Category Archives: Food


Homemade Ramen Noodle Success

While living in Austin, TX, I discovered the wonders of Ramen… the soul food of Japan. And the restaurant responsible for my ramen noodle re-education—Ramen Tatsu-ya.

The ramen noodle bowls served at Ramen Tatsu-ya are not to be confused with the ramen noodle packs of college survival years, complete with those sodium-loaded flavor packets.

Ramen Tatsu-ya noodles are tender, served in a rich, flavorful broth, and include several add-ins (marinated soft-boiled eggs, flash-fried Brussels sprouts, woodear mushrooms, soy braised pork belly, pickled ginger, etc.).

The line out the door, which goes relatively quickly, tells the tale of how awesome their ramen bowls are.

When I lived in Austin, they only had the North Austin restaurant (now they have one in South Austin on South Lamar). Since I lived in South Austin, I had to find ramen noodle bowls closer to home.

The Whole Foods on W. William Cannon fit the bill with their Ramen Station. Not quite the same as Ramen Tatsu-ya, but still delicious… and much closer.

Since moving to Knoxville, I haven’t found a restaurant that specializes in Ramen (though I’m looking forward to trying Anaba, a local Japanese restaurant that serves ramen noodle bowls).

I did, however, search online for homemade ramen noodle recipes, and found these:

Beef Ramen Noodle Bowl

Photo: Ali a la Mode

Chicken Ramen Noodle Bowl

Photo: Blue Apron








I made the beef noodle ramen recipe on the left (substituting chicken for the beef, and adding chopped cilantro), and it was amazing! My family loved it too.

For a vegetarian ramen noodle bowl, substituting vegetable broth for the beef and chicken broth and using portabella mushrooms, instead of beef or chicken, would work nicely.

Here’s a link to the recipe:

If you decide to try it, let me know what you think!

Guest Appearance on Taboo Talk with Lady Charmaine Day on BlogTalkRadio

Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 15, 2013) from 2-3 p.m. eastern standard time, I’ll be a guest on Taboo Talk, a Christian talk show featuring ordained Pastor, Wife, Publisher, Author and Radio Host, Lady Charmaine Day.

The show, which is syndicated and appears on BlogTalkRadio, YouTube and Itunes, features insightful commentary from Lady Charmaine Day on a variety of topics. It airs live on BlogTalkRadio each Sunday and Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. EST.

On tomorrow’s show, we’ll discuss health and fitness tips, ways to balance home and work life, as well as advice for people who want to make a career transition in order to pursue their true passion.

I hope you’ll join us!

(Click the image below to link to the webpage):

Taboo Talk with Lady Charmaine Day

Eating Around Austin: Uchi

Uchi food

I really enjoy eating great food, trying new restaurants and sampling a variety of cuisines! My family doesn’t always share the same diverse food palate or level of experimentation as I, so I have no qualms about going out on food adventures by myself.

This was the case during my recent outing to the Austin culinary hot spot, Uchi.

Uchi is a contemporary Japanese dining & sushi restaurant and Chef Tyson Cole, its James Beard Award-winning chef, does a wonderful job creating an amazingly inventive and mouth-watering menu.

The place is ALWAYS packed and it’s only open for dinner (5pm-10pm Sunday-Thursday and 5pm-11pm Friday-Saturday), so be prepared for a wait (it will be worth it!). Also, it’s not cheap… so, be prepared to leave with your wallet much lighter after your meal (also, well worth it!).

On this visit, I started with the Walu Walu (oak-grilled escolar with candied citrus, yuzupon and myoga), and it was amazing! I didn’t think to take a picture before chowing down, but it was beautifully plated as well.

Next, I sampled two of their vegetarian offerings: roasted golden beets with skyr yogurt, bitter greens and acacia honey; and the crispy brussels sprouts with lemon and chili… absolutely delicious!

The last thing I tried from the hot tasting menu was the foie nigiri (seared foie gras with quinoa and a sweet sauce). It was both savory and sweet, and almost could have been dessert, but… I wanted an actual dessert, so I ended my dining experience with the jizake creme caramel. This dessert had a serving of brown butter sorbet on one side of the plate, and creme caramel (flan) on the other, with a ginger simple sugar reduction poured over both!

