18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Breakfast Burrito

Inspired by PETA's Vegetarian Recipe of the Week, I made breakfast burritos! But, my version doesn't have the Gimme Lean Sausage, and instead has lots of protein-packed mushrooms.

Here's how I did it: Pour a couple tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet. Add olive oil and garlic. Take one pound of firm tofu. squeeze out the water, and mash to a scrambled-egg like consistency either with your hands or with a fork. To the skillet, I added chopped tomato, orange pepper, mushrooms, and tofu. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika to taste. Sautee for 5-10 minutes. Serve on warm tortillas.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sweet Potato Fries

Easy enough. Peel and chop up a sweet potato. Mix it with salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like -- I like cumin. Then bake at 425 for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Disturbing -- Blood and Guts Course

These photos are from a Blood and Guts course at the Virginia Governor's School. The course is taken by gifted high school students who aspire to careers in medicine. Students dissect several animal species for the sake of learning the anatomy of the animals.

Compassion for my patients was one of the most important lessons that I took away from my medical training. The opposite lesson is being taught here -- I find these photos disrespectful and absolutely inappropriate. We know that dissecting animals is an inefficient way to teach about human anatomy. Students could see actual human bodies in a cadaver lab, for example, or use a computer simulator, and would probably learn more that way than from dissecting non-human animals.

If you're as disgusted as I am, please visit here. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is trying to stop this gruesome dissection course. From this web site, you can get links to express your concern to the people responsible for this so-called educational experience. I already have.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Veggie Stew

With a little spare time in my apartment on call this weekend as the Boston area remains heart attack-free, I had an hour or so to make a veggie stew.

These are easy to make -- any vegetables will suffice. I used what I had on hand, which was an eggplant, onion, cut baby carrots, and peas. Take a large pot and heat about a quarter cup of oil. Here, I used canola. Then add the veggies, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Next I added the seitan, beans, and two cups of vegetable broth -- add another cup of water or broth if more liquid is needed.

Simmer the mixture for about 30-35 minutes. Then, add a quarter cup whole wheat flour, a quarter cup of tamari or soy sauce, salt, pepper, and a little turmeric or whatever spices you like. Simmer for another ten minutes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Running with Friends

This evening, I ran a five-mile road race in South Boston that I signed up for at the last minute. Normally when I run races, I go solo, with the exception of the Chase Corporate Challenge, when my good friend Karlyn caught up with me for the last 3/4 of a mile and we pushed each other to finish strong.

I ran tonight's race with another friend. We ran together, of course with him saying that I'd probably be faster than him, and me realistically knowing that he would be pushing me hard to run faster than I normally would, and that I might have to drop behind him. As it turned out, he was a good pace, and we finished the race together. My official time was 47:29, though we started 30 seconds later, and so I really ran it in 46:59. That's about 9:20 per mile.

That's why I like running/biking/swimming with other people -- they push me to be a better athlete.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What's In My Fridge

I'm a single vegan chic with a job that has weird hours. Unlike a lot of the other vegan food bloggers, I don't spend a lot of time cooking or preparing foods. Nothing I make on this site, unless stated otherwise, takes more than 30 minutes, because I want people to know that being a vegan who eats healthfully isn't a hard thing!

So, these are the top 2 shelves of the fridge.
Top Shelf (from left):
Leftover Trader Joe's Punjabi Chole (aka Indian Food in a Bag)
From top to bottom in middle: Pre-packaged Black Bean and Wheat Pilaf, Baba Ganoush, and Hummus
Stir fry leftovers from Tuesday
Spinach spread

Middle Shelf:
Protein for sandwiches, wraps, or stir fries -- Tofurky, Seitan, and assorted mushrooms
Avocado -- great spread on pita bread
Organic strawberries and blackberries
Arm n Hammer -- to keep the fridge from smelling funky

Other staples that I like to have on hand:
Natural peanut butter
Soy milk
A few stir fry sauces
Ketchup (to mix with Vegenaise to make vegan Thousand Island Dressing, or to put on a veggie burger)
Barbecue sauce -- great on Chik'n Nuggets

Tri Training

I've been telling myself for weeks that I'm going to start working out in the morning. This way, if things get late at work, I'm not riding my bike on the trainer in the living room at 11 pm, running through Chinatown in the dark, or doing something equally crazy.

So, this morning I set the alarm for 6:30 to go for a 45-minute hill repeat run. My normal thing lately has been to reset the alarm for 7:30 to get to work by 8 am and bag the workout until later. But today, I woke up on my own at 6:15 am, had my raisin bran, and was out the door by 6:40. Ran through Chinatown, across the Theater District, into Boston Common, to the hill in the park that runs parallel to Beacon Street, then decided that wasn't challenging enough and ran up Beacon Street itself three times. 45 minutes later, back home, showered, and off to work.

