Archive for January, 2009

Ferran Adria at Harvard

Monday, January 12th, 2009

For all you who missed the Ferran Adria “talk” at the Physics Departmnet at Harvard last month, here’s the video stream, courtesy of Harvard.

Below, please find a link to a streaming video (in Real Media) of the Ferran Adria lecture at Harvard held in December. The first 5-10 minutes are fairly dark, but then the lighting is properly adjusted. Ferran Adria at Harvard

The Sweet Potato Cleanse –Day Four

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

It’s been two days since my last sweet potato. But I have been eating a lot of carrots. almost as many as when I got carotemia as an aspiring college-aged Macrobiotic.

Okay. I skipped a day. I was pretty embarassed that I/we had fallen of the all all-orange and yellow beta-carotene diet. It’s a private issue that I prefer green to yellow. maybe it’s that my eyes are green.

Anyway, we decided on Monday to be one with a veggie diet –the convergence of all the truly reasonable, healthy diets that I’ve read about. Heavy on veggies of all sorts, in lots of colors, low on animal fats (including, sob, cheese), a few random whole grains for crunch –rice crackers and brown rice, and a few fruity bits. We like to toss a handful of blueberries, fresh or frozen on top of the granola and non-fat yogurt parfait.

We could do this diet forever, and I suppose that’s the point. We need variety to coaxe us out of bed int he morning. If my whole day stretched before as a choice of carrots, shredded, baked, stir-fried, or slow roasted, I might be found hanging from the closet rod, with my neck tied with an Hermes scarf. I jsut cannot succeed with a diet consiting of four food choices, half of them yellow-orange.

We also decided to add a little alcohol into the dinenr ritual of veggie soup, veggied entree, fruit for dessert. a single glass (non-refillable!) of red or white wine. It does wonders for the spirit. And it means that Michael who was always slightly blotto after dinner and his half and my half of a bottle of wine, is awake and chipper until long after John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

I’ve unearthed my vegetarian cookbooks and all my soup recipes. So far the winner is an “un-stuffed” cabbage soup a la Jane Brody. Excellent! Lots of cabbage (natch), a hint of honey, a scattering of raisins, and some tomato sauce and lemon. Sweet sour, filling, and marvelously worth eating.

We can do this. We may not be purists, but we can lose weight together. Tomorrow I’ll start making sweet potatoes again.

The sweet Potato Cleanse- Day Two

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

This is not going well. Michael refused the yummy sweet potato I baked for breakfast and wouldn’t even try the charming coleslaw I whipped up as a crunchy complement to the carrot and ginger soup. He’s not talking during meals and for an almost annoyingly genial man, he isn’t smiling at me. 36 hours and counting. Dinner. Well, I didn’t have to count too long. We’ve tried to keep oursleves busy and abstemious. At the ICA today in the Wolfgang Puck cafe the two of us had a cup of plain tea each, demoralizing our friends who really wanted to order the rustic free-form pizza. (It did look very good.) We went to the exhibit, did a little shopping, kept ourselves entertained by going to a play at the Lyric Stage, and then tossed each other under the bus. After the play, we went for dinner at Avila where we went with our friends so we could  dissect the play and our extremely fascinating personal lives. What were we supposed to do? Deny our friends a good meal and companionship on a Saturday night?

No carrots on the menu. The only sweet potatoes were fried….so, we sinned. Although, we both had fish and were heavy on the vegetables. Mine was fantastic. A whole crispy fish, stuffed with arugala and taro chunks). And when Michael mindlessly picked up a slice, with the speed of a frog snaring a fly,  I grabbed out of his hand and returned it to the bread basket. Okay, so he  celebrated 40 hours of near abstinence with a creme brulee. It was Saturday night.

The Sweet Potato Cleanse

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

I am a grump. Today I agreed to begin a two-week cleanse diet with my husband Michael. As far as I am concerned this is a terrible thing. The idea of eating only sweet potato, carrot, celery, and cabbage–– (no salt, no sugar, no fruit but six drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract and as much tea as we want!!!) –– for even one day day is  a misery. The idea of eating only four foods for two weeks is purgatory. I’m a foodie, and a food writer. Even if I unearth every single sweet potato and carrot recipe in the universe (multi-ethnic carrot salad medley anyone?) it’s no fun. It’s probably not even healthy. But in the end, I am either game, or kind of stuck. I don’t know if I believe in the idea of a “cleanse”. I haven’t spent too many sleepless nights obsessing about the mobility of the cells (cilia?) in my epithelium or being too worried about the cleanliness of my digestive tract. But, according to Igor,  maybe I should be.

