Current Progress

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Since 2009 will be the new healthy cooking Thu, the last day of 2008 will be the opposite :) Lunch will be at Gordon Ramsey's Maze and dinner at Ben&Jack's Steakhouse.I've been looking forward to today since I started my diet :) Other ppl have cheat days once a week, this will be my once a year cow eating day. Might as well make it the best porterhouse for me to remember for the next year.

But lots of walking will be happening before and after this mighty intake of food - a walk across the brooklyn bridge and towards Time Square after dinner! How exciting :)

I hope all of you have a happy healthy new year with your loved ones!

(We took pictures in Time Square a day early to beat the crowds!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NYC for Vegetarians

This is my first vacation as a vegetarian (with fish + eggs + cheese ). And so far it has been a great success!! Joe's also a good sport about trying these restaurants with me. In return, I have to walk/run 100,000 steps in my 5 day trip here. It's been 20,000 steps each day so far :) Manhattan is the PERFECT place to make a pedometer happy.

1) Mana Organic Restaurant
Had dinner here after a 3 mile jog and it was really good! We shared the Tempeh-Tofu (sauteed in apple juice, ginger, garlic and tamari) and the Ginger-Tamari Salmon. Both dishes came with a good helping of brown rice and steamed vegetables. I think the prices and portions were reasonable as well.

2) Pink Berry
Eeks, so much for eating my low calorie natural frozen yogurt with mango, strawberries and pomegranate! Ever since Cat introduce Pinkberry to me, its been a NY tradition. Well until I read the article in the NYTimes. It has extracts of fructose from corn syrup!!! :(

3) Homemade breakfast
We went shopping for fruits and snacks last night and also picked up some Yogurt - the greek kind! And some almond granola and grape fruit for my breakfast. yummmmmy. I really recommend this yogurt - it tastes exactly like the fro-yo at pink berry...without the chemicals! :)

4) Good Health Burger
After a 3 hour stroll through Central Park and 5th Avenue, I headed here to have a Chicken Bacon and Cheeseburger (all Vegetarian of course). The "chicken" was soooo goood. I swear, I think it was really chicken. The whole wheat bun and non dairy mayo were good too. The "bacon" - well it was ok.

5. Red Bamboo
After my stroll through MoMA, we headed to Greenwich Village for some more imitation meat. I had Edamame for my appetizer while Joe had a Roti Prata. Then we ordered the Creole Chicken and the Ginger Beef. Why did the chicken taste way better than normal chicken nuggets? Or the IMITATION beef had the same fatty awesome texture of real beef? The meals came with ample steamed veggies which I really enjoyed! It was soo good...but portions were gigantic though. We feasted for $20 each :)

Have I told you that I HEART NY?

Last night we walked to Time Warner building and was asked to take pictures for these guys leaving Per Se - Thomas Keller's NYC restaurant. I've gone to French Laundry and I've heard that Per Se is better. Anyway these guys were nice enough to give us their take-home dessert. One of them turned out to be the chef at Le Cirque. Anyway I'm sure the treat was 2000 calories on its own. So I ate half ;) It was a 2 mile walk home to burn it off anyways! I can't say no to Thomas Keller food...shoot. Here's a picture of Joe enjoying the sweets:

Advice for Food

I finished reading In Defense of Food on the flight to NYC yesterday. It was very well written and the points were well executed. I wanted to share the advice of the book on how to escape the western diet. They're such common sense that we all know but don't do. Hopefully you'll find them useful as well. For elaboration on these, you'll have to buy the book or borrow it from me :)

1. Just eat food
- Avoid food products containing ingredients that are:
a) Unfamiliar
b) Unpronounceable
c) More than 5 in number or that include
d) High Fructose Corn Syrup

2. Avoid food products that make health claims (and thus has packaging)

3. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket (where the veggies and meats are) and avoid the middle section.

4. Get out of the supermarket - try the farmers market.

5. Eat Mostly Plant - from healthy soils (organic)

6. Remember that you are what you eat eats too. (Look for pastured not necessarily free range chickens or 100% grass fed cattle)

7. Eat well grown food from healthy soils (organic, whole foods)

8. Be the kind of person who takes supplements (but don't take them)

9. Don't eat anything that your great grandmother wouldn't recognize.

10. Pay more - eat less. (Pay more for higher quality, organic, whole foods)

11. Eat Meals - with people not alone - at a table

12. Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does

13. Eat slowly (it takes 20 min for your body to tell your brain that you're full)

14. Cook and if you can, plant a garden

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bye Toronto!

