Meal 12: Ancho Chile-Rubbed Steak with Corn Salsa & Smashed Garlic-and-Herb Potatoes

Today on the menu we have Ancho Chile-Rubbed Steak with Corn Salsa & Smashed Garlic-and-Herb Potatoes! This delicious meal is one that we are sure that your family will enjoy! We have tons of great recipes at Carrington Medical Spa, and we love to share them with our patients. Give us a call today at 205-508-5723 to schedule your weight loss appointment!

Ancho Chile-Rubbed Steak with Corn Salsa & Smashed Garlic-and-Herb Potatoes

Ancho Chile-Rubbed Steak with Corn Salsa

2 (1-lb) flank steaks
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder (such as

1 ½  tsp ground cumin 3⁄4 tsp salt
3⁄4 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 (16-oz) pkg frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1⁄2 cup fresh salsa
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Smashed Garlic-and-Herb Potatoes

2 (16-oz) pkg microwavable garlic-parsley creamer potatoes (such as The Little Potato Company)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 green onion, chopped


Ancho Chile-Rubbed Steak with Corn Salsa: Sprinkle steaks with chile powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook steaks, in 2 batches, in 1 Tbsp hot oil per batch in a large nonstick skillet 4 to 5 minutes per side or to desired doneness; remove from skillet. Sauté corn and garlic in 1 Tbsp hot oil 4 to 5 minutes or until
browned. Stir in salsa; cook until thoroughly heated. Thinly slice steak against the grain. Serve corn salsa over steak; sprinkle with
cilantro. Note: Serve with lime wedges, if on hand.

Smashed Garlic-and-Herb Potatoes: Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare potatoes according to package directions, omitting fat and reserving seasoning packets. Place potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Gently smash using bottom of a sturdy glass or spatula. Whisk together oil and seasoning packets; drizzle over potatoes. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until browned and crisp. Sprinkle with green onion

Makes 6 servings

Per serving: 379 calories, 21 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 25 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g dietary fiber, 475 mg sodium

How Bad is Soda for Your Body

Ask Dr. Liliya

My dear friends and neighbors!

Last week I was asked the question How bad is soda for your body? This has not been my first time being asked this question.  One lady even said that she read somewhere that drinking one soda a day for 6 months increases your liver fat more than 140%. This sounds like overkill. We prefer to use facts, and not to scare people, and the fact is – soda has a lot of sugar and in no way can it be good for your body or your child’s body.

We named sugar “white death”, why is that?

Let’s do a little counting: 1 g of carbohydrate is 4 Cal, 1 g of protein is 4 Cal, 1 g of fat is 9 Cal.

A small can of Pepsi has 33 grams of sugar which equals 6.5 teaspoons of sugar, and that would be 132 Cal.

USDA counts RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) based on 2,000Cal/day

So, 1 small can of soda will increase your caloric intake: 2,000Cal+ 132 Cal (from soda) = 2,132 Cal;

What about 2 cans? 2,000Cal+132Calx2=2,264 Cal;

But let’s reverse it and say you want a glass of water or club soda instead of a can of soda:


2,000 Cal-264Cal=1,736Cal

Does this number look better for you?


Can we substitute a can of soda with diet coke?

It is sweetened with what we called with non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS): aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, Stevia, etc. and sugar alcohols: Xylitol, Sorbitol, Erythritol, etc.


Do NNS’s cause weight gain?

NO-American Heart Association/ American Diabetes Association.

YES- suggested by a ton of evidence.

This is not a simple topic: in recent years more and more publication, including a famous article in New York Times, and they blamed diet sodas for the increase of obesity and cardio-vascular diseases.

We want to use solid research, but we are lacking it. By far, no research has shown that artificial sweeteners are harmful. Some of them are better than others, but they do not have any calories.

There are different considerations, which include discussions about artificial sweeteners changing your microbiota (known before as intestinal microflora), also some psychological staff about people, who drink diet soda allowed themselves more “bad food” as a reward.

But we have already decided – we are going to stay with known facts and of cause of everything, including drinking diet soda, in moderation.


Yours in health,

Dr. Liliya, M.D.

Meal 11: Flank Steak with Scallion Butter & Charred Cauliflower with Parmesan

At Carrington Medical Spa we are advocates of creating a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating habits. If you would like more information on how we can help you please give us a call at (205) 508-5723!

