Browsing Category:


Gluten-Free, Vegan Booby Boosting Bites – A Yummy Alternative to the Lactation Cookie

Disclaimer: I’m neither a food blogger nor a chef. I’m more of an eat to live person. Efficiency is the name of my game, so when I make something quick, easy and with minimal clean up that also actually tastes pretty good, I call that a win.

Seriously guys, when I was in med school, my friends will tell you, I ate a protein grilled on my George Foreman grill (remember those??) and a veggie every night I ate in. It checked my protein and fiber boxes and I was done. It wasn’t until I met my husband – a true foodie with the patience to follow long detailed recipes – that I truly started appreciating food a bit more.

Yesterday, I was in the mood to try a different lactation cookie. I searched Pinterest, and I couldn’t believe I could not find a single reasonably healthy one. I’ve been spoiled by Dr. Illuri’s vegan, gluten-free lactation cookie recipe. The other recipes I found all contained tons of refined sugars and flours – certainly not good for postpartum weight loss or anyone in your family’s health!

My newborn was sleeping so using my Blendtec to make the oat flour for the above recipe was out of the question, so I decided to experiment with my own. Turned out great and hubby and toddler approved!

One KichenAid stand mixer bowl, a few measuring cups and spoons, 10 minutes and done!

5 from 1 vote

Booby Boosting Bites

Lactation boosting bites. No baking required!

Course Dessert
Keyword Lactation
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author RiverwalkDoc


  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 tbsp Brewer's Yeast
  • 1/4 cup 70% cacao chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Place all ingredients in bowl. *Using your measuring cup for dry ingredients first makes for less clean up!

  2. Mix until even in consistency.

  3. Form into bite-sized balls.

  4. Refrigerate if desired - these do well both in the fridge or at room temperature!

Recipe Notes

Next time I may consider using mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs to make the balls stay together even better - the regular ones did the job, though!

Health benefits of this recipe
1. No refined sugar or flour. Refined sugar and flour lead to rapid increases in blood sugar and insulin release leading to weight gain.
2. Gluten free therefore fine for those with celiac disease. Also trendy!
3. Lactation boosting ingredients: flaxseed, coconut, almond, oats, Brewer’s yeast
4. ≥ 70% cacao containing chocolate has many metabolic health benefits

Quick and Easy Daal Recipe

Finding quick, healthy dinner ideas is tough for me, so when my hubby says I nailed it, I do a happy dance. Tonight was one of those nights. I made a super easy twist on daal (Indian lentils) sans salt, with vinegar, which lowers glycemic index, and loaded with fresh veggies – I just use veggies I happen to have at home.

I like to serve this with whole plain yogurt for added calcium and protein, and a grain – try quinoa instead of traditional basmati rice for a healthier alternative. If vegan is your thing, just take out the ghee. I admit that most of these measurements are guestimates because I can’t deal with measuring.

Here’s how I made it:

  • Turn instant pot on sauté mode
  • Add 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Add 1 tsp ghee (Homemade by hubby and daughter!)
  • Add 1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste, 1/2 chopped Serrano pepper, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp ground coriander, 1/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
    • Other things from my spice box that I usually use but forgot tonight: mustard seeds and turmeric
  • Add 1/2 chopped yellow onion and sauté until translucent
  • Add 3 chopped medium tomatoes, 1 cup chopped carrots, 2 cups red lentils, 4 cups water, 1/4 cup vinegar and change to manual mode and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes
  • Allow rapid pressure release before opening lid
  • Open and add 1 5 oz box of spinach and lemon juice to taste
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro

Breastfeeding: Episode Two – Public Nursing

It took me six months to get comfortable nursing Ava in public. I was self-conscious, feared making others feel awkward, didn’t have a comfortable nursing cover and had no idea how easy it can be. Once I started nursing unapologetically anywhere, life got way better.

Breastfeeding is isolating. You are feeding the kid all the time. Whenever we had guests, I was in the bedroom nursing Ava for the majority of time they were over. When we were out, I spent half the time in the car, a public restroom stall (ew!), a fitting room or alone in someone else’s bedroom feeding her.

