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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Not Much Cooking Goin' On


My house is going up on the market tomorrow. So, after working so hard to clean off my beautiful ceramic cooktop stove, I don't want to mess it up.

Tonight's dinner was a Bravissimo frozen pizza with veggies and Amy's split pea soup. Dessert was a Natural Choice frozen fruit bar, a few strawberries, and a few too many Newman-O's.

This picture shows my leftovers, which will be lunch tomorrow.

In the midst of not cooking so much, I am looking forward to trying out a local pizza place that just added a vegan menu! It's not terribly healthy stuff, including fries, vegan mac salad with vegenaise, and vegan mozzarella, but if it's vegan and in town I want to help keep them in business.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Portobello Stir Fry


My stir fry this evening has portobello mushrooms, broccoli, yellow pepper, and onion with some sesame sauce. Note the absence of tofu or "fake meat" product. I have already OD'ed on soy today -- soy milk with my cereal, tofu in my lunch, edamame (soy beans in pods) as a frequent nosh.

Also, I've realized that my diet is full of sodium. I advise my patients to avoid salt, usually because they have high blood pressure. While it's not endangering my health to eat too much salt, as my blood pressure is normal and I do not have heart disease, I notice that my weight fluctuates quite a bit and I've been getting very bloated. This stir fry is fairly low in sodium too, with probably 250 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yellow Lentil Dal


First off, I've found my mojo, thanks to all of you who may have been concerned. Today was a much better day in the lab, for the most part. My needle found arteries when it was supposed to find arteries and veins when it was supposed to find veins.

For dinner, I made yellow lentil dal, my own take on an Indian dish. I soaked some yellow lentils overnight. In my frying pan I poured a little Canola oil (like a tablespoon or so) and added mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, and garlic. When the mustard seeds were popping, I added the drained lentils with some cold water and 2 chopped roma tomatoes, simmered for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I've Lost My Mojo

Some days you're on fire. Some days you're not.

Today in the cath lab, I prepared to do a right heart catheterization, in other words go through a vein in the neck with a catheter to take pressure measurements of the right side of the heart and the lungs. The patient's veins were tiny because he was so dehydrated, and I tried and tried and tried.... and then stuck my needle into his carotid artery!!!!

Then, I was so frustrated, that when I tried to get the vein in his leg, I missed. My attending, impatient with my handiwork, took the needle and in two seconds had his needle in the femoral vein.

Fortunately, there were no immediate complications of me sticking this patient's carotid artery. But, I'm still disappointed in myself.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Low(er) Fat Spinach Dip


I've made a spinach dip that goes over really well with non-vegetarians at parties, who doubt that something so yummy could really be vegan. However, it's loaded with fat, so I don't make it at home for myself... until now.

This evening I was playing around in my kitchen, and I have a revised recipe for a more healthy, less fattening spinach dip:

One pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
One can of chopped water chestnuts
Two tablespoons Vegenaise (vegan mayonaise)
Two tablespoons Tofutti Better-Than-Sour Cream (vegan sour cream)
One and a half teaspoons of soup mix (I use Croyden House kosher imitation chicken soup powder)

Mix it all up in a bowl, put it in the fridge for a couple hours, and serve. The big difference is that the original recipe calls for a half of a cup each of Vegenaise and Tofutti sour cream.

Hummus Pizza


I was inspired by a recipe from Dreena's website. This is a piece of pita bread topped with a layer of hummus, chopped roma tomatoes, and spinach, toasted in the oven for 10 minutes.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Farting Vegans?

I found a great answer to the question of flatulence and vegan diets from VegWeb. It's far better than anything I can come up with.

I'll add to that, though, if you have a dietary allergy to something that you consume in large quantities, such as soy, it can cause gas. I have a bit of an allergy to soy, and if I eat too much of it, or if I have a lot of chocolate (this I don't understand, but it happens) then the gas is flying out of me in a big and potentially embarrassing way. I'm allergic to dairy too, and it used to do this to me even more so, but that is completely eliminated from my diet since becoming vegan.

So, figure out what in your diet is making you gassy, cut back on it, or eat your culprit food and try to avoid society for a few hours.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Eggplant and Tomato Sub


I made this Indian-style, because I loooove Indian food!

Poured a little canola oil in a frying pan with some mustard seeds. Once the seeds were popping, I added eggplant, onion, and some mushrooms. Then I topped with some spices -- turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper, and salt. Finally I added a chopped tomato.

I poured the mixture into the sub roll and heated in the oven for 10 minutes at 425 degrees.

I need to post more.... coming soon will be a response to "Anonymous" aka Fart Man. Just kidding buddy :) we'll talk.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Speaking about Veganism and Heart Disease

Last night, I gave a talk to our local Ornish group, Heartbeats For Life. They're a bunch of folks who have heart disease or an interest in heart disease and prevention through following Dean Ornish's Lifestyle Program, which includes a lowfat vegetarian diet.

My topic was the importance of diet and exercise in women's heart health. I spoke to about 45 people, and as this was my first speaking engagement of this type, I was quite nervous. However, I got a lot of great questions and comments from the audience, and I've even been asked to give the same talk to a different group, which is a terrific complement.

A lot of my talk was devoted to explaining the benefits and misconceptions of a vegetarian/vegan diet. I talked about the deceptions of the dairy industry, which I think surprised people. My take-home message for the audience was, as I've said on this blog, that heart disease isn't all pre-determined, that WE have the power to change our destiny through diet and exercise.

I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Scrambled Tofu


My vegan take on pancakes and eggs absolutely hit the spot!