Thanks to John, I managed to hit the gym a few times this week and really stepped up my running endurance and also learned some new exercises.

I only made exceptions to my diet with two Dim Sum trips but out of 8 days and 24 possible meals, I'd say it was a success.

It was great being able to spend time with friends and family. I feel like I've finally realized whats important - and that is to take care of myself so that I can keep coming back here every Christmas to catch up and enjoy the good times ahead. The support and love from family and friends is priceless and I am grateful for this second wind.

Here's a picture B took of me today at Chez Cora's. Yogurt, Strawberry and Granola. Yummy! Ciao.

Watch out Big Apple and Bawston, here I come!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Live - organic food bar.

Hung, my fellow healthy eating partner in crime, took me to this hippy trendy place called live - organic food bar. I was excited to read the menu online since it was all possible low glycemic index compliant and high in whole/all natural/raw foods.

We ordered:

Pecan Tempura Rolls as our appetizer. In the place of the sushi rice, there was a sunflower seed and pecan pate. Instead of deep fried sweet potato, it was dehydrated sweet potato and fresh carrots. I'd say more than 1 or 2 of these rolls is a good portion to not get tired of the bland taste. It was the novelty of the dehydrated sweet potatoes that kept my interest.

The Mish Mash Bowl with Quinoa, grilled tofu, sunflower seed hummus, steamed seasonal vegetables and avocado. I really enjoyed the firm grilled tofu - it looks like chicken and tasted like it too! Quinoa was suggested to me just a few days before as something low on the glycemic index to try - it's a finer/smaller version of couscous. I suppose I could use it as filler sushi rice too. The hummus and the veggies were just so-so. I finished a little more than half my dinner before I couldn't swallow anymore. Unfortunately, I felt like an animal grazing for grass eating this meal. The tofu was good but the rest I could probably make at home for much much less $ and way better taste.

Hung's entree choice was the Bacon Cheeseburger which was a walnut sunflower seed patty, topped with a creamy cashew “mozzarella cheese”, eggplant “bacon”, sundried tomato ketchup, and red onions sandwiched between two crisp lettuce leaves.

He was of the same opinion as me. Perhaps its our inner asian upbringing of salt (fish sauce, soy sauce) in food that we felt this stuff was extremely bland. He liked the eggplant.

All in all, I've never ever been to a whole foods/vegan/vegetarian trendy restaurant for food before so it was an interesting experience nonetheless. But perhaps next time I'd try a place with an asian twist.

Hainese Chicken and Brown Rice

I've wrote about this before - I tried it out on my parents this week.

Asparagus Salad and Soup

My grampa made an Asparagus and Tomato Salad while my cousin Anthony made an Asparagus and Crab soup.

Asparagus Salad
My family has really helped me out in my quest to find good healthy alternatives. Asparagus is a vegetable that I really love - which is highly versatile in cooking. Asparagus is low in calories, contains no fat or cholesterol, and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of folic acid, potassium, dietary fiber, and rutin.

The asparagus was boiled in salt water - crisp tender only about 3-4 min. The salad dressing included diced tomatoes, dijon mustard, olive oil, onion, olives, and capers. A little bit of salt and pepper on the top.
I'll double check with him if I'm missing anything. Anyway it was delicious!!

Asparagus Crab Soup
My cousin's homework over the holidays was to cook for the family. I guess he passes if he doesn't poison all of us. I've never had this soup before but it was delicious and am eager to make it again! So for this soup, you put the asparagus through a food processor to make it very finely shredded. Use some crab meat, I'd prefer if its fresh - but i think canned crab meat (also shredded in pieces) will do just fine. Also add scallops. In a big pot of water, put in salt/pepper to taste, some chicken broth and your asparagus and seafood. Bring to a boil and crack in some eggs while stirring - this will give you the egg drop effect. And there you have it. Grind in some fresh peppers when serving.

