Saturday, June 30, 2012

What to Eat During Boards

I survived the USMLE Step 2!

There were no power outages. I answered all the questions. I don't know about the number I answered right, but all the questions got responses. 

And so I thought I'd share my snacks and hydration. They're planned fairly carefully - too much liquid and your bladder distracts you, too much food and you fall asleep, too little and you crash.

The USMLE Step 2 is a 9 hour test - 8 one-hour, 44 question blocks and 1 hour of breaks to distribute throughout the day, so I broke it up like this:

Block 1, Block 2

Break. Snack 1: Zone Simple Cranberry Almond Bar

Block 3, Block 4

Break. Lunch: Ezekiel Bread White Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich

Block 5, Block 6

Break. Snack 2: Apple

Block 7

Break. Snack 3: Raw Almonds, Golden Raisins

Block 8

So all this disappeared directly into my brain as fuel:

With each break I sipped from a thermos of coffee. I didn't probably drink enough water, but I survived.

And even though I felt very brain-tired at the end, I was never too hungry or too sleepy. I think it worked out well.

There is a distinct lack of vegetables, but I made up for it at dinner with some quinoa and veggies. 

And now since I start a pretty intense rotation on Monday (Pediatrics Sub-Internship!) I'm just trying to enjoy my weekend. 

And maybe review a couple important things for Monday. 

Oh and tomorrow I have a bridal shower, and guess who's coming to see me (okay, lots of people) but especially this girl: 

Happy Sabbath!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Day Before the USMLE Step 2

Did Googling bring you here? This isn't really instructional, or advice-based, just a real life explanation about what I did before I took Boards. And I kind of had a lot going on, as I'm sure you do as well, so there you go. 

Wondering about Step 1? Check out my post about that from a year ago. 

It's the morning of the second half of my Boards.

As many of you know, I'm getting married in 5 weeks.

Yeah. I know.

And so it being the week before Boards, I of course also had to fill it up with all kinds of things that I couldn't fit in while on rotation. Last week I was home in Oregon for the wedding dress fitting and did a lot of studying, so this was my only week here with lots of "free" business-hour time.

So we left from the Inland Empire Tuesday and did a tasting with our caterer in Calabasas (so many decisions made, so much great food!), then up to Ventura and picked up my wedding band, then down to San Diego (traffic!) for the next couple days.

Fortunately John drove and I did my best to study, but it was pretty tough.

Yesterday (the day before) I did the following:

5 am: Woke up in San Diego for another set of the UWorld Question Bank before breakfast.
6:30 am: Made coffee and breakfast. I don't mess around on serious brain fuel days, it's always oatmeal.

7 am: Ate with John, did our premarital counseling homework. This is the reason I woke up in San Diego - we were doing a bit of a crash course because this was our best time window before the wedding. 
9 am: Went to our session with the pastor. I'm so glad we fit it in, I think it's maybe the most important part of our wedding prep. 
10:30 am: Stopped at a market to pick up supplies for lunch.
11:00 am: Another set from the QBank. 
12:00 pm: Cooked, ate, packed and got on the road back to Loma Linda, it's about a 2 hour drive.
3:00 pm: Got in, unpacked, made a snack, settled in and reviewed a couple topics I had decided to look at again. [Skin! Rashes are going to be the death of me.]
5:30 pm: Stretch yoga while watching House. That's like studying right?
7:00 pm: Dinner, internet dabbling. Printed my updated Test Permit (from the NBME website). 
8:00 pm: More internet.
9:00 pm: Having said good night to my almost-husband, I headed to bed.

So to summarize...I studied for maybe 4 hours? I honestly don't know how much more I would have if I hadn't been so busy with other things. Probably more, but hard to say. I don't want to make comparisons about what "my ideal pre-Boards day" would be, because days aren't ideal. They're not supposed to be. We just do what we can, and I'm happy with what filled my day. 

My philosophy with day-before studying is that it should only boost your confidence. It's not a time to learn all of oncology. Unfortunately...

