Food Friday: On Antibiotics? Eat Yogurt.

Antibiotics can reduce the amount of good bacteria in your gut. If you’re on antibiotics, then you should consider eating yogurt.

Greek Yogurt, Fig, and Black Currant Parfaits

Have you been on oral antibiotics for your acne or rosacea? If so, this post is for you. Antibiotics such as minocycline and doxycycline are sometimes necessary to reduce bad bacteria on your skin. They also reduce the good bacteria in your gut that are essential for good health and good digestion. Here’s how you can put billions of good bugs back into your system: Eat yogurt.

Look for yogurt labeled “live and active cultures,” that is high in protein and low in sugar and fat. We use filling, high-protein, non-fat Greek yogurt in the recipe below along with antioxidant-rich fresh figs and black currants (both currently in season).

Greek Yogurt, Fresh Fig, and Black Currant Parfaits
Makes 2 servings

2 tablespoons honey
A couple of pinches of cinnamon
A couple of pinches of salt
A couple of pinches of lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
6 fresh figs, quartered
1/2 cup fresh black currants*
1 tablespoon pistachios

1. Heat honey, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest, and rosemary either in the microwave or on the stovetop until warm and smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Use two cocktail or other pretty glasses to assemble parfaits. Start with yogurt at the base. Then top with fig pieces, currants, pistachios, and honey sauce. Repeat. Eat. Make again tomorrow.

*Note: Black currants are small, round berries with a glossy black skin and tart flesh. They’re available at farmers’ markets and organic markets. If you can’t find them, blackberries make a good substitute. Dried black currants are more widely available, but their flavor and texture is sweeter like a raisin.

Photo and recipe by Susan Russo of

Food Friday: Make Your Own Natural Vitamin Water

Don’t buy expensive vitamin water; make your own natural vitamin water at home.

Lime Drops

As I’ve said here before, you don’t need to worry about drinking eight glasses of water a day. Drink after you exercise or sweat, if you live in a hot climate, or simply when you’re thirsty.

Drinking drinking water is healthier than drinking juice, coffee, or sodas (even diet). But what type of water should you drink? I don’t buy expensive, aggressively marketed “super” or “vitamin” waters. I drink plain old H20. Sometimes, though, plain water can be boring. So I make my own natural vitamin water by adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Here are three ways to make your own natural vitamin water.

1. Add thinly sliced cucumber and lemon or lime juice.

2. Add pineapple chunks and fresh mint.

3. Add orange, lemon, and lime slices.

4. Mix sparkling water with mashed fresh blueberries or blackberries and lime juice. Stir, strain, ice, and drink.

Got other ideas? Please share them with us below.

Photo credit: FCC Henrik Thorn

How a Food Journal Can Help Your Acne

If you think food is triggering your acne, then keep a food journal for one month to identify the triggers. Eliminate those foods and see if your acne improves in following months.


You woke up with a pimple on your chin and immediately think, “Damn that chocolate chip cookie last night.” Was it the cookie? Or was it the glass of milk that accompanied it? Or how about that slice of pepperoni pizza from two days ago?

What foods do cause acne? The frustrating truth is that we don’t know for sure. But we do know that a well-balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats is healthy for your body and your skin.

Fortunately, no one knows your skin as well as you. So if you think food is triggering your acne, then keep a food journal for a month. Every day write down everything you eat and drink, and assess your level of acne. Is it mild, moderate or severe? Then use a highlighter to mark your worst breakouts. See what you’ve eaten in the prior 72 hours. Eliminate those foods that triggered your acne. See if your acne improves in following months.

Let us know what you discovered!

Photo credit: FCC, mac.rj

Food Friday: Sweet, Savory, Sensational Watermelon

Watermelon season is almost over, so here are 4 tasty ways to enjoy the health benefits of watermelon.

watermelon slices

Watermelon season is almost over, so while they’re still around, slurp them up as much as you can. Cause the ones you’ll find in February won’t be nearly as juicy and sweet.

Watermelon is not only low in calories (about 50 per cup) but high in fiber, water, and flavor, so it keeps you full long after you eat it. It’s a great source of Vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A. It’s also packed with lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties, that gives it its red color and its disease-fighting power.

