Home  >  Carol LeBeau's Health Journal  >  Carol's Health Journal

Tom Ham's Lighthouse - Renovated, Re-opened and Better than Ever
By Carol LeBeau
7/29/2013 12:33:43 AM


How’d you like to turn your next boring business lunch into a mini-vacation? Then do what my friend, Paula and I did recently – head to Harbor Island and go over those financial reports at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant.

Tom Ham's RestauarantWhat’s the big deal? Most San Diegans know Tom Ham’s has been around for decades. True, but if you haven’t yet heard, this is the all-new Tom Ham’s! The iconic San Diego eatery has recently re-opened after a five-month renovation and it’s incredible!

I first experienced the famous lighthouse restaurant in 1981 as a guest speaker for an event that met in the “California Room.” New to San Diego, I recall the view from the banquet facility was so beautiful; it was difficult to concentrate on my speech.

I’ve enjoyed that view countless times since the 80’s. But in recent years, it’s been hard not to notice the popular meeting place becoming more and more run down. The old, wooden podium I stood behind more than 30 years ago was still there …worn, chipped and faded. And the poor podium wasn’t alone. The aging carpeting, furniture – everything had fallen into disrepair.

Well, no more! The redesign of the waterfront eatery and event site is complete and it’s fabulous!

Owners Andy and Grant Baumann, Tom Ham’s grandsons, kept most of their grandfather’s memorabilia, blending it with a new design that includes contemporary furniture, a bright and airy layout and expanded views of San Diego bay from every table.

My “business” lunch with Paula was more like a day at the beach as business took a backseat to the drop-dead gorgeous views from our table of downtown San Diego and Coronado.

Nibbling tasty salmon and shrimp atop baby kale salads with Fuji apples, Marcona almonds and honey-lemon dressing…two hours just melted away on our combination business lunch/stay-cation! (On my next visit, I can’t wait to try the fig and burrata salad with watercress, toasted pistachio and balsamic!)

And for all you “foodies” out there, the all-new Tom Ham’s menu overhaul by new executive chef, Lance Repp, focuses on seafood including a large raw bar selection, market fish and creative takes on paella and bouillabaisse – two dishes featured when the restaurant first opened 40 years ago.

So take a little vacation, without leaving town! Tom Ham’s Lighthouse on Harbor Island is back and it’s better than ever.

“Everything Old is New Again!
--Peter Allen

(Oh! One more thing! Be sure to check out the cool, keg room behind the glass on the first floor. With 32 taps at the bar, at Tom Ham’s, there’s a special brew for every taste!)

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

Love Does
7/22/2013 12:45:49 AM

I’ve never been impulsive. Practical and plan-full, I carefully calculate every possible outcome before making most decisions. Is it the best use of my time? Does it make sense financially, etc.?

So, when I received a wedding invitation recently from a childhood chum in Iowa, I naturally began weighing the pros and cons of making the trip. Gina and I had been classmates and friends from fourth grade through high school. Together with our BFF’s, Mary Beth and Anne, we’d shared years of sleepovers and birthday parties, homecomings and prom nights.

But our lives took us in different directions…coming together rarely at high school reunions, through Christmas cards and on Facebook. But looking at that invitation, something snapped inside. “Why not?” I thought. Maybe it’s not practical – flying all the way to Iowa for a 20-minute wedding ceremony. Maybe I shouldn’t spend the money. We need a new fridge, after all. So I bounced it off my husband.

“I want to go to Gina’s wedding,” I announced to Tom. “Way to take a walk on the wild side,” my husband said with just a hint of sarcasm. With his encouraging, “Go! It’ll be fun,” I booked my flight.

I know. A trip to Iowa may not sound like much to you. But for me, it’s just one of several mini-adventures I’ve been taking lately. I think last year’s cancer scare is one reason….wanting to live each day to the fullest.

Love DoesBut I’ve also been inspired recently by San Diegan, Bob Goff, who’s written a wonderful book called, “Love Does.” Positive and uplifting – like a box of chocolates, I’ve been devouring one delightful chapter at a time…the perfect bedtime snack!

