Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Over-thinking the Candy Bar

The Executive Asst. in the office has a giant fish bowl filled with candy - a real temptation on some days.

Yesterday, without thinking I grabbed a Reeses's Peanut Butter Cup. I sat down at my desk, went so far as to open it, and then said to myself, "What will I feel like 9 seconds after eating this candy bar?" I'll feel angry with myself! Is 9 seconds of quasi-ecstasy while suffering a sweet-tooth late in a tough day at work worth it? I just kept saying to myself. 9 seconds for what...for what?

I threw it away. I over-thought it, and during that process I talked myself out of it. It is like taking a deep breath when you are angry. It is not so much self-discipline as it is rationalizing the negative, and allowing time to elapse, just moments, to dampen this impulsive urge.

Oh, what the hell do I know? All I know is it worked for me!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Veganism Wins Wars

Last night I picked up a sandwich from Candle Cafe for dinner. Candle Cafe is the casual dining sister to Candle 79, and happens to be on 3rd Avenue and 75th, ironically just steps from one of the best burger places in the city, J.G. Melons. I got the Cajun seitan and mixed vegetables, and it was quite tasty. I am sure that a person with a knee-jerk aversion to veganism would find this sandwich delicious and filling. I actually thought there was too much balsamic on it. It is truly amazing how much my taste buds have changed to prefer plant-based foods grilled, but without any additional dressing, or oils (something I had to have on when eating vegetables in the past).
Today I was unable to go to my Monday training class in the park, and went to the gym later in the evening. Although I had a decent work out, it is clear that I am more effectively pushed, and find greater joy from working out with a trainer in our group. I just can't get enough of that long lost team effect that I had no idea I missed!

Being a collector of books I recently picked up a science book from 1946 -- "Our Environment and How We Use and Control It." I immediately flipped to the section on foods and was surprised how accurate it was in describing the proper foods for fueling our bodies. Obviously, more advanced information has made this 64 year old book generally dated, but not totally obsolete -- it still provided accurate information about food that was made before the scourge of processed and chemical-laden foods.

One thing I found fascinating was this:

1946 Text Book

Boys, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 2600-3800
Girls, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 2400-3000

2010 Medical Recommendations

Boys, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 2200-2500
Girls, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 1800+

So, there is an enormous increase in calories that is recommend for teens in 1946 versus today, and I can only assume since teens were in superior shape back then compared to today it is the result of the sedentary lifestyle of today's 14 year old, compared to those in the immediate post-war period that needed more calories.

I must point out one laughable photo showed a navy flight officer getting his eyes tested with the literature saying how war experimentation discovered that eating carrots improves vision at night. This is a text book! In fairness, with all the beta carotene and Vitamin A in carrots it helps your vision stay strong, but certainly does not improve it. As far as improving it at night that comes directly from the propaganda of the British during the war. They invented a type of radar that were able to shoot down German planes at night. But, they put out this "research" over the radio about carrots improving night vision as the reason for their nocturnal success rate to befuddle the Third Reich. Well, not only did that propaganda make it into an American Science book, it is commonly accepted even today! Two years ago at the fantastic British War Museum in London I stumbled upon a class of 3rd Graders getting a lecture. When the docent asked them who has heard that carrots help you see at night nearly every hand went up - amazing. An urban legend for kids that I think should survive into perpetuity.

However, all that war chicanery aside -- eat your carrots! Not for your vision, but for your health!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


When Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa won the British  Open last week much was made, second to the pronunciation of his last name, about the little red dot drawn on his golf glove.

His sports psychologist noticed how Louis had a hard time concentrating on the golf course, so he devised this method that whenever he felt his mind wandering he was to look at the red dot and focus on the situation at hand. To stop his mind from wandering.

Well, when I was engaged in this vegan quest my mind was focused, and though at times a struggle, I never wavered. Then when I re-introduced myself back to "civilian life" I found my mind (and acting on temptations) wandering all over the place. So, Saturday night I made it a point to just drink seltzer, but I chose to go out instead of staying in and working on my screenplay, and my book. There was nothing going on, but a bachelor staying in on a Saturday night just seemed sad -- that was my old way of thinking. Mind wandering, but, at least I ate and drank healthfully.

It has been a bit of a see saw, and recently, as I refocused, and concentrated on my commitment the one thing that really kept my mind from wandering, the thing that acted like a "red dot" for me are the emails I receive, and the blog comments, so thank you very much!

