April 2021 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Month: April 2021

April 30, 2021

by drplasticpicker

The above is a dear little trash art piece from a patient. Isn’t he darling???!!! They are all found pieces. He looks like a new species of bug. I really love him and this particular child is so creative! Look at those eyes and those atennas! I feel so lucky to be this child’s pediatrician, to know this family in all their complexities, and to have inspired this creative moment. Be creative. Make trash art. Write. It feels really good. That’s it. That’s my blogpost for today. And here is more plastic that has a complex story to it, that has been thrive washed and will be part of an epic Girl Scout Trash Art Piece.

Some land I’m thinking of buying. I’m going to buy and hold. But how can you own the earth? How can you own the birds and the trees? I’ll just drive out there and sit and watch nature. There are a lot of hiking trails on the land as well.

April 29, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s been a year and more. I think it will take a lifetime for all of us to process what we’ve all been through. And then our family, friends and colleagues – we’ve “seen” eachother but I don’t think each of us fully understands what each of us has been through. We all have our individual COVID stories. What a year. It’s still going on, and I just got into a heated argument with a young father who did not believe in the COVID vaccine. But the US is slowly opening up. COVID is still raging in India, and there will be ups and downs – but we are entering into the “new normal” and post-COVID world.


So many coffee grounds! They are really nitrogen gold!

April 28, 2021

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Once again my friend Dr. Young-Ho Yoon has transformed my life. I need to do an update on MD Eco-Warrior on him soon. It’s been so busy that I haven’t been keeping up with the MD interviews. But my former senior resident and friend from our Boston days had introduced us to the Aerobin400 and it’s been such a life-changer for us. It really has been amazing.


It was a whole process but I had to print out the Youth Arts Contest Poster my way.

April 25, 2021

by drplasticpicker

There is a newish term called neurodiversity. It can be used to describe children on the autism spectrum disorder and I think a better term. Can someone and the way their brain works be a disorder? Or are they just different? And on this blog different is 100% okay.

I was exhausted yesterday and did not play Catan with the children last night. Our son purchased Catan months ago and we still have not played. I had been up early at 4am sending emails and doing some climate work organizing, and we did go to volleyball. I did try to get the ocean beach plastic from #donttrashmissionbeach and it was very stressful trying to find parking in that area of Mission Beach. There is almost no parking. I know myself and I had circled around with my daughter in our car three times, and I ended texting her that I was going to head back home and try again some other day. The whole endeavor was very stressful because I know I am not a good driver. Well, I am a good driver because I know that I have to be very careful and I don’t take risks. I had my ex-28week preemie in the car and the last thing I’m going to do is risk her and myself trying to do a trash art advocacy project – especially since I’m trying to save the earth partially for my own children.


Yes. It’s totally abstract.
I love him. To love fully is to love without restrictions. I let him go.

April 24, 2021

by drplasticpicker

The last week was such a creative time for my trash art. I was at the same time doing a lot of climate work that I know will be very impactful. At those times that I know I have a project that will move the needle on climate change, I get inspired and make the best art. The above are two trash art pieces that I’ve profiled before, but I’ve used one of those portrait/painting apps and made them more abstract. Gosh those two pieces were good. I just smile every time I think about them and the process that went into them. They are at the home of a patient family that I know well, and one parent is an FBI agent. I’m pretty sure he will find those two amusing. The two children who know possess the two pieces had big smiles on their faces. Giving them the two pieces was a big production. I was telling the four year old, “he is a ninja eco-warrior and his hands go like this to fight pollution” and then I made edward scissor-hand type chopping movements. There was a lot of laughter as the two trash art pieces went to their new home. I was reluctant to give them away, but that’s the entire point of the trash art. It’s an act of creativity and advocacy for me. The kids are now showing me some of their trashart, and they are so imaginative. I am looking forward to our Youth Arts Exhibition and what the kids come up with. If you haven’t checked it out, the entry page is on our San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air page https://sdpediatriciansforcleanair.com/youth-art-contest


I really love him. He was broken and I fixed him.

April 22, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s Thursday and I’m OFF today. I’m OFF, because I’m working this Sunday. If you need a physical, I actually have a couple of PE slots open! Come on in! So I’m OFF today because we’ve tweaked the departmental schedule to reduce MD overtime yet still provide some services on the weekends. For everyone it has been different, but for me it is a fine thing. I don’t mind doing a Sunday morning clinic while the kids are in virtual Korean lessons anyway, and I have all of today to concentrate on climate work. Work-life balance and become more minimalistic for me has meant being able to care for myself and now care for the earth.

