On the Run: fitness made simple

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Posts tagged ask

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Anonymous asked: how did your family feel about you being vegan? do you ever splurge on special occasions for meat? Just wondering

Glad you asked!
My dad thinks it’s great because I eat more vegetables.
My brothers think it’s annoying because we can’t go eat Pho…
My mom is vegan 5-7 days a week (this has been her lifestyle all her life stemming from Buddhism). She is concerned that I’m not “feeding my brain” enough and believes I should at least eat fish sometimes.
My grandma is very concerned and even though she’s vegan/Buddhist vegetarian most days of the week, she believes I need to eat meat for “strength.” I ease her worries and just tell her that I eat meat and fish sometimes.

My extended family have cultural beliefs about meat and fish being nourishing and nutritious food. These ideas stem from growing up poor in Vietnam where good meat was a luxury and something to covet.

Honestly, I don’t tell my family members about my diet much. I know that when they tell me to eat certain things, it’s because they care about me which makes me less annoyed.

About splurging: The last time I ate animal flesh (I know that sounds weird…) was on Labor Day. It was my friend’s wedding and the preset menu had salmon and shrimp. I’ve only focused on a Vegan diet for 2 years now…and I’ve had meat/seafood a couple times. I estimate I eat a non-vegan treat once a week (i.e. Birthday cake, shared baked cookies in a meeting, free sandwich that has mayo on it)

Confession: I really want some shrimp dim sum right now. Even though it’s all ground up with fat…

Confession 2: I’m in lecture and blogging…

Filed under vegan diet personal ask

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Anonymous asked: That post was really fucking unnecessarily long, get a life.

You know, I don’t actually get that many messages, so when I do, like most tumblr bloggers… It’s kind of nice! And I click right away to see what a reader has said…And then it’s such a downer to read something like this. =( 

We give and receive a lot of feedback and criticism in medical school. My project this summer is analyzing feedback and comments from patients! It’s really important to hear from other people. I welcome all feedback and especially value comments that are specific. Please let me know what you like and don’t like. 

Also, I guess I haven’t introduced myself to new followers! Here are some facts about my life: 

  1. I’m a 2nd year medical student at UCSF.
  2. I live in San Francisco.
  3. I LOVE fitness. Mostly running, high-intensity interval training, cardio kickboxing, and lifting.
  4. I started swimming lessons this summer, something I’ve wanted to do all my life! 
  5. I do Bikram yoga, but only because it’s the closest studio to my place. I’d do vinyasa flow if there was a convenient option.
  6. I want to be a surgeon (maybe pediatric surgery).
  7. I’m also interested in hospital administration.
  8. I’m dating a really amazing guy right now =) I feel so comfortable about him. Sometimes, I say naive or biased statements. But he listens and pushes me to consider other viewpoints or adds to my knowledge…all the while understanding that I’m still learning and maturing. 
  9. I eat a vegan diet except when there’s free ice cream or homemade chocolate chip cookies infront of me (like tonight).
  10. I’ve been vegetarian for 4ish years, and vegan for 1.5 years.
  11. This week, my important meetings are with UCSF’s Associate CMO, Chair of Surgery, and a weekly Senior Leadership Council (this last one, I just observe and ask questions later). I’m also presenting my summer work to a group of physicians (so nervous, haven’t practiced yet and it’s on Wednesday!!) 

 Guess this post is also rather long…I don’t need to “get a life”…I need to get more sleep!



P.S. Let’s all try to not let negative comments get to us. Use them as an opportunity to get better at something…i.e. ignoring bs and focusing your energy on something better. If it’s actually a useful comment, try and understand where that statement is coming from and fix your practice.  

Filed under ask people are so mean anon

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jaxx2themax asked: Hey! Firstly, I love your blog; you seem to have such a positive attitude. I'm in my last semester of undergrad and I'm applying to grad schools whilst holding down two jobs, two internships, and, ready for this, downsizing to move. Working out has become my way to keep my life in order-the earlier the workout, the more productive I end up being. So I wanted to ask you something: I'm currently underweight and I'm not quite certain as to how to bulk up (I'm also vegan), thanks for your help!

Hi! I hope applying to grad schools is going well. You probably have made your decision already. I’m sure you’ll get into one of your top choices with all the activities you are doing. I agree that keeping a regular exercise regimen helps productivity and staying on schedule.

