Archive for tag: recipe

Keep the Line Moving

While shopping at a "big box" retailer this week for some items I needed around the house, I was presented with a situation that, while not shocking given the volume of customers for that business, gave me a good reason to think about the type of practice I want and another point on why I chose to practice naturopathic medicine. Keep in mind that while the first part of the story may sound a bit like I'm griping, I'm sharing this incident to reinforce why I am choosing to become a naturopathic doctor. :)

The store was huge and packed with weekend shoppers, like me, who wanted to get errands completed and back home as quickly as possible. I was at the checkout and an item was mispriced. The clerk called for the mislabeled item's department over the store intercom for a price check. No answer came from the department, so the clerk asked someone else at the front counter to make a quick run and check the price.

The clerk then turned to me and asked me politely to step aside for the next customer to be checked out. While I was reluctant to move, I understood that others simply wanted to get their errands finished so they could relax at home. So, I moved out of the way for the next three customers to pay for their items as the mispriced item was researched. Once the price was corrected, the clerk asked me for my payment; I paid, and was given a cursory "thank you" while being handed the bag full of merchandise.

The most shocking thing to me during this experience was no apology for the mispriced item, and no apology or explanation for asking me to step aside for the error on the part of the store. I was simply another body in the line and my mispriced item was preventing the line's movement. The store needed to keep the line moving. This is done by tracking the number of customers per hour that the clerks bring through their line. If a clerk doesn't have "x" number of customers per hour, then they are retrained, reprimanded or disciplined until they lose a sense of customer service and concentrate more on "keeping the line moving."

As I processed this experience, this made me remember one of the reasons I chose naturopathic medicine. I am becoming an ND because each patient is an individual and not a number or statistic, nor one of six patients I need to see each hour to satisfy numbers for an insurance or reimbursement program. I am choosing to learn this trade, this profession, this practice, so that I can get to know my patients along with their pathologies, motivations, compliances, and best path to a healthier life where at all possible.

Since I cannot predict the future, I don't know exactly how I will practice. I will do my best to stay away from a high volume practice model. I know that any business needs a break-even point and profitability to keep the doors open. I am certain that I can build a practice schedule that will allow time with my patients up front to get to know them along with shorter duration follow-up appointments. As we progress together on the healing path, our meetings, if all goes well, will become more economical with time length. We can accomplish all we need and plan our next steps until the day comes when as many of our patients as possible will be able to exit our practice as healthier individuals and not as patients.

2013-03-05_tuna

Here's my whole food pic for the week. This is wild caught Ahi Tuna marinated in lemon juice and capers. The sides are my roasted root veggies from last week (carrots, parsnips, beets…all organic) along with steamed organic baby spinach.

Doc Rosco's Lemon Juice and Caper Wild Caught Ahi Tuna

Ingredients

  • 4-6 oz. Wild Caught Ahi Tuna Steak
  • 6 oz. Organic Lemon Juice
  • Capers (to taste)

Instructions

  • Marinate the tuna in the lemon juice for two hours, turning every 30 minutes in an oven-safe baking dish. Add capers to taste during the marinating. 
  • Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Place baking dish with tuna, lemon juice and capers in the oven. 
  • Check at 30 minutes and tuna should be done.

Midterms

Midterm week(s) is the time of the trimester devoid of reflection. Midterms is the time to hunker down, rehash covered concepts, make sure the latest lectures are covered, and the first round of papers have been completed and turned in either electronically or as hard copies. 

This past week or so has consisted of a combination of study, online quizzes, classroom quizzes, papers and now...midterms! That being said, this week's entry will be a bit abbreviated as I have just finished a paper on the style of practice I plan to exercise with my patients, and whether that style is informative, collaborative, deliberative, or paternalistic. Once I have turned that paper in electronically (very convenient), I will complete my "mop up" studying for a dermatology midterm tomorrow.

I define mop up studying as covering the concepts that I don't have a firm grasp upon as an exam approaches. While I study for exams, as I feel I have mastered a topic or concept, I move away from that concept and take on another topic. While I review as exam day approaches, I take the concepts that I'm not as comfortable with and spend a bit more time with them to help reinforce any "weak spots" in my learning for that exam. Takes a little more preparation ahead of time, yet I can spread out my study and not feel as compelled to cram for exams.

