Monthly Archives: August 2011

Weekly Links #2

This week’s links are fewer than I normally would like, but I’m using a couple of articles for a post coming later today or tomorrow. Getting closer to having them in on Thursday though! One of these weeks I’ll actually have them on time (or I’ll meet myself halfway and make it a Friday post). Anyways, three of the posts this week are from Great site; always interesting stuff on there. Usually I’ll try to work a little more variety in, but some of them warranted a separate post this week. Without further ado:

1. “What Would a Smart, Compassionate, Affordable Health Care System Look Like?” This is an insightful piece on some of the problems in our healthcare system. At the heart of the article is the idea that we are spending too much for what we are getting. It doesn’t offer any solutions, but does raise a number of questions in an attempt to get some discourse started.

2. “Two Changes to Cut Federal Health Care Expenditures” This article does offer a couple of solutions to the massive amount spent on health care. #1 surprised me. It just seems odd to me that negotiating for prices would be prohibited in the first place. #2 also makes sense at a basic level, but I want to know who would be deciding efficacy and effectiveness. I would worry about politics getting too involved and ending up right back where we started.

3. “Why Doctors Shouldn’t Leave Their Emotions Behind” I found this piece interesting as someone looking to get into medicine. I think I would rather be the kind of doctor who does form a relationship with each patient rather than staying emotionally detached. But at the same time, I can see how that would take a definite toll. Thought it was interesting.

4. “Corn Subsidies Make Unhealthy Food Choices the Rational Ones” This topic is one I find very frustrating personally. I’ll probably end up doing a whole post on it at some point, but this article does a good job of getting the basic info out there. Our national agricultural system needs an overhaul. I’ll save the rest of the rant for another time and just leave it at the article for now.

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The Vegetarian Adventure: Part 2

Or “Where the Fates Force Me to Go Vegetarian”  (or “Epic Fail of a Curry”)

If you missed the first part of “The Vegetarian Adventure”, it’s right here.

I’m not going to lie. Wasn’t going to do the vegetarian thing this week. It wasn’t a total cop-out though. (I swear!) I looked up a bunch of vegetarian recipes and even found some potential dishes. Quick shoutout to for some great advice on vegetarian eating. The girlfriend also found a couple recipes for us to try. We decided to put off some of them until after moving day (Sunday). Trying to avoid keeping food around the house.

Anyways, we picked out our meals for the week at Whole Foods based on what was on sale. Initially, we were planning on making an all-veggie curry. Pretty simple; a nice easy start to the weekly veggie meal. But then…we decided we wanted some chicken in the curry. So the vegetarian meal was pushed back to next week.

Fast forward three days. I cut up all the veggies for the curry, get the potatoes cooking, and I’m all set to dice the chicken. About this time, I realize that I forgot to get the rice cooking. Since the rice takes an hour and the girlfriend was leaving before then, I make the executive decision to leave out the rice. Things are already going downhill.

Back to the chicken. We bought thighs this week, because they were on sale. (Usually, we get boneless breasts). So I wasn’t that familiar with the chicken. But something seemed a little off right away. I smelled it, and it was just a little funky–smelling a little bit like eggs. On top of that, the underside of the thighs seemed a little discolored and they were kind of sticky. So (insert favorite curse word, e.g., ****sticks). I tossed the chicken.

Now normally, I’d shrug it off as nothing and eat something else. This week was a perfect storm. No backup food due to moving day. For some reason I cut the veggies first and got the potatoes cooking, the opposite of what I usually do (forcing me to stick with the meal). The chicken goes bad in only THREE days in the fridge. And all of this during the week where I said I’d be starting a weekly vegetarian meal, and then backed out of it. Coincidence? I’m not so sure.

Oh, and then I discovered that I didn’t have any cream for the curry either. Epic fail of a curry.

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6 Things to Keep in Mind When Getting Healthy

1. “Things do not happen, they are made to happen.” JFK
Losing weight or getting healthy does not just happen. You can sit around and wait all you want, but until they invent a magic pill to lose weight, it’s not going to do anything. You have to make the changes and stick with them. Being healthy is about perseverance and determination.