That’s the thing about being a Climate Advocate or as I tell everyone now, I’m an environmentalist. There is no day off. Every day is a climate work day. So today my to do list for Climate is

  1. Finish formatting THE JOURNAL ARTICLE in word with the citations. Finish the edits. Send to my co-author friends.
  2. Speak with UCSD School of Medicine Civic Engagement Club at lunch.
  3. Attend AAP-CA3 Committee Chair Meeting. It’s also called CAC which is confusing because Climate Actions Campaign goes by CAC too. I actually forget what CAC stands for at the AAP-CA3.
  4. Begin Coordinated our campaign for a Pediatrician for the “Hearing Committee” for the Air Pollution Control Board. This is an important more “behind the scences” position (I think). But we have an interested and very qualified candidate. I just need them to decide and let me know by today so I can coordinate our efforts.

And that is it! That is what I am going to do for the earth today. Oh, I may make more trash art. It actually helps me concentrate. I’m still keeping him for myself. I know a kid will love him, but I’m still in first puppy love with my little trash art owl.

I made it. It was good. It was baked with lots of vegetables.

April 21, 2021

by drplasticpicker

This was really good. If I plan on cooking it again and it has a lot of vegetables and is baked, then I know I’m on to something. Cooking should be simple. Dr. DP our Pediatric GI specialist had shared a Spinach Mushroom Risotto Recipe on @kpkidsgoodfoodgoodearth and it is so simple and good. We’ve made it now at least four times. When you have a recipe like that, you know you are on to something good.

Last night, I kind of stumbled onto my own versian of a traditional South Asian dish which was really good for us. I had heard about “Vegan Buffalo Wings” and had tried two failed attempts. I think the entire name threw me off as I was expecting something that actually tasted like buffalo wings. I think these kind of dishes can indeed be a side-dish and in place of a meat, but I’d rather call it Baked Besan Coated Cruciferous Vegetables. We ended up dipping it in a balsamic vinegar creamy mayo type sauce which was really good.

Besan is chickpea flour. It’s gluten free. I am not gluten free, but for some people it seems to be a catchy thing these days even if one does not have any gluten-intolerance. Some people who are gluten free need to be gluten free. A large minority just want to feel special or they have borderline eating disorders. Oh, did I just say that??? LOL. It’s my blog and remember I’m a bit tired and sleep deprived from trying to save the earth a lot yesterday. But this is what many doctors think when you tell them you are gluten free and you don’t have celiac disease.

Anyway, Besan is an interesting flour that I’ve just started playing around with. It’s a staple of South Asian cuisine. This is a really good general article about besan flour https://www.delightedcooking.com/what-is-besan.htm. Me being “into” besan, is like someone who has just discovered tofu. For me tofu is just a normal ingredient like onions. I’m sure if anyone reading this is South Asian, than the entire plant based world being into besan is probably hilarious. But it’s an interesting new flour to me and make these vegetables taste really good. Plus its better for the environment and my wallet to eat cruciferous vegetables coated in besan than a chicken. Indeed after reading some Ecosia searched articles, coating vegetables in besan flour has been done for centuries in India and Pakistan.

Here is how Dr. Plastic Picker newbie Besan user did it. It was really good and my kids ate a lot of broccoli last night.


Mix together dry ingredients 1 cup of besan, some garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, some ground pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, panko breadcrumbs about 1 cup. (get the gist, you are just seasoning it the way you want). Clean and cut broccoli florets, I used two broccolli heads and saved the stems for another meal. Soak broccoli florets in plant-based milk (1 cup) , and then however you like coat them with the mixed dry ingredients. I actually liked it when the dry ingredients became almost like a paste and I spread it on the broccoli. Bake on a baking sheet with silicon, probably greased with a cooking spray lightly. Bake 15 minutes, and then turn 5 minutes. That is it. Lots of deliciousness last night.

I bought besan flour at sprouts. I think you can get it at South Asian grocers. But Sprouts has it and it’s very affordable.

Succulents that are at an undisclosed location at the HMO.

April 20, 2021

by drplasticpicker

This is my final word on Vitamin D deficiency. This is meant for my pediatric patients and their parents. If you are not my patient, than please read for entertainment and kindly go to your own doctor. I realize that I was spending a lot of yesterday following up on lab values yesterday and all my labs are almost down to one screen, but there were a lot of low vitamin D levels. Its important for me to check, but my advice is standard and the same now. Also I was overdue to put something in the Pediatric Advice column.

