Truthbutter

What if you can’t love your body?

Body image and self-love are hot topics in the blogosphere these days, and I don’t know how I feel about it.

Before I come off as the worst kind of person, let me just say that I’m thrilled women are learning to not be so hard on themselves for not being “perfect,” and for recognizing the beautiful things about themselves. I know I have my fair share of insecurities, and often I could do with a healthy dose of self-love.

But with almost every article I read in the continuously evolving collection of body image media, I’m left feeling not quite satisfied. Like the author has almost spoken to me, but was really speaking to a spot on the wall about a foot to the left. Read more →

POW: Therapeutic Manipulation of the Microbiome in IBD

Hellooo, friends, and welcome to the first weekly installment of Paper of the Week (POW)! This delightful new feature of my blog is where I read a paper that I want to read, and then I tell you about it. That way you learn something (theoretically), and I actually remember what I read (theoretically).

This Week’s Paper

Title: Therapeutic Manipulation of the Microbiome in IBD: Current Results and Future Approaches

Authors: Jonathan Hansen and Balfour Sartor (gastroenterologists and researchers at UNC aka MY SCHOOL #represent)

Year: 2015

Type: Review paper

Abstract (partial): 

Despite recent major strides in our understanding of the genetic and microbial influences that contribute to the development of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), their etiology continues to be enigmatic. Results from experiments in animal models of IBDs overwhelmingly support a causal role of the microbiota in these diseases, though whether such a cause-effect relationship exists in human IBDs is still uncertain. Therefore, virtually all currently approved and most often prescribed treatments for IBDs are directed toward the over-active immune response in these diseases rather than the intestinal bacteria. Nevertheless, there is an important need for non-immunosuppressive therapies that may present a more favorable risk-benefit profile such as those that selectively target the disruptions in gut microbiota that accompany IBDs. This need has led to clinical trials of various microbial-directed therapies including fecal microbial transplant, antibiotics, probiotics, and prebiotics. Unfortunately, these published studies, many of which are small, have generally failed to demonstrate a consistent benefit of these agents in IBDs, thus leading to slow acceptance of microbe-focused treatments for these conditions.”

Let’s go!

Read more →

5 Reasons You Should Eat Oysters

Last week, my family and I went on vacation to a beach in Connecticut where my grandparents have a cottage. I had two goals for myself during the trip: 1) to learn how to juggle, and 2) to try raw oysters. I still can’t juggle very well, but I did try raw oysters. And I liked them. And here are 5 reasons you should eat them too. Read more →

Why I hate doctors who hate integrative medicine

I just came across this post that I wrote a couple years ago (back when I was still planning to go to medical school- heh), but never published. Reading it got me feelin’ all rant-y again, so I figured I may as well publish it now!

———

I was looking into alternative medicine-friendly medical schools and stumbled upon this post by a guy who seems pretty peeved that the University of Toronto is adding a “Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine” to their medical school. Sometimes I get so immersed in the land of nutritional therapy and functional medicine that I completely forget how hostile some people can be towards alternative therapies, but you can bet that when I’m reminded of that hostility, I go into full-on rant mode. Read more →

Something. And food.

I have a bad tendency of being a very all-or-nothing person. This is one of many reasons that I never blog, because I don’t usually have time apart from work and school to actually write anything good and interesting and that conveys at least moderately valuable information.

But I have way too many writing topics in my “Idea Stash” word doc and my “Blog” note on my iPhone and the “I must learn about this and tell the people” corner of my brain that are clamoring for attention, so I’ve decided I really need to get in the habit of blogging regularly. Like, actually.

So, starting now, I will publish something at least once per week. Hence, this post. It’s definitely not all, but it’s not nothing either. It’s something. Yay for creating habits!

Also, I may as well share with you some of the amazing eats I’ve had recently.

 

IMG_7764

I cooked this fancy-looking lunch a couple days ago, and it was amazing. It’s bluefish (which is the cheapest wild-caught fresh fish at Whole Foods) with chimichurri and sweet potato hash browns. I used Melissa Joulwan’s chimichurri recipe (here), and it was so good that I might just start putting it on everything.

For the hash browns, I just diced a sweet potato up really small and sautéed it in avocado oil with salt. Really tasty.

