Okay, it’s not perfect…it uses a lot of soy sauce and has lots of sodium.
1) Start off with mixed vegetables. Look how awesome! I got snap peas, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, and even watercress!
Actually…these are frozen vegetables from Costco.
2) Then you boil your noodles! I used udon noodles, but my kayak instructor friend uses pasta noodles and says it’s tasty.
3) THEN YOU MAKE THE PEANUT SAUCEEEEE. It’s so simple. All you need is peanut butter, garlic or garlic powder, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Go to this recipe for the amounts: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/frozen-vegetable-stir-fry/
Oh god that’s a crappy picture.
4) Then you happily eat because you’ve successful made frozen vegetables less sad and unpalatable.
Wow, another terrible picture. This is what happens when you take pictures in 2 seconds with your iphone, no flash, and while you’re walking.
Kayaking along Lanikai Beach!
This was one of my favorite activities in Hawaii. Our friend Dylan is a kayaking tour guide, so he just took us around to the islands 0.25-1.25 miles off the shore. However, if you don’t happen to have an awesome kayaking expert friend, I’d pay to go on a tour! Especially if you’re a beginner or new at kayaking. It’s not only much safer, but you go further out with a guide. Some visitors went on private tours which allows you to get personal attention from your guide who will help you go faster. The water was just so beautiful and clear. I even saw a couple turtles (pic 3)!
Kayaking obviously works your shoulders and arms, but it’s also an intense core and back exercise. You use your core each time you shift to paddle on the other side, and the more you use your core, the less work your arms have to do. Your arms will get very tired very soon. Your legs get worked because you push back as you row.
Share your kayaking tips in replies, comments, and questions!
P.S. Lanikai Beach is supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world
USMLE Step 1 study month recipe #1: Vegan Lasagne
Cooking goal accomplished. I made lasagne for the first time. This recipe uses homemade sauce, spinach, and tofu. This is the recipe I used: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vegan-lasagna-i/ (I doubled the recipe)
But this one might be even better because it uses more vegetables (eggplant)! http://www.chow.com/recipes/29439-vegan-lasagna
My boyfriend and I made this during our day off. It was so much fun even when neither of us has ever made lasagne. We had no idea how soft the noodles had to be prior to baking. Anyhow, it was really delicious, healthy, and filling! So much Vitamin C from the tomatoes and protein from the tofu. I couldn’t find any whole wheat noodles…but let me know if you know of any!
Talk to you soon,
Went home for the weekend and my grandma made me dried persimmons! So yummy; they are nature’s gummy snacks and completely unprocessed. Oh and p.s I just got my eyebrows threaded for the first time!! I feel like a new woman.
Just got back from Hawaii today! Basically, I was studying for USMLE Step 1 all March, took my test on April 4th, then flew out to Oahu with 6 of my friends on April 6th. We vacationed and explored for a week! Monday, I start my 3rd year of medical school! My Oahu itinerary included:
- Sunday: Walking around and quick beach day.
- Monday: Hiking and afternoon beach day
- Tuesday: Hiking and Sunset and Pipeline beach (got some reading in, and watched the awesome surfers)
- Wednesday: Kayaking
- Thursday: Bodysurfing, snorkeling
- Friday: Paddleboarding, snorkeling
More to come like delicious and easy meals for groups and pictures!
Yellow Curry Recipe: Vegan, Delicious, and Filling
Ben and I just made a bunch last night for dinner and for the rest of this week’s lunches. It’s really easy to make, and instantly gratifying because it smells sooo good as you’re cooking. I adapted this recipe found on allrecipes.com. We also made some roasted cauliflower . This curry recipe is for 1 batch…we made two so we doubled everything I listed in the photo.
- Sautee onion, garlic, and ginger.
- Add the curry powder and bay leaves.
- Add vegetables, chickpeas, vegetable broth, and coconut oil. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Then add the soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and tomato puree.
- Serve with naan or rice. It’s a pretty starchy curry, so don’t overdue the rice or naan. I ate about 1/2 cup of cooked rice and 1/2 a naan with a bowl of curry.
