18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Carrot and Garbanzo Puree

I adapted this recipe from Lorna Sass's New Vegan Cookbook; the recipe is called "Carrot, Bean, and Carmelized Shallot Puree". Except, instead of shallots I use a cooking onion since chopping shallots takes far too long for my patience, and I add a little maple syrup at the end.

Sautee onion and spices of your choice (I like garlic and thyme) in canola oil for about 10 minutes. Then add vegetable broth, 1 can of chick peas or canellini beans, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 15 minutes. Separately, steam carrots in the microwave in water for about 10 minutes on high. Pour the onion, broth, and bean mixture into a food processor, add the carrots, and puree, and add maple syrup at the end.

An easy and tasty way to get your veggies!

Studying Frustration

I've been studying for months. I took a review course. I've been wandering the cath lab with a board review book in my hand at all times between cases.

And now I'm sick of studying. I suppose I could have been doing more review this weekend, but I just didn't have it in me.

The cardiology boards are Wednesday and Thursday. Really, I think I'm ready. I'll do some more questions, some more ECG's, cram a few more little facts into my brain on Monday and Tuesday, and THAT'S IT.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Easy Tofu and Broccoli

My favorite cheap kitchen toy is my wok. Somehow, stir fries taste better when cooked in one, as opposed to a frying pan.

First, I dipped the broccoli in boiling water for about five minutes. In the meantime, I fired up the wok, added some canola oil and onions. Then, I added broccoli and slices of firm tofu, along with some Soy Vay.

On a side note, has anyone seen the Starport Foods sauces anywhere in the Boston area? I really miss their Garlic Sesame sauce. It is seriously the best.

If I said I was studying tonight, I'd be lying. Supergirl is heading out to a Halloween costume party! Hey, everyone needs a break every so often, right?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Plantar Fasciitis Update

I'm trying to be good. I've been icing, stretching, taking loads of ibuprofen, walking around on my heels, then toes, and icing and stretching some more. I do not want to miss too much running -- running keeps me sane, calm, and in shape. However, my stubbornness has caused past injuries to linger far too long, so I know I have to take it easy if I'm hurt.

I just ran for the first time since Monday, for about half an hour at the gym on the treadmill, just in case I had foot pain and had to bail out and *shudder* use the elliptical machine. The run went surprisingly well, with only a minor amount of pain after the run. Tomorrow morning I'm going to run outdoors for an hour.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Going to Ground

This morning in the cath lab, I was standing up talking to one of our techs, who happens to be a personal trainer. I was asking him about how to handle my plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the bottom of the feet, often due to running).

He pushes on the heel of my foot. Owww! That hurt. I definitely have plantar fasciitis, and possibly a bone spur as well, he says. I have to stop running for a while and give it a rest.

I started to get very lightheaded. Owww that really hurt. He keeps talking. I don't hear much of what he's saying, but I'm nodding and acting like I am paying attention, because I don't want to be rude or embarrass myself. But I really need to sit down. I feel my pulse; it's slow and thready. I know I'm getting vasovagal. When he's done talking, I'll go right over here to the break room. I don't know if I'm going to make it..... and I start to slump over.

Next thing I know, I'm lying on the cath lab floor. I feel my eyes fluttering but I can't open them. I hear voices and I know there's a crowd standing around me. "Heather? Heather? Are you okay?" I want to talk, but I can't. Someone takes my wrist.... "I can't feel a pulse."

I open my eyes. "I'm ok, I just got vasovagal." After a minute, I stood up and somehow a barcolounger chair appears. I sit in the chair for a while with my feet propped up, drink some water, and start to feel better.

Wikipedia has a great explanation of vasovagal syncope. Triggers include pain and emotional stimuli. Usually it's a very benign condition. The combination of the pain in my heel when he pressed, along with being told that I should stop running for a while, likely set it off. I've had this happen before, but have never passed out -- in high school when I shadowed a cardiologist and he was pulling out an arterial sheath with lots of blood spurting, in med school when I met my cadaver for the first time, when learning to draw blood. Before this, it was two years ago, standing in the cath lab during a long case, after barely eating breakfast and being upset that George W. Bush had been reelected for four more years (can I say I told you so? I digress...).

I'm ok. Embarrassed, but ok.

Baby Picture

Here is a picture of Sam. We ate Thai food from California Vegan last night - sorry, no picture. It was very good. We shared orange "chicken," California chow mein with seitan, spicy eggplant with soy chicken and sweet and sour with soy chicken with your parents.

We are looking forward to Halloween. We are going to the pumpkin patch on Saturday. They also have a petting zoo and Sam loved the one at the Los Angeles Zoo. I have a Pooh costume and she has a Hunny Pot costume. Anyone else have a good costume idea this year?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cracking Down

The cardiology board exam is in 9 days. I'm a little stressed.

Until then, I'm crackin' the whip on myself -- all studying, no goofing off. Minimal social life, other than a birthday celebration for a friend on Friday. The running will obviously continue.
But there will be minimal posting here.

Mary Ruth and Kevin, seriously, if you cook something good post it. Post pictures of Sammy with "doggies".... anything!!!!!!!!!! I don't know that anyone will care about my hummus, tofurky, avocado, and lettuce wraps and reheated Amy's dinners.