Another problem that happens when your mind wanders is binge eating. Below is a link to a great article from Dr. Fuhrman's website about binge eating:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yet Another Steak House

Friday was another hot and humid day punctuated with a client luncheon. My assistant and I met two great ladies, and clients of mine, for lunch -- their restaurant suggestion? Quality Meats. One of the great steak houses in NYC, but, of course! Luckily, they are also well known for their salads! They have about 5 great choices of salad that you can add your favorite types of meat or fish. I was the last to order and got the Mediterranean salad. When asked what I would like to add to my salad I said, "Nothing." Well, the table in chorus shouted, "What?!" OK, OK, so I ordered some shrimp on my salad. But I asked for the dressing on the side. A really good meal, and great time.

Afterwards I met my friend, and my Uncle on the oldest public golf course in America, Van Cortlandt Golf Course in the Bronx. My play was less than stellar, but it was great getting outside for four hours of activity.

Early Saturday morning I got an email from a good friend and college rugby teammate in L.A. who  just read my post about BBQ'ing and eating only vegetables. He was up at 3 AM in the morning...a good excuse would be that he has a new born so he's up in the middle of the night. In truth he confessed that if he doesn't have a cocktail or two at night he has trouble sleeping. We used to room together back in Hermosa Beach, and we are the same stature -- we would work out together, and then go to the bar and drink are faces off. I was 30 years old and this was just when I had to work out incredibly hard to just stay the same weight. We ate and drank poorly. It was the beginning of my incredible and sad slide towards obnoxious obesity. Now, he just weighed in at 277 lbs, but started on a healthy life today -- I have no doubt he will catch up to me soon in weight loss. The guy is committed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Quick Look Back

Here are some blog comments from my first week of veganism November 1-7:

* EGGS!...You knew I started each day with you! All of ya! Hard boiled, soft boiled, scrambled, poached, Florentine, Benedict, and over easy. But, it wasn't easy! I needed you! But now, now you are dead to me.  --Lots of bravdo, but I remember that even more than steak, I feared giving up eggs would be the hardest thing to do. But, I love that eggs really are dead to me now!

* The question left me speechless and uneasy - ranking up there with, "Are you now, or have you every been a member of the Communist Party?" This evening I was at a company dinner with 15 colleagues who were all given the choice between ordering the steak or the salmon. I quietly whispered to the waiter that I was that guy who gets a salad. The head waiter then swooped in, and not using his indoor voice bellowed, "Are you the vegan, sir?" I stammered like St. Peter sweating out my denials before the cock crows twice. "Well, I mean, I, I, if your question is, I mean, sure, the dinner I ordered is technically a vegan one..." -- Now, I am proud to say that I am, or was a vegan!

* After my friend left for the World Series, I went to eat dinner. But it was the World Series. The bars were packed with people. Excitement was in the air! Did I really want to walk up 4 flights for left over vegan chili or a vegan burger? No. This is my life. This is why I have lived in NYC for 12 years. This was the World Series, and the Yankees, and communal celebrating is what we live for. -- Well, I was faithful for 6 months, and now it has been a bit of a struggle to combined my social life with the new, healthy one.

* OK, I am putting the soap box away. Final lesson: (1.) Don't call me Jared. (2.) Eat a nutrient-dense diet! -- I still get pissed when people refer to my quest as being "like Jared" the Subway sandwich spokesman. And I am still on my soapbox evangelizing a nutrient-dense diet!

* And in a period of 8 Days, from Sunday, November 1st to Sunday, November 7th I lost 12 lbs. Roughly the weight of a bowling ball....My preamble to this terrific personal news is to underscore the insignificance of it all. What? I should be thrilled! I am well on my way! All true! When I stepped on the scale I was very very happy this morning. But after many hours of contemplation, and hearty praise coming everywhere from Northern California to North London, my excitement dissipated a bit as I realized that this is not a game where the optimum score is equal to winning. It is the way the game is played on and off the field, and how you act long after the game is over that is far more important than the scoreboard scale in the end zone. -- So true! But, now, I am still just focused on hitting the 225 lbs mark, so I guess the scoreboard is pretty important too!

