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Learning to Take Care of Yourself

Happy weekend! And Happy almost (SO CLOSE) Thanksgiving! If you can’t tell, I’m a little bit excited for Thanksgiving. Just a little. My friends and I had Friendsgiving last night, and I made my Grandma’s butternut squash soup and cranberry relish recipes (found here).

The cooking process was interesting given I made to make a large quantity of soup, and my blender is a little single serve one. Also I hate chopping onions. My eyes go crazy. Apparently sunglasses help though, is what I learned! Everything came out really well, and it was such a fun evening with my friends (and kitty).

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Despite a crazy week, I’ve been managing to cook some and eat well! A new recipe I tried and loved was Pumpkin Turmeric Soup with Quinoa and Brown Rice. It came out really well, and the seemingly fancy soup was ready in less than 10 minutes. That’s 100% my jam.

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In terms of food, I’m still staying seasonal.

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Eggnog yogurt+persimmon.

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Double chocolate cranberry bread from the freezer (we won’t talk about how old this was; it was still good!)

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Persimmon and cranberry chèvre salad.

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I FINALLY cooked up the butternut squash I bought. I microwaved it (LOL) until it was soft enough to scoop out, then I sautéed it with some butter, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.

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Not seasonal, but definitely a highlight. After our final (for this block…one more block until Christmas!), some friends and I went out for beer (Saison). The place we went was right next to my favorite coffeeshop with amazing GF muffins, so I picked one up for dessert for that evening! YUM.

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In terms of fitness, I finally got official confirmation that my ankle is not fractured (which I basically knew but I didn’t have access to the x-ray results yet). It still bothers me quite a bit but I think it’s finally getting better. I can walk a lot better. I tested it out by running a mile last week, and it was okay but not great. Good enough for a Turkey Trot, but then not running again for a bit. I literally have no idea what I could be, but for now I’m trying to be gentle with it. I finished another round of squat program, ending with 1 rep at 195#. It actually felt fine, so that’s good! I maxed out deadlifts at 225# which is nowhere near my actual max, but it’s fine. I also went to hot yoga the other night, and it was actually really nice. It was a cold evening, and I found a cooler spot in the room so I actually enjoyed it! I think I’m going to try to go to yoga more while my ankle fixes itself (hopefully).

On a similar note, I want to talk a little bit about getting in tune with yourself. This has been on my mind after a crazy couple of weeks. In vet school, I’m finding that my biggest study limitation is not lack of time or lack of motivation, but lack of mental capacity to study that long. Monday night, before the first part of our final, after 8-5 of lectures and studying for the test the next day, my brain just shut down. I had to recognize that trying to push through at that time was not going to help me, so I went to bed and woke up early to finish studying. Even then, I was still just so tired. After class on Tuesday, I knew the final the next day was something that I had prepared for a lot already, so I did some last minute studying and took the night off to rest up my brain. And it helped a lot. In vet school, in the field of veterinary medicine, and outside of it, any job that requires a lot of hours/studying/focus, you have to learn how to take care of yourself. You have to be in tune and recognize what you need to do to perform your best. For me, that was taking some time off on Tuesday. That being said, you also have to be prepared. Because I had studied plenty prior, I was able to do that. I knew that I would be pressed for time at the beginning of the week, so I tried to work ahead as much as possible. These things (vet school, etc) are HARD. But they’re manageable. And to get through, you absolutely have to recognize yourself. The same goes for attitude. I’m a pretty positive person, but I found myself getting a little stressed, and complaining more. A negative attitude can downward spiral really quickly.

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Not only that, but ti definitely rubs off on other people. Suicide rates in the field of veterinary medicine are astonishingly high. I think it’s more important now than ever that we take care of ourselves and others, to give patients the best care possible. I’m not saying that someone who is depressed can just “decide” to have a positive attitude. But do what you can, look for the little things, remember why you’re here (there is no shortage of furry and adorable animals in vet school). It’s all about perspective. That’s why I love when what we’re learning has a direct clinical application; when I’m studying, I try to connect things as much as possible.

