Ladies Who Lunch



Great responses to my raw breakfast sushi with bananas and almond butter!

Yesterday, I had a lunch date with one of my favorite fellow bloggers: Emily of Daily Garnish. I’ve been reading Emily’s blog for a long time now—it was, until recently, called The Front Burner—and met her for the first time at the HLS this past summer. The moment we shook hands, I felt at ease with Emily, and the feeling was compounded when she and Gina and I stood in line for lunch service, rolling our eyes a little at the photo-taking that was preventing the line from moving along. Here, I thought, is a woman who likes to eat and doesn’t like to wait. I can relate.

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Yesterday’s lunch only proved what I already know about Emily: she’s smart as a whip, honest, forthcoming, and fun. By the time we sat down to eat, we already were acting like old friends. And before that happened, we had a fun time prepping salads in her (lovely) kitchen!



For my part, I had brought over a big container of kale massaged with avocado, lime, Braggs, agave, a drizzle of olive oil, and tossed with carrots and peppers:


We also made a simple salad of butter lettuce, radicchio, pear slices, sugar snap peas, and portobello mushroom:

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For which Emily threw together a fabulous dressing of liquid aminos, nooch, vinegar, and mustard:

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I also brought along some of my classic raw cashew “cheese”—not fermented this time, but still delicious:

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We sat down to heaping bowls of salad, spoonfuls of cashew cheese, and some H20:

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My plate:

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We topped our bowls with some cinnamon-spiced quinoa that Emily had prepped in her rice cooker—a perfect way to round out the meal!

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We talked about many things over our lunch, but the topic we kept circling back to was honest writing. Emily recently wrote a (really great) post on calorie counting, which reeled in a ton of comments. As you may recall from my how to build a meal sized salad post, I believe that counting can be useful for people who are prone to either drastic over- or under-eating. I don’t recommend it to those who are prone to obsessive behavior, nor to women who are currently struggling with an ED, but I did find that it was crucial in my own ED recovery, since it was my habit at the time to under-eat and not take in enough calories. Counting helped me to be accountable on paper, and ultimately in my every day behavior. It’s not something I do any more (unless I’m curious about a certain meal’s adequacy for my body), nor would I wish to, but I do appreciate it as a tool in certain scenarios.

Emily got a lot of positive feedback for her post, and some criticism, too. But what she clearly took away from the experience was a sense of satisfaction from bringing up challenging topics. I can relate. This year, I started writing about animal rights for the very first time on my blog. It was a topic I wanted to write about in the past, but consciously avoided for the wrong reasons. I was afraid of being attacked, and I was also uncomfortable with the fact that many people assume that all animal rights advocates are militant and judgmental.

Ultimately, I realized that the popular stereotype of an animal right’s champion as an off-putting zealot—which is unfounded and unfair—won’t change until more people like me, who feel passionately about animal rights but are interested only in decent and respectful conversations, step up to the plate and set a positive example. It reminded me a lot of my struggle to self-identify as a feminist in college: I felt very much that I was a feminist, but also felt some discomfort with what that word signified (unfairly) to some people. Ultimately, I realized that stereotypes don’t vanish until we give people a new image to combat the popular image that has been lodged in their minds. So the public will scoff at “feminazis” until it is forced to see that feminism is not synonymous with bitterness or anger, and that feminists are simply reasonable women and men of all personality types who believe in gender equality. Likewise, the popular stereotype of animal rights champions as fanatical and holier-than-thou will persist until more vegans, vegetarians, and compassionate individuals manage to speak out about the urgency of animal rights without being disrespectful or close-minded. When we speak out honestly about the causes we care about or the issues that matter to us, we help to keep public perception of those issues accurate and nuanced.

I admire Emily’s goal of being more outspoken in 2011—which you can read more about in her recap of our lunch, here—and I hope she and I will always support each other’s honesty! In the meantime, I’m psyched to have a new friend in my new home-away-from-home of Washington, D.C.. I hope that many more lunch, dinner, and play dates await us!



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  1. What a fun lunch date! I love seeing honest posts in the blogging community and always try to create an open and honest relationship with my readers as well. So far I have yet to write about tough topics – but maybe someday.

