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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

From My Empty Fridge

I am back from Cancun! It was a great time with lots of relaxation by the pool and ocean. The training was taken down a few notches too -- I did pool aerobics and beach volleyball, and only a little bit of running and spinning on the stationary bike.

Food in Cancun was no problem, but that's because we were staying at Club Med, which is all-inclusive, and is kind enough to list the ingredients of all their foods. There was tofu at every lunch and pasta and salads at every meal. I had some yummy refried beans, lentils, and sesame tofu.
This is tonight's dinner. My fridge is empty since I haven't had time to grocery shop since my return and I'm absolutely exhausted!!! So, I scrambled some tofu with frozen peas and broccoli, with a generous pinch of spices, including paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, and Bac'uns (that's fake/vegan bacon bits). On the side is a sweet potato with a little Earth Balance margarine.

And finally, here is an impulse purchase: Skittles at the duty-free store in the Cancun airport. Skittles in the USA have gelatin while Skittles purchased elsewhere have hydrogenated vegetable fat. I'm not going to pretend they're healthy, but they do not contain animal collagen or bones.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Vegan in Cancun

Since going vegan, I haven't traveled much. I was in Israel a year ago, where following a vegan diet was surprisingly easy. However, Mexico will likely be more challenging.

Soy vehetariana = I am a vegetarian.
Sin carne = Without meat. But, to most doesn't exclude lard, chicken, pork, meat broth, etc.
Es sin carne, pollo y pescado? = Is it without meat, chicken, and fish?
Es sin caldo de pollo o manteca de puerco? = Is it without chicken broth or pork lard?

I'm a little nervous about this aspect of the trip... I'll let you all know how it goes!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Physician Blogger

I walk a fine line as a physician with a blog.

I can tell you in general my thoughts about medicine. However, I can't tell you about my patients or coworkers. In this blog, I need to present myself well as a physician for any patient, coworker, or associate who may read it.

While my identity and photo aren't blazed all over this blog (I'm not about self-promotion, and heck, the picture is of the back of my head! But if you care, my picture is in a few places here), it's easy enough to figure out who I am. Even those physicians who have kept themselves anonymous have been discovered via tracing their IP addresses. Fat Doctor had a great blog, and now it's gone after an office member disclosed her identity. A physician friend with a blog was forced to change her blog settings to private because she was being harrassed. In a worst case scenario type of situation, Flea, a pediatrician, got himself into trouble detailing his experiences in going through a malpractice suit.

In the year and a half that this blog has been up, I've made many changes. I've gone back and deleted and changed posts that may not have represented me as the confident and caring physician that I want to be seen as. I've even changed the name of the blog to project a more professional image of myself.

I've thought about deleting the blog completely, for fear of professional repercussions. But, I enjoy having this creative medium. Further, as a physician, a vegan, and competitive athlete (I use that phrase quite loosely), I feel that I bring a unique perspective to the blogosphere.

Dr. Wes has some interesting thoughts on physician bloggers. Someone has even come up with a Medical Blogger Code of Conduct.

I think I can reach a happy medium, and hope to continue blogging as I continue on into practice.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I'm a mess

There are two voices in my head. One tells me to push myself. The Other One says to relax, not overexert myself.

At 5:30 am, when the alarm goes off on Monday morning, one voice reminds me to get to the gym by 6:30 for master swim. The Other voice suggests sleeping in a couple hours.

On Tuesday at 6:30 am, one voice pushed me out the door for a speed running workout. Six repeats of 400 meters on the esplanade. The Other voice reminded me of all the pain I had in my hip on Sunday evening after my attempted six-mile long run, which was cut to four miles because of the pain, and then the hours of icing, stretching, and rolling after that. Shut up, you big wuss, I said to the Other voice. And out the door I went.

One 400-meter sprint made my hip sore. And my back was sore too, which I had strained while riding 21 miles outside on the evening before. The Other voice said cut it out, jog home. I pushed on. After the second 400-meter sprint, I was in awful pain. Back and hip pain. I stretched by a tree. Not much relief. I jogged home, in pain. I iced my hip for a little while. Then got up -- OWWWW! Everything hurt more.

Luckily, later this week, the hip is better. I've been able to run a couple times since then, with much less discomfort.

I got a massage at my gym this evening too. He basically told me I'm a mess -- my IT band is sore, my lower back hurts, and I pulled something in my neck when kickboxing on Sunday. Oh yeah, and then there's the plantar fasciitis that just chronically waxes and wanes. After 50 minutes, things felt better, but he implied that there is much work to be done.