All that being said, I truly am enjoying vet school, but I wanted to put that little message out there because I know school is only going to get harder from here!

Fall Fun and Fall Food

WHEW. Last week was a week…several tests and lots of class and assignments…On top of that, the mystery pain in my ankle bone was still bothering me to the point that I went to urgent care Thursday night for x-rays. Thankfully, it seems like there is no break, and I have an appointment with a specialist when I get home at Thanksgiving. For now, I’m trying to walk in a way that doesn’t hurt and I’m avoiding anything involving running (minus soccer…whoops).

I was a day ahead of myself all week so it was a great time for a 3 day weekend!

I was missing my college friends, so a trip outside of Davis on my day off was just what the doctor ordered…Friday morning after a couple of hours of study time, I drove an easy 1.5 hours south to see my college roommate. It was so, so nice to see her and chat about life. Her persimmon trees were absolutely GORGEOUS!

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We chatted for a while before whipping up a delicious lunch. We made fall-themed salads with hard boiled egg, butternut squash (cooked in the microwave, then sautéed with turmeric and garlic salt), chicken, and sunflower seeds.

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After lunch, it was time to pick some persimmons! (Also…admire her adorable kitty).

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There are two varieties of permission; one that has to be eaten soft (the pointy ones) and one that is perfect crunchy. It’s a little early in the season for the soft ones, but I managed to find one and of course ate it right off the tree (which was horribly messy.) We spent about an hour picking while chatting on the phone with another one of our best friends. It was so much fun to talk to them both, and to pick persimmons! I may have gotten a little carried away…

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I, um, went home with over 40 pounds of persimmons. However, they keep a really long time, and I’m currently averaging 3 persimmons a day (and I’m sharing), so I’m pretty confident I can finish them!

That day was the perfect fall day, and the perfect break from vet school.

Since we’re talking about fall, I recently realized that Thanksgiving is almost here, and I’m running out of time to eat all the fall foods! So I decided to make that a priority! Here’s what I’ve been eating:

Breakfasts

“Chocolate” yogurt (cocoa powder and maple syrup) with blueberries and sunbutter.

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Such a perfect fall breakfast: pumpkin Noosa yogurt and a persimmon.

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So fun fact: I like to eat my persimmons sliced up. On the side, yogurt with pumpkin pie filling (don’t judge; it’s less sugar than pumpkin butter!) and sunbutter.

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Lunches

A variation on my typical weird but quick and easy go to salad: chopped salad with american cheese, guacamole, and ketchup, topped with an egg. On the side, I made some amazing cinnamon apple tea, that I stirred fresh ginger into. Apparently I actually have a lot of tea in my cabinet that I’ve never tried.

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Ok, this really is pure fall. Salad with persimmon, cranberry goat cheese (I love this in salads), and chicken.IMG_0071

Subway salad with turkey, provolone, veggies, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Nothing new here. Plus avocado.IMG_0072

My typical salad.

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Pear and cranberry goat cheese salad with chicken and a side of leftover roasted butternut squash.IMG_0080

Another persimmon salad.

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Chipotle with classmates after volunteering at a clinic that Davis puts on. I feel like my Chipotle order isn’t super conventional. I get a salad with fajita veggies, chicken, corn salsa, fresh salsa, and of course guac.

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Dinners

Roasted carrots, roasted zucchini, and my baked tofu (breaded in nutritional yeast/onion powder/garlic powder).

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Zucchinni pad thai.

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Trader Joe’s pumpkin soup (the fresh one). Super good. I’ve put quality cheese in it. It’s good with aged gouda, but I think it’s even better with aged cheddar! Toast on the side.

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Ok, this was a good one. Roasted butternut squash, parmesan, dried cranberries, over a bed of kale massaged with balsamic, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Side of the same tofu.