Essential Nutrients

I keep reading about how it is useless to take individual supplements which scientists have identified to help in preventing __________ (fill in the blank). Whole foods does a much better job, since its the combination and intricacies of how the fruit/vegetable is planted, absorbs sunlight, water and presents its burst of nutrients.

Nutrients I need to get more of - through Spinach, Brocolli, Bok Choy, Tomatoes, Bitter Melon, and all fruits include:

Iron - for Anemia (taken with Vitamin C)
ALA - protects cell damage and increases body's ability to use insulin
Omega-3 - Good fat from fish that seems to be all the craze right now as it helps with digestion, blood clotting, heart disease, lower triglycerides, lower blood sugar. However, it has to be delicately balanced with Omega-6. A good ratio is 1:3.
EGCG - A polyphenol in green tea is supposed to help with more efficient blood sugar control too. Caffeine in green tea is no good though for insulin resistance or weight loss or anything. Oh well, drinking green tea instead of bubble tea is still way better for me and gives me an alternative to water.

Useful link:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I tried my hardest to keep my calories consumed low today since I didn't make it to the gym. Boy is it hard to do on Xmas Eve. I did fairly well but probably still took in more than previous days.

Morning Dim Sum with Jen&Jon - I ate at most one piece per order. Drank lots of tea and talked lots to stop me from stuffing my face of oil, fat, carbs :) Now that they've moved to the UK, it'll be tougher to hang out. I was reminded today how smoking leads to lung cancer, death and grief. I wonder what the f*** went on in my brain for the past 10 years - because I obviously was not thinking straight. We're only human.

An hour later, it was a lunch of Sushi Bong with Scott and Viv. Ah, the best value for sushi in Toronto. I got the assorted "small" sashimi which was 40 pieces and passed on the legendary soft shell crab, spicy tuna and rock n roll. We surely have grown up over the years - from clubbing and climbing the ladder to new home, wedding and cooking :)

Dinner served at home was Bun Bo Hue, Nem, and Roast Pork. I pretended to be oblivious and blind to my grandma's cooking as I didn't wanna down rice noodles with pig's feet, tendons, fat. In addition to that, there were two rounds of dinner, wine, and cake. I marvel at how, in previous years, I would've gobbled it all down without a thought and probably gain 2000 calories in one sitting. That can't be good for anybody else, but I find that like religion, diets are a personal choice that can't be preached. There are different anecdotes, methodology, theories, literature written on both topics which instill different reactions and opinions in people.

I digress.

Instead for my xmas eve dinner I had a salad with tomatoes and onions with a half portion lean cut of the roast pork. With clementines as dessert. It was tasty.

After gifts were exchanged and Rock Band 2 played - I snuck out as soon as I could to see my Toronto friends at bubble tea. Luckily they were still waiting for a big table when we got there - 15 of us. Obviously I couldn't have the beer stein of bubble tea aka sugar water with sugar balls. I chose a white plum herbal tea and didn't even look twice as the brick toast or ramen others ordered. Well maybe I did but only briefly - reminding myself that it'll all be worth it in the future.

The gym is closed Dec 25 but I'll be back at it on Dec 26! I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and the best health for 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008


It's been more than a month since my clothes and breath and car don't stink of smoke.

I suppose I can count my blessings that smoking led to diabetes rather than lung cancer or instant death.

Thank you!!

I can't express how grateful I am for all the support I've been getting from friends and family for my new lifestyle. It does wonders for my motivation to keep this up.

So I'm back in Toronto. I have a free two week pass to GoodLife gym by my house to consider if I should sign up for a membership. I also headed to the grocery store as my first order of business. I cooked dinner for my family - for the first time I can remember. They're all very supportive of my new endeavors.

I even did 11,000 steps touring around downtown Toronto today! That's a record so far.

Talked to Chewy today and from first glance, it looks like I'm following a Paleolithic diet. However, Yogurt and Cereal seems to deviate from that :) I've never heard of this before but it pretty much is what I've developed for myself.

In other news, I'm really enjoying my book, In Defense of Food. The author's recommendation can be summarized on the cover page: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants..

I'm strongly leaning towards being a Vegetarian. I never thought the day would come. But stranger things have been known to happen. If anybody suggested this a month or a year ago I'd say when hell freezes over. Maybe hell isn't actually all that hot afterall.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Steamed Fish with Whole Wheat Spaghetti

I'm currently at the Vegas airport hoping that the storm doesn't hit Toronto in the morning when I land.

