Another week has gone by, and it’s time for another edition of weekend reading. Before we get into that, though, thanks for the warm reception to Gutbliss, and also to all of you who shared your personal stories of GI illness and/or healing! All so interesting, and I appreciate your perspectives.
This week flew by, and I can’t believe that November’s already here. I’m not quite ready to start doing cheesy things for the holiday season, but it’ll happen soon. Oh yes it will. But for now, some recipes & reads.
1. Halloween may be over, but Cara’s Trick-or-Treat Halloween surprise cookies remain adorable and enticing.
2. Marlie’s “fulfill your destiny” bars look nutrient-dense and tasty — perfect for a packed afternoon snack!
3. Speaking of tasty, the incomparable Golubka has created yet another feast for the eyes and the senses with her black bean chocolate and fig cookies!
4. Kiersten has come up with a wonderful way to combine autumnal spaghetti squash with all of the pesto you made and froze this past summer.
5. Alicia’s green quinoa looks right up my alley: light, bright, and full of herbs.
1. A cool, user-friendly video on how meditation impacts the brain.
2. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a horror movie fanatic. This article explores why and how some people love getting freaked out. I think I understand my psyche a little better now.
It was super fun! And, just as Anne had promised, it was legitimately freaky.
3. An extremely interesting and complicated article about Lyme Disease in the south. I know that many of my readers have had brushes with Lyme, and I was thinking of them as I read.
4. This article about fraud in the herbal supplement industry. At its center is a study that showed a number of supplements to be advertised misleadingly and stuffed with fillers. While the study referenced was, according to one source, exaggerated, it is not the only one of its kind. I find the lack of regulation in the dietary and natural supplement industry deeply troubling (for a more merciless look at this particular issue, check out Paul Offit’s Do You Believe in Magic?), especially since the industry is growing exponentially. Until better regulation is in place, I think it’s important for consumers to purchase supplements only from trusted brands, and also to speak with knowledgeable herbalists before beginning treatment. A good herbalist will recommend authentic and high-quality tinctures, or even help you to source the herbs you need directly. He or she will also examine how your symptoms work in concert and give you an individualized protocol, rather than simply pointing you toward a capsule that may or may not be what it seems.
5. Vanessa Grigoriadis’ article about juice fasting culture in New York city. This article made me feel, at turns, amused, annoyed, and uncomfortable. Not Grigoriadis’ style or approach so much as the culture she unveils. It’s a culture I saw a lot of, when I first got into raw food: the fixation on purity, the “work hard, play hard, cleanse, repeat” mantra in action. I’m glad that some of the commenters mentioned that “cleansing” can be an expression of disordered eating, because I saw a lot of that in those days (I’m talking about juice only regimens here, not enjoying juice along with nourishing foods).
But of course, the article also made me uncomfortable because I recognized tendencies of my own in it. As Grigoriadis says, “I admit that I have been a part of this tribe, partaken of this beverage.” Maybe not the tribe so much, but the beverage? The desire to make myself purer, neater, better, and the hope that the road to cleanliness is paved with bottles of green lemonade? Sure. I’ve known those thoughts. I’ve known them well. I’m glad that juice has found its proper place in my life–as a nutrient dense elixir, a delightful boost. Yet I remember when I didn’t treat juice this way–when I used it in the hope that it could keep my appetite at bay, defy my body.
“I can’t say who is right,” Grigoriadis writes. “But in our achievement-focused culture, I know how satisfying and pleasurable it is to feel like one is getting rid of gook, even the invisible kind. ‘One of the claims of juicing is that it’s good for your immune system, but in a million years I can’t believe that juicing for three days does anything for your immune system,’ says Barbara Kass, a psychotherapist in Brooklyn. ‘We want to control as much of our lives as we possibly can, to ward off the awareness that you can’t control everything. Letting go of things you can’t control is a key to mental health. And that’s what people can’t do.’”
Before I go, I wanted to share that this past weekend was Farm Sanctuary’s annual walk for farm animals here in D.C. I’ve missed this event two years in a row because of some chemistry exam or another, so I was really happy I could donate and join this year. It happens to have been a gorgeous, cool-but-not-cold fall day in the nation’s capitol:
We gathered our signs and began walking along the mall, handing out leaflets to anyone who seemed open. A couple of people flashed us big smiles along the way. I was all smiles just to be a part of it.
With Thanksgiving on the way, I chose a turkey sign, with the words “compassion begins on your plate.”
The walk date had been pushed back, due to the government shutdown, so it was a very small crowd. At first I felt a little sad that we didn’t have more numbers. But as we made our way around, I realized that in this case numbers weren’t important. If only one person we encountered on the walk asked us about why we were there, or took a leaflet, or simply locked eyes with a poster and started to have a shift in consciousness about the way animals are treated, that was all that mattered. And I also thought back to a familiar quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Check out Farm Sanctuary‘s site for more ways you can get involved for animals, big or small. There’s lots of good opportunity around the holiday season. And have a lovely Sunday 🙂