Do I need to say more?!

Overall, the meal was one of the best I’ve had, the service was fantastic and the vibe of the restaurant is beyond cool!

If you have the chance to go to Uchi, run don’t walk… and you may have to beat me there, because I’ve officially made myself hungry for Uchi with this post!  :)

Working It Out

j0437080This is a blast-from-the-past blog re-post from my first blog, Words of Wellness. These tips still hold true, so I figured I’d share them once again!

I enjoy watching a show on Fine Living Network called “Bulging Brides.”

At the start of the show, the brides-to-be are lamenting the fact that they are unable to fit into their wedding gowns (usually with the wedding in two months). Their poor eating and exercise habits are revealed. Then the hosts, a personal trainer and a nutrition consultant, arrive on the scene to help them turn over a new (and healthier) leaf… and to get them into those wedding gowns!

While the vast majority of us are not trying to fit into a wedding gown in 6-8 weeks, there are some things we can learn from the show:

1. Be consistent.

In order to achieve your desired results, you need to eat healthy and exercise on a consistent basis.

2. Keep a food diary.

I think it’s a great idea to do this for a week. Keeping track of everything you put in your mouth gives you a better idea of what and how much you are eating. It also shows you trends and triggers (e.g. after-dinner snacking, jumbo morning lattes, etc.).

3. Tailor your workout.

In the show, the trainer tailors the workouts to achieve a certain goal (shape the back, flatten the abdomen and tone the arms). While the show’s workouts are intense and frequent, we all could benefit from tailoring our workouts as well. Making sure to include aerobic, strength and flexibility components is also important.

4. Push yourself without overdoing it.

You definitely don’t want to overdo things, but some of us could benefit by pushing ourselves a little more. For example, if you’re walking as exercise, pick up the pace a bit (as if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere), versus a leisurely stroll. Of course, check with your doctor before starting a fitness program, especially if you have health conditions.

5. Make it a priority.

I remember how busy I was when planning my wedding (it didn’t help that I was in my first year of medicine/pediatrics residency). The brides on the show have to juggle wedding planning and taking care of themselves. Likewise, we all have to juggle busy lives, including stress and temptation, while keeping ourselves (or getting ourselves) healthy. Making exercise and proper nutrition a priority is a must.


Take The First Step Toward Achieving Your Goals

5197882-man-stepping-on-long-stairway-to-his-destination-3d-illustrationTake the first step! “What first step?” you ask. That step that will lead you in the direction of your goals and dreams.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his infinite wisdom said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

It all begins with the first step.

Each of us has our own aspirations and desires. Things we’d love to accomplish or feel called to do.
For me, it’s writing music and sharing knowledge and insights.

For you, it may be writing your first novel, eating more healthfully, adding exercise to your daily life, spending more time with family, finally getting that promotion or simply making time for yourself.
But how do you get from that internal longing and state of wishing, to actually setting things in motion?

Here are three actions you can take to get started:

1. Decide to take the first step.

I know this seems more contemplative than action-oriented, but making the decision to work toward achieving your goals is where it all starts.

First, you need to know what you want to achieve in specific, well-defined terms, then decide to make it a priority.

The goal of eating healthier gets defined as eating breakfast every morning. Writing your first book starts with making an outline of what you want it to include.
Both of these first steps are specific.

2. Commit to taking that step.

That commitment may take the form of putting it in writing on a vision board, in a journal or even on a sticky note on your refrigerator.
You may prefer to share it with a family member, a trusted friend, or teacher.
Or perhaps you, like me, would rather go inward through prayer, in order to gain clarity and focus for your task.

Either way, figuring out what works best for you, then doing that, is the best way to keep your commitment.

3. Plan what steps will follow.

Many of us get tripped up on the way to our dreams, because we forget this crucial step.
We’ve made a decision (and maybe even a commitment) to realize our dreams, but without a plan to make it happen, you’re more likely to get off track.

