Stay Tuned!

Check back here for more information about Dr. Shenkman's new office location, coming to Tarzana, California in January 2018
New Practice Hotline: 818-398-9572

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bringing Vegan Treats

It's always been interesting to me how people react to vegan treats.

I baked some vegan brownies (no pics because my camera is MIA -- I think it's in California with Kevin and Mary Ruth) and brought them to work on Friday. I walked into our break room, said, "Have some brownies" to the two people who were there, and set them on the table and walked away.

I don't like to make a big deal of the vegan thing. But, since everyone knows I'm a vegan, most of them are going to put two and two together and figure out that the brownies are probably vegan too. The only person whom I pointed out the "vegan brownies" to was another vegan who crosses through the cath lab every so often.

Brave or more worldly omnivores will try a brownie and enjoy. And, of course those people who have no idea that they're vegan will see brownies and try one. I don't EVER bring mediocre vegan food -- I hate to give vegans a bad name.

Those who are less experienced might laugh and stay away from the vegan brownies out of fear that they're going to taste funny. They might "dare" someone else to try one. Then that person will try one, say "mmmm that's good!" and get laughed at -- "Ha ha ha you ate vegan brownies!"

All in all, though, I like bringing treats to work. I love baking, and I love eating, but if I didn't share, I'd eat the whole tray of brownies myself. On top of that, people learn that you don't need animal products to have a tasty sinful snack.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Vegan Restaurants and Fake Meat

I love a vegan restaurant, but I have a pet peeve about most of them: Their menus are filled with fake meats!

For example, many asian cuisine vegan restaurants will serve curries with a choice of "soy chicken" or "vegi-beef"' and so forth. I find them quite tasty, don't get me wrong.

But, the problem that I have is that these menu descriptions play into the typical omnivore's belief that a meal is not a meal unless there's meat in it. So, they would believe, as we don't eat meat, we have to eat "fake meat" to replace it.

I'm all for veggie burgers and Tofurky and fake meat options at the grocery store. I think they're great choices for people who are deciding to go vegetarian and don't quite know yet what to replace meat with.

However, in a vegetarian restaurant, can't we be a bit more creative? Perhaps broaden peoples' perspectives of what a healthy, plant-based diet is? How about descriptions of our protein choices as, say, textured soy protein? Or better yet, how about dishes that don't rely on fake meat at all?

Can a vegetarian or vegan eating establishment thrive without fake meat???

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vegan House in Los Angeles

Greetings from California!

Vegan House, on West Sunset Blvd and Benton Way, opened two months ago. It's healthy vegan food with a taste of Thai. The menu has everything from burgers to curries to sushi and hash browns. Mom and I had the fish burger and chicken burger respectively with french fries. Both were awesome. The food didn't taste greasy at all.

I would definitely go back and try some of their curries or appetizers.

Tonight's dinner: California Vegan!!!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

What was I THINKING???

I feel like a total dufus.

I could go back and delete today's earlier post. You know, the stuff about toughing it out and running on a sprained ankle.

Bad idea. REALLY bad idea.

Now I know that I should have stopped, come home immediately and iced and elevated my ankle. Instead, I did a little ice, took a nap, and then went to Faneuil Hall where I stood around for an hour, and then walked from Faneuil Hall to my apartment in Chinatown.

Tonight I came to my senses, and am elevating and icing my ankle. No running tomorrow. Maybe a spinning class, minus the jumps.

Sprained My Ankle and then Ran Up Heartbreak Hill

Today was my first long run with members of the team. It ended up being me and two girls, and both run a bit faster than I do. But, I kept up with them, for the most part, and we ran 6.68 miles at a 10:15/mile pace.

About three miles in, I landed on the outside of my right ankle and then fell to the ground. Owww it hurt a LOT! I knew I sprained my ankle. I sat down, and the two girls I was with said they'd run ahead and get me some ice. As they took off, I got up, took a few steps, which weren't so bad. Then I started jogging again. Minimal pain. So I yelled, "I'm ok, I'm going to keep running."

"Are you sure?"

Of course I'm sure. I'm tough as nails. Not gonna let some silly ankle sprain keep me from finishing my run. We ran four more miles, including Heartbreak Hill. It was a good run, but as soon as I stopped running, the pain in the right ankle came back.

I've definitely sprained my ankle, but I don't think it's too bad. Hopefully, some ice and stretching should be sufficient to keep me running.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Why I Don't Play Poker

I'm sitting at a nursing station, looking at a patient chart. Some patient's family member has his own web site for archery equipment. A physician's assistant is looking at the web site, with the family member standing behind him, holding his young, maybe 4 year-old, son.

On the screen appears this small child smiling with a dead deer. Dad says proudly, "That's his first kill!"

I look up, and I guess I got a pretty horrified look on my face, as the Dad puts his hand on my shoulder, "I take it you don't like hunting."

I didn't say a word. I just smiled uncomfortably.

Vegan Pizza


With great toppings, who needs cheese? Seriously!

Whole Foods pizza dough (from the freezer section), Whole Foods organic pasta sauce, frozen spinach, frozen mushrooms, and leftover Lightlife burger crumbles. Baked in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. I should have baked it longer, as it came out a bit doughey, but it tasted great.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nachos!!!


The ultimate comfort food and a great use for leftovers (see the Bean and Cheese Burrito below).
I put Guiltless Gourmet chips, leftover vegetarian refried beans, Lightlife burger crumbles (no my blogger friends they haven't sent me anything yet, I just happened to have this in my fridge), and leftover cheese sauce, and microwaved for 1 minute. Then, I added some Whole Foods mild salsa.
It's like Taco Bell.... minus the meat and the e. coli!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pumpkin Pancakes and Scrambled Tofu

The pancakes were made with Bisquick light mix. Instead of the 1 1/4 cups of milk that are called for, I used 1 cup of soy milk and 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin mix. And, instead of the egg, I used the equivalent of one egg in the form of Ener-G Egg Replacer.

The scrambled tofu is a mix of lots of things, whatever I felt like throwing in -- onion, garlic, mashed firm tofu, spinach, edamame, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bean and Cheese Burrito


I've never been crazy about the nutritional yeast-based "cheese" sauces. This one, Easy Cheezy Sauce, from How it all Vegan, is decent. I put it in a burrito with refried beans, salsa, and spinach, which made for a good combo.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dedicated or Crazy?

I'm not sure which I am.