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More pumpkin soup with a GF ciabatta.

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Same salad, except with chicken. For this ciabatta, I spread the center with butter and a little fresh garlic, and then wrapped it in foil and put it in the toaster oven.

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One of my favorite forms of zucchini: noodles seasoned and tossed with parmesan, and then topped with Harvest fall pasta sauce.IMG_0088

Super simple: zucchini scramble with soft garlic and herb cheese, and avocado toast.

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And finally for dinners, this may not look like much but it was delicious! Roasted butternut squash with parmesan and an egg. I wish I had more squash left for this meal!

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Sweets

Blueberry zucchini bread from the freezer.

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Ok. So I bought a big can of pumpkin pie filling. I mix it with egg white, then microwave it for a little makeshift crustless pumpkin pie. With whipped cream of course.

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No egg this time; cold pumpkin filling with a GF cinnamon cookie and whipped cream.IMG_0082

I had a fair amount of Halloween candy leftover (we got all of 1 group of tricker treaters, and I was grateful just to get any!), so I brought some to school, and then made banana bread with some. I chopped up milky ways and 3 musketeers.

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Thursday evening…I impulse bought a cake at Trader Joe’s. It was 100% one of those weeks, and this was delicious. I stuck some in the freezer for later also!

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We routinely have bake sales at school to raise money for clubs, so this weekend I made GF brownies. I had to try them first (this is actually a time when I had to try them…I’ve never used a GF brownie mix before. This was Betty Crocker).IMG_0098

Etc.

This is my new favorite thing. A tea latte with soy milk. I found a coffeeshop where you can get any type of tea in your tea latte. This was peach apricot!

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Honey lavender beer.

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Decaf cappuccino for study time!

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And now, after that long post, it’s time to hit the books (or…the iPad…).

Day in the Life: First Year Vet Student (Fall 2017)

As, promised, here’s my day in the life as a first year vet student! Every day and every week is different, but today is more or less typical!

5:55am: Alarm goes off

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I start getting ready for the day, and try to keep my roommate’s talkative kitty quiet.

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She actually settles down instead of following me around meowing this morning.

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6:20: Quick breakfast before running out the door. I have a flapjacked muffin and a few crackers.

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6:40: Leave the house and realize it’s trash day. Whoops. In vet school I never can keep track of the days. I take out the bins on my way out.

6:45: Arrive at the teaching hospital. This morning I volunteered for the treatment crew for kitties burned in the Sonoma/Santa Rosa fires. We’ve gotten a ton of kitties transferred to us, so students come in in the morning and evening to take care of them to help out the normal hospital staff.

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8:30: Finish the morning treatments. We finished a little bit early, which means I don’t have to sprint to lecture! The kitties are the sweetest things.

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9:00: Lecture. With a lollipop. We’re doing immune system/hematology right now.

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10:00: Lecture.

10:50-11:00: Take a quick walk before our 11:00 lecture to get the blood flowing!

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11-12: Lecture

12:00: Lunchtime! I packed leftover zucchini noodle pad thai with scrambled egg. I accidentally put too much sauce on, so I threw in some lettuce.

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1-2: Lecture/lab. We’re looking at pictures of bone marrow aspirate and identifying cell types, and underlying diseases.

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2-2:15: Meet with my group to discuss how we are going to attack our group take home test/homework assignment.

2:30: Home! This is the earliest we’ve gotten out in a long time, and it’s because the other half of our class has a 3 hour lab this afternoon (we have it Friday). I have a snack and watch a short TV episode. I usually take a break when I first get home because my brain is fried, although today was pretty light so it doesn’t feel as necessary!

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2:50-3: Start typing up this blog post.

3-3:30 Random stuff around the house. I bag up leftover Halloween candy for our group meeting, keeping out some for a baking project!