I’m so excited to have this for lunch today! Curry tastes better the next day after all the sauce soaks in. Yumm.
Okay, time to start studying! Goal for the day: just do whatever makes me happy. If blogging right now makes me happy…I’m going to do it. If focusing on my studies, being away from disturbances, or taking a walk makes me happy…then I’m going to go for it. Here’s to a productive day, people!
Above would be my weight as of this morning…and my ugly bathroom floor, and my progressively right-leaning right big toe due to a running-induced bunion.
Lost 3 lbs since Jan 1st, 2014! ~107 lbs has been my lowest stable weight since Jan 2012. At this rate, I probably won’t be at my goal weight (105 lb) by April 5th when I’m going to Hawaii (and wearing these bikinis from H&M (1) (2))…but still I’m really happy to see progress! The “last 5 lbs” are notoriously hard to lose and to keep off. They always seem to inch back on. However, I’ve been able to lose weight slowly, but more importantly, not gain weight while NOT CALORIE COUNTING (EFFTHATSH*T just can’t live my life tracking everything yo). The following changes really help:
- NO carbohydrates as snacks. I eat cocoa-powdered almonds, nut bars (with less than 5g of sugar), or dark chocolate for snacks. Okay, okay, I’ll eat fruit too (oranges, apples, bananas), but absolutely no crackers, chips, bread, granola, luna bars/lara bars/etc, or any other grain/flour type of snack.
- Rest Day: Okay, I know I was a strong proponent of ACTIVE rest days…but I’m a convert. Having a day when there’s no planned exercise is really relaxing and keeps you motivated to work out hard on all other days. You don’t have to be sedentary on days you don’t do a formal work-out. You can work on stretching, go shopping, or walk or bike somewhere instead of driving. Have an off day makes me less stressed (some exercise experts claim that it helps lower cortisol) so I don’t binge eat and can stick strongly to my diet plan. Don’t burn yourself out!.
- High-Intensity-Interval-Training: I’m using the running app, Gipis, which gives you a customized running plan. There’s 4 days of running, and 2-3 days are usually short, fast, workouts. These interval workouts tone your muscles, make you stronger, but don’t wear you out so you cave and overeat.
- Redefine what you think is attractive: During lunch last week, my friend Cat said, “I used to be tiny, but whatever, I don’t find that attractive.” And she’s working out to be the best person inside and out that she wants to be. Just because someone else thinks a certain weight and size is attractive, doesn’t mean you have to either. Sometimes, when thoughts such as “Omgod she’s so skinny..” pop in my head, I just stop my train of thought and say, “Whatever, I don’t find that attractive. I think my own body and look is attractive and am working to reach my personal goals.”
Honestly, by limiting my carbs to mealtimes, I can eat as much almond butter and dark chocolate as I want. I literally eat 4-6 tablespoons of peanut/almond butter every morning.
Other notes: I’m up to 4 unassisted pull-ups in a row!
…and I’m studying for USMLE Step 1 (medical boards exam) with 3 weeks to go…and my scores still have a long way to go (even for non-ambitious standards). I’ll try and keep blogging on my study breaks =).
A personal goal for me is to not sit down until 5pm. Caveats: I usually have a 2 hr session each day when I sit, and I sit down to enjoy my lunch of course! My library has 2 treadmill work-stations that I routinely hit-up. It lets you walk at a max speed of 2mph (safety concerns!). It’s pretty hilarious to see people walk at like 0.5 mph. At first, I felt dizzy doing it, but now I’m pretty productive.
I alternate walking and standing, and end up covering 4-6 miles a day. NOTE: this is not a replacement for exercise, but for sitting and to keep my metabolism above BMR for a while.
Benefits: Better posture, not sitting all day, moving, energized while you work, burning a few extra calories, ability to stretch (quads, calves, back).
Good for: Activities like reading, watching videos and lectures, and typing are pretty easy.