I’ve had people tell me I should “just pump” and give her a bottle while out. For anyone who has never pumped, I suggest never recommending pumping or using the phrase “just pump” to a nursing mom if you care for your friendship with her. I don’t expect people who have never had a breastfeeding relationship to get it, but anyone who has ever nursed knows it is not that simple.

Here’s a few reasons why:

  • You have to pump for every time you give a bottle to maintain supply. So it’s either mom is isolated pumping somewhere while baby takes a bottle from someone else or she just nurses her baby.
  • Pumping less effective at milk extraction than a baby, so it leads to increased risk for supply issues and plugged ducts – ouch! I speak from experience.
  • Pumping sucks (no pun intended) and can be painful.
  • Every time you pump and give a bottle you have ten items to wash, sanitize and dry when you add up pump and bottle parts.
  • Pumped/thawed breast milk is great but not as good for baby as milk straight from the source.

The maintenance of the nursing relationship and supply takes conscious effort and it is best to nurse your baby as often as possible. As a working mom a.k.a pumping mom, nursing opportunities can be few and far between, making taking them even more important.

This nursing cover was a saving grace with Ava and already is with Sri. The muslin is soft and breathable, so no overheated, sweaty baby trying to eat. It covers well and stays put. You can see baby over the top, which is super helpful, and it is easily machine washable.

Breastfeeding: Episode One

All moms have some sort of experience with lactation, and there are a lot of moms out there; however, I feel like breastfeeding is something no one talks about. Before Ava was born, I was clueless about breastfeeding. Then she arrived, and it consumed my time and thoughts for an entire year.

There’s so much to say about lactation, so I’ll be writing more about it in the months to come, but let’s start at the beginning, since that’s where I am with baby Sri. I hope I can help some new mamas, soon-to-be-mamas and even dads – having an amazingly supportive husband has been key to my success with breastfeeding. Let’s go!

First, the baby does not just hop on the boob and start eating happily. There’s a lot of crying, guiding and even some forcing the tiny human on there. Sri’s on his ninth day of life as I’m writing this, and he’s gotten way better, but it’s still not perfect. He needs help finding where he’s going, getting a good latch and staying on. It’s even harder when he’s super hangry.

Getting a good latch is not easy. There are different holds that are better for different situations (e.g. cross cradle, football) that can facilitate a better latch. Do not hesitate to use a lactation consultant and do it early – like within the first 24 hours. I needed an LC to help me with Sri even after nursing Ava for a year. Invest in your partner to help you. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has told me, “I don’t like that latch, take him off and retry,” or “Perfect practice every time, babe.” I get lazy, and my cheerleader does not give up on me.

Nipple trauma – Ouch! It is way worse with a bad latch but can also happen with a good one. I had terrible trauma with Ava. It was painful to the point I actually considered giving up nursing all together. I stuck it out and it went away within the first month never to return again. Lanolin was my best friend. I gave a friend advice to start using Lanolin two weeks before delivery and it helped her. I started a few days before Sri was born since he was earlier than expected, and it was a lot better this time around. I’m not sure if it was the lanolin or if my latch was just better.

Cramping and bleeding while nursing. Another ouch! Oxytocin release causes uterine contractions to help expel blood and shrink the uterus postpartum. It really hurts, y’all – this improved for me on post-op day five.

So much poop! Both of my kids have been huge poopers. Sri needs a diaper change before he eats and then poops again every time he eats. Literally every time.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It is important to keep yourself well hydrated while breastfeeding and it is easy to get behind on fluids. Drinking with a straw makes a big difference. I carry one of these with me everywhere (and did so even during pregnancy).

Pressure to breastfeed. No one talks to you about nursing, then you become a mom, and everyone asks you, “How long are you going to breastfeed?” and “How long did you nurse your first one?” I don’t really mind these questions myself, but I can imagine them being really stressful for some moms. Breastfeeding is awesome for your kid – there have been many studies testing multiple variables (e.g. metabolism, immunity, SIDS, IQ), so I get it. However, I think having a super stressed, depressed mom who feels inadequate is worse than anything. Mom guilt is real, never-ending and I encourage everyone to look at the entire picture when making their nursing (and all) decisions.

Let me know if you have any other questions about breastfeeding – I’ll try to incorporate them into episode 2!

