Fast fifty with Sascha Edge.

Sasha Edge (TCS London Marathon) at The Edge Group World Marathon Championships in 2022

The other day, someone asked me how I gained the confidence to start a new career at the age of 43. I told them that there were really three defining moments in my life that developed this level of chutzpah:

That time in high school creative writing class when a fellow student told me that the character in one of my short stories (ie, me) “always tries to do the right thing.”

That time in 2013 when I left my house, a bunch of rarely used china, and my marriage to start a new life as a single girl in the city.

That time in 2017 when I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon.

The “secret” to confidence is proving to yourself that you can do the things you label “impossible”.

For the past few months, my Google News feed has been pumping my phone with articles about this new miracle fat loss drug. This is completely surprising because I have been searching for such a drug all my life. Well, it now appears that we are on the verge of a major medical breakthrough. With just one shot a month, you can lose those pesky love handles, those “last 10 pounds,” that stubborn inch around your stomach.

It all sounds too good to be true, right? But, honestly, after reading dozens and dozens of articles on the subject (thanks Google!), I think these drugs have the potential to change the way we think about our diet, our bodies, and the growing standards of wellness. Per. They are effective at that. Anyway, I read this other article about Mark Wahlberg taking these diet drugs (I know, the algorithm was really working overtime, but hey–I clicked!), and he said something that I thought was really important:

“You’d be surprised what you can achieve when you’re willing to put in the work.”

I’m all for people having access to life-changing drugs, and obviously there’s a part of me that’s interested in whether, at the very least, such a miracle drug might soften some of the edges of my own disorder. Or, maybe make them sharper…? I don’t know I would say, though, if this miracle drug had been available when I was 10, 11, 12 years old, I might never have run and probably never run a marathon. In my world, I see no reason to do so. Running was a very effective way to burn calories. That’s it. Eventually, running became an effective way to manage my eating disorder.

But, as I’ve said before, what I’ve gained outside of running is that it’s taught me more about myself; It serves as the most compelling piece of evidence against my own imposter syndrome. I wonder where I would be without it.

If we live in a world that truly believes that “the ends justify the means,” how can we blame anyone for trying to achieve “the end” no matter the means? As the world turns to miracle fat loss pills and ChapGPT to make things “easy,” I also wonder what the hidden costs of these “too good to be true” shortcuts might be.

This leads me to this week’s podcast guest, Sasha Edge. At the age of 43, Sascha started running and completed his first marathon in just under 4 hours (3:58). He’s never considered himself a runner—in fact, he’s pretty sure he didn’t even put on running shoes for his first marathon. And the minute he crossed the finish line? The first thing he said was “I’ll never do it again.” But guess what? She did. And he got faster every year, setting his current personal best time of 2:47 at the Indy Monumental Marathon in 2021.

He was 54 years old.

Sascha’s ongoing story is unbelievable—like, literally unbelievable. Over the past decade, he’s racked up more personal bests and race category wins than most people’s shoes. But that’s not what makes his story so inspiring. The moment you hear his voice, you instantly realize that seemingly ordinary people—the guy you work with in the warehouse, the father of two boys, the friend you call over to watch the game—can do extraordinary things.

And thus… so can you.

Check out my interview with Sascha Edge!

Along with Sascha Edge, one of the most inspiring athletes I know!

On a related note, Sasha Edge and her mother Trisha are featured this month Runner’s World Magazine If you are a RW subscriber, you can read the story here. From Trisha, who ran about 40 miles per week in the 80s, “I follow a low glycemic vegan, whole food organic diet.”

This week’s recipe inspiration – a state issue…

My Vegan Maryland Crabcakes

In case you missed it, I had the opportunity to visit the White House a few weeks ago! There, I got to meet Chef Edward Lee, who was charged with preparing state dinners for South Korea’s first family. One of the dishes she shared with us was Maryland Crabcakes. Anthony suggested that it might be fun if I tried making it vegetarian, and he was right! Below is the recipe for my veganized version of this course from State Dinner!


4 sticks heart of palm
3 artichokes
1/4 cup chickpeas
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon hummus
2 tbsp TKV Fish Seasoning (can sub Furika for now)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup sweet white rice flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
2 tablespoons gochujang
1 tablespoon fruit vinegar (I used persimmon)
1 tablespoon sweetener (I used plum syrup)
1 teaspoon perilla oil (toasted sesame oil can be substituted)
1 strawberry, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cucumber
i amoptional: Fresh parsley or dill


  1. Place the palm, artichokes, chickpeas, shallots, celery, mustard, hummus, fish seasoning and bread crumbs in a food processor and pulse a few times until the consistency of crabmeat.
  2. Shape into balls and coat with rice flour. Cook in oil for about 3 minutes, until both sides are golden brown, as well as browned.
  3. For the sauce, mix together the gochujang, vinegar, sweetener, perilla oil. Make a garnish by mixing strawberries and cucumbers with a few drops of perilla oil. Place on top of a bed of kohlrabi, cucumber and cabbage. Garnish with fresh parsley or dill.

Updates and random stuff.

  • Live Book Signing/Meet & Greet in NYC! In case you missed it, I’ll be there this year Vegan Women’s Summit on May 19, 2023 in NYC! I’ll be chatting with one of my favorite people in the world, Miyoko Shiner, as well as signing a bunch of books! If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, be sure to do so and come by my booth from 10:10am to 10:55am to say hello!
  • What I see. We’re on season 9 of The Blacklist, everyone. Season 9!! When we weren’t caught up in Raymond Reddington’s world domination, I caught a few episodes of it the diplomat And Will Trent. Can’t say I was too impressed either. i found the diplomat Be a little slower and the chemistry between the two might be a little, well, non-existent. Will Trent, the new darling of network TV, was a little harder to watch. The acting is subpar and the writing is predictable. That said, I love the books (more on that later)! Let me know what you think the diplomat or Will Trent– I should keep looking?
  • That’s what I’m hearing. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Susie and Ed Keys to the Shival Podcast. These two are on the front lines of social media every day, doing things most of us can’t stomach: fighting misinformation with cheek and food. I loved love loved my chats with them—we covered everything from the Asian creative “ho phase,” the bowl-cut that shaped Ed’s trauma, and how Susie inadvertently started WWIII with the UK. I highly recommend that you check it out!!!
  • Korean Vegan Bookclub? Last month, my friend Kim-Julie spent a week at my house and we talked about all things (she lives in Europe so we haven’t seen each other in a few years). One of my favorite discussions during our all-nighter was a list of all my favorite books, including an impromptu reading of my worn (probably stolen) copy of Tennyson. He suggested I start a book club, of which only he would be a member! But, I thought why not open the membership to all of you? Let me know – should I start a bookclub on these newsletters?

Happy Mother’s Day!

As I write this newsletter, I am currently sitting on a plane to Chicago, to spend time with my family for Mother’s Day! We’re not doing anything special – ordering takeout from our favorite Chinese vegetarian spot in Chicago’s Chinatown while watching The Blacklist (something we totally hooked on my mother-in-law), and tomorrow, we’re going to my mom’s house for bibimbap and boochimgae. Regardless of whether you are a mom or spend time with your mom, I hope you all had a great weekend!

And that’s a wrap!

– Joan

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