Darya Pino Rose

I'm Darya Rose (formerly Darya Pino) and this is my personal blog. I'm the author of Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting, and creator of Summer Tomato, one of TIME's 50 Best Websites. I'm also a neuroscience Ph.D, NYC foodist, former dieter, & soulmate to .

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Toaster at 4 weeks

My name is Toaster, but I'm not a cylon.

Here's a pic of our soon-to-be new labradoodle. He's 4 weeks old and his name is Toaster (inspired by Battlestar Galactica). He'll be arriving at our home in a couple weeks.

You can follow updates at his new Twitter account @ToasterPup. Yes, he got over 400 followers in 24 hrs. What can I say, he's adorable.


Geeky vacation and my latest projects

Foundation on the beach

I've been chillin' in Kona Hawaii at the Lobby conference, being only slightly less geeky than usual.

I'm currently on my second read through of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, which I highly recommend if you've never read it. And for the record, the Kindle is vastly superior for outdoor reading than the iPad (if you wear polarizing sunglasses, you cannot see the screen at all in portrait orientation). 

I also wanted to let you know that I've started writing for a few extra news outlets this week, SFWeekly and KQED science. I'll be contributing regularly to both of these publications.

p.s. There are a few more Hawaii pics at Summer Tomato.


Coffee, tea and quality of life

Sencha green tea

I decided awhile back that starting Sept 8 I would try to break my coffee habit. Don't get me wrong, I love coffee. But there's is a big difference between enjoying coffee and needing coffee, and for the past few years I have definitely been in the needy camp.

I've been a coffee drinker since I was 15 yrs old, and have been addicted to caffeine most of my life since then. This doesn't bother me from a health perspective, the vast majority of the data I've seen suggests coffee is a healthful drink for many reasons.

But being addicted to coffee isn't fun, because it means that any lapse in caffeine intake results in a strong, debilitating headache and generally fuzzy head that inevitably impacts any work I attempt (and not in a good way).

For the past 2 years I've been simultaneously working to finish my PhD and become a respected writer in the food and health space. This involved daily lab work as well as building and maintaining a website with 4 original, high-quality articles per week. As you can imagine, this was a staggering workload and I could not afford to take the mental hit that would be inevitable if I were to wean myself off coffee.

But since I graduated I've had the time and flexibility to make the shift. My intention was not to ditch caffeine completely, but just take the dosage down a few notches so that if I'm on vacation I don't need to inject myself with espresso before I can crawl out of bed.

I reasoned that if I could get myself onto tea as my morning beverage, I would still be able to enjoy coffee without being a slave to it. Also, as a personal challenge I wanted to see if I could make the transition without resorting to Advil.

But this isn't easy.

Tea is not a direct substitute for coffee, and in the past when I've tried to get by on tea alone (even several cups) it only delayed the inevitable headache by a few hours at best. However, through experimentation at Samovar Tea Lounge I realized that a strong Japanese green tea called sencha actually does have enough caffeine to get me through a day. And it can stave off a headache for about 20 hours.

Though at first I could not get by for 2 straight days on sencha, I began by alternating between coffee and sencha each day for the first week and a half. This reduced my caffeine intake by enough that toward the end of the second week I could get by for two full days on just sencha, or one day with a pot or two of high-quality oolong or other tea. Another week and almost any well-caffeinated tea would suffice, so long as I drank enough.

At this point it's been nearly a month and, while I still need some form of caffeine by 3p each day (that's when the headache starts now, it used to be 10:30am) I can get by on tea alone for days at a time.

My guess is I could probably go a full week on just tea, but the delicious, roasty allure of San Francisco's Blue Bottle Coffee has prevented me from attempting it.

I adore my beloved coffee.


Heavy brunch, light dinner

 Tofu stir fry

Went out for brunch today with some friends, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't involve burgers and bacon. We hit the gym this afternoon, but we still wanted a lighter, vegetable-based dinner.

After a quick stop at Whole Foods we made this veggie and tofu stir fry. I sliced up some carrots, summer squash, red pepper, broccolini and maitake mushrooms. Also some ginger and garlic.

In a large bottom pan I sauteed the ginger, scallions, garlic and some soy sauce, then added the peppers, broccoli and mushrooms. After they softened I added the firm tofu squares. After a few minutes I added the carrots, and finally the squash. In the last minute I stirred in another few scallions. I like my veggies al dente, so the cooking took less than 10 minutes.

We ate it over a small helping of brown rice, and it was awesome.


iPhone + Photoshop = surprisingly good photos

Chickpea puttanesca 

Today is the first time I've used a picture taken on my iPhone 4 as a main image for a recipe on Summer Tomato, and I must admit I'm impressed. 

Food bloggers understand how important (and difficult) it is to create enticing food photography when publishing recipes. Traditionally I use full photography equipment including a tripod, light reflectors and diffusors to create the desired effects, then polish the image in Photoshop. The process takes hours.

But today's post wasn't originally intended to be a recipe, and dinner was already late and I was hungry. There would be no waiting to set up photo equipment.

Here at this blog though, I frequently use my iPhone to capture images to make simple points. So I snapped a few iPhone pics anyway, for good measure. The next morning I checked the images and was impressed at how well they turned out, so I decided to play around in Photoshop to see if I could make one good enough for Summer Tomato.

Here's the photo I started with:

unedited photo 

I adjusted the Image using Auto levels and Auto contrast. Auto color didn't turn out right, so I adjusted the color balance manually. I optimized the vibrance and saturation manually as well. Next I used my friend Danny Jauregui's tips to enhance the bokeh using masks and filters in Photoshop.

Though all these tricks work better when I use my real camera and equipment, I was impressed enough with the results to use the photo and recipe.

I'm happy to say there were as many "YUM!" comments as ever.


My brain, unedited

What comes out of my brain and what actually ends up published at Summer Tomato are two very different beasts. My brain is politically incorrect, foul-mouthed, irreverent and generally awesome. Summer Tomato is kind, caring, clever and thoughtful.

Here's a peak at the original outline from today's post at Summer Tomato. +1 gutter-brain! 

10 reasons dieting is retarded

1. They don't work.
2. They fuck up your metabolism.
3. They make you miserable.
4. They make u a buzzkill.
5. They destroy your relationship with food.
6. The food tastes like ass.
7. They're hard.
8. They're temporary.
9. They cost money.
10. There's a better way.