Anyway last night I was hoping to use up my ginger, garlic, green onions and cucumber since I will be gone for 2 weeks. I decided that I liked the steamed fish so much earlier in the week that I did it again! This time with Ranch 99's assortment of fish pieces. There's halibut, salmon and other unknown fish pieces.

I mixed together the soy sauce + rice vinegar + sesame oil + ginger + green onion + onion to marinate the fish pieces. Then I steamed in the wok for 20 min. It was still defrosting at first! Boy did it taste good.

I decided to make a serving of whole wheat spaghetti too on the side - since I had used up all my lettuce/spinach in previous days. This is the lowest on the Glycemic index for pastas so I suppose it's ok.

I garnished some cucumbers and also some cheese on the top. Yeah, I suppose this is a bit of a fusion. I've never had cheese with soy sauce before. It was quite good.

Friday, December 19, 2008

How to survive the holidays

Tomorrow, I'm heading back home to spend some time with family and friends for the next 2 weeks. I'm mostly looking forward to it but also have been dreading how I will be able to keep with my new lifestyle.

I can imagine how hard it'll be to say no to the yummy Vietnamese food that I grew up on - Pho, Bun Bo Hue, Cha Gio, Banh bot loc, Banh nam, Bun Rieu, Mi xao dong.
read: carbs, fat, deep fried, more carbs.

I can't imagine hanging out with my friends at bubble tea, chinese desserts, dim sum, food, lounges and clubs - and order water.

So I've come up with a game plan!!

Right after landing, I'm going to go to a grocery store. I'm going to get me the same food I've been following here. Yogurt, soy milk, plenty of fruits and vegetables and nuts. I'm going to volunteer to cook for the family.

As for friends, sushi is a great option to go out and meet up and catch up. I can show up for house parties after eating and get plenty of water :) I also can put up a blog and a link from facebook a couple days in advanced to give people notice about how I'm not going to be excessively drinking or eating this time (or ever). (Oh wait, I did that! :)

I'd like to finish 4 books by the time the holidays are over.

I'll likely do a review of these when I'm done.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Let's hope that 2009 is the turning point for all of our good healths!

Hainese Chicken and Chicken Brown Rice

Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera over to Linda's yesterday to take a picture of this great dish that Julian made. He steamed chicken breasts with garlic, ginger, green onion. Then he collected the steamed water/chicken juice - 3 breasts made about 1 cup of this. Instead of using water to make rice, he used some of this chicken broth to make the brown rice for me.

If those two weren't delicious enough, he also made his special hainese sauce. This includes Vietnamese hot sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, and the chicken juice mentioned above. I'm pretty sure there's more to this special sauce, when I make this dish again I'll be more specific than this posting :)

There was gai lan veggies on the side and miso soup. What a great dinner. They even packed me lunch for the next day - which I meant to take a picture of but the food got into my stomach way before I remembered to take a picture.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I only started this blog yesterday and have way more I want to write about but I should space it out. Until now I've talked mainly about food but of course thats just half the weight loss formula.

After getting out of the hospital I was weak and would get tired very easily for the first 2 weeks. Right after I could feel my spirits and energy levels picking up I started doing Wii Fit - only for a few minutes to judge how fatigued I really was.

Wii Fit is great - I'm not sure about other fat/unproportional people but I sure as heck have no balance or core muscles. I can't do any of the activities which forces me to stand on one foot. The yoga, strength training and balance games all focus on the ability to stand completely still and be more aware of your body and balance. Anyways, when I was forced to stay home for a week, thats what I would try doing. Now, I've been trying to use it once a morning for 30 min for stretches, core balance and cardio boxing. It gives me a bit of an energy boost before heading to work. And also kicks off my body to burn off calories for the rest of the day.

My target for going to the gym has been 5 times a week. So far I've probably only been able to go 3 times a week. I started off just running on the elliptical and got tired after a long 13 minute mile. I've pushed it up to 30 min for 2.75 miles today. Other than cardio, I try to do some weights to build muscles in my back, tummy, arms. I could use extra muscle to help me burn off more.