This week on the menu we have Flank Steak with Scallion Butter & Charred Cauliflower with Parmesan. The staff at Carrington Medical Spa hopes that you enjoy this low-carb dinner!

Flank Steak with Scallion Butter

2 ( ¾ pound) flank steaks

¾ tsp salt

¾ tsp pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp butter

2 green onions, chopped


Charred Cauliflower with Parmesan

2 (12 ounce) pkg cauliflower florets, halved

2 Tbsp olive oil

¾ tsp pepper

½ kosher salt

½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese


Flank Steak with Scallion Butter: Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Cook, in 2 batches, in ½ Tbsp hot oil per batch in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, 4 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Remove from skillet. Cook garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice in skillet 2 to 3 minutes or until garlic is tender. Stir in butter and green onions; cook1 to 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Slice steaks across the grain; spoon butter sauce over steaks.

Charred Cauliflower with Parmesan: Preheat oven to 475°F. Toss together cauliflower, oil, pepper, and salt on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with cheese; toss. Bake 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.


Makes 6 servings


Per serving: 333 calories, 20 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 707 mg sodium


Apple cider vinegar or alkaline water?
What to pick?
I was giving a talk about weight loss to a group of people and my main idea was – regardless what path you choose to lose weight, it will come to counting calories and being accountable for choices you made.
When I was answering the questions, two of them, one after another were about Apple Cider Vinegar weight loss diet and alkaline weight loss diet.
It was a little ironic: acid vs alkali.
And my answer was: no matter what you choose it is good, because you are contemplating to go on path of taking care of your health; but validity of both these FAD diets are at least questionable in the medical world.
However, eating acid appetizer prior to a meal, especially high glycemic meal, may help to reduce rising sugar level in the blood stream: a grapefruit, or salad with vinegar dressing (not commercial salad dressing which neutralized with sodium bicabonate or a salt solution).
The proposed mechanism for this effect is delayed gastric emptying, which is helpful.
Alkaline water supposedly helps slow the aging process, lose weight, fight cancer and make your bones stronger.
However, no scientific research can support any of this claims.
Out stomach juices are very acid: pH 2 or 3, and it has its purpose of digestion, killing bad germs which can get to the stomach, change iron to more absorbable form and to activate gastrointestinal enzymes;
In Vitro (laboratory studies) water with pH8.8 inactivates pepsin and possibly reduces acid reflux symptoms.
But if you will drink too much it may change your blood pH( your body will put all buffering resources to fight it), then you can have what we call metabolic alkalosis, symptoms of which includes nausea, vomiting, muscle twitching and confusion.
So, what to pick?
And my advice: what suits you more, but do not overdo it.

Yours in health,
Dr. Liliya Slutsker

Meal 10: Spicy Bourbon-Brown-Sugar-Glazed Salmon & Kale, Sweet Potato, and Cranberry Salad

This week on the menu we have Spicy Bourbon-Brown-Sugar-Glazed salmon & Kale, Sweet Potato, and Cranberry Salad. This is a low-calorie meal that you will be sure to love!

Spicy Bourbon-Brown-Sugar-Glazed Salmon & Kale, Sweet Potato, and Cranberry Salad


Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min



Spicy Bourbon-Brown-Sugar-Glazed Salmon

½ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup bourbon (or use orange juice)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp crushed red pepper

½ cup chopped pecans

1 (2-lb) salmon fillet

½ tsp salt

2 green onions, chopped

Kale, Sweet Potato, and Cranberry Salad

1 (11.75-oz) pkg sweet kale kit (such as Fresh Express)

2 (8-oz) pkg cooked, cubed sweet potatoes (such as Straight From the Root)



Spicy Bourbon-Brown-Sugar-Glazed Salmon

Preheat broiler. Cook sugar, bourbon, mustard, and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring often. Spoon ¼ cup sugar mixture into a bowl. Stir buts into remaining sugar mixture in pan and remove from heat. Place fish on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Brush half of reserved sugar mixture in a bowl over fish. Broil 5 minutes; brush remaining portion of reserved sugar mixture over fish. Broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Serve sugar-nut sauce over fish. Sprinkle with green onions.

Kale, Sweet Potato, and Cranberry Salad

Prepare salad kit according to the package directions. Add potatoes; toss.




Carrington Medical Spa is dedicated to helping you live a healthy lifestyle! One way to start your healthy life is to stop food cravings.

