Dr. Ayala's Blog

The latest science of healthy food and healthy living

Dr. Ayala

Dr. Ayala
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
V.P. Product Development
Herbal Water
I’m a physician (Pediatrics and Medical Genetics), artist, and mother of 3 school age active kids. I recently co-founded Herbal Water Inc. (www.herbalwater.com) with my husband, Albert. I am a serious home cook, and love to entertain. My expertise is vegetarian food (I have been a vegetarian all my life). I strongly believe that eating healthy and enjoying good food go hand in hand. My main interests are science, nutrition and art, and I am overall a very curious person that tries to learn something new every day. Dr. Ayala (Ayala Laufer-Cahana M.D.)


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the end of overeating cover  

This week I’d like to reflect on one of my recent food related reads—David Kessler’s excellent “The End of Overeating.”

No, it doesn’t offer five easy ways to achieve a perfect beach body this summer, nor does it have a new magic trick to overco… Read full post »

In the previous post I reflected on the rapid expansion of the gluten-free market share and the rising popularity of the gluten-free diet, and said I'm glad to see the growing awareness of celiac disease, and also happy that keeping a gluten-free diet is becoming easier.

But is there a

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Have you noticed the gluten-free food explosion? I have the privilege of attending many food shows, and I’m stunned by the proliferation of grain based foods—prepared meals, cookies, snacks bread and crackers—developed for the benefit of those on a gluten-free diet and with “

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A press release caught my eye this week. It stated that the French excel at two leisure activities: They spend more time at the table and in bed than any other country surveyed.

The news came from OECD (Orginasation for Economic Co-operation and Development), reputed to be the world's

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“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

This quote is attributed to Albert Einstein, who—according to his writings—supported a vegetarian diet, but didn’t strictly adhere to i

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The latest on sugary drinks, heart health and weight loss

There’s little question that sugary drinks are not just randomly associated with obesity, but actually contribute to it in a big way. Dozens of studies continue to prove this point, and the only so-called “research” that tri

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APRIL 20, 2009 9:18AM

Do Sumo Wrestlers Skip Breakfast?

I’ve heard this factoid many times: Sumo wrestlers’ diet regimen includes skipping breakfast, in order to gain more weight and achieve morbid obesity.

Is it true? Does skipping breakfast really make you fat?

Apparently up to a third of teenagers skip breakfast regularly. Whether they do i… Read full post »

APRIL 13, 2009 9:06AM

Beware of the Cherry Trees

magnolia tree This is a photo of my Magnolia tree. It has reached the point of no return -- the blossoms are ready to open into the most spectacular floral display, and I’m constantly checking the weather forecast, worried about the possibility of late spring frost.

It’s an old tree, proba… Read full post »

I’m devoting this weeks’ post to the current knowledge of the health effects of a vegetarian diet after discussing the vegan diet’s health effects in a post a fortnight ago.

The term vegetarian is quite broad, but for simplicity’s sake we’ll define vegetarians as those

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early spring  

Foodies and gardeners were ecstatic to hear that Michelle Obama started an organic edible garden on the south lawn of the White House last week. Maria Shriver, California’s first lady, also announced that she plans to establish an edible garden at Capitol Park in Sacramento.… Read full post »

MARCH 26, 2009 1:06PM

Snacks, snacking and snackers

The influence of snacking on the development and maintenance of obesity is likely.

‘Snack’ doesn't have a unique definition though.

One definition centers on when and how the food is eaten, i.e., if it’s eaten in between meals, it’s a snack, or if it’s eaten quickly, i

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I’ve stated in my short bio here that I’ve been a lifetime vegetarian, and many assume that vegetarianism is part of my “healthy lifestyle” philosophy. Well, it is and it isn’t.

Let’s start with a few common definitions--these definitions of course fall short of d

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MARCH 19, 2009 6:21PM

Is Organic Food Healthier?

I support the organic movement and started buying organic food as soon as organic alternatives were available to me. I will gladly pay more for an organically produced food item.

For the sake of full disclosure--I’m involved with an organic product that recently earned the organic seal. The lo

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MARCH 16, 2009 11:38AM

The allure of forbidden food

In his book “Ending the Food Fight” Dr. David Ludwig writes:

“Consider this: no species of mammal in nature allows its young to eat whatever they want. What would happen if a bear mother didn’t teach its cub what and how to eat? The… Read full post »

Food goes through a chemical transformation when subjected to heat. New flavors arise, some of the fresh flavors disappear and the color and texture change.

A common belief is that when cooked, vegetables, fruit and herbs lose their nutritional value.

The answer to this question will surprise you, bu… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 9, 2009 10:08AM

Why do liquid calories in sugary drinks matter so much?

Many experts see sugary drinks as a major contributor to overweight and obesity. Large, well-preformed studies such as Harvard’s Nurses' Health Study, which followed more than 50,000 women, have shown a correlation between consumption of sugary drinks and expanding waistlines.

Is this justRead full post »

Last year, the Philadelphia City Council passed a measure requiring chain restaurants with more than 15 outlets to disclose calories on menu boards beginning on Jan. 1, 2010. My home town, Philadelphia—famous for the Philly cheese steak, all 900 calories of it—now joins New York City, se… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 2, 2009 10:02AM

Who’s shaping decisions about the school lunch program?

This is the last time I’ll be writing about the school lunch program for a while, I promise. I know it’s not the most cheerful of subjects, but it’s an important topic and, as you’ll see, a timely one: the School Lunch Program is up for renewal, and that’s why now’… Read full post »

With seemingly everyone drinking tap, filtered, sparkling, domestic, imported or bottled water, it may be surprising that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continues to rise.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the number of adults consuming sugar-… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 23, 2009 9:55AM

Not a healthy choice: junk foods vs. school lunches

I devoted a recent post to the school lunch program, a federally sponsored and regulated program, which complies with some (if not altogether satisfactory) nutrition standards for nutrient content and portion size. I was grousing about the sorry state of the food our young ones are served under the… Read full post »

Making pita bread at home is really easy and fun. It’s really a beginner baker’s project, and a wonderful first bread recipe to make with kids. The entire process of making pitas takes only about two hours (most of it rising time) and pita bread bakes in minutes.… Read full post »