And in just 12 hours, for better or worse, it will all be over. 

See you then.

And expect a "What to Eat for the USMLE Step 2" post up later. I'm all decided on the food I'm taking and I'll snap it soon. 

Prayers please, it's kind of a big deal. Maybe less than Step 1, but still  Thanks.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to the Heat

It's a little after 4 am and I'm about to head to the airport for my return to California. 

I say "back to the heat" both figuratively - I'm pretty much sweating Boards - and literally.

I'm going from this: (High of 70, Rain!)

To this:


I will choose the following points of positivity to dwell on:

1. Temps have not yet hit 100. They will, but not yet.
2. I currently live in a house with (mostly) working AC.
3. John and I got the apartment and it also has working air conditioning!

And so I suppose there's not much to whine about. It's more a surrogate complaint because I'm sad to leave Oregon.

See you on the other side!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tachy Med Student: Latest Blog Posts

Just thought I'd share that there are a couple new posts from me up on the School of Medicine student blog if you're interested in that kind of thing.

That would pretty much be my Mom and maybe those of you who are/want to go into medicine.

One talks about the end of third year, and the other's similar to my last one here - bit of an update, a bit more med school focused.

One Week Left

Hunker Down and Learn

Happy Friday friends!

And since this is a food blog...this post feels sad without any pictures.

I give you this picture of a gorgeous pot of tea my mother made me this morning while I sat and studied.

Yes she is the best.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mid June in Photo Highlights

In the recent past the following has happened:
1. I finished my third year of medical school, complete with some multi-hour finals that made my brain tired.
2. I went to San Diego and got showered with love (also presents) at a Bridal Shower with my future in-laws and friends.
3. John (maybe, likely?) found an apartment in Loma Linda that he'll move into soon, and I'll move into after the wedding.
4. I came home to Oregon for a wedding dress fitting and also to hunker down and study because I take the second half of boards in a week.
5. I ate lots of good food:

Native Foods Cheesecake. I split this with John, practicing moderation. 

Got my nails done. It's gel so this was a week ago, and it still looks the same! I love it. 

One of the best potato mixtures I've ever made. With veggies, Little Links and mashed potato/cauliflower combo topped with salt, pepper, ginger and garlic powder.

Almond butter oatmeal never gets old.

Nutrition of Almond Milk. Tastes like coconut. I'm in heaven. 

I made the spaghetti bowl that was accidentally far too big for a normal size bowl. 
I love mixing bowl meals.

Indigo Grill in Little Italy in San Diego. This. Was. Amazing. 

These were disaster pancakes. John and future-sister-in-law were very kind to try to eat them. Idk what happened, but they looked pretty at least.

New Zone Perfectly Simple Peanut Crunch. 

Super tasty.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Oskri bar in the airport on the way home.

Venti's! Salem's vegan friendliest place.

Gelato makes everything better.

And in between it's all books books books and squeezing in the occasional workout. But it feels good to have lots to do and be working hard to get it done. 

See you soon!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'll Be a Little Sad...

I'll be a little sad in a couple weeks when John no longer lives in Irvine.

Okay that's completely not true.

I'm extremely excited for him to graduate on Friday [Masters of Civil Engineering!] and move to Loma Linda and not be an hour away. Also find us an apartment and start setting it up so when we get married in 7 weeks it's much less overwhelming to move.

But I will miss this:

Veggie Grill B-Wing Salad. 

While there's no shortage of great vegan food in Loma Linda, it's mostly grocery store-based. I can get any ingredient I need to cook really anything without any problem, but there are no all-vegan restaurants like Veggie Grill or Native Foods. Frankly, there are some things they just do much better than me. And since I drag John to one of these every single time I visit, my steady supply of this deliciousness is going to decrease significantly when he moves and I don't come out here that much anymore. 

So on my perhaps last visit to Irvine for a while, we went out to Veggie Grill yesterday.