Dr.'s Visit

** UPDATE** - No Way I am Getting this Procedure!

Today I had an early morning meeting with a client, then some work needed to get done, then I had my doctor's appointment. I went the whole day, until 3:30 without eating a thing! That is why it is so important to stick to your routine. Obviously, breakfast is most important, and when you skip that you are already behind the curve. Then if you skip lunch you become ravenous for the craziest things. I was in the waiting room and on TV they were eating soup dumplings (which used to be my favorite lunch meal). I was dying for soup dumplings!  I think starving yourself, whether on purpose or by circumstance leads to poor food choices just like alcohol!  Well, when I ate lunch I had some clear soup, and yes, I tried three small soup dumplings - I didn't make a meal out of it, just a tiny appetizer. The rest of the day was water and fruit. Not sure what I will be cooking up tonight.

So I went to this Orthopedic Surgeon who was voted one of the best in New York. Not to mention, he is the assistant team doctor for the New York Giants, and the USA Olympic Team in Beijing. He works at the Hospital for Special Surgery, also voted one of the best orthopedic hospitals in the world. So, we are getting a pretty exceptional doctor here. After 4 arthroscopic surgeries on my left knee (2 in the last 3 years), he is actually my third doctor in as many years as well (not counting the doctors/surgeries from High School). The other two most recently were great, but after two surgeries and continued pain, I went to the best of the best.

Bottom line, nothing new. He said my knees are so bad that, "If you were 60, I would have you get both knees replaced tomorrow." What I have is: severe degenerative changes of the patellofemoral compartment. In other words, there is no cartilage under my knee cap, my patella, so it is just bone on grinding bone, thus the intense pain. He said I have three choices (1) suck it up, and hope that continued work on my leg muscles will alleviate the pain somewhat for the next 15 or so years until I get a replacement. (2) replace the patella which has really iffy results and thus not recommended, and (3) get something called Maquet Tibial Tubercle Osteotomy.   What that is is that they cut into a part of the shinbone (tibia) only part way, and then wedge in a piece of a bone from a cadaver. Because of the ligaments that run over the patella and attache to tibia, this operation results in pulling the patella down and out  so it is not rubbing on the bone. Also he would cut away the section of the patella that is rubbing on the knee. I enclosed a diagram.  It is major surgery and I'd be on crutches for 6 weeks. I think I will suck it up and see what progress I make with my trainer!

Back on Track. In it to Win it!

So, Tuesday was another training session in Central Park with the group. Again, I am amazed that such routine exercises that I grew up doing at baseball/football/rugby practice are so effective in exerting energy and inducing fatigue in this old body. Once again, I let my ego get the best of me -- participating in all movements, including some painful lateral drills -- until one particular one leg exercise on the Bethesda Fountain steps forced me to stop. The heat, humidity, and movements made it a very tough hour...still felt great, emotionally, afterwards.

Early in the day on Tuesday I had a meeting down on Wall Street. I grabbed a late lunch after my meeting at a place on the picturesque Stone Street right at Hanover Square and the British Garden memorial. There are multiple restaurants on this old cobble stone street, but I was looking for something quick and an old favorite pub Ulysses had a vegetable wrap. I sat down on the benches in the middle of the pedestrian street, and ordered it. It was so dripping with balsamic vinegar it was virtually inedible. Why do restaurants drown their food?

Today, Wednesday, I found myself way up town going to pick up some files from the doctor who operated on my knee two years ago. I have an appointment tomorrow with one of the best Orthopedists in the city to look at my ever crumbling knees. Walking up Madison Avenue in the 90's I stumbled upon a little kid selling lemonade on the sidewalk. Typically, I would humor the young entrepreneur out of a sense of good citizenship, but today I enthusiastically bought two Dixie cups of lemonade to help quench my thirst after climbing out of the sauna that was the subway. The heat and humidity is not letting up.

I needed to grab lunch while uptown and hopped into a new Italian restaurant because I just needed to get out of the heat. Tre Otto. Plus there was a pack of Italians speaking excitedly out front - so it must be good, right? It was. I figured I could get a fresh salad there. Well, when I saw the fettuccine and mushrooms I just had to have it. Yes, there was a bit more oil than ideal, but it was a lovely dish and I had not had pasta in so long!

Tonight there was a friend's BBQ. Yes, more temptation! But tonight, I just reverted back to the person I was during the vegan quest and made some terrific strides. First, I brought some zucchini, summer squash, asparagus and onions to the BBQ. Then at a BBQ filled with old colleagues and clients, and plenty of booze - including a keg of beer, I happily sipped water for most of the evening. For the entire 4 hours I was there, I ended up drinking exactly one beer. That is called moderation plus!