A craving is a hankering for a specific food, usually the type that is not part of your healthy eating plan. When you crave foods, your brain generates vivid images of those foods, reinforcing the craving and making it more powerful.


Below are 6 great tips for stopping your food cravings!


  1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Sometimes your body mistakes thirst for hunger. Pro tip: Add a slice of lemon for variety.


  1. BE PROACTIVE. Eat regularly and don’t let yourself get too hungry.


  1. KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS ON HAND. Healthy snacks are essential, especially when you are on the go.


  1. ALLOW YOURSELF TO GIVE INTO THE CRAVINGS FROM TIME TO TIME. Give in sometimes in a controlled portion so that you do not feel deprived.


  1. WHEN A CRAVING STRIKES, FOCUS ON SOMETHING ELSE. Go for a walk, meditate, read, etc.


  1. INDULGE A LITTLE. If your cravings are sweet, have a piece of dark chocolate or fruit.


When your cravings hit, write them down, and note how you handled them. This will help you better understand and control them!


Sunrise, Sunset…For What Goes in Between, Which Sunscreen is Best?


The cold days are almost over, and we are all looking forward to warm, sunny days of spring.

We long for sun: it is essential for living: beneficial for our mood, our body (synthesis of Vit D).

However, UV radiation is responsible for several acute and chronic detrimental effects on human body, and even more on the skin: sunburn, photo-aging and skin cancer.

What is UV radiation and how we get all the benefits of sun and protect ourselves from cancer and photo-aging which is relentlessly pursuing us and becoming an alarming threat.

The incidence of melanoma across all age groups is growing world-wide and, in the USA, alone, 150,000 new cases per year is projected to occur by year 2030.

The incidence of melanoma in children and adolescents has increased an annual rate of 2.5% as documented in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) surveillance. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 10,000 melanoma death occurred in the US in 2016.


Ultraviolet Radiation

What are these damaging sun rays?

UV radiation (UVR) that reaches the Earth’s surface can be divided into UV-B (290-320nm) and UV-A (320-400 nm)

UV-A can be further subdivided into UV-A1, or far UV-A (340-400nm), and UV-A II, or near UV-A (320-340nm).

UV-B (290-320nm) which represents only 5% of the UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface, includes the biologically most active wavelength. UV-B is responsible for sunburn, inflammation, hyper-pigmentation and photo carcinogenesis.

Ultraviolet A: UV-A (320-400 nm) represents 95% of UV radiation reaching the earth surface.UV-A II (320-340 nm), which constitutes 25% of UVA and, has the same effect on skin as UV-B.

UV-A 1 (340-400 nm) is less potent than UV-A II and has a decreased ability to induce erythema but contributes greatly to photo-aging.

UV-A (320-400 nm) is thought to have a larger role than UV-B in photo-aging because it is able to penetrate into the dermis (under skin surface) deeper than UV-B and is, at least, 10 times more abundant than UV-B in the terrestrial sunlight.

Short wave UV-B mainly absorbs in the (outer layer of skin) epidermis by cellular DNA and induce direct DNA damage, sunburn, inflammation, photo carcinogenesis and immunosuppression.

Long wave length radiations in the infrared (IR) range, 50% of total solar energy, contributes to photo-aging by the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other mechanisms on molecular level, degrading most of type 1 and III dermal collagen.

With repeated sun exposure, the degraded collagen accumulates over time, resulting in clinical photo-aging.


Sunscreen Regulations

There were 6500 products categorized as sunscreens in the online catalog.

In the cohort study 65 products were evaluated and 40% did not adhere to AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) guidelines by 3 standard criteria: broad spectrum, SP greater than or equal to 30 and water resistant.

The most striking in this cohort was price, which varied by more than 3000% (the media price per one was $3.32, range $ 0.68-$23.47)


In this cohort study purchase decisions were largely based on what was characterized as “cosmetic elegance”.

Clearly, consumers rate the look and feel of sunscreen more highly than its ability to prevent sunburns. This may be due to a lack of understanding of what SPF means.

SPF is the Sun Protection Factor and defined as the dose of UV radiation required to produce 1 minimal erythema (redness) dose (MED) on protected skin after the application of 2 mg/cm2 of product divided by the UV radiation required to produce 1 MED on unprotected skin.

Although sunscreens provide excellent UV-B protection, lack of UV-A protection, particularly UV-A1. No consensus exists about the best method for measuring UV-A protection.