If you want to eat more healthfully, and have committed to eating breakfast everyday, are the foods and beverages in your refrigerator and pantry going along with the new plan?
You may need to figure out what healthy breakfast options you want this week, and make sure to have those foods in your house (or at least, on your grocery list).

If drinking more water is the plan, filling a reusable water bottle the night before (we all know how hectic mornings can be) and taking it to work or school everyday, could be the first step in your plan.

Suddenly, spending more time with your family, begins with keeping certain days free from scheduled activities, eating dinner as a family as often as you can, watching a television show or taking a walk or bike ride together.

The goal of making time for yourself may require having your evening chores and things to do completed by a particular time, so you can hole up in your room with a cup of herbal tea and a good book (no smartphone alerts, laptop computers, depressing evening news or reality TV allowed)!

All of these planned actions are specific and achievable. Once you get going on making your first step a routine, the act of adding new steps becomes much easier.
Making a change in your status quo habits and moving toward achieving a goal that may, at times, seem unachievable or too big to start, begins with taking that first step.

For me, after deciding to write and committing to writing, my plan was not to wait around for inspiration, but to get up everyday, and write like it’s my job!
What steps do you plan on taking, to move in the direction of your goals and dreams?

My Favorite Homemade Dressing

IMG_6397-640x427I usually sprinkle nutritional yeast (for protein & B vitamins) and liquid aminos (essential and non-essential amino acids) on my salads in place of salad dressing, but thought to myself one day, ‘There has to be a recipe for a salad dressing that includes those ingredients.’ Glad to say I found one (that I love) on the Daily Garnish blog. It’s very flavorful, so a little goes a long way!

Click on the picture of the salad above to get the recipe.

Dr. Dayo Lanier

My Vegan Offering

Vegan meal
I realize kids need to be offered new foods 10-20 times before they learn to enjoy it, so I wasn’t offended that my children gave my vegan dinner offering (whole grain pasta & lentils, sauteed kale and oven-roasted butternut squash & carrot puree) suspicious, sidelong glances and wary expressions. I simply suggested they try it, and to their surprise… they liked it! I’ll have to “offer” the kale several more times before that’s a hit though. :)

Dr. Dayo Lanier

Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth

GirlScoutCookies copyI’m sorry I missed you last week. I was busy doing what turned out to be a full-time job: picking up and distributing Girl Scout cookies!

As I found myself surrounded by those tasty once-a-year cookie treats, sorting them in preparation for delivery (and sampling my favorite flavors), I paused long enough to check the nutrition labels to see just how many cookies were in a serving size. It turns out two to five cookies are considered one serving (depending on your cookie of choice), at 110 to 170 calories per serving.

If you’re able to have two cookies and call it quits, that’s great. But if you’re like me, you’ll have to stop yourself before dunking an entire row of Do-si-dos peanut butter creme cookies into milk before eating them all (just the row, not the entire box!). At least I can say I met part of my daily calcium requirement from the milk.

Sometimes it’s better to know when you’ve met your match and learn to satisfy a sweet tooth in ways in which you’re less likely to overindulge.

Assorted fruitFresh fruit is a great choice. You’d be hard pressed to eat an entire watermelon or a bunch of bananas in a single sitting! In addition to being low in fat, sodium and calories, fruit provides many different nutrients, including potassium (may help to maintain healthy blood pressure), vitamin C (important for growth and repair of all body tissues and keeps teeth and gums healthy), folate or folic acid (helps the body form red blood cells and reduces the risk of neural tube defects in women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in their third trimester of pregnancy) and dietary fiber (important for proper bowel function, and helps provide a feeling of fullness, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease).

If chocolate is your sweet treat of choice, try dark chocolate (I talked about the
healthy antioxidant benefits in my last blog post).

And if you just want that cookie crunch, try making your own healthy batch
by substituting white flour for whole wheat flour or adding quick cooking
rolled oats (for more fiber), replacing oil or butter with equal amounts of
unsweetened applesauce or adding dried fruit for an antioxidant boost.

