Healthy Recipes: My Life Runs on Food

I’m always looking for new sources of healthy recipes for medical students, residents and busy docs. My Life Runs On Food is self-described asa sweet, savory, buttery, green and healthy food blog” and is written by Sanura Weathers.  As she describes it

“My Life Runs on Food is a blog demonstrating how to plan a well-balanced meal back into our lives. It’ll offer tips on how to “brown bag” yesterday’s dinner for lunch. The blog will suggest which seasonal produce to use in recipes. It will encourage buying food from local retailers, such as farmer’s markets. Read how to adapt life events into a weekly menu, and how to quickly update a menu in the middle of the week because of a sudden change of plans.”



Tomato Chili Pizza


Asian Inspired Peanut Butter Roasted Chicken


Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower and Shrimp





Fast, Easy Recipes: Canyon Ranch

I’m always looking for sources of recipes that meet my “pizza rule” for cooking.  (Things that take less time to make than it takes to order a pizza).

Stressful work requires good fuel.  Taking time to cook something healthy, satisfying and delicious provides that fuel  – but it also sends a clear message that you are taking care of yourself.  Canyon Ranch  has been teaching people this message for years.  They have a wonderful website with really delicious, easy and healthy recipes.

Recipe for Salmon with Mango Blueberry Salsa

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Recipe for vegetable soup

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Recipe Chicken Apple Quesadilla

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You are going to have to trust me on this one and try it.  This is the most delicious cauliflower you will ever eat


Recipe for Mashed cauliflower

Fast, Easy Recipes: Kalyn’s Kitchen

I’m always looking for good websites for recipes that are healthy, simple and easy to make.  In other words, the kind of food that makes it easy to avoid eating fast food when you are on call.   Kalyn’s Kitchen is a fabulous website for delicious, healthy, and often low calorie recipes that meet the “pizza rule” for medical students and residents (i.e. recipes that take less time to prepare than it takes to order a pizza). She also really goes out of her way to teach each step in the recipe, so if you are new in the kitchen, this is a fabulous website for you!


Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps with Capers and Tomatoes

Not-so-Dumb Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Avocado, and Balsamic Vinegar

Mediterranean Tostadas with Hummus, Feta, and Kalamata Olives

Crockpot Double Lentil, Sausage, Brown Rice, and Spinach Soup

Happy Holidays!

Best wishes to all for happy holidays – and many thanks to our colleagues who are spending the holidays in the hospital, caring for others.

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Cranberry bread on Christmas morning is a special part of the holiday for my family.  This is really delicious bread and makes a great gift, too.  Enjoy!

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl:

  • 2 cups  flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Combine in a Pyrex measuring cup:

  • 2 Tblsp melted butter
  • Juice and grated rind of one large orange

Fill with boiling water to make 3/4 cup then add to dry ingredients


  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup nuts (chopped walnuts)
  • 1 cup raw cranberries (cut in half)

Bake in a 2 lb loaf pan (325° for metal pan, 300° for glass pan) for ~ 1 hour (or a muffin tin if you prefer)

Test with toothpick to know when they are done

If you want to make a larger recipe to make enough to give others, the easiest way is to multiply by 9 which gives you this ingredient list (the directions are the same as above)

  • 1   5 lb bag  flour
  • 1   4 lb bag sugar
  • 1 1/2 tblsp salt
  • 4 1/2 tblsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tblsp baking soda
  • 1 1/8 cup melted butter  (2.25 sticks)
  • Juice and grated rind of nine large oranges
  • 9 egg
  • 9 cup nuts (chopped walnuts) = 3 lbs
  • 9 cup raw cranberries (cut in half) = 3 12 oz bags

Fast, Easy Recipes:

I’m always looking for new websites that have easy, delicious and healthy recipes that meet the “pizza rule” for medical students and residents (i.e. recipes that take less time to prepare than it takes to order a pizza).

My latest find is  It’s a great site run by Elise Bauer.  These are mostly recipes she and her family have created.  There is a section on “budget recipes” and another one on “Quick Recipes” both of which are great for students and residents.  She also has a lot of instructions about cooking if you are new to the kitchen.


Baked Shrimp with Tomatillos


Sesame and Cilantro Vermicelli Salad


Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Sage Sauce

This Week’s Highlights from @drmlb

Twitter has become a wonderful way for me to send out a variety of ideas and links that I think are helpful (and/or interesting).  Here are this week’s highlights!  If you are new to Twitter RT means Retweet (just “forwarding” it as is) and MT means Modified Tweet (“forwarding” it with a comment).

  • “This is definitely a 15 minute video every medical student should see.” The art of the physical exam @drmlb
  • Comments one makes to colleagues: as important as the interview. Professionalism = doing the right thing when no one’s watching. RT @MedPedsDoctor
  • Beginner’s mind in medicine. How to keep what we do exciting! MT@KevinMD
  • One flight of stairs = 16 calories burned. One day on call = ?10 flights ?20 ?30) adds up! @drmlb
  • Epidemiologist with humor?!? This is a great talk about drug development. @drmlb
  • “…small things often adds up to produce a far greater impact than any of us realize.” Surgery through different eyes  @drmlb
  • “..those of us who spend our emotions at work are not the kind to view our work as “just a job.” MT@Kevin MD  @drmlb

This Month’s Healthy Habit: Eat More Fish

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to come up with monthly “resolutions” for myself and for anyone who follows this blog.  Cooking Light magazine (which is one of my favorite sources of recipes and ideas for healthy living) had the same idea, so I am shamelessly borrowing their healthy habits!  This month’s healthy habit is to eat more fish.