My next goal is to get faster on the bike. That's my weakest sport; swimming by some fluke is my strongest. My friend Gideon, who claims to be fast on his bike, is going to take me on a couple of butt-whoopin' workouts. I can't wait.

With this summer's tri training, I've only missed one workout. This with all the craziness of my life -- moving, new job, and weird hours. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chicken-Style Seitan

This is the stir-fry I wanted to make last night, but didn't have time. Instead it was lunch. It has broccoli, edamame (soy beans), orange peppers, onion, and chicken-style seitan (wheat gluten) in a sweet and sour sauce.

I wouldn't include edamame if I had tofu or a soy-based sauce, because that would be soy overkill, and as I do have a mild soy allergy, I try not to get too soy crazy.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Vegan Cheesecake from TJ's

After dinner at Grasshopper last night, I headed over to TJ Scallywaggle's, the all vegan pizza and sub place for a slice of cheesecake. This piece is topped with cherries. Oh my gosh this was absolutely amazing!

Tonight I thought I'd stir fry up some broccoli, edamame, and chicken-style seitan. but it was late and I was on call and wanted to get a bike ride in before it got dark. Instead I had "Indian food in a bag", aka the Trader Joe's Indian food that comes in convenient boxes. Maybe tomorrow I'll cook something.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The weirdest thing happened today....

I went to a Boston Vegetarian Society dinner this evening at Grasshopper. As a new person, I had to introduce myself -- "Hi, I'm Heather, and I just moved here from Rochester New York." That's all I said.

Later, a woman comes up to me -- "Do you have a blog? You're a cardiologist, right?"

How funny is that?!?!?!?!?!?!

Oh yes, and a shout out to my new friend Jody. Thanks for the heads up on the Toad the Wet Sprocket concert. That was fun!

Lowell Triathlon

Today was my first triathlon since moving to Boston. I think I did ok.

The swim was in a very quiet river. I have a confession: I panic in the water. Somehow, practice swims are no big deal, but when it gets to be race day, I can't seem to breathe in the water, and my hard-practiced form goes to crap. But, it still ends up that swimming is my best event of the three -- go figure.

Anyway, my wise coach Mary told me to get in the water before the start and get acclimated. Great advice, as this was personally my calmest swim ever. I didn't panic nearly as much as I usually do, and I think I did well.

The bike was good too. The course was flat, which is good because I'm not very good at hills.

Then there was the run. It felt hot, and there was absolutely no shade on the course. I started strong, but as time went on, I was really feeling the heat, and I know I slowed down a lot. I kept looking at my watch, wondering why it was taking me 40 minutes to run a 5k, or 3.5 miles, or whatever, but somehow there weren't a lot of other women passing me. Just now, I looked at the web site -- it was a 4 mile run. Whoops!

As usual, I cheer everyone on. I even cheered on a guy who wasn't even competing!

Ok, all in all, I think I did ok. I eagerly await the official results.....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pre-Race Dinner

Whole wheat pasta, Whole Foods marinara sauce, Whole Foods vegan meatballs, and sauteed portobello mushrooms.

Tapering, Carb-Loading, and Salt-Loading

Tomorrow is my first triathlon since moving to Boston, the Lowell Mill City Triathlon. I feel very ready for it. This week was a "taper" which means that I don't work out nearly as hard as I usually do, in order to get ready for the big event.

Also, it's HOT in New England this weekend!!! Thank goodness I got my workout for the day out of the way at 7 am today, when it was cooler out. In order to prepare for the heat, Mary says to eat lots of salt and drink plenty of water so that you "pee clear". I've done that over the past 2 days.

I'm ready!!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Seitan Stir Fry

I made this stir fry from a packaged Asian Vegetable Stir Fry from Whole Foods. I stir-fried them in my wok with some sesame oil and Bragg's, along with seitan stir-fry strips. This went really well with some mushroom-flavored couscous.

And, most importantly, I made this in about 15 minutes. Enough time to run home between sheath pulls. I love living 200 feet from work :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"And this is the men's weight area..."

This is an actual comment from a YMCA employee as she gave me a tour before I joined. She pointed to the free weight room.

"Oh really? Are women not allowed in here?" I asked.

"No, women are allowed, but it's usually all men. And women don't go in here, because it's.... you know..."

"Too much testosterone?"

Uncomfortable laugh. "Yes. They like using these rooms," she replies as she points to the small rooms to the side with outdated Nautilus-type equipment.

I weight train, about once a week during triathlon season, and twice a week off-season. I notice that weights keep me looking toned and help my overall fitness. In fact, back in Rochester I had a personal trainer, not because I don't know how to lift, but because it was extra incentive to push myself. Back then, I had the time and the money, but Boston is a little more expensive to live in. I sure do miss my trainer Will "Do as I say not as I do" from The Iron Butterfly.