Bad for: Using fine motor skills with writing and using the mouse for highlighting are difficult. Walking would not work well for a graphic designer, for instance. The need for comfortable shoes and clothing.
Other things you can do include walking outside while studying, or biking on a recumbent bike. For example, you can do flashcards while walking, or listen to podcast. I read or do quizzes on my iPad while lightly pedalling on a recumbent bike.
Talk to you soon!
I normally don’t post the instant I feel terrible, for fear that this post will be visible on my main page long after my emotions pass and exist as a reminder, a blemish.
Basically, my exam today didn’t go well, and I probably failed. I prepared as well as I could, as well as my judgement deemed fit, as much as it took for me to feel confident walking into the lecture hall today. But still…I was so confused.
I can’t believe grades mean this much to me these days. I guess to me higher grades validate that I’m keeping up with the crowd, doing my job as a med student well, and am learning a lot. My school is pass/fail btw, so it’s designed to not be competitive and too stressful.
I’ve thought about why I was confused, the topics I needed to review, and ways to study better for the future exams and Step 1. But I don’t want to talk about that right now.
As I was walking home, up my 1/2 mile with an incline of what feels like 70%, I asked myself, “Sure, grades and scores are important to me now. But if I lived 10 years longer, what would really still be important then?”
My answer, “That I graduated from medical school, completed residency, and became a practicing doctor. That I helped all the people I could as a medical student. That I formed mentorships and friendships. That I fell in love, twice. That Benjamin was my best friend. And that I could do something that is undoubtedly good for the world.”
So sure, I may have to take a test over again and have it interfere with studying for boards. Yes, many of my classmates are more effective at studying than me and have found what works for them long ago. But, I’m going to be fine and should try to be as happy as I can be. Being sad, worried, or stressed (when you can help it) doesn’t change any of the facts, so why suffer.
This was my post-race breakfast! (The ham and eggs on the side was for my boyfriend).
A tartine is an open faced, usually warm, sandwich popularized by the French. Toast up some fancy bread. I used walnut levain bread from San Francisco’s classic Acme Bakery. Mash up 1 whole avocado with the juice of 1/4 lemon. Season with salt & pepper and spread thickly over your bread. This is all part of my vegan diet focused on healthy fats and satiety!
Alrighty, lunch break over. Talk to you soon.
As my 24th birthday grew nearer (Did I not do a birthday post?!! It was Dec 13th) and 2014 came closer, I decided I need to check where I’m at. I went to Student Health and had appointments with a doctor, nutritionist, and psychiatrist.
At this time, I was in a rut of all sorts…I hadn’t lost any weight (goal has been to lose 5 lbs since June 2013), I was having a tough few weeks in school, and negative thoughts about myself were destroying my focus. I wasn’t in the worst of shape, but I felt like everyone around me was achieving their goals and I couldn’t even make any headway with mine. Anyways, I learned very crucial information from my check-ups!
Doctor’s appointment/Physical check-up:
Me: Dr., I’ve been a strict vegan for a couple years, and am concerned about my Vitamin B12 levels.
My Vitamin B12 levels were low! The normal range is 200-1000 pg/ml. Older adults can have symptoms from deficiency at levels 200-500 pg/ml. I was sitting at 250 pg/ml! It’s not a huge surprise because I’ve been vegan for a couple years and don’t take regular supplements. But this was so crucial to know because if I had kept going, I would have become deficient. So now I take a Vitamin B12 pill 4x a week. Vegan-friendly sources of B12 include nutritional yeast and apple cider vinegar. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, and chronic deficiency damages nerves (I was not anemic). So please please, if you are also vegan, request a Vitamin B12 blood test next time you’re at the doctor’s!
Me: I’m vegan, and I haven’t been losing weight.
The student health nutritionist told me that, “Vegan is not her favorite diet,” and “she was vegan for a while and gained a ton of weight.” She looked at my food diary and basically told me I was eating too many carbs. She didn’t emphasize counting calories or anything because fats, carbs, and proteins do entirely different things in your body. Basically, all calories are not created equal. She advised me to focus on proteins and healthy fats. For example, I could give myself a big serving of peanut butter and a piece of toast for breakfast. Or a salad with beans and a whole avocado for lunch.
