Inspired Motivation

My fellow classmates and I have just met the “two months until summer” mark, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. The first year of medical school has been and interesting journey, and just when we think we’ve had about enough, they hit us with one more class. Neurobiology. It’s rumored to be one of the, if not THE, most difficult class of our first year. We will also be in psychiatry and nerophysiology, but neurobiology will be taking up the bulk of our time and effort. So, where do we find the motivation to make it through these last two months when the weather is just starting to warm up? I found a little bit of motivation this weekend at the Jackson Free Clinic. The free clinic is run by the medical students at UMMC for patients without insurance. I went to volunteer this Saturday, and had the best day. Two of our three patients had been working to lose weight and be healthy, and it was working for them! One women came to the realization about a year ago that she simply had to lose some weight; she started dieting and exercising and she’s now lost almost 50 pounds. She talked about what a struggle it has been because it’s often painful for her to exercise due to osteoarthritis, but she said she isn’t going to let that stop her and she’s going to keep it up as long as she can. Our other patient was diagnosed with diabetes not too long ago. He has cut out sweets and carbs and started making sure he exercises at least 30 minutes to an hour everyday. Both patients are doing great, and did I mention, they aren’t eating fried foods either.  All they had to do was change their diet and exercise. That’s the key to this whole being healthy thing. Leaving the clinic, I was overjoyed that I had seen two patients change themselves for the better. It gives me a little motivation to push through these next two months knowing that one day, I’ll be able to help people like them reach their goals. All some people need is a little push in the right direction, and that’s just the push I need to kick of neurobiology. Here’s what I’ve tried this week, shrimp for everyone!

Shrimp Tacos
I’m not exactly sure where I got this recipe. I think it might have been from Cooking Light, but I can’t find it on their website anywhere, so I’ll include the recipe at the bottom. It comes in at about 225 calories and 6.4 g fat for half a cup of shrimp mixture. This is a great recipe to toss together the night before or 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat. It has several of my favorite things in it, shrimp, avocado, and of course cilantro. I used my mini tortillas again, so I had two tacos and an orange to go along with it. It’s pretty filling, so you could serve it with a small salad or a small portion of whole wheat chips and salsa. I used frozen shrimp and served it cold, but I’ve also had these warm before with fresh cooked shrimp. I think I prefer them to be chilled, so if you cook raw shrimp, I’d let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Overall, I think it took about 5-6 minutes to defrost the shrimp under cold running water, and about 5 minutes to chop up the other ingredients, which you can do while the shrimp defrost. Pretty quick and pretty simple if you ask me. The leftovers keep well for a few days also.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
I got this recipe in my email this week and figured I’d give it a try since I already had some shrimp in the freezer. I changed a couple things though. Since I was only making this for myself, I measured out the proper serving size of orzo pasta according to the package directions, it was 2 ounces for the brand I used. I also didn’t use as much butter as the recipe calls for. I used a sliver of butter (about 1/4 tablespoon) to sauté the garlic than I added my defrosted shrimp sprinkled with pepper to warm them up. Instead of having asparagus as the side, which I had planned to do, I decided to add a 1/4 cup of frozen peas into my cooking pasta. My thought was that I didn’t really feel like cooking a vegetable separately, but I really wanted some sort of vegetable. I guess it’s kind of similar to the idea of a pasta primavera, it was really great though. I added lemon juice as the recipe indicates and a little bit of parmesan cheese on top. I’ll definitely be making this one again. I think it would be especially good for having company over for dinner. Click here for the recipe.

Turkey Avocado Wrap
Yesterday, I wasn’t sure what I wanted for lunch, so I took a look in my fridge and came up with a turkey avocado wrap. I used a whole wheat tortilla, a little mesquite smoked sandwich turkey meat, half an avocado that was left over from my shrimp tacos, and a some field salad greens. I don’t eat sandwiches much, but sometimes I keep a sandwich meat around if I need to make a quick meal. This one just came together in my head as I looked around my fridge. I love avocados, whether they’re plain, in guacamole, or on a sandwich I think they add such great flavor. While they do contain fat, it’s the good kind, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I also added a little of my italian salad dressing to give a little extra flavor. I would try to use vinaigrette type dressings for sandwiches and wraps like this and avoid using mayonnaise and heavy ranch dressings. This would be great to pack and take to school, work, or a picnic, or if you’re in a rush and need to throw something together while you run out the door. It’s always good to keep in mind what you have in your freezer or fridge. A lot of people forget about having half an avocado or half a red onion left over after making something. Chances are, if you’re buying healthy food then you’ll have several things in your fridge that you can use to make something totally new. Also, the weather is close to perfect for growing herbs, so start thinking about doing that. I’ll try to do some research and report back about what things are easy/good to grow in the spring and summer.

Shrimp Taco Recipe

3 Limes                            1 cup medium tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
1 cup diced avocado      1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 teaspoon salt          1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 tortillas                         1 1/2 pounds cooked peeled medium shrimp

Directions

Finely grate rind from limes to measure 1 tablespoon; juice limes to measure 1/4 cup. Place rind and juice in a large bowl. Add tomato and remaining ingredients except tortillas; toss well to combine. Cover and chill for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/2 cup shrimp mixture down center of each tortilla; fold in half. Serve immediately. Serves 6 people
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