18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Could this be any easier?

Whole Foods has the veggies packaged, washed, and pre-cut -- squash, snow peas, cabbage, peppers, and so forth. They're $4.99/pound. All I had to do was throw them in my wok with a little garlic sesame sauce and a few meatballs (why not?) and almost instant dinner!

And then off to Fenway for my first Red Sox experience. They beat the Mets 10-2. These fans sure are devoted.

I Now Understand the Garbage Plate

This is a Vegan Trash Plate from Two Paisans. It's based on the Garbage Plate, a creation of restaurant Nick Tahou's. This has french fries, macaroni salad (made with Vegenaise), and crumbled veggie burger, all topped with hot sauce, ketchup, onions, and mustard. I used to roll my eyes at this creation and the following that it has in Rochester, but now I understand -- it is quite yummy! This version is a bit healthier, though it would be a stretch to call it "heart healthy".

And, for the nice people who helped me load my moving truck (Dad, Mom, Rick, Karlyn, Mark, Mike, Rosie, and Ben -- you guys rock; and Kevin who extended his work trip to help me, I couldn't imagine carrying a couch up three flights of stairs with anyone else), I ordered pizza, also from Two Paisans. This is topped with spinach, broccoli, roasted red peppers, and vegan cheese.

For those of you in Rochester, please patronize the vegan menu at Two Paisans. It's nice to have so many vegan options at a place like this.

Hazards of Biking in the City

In Rochester, I'd roll my bike out the driveway, ride through about two miles of light traffic subdivisions, and then I'd be in farmland on nice roads with minimal traffic to bike on.

Not here.

It took me over ten minutes of stop and go and riding on the wrong way of a one-way street to get to the path along the Charles River. And, as this was a 40-minute ride, I practically had to turn right back around.

I think I'm going to need to ride earlier in the day, say 6 am, when there's less road traffic to contend with.

Huge thanks to Jody from Vegchic for the link on biking in Boston.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Learning My Way Around Town

I've always found that the best way to learn my way around a new town is to run it or bike it. So, I'm incorporating my running and biking into figuring out this wacky town.

The runs are like this: I run where I feel like running. If I see other runners, I run in their direction. If traffic is clear in another direction, that's the way I run. And there are a lot of runners in this town, very good runners, who leave an amateur like me in the dust.

Biking has had its hazards so far. I took my bike out this morning early, like 7:45 am, but unfortunately the traffic was already out. Then I headed out to the Charles River, where lots of people were out. Too many people. Then as I hit the end of the path in Cambridge, I had no choice but to cross the river, and then got lost in CONSTRUCTION!!!!! I need to find some better bike routes in Boston.

As for swimming, I joined the YMCA across the street. On days when I'm in a happy mood, I love to swim. When I'm not, like today when I was full of nerves, it wasn't a good swim. In a pool, I'm a prisoner of my thoughts. There's no music and no change in scenery.

Okay.... tomorrow I'll have my computer hooked up to the internet, and I'll post some actual vegan food!!! Today I made a tahini dip with maple syrup and ground flax seeds. Sounds funky but tasted really good. More on that tomorrow.

Monday, June 26, 2006

In Beantown.... Finally!!

I am officially Chinatown's newest resident :)
Once I'm a bit more unpacked, I'll start posting pictures and cooking stuff.
Now if only I could figure out where to ride my road bike....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Go Read This

Geoff Brown, Attorney Extraordinaire, shares his bizarre take on preventive medicine.

Training and Chaos... and more soon, I swear!

Mary put together 8 or so hours of training for the week. It's not working out so well, with all this packing.

Tomorrow I plan to swim and then do my bike workout by riding my bike to pick up my 15 foot moving truck. And then have all the energy I need to load up my stuff.

Crazy? I'm not sure. I'm going to try.

Next post will be from my new hometown -- Boston!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Confessions of a Former Cheerleader

Lisa asked me, over e-mail, not wanting to "out" me as a former cheerleader:

Just wondering, now that you're into athletic competition, how you feel about those years when gym class was a nightmare. I'm referring, of course, to the choice of cheerleading as your sport. :-) Do you ever think back and wish you'd done things differently?

First off, I'm not embarrassed by my former life as a nerdy, somewhat uncoordinated, high school cheerleader. Cheerleading was fun, gave me much needed confidence, helped me become more coordinated, and though you may not believe it, the halftime dance routines and cheers required quite a bit of endurance.