    PS – I didn’t know you were in D.C! If you happen to travel south while in the area – let me know! I’m down the road in Richmond. 🙂

  2. I’m so happy to hear that you are spending your down-time with such amazing people! What a great lunch date.

    I love your honest voice not only because I like to read about what you truly believe and think, but also because it inspires others to not be afraid to admit their own true selves. As an adult, I’m always inspired by your raw (sorry, no pun intended) posts, however I know you are also making a huge impact on the adolescents and young adults who read your posts. Besides my mother and a few incredible teachers, I often felt I lacked personal connections with strong female role models. Brava, donna forte.

  3. For some reason, reading ‘massaged kale’ on blogs makes me blush. Weird.
    If you two opened a restaurant I would eat there everyday!
    Funny story, I was re-reading your archives and realized I commented on your very first post! It doesn’t seem that long ago

  4. It took me a good 12 hours to comment on this post because I was so jealous.

    Now that I’m over it, I’m just happy that you each got to spend some time with such quality ladies. I admire you both greatly. And I admire that massaged kale salad too.

  5. hi roomstar!
    looks like an amazing lunch with amazing company- only wish i could have joined you girls.
    i totally agree that honesty is the best policy, especially when it’s paired with respect and understanding. as a blogger, it can be difficult to put yourself out there, especially when you know you aren’t going to please everyone. at the end of the day, if you’re true to YOU, that’s all that matters, fo sho 🙂
    love you and hope i get to see you sometime soon!

    • Well miss Roomstar, I think you did a great job this week of balancing honesty with respect for all of your readers. I was proud 🙂

  6. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been planning a post for probably two or three months now, but always chicken out when I begin to write it because it’s pretty charged for the blogging community- well, it’s about the blogging community. I don’t want to seem like I’m pointing fingers or accusing anyone, but I’ve felt that it needs to be said. I’ve got a few weeks of free time left before I head back to school, so I think I’ll finally tackle it and take my time putting my thoughts into writing!

    • Wow, Gabriela! I certainly can’t wait to hear what your courage and honesty yield. I think all bloggers could go on for a hot minute about problems within the blogging community; I really look forward to your perspective. Give me a shout when the post is up, as I expect limited blog reading time as school begins.

      And a lunch for us is one of my 2011 priorities. C’est important, non?

  7. How fun you got to meet up with Emily and enjoy a yummy lunch revolving around your favorite eats! I’m quite jealous indeed, I won’t lie 🙂
    I love how honest you are on your blog and hope you keep it up in the new year…

  8. So many people want to come to lunch with us! 🙂 Your glowing endorsement made me blush. The feeling is totally mutual. Thanks for your delicious contributions!

  9. First, I am beyond jealz of this meetup! Two amazing, smart, witty, passionate women…together for a raw vegan lunch. Ok, I want to come next time! 🙂

    Next, “who feel passionately about animal rights but are interested only in decent and respectful conversations, step up to the plate and set a positive example.”–Oh how true!

    I shy away from certain topics on my blog now. I didnt used to but I admit, when I post about certain things, espi related to vegan issues, I get a lot of criticism from both sides. I am not a good enough vegan for the vegans, i.e. trace dairy or a 10 year old leather purse, and I am too “out there” for the mainstream it seems.

    So, the best policy, for me personally b/c I hate waiting for the other shoe to drop when I open my inbox…is to just not post about hot topics or possibly controversial issues (and the biggest one is discussing veganism b/c it seems to bring this “drama” out like no other topic I write about)…but i totally realize that we all must be the change we wish to see. Thank you for the reminder, Gena.

    And I am so happy for you and Emily to have connected…and I saw and commented on her cal counting post a few days ago…I am proud she posted it, too 🙂

  10. Great post Gena! I also sometimes deliberately switch up the recipes and fluff pieces with heavier talk and some discussion and yes, people sometimes whole heartfelt disagree. But I’ve always felt a lot of respect coming from readers, and vise versa, we agree to disagree. And that’s why I’ll keep in writing to write those posts, it’s fun to see what others think!

  11. What a lovely lunch!

    You are so right about coming out and approaching subjects that people have attached such sterotypes to.

    On a very amazing and cool note about animal rights, my X is no longer eating commercially farmed meat. He finally watched Meet your Meat.. and has had a change of heart. He hasn’t found a local source for meat.. (which I won’t even get into that with him.. for now I’m just so happy he has started to think differently).. so he’s eating vegetarian right now. He actually asked if I would cook him seitan and of course I will. ( My X and I are good friends which is so cool! )..