Then, I was really put to the test. Being that neither the hostess, nor anyone else seemed to be making an effort towards actually grilling the food, I pitched in. First, I grilled the vegetables. Then, I grilled up an enormous tray of hot dogs and hamburgers. Well, besides the heat, and the flaming grill making me an instant wet Shirt contestant, I was quite hungry to boot. Hmmm, humid weather and a scorching BBQ while grilling at a party can only be alleviated with a cold beer, right? I had water. And, as my stomach is growling while I am standing over a full grill of sizzling hamburgers and hot dogs, flipping them about, I nourish myself with the grilled vegetables only. Even if I wasn't hungry, I still would have wanted to sample my dish! I didn't. I grilled up the burgers and dogs, but munched on the vegetables. That was not easy, I must admit.

It was fun chatting with friends, colleagues, clients, and new introductions - and do it with a banana in one hand and a water in the other. Side note for my friends in the UK. One of the women at the party works in the UK Embassy and  I mentioned I was just at the Hanover Sqr British 9-11 Memorial Garden. The Queen visited there on her trip last week. And this woman who works in the Embassy said that she had to run out and buy Apilco brand coffee pots for the Queen's personal staff (The make-up, and stylist person, and secretary I believe) since they actually drink coffee, and it must be poured out of an Apilco coffee pot.

I saw some old colleagues who offered up some accolades which I enjoyed hearing, and I held court telling a few of my ignoble stories from the past while holding my red, plastic, keg beer cup filled with water.

Of course I can do this! Of course I can win! It was nice to be reminded tonight.

Excuses - everyone has them, and they all stink!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Starting the Weekend

The weekend came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

My good friend's sister and family where in town - all alumni of my High School in Los Angeles. Time to celebrate, right? Well, I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve here in full vegan mode and quite enjoyed myself. But...

Friday night was a BBQ and I tried to focus only on the delicious grilled asparagus, fresh corn on the cob, and a pasta dish. I did have a little chicken, and a little beef, but as tasty as it was, a tiny portion is all that I needed or desired.

My friend's boy is 11 years old, and I took it upon myself to teach him how to box! He is an avid sports enthusiast and with the permission of his father I picked up some boxing gloves before I hopped on the bus out to New Jersey. Although thoroughly confused on why I would get him a present, not being a birthday or Christmas, he soon took to pounding away on the mitts I was wearing with his gloves. I really enjoyed teaching him the way I was taught most recently in my terrific workouts. The fact that this fit, young kid was winded after just a few minutes seemed to justify my total exhaustion with my trainer all the more.

At night the wine flowed, and I just succumbed, justifying again I have not seen these folks in a while, and they were out visiting all the way from California. I stayed over and in the morning had poached eggs - again, very good, but not the addictive craving as before my veganism. Eggs just don't do it for me any more, neither did the chicken legs - again, they were not bad, but it did not serve my happiness, just my brief taste.

Obviously, the early morning was spent watching the British Open, and around 11:30 AM my buddy grabbed a couple of beers from the cooler to "take the edge off" and watch golf in between kids running around. I took a sip, then thought, "What the hell am I doing?" And poured it out in the sink. Have not done that since High School! I just let myself slip into my old habits too easily by the end of this past week, and I had just had enough!

Soon, I was on a bus back to NYC and all I could think about was making my vegan wrap and drowning my throat in cold water. You really have to live a couple of unhealthy days to truly appreciate how beautiful chopping up vegetables are in making your own meal. I've enclosed pictures here of  my vegan wrap with zucchini, squash, onions, avocado, tomatoes, tofu, and humus- not the best presentation, but they sure were delicious!

Thursday Night

Since my days eating are rather routine I will only comment when there is something significant. Raise your hand if you are sick and tired of me saying, "Had oatmeal for breakfast."

Thursday afternoon there was a wee bit of a hangover from the big Wednesday night. As a result I had an incredible urge for a sushi roll. Better than a cheeseburger, but...that was bad for my continued weight loss because of the simple carbs in white rice. Generally speaking, even today I prefer, prefer, to keep my lunch and breakfasts 100% vegan/vegetarian, and only one, maybe two dinners of fish.

