Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : The Best Healthy Recipes

We all know that food is related to health.  There are things that most of us assume we shouldn't eat or that we should at least limit.  On the other hand, there are things like a seemingly healthy slice of bread, that I have argued is unhealthy:

I draw my conclusions about what foods should be considered healthy versus unhealthy based on looking at data from studies that use the best available statistical methodology.  And while I find the empirical evidence to be particularly persuasive to me as a practicing physician, I know that the strongest public message comes from personal experience and personal relationships.

For instance, you may have a close friend or relative that has been afflicted with cancer and no matter what the population data shows, that personal experience will always stand out in your mind.  Likewise, although I have always known that food is related to health, I have developed a much deeper respect for this relationship over the past two years due to my personal clinical experience with weight management.  By helping patients take out sugars, processed foods, and other bad carbohydrates from their diet, I have witnessed the intimate relationship between food and health.  Ultimately, I became a great believer in food as medicine and I felt compelled to share that with others through this blog. 

When I started this blog over half a year ago, I knew that I had information that I was excited to share, but I was hesitant about my ability to share that information.  I quickly realized that while food studies excite me, most people are less excited about studies and more excited about food.  But could I translate what I was reading into real practical cooking tips for the average parent?  I have no background in culinary education.  In fact, prior to starting this blog, cooking was a bit of a foreign experience to me.  Previously, the meals that I did cook were less notable for the impression they left behind and more notable for the chaotic mess I left behind in the kitchen.  Although I was nervous about my qualifications to write a healthy cooking blog, I realized that my very naivete demanded that I do so.  If I could attempt to cook healthy for my kids, then so could you.

As Doctor Chris Ko, I am passionate about health and medicine, but the passion that drives Cooking For Your Kids is my relationship with my kids and my opportunity to speak from one parent to another.  If you have followed my blog all along, popped in for the first time, or popped in from time to time, I appreciate your time and I sincerely hope that you have learned a few things that will positively impact your health and the health of your kids.  

In the following clip, I highlight some of my most popular videos and give thanks to my readers and subscribers in the first annual OsKo awards.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Make Chocolate Avocado Pudding Recipe

In the weight management classes I teach, there are certain foods that inevitably come up: ice cream and chocolate.  In a previous post, I discussed how you can use the good fats from avocado to substitute for the bad saturated fats in heavy cream to make a healthier mint ice cream:

Chocolate is not only a favorite food for self-professed chocolate lovers, but for most kids and everybody alike.  The problem with chocolate is that it contains bad saturated fat from cocoa butter as well as refined sugar.  When you give your kids a piece of chocolate, you are letting the chocolate companies decide how much sugar and saturated fat your kids should be eating. 

Instead of chocolate, try using cocoa powder.  Cocoa may actually be good for you!  Cocoa intake has been associated with lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol.  By using cocoa powder instead of chocolate in your desserts, you can get your chocolate fix while avoiding the addition of bad fat and toxic levels of sugar.  Just make sure to check the ingredient list for pure cocoa powder with no added sugars!

In the following clip, I demonstrate a very easy recipe for a creamy chocolate pudding which uses cocoa powder and the good unsaturated fats from avocado.  Your kids will eat this up!  (Do not give to infants less than one year of age due to the inclusion of raw honey).

Here is the link to the recipe I used in the above video:


D. Taubert, N. Jung, and R. Roesen. Cocoa intake and blood pressure reply. JAMA, 298(16):1863, 2007. S. 

Baba, M. Natsume, A. Yasuda, Y. Nakamura, T. Tamura, N. Osakabe, M. Kanegae, and K. Kondo. Plasma ldl and hdl cholesterol and oxidized ldl concentrations are altered in normo-and hypercholesterolemic humans after intake of different levels of cocoa powder. Journal of Nutrition, 137(6) 1436, 2007. 

S. Baba, N. Osakabe, Y. Kato, M. Natsume, A. Yasuda, T. Kido, K. Fukuda, Y. Muto, and K. Kondo. Continuous intake of polyphenolic compounds containing cocoa powder reduces ldl oxidative susceptibility and has beneficial effects on plasma hdl-cholesterol concentrations in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(3):709, 2007. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

How to Cook a Romantic Meal

Cassie is the first and only girl I ever dated.  We met at an event held by the Taiwanese American Student Club at Northwestern University.  She made an immediate impression on me and I eventually worked up the courage to ask her out.  Our first date was at a casual cafe on campus that served Korean food, called J.K. Sweets.  We've been eating meals together ever since.

If I could describe Cassie in one word it would be, "easy".  Wait, that didn't come out right.  What I mean is, being with Cassie has always felt so comfortable and that shirt you put on that fits just right.  Ever since the first day we met, there has always been an easiness between us.  As our friend Sandra puts it, "Cassie and I just get one another."

As another friend Noriko puts it, "Chris is such a lucky guy."  Indeed.  Cassie has always been there to prop me up when I am down, calm me down when I am upset, and encourage me when I am lost.  She has a smile that disarms me, a laugh that charms me, and a wit that alarms me.  She augments my strengths and compensates for my weaknesses.

Her companionship and partnership have taken on a whole new meaning ever since we had kids.  Because, there's nothing easy about kids.  Now, more than ever, I am grateful to have the accompaniment of the love of my life by my side.  For this Valentine's day, I'm giving Cassie my heart and my soul on a plate!

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The recipe for this ridiculously delicious dish can be found at the following link:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Black Bean Hummus Recipe

My life was empty.  My life was meaningless.  And then I found something that brought meaning and direction to my hapless life.  Fantasy football.  At first, I was just humoring my friend Manuank when he asked me to join his fantasy football league.  But then...I discovered the fantasy life.

Fantasy football took me away from the dreariness of day to day life and helped give me focus and purpose.  I was all about discovering sleepers and finding the next great stud.   (In any other context, that might have sounded weird). 

But this fantasy life had its downsides.  Sure, touchdowns and wins meant excessive celebration.  But injuries, Monday nights, and crushing losses meant irritable bowel syndrome and severe depression.  And at a certain point, my fantasy hobby became an out and out obsession.  And when it became an unhealthy obsession, I had to call it quits.

Nonetheless, fantasy football did give me a unique appreciation for the game of football.  While I no longer play fantasy football, I am still a fan of football.  This week's post features a special Superbowl dip and is dedicated to all those fantasy football fans out there.  To read about why beans are so healthy, check out my previous post:

Now, who's ready for some football?

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Here is the link to the black bean hummus dip featured in the above video:

For an added kick, I added one tablespoon of soy sauce into the dip.  I used white cannellini beans to make the stitching of the football. 

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