Saturday, March 29, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Advantages of Grass Fed Beef and Wild Caught Salmon Over Farm Raised Counterparts

"I'll have what she's having."
-When Harry Met Sally


This is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies of all time.  Not only is this a good line, but I find this quote to be applicable to food and health.  Scientific studies that track the relationship of food and health over time can help guide what we should and shouldn't be eating.  By copying the health-promoting dietary habits reported in studies, you and your kids can "have what she's having" rather than have to reinvent the nutritional wheel. 

This quote is also applicable to the food chain in general.  Being at the top of the food chain has its advantages.  It also has its disadvantages.  When you bite into a beef burger, you are in effect having whatever that cow had previously eaten as well.  This is part of the omnivore's dilemma, a concept introduced by Michael Pollan.  Corn-fed cattle are fattier than grass-fed cattle.  Check out the difference in the marbling the next time you go to the grocery store.  

Similarly, farm-raised salmon are fed on grains while wild-caught salmon are free to feed on algae.  As a result, farm-raised salmon are high in bad saturated fat while wild-caught salmon are high in healthy omega 3 fats.  Read about the importance of omega 3 fats in my previous post:

So, the next time you purchase your meat and your fish, remember that "you're having what they're having:".  I expand on this and show Colin how to be a man in the following video entitled, "Boy Versus Wild."

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


Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Perlmutter, David, and Kristin Loberg. 2013. Grain brain: the surprising truth about wheat, carbs, and sugar--your brain's silent killers.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Best Buffalo Burger Recipe


Me: "Colin, you can have 'A' or you can have 'B'."
Colin: "I choose 'C'."

This is a frustratingly common conversation that parents often have with their kids. The choice could be over a toy, a book, or of course food. But what kids have figured out at an early age has eluded many adults. In life, and in food, there is always a third choice.

In my last post, I discussed my struggle over choosing between beef burgers and veggie burgers. My burger dilemma is emblematic of the fallacy of thought over choice. That is, all too often we lock ourselves into narrowly thinking about choice as consisting of only two alternatives. In their book, Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work, Chip and Dan Heath offer strategies for making better decisions. They discuss how narrow thinking plagues our decision-making. Often, the solution is not to choose one option over a second option, but to choose a third option altogether.

For instance, if you want to lower the saturated fat in your child's diet, you could prepare a tasty veggie burger. You might also ban red meat. Alternatively, you could cook them up a lean bison burger. Game meat such as buffalo meat is significantly leaner than farm raised beef. In fact, wild buffalo has one-third the fat content of most cuts of farm raised beef. In honor of the buffalo, I created a movie trailer this week called, "Dances With Buffalo".

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Try this tasty buffalo burger recipe:


Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. 2013. Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work. New York: Crown Business.

Andersen WS. 2008. Dr. A’s habits of health: : The path to permanent Weight Control and Optimal Health. Annapolis: Habits of Health Press

Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Best Beef Burger or Veggie Burger Recipe?

Every time I go to a burger joint, I find myself struggling with the same decision.  Beef burger or veggie burger?  Red meat is a significant source of saturated fat. (see my previous post):
Since I am well aware of the health hazards of red meat, you might think that I would easily choose veggie burger over beef burger.  The problem is that my brain says veggie burger, but my stomach says beef burger.  After some dueling between the two, my stomach usually wins out and seconds later I find myself happily munching on a greasy beef burger.  However, once I am done with the burger, my stomach is more heavy than happy and my brain says, "I told you so."

On the surface, I'm deciding between a veggie burger and a beef burger.  But in reality, my mind was already made up well in advance of placing my order.  You see, once I decide to step foot into a burger joint, chances are I'm coming out with a beef burger.  To expect anything else would be kidding myself.  It is like walking into a pizzeria and coming out with a salad.  Unlikely.  The odds are additionally skewed because the menu typically features ten glorious beef burgers to one paltry veggie burger.

