Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yummy Vegan Tacos (a post for Ashley)

This grey and dreary Sunday morning, I went on a nice long run/hike around town and up into the surrounding bluffs. I ran ~2.5 miles across town, climbed the stairs build into the bluffs until I reached the top, and looked out onto the town. I then descended the stairs and ran back home via a slightly different route. Total mileage was probably in the realm of 6 miles.
I didn't take any more pictures, but the rest of the sights were pretty much the same as this post: Sunday Walk, as I used the same route.

I came home exhausted, but mentally centered, and it occurred to me that this is exactly the type of workout that Ashley would love. Ashley, if you don't read her blog, is a vegan athlete. She is inspiring in her endeavors, and though she pushes her body to its maximum, she doesn't compete with others. She is very centered on her personal goals and her body's well being. She's inspiring, as very seldom does she let things get her down. I've been reading her blog for years, and I've actually met her in person, which is something that rarely happens in my neck of the blog-world.

A couple of weeks ago, Ashley had an accident. She was on a long bike ride in preparation for completing yet another 70.3 triathlon, when she apparently fell (post here if you didn't see it). She woke up as they were taking her to the ER. She's sustained multiple injuries and right now can barely walk, nevermind compete in the races that she loves so much. She can't work for months, and I'm sure the hospital bills will be incredible when they finally come, but she is putting on a brave face and doing her best to stay positive. I wish I could be there to help her. I have been wishing I could do something for her for a while, but as she's in North Carolina, and I'm in Minnesota, I feel stuck. I don't get vacation days, and anything I know she would like (vegan treats, etc) would probably rot in the mail on the way to her. I don't make a ton of money, but I am making a donation to the fund that has been set up in her name to help her get through this time (link here for details). Right now, I want to do more. I want to dedicate this post to Ashley.

So today, I present to you a vegan meal in honor of Ashley's diet, and a very Ashley-like workout. In addition, I plan to donate the proceeds from my blog for the entire month of September to Ashley's recovery fund, along with matching funds from my personal bank account. This won't be much, but every little bit helps.

If you want to help, you can help in two ways:

1) Go to the link above and donate to her fund.

2) If you can't spare the money right now (and we'll all understand), please take the time to click on my foodbuzz banner on my blog. If you're in a reader (like Google reader), you'll need to go to my blog site. My blog earns money by those clicks. Click as many times as you like. All the funds are going to Ashley when the payments post.

Finally, some yummy vegan tacos for you to enjoy for your troubles:

Yummy Vegan Tacos
1 zucchini or yellow squash, cubed into small pieces
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 can/~1.5 c black beans
1/2 c chunky tomato salsa
1 c corn (fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp oil

corn tortillas or other chosen wrap

Prep your veggies. My corn came frozen this week, but if you have fresh sweet corn, take this time to cut it off the cob. 
Sizzle, sizzle! Preheat oil and start sauteeing your veggies. 
Season: Once the onion/zucc start to brown, stir them around and add garlic, chili, pepper, and cumin. You'll also add salt. How much? To taste, but I use a lot of salt in this dish. It really tastes better with it! In any case, stir in the spices and keep cooking another 1-2 minutes until the dish starts to get dry.
Add beans, corn, and salsa. If you use canned beans, rinse them well. That can-muck is pretty nasty, imho. The beans and corn will let off a lot of moisture, so let them hang out for a couple minutes. The corn will start to break down and the starch inside with naturally thicken the juices into a sauce.
When it's done, it looks like this. It has a little bit of a pan-sauce holding it together, but it definitely has texture.
And just look at all that veg! (For those of you who would comment that my pics would look better if I waited for the food to cool down before I took them, you should know that it's currently 57 F in my house and I wanted to eat something warm, not hot. This was an even 5 minutes after taking it off the heat. I can see my own breath after I drink coffee today!)
Microwave your wrap of choice for 1 minute. If you make fresh wraps, more power to you. You should do a post on that so I can learn!
Assemble tacos. Now, if you were starving, you might take the time to dice a mango (its delicious with this recipe, I've tried it) or an avocado (they all looked nasty today). If you like it spicy, you might want some hot sauce or more salsa, but this is a really filling and satisfying lunch or dinner. I truly recommend it.

Ok, I hope that you enjoyed the post, and I hope you can take a minute to donate some pocket change to Ashley, or at least help me do it.
Have you ever been in a traumatic accident? What happened? 

PS: Insomnia post is still coming. My students had a test this week, and I spent all week prepping them and then 8 hours grading. Good news: Average 75%, which is pretty damn good for a first year teacher handling an upper-level course. Historically we tend to kill them with knowledges.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

A girl I knew in grad school wrote this excellent article about how irresponsibility by scientists (in this case, a letter, probably well-intentioned, but premature) can be expanded/exacerbated in the media and cause high public fear and low morale/belief in science. It's a really good article and I hope you read it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Random Breakfast Musings

Still no insomnia post. It's 2/3 written. I am getting there verrrrrrrry slowly. In the meantime, I have some breakfast to present:

Fall is in the air. It's cold...50 degrees in the AM is too chilly for smoothies and oat parfaits when you walk to work. It's time for OATMEAL!