Jess at Get Sconed! [click for the reviews] has been really up on the new Veggie Grill menu items through some promotions and I was keeping her reviews in mind. Usually I wouldn't really go that much for Buffalo Wings, but she was giving this one some serious praise, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and ordered it. 


I did not leave a single scrap of food on that plate. 

It's probably the best thing I've ever eaten there. 

Now John and I are just wrapping up a morning of studying at Panera, and getting ready for lunch.

Back to Veggie Grill? Yeah it's likely.

If you went to a restaurant multiple days in a row, which one would it be?

Monday, June 4, 2012

#7 Donate Blood: Check!

So back in February I wrote this post about how I tried to give blood but couldn't because my hematocrit was only 35, and it has to be 38 to donate. This meant I was just very slightly anemic. Although I didn't have the complete analysis to prove it, it was most likely related to my iron levels, because I had a normal complete blood count from 2 years previously.

Yesterday 3 months later I tried again.


I'm missing a unit of blood!! YAY!

The blood bank is actually super nice. Big comfy chairs, country music going. I brought some study materials but did find it kind of hard to focus. It didn't take that long anyway. I made the mistake of looking at the needle, which is unfortunately enormous, but it didn't hurt as much as I expected. I still had a little lightheaded/nauseous feeling when it first started. Medical types will understand me when I say vasovagal, but I recovered with a chair tilt and a cool cloth and felt fine by the time we were done. 

Back in my previous post I wrote about some changes I planned to make to try to boost my iron. I tried it, I really did. I have a bottle of iron tablets in my pantry, but I'm going to just be straight with you - they were way too constipating and I couldn't take them.

So I tried to at least take my multivitamin with iron in it, and usually I did an okay job of remembering.

And I didn't really make any other changes. However, my blood apparently made a great recovery, because my hematocrit was 44.

This isn't actually very accurate I'm sure, because it flowed super slow, meaning I was kind of dehydrated, so it just seemed like 44, when it was really probably more low-normal.

But they were able to get it, and that means #7 of my 25 by 25 can be checked off the list! Also that I helped save lives or whatever, nbd.

Afterwards I drank a full bottle of water and balanced my blood sugar with an almond/raisin snack.

I was still really tired for the rest of the day. Like couldn't catch my breath after walking across the house, but John took care of me and today I feel fine.

I'm looking forward to the next one.

Do you donate blood? Or have any stories about it? I'd love to hear. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Peas & Thank You Tempeh Bacon Reuben

Before we talk about this (amazing) recipe, we're taking a trip back in time.

One year ago this past Thursday (May 31), I was in Santa Barbara visiting my then-boyfriend (now Fiance) and my friends. I had just taken the USMLE Step 1 (Boards), and it took me a couple days to recover emotionally. I was finally feeling like I was on vacation and was spending the day on my own while John worked. I ran, I went out to lunch, I went shopping.

That was the first time I ever had a Reuben Sandwich. Here's the post about that day. Little did I know, John would propose that evening, but that's another story.

At the time I think I wrote that this was pretty good, but really it was kind of bland. I just didn't have anything to compare to.

Until now. 

Thanks to Mama Pea, I now know what a Reuben should taste like. This is another recipe from the Peas & Thank You cookbook. Pretty much all the recipes are written for 4, but I often adapt for things like sandwiches that don't keep as leftovers, because I'm typically just cooking for one or two people. 

I've been eating it all week, and I just make an individual serving each time. I fry up 3 slices Tofurky Tempeh Smoky Maple Bacon in just a little cooking spray, then transfer to a plate and use the same little pan to make my sandwich. I cut down the Earth Balance on the bread a little - but I think some is an essential part to the taste. You need that salty crispiness on the outside of the bread. For individual servings, I just put the Vegan Thousand Island dressing ingredients directly on the bread and swirl around with a knife, instead of making the sauce separately in a bowl. Also, I'm not always the biggest Daiya (vegan cheese) fan, but this is exactly the kind of meal it's designed for. The only other change is that I'm using Ezekiel 7 Grain instead of Rye. 