Seafood is a great high protein, low fat food.  It’s also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  It also has the advantage of being very fast to cook, a big plus for medical students, residents and busy docs.

How do you decide on which seafood to buy?

There are two things that should guide you in picking fish.  Importantly, one of them isn’t price.  You need to know about sustainability and toxicity when choosing your seafood.  Seafood that is caught or raised in a sustainable fashion with low toxicity is more expensive, but worth the extra cost.

It’s a sad fact that the oceans are being heavily overfished.  It sounds like an easy fix to farm raise the fish, but it’s not always true – sometimes the pollution that results from fish farms is worse than the overfishing.

The Seafood Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium is an amazing resource to find out which seafood is being caught or farmed responsibly.  It’s available on line or as an app for your phone.  Look for labels from the Marine Stewardship Council or Friend of the Sea, too.


For docs, it’s important to know that, like all foods, there are contaminants that can occur in seafood.  The risk – unless you are immunocompromised – is tiny compared to the benefit, though.  Another serious issue is the concentration of heavy metals (mercury and lead, in particular) in some of the larger fish.  This is particularly important for women of child-bearing age and for children.  Heavy metals are concentrated in large fish because of the food chain.  It makes sense that smaller fish will have negligible (or absent) levels.  Fortunately, they are also higher in omega-3 fatty acids making them an even better choice!  Sardines, anchovies and mackerel may not be on your usual list of foods, but give them a try.  Here’s some good sardine recipes to get you started.

What about tuna?

Canned tuna is a cheap and high-quality food, so it’s high on the list for medical students and residents.  Unfortunately, all tuna is not created equal – so you have to pay attention.  It’s more expensive, but look for pole-caught tuna in the store.  Blue fin tuna, and most other tuna used in sushi is incredibly overfished and should be avoided.


Fast, easy recipes to get you started


Thai Red Curry Shrimp

salmon-kiwi-relish-lMarinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Relish


Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Fast, Easy Recipes: The Gracious Pantry

The Gracious Pantry is written by a full time student who “creates simple, clean eating recipes with everyday ingredients.”  The recipes are healthy, simple and beat eating fast food when you are on call.   This website has a lot of delicious looking, healthy recipes that meet the “pizza rule” for medical students and residents (i.e. recipes that take less time to prepare than it takes to order a pizza).


Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Cilantro


Southwest Breakfast Muffins


Weeknight Spaghetti

Fast, easy recipes:

A new find for recipes that meet the “pizza rule” (recipes that take less time to make than it takes to order a pizza). Is a “photo gallery” website of food created by Chuck Lai.  Here’s some examples of easy, fast recipes from the site that any busy person can cook in less than 30 minutes.

Veggie stuffed peppers

Spaghetti with bread crumbs


Spinach, shrimp and mushroom over rice

Citrus chicken (a little more than 30 minutes, but great to make on the weekend for the rest of the week)

Healthy Habits: Eat Healthy Fats

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to come up with monthly “resolutions” for myself and for anyone who follows this blog.  Cooking Light magazine (which is one of my favorite sources of recipes and ideas for healthy living) had the same idea, so I am shamelessly borrowing their healthy habits!

It’s a lot easier to commit to 30 days of a new habit than a full year.  So this month’s goal is to eat more healthy fats.

The “myth” of fats has become so pervasive in our society that even physicians (and physicians in training) succumb to the idea that fats are somehow “bad”.  The type of fats we consume as a society have changed in the last few decades, a change that may have played a part in our current obesity epidemic (and associated diseases).  If you are interested in reading more about this, I would suggest starting with Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, David Kessler’s The End of Overeating:Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, and Laura Sim’s The Politics of Fat: Food and Nutrition in America.

What kind of fats are in the food we eat?

There are three important dietary fats :  saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and transfats.

Link to source for this chart

  • Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature.  All animal fats are primarily saturated (meat, lard, butter, cream, fish oil).  The majority of plant based oils are primarily unsaturated, but there are a few exceptions.  Examples of vegetable oils that have a high percentage of saturated fat include palm oil and coconut oil.

What fats should I eat?

Here is a great summary from– the “bottom line” of how to adjust your fat intake for an optimal healthy diet

  • Limit total fat to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Fat has 9 calories a gram. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this amounts to about 400 to 700 calories a day, or about 44 to 78 grams of total fat.
  • Emphasize unsaturated fats from healthier sources, such as lean poultry, fish and healthy oils, such as olive, canola and nut oils.
  • Limit less healthy full-fat dairy products, desserts, pizza, burgers and sausage, and other fatty meats.

Fat content in “I forgot to bring my own food” on-call food….   Which is why it’s so important to plan your food on call.

  • McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese:  26 grams of fat (12 saturated, 2 transfat)
  • McDonald’s Big Mac: 29 grams of fat (10 saturated, 2 transfat)
  • McDonald’s large fries: 30 grams of fat (6 saturated, 8 transfat)
  • Domino’s Pizza (2 slices Pepperoni): 26 grams of fat (11 sat, 0 transfat)
  • Chipotle Chicken burrito (all the way): 53 grams of fat (20 sat, 0 transfat)

Photo source

More information on dietary fat:

Dietary fats: Know which types to choose from

Fats and cholesterol from the Harvard School of Public Health

Fat – From the NY Times Health Guide