Girl Scout cookies in moderation are great (have a few and freeze the rest), but healthier options may prevent your sweet tooth from taking over!

For more information on the healthy benefits of fruits (and vegetables), go to

Take care and God Bless,
Dayo Wilson Lanier, M.D.

Take a Walk on the Dark Side: The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

IMAGES~9It’s Valentine’s Day, and chocolate is on the minds of many! Whether you’re eating it, buying it or both, here’s some information you may want to know.

Dark chocolate has some benefits over milk chocolate or white chocolate. These benefits are thought to come from the flavonoids it contains. Flavonoids are naturally occurring antioxidants that can also be found in teas, red wine and some fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals formed in the body, and from environmental contaminants.

Flavonoids have been associated with a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
In addition to the antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease,
flavonoids also help to lower blood pressure and improve vascular function.

There is one thing to note. While dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, it also contains calories and fat, so a little goes a long way! One square of dark chocolate (about 50 calories), containing at least 60% cacao or cocoa, should be beneficial.

There are other ways to get heart-healthy flavonoids into your diet as well. In addition to dark chocolate, berries (blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and cherries); tree fruits including apples, pears, plums, peaches and apricots; nuts and beans (black beans, kidney beans, and soybeans); vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, onions kale, broccoli, snap beans and okra); and some spices (dill, parsley, thyme, basil, cayenne, coriander, chamomile, peppermint and anise) are high in flavonoids too.

Happy eating!

Take care and God bless,
Dayo Wilson Lanier, M.D.

School Lunch: Dilemmas and Options

School lunch imageIt’s the last day of September and many children have been back in school for almost a month (or longer).
By now, we’ve established our new (and earlier) morning routines, which for my children includes having their backpacks ready and lunch bags packed.
On occasion, my children will have the school lunch rather than a bag lunch. And I always keep a copy of the lunch menu on hand, so I’ll know what’s being served. As you can imagine, there are some healthy options and some that aren’t so healthy.
An article from the Columbus Dispatch, discussed how lax oversight and tight budgets in the National School Lunch Program have contributed to schools serving low-cost, often unhealthy foods to students.
The United States Department of Agriculture requires schools to provide a certain number of items from each food group, but doesn’t provide guidance regarding the nutritional content of these foods or how they should be prepared (thus, tater tots as a vegetable).
There are some schools that have started offering healthier options (e.g. salad bars, fresh produce, low-fat milk, reduced fat macaroni and cheese, etc.), and I hope that all schools will find a way to follow this trend.
If your child gets a school lunch, I encourage you to check the school menu to see what’s being offered. And if you’re packing lunches, providing the healthiest options possible will make you feel good about what you’re giving them.
While I’m speaking of packed lunches, I’m sure all if us have had school lunch fatigue at one time or another: times when we’re tired of packing lunches, the kids are bored with the lunch “rotation,” or worse, don’t like what we’ve included in the lunch bag.
There’s also the infamous “lunch trade” that goes on in school (e.g. trading a perfectly good sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread for, say… a ziplock bag full of cookies). Yikes!
If you find yourself in this dilemma, getting your child to help with lunch ideas or preparation may help (kids are more likely to eat what they helped to prepare or plan).
I held a taste test for my kids one weekend to see what they might like. I made quarter-sandwiches of egg salad (didn’t go over well), tuna fish (really didn’t go over well), different lunch meats, PB&J, veggie “chick’n” nuggets and a veggie pita (one with cream cheese and one with hummus).
Even if your child doesn’t care for something now, it doesn’t mean they may not like it at a later date, so continue to offer it to them. Also, including a healthy snack with their regular lunch as a backup may help, (just in case the main entree doesn’t make the cut).
Finally, sending leftovers in a thermos (especially if they liked it at dinner) or soup/chili, is another lunch option.

There are many websites that offer lunch ideas for kids as well. I like the Family Fun site ( Look for the school lunch section.
A healthy lunch, combined with a healthy breakfast, will give our children the energy they need to learn, and stay active throughout the day.

Take care and God bless,
Dayo Wilson Lanier, M.D.