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.