Dr. Travis Stork, #1 New York Times bestselling author, shares his tips contained in his latest book, The Doctors Cookbook.
Find out how you can lose weight and still eat the foods you love.
RadioMD Presents: To Your Good Health Radio | Original Air Date: March 26, 2015
Host: David Friedman, DC
Guest: Travis Stork, MD
Chews for Health presents To Your Good Health radio. Here are Melanie Cole, MS, and your host, Dr. David Friedman.
MELANIE: Our next guest is a number one, New York Times best-selling author, board certified emergency medicine physician and Emmy-nominated host of the award-winning talk show The Doctors. He's on the medical advisory board for Men's Health magazine and a contributor to many national publications.
Welcome to the show, author of The Doctor's Diet Cookbook, Dr. Travis Stork.
Here's Dr. David Friedman.
DR FRIEDMAN: Doc, so great to have you on the show.
DR STORK: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
DR FRIEDMAN: Oh, that's great. Now, given a choice, most of us want to eat healthier. But, of course, that busy lifestyle gets in the way and people opt for the convenient options like processed foods, take out or delivery. Does your latest book help remedy this way of thinking?
DR STORK: Well, I tried. You know, one of the things I did, it was about a year and a half ago, I worked on the book, The Doctor's Diet, and really I called it a "diet" not a diet, meaning this is the way I eat every day. It's the way that people, I think, should eat for the rest of their lives because when you eat the right diet, you don't ever have to go on a diet. So, one of the things I tried to do with the initial book was really teach people how healthy foods actually can be really convenient and how healthy foods can be affordable and taste great. It's just a matter of reprioritizing and figuring out how to make every meal one that counts. So, you know, I really tried to get to what I think is the root of a lot of our unhealthy eating which is we get in a habit and the habits are not necessarily the best of habits, going for the convenience foods that aren't healthy. I would say, my number one goal is to try to teach people to go for the convenience foods that are healthy. A lot of them are, whether it's a handful of nuts or eating an apple with a little almond butter. Those are pretty doggone convenient options that I try to teach people to utilize throughout their day.
DR FRIEDMAN: You also have stuff in here that you wouldn't expect in a healthy diet book. I mean, you share recipes for everyday favorites like tacos, mac and cheese, pizza, spaghetti. Even chocolate mousse is on the list. Now, these aren't typically considered healthy foods. Did you substitute certain ingredients that allow us to eat these foods without gaining weight?
DR STORK: Well, yes. An example of the chocolate mousse, the big secret ingredient is avocados. So, really what I tried to do was take some of our favorite comfort foods and figure out ways to make them healthy and yet maintain some of their sort of vintage elements as foods that we know and love. So, what's interesting in the chocolate mousse--this was one that was really quite interesting. Using avocados in it sounds like it wouldn't be very good.
DR FRIEDMAN: Yes.
DR STORK: But, what's ironic is, by substituting that really healthy fat, and, if anything, it ends up turning out creamier and that's the type of thing I tried to do with a lot of these recipes. You know, when you start talking about foods like mac and cheese. Well, if you go with the whole grain pasta and, actually, my recipe has some cashews in it, they're really great ways to modify the food that they're more filling without filling you out, if you will.
DR FRIEDMAN: And, you're not stuck eating tofu all the time. People think that they're going to have to not enjoy the foods that they love and that's what's really neat about what you've done here. You've created, "Wow! It's pretty much foods I love. Here's just a better way to do it." I like that concept. It's not a big game changer in their mind and people rebel against that. I think what you've done is kind of said, "Hey, here's some foods you love and here's a better way to get them." Really interesting. On your show, The Doctors, you've covered everything from acne to heart disease to cancer. In your opinion, when you look at disease, what percentage do you feel is attributed to an unhealthy diet versus, let's say, a person's DNA?