On Saturday morning, I was up at 7 am to do a long run of about 6 miles on my treadmill in my spare bedroom. With 22 degrees fahrenheit and plenty of wind, there was no way I was going to run outside.

I did it and I'm proud of myself. My running pace this week has been incredibly slow, probably due to a significant increase in distance over last week, a few temporary injuries (the IT band is totally better, thanks Deb), and a transition to strictly treadmill running because it's been so friggin cold out.

Tomorrow it'll be in the 50's, and I look forward to running a few 800's on the Esplanade. Woo hoooo!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Mmmmm! I haven't baked cornbread in a long time. It is soooo good! I got this recipe from How it All Vegan. Since I have no willpower, I'll be sharing my sweet potato cornbread with the cath lab tomorrow.

If it's not one thing....

.... it's gotta be something else.

The plantar fasciitis is all gone. Completely. No foot pain whatsoever.

BUT, now I've got iliotibial band pain. Ack! After my run today, I rolled out that part of my leg on the floor on a roller, and hopefully that will do the trick.

I'd like to motor ahead and do all that my trainer has said for me to do this week, but I know from past experience that I have to listen to my body and not be stubborn. My goal for this week is to run 250 minutes. I may be a bit short of this. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm doing my first real cooking since Thanksgiving. Once the cornbread is out of the oven, a beautiful picture of it will be going up!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bad Restaurant Experience

I went out to dinner tonight with some vegetarian friends. We had a great time. I was looking forward to taking pictures and featuring the restaurant on this blog, because I love to help a vegetarian restaurant, and I know that most people who visit this blog do so via a search engine.

I won't name the restaurant, because I don't want to give them negative publicity. But the service was terrible! The waitress wouldn't let us order unless we gave the "number" of the dish -- in order, I couldn't say, "I want pad thai", I would have to say "I want number 38". She kept trying to clear off the extra placemat, even though we kept telling her that we were waiting on one more person. Then, one of our friends who didn't get soup, asked that her entree be brought out with the soups because she was hungry. Not only was it not brought out with soup, but it was the absolute last dish to come out! Food items were just dropped on the table, rather than them asking who it belonged to and walking around our table of five people and delivering the food. Entrees didn't come out together, but were haphazardly dropped off over a period of fifteen minutes. And, finally, the avocado coconut milkshake was not good at all. It was all so impersonal.

We were all quite disappointed. I'd like to find some way to provide feedback to the restaurant, in a constructive manner. After all, I'd like to see a vegetarian restaurant do well and stay in business, especially in Boston where we only have 5 or 6 veg restaurants.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I graduated from medical school in 1999. Since then, with the exception of a year that I worked as a hospitalist, I have been in training. First internal medicine residency, then cardiology fellowship, and now interventional cardiology fellowship. I am a PGY-7 -- a trainee in post-graduate year 7.

Some say that medicine is a delayed adolescence. Or, as Dr. Callie Torres from "Grey's Anatomy" said, we're "children with scalpels".

This year, I will be finishing my training. I now know what I want to do and where I want to go. It's been a long journey to figure it out.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I'm Back!

After a two week hiatus from running, I ran this morning. My plantar fasciitis caused only a mild ache in my right foot, and was totally bearable.

Now I plan on easing back into my running. Maybe 15 miles this week. Nothing stupid -- I don't want to jeopardize my ability to run Boston in April.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Dinner Vegan Style





I prepared my first Thanksgiving dinner ever!!!

We started with a salad with greens, mango slices, and dried cranberries. One of my guests brought samosas, and another brought grape leaves, which served as appetizers. For the main course, we had a Tofurky, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, and an amazing yam and portobello dish with truffled olive oil that was prepared by another guest. Dessert was a vegan pumpkin pie from Whole Foods and Soy Dream vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm Running Boston!!!!!

I got a number for the Boston Marathon through Combined Jewish Philanthropies. As a member of Team CJP, I'll be raising $3,000. This is awesome news, that I can run Boston as a legitimate participant, even though I have never come anywhere near a qualifying time.

HOWEVER.... I'm still on the disabled list! I have not run in a week and a half because of my plantar fasciitis. Finally it is getting better. A week ago I was waking up and my first few steps out of bed were just absolute excruciating pain, as was standing in the cath lab for long cases. Now, I know it's there, but it's not awful. So I will continue to squash the inner voice that's screaming "I wanna run!!!!" and continue to bond with my friends the elliptical trainer and spinning bike.

Tomorrow is the Thanksgiving Extravaganza at my apartment..... the guest list continues to grow. I can't wait to cook up some amazing vegan food. It's been far too long since I've thrown a dinner party.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Speaking of Diet and Heart Disease....

I gave a 30-minute presentation this morning for the cardiology department at my hospital on vegetarian diets and heart disease. I've given similar talks before, but to lay people, not to cardiologists.

An important point was brought up, and it's a source of frustration for me as well: There are hundreds of randomized controlled trials of various drugs and devices for heart disease, but there isn't a single large, randomized controlled trial on vegetarian diets and heart disease.

There's evidence that a plant-based diet is good for the heart, including a small randomized controlled trial by Dean Ornish (published in Lancet in 1990) and a small observational study by Caldwell Esselstyn (Journal of Family Practice, 1995) that showed that patients on a low-fat vegetarian diet have fewer repeat cardiac events. Epidemiologic studies demonstrate that cultures with plant-based diets have very low rates of coronary disease.

But, no one is going to do a large, randomized trial of vegetarian diet and heart disease. It isn't profitable -- what pharmaceutical company would sponsor it? And even though the data that is out there strongly supports a vegetarian diet for prevention of heart disease and cancers, there will still be skepticism for lack of a large randomized-controlled trial.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce


Actually, this is Spaghetti Squash with Boca Burger Crumbles and pasta sauce.

Spaghetti squash is simple to prepare. Cut a spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds. Place the cut end in a dish with about 1 inch of water. Microwave on high for nine minutes. Let it cool a bit, then scrape it with a fork to remove the squash, which has a spaghetti strand-like consistency.

Then, top it like you would top regular spaghetti. Here, I microwaved some Boca Burger crumbles and Whole Foods pasta sauce.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Making Veganism Seem Easy

I've shared my philosophy on veganism before. I believe that first and foremost, we need to make veganism look easy, which really it is. That way, people who want to help animals see our way of living as attainable. On the other hand, when we focus on little details, like whether the bread at a restaurant has soy or animal lecithin, or if some small amount of animal ingredient is in a veggie burger, we turn people off.