Did you know that Bisquick is vegan? I followed the directions on a box of low-fat Bisquick, substituting Ener-G Egg Replacer for the egg, soy milk for the milk, and adding a whole bunch of chocolate chips. The scrambled tofu is mashed firm tofu with some frozen spinach, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Caravan of Dreams


I had the pleasure of being in New York City during its biggest snowfall ever!! The benefit of this was that my friend and I didn't have to wait to be seated for brunch at Caravan of Dreams in the East Village.

The restaurant is vegan, organic, kosher, and much of the menu is raw food. The music was great, kind of a middle eastern beat, and also a guy playing piano live. There were so many great choices. We each had the Country Breakfast Platter with spelt-berry pancakes and fried tempeh, along with sangria, coffee or tea and a salad, all for $14. What a filling and delicious brunch!

I swear, I'm like a wide-eyed kid in a candy store whenever I go to a vegan restaurant, because near where I live we have three vegetarian restaurants, but no vegan restaurants. I love having choices on the menu, though I must admit that it feels a bit overwhelming because I'm not accustomed to being able to choose from multiple options.

And I don't have to bombard them with the usual vegan littany of questions that I always begin with, "I'm sorry, I'm going to be difficult. I'm a vegan. That means I don't eat dairy, egg, meat or fish, or anything that comes from an animal.... ok so what kind of broth does the soup have? And what is that fried in? Is there cheese in that? Can you make it without the sour cream? No, I don't want cheese on top. No really, no butter either..."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Baked Ziti


I had a craving for pasta. I prepared some whole-wheat spirals. While they were boiling, I put a block of firm silken tofu in a blender with lemon juice, basil, garlic, salt, and a little frozen spinach. After the pasta was done, I poured it in this little casserole dish and added the tofu blender mix and some Prego Traditional, stirred, and put in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Seitan Stir-Fry


After my unsuccessful attempt at tempeh, tonight I decided to stick with what I know -- seitan, broccoli, mushrooms, and red peppers in garlic sauce. Delicious as always with leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Clif Builders


I didn't cook anything today, as I had some frozen Ling dumplings for lunch and went out to dinner with the ladies for Italian food, where I got some mediocre greens and beans dish.

Recently, I tried Clif Builders. I'm on a rotation where I'm at the hospital in the afternoon and often into the early evening, so I don't have the chance to go home and have dinner before going to the gym. A Clif Builder about 2 hours before a trip to the gym gives me all the energy I need for a 40-minute run and an hourlong weight training session. They taste like a candy bar, but they have 275 calories and 20 grams of protein. And, of course, they're vegan. What more can you ask for?

Maybe I'll cook something tomorrow...

Monday, February 06, 2006

My First Attempt at Cooking with Tempeh


This didn't come out so good.

I added the tempeh last. It tasted bland, like it didn't absorb the stir-fry sauce that I added, and it was awfully chewy.

Next time I cook with tempeh, I'll try smaller pieces and add it earlier.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Salad with Tahini Dressing


I have some organic greens, apple slices, avocado, sunflower seeds, and tahini dressing. This salad accompanied leftover whole wheat pasta. I had fruit and a few Fig Newmans for dessert. Fig Newmans are addictive.

Does anyone know of a good tahini salad dressing, either a recipe or a commercially prepared dressing? I had an amazing tahini dressing at a Govinda's in Denver, and one of the Hare Krishnas was kind enough to write down a recipe off the top of his head, but it just didn't come out right.

Friday, February 03, 2006

What I cannot do

Lonna and Melissa's comments definitely hit home for me.

I've saved the lives of heart attack victims. I've diagnosed and treated patients and improved their lives through modern medical technology. I've convinced patients to change their lifestyles, to give up meat, to quit smoking, to drink less, to take their medicines, to exercise, and so on.

But, what I cannot do is get my 51 year-old father to go to a doctor. He prides himself that he hasn't had a full physical exam since 1974, the year he and my mother married, the year before I was born. He's been to a doctor a handful of times, but only for things like ear infections or a required "work physical".

He's overweight, out of shape, and who knows what his blood pressure and cholesterol are. I've tried insisting. I've tried begging. But that gets me nowhere. I love him, but he's the most stubborn person I know.

Honestly, there's only so much we can do. When I'm talking to a patient, I'm "the doctor". When I'm talking to Dad, I'm his little girl, and my advice simply doesn't hold weight.

So all I can do is be patient. One day, something will happen that will bring him to a doctor. I just hope it won't be too late.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Problem with Heart Disease...

...is that we're so good at treating it. People feel so well after their heart attack or stent that they go back to their old bad habits.

I went to visit my patient who is recovering from bypass surgery. He has an inherited lipid disorder, so his cholesterol and triglycerides are much higher than normal people. On top of that, he smokes a pack and a half of cigarettes each day.

At age 35, he had a heart attack. We put a stent in, and he felt better. We told him to quit smoking. He didn't. At 38, he came back with more chest pain. His first stent was clogged and he had a new narrowing of a different coronary artery. So we put a new stent in and opened up the old stent. He continued to smoke. Now at age 40, he had more pain, and last Friday he had bypass surgery.

I told him that now he has to quit smoking. Absolutely has to quit. If he doesn't quit, his bypasses will become blocked or he'll die. NOW he's more motivated and has found some help from nicotine patches.

Remember this: We may inherit bad things that put us at higher risk of heart disease. However, we control our own destiny. Through exercise, not smoking, and eating well, including a well-balanced vegan diet, we can stay healthy for a long time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Whole Wheat Pasta with Yellow Squash and Spinach


The yellow squash was sauteed with some sea salt and pepper in olive oil for about 5 minutes. I added some frozen spinach, and then some traditional Prego.

After my 2500 meter swim, this meal hit the spot.