She also said that I was working out too much. I work out 5-6 days a week with a day of yoga. She advised me to take a couple rest days which allows your mind and body to relax. If you’re working out constantly, more cortisol (stress hormone) is released causing you to feel anxious and tense.
Although I found her difficult to talk to, I still took most of her advice. Since December, I’ve been eating A LOT more healthy fats. I feel less bloated, a little weight loss, and feel full for longer. Some easy changes I’ve made include eating nuts for snacks instead of crackers, bread, or crisps. I’ll have nuts twice a day, about 200 calories each serving. I also avoid putting grains in my salad. and instead flavor it generously with avocado, olive oil, and sunflower seeds. I also can eat dark chocolate as a snack too! Try flavors that only have around 5g of sugar per serving. I eat SO much peanut butter and almond butter, it’s great. I literally go through a jar in 7 days.
Psychiatrist/Med Student Well-being counselor:
Me: Dr., I keep comparing myself to other people, have cried 4x in the last month, and need to focus and study for Step 1 better than I’ve been doing.
He basically told me that I needed to indulge in relaxing activities more. But I was like, “No Dr, I can relax fine…I need to FOCUS and WORK more!” Funny concept…relax more, to get more done =). The take home messages for me were:
- When I start thinking self-defeating thoughts or start comparing myself to others in way that makes me feel down, I should engage in an enjoyable activity for a few minutes. For example, sketching, blogging, or reading the news.
- Continue meditating even if only for 10 minutes a day before bedtime.
- Make time for all my “Basic Maintenance” needs (i.e. sleep, exercise, and the crucial hobbies and activities I need to be happy and productive).
- Change up my study place so that I don’t see the same people over and over again who stress me out.
- If there are recurring thoughts (for me, it’s “She’s focusing so much and getting so much done, I’m being very distracted and not accomplishing much”), think of them like a tape recording and “turn down the volume.”
I’m really glad I took the time to meet with all these professionals who helped me determine my baseline for mind and body health as I move forward. I have more direction and tools handy to deal with stress and to make better decisions.
Have you had your regular check-ups or check-ins this year?
All the best,
Kaiser San Francisco Half Marathon
After fourteen months since my last race, 3 months of training, and one big nudge out the door on a rainy race day, I achieved a PR of 1:47:23 (8:12 per mile). I’m ready to retire these shoes.
The Goal: Run around 8:30/mile and to finish strong.
- Overall strategy: Easy beginning, relaxed and quicker middle, and surge for the last 2 miles.
- 1-3 miles: Take it easy and run about 5 seconds slower than my goal pace. That didn’t happen…I ended up running around 8:05/mile. For these 3 miles, EVERYONE was passing me. Literally 1000 people passed me.
- 3-8 miles: Relax and run at my goal race (8:15/mile). As I got to mile 8, the winner passed me on the other side of the switchback at mile 12! He was 4+ miles ahead of me! Craziness. The winning times were 1:08 something.
- 8-11 miles: These were the hardest because you aren’t super close to the end yet, but have still run pretty far. Also, it was windy and cold along the beach. It gets mentally tiring keeping track of your pace and constantly looking at your watch, so I tried to keep up with people I estimated to be running at my desired pace. That way, you let other’s do the pacing work for you =).
- 11-13.1 miles: This is where the game begins! I aimed for runners ahead of me and tried to catch up to them. I only successful passed a few people, but this game helped me push through. When I started to slow down, I surged for a few seconds to get my legs back into gear. I thought about Ben at the finish line waiting to congratulate me and give me chocolate (He’s really the best boyfriend of all time).
Post race: Avocado tartine and fruit for breakfast. Then in the library by 12 noon to study for Step 1 (medical board exam). Looking forward to my recovery days and break from structured running.
Thank you for all your support and for being here for me to share my story with! I’d love to hear your’s.