Bruce Friedrich of PETA makes a great case for this. I heard him speak at Helping Animals 101 in Rochester back in June, and it really changed the way I approach veganism and advocating for the animals.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Broccoli and Tofu Stir Fry


Did I ever mention that I love my wok?

I heated some canola oil in my wok, about a tablespoon, then added chopped onion. Sauteed them for about 5 minutes, until they were brown. Then added eggplant. Then added my absolute favorite stir fry sauce, Starport Foods Sesame Garlic Sauce, and then a pound of chopped firm tofu. Cooked it for another 7 or 8 minutes covered, and that was dinnner.

I swear, the Starport Foods people aren't paying me to say this, but I swear by the Sesame Garlic Sauce. I used to buy it at Wegman's when I lived in Rochester. Unfortunately, they don't sell it in any store in Boston, so I ordered a half gallon jug of it by mail! It's that good, I swear!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tofurky Day


What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

In my family of mostly vegetarians, we have a Tofurky and a lasagna (for the Tofurky-haters), along with all the usualy trimmings. That is, of course, after the Detroit Lions manage to choke on national television.

This year, the family isn't gathering until the weekend after Thanksgiving. So, I have the opportunity to make a Thanksgiving dinner!!!!

There will be Tofurky, some kind of pasta, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, yams, cranberry sauce, and I don't know what else. For dessert, I'm going to find a vegan pumpkin pie.

If you know me and you live in Boston and are looking for somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, drop a comment and let me know :) the more the merrier!!!!!!!!

Hiatus from Running

The plantar fasciitis has gotten really bad. In spite of my efforts to heat/ice/roll/stretch/take ibuprofen, I've had some painful runs. Standing in the cath lab doesn't help either.

So I made the decision to stop running for a week. This is probably a decision that I should have made weeks ago, but I hate to stop because in some ways it's what keeps me sane.

My trainer pointed out that Joan Benoit stopped running for 3 months and then went on to win the Olympic Marathon. While I am no Joan Benoit by any stretch, I guess we all need to take a break sometimes.

This week I'll be bonding with my friend the elliptical macine, doing some spinning, and maybe I'll actually get in the pool for the first time in over 2 months.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Falafel Pita


This was my lunch today -- a falafel pita. I made the falafel from a Fantastic Foods box mix using the broiling directions, as opposed to frying. Also, instead of coating the falafel with olive oil, I used an olive oil cooking spray.

Inside the whole wheat pita, I put two falafels, lettuce, roma tomato slices, and store-bought tahini sauce.

Also, the falafel can be made in advance. It stores well in a fridge.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Spinach and Mushrooms


This was dinner -- I heated one tablespoon of olive oil and some crushed garlic, then added a package of gourmet mushrooms, sauteed them for a minute. Added a mix of Bragg's sauce and a little bit of tamari (Bragg's because it gives flavor but has less sodium), and then added frozen spinach, and sauteed for about 7 minutes.

A friend suggested that I post recipes of food that I cook. Thing is, I just throw stuff together in the kitchen. I don't measure ingredients. My goal is to show you easy and healthy vegan food to prepare in no more than 30 minutes. And to me, measuring makes things less easy. So let me know, do you want more details on how I prepare stuff?

Oww owwww owwww!

I went out for a run, to do some speedwork this morning. My right foot was hurting, and also thanks to my overcompensating by running on the lateral aspect of my foot, my ankle is stiff, painful, and overall screwed up. I had to bail out of part of my run this morning. I was even running with a limp!

I think I forgot to take my ibuprofen and that's what did me in. Nothing makes me madder than not being able to finish a run.

As we speak, I have a bag of frozen spinach under my foot and a bag of frozen broccoli on top. It feels better.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Broccoli, Mushrooms, Tofu, and Soy Ginger Sauce


I had intended to stir fry this and bring it to an omnivorous potluck. As things turned out, I didn't make it. So I fired up the wok and made it for myself. Phillips Gourmet has a great collection of fresh mushrooms, sold at Whole Foods. The broccoli is fresh, boiled for 4 minutes, drained and then with cold water poured on it. I used 365 brand (Whole Foods store brand) Soy Ginger Sauce. I didn't use a lot of it because it's spicy and I definitely have white girl taste buds.

My omnivore potluck rule: Don't make weird vegan stuff. Make it something simple, a dish that people can look at and say, hey I could make that myself and that would be a meal!

How's the diet? I'm eating less but the scale says I GAINED TWO POUNDS! I don't believe it. My total calories are less, but I'm eating far more fruit to fill me up. I'm also eating more sodium, as Au Bon Pain soups make for good low-calorie vegan meals. Perhaps I should curb my neurotic habit of getting on the scale every morning?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Brunch After a Long Run


I ran 10.6 miles this morning, burning about 1800 calories. At the end of my run, I was hungry!

The spinach is frozen spinach sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. On the right is leftover mock egg salad. I have two organic waffles from Whole Foods, topped with Earth Balance margarine and maple syrup. With it, I have a bowl of strawberries and raspberries and a glass of orange juice.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Plight of Horses

Willie Nelson wrote an excellent piece for CNN.com on horse slaughter in this country. Read it -- it's good.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mock Egg Salad Wrap



Dinner was a mock egg salad wrap and salad with ginger miso dressing.

Mock egg salad is easy to make. Squeeze the excess water out of some extra-firm tofu, mash it, and add chopped celery, Vegenaise, paprika, turmeric, and black pepper.

Cardiology boards are OVER!!! But let's not talk about them. I just hope I passed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One Year of Blogging

I've had this blog for a little over a year now. It started as an anonymous experiment to find out what a blog really is. I talked about my life and the challenges that I was facing. Most of those posts have since been deleted, but a few remain.

Then, while reading Jennifershmoo's Vegan Lunch Box blog, I figured out what to do with my own blog: Show what it's like to be a real-life vegan with a job who tries (ok.... sometimes not so much, as you see in the post below this) to eat healthy. Then I added some of my triathlon and running adventures. And then I added some medical anecdotes. As far as I know, I'm still the only vegan/running/cardiologist blogger out there.

Many things have changed in the past year, more than I'd ever have imagined. So thanks for reading. And to my good friends and family, thanks for your support.

Grocery Shopping and Destressing


These are all vegan!!!