I eat vegan about 95% of the time, and I find it a very balanced nutrition plan! As for gaining weight, definitely make sure you are eating enough. Do you have time for meals? Do not deprive yourself even if you are busy. You deserve time to eat and to relax! Make sure you have a protein source at every meal. For example, I drink soy milk as part of breakfast, beans as a main part of lunch, and lentils as a dinner entree. Try and do 2-3 strength workouts a week in place of cardio. Some people are naturally underweight…have you always been thin and are your family members generally thin? Being underweight is big concern if it’s from recent weight loss.

Filed under ask health vegan advice fitness

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Anonymous asked: Do you have any workout tips for someone who wants to start? Every time I attempt to go for a run, I get out of breath after one round around my development (maybe 10 minutes max), which is pretty sad. I never worked out before, so I am quite new to this! Any tips for increasing my running stamina? Also, I get lightheaded and dizzy after I run, and sometimes during. Any suggestions? :)

Hi! What a GREAT time to start exercising! For a healthy person, having no medical complications, here are some ways to increase your running stamina.

1) Drink water before, and after 10 minutes of running. This will help with feeling dizzy and lightheaded.

2) Take a walking break after 10 minutes, and then do one more round.

3) Stretch briefly before, and for 7-10 minutes after exercising. (Something I need to work on too.

4) Strengthen major muscles by doing: calf raises, squats, and lunges.

5) Keep it up!

Filed under ask advice health

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fragile--fighter asked: Hi Geraldine! I just found your blog and of course I had to follow. One thing I noticed looking through your A+ grocery list was that the drinks section included tea, but not coffee. Is that just personal preference, or is coffee super unhealthy? Right now I'm finishing up my second semester in college with goals of med school in mind. Even as a freshman it seems impossible to get enough sleep... I think I would die without caffeine as I further my education.

Hi! Coffee has more caffeine than tea which I do not need. Tea also has more antioxidants than coffee. Tea stains your teeth less! Coffee is not “super unhealthy,” especially if you are drinking regular coffee with just some milk/milk alternative. It gets bad like during the holiday season when Starbucks has all these specialty drinks full of whip cream, sugar, syrup, and empty calories. It’s a little worrying that you aren’t getting enough sleep as a freshman in college. My roommate and I sleep 7-8 hours a night in med school. I drink tea, but she doesn’t drink any caffeinated drinks! Figure out why you’re so pressed for time. Did you over-commit this semester? Are you balancing school and play well? Are you productive during the daytime? Is your class schedule messed up with lots of small time gaps? I would say a reliance on caffeine is a negative habit to have, and it’s not a necessary component of productivity. Nor is it the secret to academic success. You’re going to do great!

New Year’s Resolution? Getting enough sleep =) 

For me, I drink tea daily. I’ll reuse one teabag for 2-3 refills. I like herbal teas to squash sugar cravings. Tea helps me from snacking and eating late at night. I drink coffee when I need to stay-up late to go out with friends…lol I drink coffee when I need to have fun, not when I need to study! 

Do you find that you NEED caffeine? 


Filed under ask college advice coffee health

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blozi asked: Hi, im thinking about running a half or full marathon later this year. I was wondering if you had any advice for someone who to be honest probably could run for fifteen minutes. Thanks

Great New Year’s Resolution! 

So it’s not unpractical to go from NO running to completing a half marathon. I would aim for 13.1 miles first before you tackle the full marathon. You have to decide if you even like running first!

Tips to get you started:

  • Find a training schedule online. There are ones for first-timers! I used one from http://www.runnersworld.com/training-plans/half-marathon-training-plans 
  • Sign up for a half-marathon.
  • Read about proper running form. 
  • Commit to running/working out at certain times throughout the week. 
  • Prepare for a change in appetite. If more running, some people find that their appetite decreases, so you should take note if you are eating enough. Others (like myself) tend to get hungrier and overeat! It helps me to track my food and calories when I’m training for a race to help me not overeat. It is good to eat more  when you’re running a lot though. I’d say eat back 75% of the calories you burn.
  • Educate yourself about running routes in your neighborhood. 
  • Stretch and warm-up to avoid injury. Shin splints are common in new runners, but they can be mended through calf stretching and changing running terrain.
  • Eat Breakfast! 
  • Have fun and enjoy the time you have to think, to daydream, and to do something entirely for yourself!

What are some tips everyone else has?

Happy New Year! 