The Critical Wavelength (CW) is determined to be wavelength below which 90% of the total area of the UV absorbance resides. A broad-spectrum sunscreen has CW of greater or equal to 370nm. If protection from UV-A1 (340-400m) range desired, the sunscreen formula should contain either avobenzone or inorganic particulate sunscreen as an active ingredient (zinc or titanium oxide)

It is important for the public to be familiar with FDA oversight of sunscreen products and their labeling.

On June 17, 2011, the FDA issued final ruling on sunscreen products labeling and effectiveness testing for sunscreen products sold in US. For the first time, sunscreen with SPF greater than or equal to 15 are permitted to have displayed on their labels the following claim: “If used as directed with other skin protected measures, (sunscreens) decrease the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun.” The FDA statement allows the claim of cancer prevention only if the SPF greater than or equal to 15 and the product covers a broad range of both UV-A and UV-B rays. However, the AAD guidelines recommend that individuals use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30; this recommendation is made on the bases of survey finding that in actualuse, most people apply sunscreens at 0.5-1.0mg/cm2 which is significantly less than FDA recommended amount of 2mg/cm2 when using a sunscreen of an SPF of 15.

For effective, comprehensive photo-protection sunscreens should be used with other sun protection measures and must be re-applied at east every 2 hrs.

The FDA has stated that products with very high SPF values (50+) may create a false sense of security for the public, promoting some to stay longer in the sun.

In 2011 FDA final ruling is very specific that the terms “sun block”, “water proof”, and “sweat proof” are not permitted to appear on sunscreen labels. Labels can only contain statements that they are either water- resistant (40 minutes) or water-resistant (80 min). Sunscreens cannot claim to provide sun protection for more than 2 hours unless they are reapplied.



Simply staying indoors is obviously the best way of avoiding the sun. However, encouraging individuals to time outdoor exposure to avoid the hours when the sun is at its zenith is more practical. Trying to schedule activities before 10 am and after 4 pm (daylight savings time) avoids solar exposure at times of peak intensity. Individuals need to be reminded that on cloudy days as much as 80% of UVR may still penetrate the cloud cover. Shade availability in recreational areas is also desirable despite difficulty in accurately estimating the protective effects with varying reflection and penetration in different environments. Window glass absorbs most of the radiation below 320 nm; however, considerable amounts of UV-A radiation may still pass through glass. Special plastic films containing UV-A shields as an interleaf or overlay are available.

Clothing can be an excellent form of sun protection. The most important determinant is tightness of the weave. Fabric type is less important. Thickness is also less important than regular weave. Protection drops significantly when the fabric becomes wet. Color plays a minor role, with dark colors protecting better than light colors. A crude test of clothing is to hold it up to visible light and observe the penetration. The FDA defines clothing with a SPF rating as a medical device. One approved line of clothing with a rating of SPF 30 or greater is Solumbra (1-800-882-7860). Hats are the most important articles of clothing. A 4-inch wide circumferential brim is required to cover the face and neck.

Because UV light can have both acute and chronic adverse effects on ocular tissue, sunglasses provide important protection. National standards are in place for Europe, Australia, and the United States. Compliance with the standard in the United States is voluntary.

Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure to allow sufficient time for a protective film to develop. Sunscreen should be reapplied after prolonged swimming or vigorous activity. Under conditions of continuous UVR exposure, they should be reapplied every couple of hours. Sunscreen needs to be applied liberally. As much as 1 oz may be needed to cover the entire body. Particular attention needs to be paid to the back of the neck, the ears, and the areas of the scalp with thin hair. Sunscreens represent only one component of a total program of photo-protection.



It is advised that everyone protect themselves from UV radiation to avoid the several acute and chronic detrimental effects.

At Carrington Medical Spa we carry a variety of sun care products that can help protect every member of your family.

Call us or stop by today! We look forward to hearing from you!


Yours in good health,

Dr. Liliya Slutsker

Meal 9: Chicken with Herb-Shallot Pan Sauce & Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and Tomatoes

Eating healthy does not mean the meal cannot taste delicious. On the menu this week we have Chicken with Herb-Shallot Pan Sauce & Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and Tomatoes. The staff at Carrington Medical Spa is sure that you will enjoy this yummy Low Carb dinner!