In the meanwhile check out my friend and fellow endocrinologist, Vidhya Illuri’s, recipe for vegan, gluten-free lactation cookies on her amazing food blog, Doctor’s Pantry!

Eating for Two

As soon as I got pregnant with my daughter, the advice started rolling in.

“Stop running.” “Don’t exercise.” “Eat more.” “You’re too skinny.”

The age-old line, “You’re eating for two,” bombarded me all day, everyday.

Pregnancy number two was no different.

We grow up with this notion that pregnancy is a blissful time when a woman should indulge her cravings. I grew up in a culture that has no expectation that a woman will return to a normal weight postpartum.

As a physician who focuses my entire life on metabolism, I know this well-intentioned advice is not only wrong; it is dangerous.

Ladies, let me be the one to break it to you – pregnancy is not the time to load up on pies, fries and ice cream. It is not the time to pack on a ton of extra weight with a plan to lose it later.

First of all, you are eating for 1.1 at max, not even close to two. My 28-week- old fetus weighed just a tad more than 2 pounds when I had my most recent oral glucose tolerance test. Sure he’s growing fast, but he does not need the 1200 calories I typically need for an average day. Eating for two will make you rapidly gain weight.

Second, all of us have increased insulin resistance during pregnancy. For some women, this manifests as gestational diabetes that needs close monitoring. Even if you are not diabetic, you become more glucose intolerant during pregnancy and this programs us to lay down fat.Worse, women who are overweight or obese are likely to gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy and to gain weight postpartum.

Third, eating right in pregnancy is hard between nausea and reflux. If we don’t try, we will fail.

Why is this important?
1. Gestational diabetes: If not well-controlled, GDM can cause birth defects, big babies with delivery complications, dangerously low blood sugar in the newborn, and increased risk of obesity and diabetes for your child.
2. Losing the baby weight is hard: Studies showed that around 20% of women have more than 10 pounds hanging around long-term after having a baby. Excessive pregnancy weight gain and postpartum overweight directly correlate with overweight decades after pregnancy leading to detrimental health consequences.

3. Your child’s long-term health: Kids whose moms were overweight or obese while pregnant are pre-programmed to be at higher risk for obesity and type two diabetes during their lifetime due to persistent high insulin levels transferred during gestation.

– Eat nutritiously during pregnancy – avoid processed foods
– Talk to your OB about recommended weight gain
– Stay active during pregnancy
– Get enough sleep
– Work on stress management
– Invest in your partner for support

Gunderson, Erica P. “Childbearing and Obesity in Women: Weight Before, During, and After Pregnancy.” Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, vol. 36, no. 2, 2009, pp. 317–332., doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2009.04.001.

Doctor. Mom. Wife. Journalist.

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m a practicing physician in San Antonio, Texas, and I specialize in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. My field focuses on hormones, which are chemical signals in the body that enable important body functions – hunger, satiety, weight, temperature, sleep, blood sugar, blood pressure, the list goes on.

I treat patients who suffer from diabetes, overweight and obesity, thyroid diseases, metabolic bone disease including osteoporosis, diseases of the pituitary and adrenal glands and male and female reproductive hormone problems. The interplay of organ systems and their impact on people fascinates me. As you may guess, my job involves taking detailed histories, enabling me to learn so much about my patients’ lives and bodies. This process requires trust and faith and it is an honor to provide my patients individualized care.

I am continually exploring avenues to strengthen the patient-physician interaction, and this blog will chronicle my journey to develop these. Technology can bridge the gap between physicians and patients, especially in the management of chronic diseases, like diabetes and obesity, which require active daily engagement. Gaps in engagement have led to growing epidemics despite pharmaceutical innovation.

I believe in no wasted effort, and I am a formally trained journalist courtesy of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. I’ve worked at newspapers, magazines, free-lanced and kept a blog for Medscape as a medical student. I took a hiatus during training, and now with more experience, knowledge and passion, I am ready to write again.

I hope this blog is a place where I can teach, help, share and bridge the gap. I’m a doctor, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a struggler, a juggler, and both a superhero and the worst person in the world to a toddler. My life is a beautiful journey of learning and change, and I’d love for you to join me for the ride.