Doctor's Notes

Leave a comment

Healthy Recipe Round-up

We round up our favorite healthy recipes again in honor of National Nutrition Month!  Feel free to download these recipes for your family. All recipe cards have full nutrition facts.

Japanese-Style Beef and Noodle Soup

Udon beef noodles

Ingredients for broth

  • 4 oz shiitake mushroom stems, rinsed (remove caps and set aside) (or substitute dried shiitake mushrooms)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 2–3 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, crushed (or the zest from 1 lemon: Use a peeler to grate a thin layer of skin off a lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 4 C low-sodium beef broth

Ingredients for meat and vegetables

  • 1 bag (12 oz) frozen vegetable stir-fry
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms caps, rinsed and quartered
  • 8 oz udon or soba noodles (or substitute angel hair pasta), cooked
  • 1 lb lean beef top sirloin, sliced very thin
  • 4 oz firm silken tofu, diced
  • ¼ C scallions (green onions), rinsed and sliced thin


Thaw frozen vegetables in the microwave (or place entire bag in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes). Set aside. Combine all ingredients for broth, except soy sauce, in a medium-sized pot or saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine wire colander, and discard the solid parts. Season to taste with soy sauce.

To finish the soup, bring the broth back to a boil. Add the thawed vegetable stir-fry mix and mushroom caps, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the noodles and continue to simmer for another minute. Add the beef and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the beef is slightly pink to brown (to a minimum internal temperature of 145 ºF).  Add tofu and scallions, and simmer 1–2 minutes until heated through. Serve immediately in 1-cup portions.

Download this Japanese-style beef and noodle soup card!


Asparagus with Lemon Sauce


image source


  • 20 medium asparagus spears, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 fresh lemon, rinsed (for peel and juice)
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/16 tsp salt


Place 1 inch of water in a 4-quart pot with a lid. Place a steamer basket inside the pot, and add asparagus. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5–10 minutes, until asparagus is easily pierced with a sharp knife. Do not overcook.  While the asparagus cooks, grate the lemon zest into a small bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Use the back of a spoon to press out extra juice and remove pits. Add mayonnaise, parsley, pepper, and salt. Stir well. Set aside. When the asparagus is tender, remove the pot from the heat. Place asparagus spears in a serving bowl. Drizzle the lemon sauce evenly over the asparagus (about 1½ teaspoons per portion) and serve.

Download this asparagus with lemon sauce card!


Chicken Ratatouille


image source


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 2 zucchini, about 7 inches long, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ lb fresh mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 can (14½ oz) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ Tbsp garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
  • 1½ tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, rinsed, dried, and minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large nonstick pan. Add chicken, and sauté for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add zucchini, eggplant, onion, green pepper, and mushrooms. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley, and black pepper. Stir and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Download this chicken ratatouille card!



Leave a comment

National Nutrition Month – Celebrating Dietitians


How much rice should I eat in a day? What does one serving size look like? How much should I eat when I’m pregnant? These are the kinds of questions a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) are experts in. RDs are the professionals who provide education and guidance on food and nutrition. They are the individuals who help patients or food establishments design meal plans and find solutions to eating healthy.

To celebrate National Nutrition Month we sat down with our dietitian, Daniel Wong, RDN, CDN, to talk about his work in the community:

 DN: You’ve worked at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center for 7 years. What are challenges you often see in our immigrant community?

DW: The majority of our community shop in Chinatown, so they are only exposed to the foods in Chinatown. For example, most Chinatown bakeries often use lard, an unhealthy solid fat, in their products. The whole community is then exposed to a less healthy type of bread. It is a challenge because it is difficult to change the way bakeries operate and make healthy bread more accessible.

The dietary choices we make as individuals are also based on what our family eats. Some families grew up thinking that spare ribs and ox tail are “lean” meat, or leaner because of the less visible fat compared to pork belly. When I tell them that spare ribs are high in fat, they do not believe it. Because this diet has been a part of their upbringing, the challenge is to help them understand what is good or bad for their health.

DN: How do you help individuals overcome those challenges or reach their health goals?

DW: When educating patients, I give them alternatives, and help them find motivation to try changes in their diet. For example, I suggest to seniors to try oatmeal for breakfast instead of congee. Some seniors are new to oatmeal, but because they know it is good for their health and find it more accessible in the U.S. compared to China, they are willing to adapt to it.

I find that the most common motivation for behavior change in our community is to avoid the need to take medication. Explaining how chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes affect them also motivates them to change. Once they are ready to make changes, we set goals together.

DN: Can you share a memorable or rewarding moment during your RDN career?

DW: The most rewarding part of my job is when I educate a patient and they understand and practice what I taught them. They pass it to their kids and the whole family now has a better understanding of what it means to be healthy. Being able to help people is always a good feeling. Some patients appreciate the advice I give them and some do not. But when I see that their lab results and health are improving, it’s a good feeling.

Thank you Daniel for your commitment to help our patients be their healthiest selves! Happy Nutrition Month!