Filed under ask running advice

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Anonymous asked: You look so radiant and healthy! I really wanna grow my hair long and yours looks nice do you have any tips/advice? I had split ends so I trimmed most of it off but still have some

Too bad “radiant” most likely leads to tan and wrinkly in the (hopefully not-so-near) future =_=…I definitely pamper my hair! Some treatments I do include: 

  • Leave-in-conditioner after showering. I use Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine. It’s only $2.99 at Target! Works well at night because it’s thick.
  • Another leave-in-conditioner I like, Aussie Hair Insurance. This is good for daytime because it’s misty and light. 
  • For more intense treatment, I use a tablespoon of hair oil like Weleda Rosemary Oil, and massage it through my hair. I make sure to moisturize ends thoroughly. Then, I tie my hair in a loose bun and sleep with it overnight!
  • I hardly ever use a blow dryer or straightener. My hair stylist uses them on me once every 3-4 months.
  • I only use curling irons or hot curlers once or twice a year for very special occasions…(I’m really lazy about my hair when I go out..wooo little braid or poofy half-bun).
  • When conditioning your hair in the shower, leave the product in for 2-3 minutes before rinsing. Take care of other stuff in the meantime!
  • I eat a lot of omega-3s and Vitamin E! :D  

I only have experience with straight, albeit rather dry, hair! I have no clue how to manage curly hair. 

Filed under ask beauty hair garnier aussie sun damage may actually deter me from running when i'm middleaged love hate relationship with the sun

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Anonymous asked: You are so pretty! What shampoo and conditioner do you use?

Thank you, you’re so kind. I splurge on shampoo and conditioner…I use Matrix Biolage Color Care. I don’t dye or highlight my hair, but this version was on sale lol. I want to try their Hydratherapie Shampoo & Conditioner. I was using Nexxus Therappe Shampoo and Conditioner, but the moisturizing effect does not last as long. Matrix Biolage is amazing! Especially if you have coarse hair…it makes it feel instantly sleeker and look shinier…And it STAYS that way. Also, my mom swears that Nexxus made her hair sleek…but it made more it fall out! Matrix has slowed down the hair-loss problem for her lol.

Matrix Biolage is expensive in stores and salons, but I buy it from Amazon for discounted prices (albeit large portions…I get the 1 Liter shampoo and conditioning set!). I think Shampoo and Conditioner is worth a splurge, especially if you have thick hair. The bottles last a long time. Good quality products make your hair more manageable, enjoyable, and just overall prettier! 

Filed under ask beauty hair care

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Anonymous asked: What kind of grades should I aim for to get into medical school? and what do they like to see on applications,besides the classes you've taken? I'm a biochemistry second year! :) I hope to get into medical school as well, sorry for all the questions!

You should aim to do your best! Work your butt off and go for the A’s! The average GPA for accepted students around the US in 2011 was 3.66 so maybe you can use that as a long-term goal. Medical schools like to see that you’ve gained some experience in the field and have worked on a project (volunteer, research, study groups) to a significant degree. They also like to learn how you are unique and what you are passionate about! 

Filed under ask medical school education

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Anonymous asked: Hi! I have a few questions regarding Med School and such. You graduated Spring 2011 & will attend Med School Fall 2012? What did you do the year post undergrad? Sorry for all the questions, I am about to enter my second year in undergrad and I love your blog and I thought maybe you could share some advice. Thanks!

Hi, I worked full-time doing research after graduation for 6 months. I also had to finish some applications and interviews. Since then, I’ve been traveling, taking classes that have always interested me, pursuing artistic and musical projects, and spending time with my family. If you plan to have at least a year before med school/grad school/work/etc., my best advice is to not waste the amazing opportunity to do something productive, meaningful to you, and fun! It’s a time to really round out your life and to focus on some areas that have been neglected or yearn for development. 

Thanks for reading my health blog and have a great summer! :D!!! Hope you aren’t taking summer session like I did the summer before 2nd year…

Filed under ask medical school advice college

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Anonymous asked: What's your favorite grocery store? And how often do you go grocery shopping?

About once a week. I’m not a devotee to any particular grocery store and my preferences change depending on where I’m living. Currently, I live in the suburbs and find the following to have the freshest produce: 

  • New Leaf Community Markets, but they are only in California.
  • Nob Hill (Raley’s or Bel Air depending on where you live). Clean store, vegetables and fruit are consistently fresh. Cereal and milk is expensive here though. 
  • Local Farmer’s market (but not everything there is organic so pay attention) 
  • Whole Foods is great for vegetables, sauces, bulk dry food, and hot foods. The fruit is pretty overpriced, and the store has a lot of crazy holistic products that are a joke.
  • Henry’s Market is owned by Whole Foods! It’s a lot like it, but much cheaper with less junk :D College student fave. 
  • Costco is really trying to cater to the more health conscious crowd. 
  • I also like Asian markets, but I only go when my mom does. Will never buy Chayote Squash anywhere but an Asian market.

