This July marks an important threshold in medical education — the maximum number of hours a medical student or resident is allowed to spend at the hospital without a break is now 16 hours. No matter how tough life gets in the next year, I’ll never endure the 100+ hours a week my dad used to work during his own residency and fellowship.
Even so: I was warned that during the two months of surgery, I should be prepared to eat lunch out of my white coat pockets, in an amount of time equal to a bathroom break. Maybe even: during a bathroom break. I searched around for some homemade, quick energy recipes and stumbled upon an energy ball made with nuts, fruits, chocolate, and something called maca powder.
My dad and I went to Clover’s Natural Market in my hometown to find this ancient Peruvian powdered root. We finally accosted a sales clerk, who led us to the herbal pharmaceutical section. “So…what’s the benefit of maca?” I asked, eyeing the yellowish dust. “It’s supposed to be an energy enhancer,” she said to us. “You know: endurance. Vigor. Sexual enhancement.”
Let us all take pause for a moment of awkward silence.
Anyway, I bought a couple of tablespoons and used it to make what I’m rebranding Spheres of Vitality. They’re not ridiculously tasty — they taste healthy. But I like them. And according to some studies, maca may have a viable role in wakefulness and energy as well as sexual enhancement and semen quality. So: there is now an overeager third year medical student roving University Hospitals with ancient Peruvian proto-Viagra in her pockets.
Here’s wishing you a healthy and surgery-free summer.
Ingredients (adapted from tastespace)
8 dates, sliced
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons raw maca powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
a small palm of dark chocolate chips