As for the triathlon sports, I'm content to have fallen on them as an adult. I did some running as an 8 to 10 year-old, but even though I'd place second, third, or fourth in races regularly, I never did come in first. And, with all the pressure from others around me at the time, I never could really be proud of myself, even though I was a good runner. Then when I broke my leg at age 11, I found a convenient excuse to stop running.

So, I'm perfectly content to have fallen on running, biking, swimming, and triathlons as an adult. I'm not training or competing for anyone but myself. I'm content to say that I can swim half a mile in open water, then bike 13 miles and run 3 miles. I'm thrilled that I have actual muscles. That I can drop and do 15 "male" pushups. That I have all the energy I need to get me through my day. That I can fit into the same clothes I wore in college. That when I went through some of the most challenging moments of my life over the past six months, I had an outlet to channel my various emotions into. And, that I can compete in a local triathlon amongst talented athletes and actually do okay compared to them.

I'm proud of all those things that I've accomplished and wouldn't change a thing about the path that I took to get here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Yellow Lentil Dal

There isn't much left in my kitchen. This recipe used canola oil, mustard seeds, an onion, mung beans soaked overnight, half a can of stewed tomatoes, and the usual variety of spices that I like to use for my versions of Indian food -- turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili powder, paprika, ground pepper, and sea salt.

Accompanying the dal was a slice of whole grain bread covered in Earth Balance.

Training on a Hot Day

It was 95 degrees today.

In order to get started with the training for the week, I swam for 45 minutes this morning in the pool. That actually felt good. Then, in the afternoon, I rode my bike for about an hour, at a leisurely 13 miles/hr pace, along the path of the Genessee River, and then on the Erie Canal out to the west side of town. My ice water at the beginning of the ride was lukewarm at the end.

I'm tired out.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Training Anxiety

I just looked at what Mary, my coach, has come up with for me this week.

Oh no!!!!

This week is chaos. I'm packing up the house and the big moving day is Saturday, with a six hour drive to Boston. And then unloading. And somehow that day I'm supposed to do a "brick"-- 40 minute bike followed by a 40 minute run????

Yeah, not going to happen.

With weeks like this, I need to do some creative planning. I may start the week of workouts a day early, tomorrow. That should help decompress the week. And then I'll juggle around the workouts to get as many in as possible.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Best Veg in Rochester

As I leave for Boston in one week, here are the seven best veg-friendly places in Rochester. If you are a Rochester native, or have ever driven through Rochester, let me know what you think:

Organic Alley -- Great organic food and many vegan options. Try the Zen Delight. Mmmmm.
The King and I and Pattaya Thai -- Thai food in Henrietta and Penfield respectively. Each has a full page vegetarian (and I believe also all vegan) menu.
Thali of India -- I will definitely miss Friday nights at Thali with my friends Alison and Adam, our favorite waiter Bruno, and guitar by Ryan and Jack. Many items on their long list of vegetarian menu items are vegan, and others can be made vegan. I recommend the Channa Palak made vegan.
Two Paisans -- A pizza and wing place with a full vegan menu. Try a pizza with seitan on it -- it's quite good. I have yet to try their vegan trash plate, but it is on my "to do" list before I leave this town.
Mex -- On trendy Alexander Street, Mex is nouveau Mexican cuisine. The Adobo Tofu is very good, and they have fajitas that can be made of tofu, seitan, or vegetables.
Aladdin's -- Middle Eastern food, with many healthier options. I love their vegetarian chili. They also have a veggie combo plate for which you can choose several different sides to make for a filling dinner.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sometimes Patients Pleasantly Surprise You

I've got this patient -- 43 year-old guy, overweight, but lifts weights at my gym sporadically. Unfortunately he doesn't do any cardiovascular exercise.

Initially I saw him because he came into the emergency room with atypical chest pain that was probably acid reflux. The pain went away when he belched. Someone nonetheless decided to do a stress test on him, which showed an abnormality.

So he guy sees me in the office. I tell him he probably has some coronary artery disease, but that this pain isn't this heart. He needs to lose weight and exercise by doing some cardio, not just lifting weights.

He tries to lose weight, without much success. He doesn't do the cardio because it tires him out -- guess what, if you're not exercising, yes it's going to be tiring. And, the pain continues.

Finally, to set the issue to rest, I send him for a heart catheterization. I expected some minor abnormalities in his coronary arteries. Instead, his arteries look perfectly clean. The stress test was wrong, and his pain is definitely not his heart.