3:30-4:15: Go over lecture notes and make a study guide. For each lecture, I go through the slides (I take notes directly on the slides on my iPad. That thing is my life.) and make sure I understand everything, and summarize it all into a study guide. Colorful pens are mandatory. I try to go through all the lectures on the day of, because it’s easy to get behind, but some days (like Monday when we had 5 lectures) that isn’t practical. I get through one lecture so far.

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Everyone has to find their own method of studying in vet school, and thus far this has worked really well for me. When I’m studying for a test, I can read through my study guides fairly quickly, although I still go through the lectures as well. Right now the study guides are enough and I don’t need flashcards, but that might change . Flashcards are more time consuming and part of vet school is optimizing time. Our next unit is nutrition, so I may need to start using them with that!

4:15: Get ready for Crossfit!

4:25: Leave for Crossfit.

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I wear running shoes because I’m trying to give my feet more cushion (my ankle bone has been hurting) and we’re not doing anything that involves squatting or any movement that would require flatter shoes.

Also: I really like this version of this song. The first time I heard it I thought it was the weirdest thing, but it grew on me.

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4:45-5:30: Crossfit! I go to the 45 minute condensed class. It’s the same workout as the regular classes, but the pace is faster. We do 10 minutes of EMOM kipping pull ups, and I do 5 each minute. I feel like my strength would allow me to do more, but my hands get bruised and ripped.

The WOD was a 15 minute AMRAP of

30 sit ups with a 14# med ball

200m run

30 push ups

200m run

I only got to 2 and a half rounds!

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When I get home, I make dinner right away and turn on Game 7 of the World Series! I can stream Xfinity, but what it lets you stream is weird. I can’t stream the World Series…but then I realized a couple of days ago, there is a loophole. I can stream the Spanish broadcast! I’ll take it! I know some Spanish, so I understood some things!

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6:00: Sit down to eat. On the menu is Mexican style zucchini noodles. I season the zoodles with smoky seasoning, and then stir in Harvest salsa, chicken, and reduced fat Mexican cheese blend. Guacamole on the side.

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For dessert, I pull a piece of pumpkin banana bread from the freezer.

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7:30: Finally mute the game and get back to work. Normally I’d watch one show episode during dinner and then start studying, but Game 7 of the World Series is a special circumstance, clearly! Instead of going through the other lecture from today, I start working on making a giant diagram of all the immune system stuff we’ve learned this block. I really like putting everything together.

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Somewhere in there, I snack on a granola bar. It’s so crumbly I have to eat it over the sink or I’ll make a mess. Annoying.

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A cuddle break was taken also:

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9:00: Astros win the World Series!

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9:15: Break to blog. My diagram is done for now. Rina is snoozing. She often comes up and meows at me when it’s time for bed!

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I’m going to sign off now. I’m going to take a crack at my immune system homework problems I’m meeting with my group about tomorrow, and then I might read for a few minutes. I’ll probably call it a night around 10:30!

My Halloween Costume+New Recipe Finds

Wow, this past week was A LOT. No tests, but tons of lectures and time spent in class/lab! Thankfully, this weekend was a chance to catch my breath and gear up for another long week! I’m going to do a day in the life post this coming week, if you’re curious! For today, I’ll give your daily (weekly?) dose of animal adorableness, share my Halloween costume, and catch you up on what I’ve been baking and eating!

Cuteness, feat. my the kittens my friend is babysitting, my sister’s new kitten, and of course Rina (who sadly has not been feeling too well lately, but seems better today thankfully!)

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The great thing about vet school is you are always surrounded by adorable animals.

As for my costume, I did something new and different this year! I’ve been a baseball player a majority of the last 10 years, so it was time to switch it up. I was a Tasmanian Devil! Are me and Yindi twins?

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We had a vet school Halloween party this weekend, so that was my chance to get dressed up!

Since this is a fitness blog or something, in terms of workouts, this past week was more running than normal, Crossfit, and weights on my own. Plus a soccer game! I’m getting stronger with weights, which is awesome. I’ve been pushing myself more on cleans at Crossfit, and I’m seeing and feeling it pay off!

