raw superfood smoothie

That’s a wrap, guys! As of this evening, the great battle that was my Spring 2012 semester drew to a close. I am so tired, and so relieved.

On Monday, after my Orgo final, I came home at 4 pm only to confront the fact that my biochemistry final would be about 36 hours later. I took a deep break, and quickly assembled a list of things I could do to get myself into the right frame of mind to head back to the library:

1. “Stronger.” Kelly Clarkson. The post-bacc theme song.

2. Yoga Download. 20 minutes to a clearer frame of mind.

3. ESPN’s greatest sports moments of the 20th Century. Does the trick every time. And I don’t even like sports. At all.

4. Calming manatees. A friend just shared this link with me. Just see for yourself.

5. This superfood smoothie.

I have written at length about my feelings on “superfoods,” so I’ll just give you the summary: “superfood” isn’t a regulated term, so there’s a fine line between what is promised by the makers of these foods, and the legitimate benefits of the foods themselves. Nearly all superfoods are antioxidant-rich, but then, so are onions and tomatoes and berries and spinach and dark chocolate, which can be had a little more cheaply. Many superfoods are said to boost libido and energy, but the studies linked to these claims are not always conclusive. So, when all is said and done, it’s smart to think of these foods as splurges that may offer some special benefits, but not as life-saving and vital foodstuffs that you must spend money on, even if you can’t really afford to.

When you can afford to, my favorite superfoods are goji berries, mulberries, cacao, mesquite, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. I use the latter two especially often; you’ll see them in tons of my recipes! But when I have a little extra money to spend on food, I love getting goji berries, too. It took me a while to adjust to the taste, but once I did, I loved it. They’re tremendous sources of antioxidants, and relatively high in protein as well. And they give smoothies this awesome, awesome color.

raw superfood smoothie

Pinky orange, and oh so beautiful.

The following recipe is every bit as tasty as it is vibrant, and it’s packed with nutrition. It’s also not overly sweet, which makes it a good afternoon snack: I personally find that super sweet smoothies make me crash in the afternoon. This was exactly the right amount of sweetness, and it fueled me well for the long day and night of study ahead.

The Superhero Superfood Smoothie (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 1-2, depending on appetite/time of day

1 1/4 cups hemp milk (or your favorite non dairy milk)
1/4 cup goji berries
2 tbsp cacao powder or nibs
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tsp chia seeds
1 heaping cup strawberries
1 date, or a few drops stevia

Blend all ingredients on high. Serve in the morning or as a very nutrient dense snack!


raw superfood smoothie

So, on that note, this semester comes to an end. I’m sure it’s no surprise that these were a very trying few months for me academically. I struggled terribly in my classes, and I’m still unsure of my fate in terms of grades. Still, I’m moving forward, doing my best, and keeping my fingers crossed.

I try not to vent too much about my post-bacc here on the blog, because I hate looking whiney. Also, I’m waiting for the day when one of my readers says: “wake up. If you choose to go into medicine at the age of 30, there will be a lot more tough academic struggle, a lot more science, and many more challenges. If you can’t take this, then perhaps you aren’t cut out for the future you’ve chosen.”

Or maybe I’m waiting for that comment, because it’s the dialog I often have with myself. I want this path as much as I did when I began, but these classes have made me question whether or not it’s the path that wants me—or rather, whether or not it’s what I’m best suited for. Try though I do, my brain struggles to work in the “hard science” kind of way. I’m getting better, but only in the slowest of baby steps.

That said, I know that pre-med classes are not the final word on whether or not someone is going to be a good physician. It may be that I’ll ultimately need to examine whether or not this is the right path for me. But I don’t think that the Orgo II/Biochem experience should be the catalyst for that moment of self-examination. Much still lies ahead of me, and this is only one—albeit a big—moment of self-doubt. I’m pushing through, both determined to persevere, but also well aware that if I should realize that this isn’t the right path for me, there will be many others, and my years as a post-bacc student will lead me directly to them.

What keeps me going more than anything is the commentary I get on this blog—the support and encouragement and all the incredible, wise, humorous feedback I get from med students and professionals everywhere. So the “superhero” referenced in the title of this post is really many heroes: you guys. You are my heroes. Thank you for giving me a space in which I can be reminded, each day, of why I wanted to become a post-bacc in the first place. I’m so very grateful.

On that note? Nearly 3 weeks vacation starts NOW…with the first good night’s sleep I’ve had in a while.


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