It sort of tastes like a super grownup grilled cheese.

Usually after about 4 days, I'm glad that my leftovers are gone because I get bored of a dish, but I think I could keep eating this indefinitely. 

It's that good. 

What's the meal you could eat over and over?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

I've been busy lately. And when I say busy, I mean my normal life/fun things/3 episodes of Criminal Minds on Tuesday evening. So not really busy. I should be busy - studying mostly - and I'm working on it, but as I ramp up the study hours and scale back the skittering-around-having-too-much-fun hours, here's a post full of fun from last weekend that I can look back on fondly.

When I found out I had all of Memorial Day Weekend free, I was really surprised. Yes, I'm on my Psychiatry rotation. And in general it's considered a little less rigorous than some other ones, but I was still shocked to be getting an extra holiday. It's a third year medical student dream.

So for Memorial Day Weekend I trekked up to Santa Barbara and got to see some of my very best friends.

We had a lunch at Sojourner Cafe - this is the special, a tofu stirfry. And split a Vanilla Chai Cake Trifle for dessert. Dessert is my favorite part of this place.

I got to see my girl Christina's new place. We went to the beach. Bri's baby has grown so much since I saw him 4 months ago. AHHH so adorable!

Me, Kitra.

We also had some Blenders - the best smoothies I've ever had ever. My favorite's Guava. Kitra and I went shopping. I spent $50 at Teavana. How does that happen? Well I'm prepared with enough Wild Orange Blossom/Youthberry tea blend to ice for the rest of my life.

[Photo Credit to Bri and Brennan - thanks!]

And I just got to catch up with my friends. I'm so lucky to have them.

Then I made the trek to Irvine for Monday, where John and I went to Newport Peninsula and rented bikes, took care of some important wedding things (Honeymoon is booked!!!) and of course found an excuse to go to Native Foods.

This was the Veggie Pizza. As Native Foods goes I was actually kind of unimpressed. It was good, but usually I can count on it being amazing. It was a little too oily, and it seemed like something was missing. I saved half for leftovers and added Daiya to it at home, which took it up a notch.

Confession: When I got back Monday night I was dead exhausted, but in the best way. The way that makes you feel like it's because you were really living.

It's a little belated, but I hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Peas & Thank You Broccoli Salad

Morning friends. Happy Sabbath. Our charming grandmotherly cleaning lady has run of our house and John and I are once again coffee shop working until Church. 

This picture is from 2 weeks ago - but it literally looks exactly the same. He's wearing a slightly different checked shirt today. 

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to do a recipe update that I skipped over in all the excitement of going to Colorado to see Shannon graduate.

I made this dish last week but never worked it into a post. As you may recall, one of my "25 by 25" - 25 things I want to do by my 25th birthday in October - is cooking all the way through the Peas & Thank You cookbook. I haven't yet made a page with all my recipe reviews linked, but that's coming soon. This is an adaptation of your standard broccoli salad - complete with some fakin bacon.

I used to love broccoli salad. I have very happy memories of rare nights when Mom and all of us kids would go to the Roth's Deli when cooking just wasn't going to fit into the nightly schedule. Along with the chicken fingers and the potato wedges, broccoli salad - though a rare choice - was always super tasty. Around the age of 11, I became a vegetarian, and broccoli salad didn't make the cut.

Until last week, I'm pretty sure it had been 13 years since I had anything so closely resembling the classic.

This recipe combines Vegenaise with some smoky bacon (I used Lightlife), red onion, dried fruit and cashews for extra crunch.

The day I made it, I only let it set up for 2 hours in the fridge and I wasn't so sure about it. Most of it was perfect, but the red onion was little too strong for me.

However, the next day it was perfect. The time to sit and soak up the flavors toned down the sharpness of the onion and it was just right. I loved how filling it was without feeling heavy. I had it for lunch 4 days in a row - and it just kept improving.

I would definitely make this again. Just let it set up in the fridge for a whole day.

Do you have a favorite recipe that gets better with time?