IGOR: It’s all Igor’s fault. Igor Burdenko is an amazing coach and motivator who has been helping Michael make a semi-miraculous recovery from a fractured lumbar disk that he injured this summer. Twice a week, bleary eyed and way too early, we meet Igor at the pool where he works with Michael for an hour on mobility exercises, endurance, strength and coordination. Oh — here’s the other thing. Mike has MS. And regaining mobility and agility for him is crucial. The last thing he needed was three months of near immobility after a stupid boating accident last August. Bummer beyond bummer.

My friends at the Canyon Ranch recommended Igor as a potential godsend to Michael. For over 50 years Igor has been training elite athletes — famous prima ballerinas, speed skaters, gymnasts, and divers who performed at the top of their pursuits winning Olympic Medals and audience adoration. Their photos and love notes line Igor’s office walls. He helped Mikhail Baryshnikov, skaters Nancy Kerrigan (after she was whacked by Tanya Harding’s goons), Paul Wylie. the list goes on. This past summer, Igor helped the Canadian diver who won the Silver Medal recover after he’d torn something crucial playing pickup hackey sack just weeks before the Games. Igor ended up with the Canadian government inviting him to Ottawa where they presented him with his own Silver Medal as a thank you. Igor is the big gun in sports medicine, rehab and water therapy. He encourages, pushes, calls you “sweetheart” when your energy is lagging, smiles like a sunrise over the Pacific when you are able to do more than he’d expected. You don’t want to disappoint Igor.His time and love is precious.

Igor is also very old school. Very Russian. A product of the Soviet sport’s machine, he assume that your sport or rehab is the only thing in your life –or your parents, or your spouse, or whomever is on your team. I am the key team member for Michael.Igor truly wrote the book on sports Medicine in Moscow. There’s a copy of it on his desk. He’s 74 now, and came to the States in the early 80’s where he has become an icon for athletes and patients with chronic diseases or injuries. He can diagnose a problem in a blink. Just watching Mike walk four steps down the corridor for his first meeting, and he knew exactly what was wrong with Mike. Spooky smart. For Igor, the human body –muscles and wiring–is totally transparent. Christmas Eve On the morning of Christmas Eve, we met with Igor after Michael’s hour in the pool, and he gave us his famous, no fooling around diet that is sure to help us lose weight (we both could stand a slim) and cleanse our toxins. It’s so simple that I barely needed to write it down: carrots, sweet potato, celery, and cabbage. No caffeine. No alcohol, no salt. No fruit. Not even a few stray raisins in the carrots salad. The good news, is that Igor says we can cook them any way we want. Steam, baked, sauteed..We can go wild and crazy!!!

Friday: Day One The Day after New Years

I am not at all sure that there’s any point to it, but I am committed nonetheless. Two motivators –the big one is Igor. I don’t want to disappoint Igor, don’t want to do anything at all to suggest that Mike or me is less than totally on board. Our eating sweet potatoes and carrots three times a day is kind of like drinking Igor’s Kool-Aid. The other reason is my damned curiosity. Can I do it? Do cleanses work? will I actually feel better, lose weight, have bouncier hair and a brighter smile? So, today, I laid in the supplies — bags of carrots, sacks of sweet potatoes, a couple of heads of cabbage, and some boxes of carrot soup. We’ll see. Tonight here’s what we had for dinner: carrot and ginger soup, baked sweet potato, a stirfry of carrots and red and green cabbage. We had two fights before the meal was over. one, Mike asked me for a sharp knife to cut hsi sweet potato, (c’mon it’s a bleeping baked potato!); and the second when he reached for the salt mill. It is filling though. I couldn’t possibly have room for dessert.

More Gluten Free Good News (At least for people who live nearby)!

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cake and Almond Macaroons at Hi-Rise!

I just found out that Hi-Rise Bakery in Cambridge MA has two new(ish) gluten free treats as a result of my conversations with owner Rene Becker–and another close who discovered recently that he too can’t eat Rene’s wonderful bread.