Thursday night was another test. But I decided (OK, the Devil and I decided) that it would be better, and I would feel more comfortable, if I partook in the cocktails. After all, I was meeting the CEO of a major ad agency in a steak house. You see, with an associate media director of a major ad agency I can say, "Look, I'm off the sauce for a bit," and carry on with good natured entertaining. But when a CEO, who as all four fingers and his thumb on the entire digital advertising community, comes around for a one on one cocktail hour (and whose wife is expecting their 7th child!), well, you don't upset the applecart, and you dive into the same pool of high-end whisky as himself. It is just the way things are done. Other advertising agency executives and publishing executives soon joined us. All these people at this particular end of the bar created a virtual brain trust of the advertising industry (yours truly excluded). Drinks were flowing like a melting ice cap -- it is the binding agent of the industry. If you are not a drinker, and not "in the program," eyebrows are raised. I will say that the topic of conversation was my vegan quest! People are always fascinated by anyone who has lost weight -- hoping for a secret formula -- but when it is someone in our industry, currently in a steak house, no less, who went vegan, people are enthralled. To a person, "I could NEVER!" I love, absolutely love telling them they can, and they should try it a little bit. Remember, a jovial fellow in a suit and tie, whisky in hand, at a steak house espousing the virtues of a plant-based diet carries more weight with a number of people than any wild-eyed, loud talker with a T-Shirt that says “Flaming Vegan.”

And this was only the warm-up.

I had to meet a lady friend at the Peninsula Hotel bar after my tête-à-tête with my CEO friend and already I knew this was going to be a rough night. No dinner – well, unless you count appetizer, main course, and desert (all scotch) as dinner. The top of the Peninsula Hotel is a beautiful bar with spectacular views of the city. The drinks are the cost of your mortgage, but the atmosphere is great. She was waiting for me with a martini in hand, sigh, and the night continues on. We then bounced over to Tao for a few, and to meet more friends.

It was the old me, and as comfortable as I felt in this roll, I kept thinking that this is the last night of this for a while! I’m not moving. I am not getting another job. So, I better learn to deal with this in small doses since the temptations are every night of the week. Let other cities make their “nights out” on Fridays and Saturdays, NYC makes it a daily show. I have to deal with it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wednesday Night

Our team at work had a great evening of team building like most sales teams - a great dinner, a concert, and a late night at a bar. It's what we do best.

I had a choice. I chose not to deviate from their playbook, just mine. I've only been there 6 months, and this was the first time we were all out together. It is hard to explain, but I really needed to slip into my old life - eat what they were eating, and drink what they were drinking. Camaraderie was needed here.

We ate at Lugo Caffe which is one of the few fine restaurants in the area of Madison Square Garden. It is very good, and the last time I was there I ordered the salad while entertaining a client. This night, however, I ate the food that was prepared for our table of 16 - meat, sauces, fish, etc. We then went to the Jack Johnson concert - a mellow, but very entertaining show. I had no idea who he was, and said as much on my Facebook wall - the onslaught of fans from my friends told me he was going to be a good show. They were not wrong. I gathered beers for my colleagues and we had a terrific time. Now looking to me for where to go after the concert I suggested a terrific Irish bar across the street, Tir Na Nog. With the team throwing back shots and laughing and drinking I was certainly in my old element. But, on this night I did not regret it, I just wanted to be the old self just for the evening.

 Yes, I had fun, but I was repulsed by the sight of the Ray Bary pizza box the following morning.

Things would get worse this week before they got better.

Tackled at the 50 Meter Line, Still Have Possession of the Ball

Sorry for the absence! From Wednesday evening to Sunday evening I lived many lives, relived many memories, and in the end I am not pleased with myself as a whole even though I corrected my mistakes and made new changes for the positive.

This blog has certainly taken a life of its own and as a result I have publicly revealed things that a more sensible man would not. The problem with presenting personal triumphs and set-backs in such a public forum is the immediacy of it all.  Therefore, I am saving some of my stark, personal, internal struggles for my book. It is much easier to confess one's struggles in a book because it is then followed by some victorious action and insight that ends the story. Basically, short of murder everyone can reveal their struggles in a book, and then how they beat them, and everyone applauds. With a book it's now alot easier to point to victory no matter how grueling, and challenging the struggle. The end is known.

With the blog, the immediacy is so raw I am often left thinking, "What is the person reading this thinking? Do they think I am a loser, that I am going to fail?"

Anyway, I have lots to write about, and will make the time tomorrow to bring you up to speed on the past 5 days.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Real Men Need Sustenance!

Sustenance - what every man needs in their diet. Although technically it means nourishment, men know it to mean - nourishment, plus gut-filling happiness.

One of the most famous stories from my apartment of 11 years on Third Avenue was the Christmas party I threw that began and ended with the scolding comment, "Why is the oven on?!"