Leave a comment

Honor Your Heart by Quitting Smoking


Written by Michelle Chen

Quitting smoking is tough, and for many, takes more than one try. It may be one of the hardest things to do, but it will be one of the best decisions of your life. In addition to saving thousands of dollars each year, you will protect your family from cancer-causing toxins and live a longer and healthier life. Your heart will benefit from the relief—your risk for heart attack and heart disease will go down when you quit. After one year, your risk for heart disease will be half that of a continuing smoker’s. Over time, it will be that of a non-smoker’s. For American Heart Month, we encourage you to kick the butt for better heart health.

7 Ways to Make Quitting Smoking Easier

  1. Prepare yourself. Have support—from family, friends, a counselor or provider, or an online program—ready by your quit date.
  1. Create new habits. If certain places and situations tempt you to smoke, come up with new routines. Instead of joining your coworkers for a smoke break, tell them you are quitting and take a walk instead.
  1. Use medications. Talk with a counselor or provider about nicotine patches and other medications that can reduce cravings. Many are covered by insurance.
  1. Stay away from that cigarette! There is no such thing as having ‘just one.’ The first puff can make you start back up.
  1. Find a quit buddy. Ask a friend or coworker who smokes to quit with you. Support each other through the quitting process.
  1. Reward yourself. Use the money you have saved from quitting for a movie night or a dinner with your family. Marking milestones can improve spirits for all.
  1. Be kind to yourself. If you start smoking again, don’t be discouraged. You have not failed—you have learned about the triggers and situations that make you smoke. It takes a few tries for most people to quit for good.

We know quitting can be hard, but your health improves the moment you stop. Your loved ones will be thankful for it, too. Are you ready to take the next steps, but don’t know where to begin? Check out more tips and reasons to quit, and learn more about secondhand smoke.

At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking:

You can also get free patches and help from:

This article is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation and adapted from NYCDOHMH’s Health Bulletin.

Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.

Leave a comment

Eight Lucky Dishes to Enjoy for Lunar New Year

Original Table

For many Chinese and ethnic families, February marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year.  Celebrated over 15 days, it is one of the most eventful times of the year. In the Chinese community, the biggest festivity starts on New Year’s Eve, when loved ones come together for a banquet. We would like to share healthy versions of these lucky dishes.

Whole Fish


One of the most important dishes to eat during Lunar New Year is a whole fish. Serving a fish from head to tail is associated with starting and finishing the New Year with good luck. Loved ones bless each other with the saying, “Nian Nian You Yu” or “May each year be plentiful”.

Families enjoy whole fish pan-seared, steamed, or boiled in soup. For a healthy celebration, we recommend going light when cooking with oil and choosing a low-sodium soy sauce when eating the fish. No matter the cooking method, use fresh herbs such as ginger and green onion to bring out the flavor of this dish.



For a year filled with “happy laughter”, families prepare prawn for the New Year feast. Prawn in Cantonese sounds like the laughing sound “ha”, and eating it is believed to bring you plenty of happiness for the New Year.

Prawn is also a suggested source of omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that is healthy for the brain and helps prevent heart disease. Eating two servings or 8 ounces of omega-3 rich seafood like salmon, tuna and sardines per week will give you the amount of omega-3 fatty acids you need, but enjoy prawn in a small amount to keep bad cholesterol low.

Whole Chicken


Another favorable dish is a whole chicken. Like fish, it is important to plate the chicken whole from head to tail because it resembles “completeness” and “togetherness”. Many Chinese families prepare the chicken by steaming or boiling it without herbs or marinades. While dark meat is delicious, consider eating more white meat without the skin for less fat and fewer calories.

Dried Oysters, Mushrooms and Lettuce

Oyster and mushroom

For many Chinese business owners, this meatless dish may just be their favorite to eat during the New Year. The star of this dish is dried oysters, or “Ho See”. Often added to soups or vegetables, dried oysters bear significance to having “good business” or “good things to come”. Mushrooms complement the rich seafood flavor of the oysters, and lettuce not only adds a vibrant color, but is also symbolic of “growing more fortune”. For a healthy and tasty celebration, be sure to enjoy oysters in moderation to keep cholesterol levels under control.

Buddha’s Delight

Buddha Delight

Many families will eat “Zhai” or Buddha’s Delight on the first day of Lunar New Year to cleanse oneself, show kindness to animals, and bring in good luck. While the ingredients and recipes differ across families and restaurants, this dish has an abundance of heart-healthy vegetables like wood ear mushrooms, Chinese celery, snow peas, and bean curd.

Tangerine, Mandarin and Pomelo


Tangerines, mandarins, and pomelos signify wealth, good luck, and fortune. Mandarin in Cantonese sounds like “gold” while tangerine sounds like “luck”. Eating a pomelo is believed to bring blessings. Families may also decorate their homes with a tangerine tree, as it symbolizes the blessing, “Dai Gut Dai Ley” or “bringing safety to the family and guests”. Kid-friendly and rich in vitamin C, these citrus fruits are great as New Year snacks.