In January, I'm going to go check out my friend's bootcamp. I'm a little scared since I can't even handle the taunting that the Wii Fit board dishes out. But it'll be good to commit to something every week. Also, I've been on a search for a pool. It's been very tough to find an INDOOR pool in the south bay. It seems that they're either outdoors (but heated) or super expensive or dirty and crowded. I'll keep looking after I come back. I suppose that I didn't realize I live in California where it's theoretically sunny for the majority of the months. Indoor pools are definitely not hard to find in Toronto :)


So the results of multiple blood tests in the last few weeks about my liver have not been promising. My AST/ALT levels are high which means they're no longer inside of my liver. Normally these enzymes stay within the cells of the liver - but when the liver is injured for any reason, these enzymes end up in the blood stream.

Luckily, reading online has mentioned that the exact number doesn't actually reflect liver diseases or how badly the liver is functioning. Also luckily, the liver can repair itself.

So I've been banned from drinking alcohol for good. At least until these levels get under control.

How do I feel about this?

Well it's a blessing in disguise. Alcohol does strange things to blood sugar. Alcohol like beer and mixed drinks add unnecessary carbs and sugars into my body. Alcohol takes days to recover from. And it is quite expensive.

That being said - for about 10 years, it's almost natural to drink. At the dinner table back home in Toronto, we'd have beer or wine. Traveling the world, I've enjoyed the best wines of France, Australia, Canada and of course California. I've developed such an appreciation for Napa Cabs, Niagara Ice Wines, Kelowna Chardonnays, France's Burgundy and Champagne. Ah, not to mention the Sake in Japan. I've enjoyed plenty of clubbing nights, birthday parties, karaoke with drinking games. So many pictures, so many memories, so many friendships and memories were made with alcohol as the catalyst. I used to think Patron was the great thing about California.

That being said - enough is enough and I've had my share. The memories I'll cherish forever. I much rather that forever doesn't end tomorrow or next week.

So I haven't had a drop of beer or wine or sake or any alcohol for a month now. I've given away all my hard liqour or watched as it was being consumed at my house. I've participated in drinking games by drinking water and enjoyed watching the others get intoxicated. It's amusing that when you're completely sober and everyone else is not - you can really have some laughs at their expense :)

I can now volunteer to be designated driver so that's always a bonus. I don't really need the alcohol for me to talk to new people or feel less shy or embarass myself :) So I'm not missing much.

However, I hope that one day I will be able to enjoy a glass of wine or sake again. For the next while though, I'm ok with putting an end to this favourite pastime of mine.

Low-GI Diet Article

Two Shitake Recipes

#1: Shitake Mushroom, Spinach and Onion Sautee.

Fresh shitake mushrooms need almost no seasoning to taste good. I cut them into small strips and heat up my crepe pan. It's a nice non-stick pan so no oil is even needed. I add spinach, garlic and onion and mix everything until the spinach shrinks and the shitakes look juicy and meaty. I add a dash of salt and pepper and that's all is needed. It goes well with my soy steamed fish.

#2: Shitake Omlette

If I had egg whites I would've used it instead. Again my fresh shitake mushrooms do wonders on just about anything with very little need for seasoning. I heated up the shitake mushrooms on my crepe pan once again. I added some onions, beat 2 eggs and poured it over the sizzling mushrooms. And there I had the freshest tasting omelette in my life.

Shitake Mushroom Farm

In September when Richard first started at Berkeley, we all met up for lunch at the Ferry Building to catch the SF Farmers Market. There's a mushroom store there that sells mushroom minifarms. Months later, Lil visits SF and I run into the store again. This time I decided to try growing Shitake Mushrooms. $20 for a log of poo (or so it looked) which would potentially feed me for 6 months! Sweet. I didn't know what to expect and definitely the last 2 weeks completely exceeded my expectations. The shitake mushrooms grew way bigger than I thought and they tasted like fresh meat! I can't wait until the next batch :)

Take a look at my gallery to see what I mean.

Steamed Fresh Stripped Bass with Soy, Ginger

Tonight was my turn to host again so I decided to experiment with steaming. When I think of steaming, two favourites come to mind - Dumplings and Fish. Since dumplings are out of the question, I turned my attention on Google and YouTube on how to make my single most favourite chinese dish at weddings - Steamed Fish with Soy, Ginger and Green Onion.

