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Sometimes taking care of patients takes priority over my own self-care. I find myself up reading lab results at 11 p.m., and then waking at 5 a.m. to scroll through medical records for the day. Patient care doesn’t stop when I leave my practice at night; it follows me home and sometimes steals me away from time with family and friends. I knew this would be my life before I graduated medical school, and for the most part, I’m really happy to fill my time helping others. This week has been extra challenging. We’ve had a little outbreak of illness at work, and it has taken down 3 of my nurses and my office manager. With my physician assistant out on vacation to start the week, I’ve had one heck of a time keeping up with everything. On weeks like this, I just keep my head down, keep moving forward, and try to visualize my next vacation!

Back to self-care; I’ve definitely neglected my diet, exercise and sleep routine this week. I try not to let it show during clinic, buy my patient advocate pointed out to me that I’m definitely not my usual chipper self. Tonight I’ve decided to practice some good self-care. I’m going to make a healthy dinner, and I’ll try to really take my time and enjoy it. After, I might try and do some light reading, drink some hot tea, and leave the TV off. Maybe a little quiet evening at home will wrap this week up in a nice little bow.

So, do you practice self-care? Now more than ever, a little self-care in your daily or weekly routine can help you keep a positive outlook on life, and help you through your alpha-gal diagnosis. I’m going to share my quick dinner idea for tonight with you. Maybe you can have a healthy dinner along with me.

Easy Weeknight Healthy Dinner

Baked potato-I use the microwave to cook it, then I usually add my favorite salsa, salt, pepper and a squirt of lemon or lime; you could also use Italian dressing, vegan butter, turkey bacon crumbles, olives-you really can’t go wrong. When I’m feeling really adventurous, I’ll coat the potatoes in olive oil and kosher salt, heat it up in a cast iron pan (that has never seen beef or pork) until the skin starts to crisp just a bit, and then place the pan full of potatoes in the oven to bake. They are amazing this way.

Salad– I buy the pre-mixed, pre-washed lettuce. I add a vinegar based dressing because I’m unable to eat dairy. I like to add green onions, cucumber, mushrooms, boiled eggs, baked chicken, artichokes, and olives to my salad.

“Buttered” Bread-I like to use plant-based buttery spreads, add a bit of diced garlic, and salt. I use my toaster oven to crisp it up. My patient advocate, Michelle, has been raving about Kite Hill spread-it’s vegan and made of almonds, and she swears it’s very nearly cream cheese tasting. I plan on giving it a try next week with bagels.