A Food Story in Three Parts

Part 1 – Background In order to prevent any random vegans who happen by from flipping out when they see that I eat egg whites, I must clarify my diet. I like to call it Vegan Plus Egg Whites Minus Fats & Oils. It’s the Ornish Cardiac Reversal Plan.

Part 2 – Vegetables I Have Peeled With a Julienne Peeler (I got a Julienne Peeler this week and it’s turning out to be something of an obsession.) carrots, zucchini, red cabbage, radishes, scallions, green peppers, potatoes

Part 3 – Things I have Made With Julienned Vegetables Rainbow Noodle Salad, egg whites with green peppers, Potato Strings with Tofu, Air Fryer egg rolls

This doesn’t look like a lot of food but believe me, I’ve made these meals many times this week. I get stuck on things. I made the Air Fryer Egg rolls for the first time this morning and although they look unappealingly dry, they were delightfully light and crunchy. This one is a keeper.

The Evening Swim

When we moved into our Florida home almost six years ago1, we put in a small swimming pool. It’s Florida and although people survive without a pool, the vast majority understand that it’s the next thing to an essential basic need once hot and humid summer rolls around. We’re in north eastern Florida so pool season isn’t year round like it is farther south but it is 9-10 months of the year here. We thought of the pool as a wonderful luxury item but as the years went along, it became a mental lifesaver for me. My bad knees got worse and swimming was the only exercise I could do.

Oh, there was plenty of luxurious lounging around too – don’t get me wrong. Still is, as a matter of fact. Once I get done exercising2, I arrange a nice little set up made up of a pool float, a swim saddle, a wide brimmed hat, an insulated coconut cup, a Bluetooth speaker and an iPad. I park the coconut and the speaker on the edge of the pool, plop the hat on my own sun streaked coconut3, sit on the swim saddle, fold the mat in half so I can rest my arms on it, prop up the iPad against the head rest and set sail.

You’d be surprised how long you can be content like that – floating around, listening to music and stirring things up on Twitter.

It’s beastly hot out there now so everyday I plan to go out at 8 or 9 am, do my exercising while the pool is still in shade and get it over with. Total times that has happened: 1. So instead I go out a 8pm, get down to the business of swimming and then float on my back waiting for a plane to pass overhead or for the stars to come out. Big discovery: there are bats here! Very busy little swooping bats that zoom back and forth and turn on a dime. The pool water is still warm from the beastly hot day that is ending, there’s no noise except nature sounds4 and its a nice way to get very relaxed before bedtime.

Anyway, this isn’t even what I wanted to tell you. My only regret about the pool is that I was too inexperienced to ask that a swim jet be installed during construction so I could swim against the current and stay in one place. I’ve been swimming end to end but lose a lot of time turning around at the ends and if I’m doing the back stroke, I am in fear of bonking my head because I take a blood thinner and how many mini bleeds does it take to create brain damage?

But that’s all in the past now. A friend of mine casually mentioned a swim tether to me and wondered why I didn’t use one. Because I never even heard about such a thing! It took me about 28 hours after that conversation for Amazon to put one in my hands. It’s a nylon belt covered with foam, a nylon loop with a ring and a rubbery bungee cord. It sounds silly but it works. No more stopping to turn, no more head bonking.

When I stop to rest, especially if I’m doing the back stroke, I let the bungee retract and gently return me to the handrail that the tether is attached to, It’s pleasant. My husband watched me swim face down and when I stopped for a rest, he said I looked like a toddler who made a break for it but the mother caught him by the waistband of his pants.

Swim tethers. Now we all know about them.

1Can you believe that already?

2Haha – before and after! Sometimes the exercise never even happens. “Sometimes” (eye roll )

3Nope. Hair salon.

4 Coyotes behind the fence, frogs in the trees.

Two Years Ago

It seems longer and it seems like last month. Two years ago I had a major heart attack. Nothing has been the same since then.

