Weekend Reading, 1.12.14
January 12, 2014

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

As the Golden Globes light up TV screens tonight, let’s go ahead and give the award for “worst vegan food blogger” to me. I’m sorry, friends. I know I’ve been MIA, and that it’s been a while since I shared a worthy recipe. This was one of those weeks in which life just got in the way of blogging. Rest assured that there is so much I want to do with and for this blog in 2014, and do it I shall. I’m trying to find ways to enjoy my gap year–which means more time away from the computer, immersed in work and in life–while also giving Choosing Raw everything I can. It’s a balance, and I’ll find it.

In the meantime, how about some weekend reading?

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A bright, flavorful, and colorful dish for these chilly days: Kari’s raw zucchini noodles with a spicy peanut sauce.


If you’re craving something denser, Erin’s shitake risotto is gorgeous.


Stuck in a breakfast rut? I suggest you gaze at Ashley’s beautiful orange maple polenta porridge.


The lovely Elenore has created a perfect winter salad–featuring Kaniwa, an ancient grain that sounds a bit like (and looks a lot like) quinoa.


And since we’re on the topic of salads, I must direct you to Amy’s scrumptious raw kale-bouli.


1. I sometimes joke with friends that, when I’m one day looking back at my life, I’ll have endless photographs of what I ate, and almost no photos of what I did, or who I was with, or what I wore. I’m incredibly camera shy (blogging has helped me to get over it), and I rarely think to take photos when I travel, go out, or hang out. An ex boyfriend teases me that I don’t have a single photo of us together, and guess what? He’s totally right.

Anyway, I sometimes ponder the strangeness of documenting my meals, and I wonder whether all the photos I’ve shared on this blog will evoke memories of what I was up to and where I was in life when I sat down to eat. I hope so. As an avowed food lover, I want to remember my meals–their tastes and textures. How they made me feel. But I’d also like to remember who I was with, what I was thinking, what I’d gone out and done that day.

I got to thinking about all this when I read Rose Lichter-Marck’s essay and interview on the way that photography affects the brain.

2. Fascinating look at how a physician’s approach–including demeanor, language, and interactions with parents–can impact a patient’s experience, and even have a palliative effect.

3. Mary MacVean makes a list of 21 new year’s resolutions that are totally realistic, and along the way she reminds us to be patient and compassionate with ourselves. I like it.

4. Discover Magazine covers an interesting experiment in which more than 700 subjects were asked to report on where certain emotions (pain, happiness, pride, disgust) seemed to manifest in the body:

More than 700 participants in Finland, Sweden and Taiwan participated in experiments aimed at mapping their bodily sensations in connection with specific emotions. Participants viewed emotion-laden words, videos, facial expressions and stories. They then self-reported areas of their bodies that felt different than before they’d viewed the material. By coloring in two computer-generated silhouettes — one to note areas of increased bodily sensation and the second to mark areas of decreased sensation — participants were able to provide researchers with a broad base of data showing both positive and negative bodily responses to different emotions.

You can see some of the findings in the image above. An interesting contribution to our understanding of how emotions and physical sensation interact.

5. Psychology Today has published Rachel Clark’s passionate response to the upwelling of outrage and concern that has emerged since the release of Blackfish (which, if you haven’t seen it yet, is well worth your time). She writes,

Because what’s happening here has far more to do with fact than opinions, and what SeaWorld fails to see is that the opinions of the American public are changing fast because they are getting the facts: facts that become intolerable against the love and reverence so many people have for the majestic beings that are arguably more highly evolved than humans, have far tighter family bonds, forage for wild food over dozens or hundreds of miles, and who are regularly and systemically brutalized by captivity no matter how “healthy” or “educational” SeaWorld paints their “sea” worlds of concrete.

David Kirby recently considered whether SeaWorld succeeds at its professed mission to educate people about killer whales, and had this to say:

I went to SeaWorld several times to research my book, and attended both the “Believe” and “One Ocean” Shamu shows, where I heard virtually nothing that would educate people about killer whales in the wild, how long they live, their social bonds, their hunting patterns, and ways to conserve their threatened natural habitats.

Instead, I “learned” that whales like blaring music, roaring crowds, back-flips and French kissing. When I left, instead of hearing people talk about saving wild whales, they were talking about the ‘Shamu whales.’ That’s bad education, which is worse than no education at all.”

And that, my friends, wraps things up. I look forward to getting back into the swing of things this week. Thank you all for bearing with me.


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  1. Gena! No need to apologize – it’s incredible that you’ve kept this passion project up despite all of your life transitions. You deserve a break every now and then!

  2. All those recipes sound so awesome! I suspect that peanut sauce will be smeared on everything.

    And maybe its something wonky but i reloaded the page and the bottom of the picture of kale-bouli says “fragrant vanilla cake”….!!! Haha! Doesn’t look like cake…

    • Ha, that’s the name of the blog (fragrant vanilla cake), so I think what you’re seeing is her photo watermark 🙂

  3. I laughed in recognition at the comment by your ex re. you having no pictures of you both together – I dread having my picture taken as well. In fact, I’ve managed to procrastinate on having a professional headshot for a good 3 years and counting!

    On a completely unrelated note, I wanted to mention to you, Gena, and any readers whose interest might have been piqued by your product review a few months ago, The Vitamin Shoppe is having a spectacular sale on 22 Days Nutrition Protein Powder – after sampling some of this normally pricey stuff, I am now totally hooked! (The vanilla is so good, just sweet enough without an overpowering stevia flavor…definitely the best vegan protein I’ve tried, and just what I was seeking, in terms of ingredients.)

