Saturday, June 11, 2011

Avoid The Heartburn This Summer

In my morning food blog reports, there was an article on summer foods that cause heartburn.  Well, I don't know where these people did their research, but the majority of these foods are not on my top 10 list, or even my top 100 list, for that matter. 

Among the top ten was chocolate mousse, fried chicken, funnel cakes, root beer floats, potato chips w/ ranch dip (must you have the ranch dip??) and lemon meringue pie.  Now, I don't know about you, but these items don't scream "summer treat!" to me.  Admittedly, there were some foods that are indicative of summer, and below are my thoughts on alternatives to these foods.

Among the heartburn toppers:  chili dogs, beef, catchup, lemonade, dairy (ice cream), tomatoes, french fries and watermelon.

If you must have a chili dog, opt for a lean chicken or turkey dog, and skip the chili.  Yes, it defeats the purpose of the "chili dog," but what would you rather have...5 minutes of mmmm or several hour of heartburn?  Top the dog with a little low fat cheese and a sprinkle of chili powder, for that chili taste, without all of the fat and burn.

Beef is another culprit, but there really is no substitute for a nicely marbled steak.  Eat it sparingly, and if you must eat beef regularly, why suffer?  Choose lean cuts and marinade the steak in a garlic and olive oil marinade an hour before cooking.  My cousin, Bob, does this, and while it's cooking, he bastes it with Teriyaki sauce.  For burgers, choose turkey, veggie or chicken and get creative with toppings (see below).

I'm not a fan of catchup, but I know folks who can't live without it.  It's very acidic and the smallest amount can lead to heartburn.  Try something new like hummus, light mayo or a light dressing for a topper. 

Lemonade and other acidic fruits can cause distress and try to choose fruits and drinks with less acid in them.  Berries are abundant, during the summer, and are wonderful alternatives to watermelon, pineapple and other acidic fruits.  As for a cool drink, try seltzer or water with a touch of lemon, seltzer with a bit of cranberry (1 oz) or apple juice or an iced tea.

Ice cream is one of my favorites, but it doesn't like me.  Sadly, I must limit this treat and substitute my homemade sorbet (see my website and the blog for the recipe). There are also some very good sorbets on the market as well.

Hot, crisp, golden on the outside...tender on the inside, French fries are my indulgence.  Because they are an indulgence, I don't eat them often, but I really can't resist a wonderfully cooked French frie.  In fact, I'm a self proclaimed French frie connoisseur.  Without exception, I have tasted French fries in every country I've ever visited.  My favorite has been France, actually.  I bet you thought Belgium. Their fries are good, but in my opinion, highly over rated.  Anyway, if you're not "indulging," try a crispy oven baked frie or grilled steak fries this summer.

During the summer, there is nothing like a Jersey tomato.  I was born and raised in NJ, and my dad, a 100% Italian man, from Nutley, NJ, had a beautiful garden each summer.  There was nothing like eating a freshly picked tomato right from the garden.  mmmmm.  So, I don't have a substitute for this baby.  Eat and enjoy, even if there is a little price to pay.  Some things are just worth the heartburn.


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