On the advice of my cardiologist, I became a strict plant eater and would you believe that I, a person who never denied myself anything or any amount (food-wise), have been 100% compliant? It’s true. I call my diet Vegan Plus although when you think about it, that should really be Vegan Minus. Not only do I avoid animals and animal products but also extra fat in any form. That means no oil, butter, mayo, nuts, avocado, egg yolks, cheese, animal milk. And yet, I eat better than ever before, have a much wider variety of meals and snacks and I’m never hungry. Plus, my lab work is perfect, I lost a ton of weight, I’m more active and my skin looks pretty danged good.

Anyway, two years ago and I’m still standing. I say this because I’m not dead. That’s not as funny as it sounds because throughout my younger life before I became a nurse, I used to hear about people who had major heart attacks – always embellished with helpful editorial remarks such as “came back from the dead” , “already died once” and “should be dead already” – I thought of those poor people standing right there in front of me as the walking dead. After I became a nurse, my way of thinking never changed. It didn’t help that I was in a nursing specialty that dealt with people who had a terminal disease. Not heart disease, but my mind had been trained to accept the concept of borrowed time. Over time, that feeling subsided, or maybe I just didn’t deal directly with sick people anymore. I never thought of the heart attack victims living on borrowed time at all.

Then, it happened to me. I was almost dead. But I came back from the dead. Even though I should be dead already. When I’m with my friends, I try to read their minds to determine if they think I’m living on bowered time. I’m afraid that if the tables were turned and I was looking at them post-heart attack, I’d be thinking that.

Actually, I feel quite normal. Except that I have to neurotically touch my pacemaker every day, which makes me feel like I have verified that it’s functioning properly. Or try to mystically assess if my coronary arteries are closing up due to unwitting consumption of hidden fat. And take a minute or two to fret that everything could just go black all of a sudden and then just like that, I’ll actually be dead. Again.

Not so much Walking Dead as Walking A Little Bit Crazy.

Well, this took a dark turn. I meant it to be the celebration of life, of the joy of veganism, the power of plant based eating, an old dog learning a wonderful new trick. Instead it turned into a look inside my head. Sorry about that.

That’s what I love about blogging. The truth comes out no matter what you set out to do. I should do this more often.

To end things on a happier note, the crape myrtles are in bloom now.

Other Places

I’m considering changing the name of this blog to “Other Places” because that’s where I do my sharing these days. On a scale of 1-10 – v Instagram is 1 (best) and Facebook is 10 (worst). In between is Twitter, Gab and MeWe. Even though I have a long standing account there, Parler gives me a headache. This is something that I wrote on Instagram this week – as you can see, it’s longer than the usual entry over there.


This week marks a 75 pound weight loss for me since July. Weight loss wasn’t my primary objective – I was looking for the cardiac benefit of going vegan but I’ll take it. (Did you know that it’s passé to use the term vegan? Now the thing to say is plant-based. Further, my particular corner of the planet is known as PBWFNF – plant-based whole foods no fat.) Anyway, lots to be happy about now but there’s sadness, too.

I’ve been hanging onto some really good business clothes that I outgrew, waiting for the day that I’d slim down and fit in them again. I know I’m not the only one that does this. I missed the window. I always thought It would be so great if my clothing was loose, or my rings would spin around or if bracelets and watches had to be pushed up on my forearm to keep the faces pointed towards me. But that’s not what happened – it’s annoying and uncomfortable.

I waited too long to try them on and now they look like circus tents hanging on me. And spinning rings and bracelets -which imply that you’re so slim you can’t find items small enough for you – are very annoying. The thing that hurts is how much angst I had separating myself from these things. I guess it’s because they were some of the best quality clothing I ever owned?

In the end, I bagged up 3 kitchen can bags, crammed full of these items, some with the tags still on, that were special to me and took them to a local thrift shop that supports the battered women’s shelter. Forgive me when I tell you that I couldn’t let go of 2 of my best blazers, 3 wrap dresses, or even my 2 fabulous faux fur coats. (I might still need those coats in wintery Florida!)

They told me the shelter women get first crack at incoming clothing and I hope that’s true. It’s a comfort to think that women who are right now without the basic necessities will be wearing that clothing someday, maybe to job interviews or for loan applications.

I don’t know why I am compelled to share this with you. Letting go of these visible symbols of a goal that’s long been surpassed is still bothering me a week later.