Nian Gao

Nian GaoCake

Many families eat “Nian Gao” to start the year on a positive note. The blessing that comes with the dish translates to, “May you reach higher and higher each year”. For some families, Nian Gao is a savory dish that includes fried rice cakes, Napa cabbage or Chinese mustard greens, minced meat and mushrooms. For other families, “Nian Gao” is a pan-fried dessert that is soft and crispy when coated with a thin layer of egg.  Many love the sweet Nian Gao, as it’s only made once a year. To keep a healthy weight, enjoy these sweet rice cakes in small portions and cook the savory rice cakes with less salt and oil.

Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumplings

Tong Suey and Tray

“Tang Yuan” or sweet glutinous rice dumplings are loved for its tasty fillings, sweet soup and chewy bite. It is popular to eat this dessert during Lunar New Year and Winter Solstice, as the roundness of the dumplings resembles “reunion” and “togetherness”. The dough is traditionally made with rice flour and can be plain or filled with red bean paste, sesame paste, creamy or crunchy peanuts, or sweet mung beans. Served with a sweet gingery soup, this is a warm dessert perfect for the winter. For a healthy new year, enjoy this dessert by lightly sweetening the soup and eating in moderation.

We at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Leave a comment

Resolutions for a Healthy New Year

NY resolutions

Written by Bonnie Tse and Dr. Perry Pong

Counting down to the New Year brings much excitement for the coming year and another chance for a fresh start. After celebrating another year gone by, many people begin the New Year with a resolution to “be healthier”, followed by an overwhelming health checklist.

One of the reasons why resolutions are often broken may be because we set our expectations too high to attain a very large goal. To make these resolutions stick, try setting small goals. Making small changes to your daily routine may be more manageable as you are working towards a healthier you. In 2015, try one of these resolutions for a healthier, happier and longer life.

  • Be active. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to stay fit. A brisk walk in the park or a light jog in your neighborhood is a great start. Aim to stay active for 30 minutes a day or 2 ½ hours a week.
  • Make healthy food choices. Instead of ordering take out, cook your own meals and pack your own lunch. Need some inspiration? Check out some of our healthy recipes here. You can also consider adding more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains into your diet. Try to drink more water and choose drinks low in sugar. Some foods may be hard to cut back on, and that is okay. Eat those less-healthy-favorites in moderation.
  • Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep prepares you for the next day. Sleeping is the body’s natural way of repairing itself. It helps the brain store all the new things learned throughout the day and helps control your appetite. Being well rested improves your mood and performance at school or at work. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day, and check out our past newsletter for more do’s and don’ts for sleep!
  • Make an appointment for a check-up! When is the last time you had a check-up? Regular check-ups will help you and your doctor screen for health problem early, and to keep you up to date with vaccinations to avoid common illnesses and conditions. Your doctor will also be able to help you maintain a healthier lifestyle based on your age and family history. If you are looking for a new healthcare provider, read more about us on our website.

Resolutions may not be easy, but by making small changes, you can achieve better health. We wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

Written by Bonnie Tse, with contributions from Perry Pong, MD. Bonnie Tse is part of the Health Education Department at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Hunter College. Dr. Pong is the chief medical officer at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. He received his medical degree from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and completed his residency training at Veterans Affairs Medical Center New York. Dr. Pong is board-certified in internal medicine.

Leave a comment

Healthy Aging through Movement and Exercise


Written by Bonnie Tse and Dr. Perry Pong

As part of September’s Healthy Aging Month, we want to share how to stay strong and active. As you age, small exercises can go a long way to improve your mind, body and overall health. Try some of these activities to keep your health at its best.

 Start with a Stretch

Start your day with a stretch! Stretching not only makes you more flexible, but can also boost your mood and energy. Going out into the sun also allows your body to make Vitamin D, an important nutrient that improves your bone health and prevents osteoporosis or bone loss. The National Institutes of Health has a great page on stretches, check them out here.

Take a Walk

It’s free, fun and good for you in many ways. All you need are twenty to thirty minutes a day, but even short walks several times a day helps your breathing, heart, brain and muscles. Try climbing stairs during your walk. This keeps your thighs strong and takes pressure off your knees.

 Move Your Muscles

Practicing tai chi and aerobics can improve your balance and keep your heart and muscles strong. By exercising your muscles, your bones become stronger and can prevent falls from occurring. Using light weights or filled water bottles during aerobic or chair exercises can further improve your muscle strength.

 Join a Class

Local recreation programs such as Shape Up NYC, Be Fit NYC and senior centers offer many free exercise classes like table tennis and Zumba that you can join. Simply type in your zip code and find one that’s convenient for you!

Invite a Friend!

Exercising with a friend not only makes exercising more enjoyable, but doing it together motivates you both to stay active. Why not spend time being active and talking and sharing with your loved ones or friends?

To celebrate healthy aging month, try a new exercise today! For more information on how to care for your health, visit our page on health information for seniors.

Written by Bonnie Tse, with contributions from Perry Pong, MD. Bonnie Tse is part of the Health Education Department at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Hunter College. Dr. Pong is the chief medical officer at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. He received his medical degree from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and completed his residency training at Veterans Affairs Medical Center New York. Dr. Pong is board-certified in internal medicine.