Neither practical nor plan-full, Goff gives new meaning to living in the moment –taking his readers along on his life’s journey as he discovers a “secretly incredible life in an ordinary world.”

Get this: As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father, he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much, he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

“Love Does” has become a New York Times bestseller and it’s no surprise. What fuels the book’s impact is love…without constraints. But it’s not, as the cover copy reveals, “the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob Goff is convinced love takes action. He believes “Love Does.”

Bob’s faith-based musings and stories have been an incredible inspiration to me. I’m beginning to see that sometimes it’s ok to throw caution to the wind, do something outrageous and become “secretly incredible.” I encourage you to check out “Love Does.” It’s light, fun, inspiring….maybe even life-changing.

By the way, the wedding was a blast. Anne and Mary Beth came, too. What a joy to celebrate our dear friend, Gina’s special day together. Thanks to Bob Goff, I’m learning love doesn’t always just send a card. Sometimes, love “does!”

Ready for my next adventure! Care to join me? I’m thinking about a trip to New Zealand! Wheee!!

BTW, “Love Does” makes a great beach read. Enjoy.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Eat Your Asparagus! It's Good for You!
By Carol LeBeau
7/15/2013 4:15:46 PM


Eat Your AsparagusGrowing up, Mom fixed asparagus for dinner…a lot.  My Dad loved the green, veggie spears, so it was a mainstay in our diet.   “Eat your asparagus,” Dad demanded.  “It’s good for you.”

That may have been true.  But I hated the nasty, green vegetable.  When no one was looking, my portion often went to our poor, dog, Chuckie.  (That dog would eat anything.  Once, he ate the entire Easter ham!)

I can’t tell you exactly when my relationship with asparagus changed, but today I absolutely love the versatile vegetable packed with nutrition.   Maybe, like Brussels sprouts, asparagus is just an acquired taste.  But I think the difference is in the preparation.

For the record, my Mom was an excellent cook.  However, like every other Midwestern homemaker, Mom boiled her asparagus in water and butter until there was nothing left but green, stringy mush. 

Not until I was an adult did I get a taste of this ancient vegetable prepared al dente, or better still, roasted, parboiled or fresh in a salad.  I’ve been hooked on my former vegetable nemesis ever since!

The more I learn about the amazing asparagus, the more I love it! 

Did you know the name for asparagus – a member of the lily family comes from the Greek word meaning “shoot” or “sprout?” Now widely cultivated throughout the world, this regal vegetable is believed to have originated 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region, where it was prized for its unique texture and alleged medicinal and aphrodisiacal qualities.  (How’s that for a health bonus?!)

Asparagus spears grow from a crown planted in sandy soils and, under ideal conditions, can grow 10 inches in a 24-hour period!  The most common types are green, but you might see two others in stores, farmer’s markets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier.

This giant veggie is also a nutritional rock star – high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin and vitamins A, B6 and C.  A 5-ounce serving provides 60 percent of the RDA for folic acid and is low in calories.

‘Tis the season for asparagus, so pick up a couple of bunches.  Enjoy it raw or with minimal preparation, which the Romans seemed to appreciate.  They had a saying to describe something done rapidly, “As quick as cooking asparagus!” (Sorry Mom!)

Here’s a simple, tasty and nutritious asparagus recipe I think you’ll enjoy.  Perfect for a warm, summer evening!

Spring Asparagus and White Bean Salad


3 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 lb)

1 ½ cups canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

5 thinly sliced radishes

½ cup (2 oz) crumbled feta or goat cheese

1 medium shallot, peeled and minced

1 tbsp chopped fresh mint 


2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1tsp grated lemon zest

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper


1. Steam asparagus, covered, 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.

2. Rinse asparagus with cold water and drain.

3. Gently combine asparagus, beans radishes, feta, shallot and fresh mint in a serving bowl.

4. Make dressing by combining lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper, and whisk to combine.

5. Pour dressing over asparagus mixture and toss gently to coat.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Gentlemen, Is It Time for Your Tune-Up?
By Carol LeBeau
7/10/2013 2:48:23 PM


My husband, Tom is a good-looking guy … just a little short in the hair department. “It’s not that I’m bald,” explains my sweet husband. “I’m follicly-challenged.” But Tom’s shiny pate proved to be a blessing in disguise. Because of his receding hairline, it was easy to discover a little “boo-boo” developing atop his head.

