re going to heat to smoke point which would probably work best…I might suggest grape seed oil or actually, coconut oil since this dish already  has coconut in it. Yes, that’s what’ I’ll use next time, coconut oil. And please, don’t be stingy with the oil.

I served these with cumin aioli.

•  1/3 cup mayo. We use canola mayo because so many others have soy oil in them, and I’m not a fan.
•  1/2 tsp dijon mustard
•  1/4 tsp finely chopped or pressed fresh garlic
•  1-2 tsp ground cumin. If you have the wherewithal lightly roast fresh seeds on the stovetop then grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
•  High quality olive oil to preferred texture. I like my aioli a little more runny when I put it on top of fish cakes.

We served this up with lemon walnut green beans. I’ll post that recipe soon.  The kid loved it all. We did too.

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Cook This: Crunchy Kale Chips

I fought this one for long—kale chips. Sounds awful delicious, right? I’d had them before. My husband would buy them at the coop and eat them as if they were going out of style. I thought they were ok but certainly not worth $8 a bag. Last weekend my sister came to visit and saw the piles of the leafy green deliciousness that we’d harvested (more about our garden project in another post) just sitting in the fridge. She talked me into trying kale chips. I’m so glad she did! The recipe took a bit of tweaking but it’s official: I’m a kale chip convert! I’ve eaten an entire head of kale a day for the last 3 days and it’s not looking like I’m letting up any time soon. And by the way…my kid loves them too!

They are a great snack that’s crunchy and salty without being fried or having a ton of unnecessary carbs. The nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins. If you want more snack ideas, or whether you should or shouldn’t snack, check out this post!


  • 1 head kale, any variety
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2-3 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • salt

What to do

  1. Preheat your oven to 300. If you have a convection function it will speed things up a bit.
  2. Take a head of kale, wash well, and tear into pieces about 3 x 3 inches.
  3. Spin in a salad spinner or lay out on a dishtowel to dry thoroughly.
  4. Once dry put in a plastic bag that you can use to shake up the kale with oil (I use the kind of bag that they provide at the supermarket for your vegetables), use about 1 TBSP+ of olive oil and 2-3 TBSP of flaked nutritional yeast. Shake shake shake.
  5. Pour out onto baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 15-20 minutes. I’ve found that one head of kale will fill about 3 baking sheets. The kale may need to be tossed or flipped midway if it’s still moist after about 10 minutes. It’s done when the pieces are crisp and crunchy and not moist. Don’t brown it though or it will get bitter!
  6. After pulling out of the oven, sprinkle with salt to desired taste.

Variations: I sometimes add cayenne to the yeast before you put on the kale, or use a different spice mix entirely. I’m going to try it this weekend without the yeast entirely and instead just use truffle salt. It may be a bit of an odd combination, We’ll see!

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How Do You Trust Your Supplement Brand? Here is what to ask them…

Every time a new patient comes into the clinic I have ‘the supplement talk.’

Here’s the thing; no one is regulating the supplement industry. And it is indeed an industry, a big one at that. Does that mean that you can’t trust anything out there? No. It means that you need to be very careful about which supplements you buy. Just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it is good. However, if something is very inexpensive (compared to other similar products) there is a pretty decent chance that it hasn’t been through stringent quality control. Why? Because it costs companies much more to test each batch of raw material that comes to their plants, and even more to test the final products.

So how do you know what is ok and what isn’t? As a physician, I work closely with a few companies that have stringent controls. But if you are just buying something at the store, don’t take the sales person’s word for it (they are usually trained by the companies directly), and don’t take the word of the product label either, do your own research.

Here is what I recommend:

Call the company and ask the following questions regarding supplement “X”.

1. Do you manufacture it? If no, you need to speak directly to the manufacturer. Some companies just label supplements produced by another company.

2. Do you test all raw materials that come to your plant for ingredient, contamination, and potency (if applicable?)

3. Do you test the product for quality post manufacture? If yes, is it random testing, or batch testing? And, is it done in house or by an independent testing company. Fair warning here, I did some consulting for a mass market brand where they would ‘shop’ the product having a batch tested 3 or 4 times before someone came back with the answer they wanted.

4. If I read you the batch number of the supplement “X” in my hand, can you send me a certificate of analysis. If you don’t feel 100% confident with their answers, go to another brand.

Here is a link about a lawsuit being brought against a number of high profile companies that were found to have PCBs in their fish oil. And as if that is not bad enough, many of them had statements on the labels stating that the product was “screened for PCBs” or “treated to remove PCBs.”

One online resource, the subscription site Consumer Lab does do random spot checks of many supplements. What they are trying to do is very important but the potential problem here is that just because one batch looks good doesn’t mean the manufacturer won’t change their raw materials supplier at any time, or even that the raw materials supplier is providing consistency in product.

The take home? My advice is to only by supplements from companies that have stringent quality control of their product and manufacturing from start to finish.

Yours in Health,

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