personal

It’s been a while…

Guilty as charged. I haven’t been writing on this!

I can’t believe the year is > half over. This year has been a whirlwind to say the least.

January: We went to Asia for over two weeks. My parents, my sister and her husband, my husband Mark, and I. We went to Singapore, Thailand (Phuket and Bangkok), Vietnam (Hanoi and Saigon), and a brief day in Tokyo. It was amazing! Highlights were an elephant sanctuary, Thai food, and family in Singapore.

February: A primary care physician (my PCP ironically) retired from her practice at my hospital so I took over her patients and my schedule got a little haphazard and funky as I was balancing two clinic locations, one with all brand new patients to me, precepting the residents, and rounding every 6 weeks. Another fun event was the Jump Back Ball at Playhouse Square – it was sci-fi themed so Star Wars, Star Trek, Back to the Future, and 2001: A Space Odyssey were heavily featured.

March: I’m sure something happened in March! But it’s hard to think back and recollect everything.

April: A quick weekend trip to Disney World/Orlando that started with Mark having a work trip there and me wanting to visit my friend Anita. It also just so happened to be Disney’s Star Wars half-marathon, so we ran it. Without training. And then did Magic Kingdom that day and Epcot the day after. We survived! Minus some IT band pain from Mark but… worth it.

May: We went to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands for a 4-5 days. The day before we left (Star Wars day – May the 4th be with you) we saw a house, put in an offer on a house, and signed on a house – all in one day! I literally was discussing mortgage rates and figuring things out from 7 Mile Beach in the following days because we already had this trip planned. We also had a weekend in Indy/Chicago where we saw Hamilton as a present from my parents, and a week later we saw Aladdin at Playhouse Square in Cleveland.

June: My cousin’s wedding in NYC and moving out of our apartment were highlights. We finished moving out of there and into our new house on June 30th, using every minute we could manage.

July: Settling in, unpacking, and ordering furniture – definitely a month to fill and clean and organize our new home. We went to the Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Cleveland too which was awesome.

August: Cedar Point with some friends. My dad is in Tanzania climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as we speak – updates on that later when he gets home. A big change recently was that the hospital I did the majority of my residency training at is being closed down for financial reasons. It doesn’t affect my clinic practice, but does affect where I’ll be doing my inpatient rounds every 6 weeks with the residents. I hope something better comes from this both for the community and the employees that were affected!

*upcoming*

September: Mark has a few work trips planned after a hiatus for the summer. I will be going to Amsterdam with him for a weekend. We’re also going to see Yayoi Kusama again, and I’m trying to plan another trip to Orlando.

October: This month I have a conference in Baltimore. It’s a mind-body medicine conference that I am very excited about. We also have the residency retreat, and I’m also going to visit my friend Cara with my other friend Katie.

November: Nothing planned for this month besides Thanksgiving so far!

December: Trying to plan a trip with my sister/Anish for NYE. Soon after that (early January actually) I’m going to Iceland with Mark.

Phew.

I’m not going to make any promises, but I will try my darndest to update this more often.

personal, travel

Singapore. Thailand. Cambodia. Vietnam.

I just returned from a whirlwind 15 day Asian vacation with my family. I write this at 3:00 PM EST while my eyes feel as though it is 3:00 AM. The trip was beautiful, glamorous, and exciting one minute and heart-breaking, exhausting, and stressful the next. I saw poverty, heard about abuse (elephant abuse specifically), and pollution. I also saw beautiful blue waters, immensely incredible ancient buildings, and glittering skylines. I experience immense kindness and also was verbally accosted by a pseudo cab driver in Vietnam. Since coming back, my head has kind of been in a cloud. Partially jet lag, and partially with immense gratitude and appreciation for my life, the people in it, and the country that I live in. Coming back to work has been wonderful – I love the people I work with both in the clinic where I see patients [love my patients as well], and I love the residents and working in the residency clinic. I don’t want this post to be specifics about what I did as much as I want it to be about what I feel.

Amazon, books, health

this week on Amazon: 1.2.18

So the theme for this week [I know it has been months since the last post like this] is resolutions. The products I’m sharing/recommending are ones that can help you keep your resolutions.

Reduce waste. Use refillable water bottles and refillable coffee mugs instead of disposable Starbucks cups and disposable water bottles. KeepCup makes these cute refillable coffee mugs in different sizes, and I love HydroFlask for water bottles. I like cold water, and water in this stays ice cold all day.
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Reduce spending. Kakebo is the Japanese art of saving money. Basically, they utilize a planning method where at the beginning of the month, you make a detailed list of the things you will need to spend money on for the upcoming month [or 4 weeks]. That way you are prepared for things to come and you have a stash of “extra” money if needed as well. It apparently successfully decreases spending by 35%. Here’s an article about it. And here is a book. I don’t think you really need the book, but if you’re a person that benefits from something tangible.

