December 2016 archive

10 Holiday Gifts For Busy Cooks and Hungry Grad Students

Another semester of medical school has wrapped. With Christmas around the corner, I’m feelin’ festive, although with boards in June, slightly panicked as well. It’s the good kind of panic. The kind that keeps you in motion. Medicine is a lifestyle, and it slowly consumes your free time until you wrest it back with conviction. Throughout this second year (hard to believe there are 6 months of didactic training left!), I’ve been determined to hang on to those things that make my heart content: homemade meals with fresh veggies, sand volleyball with classmates, and daily meditations. In spite of the stressors–and a couple of gray eyebrow hairs (!)–I’m happy. Truly. When you wake up each day excited to face the challenges inherent in pursuing your dream, you know you’re on the right path.

A highlight of 2016: Meeting Kevin MD of kevinmd.com at the American Medical Association Annual Meeting in Chicago this summer. I had to pinch myself because it felt like being in a dream, attending a conference with so many fine minds and people passionate about making a difference.

As silly as it sounds, one of my greatest fears about this grad school journey was that I’d become overly stressed and dive face first into comfort food, regaining the 30+ lbs I lost in college. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened. My key to success is still–as it has been ever since the start of my low carb journey in 2009–cooking wholesome meals, on a regular basis, whether I feel like doing it or not. During the past year, there’s been ample opportunity to share my weight loss story and meal prep tips with fellow med students (shout out to Preventive Medicine club!), patients in our free clinic, and anyone who asks what that tasty-looking dish is that I’m eating from a Tupperware container. It’s encouraging to see that most people, including my med student friends, want to hear more about how they can make changes in their daily routine to eat better. They just have no idea where to start.

In medical school, the main obstacle to eating well, aside from laziness, is time. With every waking moment crammed with a task to be accomplished, time feels accelerated, with whole weeks flying by in the blink of an eye. Since every moment is precious, we med students value efficiency and certainty of positive results. There simply isn’t time to linger over a stove, which explains the crumpled McDonald’s bags filling up our study room trash cans. I’m fairly certain the male students at our school could single-handedly keep the fast food establishments in our tiny rural town in business.

Therein lies the inspiration for my first post back from school: “10 Gifts to Eat Well as a Grad Student.” Alternatively, this list could be called “10 Essentials for Busy People Who Don’t Have Time to Cook, But Do It Anyway.” Please forgive my shameless promotion of consumerism centered around holidays that are so meaningful for religious reasons. I’ll have you know I’m frosting Jesus-themed cupcakes for His birthday party at my niece’s preschool next week. Clearly, the deeper meaning of December 25th is not lost on me. 

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