Monday, January 31, 2011

Fun Facts

Last night while I was studying I came across some interesting facts you may enjoy...or maybe not. But here they are...

1. By age 70, you've lost approximately 70% of your taste buds. Also, as you age, your GI tract loses a lot of its ability to adapt quickly to changes in diet. So try not to give your grandparents a hard time about their odd eating habits, they can't help it. And neither can you.

2. If for some reason you are undergoing complete liver failure, you've got 12 hours before your life here on earth comes to an end. Be nice to your liver. Drink in moderation. And, easy on the meds if you can help it.

3. But just in case, if you do have to have some of you liver removed, its capacity for regeneration can be as much as 75%!

4. Are you a supertaster? You may have more tastebuds than your peers, making you a "supertaster". Put some food coloring on your tongue to enhance the bumps (fungiform papillae) on your tongue that house taste buds. Compare with a friend.

5.  1 in 5 US deaths is caused by smoking. It's so hard to quit, nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroine. 70% of smokers see their physician for an annual visit and 70% show interest in quiting. Less criticism, more encouragement I say.

6. More than 1 of every 2 people over the age of 60 has high blood pressure. To prevent or manage hypertension you can: (Not like you haven't heard that before...but clearly most people aren't understanding)
- maintain an optimal weight
- decrease sodium intake
- exercise 30 minutes/day most days of the week,
- women, a maximum of 1 alocoholic drink/day and men, less than 2
- increase potassium intake
- eat a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products
- Oh, and don't smoke :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is This Real Life?

I've heard this phrase from fellow students multiple times since starting med school. It's usually said with an expression of both sarcasm and sincerity.

I realize the phrase isn't meant to begin a philosophical debate, but this weekend I went to a CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) conference at Camp Michindoh and the speaker, Dr. Mike Miller, made an interesting point that reminded me of it.

Dr. Miller is a micro-vascular plastic surgeon. A really, really good one. He loves surgery. But, apparently, the surgery itself can get old. To him, real life isn't medicine.
Out of curiousity, I looked up the words real and life in the dictionary. By the way, looking up words in a real dictionary is really fun. It's been years since I've actually cracked one open and this morning it provided a certain sense of accomplishment.

My dictionary was a gift from Ryan on my 18th Birthday.
Of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things
The quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body; a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings.

so...Real Life:
A permanent principle or force that distinguishes a functional being from a dead body.

While I'm a fan of my dictionary, I'm also a fan of my Bible. Here's what it has to say about real life. (aka eternal life)

Jesus prays, "Now this is Eternal Life:
That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
John 17:3

The phrase "Is this real life?" in its context of medical school should be met with a resounding no. Meeting a need through a job or career is a good thing, it can be something we love, but Dr. Miller made it clear that it is not real life. Real life comes through Christ. As a Christian and a doctor understanding that real life is not sustaining someones quality of life or heartbeat through modern medicine, but rather knowing God, is so encouraging. 

Unfortunately that's not something they teach in medical school.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I have some goals in life. Some are more important than others. Like finding a way to make chocolate chip cookies better than the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips.

I know a lot of people are on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. But, I don't care. In fact, they can probably help me.

So, here's my first experimental batch.
Changes made:
1. Completely melting the butter before creaming the sugar mixture.
2. Adding cinnamon (best spice ever!)
3. Chilling the batter before baking. Lots of sources suggest overnight. But, who has that kind of time?! So, I'm shooting for about 4 hours. Some people only sleep for 4 hours, right?

[4 hours later]

Oh my goodness. These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made. I think my quest may stop here. I'm not kidding. The changes made these cookies perfectly crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Here's the recipe.

2 1/4 C. light whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks of butter (completely melted!)
3/4 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract(the package said 1 tsp, but double it!)
2 large eggs
2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
~2-3 tsp. cinnamon

- Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Beat melted butter, sugars, and vanilla until completely mixed.
- Beat eggs in, one at a time.
- Gradually add flour mixture.
- Stir in chocolate chips and cinnamon
- Chill in fridge for 4 hours (DO IT! I have no idea what it does, but it's worth it)
- Pre-heat oven to 375
- Cook cookies for about 7 minutes, remove and immediately place on cooling rack
**Be sure the cookie sheet is completely cool before cooking more cookies!

ENJOY! makes about 48 cookies...depending on how much cookie dough you eat :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Small Victories

Tonight I am celebrating a productive day.

For some reason, the past two mornings have been tortuous. I literally hit snooze 5 times and have to give myself quite the pep talk before I gain the will power to remove myself from such warmth and comfort.

But instead of telling myself to "just watch the lectures later," I have gotten out of bed and to the lecture hall for each of my classes this week. And, studied afterwards. Studied a lot. It makes me so excited to come home.

So, in honor of 3 whole days of productivity, but especially today, I am treating myself to 3 things:

1. My new nail polish. "Respect the World" for my toenails and "Light a Candle" for my fingernails.

Respect the World. It looks way prettier in real life. Just so you know.

2. A Stella and an embarrassing amount of chips and salsa

3. Cookbooks. One of my favorite hobbies is looking at cookbook magazines and ripping out pages of recipes I envision on my table in the future. I then organize them in a binder I have dedicated solely for this purpose. 

4. Norah Jones. The perfect background music.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'm just going to tell you up front, that this picture has nothing to do with what I really want to share with you. I just really like it, and I took it while skiing in Colorado with Ben, and it's beautiful, and what I am going to share with you is a beautiful concept.

From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:

"Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. Certainty is the mark of a common sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of a spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation."

I am often reminded of how the career path I have chosen includes a very mathematical timeline, at least for the next decade or so. This has its benefits, I understand that and am very grateful, but, knowing a piece of the future only makes me more anxious for the areas that are still uncertain; the where, the how, and the whos, if you will. It's like watching the first 30 minutes of your favorite TV show or movie without completing it. You sit there knowing half the story, but are left with an anticipation that doesn't really go away. Experience (particularly through observing and learning from my parents) has shown me that this never really goes away. There are always new challenges, new relationships, and new opportunities. So, how do we become certain with constant uncertainty.

[Insert a mental frame shift and a big kudos to Oswald for his wise words]

I've thought about it and I think it all boils down to trust. Trusting in God. Erin Cvengros stopped by before heading to DC for her new job and I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:11.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." 

It's way more exciting not knowing. It's like skiiing down an unfamiliar run. In my case, that was almost every one this past week. I told Ben I liked it. It's kinda fun when something you weren't expecting happens and it works out to be better than you'd anticipated. Like when there's a turn you weren't expecting or a steep slope you didn't see. And then you nail it. But, you need someone to follow. Someone you trust. Someone who won't lead you into something you can't handle. And that's God's promise to us.

[insert a sigh of relief here]