Plan. I bought this recently to streamline meal-planning and grocery shopping. I’ll let you know how effective it actually is, but it seems really helpful.

Read. So one of my resolutions was to read more, and this is one of the first books on my list. One of the greatest science-related books of our time, and I haven’t read it yet.

health, inspirational, personal

resolution time?

Okay, okay, it’s been a while. I figured this would happen. But the last two months just got unexpectedly (but maybe not so unexpectedly) busy. So, it’s 2018. A new year. Time people make resolutions. I posted some general resolutions on Facebook earlier this week, but I’ll go into further depth on this blog.

  1. Don’t diet. Instead make lifestyle changes, lifestyle changes, lifestyle changes. Please don’t diet. Diets set you up for failure, mess with your metabolism, and cause forever yo yo-ing (how do you write yo yo-ing?) of weight. Instead, if you want your body to change, make lifestyle changes that you can maintain without suffering. It might take longer to get the weight off, but it will last. Eat more vegetables, eat healthy fats, don’t deprive yourself completely of your favorite foods, work on portion control, drink more water, and move more. A side tip, never mention diets and weight in front of children. I’ve seen little girls as young as four talk about calories and pinch their skin talking about fat. Create a healthy mindset about food and exercise and pass that on to younger generations.
  2. Move. Exercise in ways that don’t feel like chores – take fun classes, go skiing, hike outside, walk your dog, dance, anything you think you’d enjoy. Enjoy the process and it’s something you can continue for the rest of your life. I also use the word “move” to encourage travel. Road trips, outdoor adventures, or overseas trips if you’re able. All are amazing for the mind + soul. See a doctor once a year and talk to them if you are having difficulty with your weight, there may be a medical cause.
  3. Less screen time. I feel as though 90% of the day I am on my phone or a computer. I interact with patients and then immediately go back to my computer and type up notes/put in orders. Precepting with the residents, I’m basically on the computer the whole time. My phone seems as though it’s an appendage of my body these days. I have found that when I’m away from screens, time slows down! Less screen time will hopefully result in more time to read and create (more of that later).
  4. Reduce + reuse. I know everyone pushes recycling, which is great, but even better is to reduce or reuse. Buy better quality products, but fewer of them! For example, instead of 10 cheap sweaters, buy one of great quality that will last you forever. In fact, reduce buying in general – I know I have so many things that I bought that I really didn’t need; they are just collecting dust in my house and one day will just be thrown out. So wasteful! Buy food with less packing waste – buy in bulk bags (nuts, seeds, rice) when you are able. Refill water bottles instead of buying disposable ones – I’m using Hydroflask, and I love it. It comes in several sizes and colors, and it  keeps my water ice cold all day long. And reuse. This is something I need to work on. Reuse bags, boxes, jars, whatever you can, before throwing them out/recycling them.
  5. Read. I am going to try and read one book a month. It seems like the easiest task ever, but I get so caught up in my screens that it’s hard to make time for reading.
  6. Give. Give more presents to people, give more hugs, volunteer. Give yourself a break! Giving is the best thing you can do. If you can’t afford to donate money, donate your time – there are so many organizations to get involved with out there.
  7. Create. I’m going to work on writing more, but I also am going to work on watercolors and work on cooking and baking more. But create in any way you choose – write, paint, draw, dance, make music, etc.

 

That’s it for now. I’ll try to post more regularly (#7 up there) while still not increasing my screen time (#3).

xoxo

Amazon

this week on Amazon: 10.20.17

Week two of this blog already! This week’s recommendations are much more random than last week, but they’re even better IMHO. Anyway, here are this week’s Amazon recommendations from an self-diagnosed Amazon addict:

Sun protection: I actually bought this on Sephora, but it is much cheaper on Amazon, and totally legitimate. It’s a great daily sunscreen by a Korean company (K-Beauty is the best) and is amazing. It is lightweight but works great. Wearing sunscreen on your face and neck (and décolletage if visible) every day is the best thing you can do for your face!Neogen Dermalogy Day-Light Protection Sun Screen 50ml/1.65FL.OZ. SPF50/PA+++ Intensive Defense Against UVA/UVB Rays

Exfoliation: This works better than a face mask at exfoliation and moisturizing, and it smells like wine. Enough said? It’s another K-Beauty success story and another product sold for much more $ on Sephora.Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, 200ml, 30 Count

Insect repellent: If you are planning on visiting anywhere with Zika, or going camping or to anywhere insect-prone, this is a must. It is super strong, much stronger than most insect repellents because it actually has permethrin in it. Make sure you are spraying this directly on your tent or clothing and not on your body. It works!

For kids: Looking for a present for a child? This is the coolest thing I’ve seen lately. It’s Lego-compatible tape! You can line a wall, a box, a bed, a table – whatever you want with this tape. Fostering creativity, etc, etc. They even have more color options if you’re trying to match a room.