Today was the first day of the cardiology boards. Let's not talk about them. They were tough.

Grocery shopping is one way that I destress (in addition to running, of course). Whole Foods was on my way home. A few naughty items, see above, landed themselves in my cart and I *had* to buy them because, after all, they're vegan.

I'll save the cookie for a special day. The truffles will work for an occasion where I need to bring something to share at the last minute. I can't wait to try them.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Carrot and Garbanzo Puree


I adapted this recipe from Lorna Sass's New Vegan Cookbook; the recipe is called "Carrot, Bean, and Carmelized Shallot Puree". Except, instead of shallots I use a cooking onion since chopping shallots takes far too long for my patience, and I add a little maple syrup at the end.

Sautee onion and spices of your choice (I like garlic and thyme) in canola oil for about 10 minutes. Then add vegetable broth, 1 can of chick peas or canellini beans, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 15 minutes. Separately, steam carrots in the microwave in water for about 10 minutes on high. Pour the onion, broth, and bean mixture into a food processor, add the carrots, and puree, and add maple syrup at the end.

An easy and tasty way to get your veggies!

Studying Frustration

I've been studying for months. I took a review course. I've been wandering the cath lab with a board review book in my hand at all times between cases.

And now I'm sick of studying. I suppose I could have been doing more review this weekend, but I just didn't have it in me.

The cardiology boards are Wednesday and Thursday. Really, I think I'm ready. I'll do some more questions, some more ECG's, cram a few more little facts into my brain on Monday and Tuesday, and THAT'S IT.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Easy Tofu and Broccoli


My favorite cheap kitchen toy is my wok. Somehow, stir fries taste better when cooked in one, as opposed to a frying pan.

First, I dipped the broccoli in boiling water for about five minutes. In the meantime, I fired up the wok, added some canola oil and onions. Then, I added broccoli and slices of firm tofu, along with some Soy Vay.

On a side note, has anyone seen the Starport Foods sauces anywhere in the Boston area? I really miss their Garlic Sesame sauce. It is seriously the best.

If I said I was studying tonight, I'd be lying. Supergirl is heading out to a Halloween costume party! Hey, everyone needs a break every so often, right?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Plantar Fasciitis Update


I'm trying to be good. I've been icing, stretching, taking loads of ibuprofen, walking around on my heels, then toes, and icing and stretching some more. I do not want to miss too much running -- running keeps me sane, calm, and in shape. However, my stubbornness has caused past injuries to linger far too long, so I know I have to take it easy if I'm hurt.

I just ran for the first time since Monday, for about half an hour at the gym on the treadmill, just in case I had foot pain and had to bail out and *shudder* use the elliptical machine. The run went surprisingly well, with only a minor amount of pain after the run. Tomorrow morning I'm going to run outdoors for an hour.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Going to Ground

This morning in the cath lab, I was standing up talking to one of our techs, who happens to be a personal trainer. I was asking him about how to handle my plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the bottom of the feet, often due to running).

He pushes on the heel of my foot. Owww! That hurt. I definitely have plantar fasciitis, and possibly a bone spur as well, he says. I have to stop running for a while and give it a rest.

I started to get very lightheaded. Owww that really hurt. He keeps talking. I don't hear much of what he's saying, but I'm nodding and acting like I am paying attention, because I don't want to be rude or embarrass myself. But I really need to sit down. I feel my pulse; it's slow and thready. I know I'm getting vasovagal. When he's done talking, I'll go right over here to the break room. I don't know if I'm going to make it..... and I start to slump over.

Next thing I know, I'm lying on the cath lab floor. I feel my eyes fluttering but I can't open them. I hear voices and I know there's a crowd standing around me. "Heather? Heather? Are you okay?" I want to talk, but I can't. Someone takes my wrist.... "I can't feel a pulse."

I open my eyes. "I'm ok, I just got vasovagal." After a minute, I stood up and somehow a barcolounger chair appears. I sit in the chair for a while with my feet propped up, drink some water, and start to feel better.

Wikipedia has a great explanation of vasovagal syncope. Triggers include pain and emotional stimuli. Usually it's a very benign condition. The combination of the pain in my heel when he pressed, along with being told that I should stop running for a while, likely set it off. I've had this happen before, but have never passed out -- in high school when I shadowed a cardiologist and he was pulling out an arterial sheath with lots of blood spurting, in med school when I met my cadaver for the first time, when learning to draw blood. Before this, it was two years ago, standing in the cath lab during a long case, after barely eating breakfast and being upset that George W. Bush had been reelected for four more years (can I say I told you so? I digress...).

I'm ok. Embarrassed, but ok.

Baby Picture



Here is a picture of Sam. We ate Thai food from California Vegan last night - sorry, no picture. It was very good. We shared orange "chicken," California chow mein with seitan, spicy eggplant with soy chicken and sweet and sour with soy chicken with your parents.

We are looking forward to Halloween. We are going to the pumpkin patch on Saturday. They also have a petting zoo and Sam loved the one at the Los Angeles Zoo. I have a Pooh costume and she has a Hunny Pot costume. Anyone else have a good costume idea this year?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cracking Down

The cardiology board exam is in 9 days. I'm a little stressed.

Until then, I'm crackin' the whip on myself -- all studying, no goofing off. Minimal social life, other than a birthday celebration for a friend on Friday. The running will obviously continue.
But there will be minimal posting here.

Mary Ruth and Kevin, seriously, if you cook something good post it. Post pictures of Sammy with "doggies".... anything!!!!!!!!!! I don't know that anyone will care about my hummus, tofurky, avocado, and lettuce wraps and reheated Amy's dinners.

On November 2, when the boards are over, I'm going to the spa for a massage, a facial, and whatever else I feel like doing. Then I'm drinking from the bottle of wine that my boss gave me. And then, I don't know what I'll do with myself when I suddenly have free time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mushroom Polenta


While out running this morning, I decided I was craving mushrooms. The polenta is pan fried in oil, a few minutes on each side, and the mushrooms and spinach were sauteed in olive oil and Soy Vay sauce. It looks pretty and it tasted yummy too!

New Shoes


I'm a vegan with big feet -- size 12 women's. I can't justify killing a cow just for the sake of fashion, so I don't wear leather. That makes shoe shopping a challenge. I have been looking for quite some time for a pair of cute sneakers that I can walk around town in.

These are Onitsuka Tigers. They're a unisex shoe, but they're narrow enough for me, are comfortable, and relatively stylish.

