Q: I want to follow all your advice about eating well, but it seems so expensive. Got some suggestions on how to eat healthy foods on a budget? — Sandy F., Moline, Illinois
A: There are many ways to eat healthfully without breaking the bank. Plus, the savings are not just at the grocery store. In the long run, eating healthfully saves you a lot of money on health care costs — because the results of a diet loaded with sugar, red meat, unhealthy fat and processed or fast food is chronic disease that comes with a big price tag, financially and emotionally. So here are four steps that will help you eat well for less:
1. Learn to cook. You don’t have to be a chef — you can assemble smart, cook a little. For example, you can broil skinless chicken seasoned with olive oil, pepper, dried herbs and maybe a little red pepper flakes. Cube it and serve with various chopped fresh vegetables over a pile of greens. Top with an olive oil-lemon-mustard dressing. Want something more hearty? Whole grains like barley, spelt and quinoa are easy to prepare and very filling. Your reward? A new study shows having three servings a day limits gains in waist size, blood sugar and blood pressure as you age.
2. Cook once, eat two — or more — times. Make enough for leftovers. Perfect candidates: soups, ground chicken chili, tomato-based sauces for pasta, curries and stews — as well as blanched or steamed veggies, and fruits. That stretches the dollar and halves the time it takes to eat homemade.
3. Eat more vegetables. Avoid pricy — and unhealthy — red and processed meats. Keep fish and skinless poultry servings as side-dish servings of 3-6 ounces.
4. Be flexible — follow store sales, coupons and promotions. And always go to the store with a shopping list to minimize impulse buying.
Q: I hear talk about how women are underrepresented in clinical trials and lab studies, and that it makes such a difference in results. Should I ask my doctor if medications I am prescribed are tested on women? — Phyllis G., Portland, Oregon
A: There are some important biological differences between men and women beyond the obvious reproductive ones — and they can make a significant difference in how medications and medical treatments affect women versus men. One 2020 study found clear evidence of a drug-dose gender gap for 86 different medications approved by the Federal Drug Administration, including antidepressants, cardiovascular and anti-seizure drugs and analgesics, among others. Turns out women metabolize the medications more slowly than men, boosting exposure — and in 96% of cases this resulted in significantly higher rates of adverse effects. Says professor Brian Prendergast, a University of Chicago psychologist and co-author of the study: “Especially for drugs that we already know have a wide therapeutic range — meaning there’s a wide range of doses that are still effective — we could do a lot better job of titrating dosages with sex in mind.” The suggestion: When possible, doctors prescribe a smaller dose for women, and gradually increase to reach a balance where the medication is working as intended, but without significant side effects.
But the gap in research and understanding doesn’t stop there. In 2019, the FDA said in a review of approved medical devices that it had found “in the surgical literature, for female-prevalent diseases only 12% of [lab] studies that indicated sex of the animals, studied female animals.” In other words, researchers are studying female conditions on male animals.
You can ask your doctors if they know if the treatment or medication being prescribed was tested on women, but it’s likely they won’t know. So, search online for information on problems in women associated with the drug or therapy. The Office of Women’s Health at the FDA is a good place to start. Together you and your doc can look into it and make the best decision about your treatment.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit sharecare.com.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D.
and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
King Features Syndicate
Originally Appeared Here