Health Starts at Home

Food Mistakes Parents Make
Is your picky eater getting the best of you? Dr. Jim says parents shouldn’t force their children to finish everything on their plate. This creates negative food emotions that can lead to problems later in life. One suggestion is to bring kids in to the kitchen and have them help with food preparation.

How Cooked is Pre-Cooked?

This week, the federal government announced that 32 people in 12 states were sickened with salmonella poisoning after eating precooked, frozen chicken dinners. The problem? Many of the people who got sick apparently did not follow the instructions for preparing the meal, which called for heating it in an oven. Those who got sick popped their meals in microwaves instead.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the dishes included breaded or pre-browned chicken breasts, some of them stuffed with vegetables or sold as “chicken
Kiev” and “chicken cordon bleu.” The appearance of the food led people to assume that the chicken breasts were thoroughly cooked, even though they were still raw or undercooked inside. The agency said that some of the sicknesses occurred in Minnesota, but would not identify the 11 other states involved in the outbreak.


Frozen Dinner Risks

Nicole from Clifton, New Jersey writes in to ask The Doctors if she can get salmonella poisoning from microwaving frozen dinners. Dr. Stork says that these entrees aren’t always fully cooked and may need to be heated at higher temperatures to kill bacteria. To demonstrate, he holds up a breaded chicken cutlet and says it’s hard to tell if the chicken beneath the breading is raw or not. Poultry needs to be cooked at 165 degrees or higher. Make sure to follow package instructions! 


Are Kids Cereals Misleading?

Did you know that one bowl of sugary breakfast cereal can equal three glazed doughnuts? In one weeks’ time, your kids could consume the sugar equivalent of 15 doughnuts! “Read the label,” Dr. Jim cautions. There are healthier breakfast choices available, so make sure to choose one with a high protein and fiber content. Dr. Ordon suggests buying cereal with no added sugar and topping it off with fresh fruit.


Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

The Doctors check back in with Brandon, a guest from the premiere episode who smoked cigarettes and ate fast food three times a day. Dr. Travis staged a health intervention to get the junk food junkie back on track. Brandon joins the show via telephone with good news to report: Since his appearance on The Doctors, he works out regularly, eats healthy meals and has lost 30 pounds! Brandon was also able to quit smoking with the help of laser treatment provided by the show.


Refrigerator Makeover

Alisha, 20, is a college student who eats nutritious meals and works out five times a week. She worries that her parents, Vicky and Robert, are passing their poor eating habits down to her younger brother, Robbie. The family joins Dr. Travis onstage, where he wheels in their refrigerator and takes them to task for stocking fattening items such as bacon, frozen pizza and margarine. Dr. Travis says that it’s OK to give in to your sweet tooth once in a while, but overconsumption of sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity. 


In a taped segment, Dr. Jim took the family grocery shopping to give them tips on stocking the fridge. The pediatrician suggests that they shop around the perimeter of the store where the produce is located. He also suggests that Vicky and Robert allow Robbie to pick out his own healthy foods, which will make him more likely to eat them. Dr. Jim advises to avoid hydrogenated products, high fructose corn syrup and artificial coloring, like Yellow 6 or Blue 1.


The Doctors have a surprise for the family: Their old fridge will be replaced with a Sears Kenmore Elite Trio refrigerator stocked with healthier food choices including turkey bacon and spaghetti squash!


The Food Lab

Just how toxic are the foods that you consume? Dr. Travis is joined by Dr. Kirsten Sanford, who holds a PhD in molecular, cellular and integrative physiology. They perform a litmus test with water, soda and vinegar to show how highly acidic the latter liquids are. Dr. Sanford debunks the myth that drinking soda will make your blood acidic, but she notes that consuming sugar-free soda may increase your risk for diabetes and obesity because it makes you crave sweets. 


Audience members Mark and Debbie join Dr. Travis and Dr. Sanford onstage. Dr. Sanford does an experiment with food coloring to see if Mark is a “supertaster” – someone who has a greater number of taste buds than normal. Although Mark says he is a picky eater, his test comes back normal. Then Dr. Sanford introduces a miracle fruit from Ghana, synsepalum dulcificum, a red berry that can change the way sour or bitter foods tastes. Debbie sucks on the African fruit and then bites into a lemon. To her surprise, it tastes like lemonade! Dr. Sanford says that dieters are using synsepalum dulcificum to curb their sweet tooth. For her last experiment, Dr. Sanford demonstrates that a breakfast cereal indeed contains iron. She holds up a magnet, and a flake sticks to it! Dr. Sanford says the best way to get iron is from cruciferous veggies like broccoli.


Ask Our Doctors


Dawn calls in from Sherman Oaks, California, with a question: Will burning your tongue on hot food permanently destroy taste buds, and is there a quick fix to ease the pain? Dr. Travis advises her to place an ice cube or cool water on the burned area, suck on an over-the-counter cough drop containing Benzocaine or rub sugar on the burned area until it disappears. Unless your tongue is severely burned, the taste buds will remain intact.



Dana in Palm Springs, California, writes that she often feels pins and needles throughout her body when the weather is extremely hot or cold. Dr. Ordon says this prickly sensation is perfectly normal when one moves from hot to cold temperatures. However, if you experience numbness all the time, it could indicate an underlying medical problem such as diabetes or a pinched nerve.



Heather, an audience member, has always wondered why cutting an onion makes one cry. Dr. Travis says that when you open an onion, enzymes interact, waft into your eyes and turn into sulfuric acid, which stimulates tears. Heather and the four physicians have a contest to see who can slice the odoriferous veggie without tearing up. The Doctors tease Dr. Travis that his eyes are starting to water.



Charlotte from Teaneck, New Jersey, e-mails Dr. Sears. She’s concerned that her 15-year-old son is damaging his ear drums from listening to loud music on his iPod. The pediatrician says that a simple ear test will indicate whether her teen has hearing loss – or selective hearing!



Kelly wrote in that as a celebrity photographer, her glasses often get in the way, and it’s affecting her work. Because of a dry eye condition, she can’t wear contacts, and she’s been told that she’s not a good candidate for Lasik surgery.


Eye surgery specialist Dr. Paul Dougherty says there’s hope for Kelly. Because she is legally blind, she’s a perfect candidate for a revolutionary new eye surgery called Visian ICL, which permanently implants a contact lens onto the eye. Some benefits include high definition vision and decreased side effects like dry eye.


An exuberant Kelly joins Drs. Travis and Dougherty in the studio after her surgery. She says goodbye glasses, and says she can see better than ever! The eye specialist explains that Kelly’s surgery will last for the rest of her life. And, as a surprise for the photographer, Dr. Travis presents her with a new HD camera from Canon.

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OAD 11/14/08