I bought these shoes from Zappos online. They have a large selection of vegetarian (non-leather shoes). I also buy shoes from Payless, but those shoes tend to be of lesser quality and sometimes cheap-looking, so I am careful in which shoes I choose from them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hot Chocolate


I'm not about to claim this is some brilliant creation on my part. I post it because so many people think that if you're a vegan that you cannot eat chocolate, which is so untrue! Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, and somehow in this country we've gotten in the habit of adding dairy and making "milk chocolate".

No cows were harmed in the creation of my hot chocolate, it's cholesterol-free, and it's tasty!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Apple pear sauce


I bought a bunch of apples and pears thinking I'd eat them. No such luck, so before they spoiled I turned them into applesauce. Chop them up into small pieces and boil in water for 25 minutes. Drain, mash, add brown sugar and cinnamon. I keep the skins on because they have nutrients in them.

Augggh! Lowell Sun Half Marathon

This morning was a little chilly standing at the start line in shorts and a t-shirt, but I knew that as the race started that it would warm up into the mid-50's and I would regret it if I wore long sleeves.

Off we went. I used my experience from last weekend's marathon to guide me and started faster. First mile was in 8:36? That can't be right. I must have started my watch too late.

I just didn't feel like running this morning. I kept the thinking positively for the first few miles -- I can't believe I'm in Boston; it's been a rough year, but I've pulled through.... been here almost 4 months and actually have friends..... boards coming up.... studying ok but need to cram some ECG stuff, thrombolytics, antiarrhythmics, and pharmacology into my head..... look up at the cameras and smile...... where am I going to go when I finish in June....whoops that's not a positive thought, banish that one!

My first six mile splits were anywhere between 9:20 and 9:40. This is faster than what I'd planned... can I keep this up? I feel pretty ok so far.

I couldn't keep it up. Stopped to pee at mile 6.... that mile was slower, 10:45. The next miles were about 10:30 apiece. People were passing me. I felt drained.

At mile 11, I knew I had to pick up the pace if I wanted to finish in 2:10. I was tired, but knew that if I missed 2:10 that I'd regret it. I have it in me. Pushing on.... this mile was 9:57. Picked up the pace even more at mile 12.

1.1 miles to go. Breathing a lot heavier. Louder. Getting funny looks. Instead of my usual "Thanks so much!" to the folks on the side of the road, all I could make out was "Augggggggh!" Great Heather, that's quite articulate. I sounded more like a neanderthal than a physician.

I pushed on. I finished strong in the baseball stadium in about 2:10, my goal time. The announcer called out my name as I crossed the finish line. Whooooooo-hoooo!!!!!!!!!!

For post-race refreshments, there were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have never had such a delicious pbj sandwich in my life. Cheered on some more runners, and the first two marathon finishers, hobbled to my car and headed home, sore but content.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Rani in Coolidge Corner




Rani has amazing food, great service, and tons of vegetarian items. And, the menu says, "Many items can be prepared vegan on request." Easy enough! I had Palak aloo, spinach with potatoes.

I find that Indian restaurants are easy for a vegetarian who consumes dairy. But if you don't eat dairy it's a little more difficult because many Indian restaurants cook everything in ghee, or clarified butter, and the waitstaff may not understand that you don't eat dairy and then bring out a dish of yogurt and cook the meal in tons of butter.

Alison and Adam, good friends from Rochester who just got married last month, are visiting Boston. We had a tradition of going out for Indian food back in Rochester. It was so good to see them and continue our tradition in my new hometown (and hopefully soon theirs!).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lentil Soup


Earthy Lentil Soup from Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan!

The recipe called for a few spices that I didn't have, like curry powder and savory. So, I added garam masala (a mixture of Indian spices), cumin, and coriander. I like the result. I eat it with crumbled Guiltless Gourmet white corn tortilla chips.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vegan Dilemma Solutions

Here's what I did (see the post below):

1) I text paged my coworker. Yes text paged her -- this was one of those crazy days where I just couldn't escape the cath lab, and wouldn't run into her otherwise. I said, "Thanks so much for the Indian dinners, that was really sweet of you. Unfortunately, since I'm a vegan, I can't eat them because they have milk. Sorry!" I might whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies as a token of my gratitude, because it was nice of her to think of me.

2) I took the sweater. I'd rather re-use something that would otherwise be given away or end up in a landfill. Further, this way I didn't buy a sweater, which would involve using up resources, energy, and probably in some manner isn't good for the environment. Besides, who other than me will know it's cashmere?

Two Dilemmas

Here are two situations that I encountered recently. What would you do in each?

1) A coworker, who knows you love Indian food and "don't eat meat", brings a couple of frozen dinners for you to try. Both contain dairy as a main ingredient.

2) You attend a clothes swap party, where participants bring old clothing items to either swap or donate to charity. You try on a sweater -- it fits you beautifully. BUT, it's cashmere.

I'd love to hear some comments, then I'll share my thoughts.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Go Bandit Go!

I ran the Boston Half Marathon this morning for fun. Does that make me crazy? I wasn't the only bandit -- there were a few others without running numbers.

It was a great training run to get ready for next weekend's half marathon, a little cold at the beginning, but after the first few miles the sun came out and it felt nice. I told myself in advance that I'd take it easy and not run too hard. Problem is, I don't like not going all out. So I started out at a nice pace. First few mile splits were 10:45, 10:15, 10:30, 10:00, and I settled into a pace of about 10:10 per mile. Then at the half-way point, I felt like going faster. Mile splits were between 9:45 and 10:00. And toward the end, my last two miles were in 9:15.

I finished in 2:11:59. My goal for next weekend is 2:10, on a far more flat course. I can definitely do this! I think I should start the race a little faster too. I bet I could have saved myself a couple seconds if I hadn't high-fived a few little kids on the side of the road or hopscotched through the decorations drawn by the Hash House Harriers, but what fun is that?

I was a good bandit too, but perhaps I shouldn't have worn BRIGHT PINK if I didn't want to stand out. Fortunately no race official seemed to care about my lack of a race number. I did not take any water or Gatorade from the aid stations, did not take a medal or any post race goodies, BUT I did take a Power Gel. They're hard to resist.

