Reprinted from the Metropolitan Magazine, September 1998
Delectable Recipes for Coumadin Patients and Everyone Else
by Laura Spinella
During the past two decades the eating habits of many Americans have greatly changed. The focus has shifted from eating what's good, to eating what's good for you. Scientific facts, countless studies and nutritional mentors have proven, what we now consider the obvious, that a healthy diet is key to a longer life. Perhaps, what is not quite as obvious is how certain medications can be affected by the foods we eat. COUMADIN® an anticoagulant, is a common drug used by approximately 3,000,000 people with various heart problems. For those who are unfamiliar, COUMADIN® is greatly affected by the intake of vitamin K. Therefore, if patients do not consume a steady amount of vitamin K each day, while they are taking COUMADIN® , they are in danger of their blood forming unwanted clots too quickly or of prolonged bleeding from too much drug effect. This can lead to serious, if not fatal, results. Fortunately, or unfortunately, vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce along with most other vegetables like peas, broccoli, brussel sprouts and so forth. If a healthy diet includes all these things, and people on COUMADIN® are told to avoid these foods or unsteady amounts of such foods .... well, now you begin to see the problem.

Dr. Rene Desmarais, a Cardiologist with Peninsula Cardiology Associates, has written a cookbook, along with Gail Beynon and Gregory Golden, specifically designed to provide practical dietary guidelines for patients who take COUMADIN®. Patients who take the generic form of COUMADIN®, warfarin sodium, can also use this cookbook. Aptly named THE COUMADIN® COOKBOOK, it contains more than 300 recipes that are tasty, heart-healthy, contain all food groups and most importantly, contain an accurate estimate of vitamin K content. "Most patients on COUMADIN® are greatly affected by their intake of vitamin K. A large fluctuation in their prothrombin time/INR tests (a prothrombin time test is used to monitor the effects of COUMADIN(® can be extremely dangerous," cautions Dr. Desmarais. He continues, "Many COUMADIN® patients receive mixed messages about their consumption of vitamin K foods. I think this cookbook will alleviate much of that confusion and concern."

Gail Beynon was the head chef for the project. Her lifelong passion for cooking gave the team thousands of taste-tempting recipes from which to choose. "A great part of the challenge was taking an already terrific recipe and adjusting it to contain the proper amount of vitamin K without changing the taste," remarks Gail. Having an outstanding chef on board is part of what will make this cookbook a success. "The problem with many specialized recipes is that they're bland and boring. Gail was able to use my guidelines and create really interesting, great tasting recipes," contends Dr. Desmarais. Readers of the cookbook will no doubt be intrigued and impressed with such recipes as Steak Parmigiana, Seafood Stroganoff, Balsamic Squash Puree and Fuzzy Navel Cheesecake. However, there are plenty of recipes that include old favorites like Chicken Soup, Buttermilk Pancakes and Baked Beans.

Along with the fabulous recipes, THE COUMADIN® COOKBOOK contains a very reader-friendly introduction. It explains in clear, understandable detail the influence vitamin K has on COUMADIN®. Each recipe contains the calculated amount of vitamin K per serving; in addition, there are dietary tips about avoiding the pitfalls of vitamin K intake and a list of foods that are naturally low in vitamin K content. After glancing over several of the recipes in the book, one will soon forget that this is in fact a "specialized" cookbook. The recipes range from appetizers to entrees; when you get to the dessert section, it is quite clear that COUMADIN( is unaffected by the sweet tooth! The diverse and delectable selection of cakes, cookies and other sweet treats help make this cookbook a keeper for other family members who are not taking COUMADIN®. "There are so many wonderful recipes that Gail has created, anyone will enjoy using the book," offers Dr. Desmarais.

"We currently have sold over 2,000 copies of the book," notes Greg Golden, who was responsible for its publication and marketing. The book is available through the COUMADIN® Clinic at Peninsula Cardiology and at select locations throughout the Delmarva area like the Cinnamon Falls Coffee Shop in Lewes, Delaware. Until September 15, 1998 THE COUMADIN® COOKBOOK is available at a special price of $11.95 and the regular price of $16.95 thereafter.

Dr. Desmarais and Gail Beynon graciously supplied two recipes that they consider quite tasty and easy to prepare. It is just a sample of the hundreds of recipes THE COUMADIN® COOKBOOK has to offer:


4 servings (2 mcgs of vitamin K per serving)

# 2 whole chicken breasts skinned (4 halves total about 5 ounces each)
# 2 tablespoons butter
# 1/4 cup Raspberry jam, seedless
# 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Saute chicken breasts in butter until just barely done. Slide chicken to the side of the skillet Add jam and vinegar, stir until jam is melted and mixed with vinegar, toss chicken in mixture to coat Serve with sauce poured over the top when chicken is cooked through.


4 servings (9 mcgs of vitamin K per serving)

# 1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned
# 6-10 cloves garlic, minced
# 1 tablespoon Olive oil (treated)
# 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
# 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Steam the green beans until almost done. Heat the olive oil in a skillet large skillet add garlic and saute just until it begins to turn brown. Add the green beans to the skillet with salt and pepper, toss to coat with garlic and oil. Raise the heat a bit and continue to toss until green beans start to get brown and black in some spots. Serve hot. Gail suggests serving these main dish recipes with white rice topped with toasted almonds.

To obtain a copy of THE COUMADIN® COOKBOOK by mail, you can send a check to Marsh Publishing Company, PO Box 1597 Salisbury, MD 21802-1597. Please include $4. shipping and handling. Maryland residents must add sales tax. For those of you who prefer a more high-tech approach, THE COUMADIN® COOKBOOK also has its own website at or you may reach them by phone at (410) 7491989. Return to home page.