On November 2, when the boards are over, I'm going to the spa for a massage, a facial, and whatever else I feel like doing. Then I'm drinking from the bottle of wine that my boss gave me. And then, I don't know what I'll do with myself when I suddenly have free time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mushroom Polenta

While out running this morning, I decided I was craving mushrooms. The polenta is pan fried in oil, a few minutes on each side, and the mushrooms and spinach were sauteed in olive oil and Soy Vay sauce. It looks pretty and it tasted yummy too!

New Shoes

I'm a vegan with big feet -- size 12 women's. I can't justify killing a cow just for the sake of fashion, so I don't wear leather. That makes shoe shopping a challenge. I have been looking for quite some time for a pair of cute sneakers that I can walk around town in.

These are Onitsuka Tigers. They're a unisex shoe, but they're narrow enough for me, are comfortable, and relatively stylish.

I bought these shoes from Zappos online. They have a large selection of vegetarian (non-leather shoes). I also buy shoes from Payless, but those shoes tend to be of lesser quality and sometimes cheap-looking, so I am careful in which shoes I choose from them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hot Chocolate

I'm not about to claim this is some brilliant creation on my part. I post it because so many people think that if you're a vegan that you cannot eat chocolate, which is so untrue! Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, and somehow in this country we've gotten in the habit of adding dairy and making "milk chocolate".

No cows were harmed in the creation of my hot chocolate, it's cholesterol-free, and it's tasty!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Apple pear sauce

I bought a bunch of apples and pears thinking I'd eat them. No such luck, so before they spoiled I turned them into applesauce. Chop them up into small pieces and boil in water for 25 minutes. Drain, mash, add brown sugar and cinnamon. I keep the skins on because they have nutrients in them.

Augggh! Lowell Sun Half Marathon

This morning was a little chilly standing at the start line in shorts and a t-shirt, but I knew that as the race started that it would warm up into the mid-50's and I would regret it if I wore long sleeves.

Off we went. I used my experience from last weekend's marathon to guide me and started faster. First mile was in 8:36? That can't be right. I must have started my watch too late.

I just didn't feel like running this morning. I kept the thinking positively for the first few miles -- I can't believe I'm in Boston; it's been a rough year, but I've pulled through.... been here almost 4 months and actually have friends..... boards coming up.... studying ok but need to cram some ECG stuff, thrombolytics, antiarrhythmics, and pharmacology into my head..... look up at the cameras and smile...... where am I going to go when I finish in June....whoops that's not a positive thought, banish that one!

My first six mile splits were anywhere between 9:20 and 9:40. This is faster than what I'd planned... can I keep this up? I feel pretty ok so far.

I couldn't keep it up. Stopped to pee at mile 6.... that mile was slower, 10:45. The next miles were about 10:30 apiece. People were passing me. I felt drained.

At mile 11, I knew I had to pick up the pace if I wanted to finish in 2:10. I was tired, but knew that if I missed 2:10 that I'd regret it. I have it in me. Pushing on.... this mile was 9:57. Picked up the pace even more at mile 12.

1.1 miles to go. Breathing a lot heavier. Louder. Getting funny looks. Instead of my usual "Thanks so much!" to the folks on the side of the road, all I could make out was "Augggggggh!" Great Heather, that's quite articulate. I sounded more like a neanderthal than a physician.

I pushed on. I finished strong in the baseball stadium in about 2:10, my goal time. The announcer called out my name as I crossed the finish line. Whooooooo-hoooo!!!!!!!!!!

For post-race refreshments, there were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have never had such a delicious pbj sandwich in my life. Cheered on some more runners, and the first two marathon finishers, hobbled to my car and headed home, sore but content.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Rani in Coolidge Corner

Rani has amazing food, great service, and tons of vegetarian items. And, the menu says, "Many items can be prepared vegan on request." Easy enough! I had Palak aloo, spinach with potatoes.

I find that Indian restaurants are easy for a vegetarian who consumes dairy. But if you don't eat dairy it's a little more difficult because many Indian restaurants cook everything in ghee, or clarified butter, and the waitstaff may not understand that you don't eat dairy and then bring out a dish of yogurt and cook the meal in tons of butter.

Alison and Adam, good friends from Rochester who just got married last month, are visiting Boston. We had a tradition of going out for Indian food back in Rochester. It was so good to see them and continue our tradition in my new hometown (and hopefully soon theirs!).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lentil Soup

Earthy Lentil Soup from Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan!

The recipe called for a few spices that I didn't have, like curry powder and savory. So, I added garam masala (a mixture of Indian spices), cumin, and coriander. I like the result. I eat it with crumbled Guiltless Gourmet white corn tortilla chips.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vegan Dilemma Solutions

Here's what I did (see the post below):

1) I text paged my coworker. Yes text paged her -- this was one of those crazy days where I just couldn't escape the cath lab, and wouldn't run into her otherwise. I said, "Thanks so much for the Indian dinners, that was really sweet of you. Unfortunately, since I'm a vegan, I can't eat them because they have milk. Sorry!" I might whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies as a token of my gratitude, because it was nice of her to think of me.