Once I complete the final study for Dermatology, I will move to Advanced Botanical Prescribing and study the botanicals suited for the respiratory tract in preparation for that midterm later this week. This is a busy time over the next couple of weeks and at the same time, whether from three years of practice at this point, the joining of the concepts and improvement in efficiency, or pure enjoyment of my classes, studying just doesn't seem like the chore it was back in the fall of 2010. The light is at the end of the tunnel, and I'm pretty sure it's not a train.

2013-02-27_rootveggieguyUntil next week, I'll leave you with a handy and easy recipe for making a nice root veggie side dish for the week. This dish provides plenty of carotenoids, minerals and fiber! Root Veggie Guy gives it the thumbs up!

Roasted Root Veggies 

Ingredients

  • 3 Organic Parsnips
  • 3 Organic Carrots (Large)
  • 1 Large Organic Beet

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice the Parsnips and Carrots (1/8 inch thick).
  • Dice the Beet (1/4 cubes).
  • Add to a large cooking sheet or casserole dish.
  • Cook for 60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.

Makes about 5 servings (enough for lunch Mon-Fri).

Keeping with the Plan

Hi, everyone! 

This week I started a new part-time job as part of my plan to save a bit of money prior to graduation. I will be working about 15-20 hours per week at a local health food store. This part of my plan will allow me to continue my courses right now, complete all class work, then in a few months, complete my studies in student clinic and main clinic here at NUHS. 

This job is well suited in that the store is within walking distance of both campus and my apartment, so I can save on fuel expenses. The working hours are flexible to accommodate my class schedule as it changes from trimester to trimester and a few of my fellow students currently work in the store. Another benefit is that working in a health food store assists with keeping my mind sharp on the nutrients in certain foods, understanding customers' requests when they describe a specific supplement, mineral or nutritive product they need based upon a physiological requirement. 

The reality of graduating from medical school encompasses the costs of moving, setting up shop or joining a practice as well as being able to "pay the bills" after graduation. The months after graduation and prior to sitting for NPLEX II (or the second round of national board exams) can be quite lean, based upon the experiences shared with me from recent grads. I am taking action now to help alleviate the challenge of those first few months after graduating. 

A little "whole foods diet" update for this week for you. The new way of eating is going well with a couple of hiccups. I fudged and had some chocolate-covered peanuts (I know! Milk chocolate with perhaps the most inflammatory food...peanuts!). At the same time, I have been enjoying some incredible smoothies with a good friend as well as making "lettuce wraps" out of everything from chicken to squash with butter lettuce leaves. Here's a quick pic of my simple organic chicken lettuce wraps with some hot sauce on the leaves (in other words, whatever I have in the cupboard or fridge gets thrown in a pan or the oven and added to the lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap, hehe). Nice!

2013-02-20_salad

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Organic Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 large whole organic onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves organic garlic (minced)
  • 1 head butter lettuce (organic if you can get it)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Hot Sauce that you like (peppers, vinegar, salt, water) 

Instructions

  1. Dice and sauté the chicken in a wok or saucepan.
  2. Dice and add the onion and garlic once the chicken is nearly done.
  3. Add soy sauce to taste.
  4. Remove from heat and serve with lettuce leaves and hot sauce!

Super Snacks for a Super Game

Well, this past week saw our first round of quizzes, cases and a paper. Midterms will happen in a couple of weeks. Among the research and study, I was left with the conundrum of snacks that would fit within my whole foods definition for the Super Bowl this past weekend. So, some friends and I put our minds to finding things that would "fit the bill" for whole food ingredients and be pretty tasty at the same time! 

Here is what we came up with for the party. These recipes were developed with a bit of ingenuity, emptying the cupboards, and a quick run to the grocery store. With time and money, I'm certain we could have come up with vegetarian, dairy-free or even vegan options. We are on a budget, and combined available ingredients to come up with something healthy and inexpensive. Hope you enjoy!

Pulled Pork (or Beef) Crockpot Style
Courtesy of Lauren
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs. (pasture-raised/organic, pork center loin or beef center loin)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 12 oz. can organic tomato sauce (tomatoes and water)
  • 8 oz. can organic tomato paste (tomatoes and water)
  • 8 oz. can organic chipotle peppers (peppers, water, salt)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup black strap molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • Hot pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Trim the fat from the meat and place the meat into the crockpot with water.
  2. Cook the meat in the slow cooker until ready to pull apart.
  3. Pull apart the meat and add back to the water remaining in the crockpot.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and any additional water as needed, mix.
  5. Cook until ready (or game-time!)