Eating watermelon is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, and many types of cancer, especially colon. Since your body absorbs lycopene better when it’s combined with a little bit of fat, consider adding some olive oil or avocado to your next watermelon salad.

Here are 4 refreshing ways to enjoy the health benefits of watermelon:

1. Power Boost Smoothie: Blend 1 cup cubed watermelon, 1 cup strawberries or blueberries, 1 cup reduced-fat milk of your choice, and ice.

2. Sweet Morning Fruit Salad: Combine watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe with fresh peaches, lemon juice, and mint for a refreshing summer salad.

3. Savory Watermelon and Avocado Salad: Combine mesclun salad mix, watermelon cubes, diced avocado, cubed jicama, sliced green onions, cilantro, and mint in a bowl. Toss with olive oil, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Sprinkle with a little crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese, if desired.

4. Watermelon Salsa: Combine diced watermelon, raw corn kernels, diced red bell peppers, sliced green onions, minced jalapeño, and diced avocado. Toss with a little olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Serve with grilled shrimp, fish, chicken, or pork tenderloin.

Got other ways to enjoy watermelon? Please share them below.

Photo credit: Susan Russo, Flickr, Food Blogga

The Truth About Fasting for Weight Loss

Fasting will help you lose weight, but at a cost. Fasting slows down your metabolism, setting you up to gain back the weight plus more when you start eating again.


When it comes to losing weight quickly, it seems fasting is di rigeur. I really wish it wasn’t.

Do periodic fasts help you lose weight?

Fasting is when you go without food, and there’s no fewer calories than zero. Fasting definitely will cause you lose weight. But there’s a hidden cost. Every time you fast, your body goes into prehistoric starvation mode telling every cell, Slow down, there’s no food. By slowing your metabolism you set yourself up to gain back the weight plus some the next time you eat.

Slow and steady wins the weight loss race.

Photo credit: FCC wwarby

Food Friday: Morning Glow Avocado Breakfast Smoothie

Avocados are high in B vitamins which reduce skin inflammation. Make this avocado breakfast smoothie for glowing skin.

cayenne spiked avocado and orange smoothie

Many of my female patients tell me they love making natural facial masks with avocado. I can understand it. Because they’re high in monounsaturated fat (the good kind), they’re moisturizing on your skin.

I don’t apply avocado facial masks, but I do eat lots of avocados. I live in San Diego. It’s required.

Avocados are high in B vitamins, which reduce skin inflammation, and vitamins C and E, which have anti-aging properties (so you’ll look younger).

Avocados are ideal for breakfast. The healthy fat fills you up and keeps you full so you’re less likely to snack mindlessly later in the day. Try some mashed avocado sprinkled with salt on toast. Add diced avocado to your egg white scramble. Or make this avocado smoothie.

Spicy Avocado and Orange Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

1/2 medium ripe avocado, squirted with lime juice
1/2 small frozen banana
2/3 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
1/2 cup almond milk (or milk product of your choice)
1 teaspoon honey
A pinch of cayenne pepper

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add more orange juice of milk if you like it thinner.

Variations: Feel free to play around with ingredients. Instead of banana, try mango, fresh pineapple, ripe pear, or frozen raspberries. Like it sweeter? Skip the cayenne and add a little extra honey, or use agave nectar. Don’t like orange juice? Replace it with apple or pomegranate juice or milk of your choice such as skim, soy, rice, or nut milk.

Photo and recipe by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.


Is That Beer Causing Your Psoriasis?

Alcohol, in particular strong beer, is related to an increase in psoriasis in women.

Growlers craft beer & ales taps

Craft beer is hot. This is probably good for the world, but maybe not if you’re a woman.

We know that alcohol increases the risk for psoriasis. A recent study showed strong beer (insert favorite San Diego IPA here), increases the risk of psoriasis in women.

It’s not clear why, although some speculate it’s related to the gluten found in beer. Alcohol, especially heavy drinking, seems to disrupt hormones, increase inflammation, and inhibit the effectiveness of psoriasis treatment.

Limiting alcohol, and perhaps avoiding beer, might be helpful for some with this heart-breaking skin disease.

Photo credit: FCC, Beaufort’s, The Digitel