Triathlon Training, Text with Dog and Vegan Smoked Salmon

Smoked "Salmon" with Capers, Red Onion, Lemon, Tomato and Cashew Cream

Smoked “Salmon” with Capers, Red Onion, Lemon, Tomato and Cashew Cream

Last Sunday, I went a little overboard and ran about 25% more than I was supposed to run. Why? Dunno. Lotsa reasons, I guess.  It was a beautiful day in San Diego (but we have many); it was low tide and I could run the entire stretch from Del Mar to Torrey Pines on the beach; I have a new GPS watch; I was happy to be wearing a only sports bra and shorts; I had an new mix on my Ipod; I wanted to test the legs a week past completing a 70.3 race and gauge where I was….whatever the reasons were, I extended my run.  In hindsight, I knew that it wasn’t the smartest thing. I feel fine and there were no dramatic repercussions.  However, there’s a reason that a (good) coach writes a specific workout for his athlete.  In the process of training during a 7-8 month season, you should do everything you can to execute each workout spot-on, no matter how you feel or if the cool kids (AKA, your training partners) are doing something with more volume or intensity or both.  As KP explained to me, you need to be process-based.  He is looking for each workout in April to set me up for successful ‘A’ race in July.

I do send KP my workout feedback.  Every now and then, our exchanges are much like Text with Dog (with me being the dog):

KP: How did ride go today?

Me: It went well, why?

KP: How was your power?

Me: ummmm….power?

KP: Didn’t you have your power meter on?

Me: oh s*%$…..I forgot….I mean, the other girls were pushing the pace but I kept up.  Cool, right?  And the flowers were beautiful up in East County.  It was a great 4 hour ride!

KP: You were only supposed to ride 3 hours…..

(Tail between the legs…)Then I redirect myself to follow the process and not train on a whim.

IMG_4168If you haven’t checked out Text with Dog, it’s hilarious. It can remind me of how a coach must feel about his or her athletes; we pay a coach to guide us; we ask for their professional help. And then, sometimes, there is a disconnect and we do whatever the hell we want based on a fleeing thought, emotion or some crack-pot idea that we read on Slowtwitch.

Which brings me to my next topic:  Vegan Smoked Salmon.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, right? Yesterday, I was doing a little product recon at Whole Foods and came across a package labeled “Vegan Smoked Salmon”.   I immediately threw a pic of this up on my personal FB page and the comments (mostly along the lines of “WTF”?) started rolling in.  I couldn’t get the thought of the smoked salmon out of my head, so me, being me and extremely FOOD-CURIOUS, headed over to Whole Foods this morning and grabbed a package.    At the very least, I had to give it a fair shake before I condemned it.  This “smoked salmon” is made by Sophie’s Kitchen.   One of the prominent ingredients is Konjac Root.  According to the package, this ancient superfood (is that not the most overused word of the last five years?) is a staple across Southeast Asia and very popular in traditional Japanese cuisine. I tried to look past the two main ingredients; water and canola oil (One of these days, I really need to devote an entire post to canola oil!), and set about to recreate a classic smoked salmon plate using entirely vegan ingredients.   I also found a vegan cashew cream in the cheese section of Whole Foods. I make a lot of cashew-based cheeses and dips, but I purchased it in hopes to find something better than what I make at home.

Sophie's Kitchen Smoked Salmon. Available in the frozen section of Whole Foods

Sophie’s Kitchen Smoked Salmon. Available in the frozen section of Whole Foods

Vegan Smoked Salmon Plate


  • 4 oz Vegan Smoked Salmon (I used Sophie’s Kitchen)
  • 4 Slices Gluten Free Bread, toasted and cut into triangles
  • Cashew Cream or Vegan Sour Cream
  • Red Onion Slices
  • Tomato Slices
  • Capers or Caperberries
  • Lemon
  • Lemon Zest
  • Chives
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Gluten-Free Toast Points

I took the salmon out of the packaging and inspected it.  It reminded me of a porous, chewier version of surimi (the fake crab used in the making of California rolls) and the two-toned salmon”esque” color was a bit much.  As much as I wanted to love the cashew cheese from Parmela Creamery, I found that the addition of the coconut oil and locust bean gum gave it a plastic, slickery and somewhat artificial texture.  I’ve had much better luck in making cashew cheeses and creams with cashews, lemon juice, salt and herbs-y’know, simple ingredients that you can find anywhere…..well DUH!

Anyway, I gave it a whirl and assembled a vegan rendition of a salmon plate.    Verdict?  I guess if you need to something that mimics smoked salmon in your vegan repertoire, then this might work for you.  I just couldn’t get my head around the amount of processing that it took to create such a product.

The final litmus test?  I held out a piece of the “salmon” for the dogs, Skye and Tempo, to try. I’m pretty sure that most labs don’t possess a hypothalamus (the regulator for hunger)  so they will eat just about anything.   In true fashion, Tempo wolfed down the salmon.  Skye, on the other hand, gave it a once-over and then turned his nose up at it.  Smart dog-he sniffed out a fake in a matter of seconds.   I’ll give Sophie’s Kitchen an “A” for effort, but in the future, I’ll keep my nosh platters to those whose components aren’t contrived.  Hummus, anyone?

Skye refusing the "salmon". At least one of the dogs is smart

Skye refusing the “salmon”. At least one of the dogs is smart.

On the docket today: Masters swimming with Coach HUX and more running (yay!).   I just hope that I don’t throw up any of the weird salmon food into the Encinitas Y pool at noon 🙂

Be mindful of your training; check out Text from Dog; and remember, just because you CAN doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.