 

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Courtesy of Mike
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2-8 oz. packages organic cream cheese
  • 2-16 oz. containers of Greek yogurt
  • 8 ozs. organic baby spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 16 oz. artichoke hearts (packed in water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Steam the spinach.
  2. Rinse the artichoke hearts.
  3. Chop the spinach into small pieces.
  4. Dice the artichoke hearts.
  5. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Chill to serve or heat and serve warm…or both!
  7. ENJOY with your favorite organic corn, sweet potato or veggie chip!

We were able to combine individual ingredients that we had in our cupboards along with some meat in the freezer and a quick trip to the store for cream cheese and chips. Then, we put together a pretty nice and filling meal for the game (along with a side salad) and a dip to snack upon while we waited for the power at the Super Dome to be restored.

The whole foods plan is starting to come together. With a bit of creativity, imagination and prep work, putting together some great tasting grub for the big game was a breeze! Now to work on a more balanced veggie menu in the coming weeks before spring. We can talk about that and some of the financial challenges of attending naturopathic medical school and strategies for current and future financial needs.

2013-02-07_hands

In the meantime, here's a pic that with a view I really enjoyed after a workout this past weekend in our gym. The sculpture is of a healer's hands with a backdrop of Janse Pond underneath our first true snowfall in over a year (that's right)!

Talk to you next week!

A Week of Trips

The first week of the new whole foods diet came and went. I'm happy to report that no major catastrophes occurred. Preparing food was a bit more challenging from the aspect of condiments or toppings and such, yet these things are typically not necessary if food is prepared properly and spiced up nicely. 

The first whole foods week started with a trip to the grocery store. Finding products in the store with less than five ingredients and no chemicals is super challenging! I kept saying to myself "Why not bend a little and say eight ingredients," or "Polysorbate 80 isn't so bad, is it?" Yet, when all was said and done I was able to walk out of the store with the components for some tasty and healthy eating. I found my trip was a bit heavy on the meat, fish and nut side this time and not as varied in the veggie department with mostly greens and root vegetables (we are in winter here in Illinois though). I will balance out the veggies and work toward a much more vegetable-centered diet as this thing progresses. This is a positive move both from a resource utilization and healthy benefit from the food source to the table through digestion. 

Here's the recipe for a chicken soup I made for a friend who was under the weather this past week. I made enough for plenty of people in retrospect, as this was a huge batch! I'm not much of a recipe writer so please forgive any "recipe grammar errors." :)

Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 quarts organic chicken stock
  • 6 organic carrots
  • 2 organic onions
  • 2 pounds organic boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter
  • 3 tablespoons thyme (roughly)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (roughly)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add any salt) 

Instructions

  1. Cook the chicken in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400º prior to adding to soup.
  2. Dice the carrots and onions into cubes.
  3. In a BIG stockpot: Add the butter and melt. Add the carrots and onions, sauté for just a few minutes (no more than 10 minutes).
  4. Add the 3 quarts of chicken stock and bring up to temperature (yet not to a boil).
  5. Once the chicken has finished in the oven, dice the chicken and add to the stock.
  6. Add the spices. Simmer the soup for about 30-45 minutes (again without allowing it to heat to the boiling point). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. (Add some baby spinach just a few minutes prior to serving if you like. The spinach will cook up nicely and a bit more texture to the soup.)

Enjoy!

Kenosha Trip

Also this past weekend on the spur of the moment, a friend and I took a day trip up to Kenosha to see the sunrise over Lake Michigan and the old Kenosha Southport lighthouse, built in 1866. We decided over coffee to enjoy a rare super bright Midwest winter's day and take in the sun! The sun is beautiful rising over the water; it was mighty cold though!  I'm the tiny person next to the lighthouse in the pic. 

2013-01-23_tower

I will talk a bit more about school in the coming weeks. Fortunately, we are still in the lecturing phase and I'm certain the quizzes are coming this week in the majority of our classes. Back to studying and talk to you all again in a week!