2. Losing weight hurts
Your body doesn’t necessarily want to lose weight. You can’t lose weight without either feeling hungry or burning enough calories to make up for what you eat. You will be sore. But eventually, it becomes empowering. Walking through the cookie aisle at the grocery store without getting anything is satisfying. And it gets easier. Once you’re at the weight you want, maintaining it and living healthy is just a matter of making the changes in your lifestyle a part of your routine.

3. Stuff happens, get back to it
Sometimes, things get in the way. Maybe it’s been a busy work week and you just don’t have energy for the gym. Or an injure stops you from working out. We can’t control most things and it is too easy to get knocked out of a routine. It’s important to be able to roll with the punches and not let problems build up. More importantly, though, is to get back to business after things are cleared up. A healthy lifestyle can be a slippery slope for a lot of people. When something knocks you off the path for a healthy lifestyle, you need to climb back up that slope instead of getting stuck in a rut.

4.  Set small goals, but think long-term
There is plenty of evidence to show that setting small, reasonable goals for the short-term is effective. This is a very useful tool, if not necessity. But there always needs to be a big picture too. Most diets work for awhile and then fail. Losing weight or being healthy can’t just be a short term goal. Being healthy needs to be a long-term thing. It’s not just a diet, it’s changing the way you eat or live. Small goals help to keep people focused and from feeling like they aren’t making progress. Keeping the long-term in sight helps changes stick and can help you be more resilient when stuff happens (#4).

5. Just because it’s organic, doesn’t mean its healthy!
Yes, organic is better for you. But my organic cinnamon toast crunch does not count as a healthy food, unfortunately. Neither do organic two-bite brownies or organic chocolate bars. (I know, I was devastated too.) Switching to organic or natural food can help with many potential health problems, but losing weight and being healthy still requires eating well. This means less sweets, cheap carbs, and more veggies (sadly).

6. Everyone is different
Just because something works for one person, doesn’t mean it works for you. Find what works best for you. If you aren’t hungry in the morning and feel fine until lunch, you don’t have to eat breakfast to be healthy. If you hate running (I hear ya), find a different workout that you enjoy (rock climbing?). It is a lot easier to stick to changes if you find something you like doing or eating.

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The Vegetarian Adventure, Part 1

I am a meat eater. My family, big meat eaters. In fact, my extended family actively avoids any green foods, possibly at a subconscious level. My mom discovered that if she brought a green-colored salad, and this could be a jello salad or pure sugary goodness with green food coloring, to a family gathering–wouldn’t get touched.

Now, I’m not as bad as my extended family. Lettuce on a burger, sure. And I will occasionally eat a salad…or a few chunks of broccoli…or yeah. So, not actually much green food getting eaten here. Seriously thinking it might be a subconscious thing. But I do try to work veggies into my meals. I eat a lot of peppers and onions, and a few other things here and there. (Which I can’t really think of, so that’s a bad sign).

But last week, I’m eating at Panera with the girlfriend and enjoying The Onion and the following exchange occurred:

Girlfriend: “So we should try to work in a vegetarian meal each week.”
Me (with increasing dread): “…Should we?”
Girlfriend: “I think it sounds like a good idea, don’t you?”
Me (suppressing feelings of panic): “Yeah, I suppose so.”

And then I took a large bite of my turkey sandwich (For reals). All kidding aside though, I know I need to increase my vegetable intake and decrease the amount of meat I eat. It’s healthier for me and better for the environment at the same time. Unless I find a vegetable that tastes like a cookie, I’m going to have to face my subconscious fear of green food. And it looks like this is the week. Check back for updates throughout the week.

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The Weekly Progress Report #2 — Fail

Time for the weekly progress report. In case the title didn’t tip you off, it wasn’t pretty.