Did you know that Dr. Plastic Picker did two years of pediatric endocrine training? Yes I did! I did it at Man’s Greatest Hospital. I DID NOT GET KICKED OUT OF TRAINING. I left fellowship in good standing and with high marks on my inservice exams and good reviews. I left because we were trying to figure out life and Mr. Plastic Picker who is a doctor too found a job that he wanted as a specialist specialist in my home town. I had the option of finishing training here in San Diego and actually did talk to the program director, but also had a job offer at HMO San Diego. I had enjoyed endocrine training but it was mostly type 1 diabetics, and honestly being a general pediatrician paid more, I could start right away, no call, and it was easier. I was done taking super long exams after over 20 years of taking exams. I didn’t have a huge urge to memorize the synthetic pathway of cholesterol. I wanted to take care of kids, raise my own kids and I needed money. So $60K to be an endocrine fellow versus $160K to start a real job that was less hours and spend time with my children, seemed back them a no-brainer. And now looking back, not finishing fellowship was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. This is why I admire pediatric specialist so much (the ones that finished) because I promise you, they are not making the big big bucks relative to generalist at least in pediatrics. Maybe pediatric GI, pediatric allergy and intensivist but certainly NOT pediatric endocrinologists. Anytime we have an issue in our pediatric endocrinology department, I do feel guilty that I didn’t finish – but only for a second. Not finishing fellowship and starting work resulting in at least me being able to maximize my retirement contributions an extra 38K even one year earlier over the lifetime of my career until 65, is at least $378K in retirement savings accounting for compounding growth in a regular stock market. So if you ask me now do I regret not finishing pediatric endocrine fellowship, HECK NO! Remember Dr. Plastic Picker is all about the bottom line and the bottom line is that I had to make the decision that was right for my children and marriage at that point, and the higher paying easier job where I was still practicing medicine with more flexibility is the one I chose. After a few years in general practice, I realized I loved the variety of general pediatrics and the time came for me to decide to forgo the credit of the two years of endocrine training – and I without hesitation and I waved bye-bye!


All gone! This dinner is a winner!

April 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Just wanted to share a surprise dinner win last night. This has so easy, it’s definitely going to be on the rotation for now on. Lots of veggies! I looked at www.twosleevers.com which was the first site that comes up if you Ecosia search instapot eggplant and pasta. https://twosleevers.com/instant-pot-eggplant-pasta/ Click here for the original recipe that was modified for what we usually eat.


  • 4 cups Eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatos, 14 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons of pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 cup onion diced (we opted out of this tonight)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 1/2 package of spaghetti or 8 ounces uncooked Penne Pasta
  • handful of whatever cheese you desire (or omit if you are going vegan)


  • Place eggplant, tomatoes, pasta sauce, dried Italian seasoning, salt, oil, onions, garlic, and water into the Instapot and stir.
  • 2. Add pasta, and stir. Original author said “I know it doesn’t look like there will be enough water to cook the pasta. Just #trustUrvashi, because the vegetables will release a lot of water.” This was true. There was enough water. Press PRESSURE COOK on HIGH pressure for 7 minutes. Allow the pot to rest undisturbed for 10 minutes and then release all remaining pressure.
  • Mix in whatever desired cheese you have.
  • The eggplant doesn’t get slimy when pressure cooked, which is another perk of making it this way.
  • In addition, the bitterness of the eggplant doesn’t come through because the acidity of the tomatoes counteracts that and breaks it down while cooking.
  • No, you can’t tell there’s eggplant in this dish.

Please click on the original link for the original author, where I modified this recipe. I simplified it since I’m a simple cook. https://twosleevers.com/instant-pot-eggplant-pasta/

It was really good. I’m putting in more on the blog so I can refer back to it. So much eggplant and tomatoes and they kids loved it!

Lots of plants in here!
Mix pasta in.
Yummy! It was all gone and a big hit at home!
54 attendees to the Oregon Pediatric Society meeting, authentic connections.

April 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I am proud of our teen son this morning. I’m up later than usual at 6am. I was watching “The Crown” last night, and it’s okay. I don’t consume much media or popular entertainment these days, because I think the life in the real world and trying to save the earth is more interesting. But I did watch a few episodes, and was up just a bit later than usual. In about an hour, I’ll plog to the rec center. Surfrider is cleaning PB this morning, so with all those people there – I’ll go where it is more neglected and applaud them on Instagram.