My girlfriend at the time and I threw a Christmas party, and being a small apartment she took care of all the hors d'oeuvres, and I took care of the booze. Her beautifully made little appetizers perfectly fed 12 people, while my contribution could have sustained all the speakeasies in Kansas City from 1927 through most of '28.

My good friend rightly pointed out that my party would include a majority of professional drinkers, men and women alike, and that this rumored hors d'oeuvres platter would simply not suffice, nor provide the sustenance required for one of my famous parties which usually flirted with excess...think "Mad Men" on steroids. So, he took it upon himself to bring two giant tins of frozen lasagna. This caused considerable disruption with my girlfriend's perfectly crafted and elegant, bite-sized spread. Arriving after the lasagna went in the oven she was not pleased when she saw that little orange light on  (Oh, yeah, when she caught wind of my friend's idea earlier that day to add sustenance to the party, she expressly forbade it). Needless to say, there was less tension in the Middle East that night.

So, when I speak of my vegan quest most guys state firmly that living on salads only is impossible, and improbable, to sustain their own life day in and day out. But this diet is not that little salad one gets before their meal, rather, my plant-based diet is everything under the sun that grows and provides more sustenance, and happiness, than that slice of pizza or burger in your hands.

Case in point: Yesterday was my typical - oatmeal with raisins and walnuts in the morning, a salad of different types of lettuce, plus carrots, broccoli, cucumber, black beans, chickpeas, (the kidney beans looked suspect), nuts and seeds. Again, with no dressing at all, and again, it tasted great, and was not dry, nor tasted like dirt. For dinner, I was determined to make something and not rely on a restaurant.

I went to the store and loaded up on frozen fruit for my smoothies, cherries (my favorite fruit), and vegetables for my vegan wrap. I grilled in a frying pan (the one with ridges - a grill pan?) slices of squash, zucchini, extra firm tofu, and onions. I sliced up a tomato, and avocado. Spreading a whole wheat tortilla, which I slightly toasted in the broiler, with fresh humus I added the vegetables and rolled it up into an amazing wrap. I would pit my vegan wrap against any burger or sandwich or slice of Christmas lasagna in a lumber jack or steelworker's diner for taste AND sustenance. It is that good! And I enjoyed with a smoothie of mixed fruit, a banana, some almond "milk," and it was a perfect meal.

Well, perfect until the American League lost in the baseball All-Star game.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Interesting Statistic

Read this in this weeks New York magazine:

There are now 171 Subway sandwich shops and 147 actual subway stops in Manhattan.

Live webcast by Dr. Fuhrman

This week is Dr. Fuhrman’s annual Health Getaway, which this year is taking place in San Diego, California. Please join us for a sneak peek into the event on Tuesday, July 13th, when Dr. Fuhrman gives a lecture on food addictions and weight loss. For the first time at a Dr. Fuhrman event, we will be streaming LIVE over the internet.

According to Dr. Fuhrman, toxic hunger is an extremely important nutritional concept to understand when adopting a health-promoting, high nutrient diet. In this webcast, Dr. Fuhrman will discuss the difference between true hunger and toxic hunger, the addictive properties of unhealthy foods, the societal and emotional aspects that cause resistance to dietary changes, and the mindset required to overcome this resistance, lose weight, and keep it off.

This webcast is free to the public – please join us on Tuesday at
9:45am-11:00am Pacific
10:45am-12:00pm Mountain
11:45am-1:00pm Central
12:45pm-2:00pm Eastern


A Forgettable Weekend

Although I enjoyed staying in the city this weekend I ate out too often, and therefore not terribly pleased with my effort. Plus, I had a serious desire for Chinese which I ordered, ate, and regretted. I had really not had any Chinese food since the end of my vegan quest, and though it was good, I was not really satisfied after I finished - I felt unhealthy.
I was reminded, however, why it is so much better to make my own meals. I had the vegetable salad, and side of brussel sprouts at P.J. Clarke's. Half of Italy's oil was on both of these dishes -- it was not good at all. I wish I had a BBQ on my apartment roof, I'd grill everyday! One time, about 15 years ago I was grilling on a little Hibachi grill on my fire-escape before a fireman on the street yelled up to put it out, or he'd do it for me!

I stayed pretty disciplined with the drinking until the World Cup, and my workout regime was limited, so all in all, I have had healthier weekends. 