DR STORK: You know, the exact percentages, obviously, you can debate until the end of the day, but I tend to tell people, "Look, if you're genetics contributes, let's say, thirty percent, and in many ways, you could argue that genetics can load the gun, but you ultimately decide whether or not to pull the trigger when it comes to health and how you live your life." So, I would say over half, 70% of what we do, how we live, how we eat, how we move, how we sleep, those things all play ultimately the biggest role of all of whether or not we develop illness or don't. Even in the ER where one of the things I talked about when I wrote The Doctor's Diet, is that I felt compelled to write a book about food because food-related illnesses send more people to the ER than anything else. It's not the car crashes and the other accidents we tend to equate an ER with. Believe it or not, it's the acute exacerbations of chronic illness that often come from a lifetime of bad eating. So, really what I try to do, especially when I host The Doctors, I tell our viewers all the time, "Look. I'm an ER doc. Wise people, when it comes to their health, learn from the mistakes of others. You don't want to end up in the ER someday saying, 'Gosh, if only I'd made this change 10 years ago.'" You know, for most people out there, it's never too late to make that commitment—to make that change." Certainly, I know it's something you try to do on your show, something we do on The Doctors, it's just every day trying to encourage people to do these little, subtle changes that make a huge difference in how well and how long we live. Sometimes I'll just tell people, "Look. If you make no other change, do me this favor. Tonight go home and get rid of all of the refined carbohydrates in your cupboard. If you're going to eat bread, just make sure it's whole wheat. For the next week, any time you're on the phone, get on your feet and walk around." Believe it or not, sometimes that alone is enough of a trigger to get people to start becoming a little bit healthier.
DR FRIEDMAN: Baby steps like that. You know, there are so many diets. I feature so many authors of diet books and people lose the weight, but what impresses me about The Doctor's Diet and the follow up cookbook is, you've basically eliminated the yo yo effect by focusing on maintaining the weight loss. Isn't that the key? To maintain the weight that you lose from a diet?
DR STORK: It's a sad statistic when you start to look at 90% percent of people who go on a diet and end up putting that weight back on and then some. We know that that fluctuation in and of itself is not healthy for us. So, if you feel, and I've always felt this to be true. If you ever go on a diet and you feel like you're truly on a diet and there's a little bit of your mindset that's like, "Oh, man. If I just lose 10 more pounds and then I'll be done with this." You're going to fail. You can't feel like you're on a diet. You need to feel like, "These are great foods. I love eating them and I want to do this for the rest of my life. I can't imagine not feeling this well for the rest of my life." I think that that's a mindset shift.
DR FRIEDMAN: Yes. That makes sense. One weakness most of us have, myself included, is that late night noshing. Even if I eat right at the end of the day, is there a Dr. Stork approved snack for noshing in front of the TV? What do you reach for?
DR STORK: Well, you know, it's interesting because we just talked about this on The Doctors and because it has some caffeine, some people said, "Oh, I can't eat that," but I actually…My dessert at night after dinner and a little while before I go to bed is some dark chocolate. Depending on how active I've been that day, sometimes I'll add a little almond butter on it and, for me, that works. Yet, I always tell people, you've got to figure out what works for you. If it's a bowl of plain Greek yogurt--look, if you need to sweeten it with a little bit of honey, by all means. I'm not one of those people who believes that you can never, ever, ever, ever have anything with sweetness in it. But, I'm also a big believer that, and this is where I differ probably from a lot of people…
DR FRIEDMAN: Just got a few more seconds.
DR STORK: If you go to bed and you know you're not going to get a good night's rest because you go to bed and you're just famished, I would rather people eat a quick, healthy bedtime snack. The chocolate mousse recipe in my cookbook is a good example of something.
DR FRIEDMAN: Great.
DR STORK: That you will actually sleep better and that, alone, is worth having a little snack before you hit the hay.
MELANIE: Thanks so much, Dr. Stork. Get your copy of The Doctor's Diet Cookbook: Tasty Meals for a Lifetime of Vibrant Health and Weight Loss Maintenance available at all major bookstores and Amazon.com. You can follow Dr. Stork on Twitter @TravisStorkMD.
This is Melanie Cole with Dr. David Friedman.
Stay well and stay tuned.