I had never bought a whole fish nor ginger. After learning about how easy it was to change my Wok into a steamer (Just buy a dish that can wedge into the Wok and a lid for the wok. Pour some pre-boiled hot water into the bottom of the Wok and close the lid. Voila).

I also learned (thanks to Youtube) how easy it was to de-skin and cut ginger. Just use a spoon and scrape off the skin. You can now cut it into rectangles, then again into little strips.

I asked Ranch 99 to descale and clean out the swimming fish for me. I found that 2.5 lbs was a large meaty fish good enough for 4 people.

For the sauce, mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt, pepper and sugar together. Add minced garlic and ginger.

I gave the fish a good cleaning in salt water. Then proceeded to marinate it with the above sauce, I cut 3 slits on each side of the fish to further add flavour. Then I left it to marinate for 7 hours before coming back from work. (It was probably overkill but too much flavour has never hurt. Oh, I also put the julienne pieces of green onion and ginger all over the fish.

Coming home from work and about 10 minutes before my guests arrived, I started up the wok and it happily steamed away for about 10-15 minutes before I took it out. I had thought the fish was ready. Using a fork, you can easily break apart the fish meat. However, I was wrong - we found that the outside layer was good but the inside meat was still raw. I had to put it in for round 2 for another 5-7 minutes. I guess 20 minutes would have been a good duration.

After taking it out of the wok, I added more ginger and green onion as well as sauce. The fish was so tender and flavourful - actually way less oily or greasy than I've remembered it at chinese restaurants. Actually aside from a few drops of the sesame oil, there's no reason for my fish to be oily.

I think the dish was well received - and I rather enjoyed it. Im going to talk about the side dish - Spinach and Shitake Mushrooms on a separate post.

Baked Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

It's recommended to eat fish about 3 times a week so I ended up making this dish last Sunday. I bought a salmon steak from Ranch 99 added some pepper, salt, a tiny bit of grapeseed oil and lemon. I scattered slices of lemon on both sides of the salmon and wrapped it up with alumnium foil. I put in on a baking sheet with the oven preheated to 425 degrees. I let it bake for about 30 min. (20 min was a little too soon when I checked.)

While waiting - I got out the wok, added some minced garlic, onion and grapeseed oil together. Added some baby bok choy and oyster sauce. My mistake was I left it in for too long this time so the bok choy was too soggy.

The salmon could have probably used a longer marinade time to get more flavour. I garnished with ginger and wasabi that I had from the previous sushi night. The wasabi made a perfect balance with the texture of the salmon. I would definitely do this again.

Sushi Rolls (without rice)

I'm sure other low carb dieters have found creative ways to make sushi. I was craving sushi to reward myself after a day of helping my friends move up to the city. I went to Nijiya supermarket and came out with $20 worth of stuff for my dinner. A nice piece of salmon and tuna sashimi (flown in from Tsukiji!), wasabi, ginger, Wakame (seaweed salad) and some nori.

So here's my creation, I made a very thin layered omelette (tamago) then I rolled up my salmon, tuna, wakame and egg in the nori. Without the rice, you notice much more of the sashimi taste. Top this with wasabi and light soy sauce and I was definitely left smiling at my awesome creation.

Goi Ga - Vietnamese Chicken Salad

I made Goi Ga for the first time on Dec. 3. It was such a hit that I made it again on Dec. 7. It's one of the rare Vietnamese dishes I can think of which does not go with any rice or noodles.

- Boil 2 chicken breasts until cooked thoroughly (enough for 4 people)
- Use a knife and start shredding the chicken pieces to small thin flakey pieces.

- Begin 1 hour of slicing and dicing and julien-ing(or perhaps shorter if you have a food processor)
Onion, Garlic, Basil, Mint, Chives, Mango, Cabbage, Carrots, Vietnamese hot peppers.

- For the sauce, mix Nuoc Mam (Fish Sauce), Rice Vinegar, Sugar, Pepper and some water together. Add garlic, onion, basil and mint to mix with sauce.

- Pour sauce all over chicken and mix all the sliced ingredients together.

- Mix in some crushed peanuts when serving.

