Saturday, March 26, 2011

Food for thought

I'm excited about the prospects of all things food today, so I thought I'd share this post-

Sustainable Eating
Just happened upon this article that I had saved up awhile ago and really thought was interesting, so I thought I'd share it heer. Mainly it's a spiel I'm sure many of you have heard- eat real food. And even better, prepare it/buy it yourself! Apparently Bittman calls the three best basic recipes- a stirfry (yeahh), a chopped salad (gotta get myself into salads more), and a rice and lentil dish (I must be thinking in the right direction...).

Along those lines, this year my sister and I have decided to take part in a CSA (or Community Supported Agriculture). Besides knowing that this is slightly crunchy and veggie based, here's the definition:
Community Supported Agriculture is a system in which consumers receive food directly from the farmers who produce it. But unlike a farmers' market system, supporters of community agriculture actually share in part of the farmers' risk. That is, they pay in advance for a portion of the farmer's total crop. Crops that do well will be abundant in the share, crops that do less well will be less abundant. For their part, the farmers have a stable income that doesn't depend on sunny weather on farmer's market days.(

So, after some exhaustive Pittsburgh CSA research, I finally decided upon Dillner Family farms (it's the perfect price and perfect amount for two). For a sum, my sis and I will get weekly deliveries of fresh veggies for 22 weeks starting in June. They drop off in neighborhood locations and I love the concept. I was just perusing the 2010 harvest list and some of the yummy things we can expect are... green beans, peppers, pumpkins, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, spinach, sweet corn, winter squash, watermelon, zucchini and the list goes on! I've heard good things about CSA's (several med students have done it before) and the only complaint is that you sometimes get way too much of one veggie- aka cauliflower. In anycase, I look forward to increasing my veggie intake and eating more in tune with local harvests.
I believe this is what a typical csa box looks like (from

Cold Oatmeal Craze....
One last thing- I am obsessed with oatmeal lately after reading this blog post. Last night I prepared a cold oatmeal (1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup soymilk, 1tbsp honey, 1tbsp maple syrup + 1/2 banana this morningg) and it was an interesting experience...a bit soggy for my taste but I'm going to try it with rolled oats next time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

3rd Year clerkship books - the lowdown

Went to a morning of women's health conference (part of my current ambulatory medicine rotation) that was filled with some good review and some new interesting research (depression in pregnant women). However, as I was mainly based in Highland Park/Squirrel Hill I was completely unaware that the 2nd years had just completed their last real medical school class today! (ICS). Woah, it seemed like just last year that I was in their shoes. It was a bittersweet day because  everyone is happy to be down with class but everyone also disperses to go study for Boards (just a tad unpleasant). I wrote about my take on Boards Step 1 studying advice here.

And seeing as a lot of my friends are going to be 3rd years soon I though I'd share what I thought were good books to get for 3rd year clerkships, both for doing well on wards and on the shelves.

By alphabetical order-

  1. Ambulatory/Outpatient medicine (CAMPC at Pittmed)- National shelf. Used Internal Medicine Essentials. Case Files PEDS/Blueprint PEDS. MKSAP 4 for practice questions.
  2. Family medicine- In House exam. Used Essentials of Family Medicine. 
  3. Medicine- National Shelf. Internal Medicine Essentials and Step Up to Medicine were both useful to me. I also got the little green Pocket Medicine book to carry around on wards (but referred to this very infrequently, not the best $60 spent). MKSAP 4 for practice questions.
  4. Neuro- National Shelf. Case Files Neurology. Pretest neurology for practice questions. Haines Neuroanatomy for those residents that love pimping on anatomy.
  5. Ob/Gyn- In House exam. Hacker & Moore: Essentials of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Kaplan has a great review as well. Heard excellent reviews for Case Files Ob/Gyne.
  6. Pediatrics- In House exam. Not yet taken, but I hear Blueprints/Case Files pediatrics is good. Pretest Peds for practice questions.
  7. Psych- National shelf. First Aid for Psychiatry Shelf (absolute must). I supplemented with Case Files Psych and Pretest Psych for Qs.
  8. Surgery- National shelf. NMS Surgery for day to day clerkship stuff. Pestana Review/Kaplan Surgery text were great for the shelf. Pretest Surg was all I had for practice Qs, not a bad resource. I used Surgical Recall rarely for pimping, but its high yield if your resident likes to pimp a lot in the OR.
  9. Specialty care (EM/ENT/Optho)- In house exam. EM: Case Files EM for something to read and keep you busy during your ER shifts.  ENT: read the little book PittMed gives you (best for pimping, but not high yield for the exam). Optho: lectures and handouts by course instructor. Know EKGs for the exam (Dubin's is good review).
This is a comprehensive list of the books and resources for practice Qs I used. I know others who got months of USMLEWORLD prescriptions for practice test questions (not sure how these compare to shelf questions).  I know this book list may seem incredibly intimidating and expensive. 
I would suggest getting together a large group of friends (~7 of mine joined forces) and sharing books with each other. I probably bought less than 5-6 books (all used and in good condition) and just traded them with my friends when the right rotation came around. Definitely a money saver! And never forget your school's friendly lending library :).