    The other day X was trying to convince our son ( who is almost 18 ) not to eat meat. I was amazed because everything coming out of his mouth was stuff I used to say to HIM for YEARS and YEARS!

  12. I am all about honest in blogging and being your authentic self. I know that not everyone is comfortable with this, but I am far more interested in continuing to follow bloggers that are “raw” about their opinions rather than those that are “scared to go there” because of fear of backlash. Again, I know this is not for everyone because at our cores we have different personality types and what works for me does not work for most others. But please, Gena, continue to give us all of you, not just parts of you.

  13. What an interesting topic. I have had a lot of backlash lately due to some of my honest posts about my eating habits (doing a detox, etc) and it has made me stronger, realizing that it’s the fact that I put it out there and people responded, not that they responded badly. It’s my life and I can make my own choices, just like they can have their opinions. But who cares what they think? I am happy and healthy and speaking my mind. That’s what matters. 🙂

  14. I love Emily! What a treat to share a meal in her kitchen. I enjoy the honesty and intelligence that come across on both of your blogs. xo

  15. Great post! I can relate with your feminism/college experience as I felt exactly the same way. I even had a shirt that read “this is what a feminist looks like” that I would wear on a regular basis. People’s reactions were really interesting. Some girls my age would give me a thumbs up, older women gave me dirty looks, and men would ask if I was a lesbian.

    • Oh yes. People love accusing feminists of being lesbians, as if a) believing in gender equality means that one can’t be sexually interested in men, and b) the word “lesbian” is somehow an insult. So frustrating.

  16. lovely looking lunch and co! i hopped over and checked out her post, it was very thoughtful and i do count calories now and then not for reasons of restriction but for the sheer fact that i need to know that i’m getting adequate nutrition! some days i’m so busy that i ignore the rumble and keep working until i can get a break. therefore, you feel full faster and i need to remind myself to make sure i eat enough mini meals. often, it’s due to abdominal pain from ibs after eating so it makes sense that eating enough can be difficult sometimes!

  17. Your challenge to care more for animals really resonates with me–I didn’t grow up around pets or animals, and my transition to a vegan diet was motivated by a desire to be healthier, not to “save the whales.” I also envision PETA activists bombing building and other examples of extremism in my head. But then I think about life and how precious it is, and how we should all feel called to protect this beautiful world we inhabit–so your words are encouraging and compelling.

    • First of all, miss E, it pleases me greatly to see you blogging!

      Second, thanks so much for this comment. Writing about animals means a great deal to me, and I’m always thrilled when a reader speaks out to say that what I have said had an impact on him or her. Don’t forget, I was a “health” vegan for several years before compassion began to enter my consciousness, so it’s a journey I know well!

  18. I made a cashew hummus last night off the top of my head inspired by some of your recipes and the bf oohed and ahhhed over it the whole time! I commented on Emily’s post but will tell you the same…it was great to see two of my very favorite bloggers get together! Both such inspirations!

  19. Like I said on Emily’s blog, I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a fly on that wall. I got to run 16 miles with Emily in Chicago which, while fun, wasn’t the best for socializing. And I know she’s an excellent cook from her blog so I can only imagine how good that quinoa must have been.

  20. Yum to the food and the good honest convos! I think it’s so important to bring up the issues that no one wants to talk about. It’s something that brings us closer and not to be mistaken with trying to start controversial conversations. 😉

    I definitely admire you for the way you write candidly and openly. 🙂

  21. I am so inspired by your simple yet beautiful meals. Wonderful. I also appreciate all the blogs you’ve introduced me to. Such an amazing community of people!

  22. How fun that you two got to meet up again!! Hopefully, one day, our time to meet will also come. 🙂 I admire you so much Gena!

  23. I loved this!! I have been afraid of writing a lot of posts simply b/c people are so quick to judge. I don’t even mind people disagreeing with me, but I have gotten some nasty negative comments since I have been blogging (just a few), and I delete those. I don’t need negativity in my life. And it is MY blog. I’m going to write what I WANT to!! 😉

    I really love reading about blogger meet-ups! They make me happy.

  24. Great post! I find that there have been topics I stayed away from because I feared what my readers would think. Bravo to Emily and to you for putting aside that fear and writing anyway.

  25. That’s a great post about honesty, Gena. I like blogs best who are honest and forthcoming, even if their opinions aren’t mine. It makes us better people to know all sides of a topic, and blogs are a perfect forum for sharing, especially by authors who write so well like you and Emily.