Unfortunately, I’m having pain around the bone on my ankle when I run. I traced it back to starting right after a run where I both wiped out and then rolled my ankle, so I’m not sure what is going on with that, but it’s still bothering me a month later, so I’m going to take the whole next week off of running and see if I can work it out! The stinky part is I feel like I’m getting into much better running shape with soccer!

Ok. Food? Food.

As you may recall, I got tons of apples last week, so that’s quite a theme here! Plus zucchini. Always zucchini. This week it was $0.69 a pound and they were HUGE. I actually think after I finish this batch I’m going to take a break and branch out to other foods.

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Baking

I made a mini-apple breakfast bake for the week. I based it off of another recipe I’ve made before, but kind of winged it. I mixed up 2 eggs, half a cup of milk, and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Then, I tore up 3 pieces of GF bread and put that in the bottom of a loaf pan. I poured my egg mixture over it, and then placed 2 slices apples on top. Finally, I topped it with about 2 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar.

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I put everything in a pan the night before, and then in the morning, I put it in at 400 degrees while I went for a run. When I got back, it was ready! It baked for about 30 minutes.

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My next project was Blueberry Zucchini Bread. The funny thing is, when I got my school laptop, when I opened Safari when I first got it, one of the “favorites” bookmarks was a recipe for blueberry zucchini bread that I swear I’d never seen before. Well, it looked pretty good, so I finally had to make it happen! I made a few adjustments: I used 1/3 of a cup of both the sugars (2/3 total) and reduced the oil to 1/3. And my zucchini was a little bit larger than what it called for. It came out great!

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Finally, tonight I made a super simple oat flour banana bread. After eying this recipe on Instagram, I made it happen. Healthy 5 Ingredient Flourless Banana Bread. This recipe would have been super easy if my blender was a single person blender (aka tiny) so that was interesting. I added 2/3c of chocolate chips, and then topped it with an additional banana for style points.

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I really love the texture of oat flour based breads, and this was delicious!

Breakfast

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This is the only one I have a picture of. I got unsweetened apple butter last weekend and it’s AMAZING. This is cottage cheese with apple butter and sunbutter.

Lunch 

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Subway salad. I learned that the carved turkey is seasonal, and it’s back! I get my salads with carved turkey, provolone, and oil and vinegar, salt and pepper as the dressing.

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This may be my last peach salad! I also LOVE the Trader Joe’s cranberry chèvre, especially in salads. I used some grilled chicken from the freezer this week.

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Same thing, but with Bosc pear.

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Chicken, fig, and goat cheese salad. Lately I have been packing rice cakes with my salads at lunch, but they really don’t keep my full. I recently transitioned back to crackers and it makes a noticeable difference!

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Yesterday I went to Panera to study, and I had a bowl of the butternut squash soup. It tastes like fall! We’ll forget the fact that it was 85 degrees outside. I brought some rice cakes to eat with it, and had an apple on the side.

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Today’s lunch! I wanted something light before my soccer game so I made a variation on the weird salad I do, and it was really good! Lettuce, American cheese, guacamole, a drizzle of ketchup, and an egg. No shame.

Dinner

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My favorite Trader Joe’s Salad! It kale kale, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and chicken.

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This was a weird combination of flavors, but I was STARVING and didn’t want to take the time to bake tofu. I had zucchini noodle with butternut squash pasta sauce, and teriyaki tofu on the side.

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More zoodles with butternut squash pasta sauce, and a scrambled egg on the side.

Check out how many zoodles this one zucchini made!

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Zoodles with smokey seasoning, Trader Joe’s Harvest salsa, Mexican cheese blend, and avocado. Scrambled egg+1 egg white on the side.IMG_0054

Zoodles stir fried with garlic and soy sauce, and then topped with teriyaki tofu.