Water shoes: These are great water shoes. I have them in black, but this color is great too. I cut my foot on some lava rock just walking on the beach in Hawaii, and immediately bought these online for further water-related adventures. Ouch.

poetry

let it go.

This is one of my favorite poems by E. E. Cummings. I think it’s important to recognize and prioritize what truly makes you happy and fulfilled in life. It is equally important to avoid what is toxic and negative – whether that be people, places, or things. Emotional or physical clutter, negative individuals, and unnecessary stressors should be eliminated whenever possible. Life is too short and too precious. … All that is just me speaking in general, not directed at current events.

Regarding current events, Kate Beckinsale shared this poem today on Instagram as part of the “me too” movement of empowering “victims” and acknowledging the widespread issue of sexual harassment and abuse. While I haven’t really experienced anything significant enough to warrant me saying “me too”, I do want to re-share this poem and add a message of love and solidarity to all the brave women and men speaking out. Keep fighting the good fight. ❤ I love you guys.

let it go – the
e.e. cummings

let it go – the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise – let it go it
was sworn to
go

let them go – the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers – you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go – the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things – let all go
dear

so comes love

health

The Gut Diet.

There are more and more studies coming out that show that the vast and diverse microbiome present in our intestines affects our health and bodies in numerous ways. Google “microbiome and weight” and you will find plenty to start with, but they affect even more than weight. One particularly interesting one I found was that certain artificial sweeteners were found to trigger alterations in the gut microbiome increasing appetite and increasing fat storage – was the non-fat trend in the 90s which resulted in a spike in artificial sweeteners and strange additives a huge trigger for obesity because of it’s affect on our gut microbiome?

There are literally dozens of interesting journals/articles/research studies about gut microbiome that I came across just today. I think we will be seeing lots more treatments and studies with regards to this in the future. In the meantime, I found out in Menorca, Spain they have a “Gut Makeover Retreat” that costs thousands of dollars to help reset your gut from all the toxins it has been accumulating and help them regrow healthy, good bacteria. Reading into these makeovers, they can be simplified for [affordable] at-home use. The nutritionist behind this is Jeannette Hyde, and she summarized her diet for DailyMail as follows:

WEEKS ONE AND TWO

The focus is on building a wider array of bacteria. The key principles here are:

1. Plants: Try to get different plants (vegetables, herbs and fruits) into meals. Think a minimum of seven cups of plants — five as vegetables, two as fruit. Aim for 20 to 30 varieties a week — a shopping cart exploding with color and textures.

2. Buy the best protein you can afford (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds) to include at each meal. [Apurva advice: limit meat protein to once a day, max.]

3. Relax and chew properly: Try not to eat on the run or ‘al desko’.

4. Fast: Get into the habit of a 12-hour fast between dinner and breakfast. A long stretch without food improves the microbiome.

5. Avoid snacking. Have three meals a day.

WEEKS THREE AND FOUR

The second half of the plan is ‘planting season’, introducing the following into your gut:

1. Prebiotics: Increase your intake of prebiotic foods that contain fiber, which feeds bacteria in the gut and make friendly species bloom. These include: apples, asparagus, bananas, chicory root, cold potatoes (after cooking they form a fiber called resistant starch), fennel, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, legumes (allowed if you are vegetarian to boost protein).

2. Probiotics: These contain friendly bacteria and include: kefir milk, Roquefort cheese, fermented live miso and fermented tempeh (both made from soy beans and found in Asian supermarkets; add miso, a paste, to stir-fries and soups, buy tempeh in blocks to add to stir-fries and salads).

JUST SAY NO TO…

Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sweeteners, dairy (although in weeks three and four it is included in small amounts because foods such as fermented milk kefir can boost gut flora), grains (particularly gluten-containing wheat, rye and spelt), beans and legumes (they contain high levels of lectins which can cause bloating), and dried fruit (due to high fructose sugar).

KEEP OFF THE WEIGHT

When the month is up, transition to the maintenance stage, a gut-friendly version of the real Mediterranean diet: plants — vegetables, seasonal fruits and wild herbs — supplemented with fish, nuts and grains, extra virgin olive oil, artisan, slow-matured cheeses teeming with friendly bacteria, and moderate amounts of quality meat.

The diet in general is similar to your standard, but proven, plant-based, whole foods, Mediterranean diet that should be highly recommended right now by all nutritionists and physicians, but it kind of explains why from a gut-related perspective. So considering that my diet is kind of exactly the opposite – lots of snacking, dairy, sugar, caffeine, beans, grains, legumes, and occasional alcohol, I feel as though my gut is pretty unhappy. Last May I lasted 3 weeks of the month without any added sugars in my diet, and I felt great. I think even if you can make small changes towards a diet like this, you’ll feel better, but if you are willing to take the plunge and commit to this diet, I don’t think you’ll regret it. Happy gut, happy life!

More books to look into:

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