It’s so fun to say “tri-ath-a-lon-ing” and it’s even more fun to do it.  Last November, I finally kicked Achilles issues to the curb; trained for a few weeks; ended up with some debilitating foot problem; troubleshot said problem and finally got it somewhat under control (read NO GOUT).  I was finally able to string together 3 weeks of consistent training COMPLETE WITH RUNNING!!!!! But this past Tuesday, as bad luck would have it, I went down hard on my bike and ended up with another round of bruised ribs + a palm-sized bruise on my right quad + bruised ego. Another couple days off as running, swimming and Core 40 were not happening. Friday hit and my body shot me the middle finger as I went down hard again—this time with a cold. Could these last 12 months be any more inconsistent regarding my athletic endeavors?

A little bike training with the @groovetri ladies

A little bike training with the  @groovetri ladies #nytrowomensteam

Well, when life deals you lemons (or in this case, bruises and a stuffed-up head), you first scream every obscenity you can think of, chuck a book or two across the room, send an sniff-ly email to “coach share” about how you are not RACING, let alone, TRAINING for some indefinite period of time; get short with your spouse; drown your sorrows in a HALF EMPTY glass of wine because nothing at this point is HALF FULL.  Then you let everything settle down and make some lemonade

Or in this case, PHO.  Just what the doctor ordered.

On Friday night, Geoff, well aware of my cold, brought home some vegan Pho from Queen Pho in San Marcos—I ate the vegetables (Steamed Broccoli YUM! Steamed Tatsoi YUM! Steamed Carrots-surprise-YUM!) and broth and skipped the rice noodles. It was so good (and nothing at this point was tasting good) that I had the leftovers on Saturday morning. Today I decided that I wanted it again for breakfast. I googled “Vegetable Pho Broth” but after reading recipes, I decided that I was too lazy and impatient to make a “charred ginger-onion-infused-with-cinnamon-and-star-anise veg stock”.  I know, I know, doesn’t EVERYONE make complicated stocks from scratch in order to flesh out a breakfast meal on sleepy Sundays?   The solution??????? Whole Foods stocks a Vegetarian Pho Broth made by Pacific Foods. I grabbed a quart of it, came home and tried it unheated. WAY. TOO. ANISE-Y. I’m not a licorice or Sambuca fan AT ALL so when a dish has a fair amount of anise flavor, I’m completely turned off. Luckily, I had some Miso stock on hand, so I cut the Pho broth with some Miso broth and added a little bit of sesame oil, Sriracha and a splash of fish sauce. Into the heating broth I threw green onions and seaweed. I then added a generous amount of spinach and cooked it just until wilted. Finally, I turned off the heat and added diced sprouted tofu (with a sore throat, the creaminess and mildness of the tofu actually tasted great), chopped cilantro and squeeze of lime. I was too lazy to steam any veggies but you certainly could do so and add them in with the spinach. Anyhoo, in 10 minutes breakfast was served—at least, mine was. Geoff was still busy making an applewood-smoked bacon, egg and aged gouda croissant sandwich with chipotle aioli, sprouts and avocado.

I made this in record time--and enjoyed a second bowl for lunch

I made this in record time–and enjoyed a second bowl for lunch

Regarding soy Some people are concerned about soy in their diets (a-hem Paleo peeps).   There are plenty of labels such as Paleo, High-Fat-Low-Carb, Vegan, Pescatarian, VEGGan (this is relatively new label—vegans who eat eggs) and Gluten-Free.  With those labels come restrictions.   I hesitate to attach a label to my eating style because I’d most likely violate the “rules” and then come across as a hypocrite.  I eat mostly vegetables. I eat high quality products.  I eat very little grains. I eat pastured eggs. I eat Bugles and Cheetos only on long rides.  I use full fat coconut milk and sauté with coconut oil. I’ll use fish sauce sparingly. And I probably eat a little soy probably 2-3 times a month. Today’s soup contained fermented soy (miso) broth and sprouted tofu. For those of you who are scared of soy but don’t know why, you should be aware that both the fermenting and sprouting processes neutralized soy’s phytic acid—the acid that prohibits your body from absorbing key vitamins and minerals.  I would recommend 1. eating soy in moderation and 2. only buying products made from soy that been sprouted and/or fermented.   Yes, most of the soy crops grown in the states are GMO, but by law products can’t be labeled “organic” when made with GMOs.

Sesame Oil, Fish Sauce, Sriracha, Green Onion, Lime, Cilantro and Spinach ready to go for quick and easy Pho

Sesame Oil, Fish Sauce, Sriracha, Green Onion, Lime, Cilantro and Spinach ready to go for quick and easy Pho

Quick and Easy Vegetable Pho

Serves 2-4

Difficulty Easy

Time to Prep and Cook  20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Vegetarian Pho Stock (I used Pacific Foods brand)
  • 2 Cups Miso Stock (I used Whole Foods organic 365 brand)
  • 1 tsp dark Sesame Oil
  • ½ tsp Sriracha (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp Coconut Aminos, Tamari or Fish Sauce (Fish Sauce is made from anchovies and is not vegetarian)
  • 1 each Green Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Seaweed pieces (I used Arame)
  • 6 ounces Sprouted Extra Firm Tofu, cut into small cubes (I used Wildwood brand)
  • 2 Cups Spinach Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup roughly chopped Cilantro
  • 2-4 Lime Wedges
  • Optional: Steamed Vegetables and Rice Noodles *requires extra cooking time

Method

  • In Medium-Large Saucepan, bring to boil stock.  Turn down heat to medium high and add Sesame Oil, Sriracha, Coconut Aminos, Green Onion and Dried Seaweed.  Cook for 2 minutes
  • Add Spinach and cook another minute.  Add Tofu and turn off heat
  • Add Cilantro
  • Label into bowls and serve with a wedge or two of lime

This weekend I’ve been horizontal for the most part, catching up with Downton Abbey. I’ve traded in wine for kombucha and weekend training for sleeping.  Four days off from training feels like four weeks (that’s how screwed up the triathlete mentality is LOL).  I know things will be somewhat back on track tomorrow and I’ll be tri-ath-a-lon-ing away.