Chicken with Herb-Shallot Pan Sauce & Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and Tomatoes

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min




Chicken with Herb-Shallot Pan Sauce

¾ lb chicken cutlets (about 2)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

½ Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp dry white wine

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or use ½ tsp dried)

2 tsp butter


Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and Tomatoes

1 ½ cups broccoli florets

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp kosher salt

Pinch of crushed red pepper

3 Tbsp freshly shredded Parmesan cheese




Chicken with Herb-Shallot Pan Sauce

Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Cook in hot oil in a skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done; remove from skillet and keep warm. Add shallot and garlic to skillet; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine and thyme; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly reduced. Stir in butter; cook until melted and sauce is thickened. Serve sauce over chicken.


Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss together broccoli, tomatoes, oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until almost tender. Sprinkle with cheese; toss. Bake 5 minutes longer or until tender.



MEAL 8: Southwestern Chili

The staff at Carrington Medical Spa hopes that you are staying warm during these winter days! Enjoy one of our delicious and healthy chili recipes, that you will be sure to love.


Southwestern Chili


Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 2h 40min




Southwestern Chili

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 lb boneless chuck roast, trimmed, and cut into ½-inch pieces

3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (32-oz) carton beef broth

2 (15.5-oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce

2 Tbsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp ground ancho chile pepper

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice




Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add beef, in batches, and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove beef, and set aside. Add jalapeños, poblanos, onion, and garlic to pot; cook 8 minutes or until tender. Return beef to pot; stir in broth, beans, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, cocoa, chile pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender. Uncover, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice.




Ask Dr. Liliya Slutsker: Lupus

My dear friends and neighbors!

Creating a healthy lifestyle through clean eating, nutrition, and exercise is my passion. However, today’s question is about Lupus. Lupus has many faces, and it’s a long conversation.

I would try to answer the question to the extent of public education.


However, my blog  answers are not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. I would refer you to  your medical provider and use their knowledge and expertise to take care of you.


And just for your confidentiality, I would encourage you to send the questions to Dr.Liliya”s mail box:



Systemic lupus erythematosus (also known as lupus or SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of your body. Lupus is an autoimmune condition, meaning that your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues, thinking that they are foreign; this can lead to pain, swelling and damage to organs such as kidneys. The cause of Lupus is not clear.


People with lupus often have disease flares, in which symptoms worsen, followed by period of remission, in which symptoms improved. Lupus is mild in some people and could be worse in others. However, treatments are available to reduce symptoms, reverse inflammation and minimize organ damage.

Lupus is a systemic disease and may affect many organs : nervous systems, lungs, kidneys, heart, digestive system, eyes, most frequently starts with skin.


Most people with SLE have skin abnormalities at sometime. The most common is a rash known as the “butterfly rash” this appears as the redness over the cheeks and nose after being in the sun. The rash on the last few days, but often comes back.

Light sensitivity: between 60 and 100% of people with Lupus are  sensitive to ultraviolet UV light. This photosensitivity causes the person to develop a rash after exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or fluorescent lamps. Some people are also sensitive to UV radiation from sunlight. Glass protect individuals sensitive to UVB (from sunlight or fluorescent light), but only partially protects those sensitive to UVA.

Blonde, blue eyes, fair skinned individuals are much more for the sensitive than brunettes or individuals with darker skin.

Those who are for the sensitive should do the following to minimize UV exposure ;

Avoid areas of high sun exposure brackets beaches, snow, Lakes, brackets especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.


-Avoid medication that may cause photosensitivity( sulfa meds).

-Use a sunscreen with a sun protection Factor SPF of 50 or greater daily does sunscreen should be applied 30 to 60 minutes before going outside and should be replied every 2 hours. Sunscreen should be applied even when patient is inside or building.


Medication precautions:A number of medications are known to worsen lupus. You should not take this medication if that is an acceptable alternative. Sulfur containing antibiotics that should be avoided.


Diet and nutrition: Most people that have lupus do not require special diet but should instead eat a well balanced diet .

A well balanced diet would be low in fat but high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and contains a moderate amount of meat, poultry and fish.

-People visit active lupus and fever may require more calories

-If you are swelling edema in your feet or legs, decrease the amount of salt and sodium in your diet.

-Extra vitamins are rarely needed if you eat a balanced diet. If you’re not able to eat a balanced diet or dieting to lose weight, you should take supplemental vitamins.

Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol (one drink or less for women and two drinks or less per day for men) is usually safe. However, alcohol can interact with medication used to treat lupus.


Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.


In your health,

Liliya Slutsker, MD