16 August, 2013

veggie nachos

I took 4 weeks off from clinical rotations last month to study for Step 2 of the medical licensing exam. You might remember me talking about Step 1 last summer, which was much more traumatic. Step 1 seemed like a huge hurdle to overcome on this path to becoming a doctor. By the time Step 2 rolled around, I realized the whole track is filled with hurdles. To keep that metaphor going, it really does remind me of when I did the hurdles on my high school track team. The first hurdle was terrifying, coming out of the blocks and the brief seconds leading up to the first leap. But once I made that first one, I found this rhythm - step, step, hurdle, step, step, hurdle - and the hurdles became less of an obstacle and more just a part of the way I ran. In some ways, medical education is like that. I know that I will continue to face small daily challenges, occasional monumental ones, and everything in between, which allows a sort of rhythm and acceptance.

During that month of studying, alone, day after day, alone, I wrote this on the edge of a to-do list:
I can already feel
how when it's all over
I'll look back
and say,
"It wasn't so bad, really."
In hindsight that sounds like a reassuring realization, but at the time it wasn't. At the time it seemed devastating. Because it meant that I would be brushing off one of those challenges as if I had accomplished nothing, telling my friends "you'll be fine, it's not so bad", and leaving them to feel alone when the the hurdle looked a little bit too high off there in the distance. We do this to ourselves over and over, and it's one of the unexpected ways that medical school has struck me as an emotional challenge.

The more I think of this though, the more I think it's actually a sign of something really good. When we stand at the finish line and look back at the hurdles we crossed, they don't look nearly as threatening because we know we just made it over all of them. And it's natural to say that it was worth it all - the fear, the planning, the training, the sacrifices - because we are doing exactly what we were meant to be doing, what we signed up for, what we are called to. So now when I look back at my weeks of studying, I see that those days took on a beautiful cycle. Each morning I woke up, made a smoothie, studied, went to a yoga class, made a tomato sandwich or salad for lunch, studied, practiced mindfulness meditation, studied, made mushrooms and greens for dinner, studied, read something non-medical, went to sleep. There was very little variance to that schedule and that type of life works really nicely for me. I haven't made it to a yoga class since, and my mindfulness practice has nearly disappeared.

But I am not here to complain. I am here to remind myself that that was good, but impractical for today. I am here to say that I will find a way to keep some of those things in my life no matter what else is going on.

The one thing that is easiest for me to keep around, and to keep myself connected to a sense of wellness is food. Going to the farmers' market, keeping a fridge full of produce, and eating fresh wholesome meals at least twice a day are things that I have managed to maintain. One of my favorite meals this summer is vegetarian nachos. They are quick and easy, there is no need to follow a recipe once you get the idea, and it's an easy way to use up whatever happens to be on hand. The combination I had yesterday was particularly stellar, so I decided it was time to share it with you. And I'd love to hear, what is the thing that keeps you connected to yourself when life starts to get in the way?

Vegetarian Nachos for 2:
Blue corn tortilla chips
4 oz. ground seitan (My favorite is Upton's chorizo)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 handful chopped kale
1/2 a zucchini, sliced into thin half-moons
1 avocado, peeled & sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Tomatillo salsa, to taste (I used this one)

Heat a bit of oil in a small pain over low heat and add the seitan, stir occasionally, cook until warm.

Meanwhile, spread some chips out onto a plate. Layer on the already chopped veggies, the seitan, the avocado, and the feta. Finally top with salsa to taste.

Enjoy with a Corona and lime on the patio and savor the remaining days of this fleeting summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...