Monday, July 21, 2014

Ahhh The SUN!!!!

It's summer!!

And it's been summer for a while now. I'm not kidding those of us in the southwest states have had hot weather for months, but I finally have time to write this month so this is when we're going to talk about it.

The sun is great. We need it for vitamin D, we (I) need it every once in a while to feel happy. It's not totally benign though - so today's post is a little combination of an ode for my love of the sun and a little conversation about safe sun from my doctor side. Also I'm on a Dermatology rotation - I hope they'd be proud of me.

I was noticing this morning that my arms looked kind of darker than I remembered. Not tan - let's be clear I'm ghostlike - but just less bright white than I was previously.

And I realized I have not been diligent about my sunscreen on my 8 minute walks to work. 

You wouldn't think I could tan in that time, but I do live at 1 mile of elevation, so I guess I'm closer to the sun?

I don't know I was bad at physics. And earth science.

So enough rambling - here's some things to know:

1. When in the sun, one should wear sunglasses. This isn't an issue of looking cool - though obvs you do. Really, protecting your eyes from the sun is good for your retina - the literature about exactly how to best do this is still a little controversial - but putting on some shades is more than nothing. So keep your eyes safe.

 If you've been reading for a bit you know I love my Warby Parkers . They're not exactly inexpensive, but each pair means a pair for a good cause, and they're sturdy, gorgeous and protect my eyes wonderfully. In the picture above John and I are both wearing them.

And I've had mine for ages. Here's a little throwback to Match Celebration Weekend 2013 in Las Vegas. Miss you Maria!

- Wear SPF 30 or more: there's not much convincing evidence that more than 30 is any better than 30. If you're wearing a higher number that DOES NOT mean we can skip reapplication.
- Reapply every 2 hours.
- A spray is adequate for reapplication if necessary, but creams give better coverage and should be used when possible. The base layer for the day really should be in lotion form for best protection.
- There are 2 types of sunscreen: chemical and barrier. Chemical ones mostly have ingredients ending in -one. The barrier ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium. Most of my collection is of the chemical variety and I like it perfectly fine, but sensitive skin types may react better to barrier versions.

Here's mine. Feels pretty nice. Chipped nail polish. That's real life.

3. There is no safe tan.
- Although being tan may protect you from the actual pain of a sunburn, and a severe sunburn may be worse than a gradual browning, a "healthy tan" is a bit of a misnomer. I'm pretty sad about this revelation because I definitely grew up with the notion that it was a good idea to get a base tan in the summer and I love the way I look when I'm tan. Sun exposure causes skin damage. Period.

Doesn't mean I'm going to stop going out in the sun, but this summer I'm paying more attention than ever to my sun protection.

4. Enjoy!
We're naturally attracted to the sun and need it for vitamin D. So slap on some sunscreen and get out there.

Happy Summer!

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Simple Vegan Tofu Scramble Recipe

Happy Sunday!

Yesterday marked the beginning of a rare vacation and tomorrow I'm off to California for some ocean time, to see plenty of friends, and for my beautiful friend Tiffany's wedding.

Today I was finishing up quite a few things here at home, and made this breakfast - it's been ages since I posted a recipe so thought I'd share.

This tofu scramble recipe is super simple. I'm not posting measurements for spices - I mixed a bunch of everything up a while ago and keep it in a mason jar then add about 1/4 cup to a recipe this size. You can nix things if you don't have them, just go light at first on the seasoning - you can always add more.

Simple Vegan Tofu Scramble
Serves about 2. If you're hungry.

1 russet potato (or gold, or red, probably even sweet potato)
1 bell pepper
1 onion
1 14 oz. package firm or extra firm tofu
Spices: turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, curry powder, salt, nutritional yeast
optional: tomato, greens like chopped spinach or kale
For the main vegetables you can also use something completely different: broccoli & carrots? brussel sprouts and asparagus? Pick what you like or is in season.

1. Dice the potato, pepper and onion and sautee until veggies are soft. I prefer to do this starting with a little oil then cover the pan and let it steam, stirring occasionally. Takes about 20 mins.
2. Open tofu package and squeeze with towel to remove excess water. You can press it first if you have the forethought and time on your hands, but I never do and it's not really necessary.
3. Crumble the tofu into the pan with the hot vegetables. If you're adding softer veggies like tomato or greens, add them in with the tofu.
4. Continue to cook for several minutes until tofu is hot and begins to brown.
5. Add about 1/4 cup total of spice blend, or just throw a fair amount of the above spices in the pan and continue to cook for 3-4 more minutes until veggie and tofu edges are crispy and seasoning is well-distributed.
Serve hot.

Spices, tomato, tofu.

In the pan.


Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Things I Did Before 8 AM

Before residency I had several years of a schedule that typically started around 8 AM.

In college my perspective on whether this time is early or late fluctuated a bit. Some years I reliably swam at 6 AM, and then there was a while there when I barely (and sometimes not at all) made it to 8 AM classes. It's still a point of shame to think back on how many times I slept through Physical Chemistry in my final semester - and there were about 5 of us - my absence was noted and my Professor wasn't mad about it, he was sad. It's one of many stories I could tell you that were formative in coming to respect people through mistakes I made.

Anyway, there are certainly several rotations in residency that start at 8 AM - but a large number start at 7 or 6:30 (which is still much better than the surgeons).

I was thinking about it this morning because I was last on wards and am going to elective. For my first day I started at 9 AM.

The point of mentioning the years before residency is that in the first couple years of med school, I used to get up at 5 (with 8 AM classes) and have a lot of time to accomplish things in the morning. When my start time is 6:30, I can still get up at 5 but the time to be productive is much shorter.

So this morning I got up around 6 and realized I had that 3 hour window until I needed to be anywhere and I couldn't think of the last time that was the case on a work day - night shifts excepted of course.

In celebration of having a bit of a late start this morning, I thought I'd just list some things that were accomplished:

1. Spent some time with John
2. Spent some time with Kellie
3. Walked Luna with John
4. Updated duty hours
5. Submitted my PALS/BLS cards (certification of advanced lifesaving training)
6. Skimmed the AAP Clinical Guidelines on Acne treatment
7. Drank 32 oz of water and 32 oz of carrot/apple/kale juice and 20 oz of coffee
8. Showered
9. Put some clothes on my body and makeup on my face (the clothes pretty much happen every day - the makeup not really at all)
10. Put away all my laundry from yesterday that had been drying all around my room
11. Made the bed
12. Wrote this blog post
13. Hung out with Luna

She got a summer haircut recently and it makes her look even more like a puppy. 

So it's now just past 8 and I do have another 30 minutes or so before I need to leave. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but mostly I'm trying to appreciate it: a calm moment never lasts as long as I would like.

Happy July!

Thanks for reading, see you soon.