One thing I've learned about running at my appropriate pace (as opposed to going too hard at the beginning): I pass a lot of people in the last half of the race, which is a good feeling. Even though I'm only competing with myself, it still feels good.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Michigan Salad


I based this loosely on a salad that I've eaten at The Honey Tree, a restaurant chain in metro Detroit. Theirs has dried cranberries, nuts, and mandarin orange slices. Mine has dried cranberries, cashew pieces, avocado, and a sesame ginger dressing.

As bizarre as it sounds, I'm a vegan who doesn't really like salads. Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes don't do much for me. But if you can make it a funky salad, with a little fruit or avocado or something out of the ordinary, then I'll love it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bandit

The half marathon is in just over a week. I have a long training run to do this weekend. I don't like doing long runs alone. So..... I'll run the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) Half Marathon as a Bandit.

A Bandit is an unregistered, unpaid participant in a race, who runs without a race number. His or her time is not recorded because he or she is not registered.

Bandit running is controversial. Some say that it's poor etiquette because bandits take up space on the course, take advantage of the police and volunteers, and drink or eat refreshments that should go to registered runners.

I plan on being a good bandit. I'll start toward the back of the pack, and I'll bring my own water and snacks for the run so that I don't take away from the people who paid to be there.

On top of all this, I'm on call. So, I'll have my pager and cell phone with me too, so that if I have to go the hospital, I can get off the course and call a taxi.

I can't wait. Go Bandit Go!!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Inspiration

October is World Vegetarian Month.

If you're a vegetarian who's thought about going vegan, or an omnivore who has thought about a plant-based diet, read this. It's truly inspiring.

Coming Home



When I was home in Michigan this weekend, Mom made dinner. Most of it was vegan. Let me remind you, my entire family except for my aunt and grandmother are vegetarians, but I am the lone vegan.

"Aren't you going to take a picture for the blog?" she asked? I think she also said to stop complaining on the blog about visiting the family and having no vegan food to eat.

I was impressed. We had matzo ball soup, because Grandma and my aunt love matzo ball soup, and we really couldn't deviate from that. I tried making vegan matzo balls once and they were a disaster. I know Post Punk Kitchen has a recipe, but I'd love to find one that is also kosher for Passover. Mom was kind enough to make my soup with rice.

Mom made a baked penne pasta with tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, olives, broccoli, and mushrooms. And, for dessert we had a vegan pumpkin pie from Whole Foods with Soyatoo nondairy whipped topping. Yum.

So, no I can't complain. Thanks Mom!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fasting and Atoning


Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. In order to atone for our sins, we fast, as in don't eat or drink, for twenty-four hours. However, at sundown when we can eat again, it is tradition to have a big festive break-the-fast dinner.

I'm going to a potluck this evening. Presumably, I'm the only vegan who will be there. I'm bringing this baked ziti, which is based on a recipe for stuffed shells from Farm Sanctuary. The faux ricotta is a mixture of firm regular tofu, silken tofu, lemon juice, Tofutti "better-than" cream cheese, and spinach.

And, being a good vegan guest, I'll bring a dessert too: The world's most amazing chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Half Marathon Training Progress

There are 17 days until the half marathon. My longest run has been 11 miles, which I finished in two hours. That's a pace of 10:54. I felt great afterward. Now my goal is to get faster. I want to run the half marathon in 2:10; that's 9 minutes faster than my time almost 5 years ago when I last ran one. So, Mary has me doing speedwork and things of that sort. This morning I sprinted and then hopped on one foot 30 times and then hopped on the other foot 30 times. I must have looked really weird.

Did I mention that I love being in Boston? I can't think of a better place to run than the Esplanade. Seeing the river and all the other runners who are crazy like me at 7 am is inspiring.

As you can see, the cooking comes in spurts. I'm clearly not in one of those spurts right now, though I was tempted to bake some chocolate chip cookies. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Four food posts in 3 days... is this for real?


It's good to be back home, and I'm cooking to make up for lost time!

Pre-made pizza dough from the freezer aisle at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's pizza sauce, frozen spinach, and frozen pineapple. Stretch out the dough, add the toppings, and cook in the oven for 25 minutes at 425 degrees.

I suppose you could add soy cheese, but who needs cheese when you have good toppings?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Chocolate Mousse


To reward myself for my long run today of 11 miles, I made chocolate mousse. The recipe came from the VegNews Newsletter and was super easy. All you need is chocolate chips, silken tofu, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and almond extract. I just had some topped with mango chunks..... mmmmm!

"Meaty" Eggplant-Portobello Chil


Chili with eggplant, portobello mushrooms, garlic, and onions. I got this recipe from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook by Robin Robertson. I wouldn't exactly call this chili "meaty" as it is referred to in the book, but it was good. It went well with some Guiltless Gourmet nacho chips.

Soy Vay!


I love the name of this sauce.... Soy Vay!!! Tired out last night from a week of board review in Cleveland, I threw this together in my wok, spicy tofu and frozen veggies. More imaginitive stuff coming sometime soon. Really.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Boston Marathon or Bust

If I spent my year in Boston without running the Boston Marathon, only the most infamous of all marathons, I don't think I could live with myself.

I am not nearly fast enough to qualify for a number. At first I thought I'd run it as a bandit, one of the many people who try to run the race without an official number. Not only would this not be fair to the organizers or the people who paid their race entry fees to be there, my time would not be recorded and I would risk being thrown off the course.

So, I am determined to get an official number. My first try is through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. They have 500 numbers to give out to people willing to raise $3000 or more for cancer treatment and research. It's a competitive process. If that falls through, I found out about another worthwhile charity with a $2000 fundraising goal and an application deadline toward the end of October.

And if all else fails..... I'll buy someone's race number off of CraigsList. That's what one friend did last year.

I am back in Boston, and soon enough will be cooking again. Really. Enough laziness.

And, a happy new year to my Jewish friends and readers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hypochondria

In medicine, we learn a lot. Every so often we become a hypochondriac, wondering if we have *that* disease.

A few years ago, a patient whom I was cathing told me I looked like I had Marfan's Syndrome. I laughed -- poor guy was under sedation. Yes, I am tall, I have long arms and legs and long fingers, but those are characteristics of many people in my family, and none of them have dropped dead at a young age, as often people do with the disease.

Then this spring, I got one of the throw-away journals in the mail, the journals with review articles that are heavily subsidized by drug compaines. The topic of one review article was Marfan's Syndrome. The disease has cardiac manifestations, so it seemed like a good article to read.