Moderation is something I need to do better when it comes to training.

Monday, May 14, 2007

First Outdoor Bike of the Season

I barely made it in time to meet the WOW (Women on Wheels) group at Landry's Bicycles. In fact, as I sat in traffic in Kenmore Square, I ended up putting on my bike shorts inside out -- guess it serves me right for trying to get dressed in the car!

In spite of these little snafus, it was a great ride. We rode for 21 miles through Brookline and Newton. It wasn't a very fast pace -- I would have gone faster on my own -- but the camraderie was nice.

I was a little nervous about this ride. I haven't been on my bike since last September, and instead have been doing spinning classes at my gym two times a week. It seems to have paid off -- I feel much stronger riding up hills.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Steak" and "Chicken" Strips

This is my dinner from last night -- a steak strip and broccoli stir-fry in Soy Vay sauce.

Morningstar Farms makes "steak" and "chik'n" strips that are absolutely delicious! Of course they're not real meat, but they are made from textured soy protein and have a "meaty" texture. Nutritionally, they're quite good -- A serving of twelve strips has 140 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, no trans fats, and 23 grams of protein.

If you're looking to consume less meat, or eliminate meat from your diet, Morningstar Farms steak and chik'n strips are perfect substitutes for where you would typically use meat in a meal.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dairy Council Ends Misleading Ads

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the advertising campaign associating dairy with weight loss will be stopped because research does not support the claim.

Here is the New York Times article on this new development.

I am very pleased to see science win over false advertising.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Vegan Parents Starve Child

This story caught my eye on CNN -- because of a vegan diet, a six-week old infant starved to death.

There's more to it. The Atlanta Journal Constitution's article describes how the six week-old infant was fed apple juice and soy milk, with limited (if any) breast milk or formula.

Soy milk containers clearly state that they are not a substitute for infant formula. The apple juice acted as a diuretic, which futher dehydrated the baby. The child was born in an apartment bathtub and had never received medical care because the parents were fearful of hospital germs.

At the trial, a vegan diet expert even testified that a vegan diet can be healthy at any age.

A vegan diet didn't kill this child. These were parents who used bad judgement.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake

This is not a foodie blog. But sometimes I cook. Less often than I used to. And I rarely bake. I have three desserts that I do well: chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake, and fudge brownies. This is the carrot cake, out of Dr. Pete's Eating For A Healthy Heart by Dr. Pierre "Pete" Aoukar, which I baked for the occasion of one of our nurses who is leaving our cath lab.






Pete is a cardiology fellow in Seattle and is also a vegan. He wrote this book when he was in medical school. Not only does it have great recipes, but it also has great advice on how to stay heart-healthy. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to get healthy and wants some healthier cooking and baking ideas.
It's a little healthier than a standard carrot cake might be. It is made from real carrots, flour, and sugar. The frosting is a mixture of Tofutti better than cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Nutritional information: 1 slice (1/16 of cake), 375 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g protein.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Training with the Group

I'm part of a triathlon club. It's mostly women, and I'd say I'm the least experienced and least athletic of the group. And I'm no slacker.

This morning at master swim, we were doing sets of 4 x 25 meters on 30 seconds. By the end of each of those sets, I was seriously sucking wind, and everyone else looked happy and content. That's ok, though, they're all faster swimmers than I am. If I'm pushing to finish 25 meters in 23 seconds, then 7 seconds just isn't enough rest. By the last time we did this, I lengthened the time to 35 seconds, so I'd have a little over ten seconds rest. Still tiring, but at least no one would have to pull my body out of the pool.

I wonder, as the least talented amongst this group of triathletes, should I feel like a loser? I don't. I train with them, and even if I'm not as fast, I know I'm getting stronger. Being around talented people really motivates me, and I'm going to use that motivation to do as well as I can in my first triathlon on June 9.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Running in May

May is my favorite month for running. Here in the northeast, it's the month when we finally get some nice weather after a blustery winter. The trees are in bloom, the weather is mild, not too hot, not too cold, perfect for running.

Today was my first speed workout in over four months -- now that I can consistently do three running workouts in a week, each at a distance of 3 to 5 miles, I decided it was time to try to get in some speed. I ran four two-minute pickups, or running at a faster than comfortable pace for two minutes, with two minutes of rest between each. Two of us ran together, and the girl I was with was a little faster than me, which pushed me a bit.