IMG_7772

And this is the even fancier lunch I made myself today, which was also delicious. There’s Thai Basil Beef, which I made roughly following another one of Melissa’s recipes (here). I left out the green beans, added fish sauce and tamari in place of the coconut aminos, and ate it over rice noodles.

The gross looking brown stuff on the right is sautéed eggplant from the farmer’s market, and that blurry green pile in the back is celery and raisin salad that I poured leftover chimichurri on. I need to improve my photography skills. Or get a camera that isn’t an elderly and increasingly senile iPhone 4.

IMG_7760

I also made Russ Crandall’s tuna casserole last week, and it was great! Next time I’d probably add another can of tuna though (it was quite potato-y), and maybe a little parmesan cheese in the sauce. But it was easy and tasty and cheap, so I highly recommend.

All right, I think that’s enough something for now. Happy Sunday!

Study Abroad in Perth, Western Australia: Reflections and Tips

10250338_10152656929998756_8759117967887764014_n

So, I may have started writing this post back in January. You know, when I actually returned from my study abroad trip. But then I got buried under a pile of biochemistry and genetics, and have just now dug myself out to enjoy the last breaths of spring, before North Carolina whacks me in the face with summer in all of its 243% humidity glory.

So that’s where I’m at right now. But now that it’s summer, I have a little more free time. I was considering what to do with this free time, and I thought “by golly, I think I’ll write a blog post!” (Yes, I actually thought ‘by golly.’ Welcome to my internal monologue.)

Do you want to know how many times I Google searched “study abroad in Australia” (and numerous other permutations of that phrase) while I was planning my trip? Too. Dang. Many. So in case you obsessively responsibly plan everything like I do and you found this post by performing a similar Google search, here is what I’d like to tell you about studying abroad in Australia.

Read more →

Last day of our NZ road trip

IMG_7211

On the last full day of our NZ road trip, we drove from Rotorua to the Waitomo caves for a tour. We left about an hour early, but I got lost driving there, so we ended up arriving exactly on time. It definitely made for a bit of a stressful morning, though!

The tour was really neat. The tour guide drove us through a beautiful farm with rolling green hills in all directions to get to the caves, and then we all got helmets with headlights for walking through the cave. We couldn’t see much at first, but then we got on a boat and everyone turned their lights off so our eyes could adjust, and there were glowworms completely covering the ceiling! Their blue lights reflected in the water below, too, so it was absolutely beautiful. And it was completely silent too, except for the sound of the waterfall in the distance, so it was quite peaceful. After that we went into another cave to see some rock formations, which was interesting, but the really cool part of the tour was seeing the glowworms from the boat. Read more →

Rotorua

IMG_7058

Everything we did in Rotorua was awesome! In the morning, we had a ziplining canopy tour, which was easily one of my favorite things we’ve done. We got super lucky with our tour group, because an entire family was late for the tour and we left without them, so we ended up having two awesome guides and just four other people (including Sarah and myself) on the tour. Normally, I think it would’ve been about ten people, and that would’ve meant a lot more waiting around for other people to zipline.

The forest we were in was absolutely beautiful, and I would’ve been happy just hiking through it. But we got to zipline through it, and walk over swinging bridges high up in the air in between. If you know me, you know how much I love trees and forests, and I’m pretty sure everyone loves ziplining, so this was basically the best thing ever. Read more →

Geothermal Day

P1010222

Today was busy but pretty low key, especially compared to yesterday. We got on the road by 8:30 this morning to head to Taupo, and we were both pretty glad to leave the National Park hostel. The drive wasn’t too long, and once we got to Taupo, we spent a couple hours walking to Huka Falls and back. It wasn’t spectacular or anything, especially compared to yesterday, but it was a pretty easy walk, which was perfect since we’re both a little sore. Read more →

Tongariro Alpine Crossing #legday

IMG_6801

Today turned out to be pretty awesome. Now that it’s over, I can say that I was definitely nervous yesterday about doing this hike. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered one of the best one-day hikes in the world, and it’s really popular with tourists visiting New Zealand. Since so many people do it, I guess we just didn’t figure it would be too intense, so Sarah and I were kind of chill about the whole thing. But when we arrived at our hostel and talked to the guy about doing the hike, he told us there would be lots of snow at the top, with winds up to 40km per hour and below-freezing temperatures. Luckily, we were able to borrow gloves and I was able to borrow snow pants, but I think both of us were still pretty anxious about it last night. Read more →