Dessert

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This was a masterpiece. Baked apple (microwaved…I’m impatient) with cinnamon, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce.IMG_0040

And apples with caramel sauce. YUM.

Breakfast|Lunch|Dinner|Etc|Feat. Tofu

What a creative title, right?

I wanted to finally catch up on all the food I’ve been having, especially as it’s getting more and more fall themed! We’ll divide it into meals, and dive right in!

Breakfast:

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Zucchini pumpkin bread with leftover grilled peaches.

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The current fall favorite: cottage cheese with pumpkin butter and sunbutter, with various fruit.

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Also, can we just take a minute to appreciate the fact that I can still get good peaches at the end of October? I love CA sometimes.

Lunch:

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Peach, goat cheese, grilled chicken salad.

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Starting to move away from summer and into fall! Cranberry chèvre, Bosc pear, and deli turkey (the only meat I had on hand).

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Mr. Pickles sandwiches that we got as part of a lunch talk. I had the insides of a veggie and a turkey.

Dinner:

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Typical zucchini noodles: topped with tomato basil marinara and mozzarella.

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My new favorite way to eat zucchini noodles (above and below): sauté them up and then stir in Trader Joe’s Fall Harvest salad, grilled chicken, and cheese. Must be served with avocado

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Trader Joe’s Harvest salad with brussels sprouts, sweet potato, dried cranberry, sunflower seeds, and turkey. I actually used my own champagne vinaigrette instead of the dressing it came with.

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This week, I cooked tofu for the first time! I got firm tofu, and for this meal, sautéed it with GF teriyaki sauce. I served it with snap peas and zucchini sautéed with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.

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This stuff is amazing. I could literally eat it with a spoon.

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I made zucchini noodles (shockingly) and served the sauce with them, plus mozzarella. On the side, I made baked tofu that turned out surprisingly amazing. Most recipes said with baked tofu that you should use extra firm, but I liked it with regular firm because it’s soft still on the inside. I patted the excess water off the tofu, and then “breaded” it in nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, spray some cooking spray, and them baked them in the oven at 400!

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Another meal of my usual and weird creation. Turkey, American cheese, guacamole, ketchup. Plus toast with butter on the side.

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Same meal as above, but minus the cheese. It seemed a little overpowering with the sauce.IMG_0019

One of my last tamale Wednesdays! The evening farmer’s market is closing for the season very soon! (I can still get them at the Saturday market). Chicken tamale with a salad made with Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Ranch.

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And lastly, sushi out with friends. I got a really delicious beet salad with miso dressing (above), and a California roll (below).

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Etc

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Pre-workout Cheerios (before 7am Crossfit).

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I mentioned a few posts ago that I found a paper that showed pomegranate juice can alleviate food allergies or sensitivities because the polyphenols in the pomegranate juice bind to cashew proteins. (Note: DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME) Since I have a mild cashew sensitivity, I thought I would try it out! Also, it should be noted that in the article, cashew+pomegranate was not consumed, and not in this form. It was more theoretical. This Luna bar has cashews as one of the last ingredients, and I’ve had it before with either no reaction or a mild reaction. The verdict? I don’t know. I can’t tell if it worked, if I wouldn’t have reacted to it anyway, or if my skin imperfections are normal background or caused by the nuts. TBD.

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Trying out a new brewery. Saison is my jam right now.

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GF bake sale cookie! Butterscotch pretzel. SO good.

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I’ve been going through my freezer stash lately. This is chocolate peppermint bark bread, and it’s still amazing.

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Peet’s pumpkin latte as study fuel. Their pumpkin latte is a lot different from Starbucks. More pumpkiny, less spicy.

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Nighttime snack of a rice cake with pumpkin cream cheese.

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Here’s an interesting snack: persimmon bread from the freezer! Yes, it’s been there a while but it’s still tasty!IMG_0029

Post-exam Hefeweizen.

That’s all for now. Check back later for more uses of zucchini/tofu/apples (because I have lots of all of those!)