The Plan

In the last 2 weeks while waiting for my Endocrinologist appointment, I read all I could about Pre Diabetes, Diabetes and what that means for my diet. I decided to follow the Glycemic Index to minimize carb intake. Since my cholesterol also was high, I have to go with low fat as well. Kidney problems means that high protein intake won't be good either. So I decided that I could eat unlimited carbs (which includes sugar) that comes from Vegetables and Fruits. I was also missing Iron so I happened upon leafy vegetable alternatives with ample supplies of Iron (bok choy, edamame, gai lan, spinach) Actually the more I read, the more I realized that to easily break through with this diet, I should be vegetarian. Since I want to make a lifestyle change for life and not just a lose weight quick scheme - I didn't think that it would be realistic to cut off my love of meat. At least not cold turkey. (Unlike smoking, which I have quit forever, since a month ago)

Cutting rice is already a huge sacrifice that I'm coping with. Afterall, I can't name of a single Vietnamese dish that does not have rice, tapioca, or noodles.

I cleared out my kitchen cabinets of candy, snacks and carbs and headed to:
1) Trader Joes to stocked up my kitchen with whole wheat: spaghetti, pita, pizza dough, crackers and brown rice for my emergency carb needs.
2) Ranch 99 for all their cheap vegetables, fruits and chicken breasts.
3) Safeway for yogurt, and fresh(er) fruits.
3) Walmart to get new cooking supplies - grater for carrots. pizza dish. wok steaming utensils.

So what did I do after this shopping spree?

I cooked of course!! We've been rotating houses once a week to cook a good healthy dinner. I've experimented with dishes that I've never made before and it's turned out to be a great success so far.

I've regulated my diet to be as follows for the past 2 weeks:

Water (Refill bottle 3 times a day)

Daily Breakfast:
Choice #1: Low fat yogurt with pomegranate or grapefruit or banana.
Choice #2: Soy milk with Kelloggs Smart Set Cereal (Has a huge dose of iron)

Daily Lunch:
Choice #1: Self serve salad with chicken/turkey cold cuts or tuna (at work)
Choice #2: Whole wheat bread or flax seed sandwich.

Daily Snacks (at 3-4pm):
Choice #1: Fruit (Orange, Banana, Grapefruit)
Choice #2: Edamame
Choice #3: Quaker Rice Cakes

Daily Dinner:
Choice #1: Salad
Choice #2: Cheese and 10-15 Whole Wheat crackers. Grapefruit.
Choice #3: Special Cooking experiments (mentioned in future posts)

Just the beginning...

A month ago I went to the ER for severe menorrhagia which has set me on a completely different course on how I want to live the rest of my life. In the whirlwind of a few days, I found out that I had anemia, kidney, liver problems. Also I found out my fasting blood sugar was way above normal - almost classified as Diabetes.

This was a great birthday present for a 27 year old to do some reflection on how I got to this moment. For those of you that know me, know that I've lived life to the fullest. Ate everything - and everywhere in the world. Drank everything under the sun. Work hard, party hard. Fumbled and made mistakes but always with a big smile. I lived in a suitcase, had friends in every area code, always up to date on Facebook and always up for showing people a good time at Hotel 2. Things always worked out - I must have used up all 9 lives.

But while the priorities of school, work, friends, and everything externally took up my time - I never focused on taking care of myself. I never had a family doctor, dentist. I never went to the gym. There's a whole list of what I never did. And a whole list of things I took for granted.

I can't even say this hit me out of nowhere. Excessive drinking with friends always ended up in not so pleasant morning afters by the ceramic bowl. Smoking made hiking or walking up stairs tough. Wine and fine dining took a toll on the wallet. Also an eye injury in Japan and a tailbone injury in Tahoe set me into reflection mode but as soon as I recovered - I felt invinceable again.

But this is not about regrets. I don't live life with regrets and I never will. I'm glad about this turning point. And I've thought about writing about this lifestyle change. I plan on using this blog to show my take on how I'm going to lose 50 pounds to get out of the pre-diabetes zone and turn around this game of life.

My love of learning new things will result in a lot of postings on the food I've been making and eating.

I'm not looking for pity or support here. Just an outlet which might provide inspiration to someone else going through a similar situation.