Below is a great news segment that is certainly welcomed in this age of obese children:

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Friday I read a story about a new ramen noodle restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, not far from work. I absolutely love Men Kui Tei, and though noodles have more simple carbs than I should be eating my mind was in a noodle focus, and wanted to try out this new restaurant Totto Ramen. There was a small line for this smaller restaurant already at noon when it opened. I love little, unique places like this. Just a couple of blocks away when I lived in Hell's Kitchen in the 1990's there would be huge lines, even in the summer, for the delicious soup from the Soup Man...a few years later, thanks to Seinfeld, this real person became a character known as the Soup Nazi.

Anyway Totto is down a few steps from the street level and has exactly 19 chairs, including bar stools, in this tiny place. The weather was in the 90's as was the humidity, so only mad dogs, Englishmen, and ramen lovers ventured out for some piping hot ramen noodles today. The stove is feet away, and that means the stove fan was blasting hot air on a hot day. In short the experience could have been miserable. However, I unbuttoned my shirt to Elvis levels and dug in to the vegetable ramen. The noodles were a little different than Men Kui Tei, and the broth was "crisper" and more spicy. However, I prefer MenKui Tei. The internal sprinklers did a job on my whole body, so I had two choices: Buy a new shirt before going back to work, or taking some time to cool off, and dry off. I chose the later and popped around the corner into my old local McCoys. I used to go to McCoys when I first moved to the city on 51st between 8th and 9th just when it started to turn around (one of the selling points my rental agent said back in '95 was that, "there were hardly any murders in the neighborhood last year." OK, sign me's amazing how a cheap, rent stabilized apartment eradicates fear!) I'd meet old guys in McCoy's who would talk about the Westies, the famous Irish Gang that used to run Hell's Kitchen.
Feeling nostalgic (when am I not?) I went into McCoy's. The place was sanitized to almost Applebees-like standards, but the bartender was a friendly actress, the place was cool, and she had no problem delivering 6 pints of ice water to me while I read the Post.

After work on a warm day I accompanied a friend and colleague to the Bryant Park Grill rooftop where I really wanted a cold beer, but decided I really didn't deserve one so I stuck with seltzer water. Dinner had me back at Taksim.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Success, then Struggle

Last night was a going away party for a well-known advertising executive which means scores of advertising salespeople in suits line up to buy drinks and curry favor from the hordes of advertising agency people milling about. Although many salespeople are genuinely friends with some in the agency, there is still this dance that I find really sad. Being in the business so long I shun this breathless attempt to chat up, in an insincere Eddie Haskell way, every 23 year old media planner with millions of dollars in advertising decisions at their finger tips. I go to see friends in the agency, and former salesperson comrades. Usually, these are booze-filled nights that last until the wee hours. And back in the day I was leading this charge.

I knew I was not going to drink, but I had to load up on food anyway knowing it would be a while before I could have dinner. I popped over to Haru at 6:00 for a couple of rolls. Yeah, that is the second meal of fish this week, and white rice to boot! I think I was on autopilot and was thinking I needed to coat my stomach with some carbs before a big night out. I basically ate without really thinking.

Went to the Frying Pan, an old boat that is tethered to the pier on the west side of Manhattan. Both the Frying Pan and the pier serve as a giant outdoor bar populated by thousands. It is quite the scene!

Seeing old pals was fun, and one guy commented, "Terry looks so wrong thin." I guess that goes to the fact I established myself as a heavy-set, good time Charlie with a drink at the ready, always eager for a steak house, and always filled with stories. So, since I "look" different it must mean I "am" different, i.e. less fun. I drank seltzer all night in a cocktail glass. More than a few asked me if I was drinking again, and I assured them I was while sipping my seltzer and lime - "Good, we can hang out again!" They say in half-jest. This are friends from the industry and not close friends so I really don't care one way or the other, but I wanted to illustrate the importance of booze on our industry and how easy it was for me to swim in it for so long.

Late in the evening I ended up at P.J. Clarke's where in the midst of holding court with new friends I allowed myself a glass of rye. I really should not be rewarding myself for not drinking with a drink, but not drinking at The Frying Pan is like parachuting into the middle of D-Day and not firing your weapon. It was unprecedented. So I was one and done...or so I thought. I got a text from a friend that a great Irish singer was belting them out at Doc Watson's. So, I recruited my new friends and headed up there. However, knowing it had the potential of becoming an all night affair, I pulled the rip chord after one glass of Smithwicks and headed home leaving the party still rollicking at 1 AM.