2) I took the sweater. I'd rather re-use something that would otherwise be given away or end up in a landfill. Further, this way I didn't buy a sweater, which would involve using up resources, energy, and probably in some manner isn't good for the environment. Besides, who other than me will know it's cashmere?

Two Dilemmas

Here are two situations that I encountered recently. What would you do in each?

1) A coworker, who knows you love Indian food and "don't eat meat", brings a couple of frozen dinners for you to try. Both contain dairy as a main ingredient.

2) You attend a clothes swap party, where participants bring old clothing items to either swap or donate to charity. You try on a sweater -- it fits you beautifully. BUT, it's cashmere.

I'd love to hear some comments, then I'll share my thoughts.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Go Bandit Go!

I ran the Boston Half Marathon this morning for fun. Does that make me crazy? I wasn't the only bandit -- there were a few others without running numbers.

It was a great training run to get ready for next weekend's half marathon, a little cold at the beginning, but after the first few miles the sun came out and it felt nice. I told myself in advance that I'd take it easy and not run too hard. Problem is, I don't like not going all out. So I started out at a nice pace. First few mile splits were 10:45, 10:15, 10:30, 10:00, and I settled into a pace of about 10:10 per mile. Then at the half-way point, I felt like going faster. Mile splits were between 9:45 and 10:00. And toward the end, my last two miles were in 9:15.

I finished in 2:11:59. My goal for next weekend is 2:10, on a far more flat course. I can definitely do this! I think I should start the race a little faster too. I bet I could have saved myself a couple seconds if I hadn't high-fived a few little kids on the side of the road or hopscotched through the decorations drawn by the Hash House Harriers, but what fun is that?

I was a good bandit too, but perhaps I shouldn't have worn BRIGHT PINK if I didn't want to stand out. Fortunately no race official seemed to care about my lack of a race number. I did not take any water or Gatorade from the aid stations, did not take a medal or any post race goodies, BUT I did take a Power Gel. They're hard to resist.

One thing I've learned about running at my appropriate pace (as opposed to going too hard at the beginning): I pass a lot of people in the last half of the race, which is a good feeling. Even though I'm only competing with myself, it still feels good.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Michigan Salad

I based this loosely on a salad that I've eaten at The Honey Tree, a restaurant chain in metro Detroit. Theirs has dried cranberries, nuts, and mandarin orange slices. Mine has dried cranberries, cashew pieces, avocado, and a sesame ginger dressing.

As bizarre as it sounds, I'm a vegan who doesn't really like salads. Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes don't do much for me. But if you can make it a funky salad, with a little fruit or avocado or something out of the ordinary, then I'll love it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


The half marathon is in just over a week. I have a long training run to do this weekend. I don't like doing long runs alone. So..... I'll run the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) Half Marathon as a Bandit.

A Bandit is an unregistered, unpaid participant in a race, who runs without a race number. His or her time is not recorded because he or she is not registered.

Bandit running is controversial. Some say that it's poor etiquette because bandits take up space on the course, take advantage of the police and volunteers, and drink or eat refreshments that should go to registered runners.

I plan on being a good bandit. I'll start toward the back of the pack, and I'll bring my own water and snacks for the run so that I don't take away from the people who paid to be there.

On top of all this, I'm on call. So, I'll have my pager and cell phone with me too, so that if I have to go the hospital, I can get off the course and call a taxi.

I can't wait. Go Bandit Go!!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


October is World Vegetarian Month.

If you're a vegetarian who's thought about going vegan, or an omnivore who has thought about a plant-based diet, read this. It's truly inspiring.

Coming Home

When I was home in Michigan this weekend, Mom made dinner. Most of it was vegan. Let me remind you, my entire family except for my aunt and grandmother are vegetarians, but I am the lone vegan.

"Aren't you going to take a picture for the blog?" she asked? I think she also said to stop complaining on the blog about visiting the family and having no vegan food to eat.

I was impressed. We had matzo ball soup, because Grandma and my aunt love matzo ball soup, and we really couldn't deviate from that. I tried making vegan matzo balls once and they were a disaster. I know Post Punk Kitchen has a recipe, but I'd love to find one that is also kosher for Passover. Mom was kind enough to make my soup with rice.

Mom made a baked penne pasta with tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, olives, broccoli, and mushrooms. And, for dessert we had a vegan pumpkin pie from Whole Foods with Soyatoo nondairy whipped topping. Yum.

So, no I can't complain. Thanks Mom!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fasting and Atoning

Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. In order to atone for our sins, we fast, as in don't eat or drink, for twenty-four hours. However, at sundown when we can eat again, it is tradition to have a big festive break-the-fast dinner.

I'm going to a potluck this evening. Presumably, I'm the only vegan who will be there. I'm bringing this baked ziti, which is based on a recipe for stuffed shells from Farm Sanctuary. The faux ricotta is a mixture of firm regular tofu, silken tofu, lemon juice, Tofutti "better-than" cream cheese, and spinach.

And, being a good vegan guest, I'll bring a dessert too: The world's most amazing chocolate chip cookies.