I see him at the gym still. The pain is much better -- I really think it's acid reflux. And, I saw him on a stairmaster for at least 30 minutes!!!!!! I walked up to him (it's always a little weird running into patients when I'm sweating at the gym myself), gave him a thumbs up and told him to keep up the good work.

Small things make me happy. I hope he keeps it up.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Emptying out the Cabinets

I'm packing up to move in a week and a half. I have lots of stuff to use up or else it gets thrown out. Hence dinner. I had a jar of Indian onion cooking sauce, Morningstar Farm burger crumbles, frozen peas, and a can of corn. The veggies that I had hoped to use have all rotted in my fridge. I sauteed it all in my wok. And on top of it all, some yellow raisins for flavor. Easy, and somewhat healthy.

Once I'm settled in in Boston, I'll be back to some real cooking.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Jaded About Raw Food

I attended a talk that was supposed to be about raw foods. I came in with an open mind -- I will admit that I know little about the advantages of not heating foods, and don't find much appealing about eating raw.

The first hour of the talk had nothing to do with raw foods! It was statistic after statistic about how Americans are fat and unhealthy and how our health care system kills people. Thrown in were a few statements that were either false or overstated. One slide had a picture of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor of nutrition at Cornell University, and the statement, "Diet can reverse cancer", which I don't think he's ever said. I know he purports that diet can prevent most cancers, but I don't think he's ever said diet reverses cancer. She also made some sort of statement to the effect of curing heart disease through diet.

The doctor bashing, statistics ad nauseum, and overall lack of content got to be too much. I left after an hour and 15 minutes of this nonsense.

I was hoping to come away knowing something about the benefits of a raw diet, and perhaps some convincing that a raw diet is palatable. She mentioned enzymes being destroyed by heat, but are not those same enzymes destroyed by stomach acid? I'm not sold at all.

She had a great opportunity to sell a vegetarian crowd on the benefits of raw foods. She failed miserably.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I Can't Believe It!

Today I looked up the results for yesterday's Keuka Lake Triathlon. I was third place in my age group out of nine people!!!!!!!!!!!

I find this so exciting because I really don't consider myself an athlete. I'm just someone who trains to be her own best. This is also the only athletic award that I have won as an adult.

Champagne Mango

This is a champagne mango. It's a little more tart and less stringy than a regular mango.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Vegan Find of the Day -- Ricemellow Creme

Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme was featured today as a sample at Wegman's -- on multigrain bread with nut butter. Finally, a vegan version of Marshmallow Fluff! Suzanne's version, though, seems a little more wholesome, with its only ingredients being brown rice syrup, soy protein, natural gums, and natural flavors. Mmmmmm!

Triathlon Accomplished!

I was a little worried about my ugly toe injury, but I was able to do the triathlon today. All I had to do was find a good waterproof bandage to keep the wound from getting infected, and all was good!

It was a very cold morning -- about 53 degrees when we started. The water was absolutely frigid! But, once we got moving, the water felt okay. I was more worried about getting kicked in the head and seeing where I was going in the water!

The bike was okay. I think I was pretty slow there because a lot of people passed me. The one woman who passed me on the right (which is a big no-no), her bike broke down on the course. Talk about karma! And the run, I was hyper by then. I was cheering everyone on... "Way to go, girls! You're doing great!" But truthfully, I'd rather have fun than be a serious competitor, and since I'm not a super-talented athlete, why not have a good time?

I've done two triathlons on back to back weekends. I'll be taking a break now for about 5 weeks, and my next triathlon will be once I'm moved in to Boston!

Friday, June 09, 2006

I've Been Interviewed!

Go to The Vegan Club and read my interview. And check out the site for some great recipes.

On the Disabled List?

I was out tonight, as as I was getting up from a chair, I proceeded to knock it over onto my foot. It landed squarely on my right foot second toe. Oww!

The toe definitely isn't broken, but the chair took off a nice chunk of skin. It looks pretty gross. I went home and washed and bandaged my ugly toe.

It hurt a lot. It's not quite as bad, but I still feel it. But, I'm not sure if I'll be able to run on this foot on Sunday, less than 2 days from now, for the Keuka Triathlon. I'll see how my bike/run workout tomorrow goes.

To make myself feel better, I made chocolate chip cookies. I ate one cookie and licked the bowl. (By the way, when you're vegan you can lick the bowl and not worry about Salmonella -- no eggs!)


I'm a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast -- cereal and soy milk. But, today there's no cereal, so I've decided to have oatmeal. I put this in the microwave on high for 2 minutes with soy milk and a little maple syrup. Yum!