The article discussed the skeletal criteria for Marfan's disease..... arm span greater than height..... check. Long face and long fingers... check that's me too. Able to bend the pinky back toward the wrist..... check. Able to wrap thumb and forefinger around the wrist.... check.

I meet the skeletal criteria for Marfan's Disease!!! Could I have the disease????

So, I had to put the issue to rest. The next day, I was in the echo lab, and at a time when there was no patient in one of the rooms, I performed an echocardiogram on myself. Of course, while I'm doing this, one of the sonographers pokes her head in.... "Uhhh, I'm just looking at one of the machines," I said.

After about 20 or so pictures of my aorta and a few others of my heart just for good measure, I concluded that my heart and aorta look okay and I definitely do not have Marfan's disease.

Just a little knowledge......

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Away for a while

I'll be in Rochester this weekend for a wedding, and in Cleveland next week for board review. So, probably not much posting will be happening for a while.

Mary Ruth or Kevin, are you cooking anything good? Or, any cute pics of my favorite niece?????

In case you were wondering, the cake was very good!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Birthday Girl


Another year...... and really, it's been an insane year. Thirty was a hard year in many ways, but in other ways it was very good, and I like to think that in the long run it's made me a better, stronger person.

This cake was made by Theresa of Sweet T's Bakery. I don't think she has a storefront, but she bakes delicoius brownies that are sold at TJ Scallywaggles in Allston. I'll be sampling this cake later, and if it's good, I'll be raving about it here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

First Place!!!!

I just checked the results of the Hale Reservation Duathlon that I did yesterday.... I came in FIRST PLACE for my age group, 30-34 women!

I think that's pretty cool. But, there were only 4 women in my age category. Further, I think that my placing may have been a function much of me just getting less lost on the bike course than the others did. Also, watching people in transition, I got the feeling that most of these folks weren't too experienced with triathlons.

Nonetheless, this is an awesome way to end the triathlon season! First place -- whoo hoo!

Blood and Guts -- A Student Speaks

I posted about the "Blood and Guts" course for gifted Virginia high school students. One of those students found my blog and this is his/her comment:

Are you kidding me? I am a former student of this program AND THIS CLASS and it was the most insightful class of my life. How DARE you comment on our integrity? Half the people in that class will one day be YOUR physician and I hope they give you more respect than you give them. You whine and complain about how disrespectful we are when you're being disrespectful to us. Oh, and I am a vegetarian, so don't feel that you can use that against me. Shame on you and shame on PCRM for destroying some chance for high schoolers to learn about future opportunities.

No disrespect is intended toward you as a student. My complaint is with the adults who designed the course because cutting up animals doesn't teach you about being in medicine.

I am a physician. Once upon a time, I did dissect a cat. Did that help to make me a better doctor? No.

But there are many experiences that I had along the way that did inspire me to go into medicine and shaped my career path. Working as a hospital volunteer with adults recovering from strokes and accidents. Shadowing a cardiologist, listening to heart murmurs, and watching heart catheterizations. Talking to medical residents and students. Dissecting real human bodies.

Bottom line: if the Blood and Guts course is what you consider a great opportunity to learn about careers in medicine, you're missing out on so much more.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Kids-2-Camp Tri

My last triathlon of the season was interesting to say the least. This was a trail and mountain bke race. The swim got cancelled due to poor water quality, so at the last minute it was converted to a duathlon, with an initial run of 1.9 miles, bike 6 miles, and run 2.5 (though I think this leg was far shorter than 2.5).

The trail ride was extremely rocky, and negotiating it with my piece of garbage Toys R Us mountain bike was a scary proposition. I nearly wiped out a few times and walked my bike several times. On top of this, about ten of us took a wrong turn on the poorly marked trail.

But, tri season is over. I'm so glad -- now I can run all I want and focus on the half marathon in October.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pushing tri season one more week

Sunday's Boston Triathlon was cancelled. I thought about ending the triathlon training there and moving on to my next goal, a half marathon in October. But, I couldn't do it. I couldn't end the season with a cancelled triathlon.

So I decided to push through one more week of tri training and do a triathlon this weekend coming up. That way, I can't consider two weeks of training wasted.

Problem is, I'm really tired of triathlon training. Nothing makes me feel better than coming back from an hourlong run on the Charles River. On the flip side, I can't get myself to swim or bike. I'm tired of both of those.

Part of me regrets signing up for a tri this weekend, when I could be done with all of this. But I think in the long run, I'll feel better accomplished. And then, next week, I can run all I want.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sweet n Sour Stir Fry


Eggplant, mushrooms, onions, and seitan strips stir fried in a little bit of sweet and sour sauce. I don't use much sauce because it is very sweet. I ate this with whole wheat pasta swirls. Leftovers as usual are lunch for tomorrow.

English Muffin Mini-Pizzas


Easy enough. This was lunch today. Trader Joes pizza sauce and various veggies or pepperoni. On Sunday, I made one with Follow Your Heart "cheese" and veg pepperoni too.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Total Bummer!

The Boston Triathlon was cancelled because of the high winds and rain that we are supposed to experience tomorrow. This was going to be my last tri of the season. I was all ready to go and rearranged my call schedule so that I wasn't on call.

I suppose I could do *another* tri as my last of the season. But at this point, I just want to get ready for the half marathon in the middle of October.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I'm in shape!

Ok, maybe I knew that already. I'm a research subject for a study on fitness level and blood markers. So far, I had some blood work and a VO2Max test. The results are good:

My total cholesterol is 138, down from about 190 about 2 years ago, before I was a vegan. Unfortunately they didn't measure my HDL cholesterol directly, but assuming it is between 55 and 75, where it's been measured in the past, my LDL is between 40 and 55.

VO2 Max is a measure of the volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity. Mine is 44. For a 30 year-old woman, that ranks as "superior".

Just had to toot my horn :) The Boston Triathlon is on Sunday. Cold weather and swimming in the Boston Harbor.... should be interesting. This will be my last triathlon of the season, and then I get to focus more on running.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lasagna


Veggie lasagna with Follow Your Heart Cheese. I used Trader Joe's marinara, spinach, sliced mushrooms, and Boca ground burger.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I did not make this stuff

,

Takeout from Happy Buddha rocks. This is the sweet and sour chicken (of course it isn't real chicken, silly) and an order of spring rolls. The spring rolls below are nice because they aren't fried, and they come with a delicious peanut dipping sauce. All this food was $12.60, and it's enough for two meals.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I am having way too much fun with this



Have some fun of your own: http://www.ronaldmchummer.com/index.php

Back in the day, I did work fast food at Hardees of Farmington Hills, Michigan. At seventeen, I was the queen of the drive thru. One customer requested extra salt for his fries. I threw a few salt packets in his bag. He looked inside, unsatisfied with the amount of salt and demanded more. I grabbed a generous handful of salt packets, dropped them in his bag, and said, "Your arteries will thank you, sir. Have a nice day."