To my MS2s- kick boards butt, and enjoy the start of 3rd year, it really is such an amazing year and will be over before you know it.

Here's a good study song ;).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

End-of-3rd year - rut

Maybe it's the weather (ALWAYS cloudy, I'm so TIRED of winter minus snow)
Maybe it's the impending dread of my Acting Internship (May).
Maybe it's the fact that I'm not on the adrenaline high of Surgery anymore ( :(, more on this later).

In any case, I realize this past weekend that I was at a major lack of inspiration, motivation, joy for things that I, as a above-average happy person, usually am excited about. So... I did what I do best, I made myself a to-do list of things that would get me out of my funk.

Buying new vegan ingredients for baked goods, finding a cool new academic project, getting excited about my upcoming Spring Break trip to SF (yay, Angi!) were just some of the things I came up with. However, another thing I've been putting off for fear of the unknown was starting my own potted GARDEN!!!

Laugh all you want, I'm into my projects, and I was dead set on making this happen when we got our first glimpse of wonderful sunny weather (an omen, I say) of the weekend. So I jetted out of the cafe I was "studying" at and booked it to the nearest Loews. There, I wandered clueless among paper seedpacks til I dragged myself to Customer Service and asked for some gardening advice. There, I met Ben, a kind elderly gentleman who happens to be...*drumroll*... a gardener at the Phipps Conservatory, who would have thunk I would be getting gardening advice from an expert?! He quickly guided me towards what seeds he thought would work best and what soils I should use, boosting my self confidence that this WOULD NOT FAIL (famous last words, anyone?).

$30 and some moderate lifting later, I had all my supplies back on our porch.

The next morning, charged with energy from 12 hours of sleep (what can I say, I'm on ambulatory medicine right now) I dug out my dad's rubber gloves and DOVE IN.

How do you prepare pots for seeds?

  1. Fill 3/4 of the way with Potting Mix (you can get any variety, mine seemed pretty good Sta-Green $3.50 a bag)
  2. Fill the other 1/4 with special gardening mix (the bag said perfect for potted plants) that has little phosphorous pellets. Dunno what the reasoning behind this is. I just do what I'm told.
  3. Press in seeds or add them so that they are 1/4" covered. *see below for how I selected seeds.
  4. Water, and cross fingers!

Here are the seeds I choose. I wanted to see flowers during both spring, summer, and fall so I choose different flowers for when they would bloom. I also choose them to be around the same blooming height (or at least no 6' tall sunflowers that would easily topple a pot!). All these plants do well in direct sunlight which is what the front steps get (note the little suns on the bottom of the packets). 
I wanted vibrant, various colors as well. And I love herbs, so I did a pot of basil and oregano.

 Gettin' dirty.
The cleaned up finished product. I got some pansies for instant gratification. I watered these then moved them indoors (as the temperature still can get freezing).

Within a month or two I hope that some seedlings will be starting, will photo update then!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Groovin' Music

How cool is this widget? I've made a playlist off of Grooveshark that is filled with music I love. Just a taste though. ;)
I've been inspired by having gotten 3 new CDs at the library this week-
1. Glee Hits (don't hate, I'm a new convert) - didn't love the majority of songs
2. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (loved the music)
3. Plain White T's (YES!)

Happy listening, and happy widget making!