And, oatmeal is good for you. It is low in fat, has plenty of soluble fiber, and can help lower cholesterol.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Weighty Issue

For most of us, it's hard to keep the pounds from creeping on.

When I underwent my transformation from lacto-ovo vegetarian to vegan, I swore I'd lose weight. No more cookies and brownies from the drug reps. No more ice cream. No more fatty cheese and eggs. It would be easy, the pounds would melt off.

I was so wrong. My weight stayed about the same, which I think is a testament to how much good vegan food is out there. Also, I quickly found vegan ice cream, cookies, brownies, and all that junk food that I love.

Regardless of your diet, weight depends on two things: calories in and calories out. In other words, how much you eat and how much energy you expend. It seems simple, but in practice it is not.

Granted, I'm not a stick, but I've maintained a consistent weight for the past ten years. Here are a few important factors to keeping the pounds from piling on.
1) Be happy. Healthful choices are more appealing when you feel good about yourself. Conversely, stress and sadness predispose to poor eating choices.
2) Don't keep junk food in the house. I no longer keep Fig Newmans in my cabinets, because I am adept at eating them by the stack.
3) Stay active. When bored, it's easy to snack.
4) Exercise regularly. Make it an every day habit, so that the days that you don't exercise are the exception.
5) Weigh in daily. I know some people will disagree, but I've found that it's a quick way to see that the pounds are creeping on after a few days of slacking.
6) Eat foods that are closest to their natural form, and fewer processed foods.

Any other suggestions or tips? As you can see, with my upcoming move I'm not doing a lot of cooking.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Salad and Sandwich

I don't like salads. At least not the traditional variety -- I don't like cucumbers, carrots, or tomatoes, and the traditional salad dressings never really did much for me. However, I'm all for an interesting salad with nontraditional ingredients. This one has some mixed field greens, kidney beans, golden raisins. I've topped it with my "homemade" Thousand Island salad dressing, which is a mixture of Vegenaise and Heinz ketchup.

For the sandwich, I've used Montana Mills whole wheat bread. Inside is Tofurky, hummus, and avocado.

Salad and sandwich. A little unconventional. But done my way.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


To culminate this crazy weekend, tonight was my cardiology fellowship graduation dinner. And, I've learned that you never know who reads these blogs.

Our program director normally gives a little speech about each of us that is graduating. I wasn't sure what he'd say about me, but I knew there'd be something in there about me being the vegan. Not only did he talk of me as the most health conscious of the cardiology fellows, but he also said that he's been reading my blog! He said he was looking for some "rants about the department", which he didn't find, but instead he "learned a lot about what to do with tofu and peppers." Too funny!

So yes, I think I've now graduated from cardiology fellowship, even though I still have four more official weeks of work. I guess they can't flunk me..... or I'd have to do something pretty horrific to not get to move on.

First Triathlon of the Season

Today was my first triathlon of the season and my second one ever. It was cold, rainy, and yucky, but I felt great. The swim was in a pool and the bike was on a hilly course. The run was tough because my legs felt so tired, so even though I felt like my lungs would have let me go faster, I just couldn't do it, and was a lot slower than I had wanted to be. Preliminary results say I was 7th out of 26 women in my age category, but I have a feeling that will change because we were all staggered at the start. So, we'll see. Nonetheless, I'm happy. My goal is to do my best and not to be DFL (Dead last).

That pic is from the triathlon I did last year. Yes I know I look goofy.

Helping Animals 101

Yesterday, I attended a seminar called Helping Animals 101. We heard about all types of animal cruelty, from circuses to puppy mills to the way our food is raised, and then how best to advocate for the animals.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Chase Corporate Challenge

I ran my 3.5 miles in 31:39. Whoo hoo!

And that is a turkey I met at Farm Sanctuary. He has nothing to do with my running, he's just cute.

People can surprise you....

This weekend, I was moonlighting at a small town hospital. The people in the area are for the most part simple folks; many live on farms, or have been in that community for generations.

I admitted an 83 year-old man who'd had a stroke. He hadn't seen a doctor in probably ten years, so in addition to treating his stroke I diagnosed him with hypertension and hyperlipidemia. He asked what he should be eating.

When I give diet advice, usually I don't use the word vegetarian, let alone vegan. "Lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Stay away from animal products, like meat, eggs, or dairy."

His response: "Oh, vegetarian! My daughter is a vegetarian!"

"Yes," I said. "You should definitely have her help you out."

Never in a million years would I think this man or his family would have any concept of what a vegetarian is. I was pleasantly surprised.