Monthly Archives: December 2010

Trans-Fat Santa

An action shot and one of the “masterpieces” from today’s activity with a crew of preschoolers – decorating cupcakes for Santa.

Merry Christmas to all . . .

A spoonful of honey?

You may have seen the recent story in The New York Times’ Well Blog about honey as a cough remedy. Stuck in the midst of a rather stubborn URI with coughing fits, I thought the timing couldn’t have been better! After trying every OTC cough and cold remedy on the market, I read the article and promptly reached for the honey bear, squeezed out a big spoonful and hoped for the best. And kept coughing. At least it tastes better than cough syrup.

The Post-Conference High

What do you call a gathering of 15,000 Rheumatologists and Rheumatology health professionals? There’s got to be a good punch line to that opening question. Having recently spent 5 days in Atlanta in the company of this nerd fest geekdom medical brilliance, for me it was a walk down memory lane. Imagine a giant convention center, people streaming from building to building, Starbucks lines snaking down the hall, massive ballrooms with projection screens displaying video of the scientific talks like a rock concert. With thousands of doctors, nurses, research scientists, industry and press milling about, would I see anyone I know?

Strolling through the maze of poster presentations, I turned around and ran smack into my mentor from medical school and residency, or THE REASON I became a Rheumatologist. Memories of events, people and places long since forgotten instantly flooded my mind. Saying goodbye to him with a promise to email more often, I grabbed a coffee and almost dumped it on the person behind me – a mentor from fellowship. Over the next few hours on convention day one, I saw another attending from residency, a former co-resident, a current Rheum fellow who had been one of my residents here in MA and another few attendings from fellowship. Each was greeted with a hug and a smile and a “Remember when . . . ?” Later that day during a quick snack and rest break, I overheard some valuable advice during a mentor/mentee discussion. As we go through our careers, there is a constant interplay between being the one giving and the one getting the advice, and maybe both at the same time.

As important as these conferences are for our CME and learning the most up to date practice and research information, the opportunity to form and renew relationships is equally important. I’m sure my colleagues across all specialties will agree. What this really illustrates is the often repeated phrase, “Medicine is an art and a science.” While the art lies in the nuances of treatment and the doctor/patient relationship, it also lies in the interpersonal mentorship we cultivate all the way back from those early pre-med days to the present. Remember picking the brain of any doctor you met? “Should I go to medical school?” During school, “What type of doctor should I be?” And as careers progress there is, “What should I look for in a job?”

As a group, I’ve noticed doctors are less apt to network than, say, business types. Friends and family members in other fields are constantly going to networking events, coffees and the like to meet and greet. Events like this conference remind me how valuable it can be to get out there. Say hello. Give advice. Get advice. Mentor a student. Thank your mentors. And since we can’t all traipse around the globe attending conferences and meetings each month, get connected through social media. Both in person and online, the relationships help make it all worthwhile.

Foodie Friday: lentil ecstasy

“I’m going to make you lentil tacos for dinner.”

How do you respond to that? “Um, yay?” or maybe “Great! I just have to run a quick errand while you’re cooking . . .” as you furiously phone the pizza place, “I’ll take whatever you can have ready in 5 minutes!”

So when a friend kept raving about these lentil tacos I knew one day or another I’d have to face up to them. I love lentils. Once I even won a recipe contest using lentils.  And then lentil taco night was upon us. IT WAS A HIT! Not only did I go back for seconds, but if there actually had been any leftovers, I would have wanted them for lunch AND dinner the next day.

The recipe can be found at www.self.com. Adaptations: We just mixed sour cream and salsa for the sauce, completely nixing the chile and adobo sauce. You could use those and make it a lot spicier. Also, it’s super easy to make your own taco seasoning – it’s really just cumin and some other spices. Look around online for many suggestions or just try your own. Here’s the link and the recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 package (2.25 oz) taco seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped (use half for less heat)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 8 taco shells
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat (2 percent) cheddar
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and salt until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Mix sour cream, chile and adobo sauce in a bowl. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Mash with a rubber spatula. Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with 2 heaping tsp sour cream mixture, lettuce, tomato and cheese.