Happy Sunday, and happy weekend. I hope this edition of weekend reading finds everyone well! I’m on my back from a weekend with family, and enjoying these reads and food photos along the way.
This chickpea and rice pilaf with fresh herbs from Kraut|Kopf looks phenomenal — so simple, yet so hearty and satisfying.
I’m totally smitten with Andrea Bemis’ recipes lately (she’s the mastermind behind Dishing Up the Dirt) and this roasted eggplant and summer squash salad with tangy miso dressing is a perfect example of her seasonal, rustic style.
Renee Byrd’s tahini pad Thai is also calling my name. It’s packed with flavorful seasonings, but I bet the tahini gives the dish a slightly lighter and more subtle touch.
Amazing vegan dessert #1: Maya’s lemon curd. I didn’t think vegan lemon curd was possible, but here it is.
Amazing vegan dessert #2: vegan peach galette with coconut pastry. The recipe is really user-friendly, but the results are impressive. It would be perfect to serve to guests.
1. For those of you who are interested in sleep an sleep patterns, a quick bit of reporting into new research on different types of sleep schedules.
2. I know, I know, I’ve posted a lot of stuff on the microbiome already. But the topic just doesn’t stop being fascinating! Here’s a cool new article, via University of Chicago Magazine.
3. I was really interested to read this article in Aeon about childhood trauma, epigenetics (changes to DNA brought about by lifestyle–everything from emotional stress to diet), and the likelihood of autoimmune disease and other chronic health conditions. As I started reading, I found the article a bit discouraging, because the implications are clear: neglect, trauma, abandonment, emotional abuse, and experiences with parents who struggle with addiction can create changes in the way we respond to stress, setting us up for anxiety, digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, and other health problems down the line. Because these adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are so commonplace, one might well wonder whether a good many of us are simply doomed to have impaired stress responses for life.
But the article has a hopeful angle, too. The author, Donna Nakazawa, argues that understanding the longterm impact of childhood trauma can allow us to intervene earlier in the lives of individuals who may be at risk for stress disorders and chronic health issues. And epigenetics needn’t always refer to deleterious genetic changes; it can also refer to positive changes that result from stress reduction, therapy, and other forms of treatment for trauma. In short, more awareness about the lifelong impact of childhood adversity can help us to combat it effectively.
4. Great news this week in Iowa, where the state’s ag-gag law was declared unconstitutional. Hopefully, this will create a meaningful precedent in other states as well. Read about the federal District Court’s ruling here, and then you may want to take a moment to read this powerful op-ed in The New York Times, which calls for an end to ag-gag laws nationwide.
5. I love this profile of two award-winning goat cheese makers who have transformed their lives and their business by going vegan. Julian and Carol Pearce have gone vegan and taken their cheeses with them. From now on, the couple will be making 100% plant-based cheeses from nuts and nut milks, using the same artisanal techniques they’ve been using for decades. Flavors will include garlic and herb, lemon and lavender with bee-free honey, sweet pepper and shallots, jalapeno habanero, cucumber and onion, tomato and basil, and garlic and dill. There will also be a spreadable cheddar and a sliceable cheddar. On top of all this, they’ve started an animal sanctuary, Sanctuary Soledad, that houses abused, abandoned and neglected goats, cows, horses, pigs, chickens, ducks and dogs along with the former dairy goats.
MFA interviewed the couple recently, and I thought I’d share the interview, along with the following quotation, which stood out to me. It was offered in response to the question of why the Pearces have chosen to transition over to plant-based cheeses:
“The reason we have become vegan is being around our animals, knowing they have feelings; they love, have friends and family… how can you eat them? We look into the eyes of Juliet and Cleopatra, or Emma and the rest of the family, and you start to put their faces on the meat. The number of people who no longer eat pork after meeting Emma at the Hollywood farmers market is unbelievable. They no longer think of pork as something in a grocery store; it has a face and once had a life. We also can’t stand how animals are raised now. Factory farms have to end. The only way is to stop putting money in their pockets.
Dairy is no better. Even now, when we go to other dairies and see the goats wanting attention and getting none, just hit with sticks to get in to be milked, it tears my heart out. We have always treated our animals with love and gentleness. Anybody who visits the farm can see that. But being a dairy farm at all is still adding to the problem. We don’t want to be part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution.”
So inspiring. I hope that foodies everywhere will soon have a chance to sample the cheeses!
On that note, I’m gathering up my stuff to get home. I’ll be back this week with some new recipes. In the meantime, if you missed Friday’s post about protein-rich plant foods and combinations of plant foods, you may want to check it out! Lot’s of simple information on a topic that often seems really complex.