I prefer using free weights as opposed to machines. In other words, I like the stuff in the "men's weight room". And, oddly enough, every time I've been in there, I'm the only woman. I use the free weights, but I also incorporate other items that the macho men wouldn't be caught dead using, like a stability ball or mat.

And I'm sure not going to be intimidated into just using the "Women's weight area".

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Coconut Milk Soy Drink

After my 5 1/2 mile morning run on the Esplanade, I stopped off at the local Chinese grocer around the corner and picked this up -- some sort of soy coconut milk drink. It was delicious, and completely hit the spot.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Overheard on the Cath Lab Table

Patients say some crazy stuff sometimes.

This guy is in the midst of a heart attack. We're in the process of opening his clogged artery. He asks us, "What time is it? The Red Sox are on at 12:45."

Ummm.... I think his priorities are a bit mixed up.

TJ Scallywaggles

TJ Scallywaggles, a hole-in-the-wall pizza place type of joint, is ALL VEGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a spinoccoli calzone for dinner and baklava for dessert. The calzone was made with the Follow Your Heart cheese which I thought might be kinda funky, but was terrific. I wolfed down the whole huge calzone.

The folks there are very friendly. Recently, they went from being a pizza place with a vegan menu to all vegan. Apparently, with the change, business has actually picked up. They've removed the fryer in an effort to be more health-conscious. Not that I'll delude myself into thinking the calzone was healthy, other than the presence of green vegetables.

I'll definitely be going back.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tahini and Flax Seed Dip

Mix one cup of tahini, one tablespoon of maple syrup, and one tablespoon of ground flax seeds. It's a great dip for veggies or bread. I tried a version of this at Whole Foods, but with almond butter instead of tahini and that was really good too.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


The last time I enjoyed polenta was on my frightening trip to the churrascura. I sauteed some onions, diced peppers, roma tomatoes, and portobellos in a lemon olive oil and seasoned with salt, basil, and oregano. The polenta was baked in the oven with a little olive oil for 15 minutes. Easy enough dinner.

The polenta is definitely store-bought. Sorry, don't have the kind of time to be making my own.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Toto, We're Not in Rochester Any More!

Today was my first day on the new job as an Interventional Cardiology Fellow.

Things are done very differently here. The cath lab environment here is a huge change for me. They use tools that I've never used in my life, like this thing called a manifold. They use different types of equipment than I am accustomed to. And the staff in the lab are very nice and helpful, but I keep forgetting their names.

I did one case today. My attending, fortunately, was quite patient. There is the assumption when you're new that you know nothing. I like that assumption. And, I do know a bit more than I let on, but for now, I would hate to pretend I know and make a mistake.

Being new isn't as anxiety-provoking as, say, when I was an intern fresh out of medical school seven years ago. Back then, I smiled a lot and was extra-nice to everyone. I even baked cookies for the nurses and patient staff! Because, when you're nice, people tend to be more forgiving, especially when you're a 23-year-old who looks way too young to be anyone's doctor. So, I was that nice new intern who bakes cookies, and that got me far during my first month rotation.

So, lots to learn about how to do cardiac interventions, and lots to learn about the system. I still smile a lot and am friendly. We'll see how things go -- I may be baking some chocolate chip cookies very soon.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Lunch today is a whole wheat flatbread wrap with baby spinach, tofurky, avocado, ketchup, and Nayonaise. It's the same bread that I used for yesterday's quesadilla.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Here's a whole wheat quesadilla with pinto beans, mixed peppers, salsa, and avocado.
It tasted good but did fall apart somewhat -- probably would have worked better with refried beans.

I've learned something very important today: You can't just "run out" to Whole Foods to "pick up a few things". Because, you have to retrieve your car, weave through irritating Boston traffic even though it's only two miles away, park in the garage (first of course getting lost on a few one-way streets when you know the entrance is but ten feet away), shop, pay, validate your parking, pull back around to the front of the store, retrieve groceries, drive on back to the apartment, put the blinkers on while you run your groceries upstairs, retrieve the car and put it in the garage 4 blocks away, and then walk back to the apartment.

If Lisa weren't busy pushing a baby out right now, she'd likely be proud that this time at least I didn't drive to Framingham.

I miss my suburbs. Next time maybe I'll just have my groceries delivered.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Break Before Work Starts

The new interventional cardiology fellowship starts on Wednesday, officially. In the meantime, I'm in Michigan visiting the family on the lake, doing some quality shopping with Mom, and visiting friends I haven't seen in a while.

Last night, called friends who have an almost 2-year-old girl, said I had to get a 30-minute run in, but would be there around 9. Unfortunately, that would be after the girl would be sleeping, so he said, "Why don't you just run here, and we'll drive you home later??" AWESOME!!!!!! I always love a destination run, and in perfect Michigan summer evening weather, it couldn't have been any better.

More posting next week..........