Mood Disorders in the Media: Aaron Swartz
The conversation in the media around depression and other mood disorders has been supercharged lately, what with the too numerous tragedies and the implications of health care reform. I read all relevant pieces that I come across, so I thought that I would start flagging the good ones here. 

A few weeks ago I read a New Yorker bio piece about Aaron Swartz. I didn’t know a ton about him and his life (unfortunately I knew more about his death, how terrible is that?), yet I was touched by the piece.

While I read it I  found myself nodding along with descriptions of him from his friends and family, and also excerpts from his personal blog. There were expressed so many familiar feelings of continuous struggle, questioning life as a game, longing for intimacy yet shutting oneself off from others, and being afraid to ask for help. Well, maybe too afraid, or maybe too proud. Anyways, it all felt a bit too familiar. It’s a very thoughtful and sometimes infuriating piece.

You should read it if you have spare time. Of course you have spare time.

Food, Health

I Quit Sugar: Week 6: All Savory All the Time

 Week 6: End of the line for my vegan and sugar experiment.

When I started this experiment I figured that going vegan might be easier than cutting out sugar. That hasn’t changed. Thankfully I’ve found a few dishes that have been lifesavers. See below!





Back on board the Meat Train:



  • Slow cooker curried lentils, potatoes and chicken with greek yogurt- fantastic, but not as awesome as the butternut squash soup

 My vegan experiment has been over for more than a week, but the aftereffects are surprising.

I was so excited at first to eat meat and eggs and butter and cheese. Yet now that I can, I’m feeling pretty sensitive to meat. I feel grossed out if there’s too much, for example.  It feels wasteful if the meat that I’m eating is not rocking my world. Carmelized bacon with eggs? YES! Random burger from so so place? EH. Also I’m really feeling the heaviness from meat and the accompanying heartburn. 🙁

I’ve faltered a bit with the sugar thing the last few weeks.

It’s been really really hard. I stole secret sniffs of a lemon pie at a party and pretended in my mind that I was eating it.(This is a trick I have heard that makes you feel like you’re tasting it, but IT DOES NOT WORK). SAD. I’ve purchased sugar free, lactose free and gluten free ice cream, only to get home and notice “may cause a laxative effect in sensitive individuals” on the side label.

Hard as it has been, the experiment has been enlightening. But with diabetes, liver and cancer all up in my family history, I think that it’s worth it to keep trying to cut it out to a manageable level.

Food, Health

WELL. Here we are at DAY THIRTY. The end of my vegan thing, and another 2 wks to go on the sugar program. I almost updated on Day 20, but honestly it was so boring. Here’s what I had:

Day 20: No Brunch to Be Had

30 Day Vegan: Eating at home has been totally fine as I’ve gotten my ass into the kitchen and have made a few staples to get me through the week. I’ve been living on the following: portobello mushroom fajitas, oatmeal, salads, falafels and lentils. I know, it’s not very exciting, but not having to think too much has been a nice change of pace. The only real disappointment is the fact that  finding vegan brunch in San Francisco is a pain. Even at classy joints like NOPA, there was nothing to be  had which would pass for vegan. So I cobbled together a few side dishes and called it a day.

I Quit Sugar: Getting there. Taking my coffee black. Eating a whole lot of avocado to keep the cravings at bay. Had a blueberry the other day and it tasted like a lightning bolt in my mouth. Whoa!

Side effects: Skin’s still looking pretty clear. Still dreaming about food. Not missing meat at all, just cheese.

Day 30: Last Vegan Day. My Tastebuds are Changing

30 Day Vegan: Well, that was a fun experiment. Is it disappointing to say that going vegan was not that interesting? I got into a rhythm and then there wasn’t much to it besides cruising through it on autopilot with my favorite veggie dishes. Restaurants were the only real temptation. Tomorrow I’m celebrating the end with a real brunch (EGGS) and maybe a nice meal.

I Quit Sugar: Still trying on this one, and doing just ok. It is really really hard avoiding fruit. I have about two more weeks on the IQS plan.

Side effects: Hormonal acne is back.>:l Even vegetables taste sweet to me. Lost a few pounds from going vegan, but nothing all that startling.

Final Thoughts on the Vegan Thing

The experiment was another reminder that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Vegan cheese in all of its forms (cashew cheese, Daiya) were crap (even after I ordered San Francisco’s “best” vegan pizza from Patxi’s), and tofu isn’t much of a replacement for eggs. I missed those terribly. Everything else I didn’t think about much. I made it through fine without dreaming of fried chicken, for example. Based on my cravings, I think that I can cut back generally on my overall meat consumption. It’s good to know that you can do without.

Food, Health

30 Day Vegan/ I Quit Sugar Update: Day 11. Cravings.

Well, it’s day 11 already! Time to do an update on this whole “I’m gonna go vegan and cut back on my sugar” resolution. Here we go:

Vegan update:

I’ve been staying on track at home and out at restaurants for the most part. I keep slipping up with condiments (aioli you fiend!). Missing bacon and eggs terribly.Starting to lean a little too heavily on the fake meats.

Sugar update:

I got it wrong in my last update- apparently Week #2 of the I Quit Sugar diet is continuing to cut back on Fructose + adding in more fats. So I don’t have to go cold turkey until Week #3. Cutting back on sugar has been going okay since I have been eating blandly at home, but going out is becoming really hard.

Morale update:


Couldn’t track down where the original of this came from…

Oh friends, I am in a bad way.

My roommates are  currently minimally employed, and we’ve created a loving household routine as far as the workdays go. It’s not lonely around the house. Everyone’ s applying to jobs, or working on their website, or pursuing a personal passion. It’s exciting. And everyone is cooking everyday. This is a struggle.

I wake up and shuffle off to the kitchen to make myself a pot of coffee and grab some vegan yogurt, and it smells wondrous- bacon, eggs and homemade bread and butter. Oy. Killing me. Then throughout the day, they just keep cooking. One roommate roasts a whole chicken. Another does steak and a sweet potato mash. So all I can do is look and salivate. I’ve gotta say, I haven’t felt this kind of pit of my stomach hunger and mouthwatering aching for food in ages.

I’ve been busy with work stuff, so I’m not cooking as much as I’d like to. Since I’m feeling these crazy cravings I think that I’m going to try to  focus on all the good stuff that I CAN eat by pulling together some new hearty recipes. Here are a few recipes that look promising:

Red Lentil Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk

Chickpea Tagine with Cinnamon, Cumin and Carrots

Lemon asparagus risotto

Other thoughts

On the plus side, my skin is looking pretty awesome. There are less blemishes overall and the tone is evening. I can’t tell the difference in my energy levels, but I will say- my alcohol tolerance is shot! It makes sense, I just didn’t anticipate it.

PS- I tried making this Vegan Red Lentil + Butternut Squash Soup without the fenugreek. It was out of control delicious. Recommended!

photo (32)







Staged shot at the end. Everything is sore.

My roommate invited me to go climbing with him today at Mission Cliffs, so… why not? I took the intro class to safety and technique (a whole hour long what a value!), and then spent a couple of hours switching off climbing with my roommate. It was definitely more fun and meditative than I’d expected, and it seems like there’s a lot to learn. Maybe I’ll go back. Maybe. It wasn’t until I was at the top of one of the climbs that I remembered that I was afraid of heights, hahaha.

Anyways, I have to stop this post now because my thumbs and fingers feel like fat grapes so swollen that they might explode. That’s a quality sport!