    Have a good week, friend 🙂

    • Oh, that’s great to know, Karen!! I just saw the sale online, thanks to your tip, so I’ll tweet it later today. I’m glad you’re liking it, and I wish you a great week, too, my friend.

    • Oh, headshots, bless yr heart. Pro shots aren’t actually necessary for me, but I knowe they’d help. But I just can’t yet. (Though, for real, I think Gena’s pro portraits are charming, and I use them to urge myself to warm to the idea.)

  4. Gena lovely!
    Thanks for finding great reads and eat in your busy week.
    In regards to you feeling you have let us down, there is no need too.
    You post more than many other bloggers and if it helps to have a break for a few days, I’m sure we will live 😉
    Take care x

  5. That kaniwa salad looks like a must-try. Thanks for scouring the internet to bring us the best!

  6. need a spiralizer for those noodles…well I am equally guilty of having too many pics yet missing out on memories. I need to remind myself to soak up the moment rather than photograph sometimes esp times with friends and families.

  7. I’m really looking forward to reading the last link regarding Blackfish. I watched it this weekend (and then multiple documentaries on killer whales because I’m fascinated by them), and I think Blackfish is a great documentary about what goes on behind the scenes at Seaworld.

    In my opinion, Blackfish has also been exceedingly popular and incredibly persuasive regarding Seaworld’s policies, which I find nteresting. I watched the Cove years ago, which also implicates Seaworld in some unpopular behavior as well, but it had neither the popularity of persuasiveness that Blackfish has had.

    As someone who is interested is seeing progressive social changes in a variety of mediums, I wonder what is it about Blackfish that makes is so appealing and persuasive to such a wide-range of audiences. It is really well-done documentary, and I hope that more people have the opportunity to see it.

    And thanks for sharing all these great links!

    • Jordan, I find that question really interesting. I liked the Cove, too, but Blackfish hit me harder. It may be the focus on a single animal — a deeper sense of intimacy. And I also think that Blackfish included the perspective of folks who used to be a part of the institution criticized (the former trainers) in a way that the Cove simply couldn’t.

  8. Ha! I don’t think you deserve a worst blogger award at all! I feel ya, though .. when you aren’t pumping out fantastic recipes you just feel like you’re failing the whole bogging thing. But really, you post pretty neat stuff in addition to the recipes. Not only that, but your posts are educational and smart which is refreshing in the blogging world (so many of us–myself included–like to post fluff and surface stuff because it’s easily accessible). So as far as I’m concerned I think I’ve enjoyed these sorts of posts just as much as the recipes!

    And you know what? I hardly take pictures of myself, either. I HATE it and sometimes I do it anyway just because I have that same feeling of “what do I have to show for this experience?!”. That’s funny, I didn’t realize other people went through that too!

  9. “An ex boyfriend teases me that I don’t have a single photo of us together”

    Ha. My boyfriend and I don’t have a single picture of us. We’ve been together for seven years. (His parents do have one, though.) I get that documentation is most people’s relationship with photography, but reading that link brought into sharp relief how much I actively reject that notion in my personal life. I’ve tossed out every memento from my childhood; I can’t bring myself to be sentimental about objects, photos included. (That said, if my blog were swallowed in a freak data accident, I’m sure I’d be bummed.) Mostly, I guess I find kinda foreign the idea of continuously, consciously deciding now which experiences/objects I want to remember later and trying to coax that into being (even though I know how strange memory is). I’m not knocking it. Tons of people obviously find personal documentation rewarding, but I’ve made peace with my lack of interest in taking snapshots.

    • Amanda, I hear you. There’s some stuff I’d really like to get better at capturing (travel, significant others). But as for snapping photos for more everyday social stuff, maybe it’s just not my thing.

  10. Thanks for the roundup, girl! In my humble opinion, you never have to apologize for allowing life to rush over you without documenting it on the blog. To me, blogging is about sharing thoughts, recipes, and other pertinent topics–to help both your readers and yourself learn. It needn’t be another source of stress. Thanks for all that you do.

  11. I love that article on NY resolutions. So refreshing to see some realistic suggestions.
    It’s exciting to see all this publicity for Blackfish and the negative spotlight on Seaworld- I think this could be the start of something big. Have a good week Gena!

  12. What a great round up – I find that mapping of emotions fascinating and will definitely have to check out kaniwa and Elenore’s salad. Thanks again for featuring my zucchini noodles too 🙂

  13. I love this new addition to post genres you offer! And a list of recommended reading culled by you is definitely going to entice me!!!
    Only overdoing exclamation points because I’m so excited to see you again.

    • Ela, I nearly always think of you when I compile these posts! It’s wonderful to see your name in my comments — how I’ve missed it.

  14. Hi Gena,

    If you need to live an undocumented week now and then, that is so understandable. I always love reading new stuff from you, and I sometimes marvel at how you have managed to maintain a regular blogging schedule for several years, especially with your huge career shift and all of that.

    Thank you for all the intelligence and compassion you pour into this blog. I rarely comment, but I have been reading since 2010 and I have learned a lot from CR. I’ll be here, ready for new recipes, whenever they may arrive. 🙂


    • Genevieve,

      It really means a lot to me to hear that. The pressure of posting prolifically has been wearing at me lately, and yet every time I try to take a break for a few days, I immediately miss CR. It was vital to my sense of self and my creative expression through the post-bacc, but at the same time, blogging as often as I did wore me down. So: as I said, it’s a balance. I’m figuring it out. Having permission from readers like you to go quiet now and then is helpful.

      Thanks for reading since the early days!


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