From that point, maybe I should have known I was going to end up a cardiologist.

Another classic moment was a day when me and two other college-bound vegetarians were working the front line. A customer walked in and asked us what we recommended off the menu. We looked at each other and laughed. "Ummm... we're all vegetarians...."

Enchiladas

This is an old favorite from my lacto-ovo days, but of course this time around made vegan. I filled whole wheat tortillas with refried black beans (though truthfully I like pinto beans better) and chopped up sweet peppers. The enchiladas were topped with Old El Paso enchilada sauce and shredded Follow Your Heart mozzarella (which honestly is the only remotely acceptable vegan "cheese"; you can buy it at Whole Foods). I cooked this at 450 on the top shelf of the oven so that the "cheese" could melt.

Later in the week, I'll veganize another old lacto-ovo favorite: Lasagna.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Burning Out.... and Finding New Goals

I've been fighting the feelings of burnout over the past few weeks with my triathlon training. I've grown tired of finding somewhere to ride my bike -- you can read of my frustrations here or here. My back tire wouldn't hold air and I did this subconscious passive-aggressive thing of not getting it fixed for two weeks. And, even though swimming is my best of the three triathlon sports, that's getting old too.

Running is my favorite sport. Of the three tri sports, running gives the biggest endorphin high. When you're running, people look at you and think, "I should be doing that!"

My last triathlon will be the Boston Triathlon, which is 9 days from now. After that, my goal is to run a half marathon in Lowell in mid-October. I'm excited to get back to running, as I haven't done a half marathon or marathon in almost 5 years.

My ultimate goal is to run the Boston Marathon this spring. I would not be able to live with myself if in my year in Boston I did not participate in the marathon. There is no way I could qualify at my current ability level, but I can run with a charity. (I wonder if the cath lab considers Patriots' Day a holiday....? hmmm....) More on this in the future. But, a fall half marathon is a good warm-up for winter marathon training.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Faceplant!

I'm not the most coordinated individual. At the end of a run this morning, I'm jogging along the sidewalk in Beacon Hill, when I trip, fly in the air, and *splat* land flat on the ground. My knees are banged up, my left arm and elbow are a mess of road rash, and my palms are scraped. But the most bruised part of me is my ego.

With everyone staring at me, I got up quickly, smiled and laughed nervously, and kept on going.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Race Karma


That's me -- right after finishing the Wild Dog Triathlon this weekend. No makeup, sweating like a pig... yup that's me! 13th out of 21 in my age group. I'll take it!

I believe in Race Karma, if that's what you call it. Races are supposed to be fun. We're all out there to do our best. So, I like to cheer for people. Usually, it's best done on the run, and works quite well on an out-and-back course. I yell for people on their way out, or for people I pass. "Way to go girl, you look great!" The crappier they look, the more I cheer for them, because they definitely need the motivation. My favorite people to root for are older folks, like the 76 year-old woman who finished the triathlon. Now *that* is awesome!

There's no point in racing if you can't have fun, right????

Monday, August 21, 2006

Breastfeeding is Definitely Vegan!

Breast milk is produced for the purposes of feeding babies. It's the healthiest thing to feed a baby, as opposed to formula.

The purpose of veganism is to reduce suffering of animals, live a healthier lifestyle, and to help preserve the environment. Breastfeeding does not negatively impact any of these things.

On the other hand, humans are the only species that consumes the milk of a species other than our own. What if your dog drank giraffe milk? Wouldn't that be weird? Same goes for humans consuming cow's milk.

Chole with a Twist


I've made this before, but never with kidney beans. It came out well.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wild Dog Triathlon -- Race Report

This morning, I did the Wild Dog Triathlon, a sprint triathlon. My friend's girlfriend took pictures, but hasn't sent them yet, but when she does I'll share.

We barely made it in time to compete. My dear friend picked me up 25 minutes late, and then took a very wrong turn on the highway. Start time was 8 am; we arrived at 7:59. I was beyond livid at him. As we pulled up, I sprinted out of the car, over to the registration table, and was able to get our race packets just seconds before they were to be put away for good. As things were fortunately running a bit late, I had time to throw together my transition area and put on my wet suit.

For the swim, I decided to start toward the front, which proved interesting since the ocean water was quite choppy. I did the breaststroke for at least half of the way out. It was crowded enough that there were people behind me who I kept kicking; I felt bad, but really, they should have moved if I kept kicking them. Does that sound harsh? Then out of the water, onto the bike for a pretty flat course where my legs felt so heavy. And finally, a 3 mile run, where crazy me cheers for everyone behind me on my run back.

So in my age group, I was 8th place on the swim, 14th on the bike, 11th on my run. How many people in my age group? I don't know yet. But, I did get a nice finisher's medal.

After all, we are all winners, right? :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Silly questions deserve silly answers

I'm out to dinner with a friend. She orders a calamari appetizer. I am sipping on a glass of wine.

The server brings out the calamari. My friend says "I'd share with you but you can't eat this."

Server says, "Oh why can't you have any?"

Me: "I'm a vegan."

Server: Points to my wine. "But you killed all these grapes."

This is not the time to discuss the difference between sentient beings and fruits and vegetables, let alone the suffering of animals that factory farms cause or the health consequences of animal products. Our server could care less. So here's my response:

Me: "Can I tell you a secret?"

Server: "Sure...."

Me: "I hate fruit. I like to kill and stab fruit to death and then eat it. I hate vegetables too."

I got a few laughs after throwing him off with that response. Thoughts? How do any of you handle similar idiocy?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stuffed Pepper


I made a green pepper stuffed with quinoa and portobellos. The quinoa was prepared in advance in my rice cooker, with vegetable broth instead of water. Then, I sauteed some baby bellas in a little oil, and added the quinoa toward the end of cooking. The peppers were stuffed with the quinoa/mushroom mixture and baked for about 30 minutes.

On the side is mashed sweet potatoes with a little Earth Balance Buttery Spread.