Typical guy, Tom put off getting it checked. But the scaly patch continued to grow until I finally insisted he see a dermatologist. I even made the appointment. Long story short, the biopsy found the little lesion was a form of basal cell carcinoma.

Thank God, the skin cancer was found early. Removed by a plastic surgeon nearly two years ago, today the scar is barely visible and Tom is cancer-free. I shudder to think what may have happened had he put off seeing a doctor.

It makes me wonder. Why are guys like Tom (who would never put off servicing his car!) so reluctant to take care of their own bodies? Listen guys, the odds are against you. American men live sicker and die younger than American women. Men also die earlier than women for all the leading causes of death. Why? According to the Men’s Health Network, women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventive screenings than men!

But there’s an easy fix! Many diseases can be prevented or treated when symptoms are caught early. In fact, men’s top health threats, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, influenza and suicide, are mostly preventable.

In fact, men can start by following five simple recommended screenings:

  • Cholesterol: Have a cholesterol test at least every five years starting at age 35.
  • Blood Pressure: Check blood pressure at least every two years.
  • Colorectal Cancer: Begin regular screening at age 50.
  • Diabetes: Screen for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Prostate Cancer: Men age 50 or older should discuss screening with their doctor.

Still not persuaded? Well, maybe guys need to be convinced that real men need health care. So, I checked in with one of San Diego’s most famous “real men” for his perspective. Known for his astute sports commentary, Billy Ray Smith co-hosts the popular “Scott and BR Show” with Scott Kaplan on San Diego’s XX 1090Sports Radio.

But the easy-going sports radio guy is probably best known as #54 … the all-pro NFL football star and one of the greatest San Diego Chargers of all time.

Throughout his NFL career, Billy Ray was the picture of health. Now, off the field (and 20 pounds lighter!), BR still makes his health a priority. Check out my Q&A to learn more.


Q&A with Billy Ray Smith

Carol: How did you stay in top form while playing with the Chargers?

BR: I learned from my Dad who also played in the NFL. I used to run with him … even went to the training facility with him.


Jessica Davis Photography

Carol: After 10 years, what made you decide to retire from football?

BR: Another lesson from my Dad. He played 13 years and had to have knee replacement surgery. After suffering a torn calf, I decided not to hang on until the very last second and left the game still happy and healthy.

Carol: You played at 235 pounds. You’re much leaner today. Is that by design?

BR: The first thing I did after retiring was drop 20 – 30 pounds. The extra weight would have taken a toll later on my hips and knees.

Carol: You’re still super-fit. Do you work out?

BR: I walk with Kim every day and use dumbbells at home 2-3 times a week. I like to run and plan to get back into “hot” yoga. I love getting the sweat going.

Carol: What about preventive maintenance?

BR: I definitely keep up with my annual physicals. The League provides screenings and does a great job of making sure all the guys get checked.

Carol: I know Kim is devoted to a Mediterranean style diet. How ‘bout you?

BR: I’m not on the Kimberly Hunt diet … yet! But I try to emulate her, with a cheeseburger thrown in once in a while.

Carol: Hmmm. A cheeseburger with EVOO perhaps?

BR: Extra Virgin Olive Oil? Sure, why not?!

Carol: What about “junk” food?

BR: I love jalapenos … and anything “hot.”

Carol: Any tips for handling stress?

BR: I honestly don’t know what that is. I’m the luckiest guy on earth. Great friends. The greatest wife and daughter. I talk sports and they pay me for it!

Carol: And your co-host, Scott? You seem to get along well…

BR: Funniest guy I know. To be able to laugh things off, that’s huge.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.