Golightly Gourmet: Dr. Miles Hassell is my new hero

“The decisions we make about the food we eat and our exercise and sleep habits are more important than the decisions our physician will make.” Dr Miles Hassell

By Dana Zia

The Year of Wellness (YOW) in Tillamook County is in full tilt boogie right now and picking up speed. Next month’s focus for The Year of Wellness is nutrition and so the YOW team is bringing an amazing speaker, Dr. Miles Hassell from Portland, to our area to get us all inspired.  This free event will be on March 11th from 11 am to 2 pm at Fresh! Café and Market in Bay City and requires reservations.


Dr. Hassell is an internist that believes good food is great medicine. In fact, that is the title of the book he co-authored with his sister, “Good Food, Great Medicine, a homemade cookbook, recipes and ruminations from a medical practice.” Their book is a very well written and a highly entertaining read, which I recommend for anyone. If you haven’t quite found the inspiration to get on the bandwagon for YOW yet, this book and/or event will do it.


I can tell I am going to love meeting this guy cause he talks my language, whole foods. Dr. Hassell stresses that eating whole foods, and mostly vegetables and fruit, combined with exercise and good sleep patterns are the way to radiant health. It’s simple, attainable and at everyone’s fingertips.  He says that eating whole foods not only reduces risk, but can actually reverse disease.


For example, Dr. Hassell says if someone already has heart disease that they can reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events, like a heart attack, by 70 percent or more with diet alone and 60 percent or more with exercise. “That’s better than we see from our best medical procedures and drugs!” he continued “And we find the combination of conventional medicine and foods and exercise to give even better results.”


One of the other things I love about this guy is that he is an advocate for having raw nuts, caffeine, aged cheese, real butter and dark chocolate in our diet in moderation. (He had me at dark chocolate.) One of his chapters is “Fat is good, bagels are bad.” I tell you this guy is spot on and going to be right here in our county to talk to us. (Bunny hop!)


This special event requires a reservation so call Stacie at 503-812-2062 for your spot, which includes a free healthy lunch. The day after that, on March 12 from 10am to 1pm, I will be teaching a free cooking class in conjunction with recipes from his book at the Methodist Church in Nehalem. It will be an inspirational class on basic cooking to get you in the kitchen, then we will munch on what we made. Call Laura Swanson at 503-939-5416 or email her at [email protected] for reservations.  I’ll see you there!



Hassell’s Red Wine Beef or Venison

Here is a recipe from Dr Hassel’s book, spiced up a bit by me. To reduce prep time, I’ve been known to leave out the step of browning the meat.  It shortens the prep time but does not compromise on the flavor too much. The bacon is one of my additions as it adds so much flavor and is just a wee little bit of bad. Omit If you want to be very, very good.


2-3 tablespoons of high heat oil like coconut oil or avocado oil

A few pieces of good center cut bacon, cut into small pieces

3 pounds of venison or beef stew meat

2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons of salt

2 TBLS of paprika

1 pound of carrots sliced into 1 inch chunks

2 fat yellow onions cut into chunks

2-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 750 ml bottle of a good dry red wine

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 28 ounce of canned crushed organic tomatoes

1 teaspoon of dried or 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of minced fresh or 2 teaspoons of dried parsley

1 tablespoon of minced fresh or 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary

1 pound of mushrooms sliced

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat up your olive oil in a heavy dutch oven you could knock a bear out with (Or a heavy bottomed soup pot) and cook the bacon chunks over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the bacon is fragrant and lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate with a paper towel on it and blot off the excess fat.


While the bacon is cooking, lay your venison cubes out on a cutting board and dry them with a paper towel, (no I’m not crazy, this makes the meat brown better) . Mix the salt, pepper and paprika into a small bowl till well mixed and sprinkle it over all sides of the meat. When the bacon is done, sear the cubes in the bacon fat/oil mix in small batches of a single layer of meat for 3-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the meat with your slotted spoon when browned to a bowl and finish searing the rest. (If you need more oil, add a TBLS or 2 when you need it)


After the meat is done, toss in the carrots, garlic and onions and cook for 10 minutes or so stirring occasionally until the onions are lightly browned.  Add the meat and bacon back to the stew pot and add the rest of the ingredients.  Turn off the burner and stir the pot till everything gets to know each other.  (This step can be done the night before and stored in the fridge till you are ready to cook it)


Place the pot into the middle of the oven and stand back and let magic happen. Cook for two hours while the house fills with the most amazing scent that will bring people off the streets.  Carefully take out of the oven after two hours, taste and adjust the seasonings, then serve with a salad.

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