Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Best Recipes and Videos From Cooking For Your Kids With Dr. Chris Ko 2015

Why do I do it? Why do I blog? Well it isn't for the fame. And it certainly isn't for the fortune. I enjoy expressing my thoughts on how food delivers health. I like sharing my thoughts with others, with the hope that they will benefit too. I also enjoy cooking my kids nourishing food. But the main reason why I blog wasn't apparent to me until I went to New York and saw Finding Neverland. 

Finding Neverland tells the story of J.M. Barrie, a playwright who is best known for writing Peter Pan. Before writing Peter Pan, Barrie was inspirationally stuck. Despite a history of writing success, he found himself in a rut. He wasn't writing anything novel, and he wasn't having any fun. In the song Play, the actors are reminded of why they went into acting in the first place. People with creative jobs enjoy the freedom and fun of playing at their craft. It is the pure joy of playing for playing's sake that drives creative people.

Upon watching this musical, I realized the primary reason I keep on blogging and making YouTube videos is because it's fun. Playing is not just a pastime, it works the creative side of the brain. And by working the creative side of my brain in addition to my rational side, I get to use my whole brain. And I'm pretty sure my patients appreciate a doctor who uses his whole brain.

You can work the creative side of your brain as well simply by cooking for your kids. Try some of my favorite recipes featured in the third annual Osko award show:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

How to Make a Healthy Gluten Free Pizza Frittata For Kids

Two of my favorite foods are spaghetti and dumplings. These are also the two dishes that would show up regularly on our table for lunch on weekends when I was a boy. If we had spaghetti last weekend, we were probably having dumplings this weekend. Occasionally, my mom would make homemade sushi rolls just to mix things up a bit. Sushi is probably my third favorite food.

The funny thing is, no matter how many times I was served the same two or three dishes, I never got sick of them. To this day, I still look forward to eating spaghetti, dumplings, and sushi. People call these kinds of foods comfort foods for a reason. It's not just because they taste good. It's the memories that are associated with them.

In the Netflix documentary Cooked, Michael Pollan notes that we are the only species who cooks. He argues that we became anthropologically human when we learned how to wield fire and cook our food. Regardless of where you come from, cooked food is comforting because it connects us as a species and it reminds us of powerful memories of being cooked for and care for by our parents.

In First Bite, Bee Wilson writes, "Memory is the single most powerful driving force in how we learn to eat." She cites a study of rats who were given dopamine blockers to block their reward system. Initially, these rats continued to press a lever for a food reward. Their memory of the food reward was still fresh. However, over time, they stopped eating the food pellets because they were no longer rewarding. Finally, they stopped pressing the lever altogether. They had lost the memory of what the pellets tasted like.

People are the same way. Our memories of comforting foods entice us back again and again. Wilson argues that processed food is so alluring because it is a consistent product that lives up to the memory of that product. But just as memory drives the consumption of unhealthy food, our memories can also foster positive relationships with healthful foods. One of my patients recalled being comforted by freshly cooked eggs in the morning when she was a child. By creating comforting memories of good food for your kids, you'll help them develop a long-lasting positive association with healthful foods. For instance, instead of comforting your kids with pizza, try this recipe for pizza frittata by Rachel Ray. I'm sure it will create a memorable impression on your kids that they won't forget!


Wilson, Bee, and Annabel Lee. 2015. First bite: how we learn to eat.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

How to Make a Healthy Dessert Chocolate Parfait With Buckwheat Groats For Kids

I used to think I knew what love was. When I was in high school, I would awkwardly shuffle down the lonely halls on Valentine's day, wishing I had someone to love. I remember making sidelong envious glances at all the popular couples who would hold hands and make out in public for all the virgins to see.

When I went to college, a couple of my friends had long-distance girlfriends. They would spend hours in what seemed like endless conversation over the phone. On Valentine's day, they would send their girlfriends large heart-shaped cookies. Their girlfriends would send them a note and a care package in loving exchange. I would sit alone in the school cafeteria, munching on Valentine's day themed pink pastry puffs.

Then I met Cassie. The first conversation we had was filled with "me too" moments and real, hearty laughter. Soon, we started dating. We held hands, shared our first dance together, and celebrated holidays together. On Valentine's day, she would make me a cute hand crafted gift and I would inevitably get her a decidedly cheesy sentimental present.

But none of that was truly love. It wasn't until we got married and had kids that I learned what love is. Love isn't really about flowers and chocolate. Love isn't about songbirds and butterflies. Love is poopy diapers and tantrums. Love is screaming children, hungry stomachs, and sniffling tears. Love is coaching a constipated kid to push through a gigantic turd. Love is having your kid completely reject you right to your face, thanking them, and then taking it in the face once again.

When I think back about what I thought love was, it was all so egocentric. I realize now that I wasn't looking for someone to love so much as I was looking for someone to love me. I didn't actually learn what love was until I was forced to learn how to take care of someone other than myself.

But when you really and truly love someone just for the sake of that someone, then you can really appreciate love back. I used to think there was no greater thrill than holding Cassie's hand. But these days my thrills come in the form of a much smaller hand. Whenever my daughter reaches out and says, "Daddy, hold hands" I fall in love all over again.

This Valentine's day, I decided to make a healthy sweet for my little sweetheart. This chocolate hazelnut parfait recipe uses whole seeds in the form of raw buckwheat groats, which give this dessert an interesting texture and nuttiness. I got my buckwheat groats at my local Whole Foods. Happy Valentine's day!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to Make Healthy Homemade Ramen With Spaghetti Squash and Braised Pork : Souper Bowl

Chicken broth is the foundation of goodness. It is the basis from which so many recipes start. It confers tenderness to vegetables and whole grains, saltiness to soups, and moisture to meats and stews. If I don't have anything else on hand, I can always rely on chicken broth to enhance the flavors of any basic ingredients.

As with any processed food product, make sure to choose broths with no added sugar. I don't bother buying low sodium chicken broth because I intentionally use broth as a salty vehicle to add savor to my dishes. On the other hand, when I went to Spain, I learned that most chefs keep their stock unsalted; instead, they add salt separately to their dishes according to their tastes.  

You can easily make your own chicken broth. One of the beautiful things about homemade stock is you can dump whatever leftover herbs and aromatics you might have in your refrigerator. You don't even need to bother peeling the skins off your onions. According to Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, onion skins are high in bionutrients, making them the most nutritious part of the vegetable. Adding unpeeled quartered onions to your stock confers it with flavor and nutrients.

One great way to use stock is in homemade soups. In celebration of Superbowl 50, try making your kids this Souper Bowl of Ramen, comprised of homemade chicken broth, fresh vegetables, and sliced braised pork shoulder. For a healthy low carbohydrate twist, try roasting spaghetti squash to substitute for noodles.


Robinson, Jo. 2013. Eating on the wild side: the missing link to optimum health.

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