The problem isn't that I don't like veggie burgers.  I actually find them to be quite tasty.  The problem is expectation and veiled choice.  Rather than head to a burger joint and set myself up for inevitable failure, I decided to make a delicious veggie burger in the comforts of my own home.  Plus, without the side by side comparison to a menu full of beef burgers, I was able to appreciate the sheer joy of eating a mouth-watering homemade veggie burger.  The kids liked it too!   Check it out:

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

Saturday, March 8, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Taiwanese Pork Sauce Over Rice Recipe

Taiwanese Pork Sauce Over Rice

  • 1/2 lb. ground pork (grind your own lean pork from pork tenderloin!)
  • 5 shallots, diced
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 6 Eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  •  1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  1. Soak shiitake overnight, then squeeze dry, and dice
  2. Heat canola oil in pot at low heat, then fry shallots and shiitake to bring out the flavor. 
  3. Add ground pork and cook until brown. 
  4. Add eggs. 
  5. Add seasoning and cook at low heat for about 1 hour.
  6. Pour meat sauce on top of rice, add vegetables, and serve.  
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Many thanks to the North American Taiwanese Women's Association for their permission to feature recipes from their excellent cookbook, Taiwanese Homestyle Cooking.
To purchase this book, go to:
To send a donation to NATWA, visit:

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Make Taiwanese Pork Recipe

I am proud to be a Taiwanese American.  What does it mean to be a Taiwanese American?  It means different things to different people.  To me, being a Taiwanese American is about understanding where I came from and knowing that there was a profound history of struggle and perseverance that long predated my comfortable life in America.  I hope to impart that same appreciation for the heritage and history of Taiwan onto my kids as well.

One way of staying in touch with my cultural roots and preserving those roots for my children is maintaining an appreciation for the food of Taiwan.  Like many cultures, Taiwanese people have a deep love for food.  Being an island, Taiwan inevitably is home to many delectable seafood dishes like oyster omelets and fish ball soup.  Taiwanese people also love their noodles from beef noodle soup to oyster vermicelli.

Many Taiwanese dishes also feature pork...fatty pork.  Taiwanese people sure do love themselves some fatty pig!  Whether it is served as a main dish like a Taiwanese pork chop, in a steamed bun called a Taiwanese hamburger, or as an accompaniment with rice, pork is a staple of Taiwanese cuisine.  

Indeed, when I was a kid, my family ate our fair share of pork.  I think my parents truly bought into pork as being the "other white meat".  However, contrary to what advertising might imply, the fat content in most pork is closer to that of beef than it is to chicken.  After all, the saying does go, "fat as a pig" for a reason.  

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can cut down on saturated fat by avoiding store bought ground meat, including ground pork:

In the following clip, instead of using store bought ground pork, I show you a  tasty Taiwanese dish made healthier by grinding my own meat from lean pork tenderloin:

Many thanks to the North American Taiwanese Women's Association for their permission to feature recipes from their excellent cookbook, Taiwanese Homestyle Cooking.
To purchase this book, go to:
To send a donation to NATWA, visit:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Seafood Boil Recipe

I knew I wanted to marry Cassie the first time she flashed...her winning smile.  But it took a rendezvous in New Orleans for me to finally get around to pre-proposing to Cassie.  What is a pre-proposal?  A pre-proposal is when a guy fails to plan a legitimate romantic proposal ahead of time and instead blurts out a marriage proposal in the middle of the French Quarter.

New Orleans is not only a place for clumsy proposals; it is also a city with some serious eats.  On a return trip to New Orleans, I took Cassie back to a place called Red Fish Grill.  It seemed appropriate because we had a fantastic meal there the first time we met up in New Orleans, and I had a coupon for a free bottle of wine.  To commemorate the event, I got quite drunk and I took a picture of myself pretending to give Cassie a legitimate proposal with her existing wedding ring.

The other night, Cassie and I had a hankering for some Cajun food, so we took the kids to a local restaurant called, Chasing Tails.  This restaurant specializes in Cajun seafood according to a southern style seafood boil.  Bags of shrimp, crawfish, and mussels were plopped onto our newspaper-lined tables, and the kids happily used their hands to devour the delicious seafood.

A seafood boil is a generic term for any number of different kinds of social events in which shellfish is the central element.  Shellfish, like all seafood, is a lean protein that is low in saturated fat:
A boil is usually cooked using a large pot seasoned with salt, garlic, onions, lemons, and Cajun spices.  In addition to seafood, it is often served with whole ears of corn and potatoes.

Thus inspired, I decided to attempt my own "Ko" boil at our home.  This is how it turned out:

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


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