OK, so, those sushi rolls at 6 PM had long stopped filling my belly and I had a slice of pizza. Shoot! Stupid! It never fails - I reward myself with one tiny drink, that turns into two (again, light-years away from the old days when I would have downed two drinks before I stepped onto the Frying Pan), and those two drinks turn into a slice of pizza while I justify it to myself with, "I'll work out extra hard tomorrow." When you make concessions and little deals with yourself, you are really making deals with the Devil.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"

Yesterday I had a client lunch with a friend who was also a college athlete and then later let the best of this active NYC lifestyle get to him and gained a significant amount of weight. He is now doing Triathlons and has lost about 25 lbs. I always get motivated discussing health and fitness with like-minded friends. We met for sushi at the great Natsumi, and I had a seaweed salad, and some sashimi. It is also worth noting that when I first started this quest he ridiculed me, good-naturedly, a few times. Then I started to think -- you know, every person who ridiculed me in the beginning (albeit in jest) are impressed with my resolve, and now treat my veganism (or modified veganism, or more accurately, nutritarianism) as something quite normal. In the beginning, this client made a joke about only meeting me at steak joints for our businesses luncheons, but yesterday, he suggested a few places with a good vegetarian menu. My good friend at the Shore used to rake me over the coals, but now, he accepts this new diet as easily as he buys one set of food for him, and one set for his kids. It has become normal.

And that is something I really cherish. No longer is my restrictive (too harsh of a word), no longer is my enlightened diet a circus side-show, for it has entered the mainstream of my life as others see me.

Last night I met the Nurse for iced coffee, or iced mocha? Cappuccino? Oh, I don't know, I really am the most coffee-illiterate person around. I don't drink much coffee, and I swear there is zero difference between the cup of joe at work, and what you get at Starbucks. Yes, I know you coffee lovers, you pity me; just like I pity the person who can't tell the difference between a 16 year old Lagavulin scotch whiskey, and an 18 year old Maccallan scotch whiskey (if you're buying me a Christmas gift, chose the former). So, at the coffee shop, and in the spirit of camaraderie, I simply said, "I'll have what she's having." Since I mostly drink water, this iced coffee/mocha/latte, whatever, did nothing for me except make me feel like I should not be drinking it. It was like a watery milkshake. I didn't finish.

The coffee shop we went to is a tiny place on York Ave. between 75th and 76th. It also had lots of vegan cookies and cakes. Some aged, tie-dye, gray-haired woman who fought the imaginary "power" 40 years ago came in and was asking all sorts of questions about each of the vegan sweets. 9 months ago I would have rolled my eyes at this septuagenarian hippie, but last night I listened in with interest, and dare I say, embarrassingly, kinship!

I went to dinner at A La Turk (formerly Sultan), a very good Turkish restaurant. I was interested in only their humus and lentil soup to compare to my favorite takeout place, Taksim. Well, it was a close call. Both lentil soups are superb and the fact that no cream is used is astounding! There was enough of a difference that all I could say is that they are both excellent, and I would have to do a true side-by-side to pick the best. No point in doing this other than humour myself. The humus was creamier at A La Turk, but both are good and I would not prefer one over the other. The hostess was one of those bubbly, beautifully exotic women that punctuate NYC and add such flavor to this wonderful city that when I visit either my brother in Dallas, or the other one in Orange County, I feel like I am in some sort of homogeneous Twilight Zone. The hostess was half Turkish, and half Greek, so her nickname immediately become, "War."

The owner came over and explained how this humus came from a special recipe from his village. If he said that about the lentil soup I would have been all in since it was such a unique and wonderful taste. The humus was excellent, don't get me wrong, but I think Taksim's was just as good and tasted similarly. But how hard is it to even make humus?

Here is Dr. Fuhrman's recipe:

1 cup chickpeas (canned or cooked)
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup bean liquid, from the canned beans or water
1 teaspoon horseradish (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until creamy smooth.  Makes an awesome spread or a dip for raw and lightly steamed veggies. Or spread on bread and top with salsa

So, regarding my heading, "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)",  I was referring to the popular song by They Might Be Giants from 1990. However, I had no idea how old that song was, and who covered it! Just a partial list: Bing Crosby with Ella Fitzgerald (1953), Frankie Vaughan (1954), Santo & Johnny (1962), Bette Midler for the live album "Live At Last" (1977), They Might Be Giants (1990), Trevor Horn Orchestra, for the soundtrack to "Mona Lisa Smile" (2003), etc.