18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Forks Over Knives -- The Movie

If you are concerned about heart disease, you need to see this movie:
"If the truth be known, coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never, ever exist and if it does exist it need never, ever progress." -Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Big Fat Vegan Passover Seder

"What do you mean, you don't eat no meat?.... That's ok, I make lamb!"
Quote from My Big Fat Greek Wedding

For my first seder that I prepared on my own, I thought I'd have my family and a couple of friends, and it would be a small festival.  But, as I put the word out, many people were looking for a seder, some had never attended one and wanted to know more about Passover, and others were just curious what a vegan seder would be like.  Next thing I knew, I had twenty guests in my home!!!

Seder Table -- Seder plate, matzah, and small glass of wine for Elijah the Prophet

My 5 1/2 year-old niece painted the seder plate.  She painted all the spots on the plate except for the spot for the shankbone, "Because we don't eat meat."  Cute.  In place of the bone, I placed a few beets on the plate, and a vegetarian friend brought his very own "tofu shankbone."  Traditionally there is an egg on the plate to represent the spring; instead we had a flower.

Passover has become a holiday of excessive processed foods, cottonseed oil, fat, and too many eggs.  Clearly, this is not the case in my home.  This is a Vegetable and Matzah Casserole from The Vegetarian Pesach Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky:

Matzah farfel, layered with sauteed eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers, covered with more whole wheat matzah farfel and tomato sauce.

Russian Potato and Mushroom Croquettes from Debra Wasserman's The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook:

I also served matzah ball soup based on the Post Punk Kitchen recipe, using tofu instead of egg to hold the balls together (I observe a sephardic Pesach, so I do eat soy and other kitniyot).  Mrs. Feinberg's Kugel, one of my favorites, made from sweet potato, apple, and carrots also made an appearance and was polished off quickly!

And you cannot ever ever ever forget dessert!!!!  One friend brought one of the infamous box mixes of brownies, but she used flax seed instead of eggs.  It came out quite good!  This is the No Bake Chocolate Matzoh Roll from The Vegetarian Pesach Cookbook.

And, what kind of holiday is it if the pets don't get to participate?  Here, my dog Curves eagerly finds the afikoman, or hidden matzah! :)
It should be the youngest child who finds the afikoman, not the youngest dog, right?  My mischevious dog Curves.

Have a joyous Pesach, and please, go easy on the eggs!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Training for Wildflower Long Course

It's been a bit too long since I've posted.... so I will update you on my training.  Coming soon, you'll get to read about my first Passover seder that I've hosted.  I will be having about 18 people at my home and the seder will all be vegan (and cardiologist-approved!)

51 mile bike ride yesterday -- climbed both Latigo and Mulholland!

I am again doing Wildflower Long Course -- a half Ironman-distance race (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) which is one of the toughest in North America.  The bike course is hilly, as is the run which more than half of it is on trails.

This year, I've switched coaches to Gerardo from Fortius Coaching.  He's definitely having me train harder than I ever have for a half-ironman distance race.  Rather than the 12-hours per week that I've become accustomed to when getting ready for one of these races, I'm doing 16-17 hours per week of training.  He also has me doing far more hill work on the bike and running.  I can't remember the last training run that was completely flat!

Two years ago, I finished in 7 hours 11 minutes.  Last year was a disaster due to a busy few days at work beforehand, and my inability to get any sleep at the campground before the race.  This time around, I'm not camping -- after all, I hate camping.  A group of us is renting a house.  So, I plan on being well-rested with the chance of finishing in under 7 hours.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Time to Start Exercising!!!

What's your excuse?

I've heard them all.  But, it's time to see the excuse for what it is, realize that exercise is crucial to good health, and start or get back to making it a habit.

A good goal for everyone is to get at least thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week -- this is exercise that is sustained and keeps the heart rate elevated.  This means a heart rate of 60-85% of your predicted maximal heart rate, though an easier gauge of exertion is that you should be able to carry on a conversation, but talking should be just a little challenging.

Here are some of the excuses I hear every day:

"I'm too tired"
Exercise gives you energy.  The more you move, the more energy you have.  If you don't move, you have less energy.

"I have no time"
Your body and your arteries could care less how much "time" you have.  Make the time, it's important.  Do you have ten minutes during your lunch break to get outside and walk?  Do you have a couple minutes before dinner, or after dinner?  I'm sure you do.  I fit it in by getting up early in the morning, often 5:00 am, to get my workout in before I see patients.

"I have arthritis -- my knees/hips/back hurts"
Again, your arteries don't care about your aches and pains.  And, in fact, for some of those pains will benefit from exercise and range of motion.  If walking hurts, then get on a bicycle, or swim or walk in a pool.

"I have an active job"
Occasional lifting of heavy items or intermittent walking are not the sustained cardiovascular exercise that your heart benefits from.  Unless you are a valet who is literally running for hours to fetch cars, a bike courier, or you're doing some sort of continuous exercise for thirty or so minutes of a time, your job doesn't count as exercise.

"I stretch"  "I lift weights"
Great, I'm sure you're very limber or strong.  But that's not the sustained cardiovascular exercise that will keep your heart healthy.

"I'm lazy"
Really?  Don't be.

That's me, at about 25 1/2 miles into the LA Marathon, setting a good example for my patients and exercising :)