Eating: I started off the week pretty good. Cooked a few meals including another homemade chicken pizza (I’ll try to start including pictures in the next couple of weeks), some pasta, and bbq chicken. Things went downhill from there though. We (being me and my girlfriend) never made it back to the grocery store and ended up eating out way too much. On the plus side, though, we did get Thai food for the first time. Very tasty.

Grade: C –

Working out: This would be the main source of the failing. I really didn’t work out at all. Played tennis once. For only a half an hour. Really need to work on this.

Grade: F

Mitigating Factors:

  1. It was ungodly hot, especially early in the week
  2. Membership at a climbing gym ran out (boo)
  3. Had a lot of meetings/work throughout the week but I can’t let that be an excuse
  4. Getting ready to move, so I’m trying to keep the food supply low

How I Plan to Improve: I need to reevaluate my plans for eating and working out. There will be posts to follow going through this. I also might try to start jogging with my puppy but she might be a little young still.

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Weekly Links #1 — Long Waits and the Primary Care Shortage

Long Waits and the Primary Care Shortage

So every Thursday, I’m going to try to post links to articles I’ve found interesting over the week with the occasional thoughts. (I know it’s already Saturday this week, running a little behind already). So here we go.

1. “How to Head Off Long Waits for the Doctor” I spent some time shadowing at a community health center, doing family medicine. One of the thing that really stood out to me was that we always seemed to be running behind. Appointments were set up in either 10 or 20 minute blocks but I rarely felt like we met either of them. I think there is a tension between keeping appointments close to on time and giving patients as much time as they need. The doctor I was with definitely fell on the side of giving patients as much time as they needed (within reason). Anyways, the article makes some suggestions for dealing with it from the patient side, but they don’t seem like solutions that would accomplish a whole lot. I don’t have any solutions, myself, but the article is an interesting look at a problem facing patients and doctors.

2. “Why Medical School Should Be Free” This is an interesting op-ed piece linking medical school debt to the shortage of primary care physicians. As someone who has a lot of debt already, and so much more to come with medical school, I definitely understand its point. There is certainly pressure to pursue higher-paying specialties when it can mean paying off student loans years earlier.

3. “Medical school debt only partially explains the primary care shortage” posted this response to #2. It recognizes Dr. Chen’s argument, but proposes that a larger part of the primary care shortage is caused by high tuition costs deterring underrepresented minorities and students from lower socioeconomic statuses. A very interesting complement to #2.

4. “When specialists try to practice primary care” Following the primary care them, this is another piece. It makes a nice argument for placing greater value on generalism.

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“The Meal is Over When I Hate Myself”

I don’t know how many of you have seen Louis CK’s Chewed Up act, but he pretty much sums up my eating style. You can watch it here (from 1:12-2:15), though I should warn you that he is pretty vulgar. In case that bothers you.

That’s pretty much me. Always has been. Seems to run in the family. There is no stopping when I’m full. I know I’m full, but the food looks sooo good (and tastes sooo good). So I keep eating. And I enjoy it, at least til I’m done. I’m the person who finishes everyone else’s meal.

So overeating is a HUGE problem for me. And that’s without even talking about my sweet tooth, which I’ll save for another time. Anyways, it’s something I need to work on. Enjoy the Louis CK (one of my favorites these days).

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Weekly Journal #1

First weekly journal keeping track of my progress being healthy!

As far as food goes, not a bad week. Made pasta, a delicious homemade chicken pizza, and bbq chicken. Probably could have eaten more fruit and veggies (this will be a recurring theme). Mostly yogurts for breakfast and small lunches. Ate out twice this week. Panera Bread once, and then Brickhouse BBQ (highly approve!) to celebrate my brother joining me in Madison for school.

Most importantly, barely any overeating! Which is a HUGE victory for me. The only time I ate way to much was at Brickhouse BBQ, which I’m okay with.

Eating grade for the week… B-

-need more fruits and veggies

For working out. Played tennis 1.5 times with the girlfriend. Biked/rock climbed once. Went to Hot Yoga once (I’ll explain someday).

Working out grade… C

-not a great week but an improvement on the usual

Overall weekly grade… C+

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