 I’ll be living in an urban environment soon, so I’ll be frequently smaller, family owned stores in the city!

Filed under ask grocery henry's whole foods market new leaf community market health

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Anonymous asked: My fifteen-year old sister eats only 900-1000 calories a day. She gets an anxiety attack if she cannot exercise or when her fitness teacher at school is absent. She lost over 17 pounds in a month; at this point she probably lost even more weight. She exercises way more than her daily needs&I've been trying to get her to eat more for over 3 months, but she never listens.I’m afraid that she will end up in a hospital,with a very bad health problem. Any advice?

Hi there, it is very helpful that you noticed the warning signs of your sister’s progressing health issues. I’ve only ever approached one of my friends about her dieting problem and she responded openly (although I don’t think I changed her habits or ways of thinking…). I tried to do the following: 

  • Be tactful, gentle, but persistent: Try telling her that you’re worried about her health and how she’s putting herself under so much stress. Mention how you don’t want to see her get injured while working out and that it hurts you to see her in irritated moods. Emphasize how people can eat healthy, fresh foods, and be happy and confident. 
  • Do not bring up weight or eating habits: People, healthy or plagued by eating disorders, get annoyed when others criticize their diet. They think that people telling them otherwise have no idea what they are talking about. They may even mistake your concerns as jealousy for their weight loss and retaliate with sharp comments. You can just open a conversation about how she’s doing in general, what’s good or bad in her life, anything bothering her, etc. 
  • stay strong: Your sister may not listen, and she may even get mad at you. Try and understand that she may be feeling insecure about herself and is acting out upon it. People won’t acknowledge their mistakes readily and may need time to realize their problems. 
  • seek support: Ask your mom and dad for their advice, and what they think your sister needs. 
  • have fun: Please let this be a time when you and your sister can grow closer to one another instead of bringing about a great rift. Try and spend some quality time together this summer, take a day trip, go out at night, hiking, explore, do things that make you laugh together! 

Hope this helps and that your sister is getting better. I greatly apologize for taking ages to reply to this question. It’s just that everytime I started it, I never knew what to say. It’s a hard issue, and I personally know what it feels like on both ends of the story. 

How have you approached someone you suspect is in trouble? How have you responded to people who are worried about you? 

~xxox Geri 

Filed under ask diet health advice weight loss

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Anonymous asked: That post from July 4th, 2011; Is it really 4 ounces of salmon? Whenever I eat salmon, I get all obsessed and I'm not sure if I'm really eating 3-4 ounces of protein.. My question is: What does 4 ounces of salmon/chicken really look like, other than "the size of your fist"?

What I usually do is buy 1 lb (16 oz) of fish and then divide them into 4 servings. That way I’m eating just about 4 oz each time. Depending on how thick the slice is, 4 oz can be the same size or a little longer than an 3x4 index card.

And please don’t be obsessed! Let precision and accuracy be your best friends, but no need to stress out more than necessary. 

Filed under ask health food diet cooking

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Anonymous asked: Can you eat too much protein?

Yes, too much protein can indeed hurt. 

A general rule I learned in Nutrition is that the max intake of protein for any person is 2g of protein per kg (2g/kg). For example if you weigh 50 kg,  your max intake would be 100 g of protein.

Eating too much of protein pours more stress on your kidneys. Nitrogen is a main component of proteins, but our bodies do not use much of it. Therefore, our kidneys have to filter out the excess nitrogen as urea (pee). A build up of nitrogen in the body would have toxic effects. 

Also, if you are getting a lot of your protein from mammalian red meat, you could be increasing your risk of cancer. Glycans are carbohydrates from red meat and milk that get incorporated into human glycoproteins stimulating inflammation and raising the risk of carcinomas. 

Filed under ask health diet high protein diet

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Anonymous asked: Aren't you terrified out of your mind? I'm so scared it's unbelievable. Terribly excited as well, but mostly scared, haha.

Oh no, not at all! I’m a little nervous, spazzy/overly eager, not sure if I’m preparing enough during this summer, and bummed/stressed about how expensive housing will be around my school…Part of the reason I’m not scared is because I befriended a lot of medical students during college, and one of my close friends is a 3rd year (albeit at a different school). I can really ask him anything that I’m curious about! I guess I’m still really happy that I got in, so maybe I’m still in a honeymoon phase haha. I’m so excited to finally start formally learning medicine and everything I’ve been WAITING to study. 

Don’t be scared! Find someone you trust so you can just vent to, or email a 2nd year the questions you have. Hope you’re having a great summer! We’ll be FINE. Yay Class of 2016! 

Filed under ask anon medical school personal