This beauty contained 1/2 c frozen blueberries, 1/3 c regular oats, dash vanilla, 1/8 serving protein powder (~5 g), and 1 tbsp peanut butter.

It kept me so full! I was full from 7am to 1pm...which only happens with oatmeal. That got me thinking...why does oatmeal keep me more full than a vegan oat parfait, which contains most of the same ingredients?

In fact, the way I made them, the vegan oat parfait has more calories.


1/3 c oats                                100cal
1/2 scoop protein powder        70cal
1 scoop chia                            81cal
1/3 c almond milk                    20cal
1 whole banana                       100cal
1/2 c other fruit                       50cal

Total: 421, with approximately 21g protein, 6g fat, and 8g fiber before fruit is added

Oatmeal (as pictured above)

1/3 c oats                               100cal
1/8 scoop protein powder       20 cal
1/2 c blueberries                     50cal
1 tbsp PB                               100cal

Total: 270, with approximately 13g protein, 9g fat, and 8 g fiber before fruit is added

So, the fat is higher. For a real experiment, I will have to alternate and make the recipes equivalent in fat/protein/fiber (which are linked to satiety). I think I might try it...because I'm curious...

Is there any research that consuming warm food helps dietary absorption? 

If that's out, the only thing I can think of is that microwaving my oats actually allows more soluble fiber to escape from the husk of the oat...and that soluble fiber makes me feel more full.

What do you think it is about oatmeal that makes you so full? 

I promise to come back with the Insomnia post. My students have a test this week, but it's surprisingly quiet on the western you think they've started studying yet? The test is Thursday AM. Nah, I don't think so either. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

#1 Reason not to eat junk food before bed... sleep poorly and wake-up with a 'food hangover'.

Ugh. Lesson (re)learned. No amount of delicious/devilish/high-sugar/high-fat food is worth the 'morning after' effect: bloating, excessive fullness, aches from poor sleep, and a slight headache no doubt leftover from the sugar-high I was feeling last night.

Think about it...some people feel like this every day and don't know why they feel so listless and sick. I am so grateful to know how to make myself feel better and to avoid feeling like this in the future. I just need the willpower to do it.

Also, the promised insomnia science post is half-written. I'm moving slow and this week is crazy, so hopefully you will see it before friday.

Do you get the dreaded food-hangover?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A teaser

I'm a little overloaded right now...but I have a half-written post on some science and health-related issues....

In the meantime, you can check this out:

Hi, my name is Doc. And I'm an insomniac. Anyone else with me?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

One Day

Just a taste of one day in my 'new' life...
Morning: 6:30am. Wake-up. Groan about waking up.
Breakfast - overnight oats (1/3 c oats, 1 tbsp chia, 1/2 scoop whey protein, almond milk) topped with banana soft serve, and chopped mango.
With coffee (and e-mail).
Dressed for work (grey pinstripe slacks, black tshirt, teal cardigan in the bag for my FREEZING OFFICE). Out the door I go for work...jump on the steel beast...arrive at work around 7:30/7:45.

Why do I go in so early? Well, I don't teach until 9:30. Occasionally I have an 8:00 meeting. I really do the early thing because no one bothers me before 9 and I get a lot done. Plus, I just woke up and I'm not tired again yet.
Lunch consists of leftovers...or if there are no leftovers, then a sandwich (turkey, mustard, lettuce on wheat), fruit, and veggies. With 'fuzzy water' as Mandy would call it. my office, lab, or classroom. Today I prepped 7:45-9:30, taught 9:30-11am, and taught 12:30-4:20pm.

I left for home around 5 and was starving...and I made the mistake of going to the grocery store. It ended badly...

...but first, an explaination. It's 100 degrees today. I only had 'hot' food at home, but I wanted a salad. I figured I could make taco salad by repurposing the chicken from the other day, but I had several problems:

1) No chips.
2) My cheese is in the freezer...(why? I don't know!)
3) No yogurt or sour cream

I knew these factors would make it the least satisfying taco salad EVER, so I decided to at least get some chips and yogurt for toppings.

At the store, I had to walk by the bakery section to get to anything, and I saw french silk brownies.

cookie crust, chocolate mousse, white chocolate drizzle...obviously one died a sad death IN MY MOUTH.

Back to the taco salad.
Roasted chicken. Cut in half and chop it up.
 Leftovers for another day.
 I mixed up the chopped chicken with some salsa (green and red), taco a pan heated it up.
What to do with this frozen good way to quickly defrost it, so I just added some to the chicken.

Assemble the salad....chips....
 Top with chicken mixture, salsas, yogurt
Obviously it was horrible.

Ok, I was going to do a speedwork session, but it's flippin' hot out, so it's time for a leisurely walk around the lake with some podcasts...

Happy holiday weekend! Keep safe!