Weekend Reading
January 19, 2020

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I didn’t use to be much of a procrastinator, but unfortunately it’s a tendency that seems to creep up on me more and more with each passing year. It’s probably a good thing in some ways: back when I was doing my post-bacc, I was so overcommitted in so many directions that I actually couldn’t afford to delay doing anything. And while that wasn’t true for all of grad school, it was true a lot of the time.

My schedule nowadays is more reasonable and forgiving. But without that familiar level of busyness, it’s sometimes difficult to remain as motivated and productive as I used to be. I’m still figuring this transition (from overwork to regular work) out. I seem to be doing so with quite a bit of delaying and dragging my feet.

This week, I came across a tip in Rachel Hershenberg‘s book that was very helpful. Dr.Hershenberg offers the invitation to approach goals, rather than planning on either accomplishing or delaying them.

Appropriately, I didn’t start to implement this tip in any big or dramatic way. I explored it in small ways. When I had a home cleaning or organizing project that needed doing, I invited myself to tidy up or clean one area of my apartment, instead of trying to put aside hours to do the whole apartment at once. When it came to a writing project that I’ve been stuck on, I tried writing a few paragraphs only, and then allowing myself to call it a day.

This was really, really helpful. Giving myself permission to approach things slowly and in stages seems to keep me from getting overwhelmed by my own to-do list. It motivates me to take some action—any action—rather than remaining stuck.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen firsthand how important a softening of expectations can be. In my own nutrition practice, I’m constantly encouraging clients to set more realistic, achievable, and short-term goals (as opposed to the highly ambitious and demanding goals that a lot of all-or-nothing folks are attracted to). The idea of approaching a task is very akin to my friend Maria’s motto of leaving something “better than it was,” rather than perfect, which is a motto that I’ve borrowed from her very gratefully.

But sometimes we need a reminder of something that we already know. When it comes to tendencies that go against our own inborn tendencies (in my case, the tendency to be all-or-nothing in the way that I greet just about everything), we might need constant reminders 🙂

Slow and steady seems to work a lot better for me at this point than the alternative, and it’s easier to practice over time. Wishing you a week of small wins, too. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

A butternut soup with a spicy kick (and beautiful, deep color) thanks to the addition of harissa.

A cozy, nutritious, and meal-prep friendly curried cauliflower and chickpea bake.

The dreamiest winter comfort food: vegan creamy tortellini and vegetable soup with pesto.

Another dish of stick-to-your ribs, plant-based pasta! A WFPB version of lasagna with Bolognese ragout and béchamel.

Last but not least, something sweet. In this case, perfect vegan teatime scones.

Reads

1. I was super inspired by the video in which Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s opens up about her struggle with alopecia. I hope it finds and comforts many others who are struggling with alopecia and other autoimmune diseases.

2. A reminder to greet online claims about probiotics (and all dietary supplements) with a discerning eye, and to gather as much evidence-based information as possible before making an investment.

3. A smart, thoughtful meditation on recipes as a form of science communication from writer Amanda Baker. Couldn’t agree more with her closing line: “It is a process, and – like with any other skill we might seek to develop – just comes down to a willingness to try.”

4. An argument for why preventive action around mental illness on college campuses matters—not at the expense of, but in addition to, treatment options.

5. Finally, I loved this Food52 article about a historical NYC house and the tasty cake recipe that comes from it.

This week, a delightful new muffin recipe (in a flavor combination I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about yet—you’ll see what I mean!). Till then,

xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1 Comment
  1. Dear Gena, Thanks so much for your mention of my motto “better than it was”–I’m so honored that you continue to find affinity with it! I read somewhere recently that like doing something creative and getting out in nature, cleaning for just 5 minutes a day can help lift depression! That’s what I tell myself when I’m devoting a few minutes to cleaning up, instead of berating myself for not cleaning the whole house at one time. So yeah, here’s to the approach! Also wanted to say I watche Representative Pressley’s video yesterday and was moved beyond words. Thanks for sharing it here. Much love to you–

You might also like

Happy Sunday, friends. Hope the weekend has been good to you. My big news this week is that my new cookbook, Power Plates, is officially available for pre-order whenever books are sold! The on-sale date is January 23, which seems far away now, but the time will fly, and it’s incredible to me that it’s all becoming real. At this time last year, I was still in the thick of the recipe testing process, my kitchen a perpetual gauntlet of dirty dishes. It felt…

Happy Sunday, everyone. I’ve had a good weekend so far, a combination of rest and work. I purposefully took Friday off from my nutrition clients so that I could spend the weekend catching up on my inbox, decluttering my apartment, downloading syllabi and picking up school books, and doing all of the other things I wanted to do before my new semester began. The decluttering bit ended up being incredibly cathartic–a massive purge of no-longer-useful papers, files, garments, kitchen odds and ends, and even books….

As you can see, it’s been a busy weekend over here! For a long time I’ve been hoping to make this blog more user-friendly. It’s been my intention to offer more easily searchable recipes, useful resources, and a brighter, cleaner design. I’m so happy to introduce you to the new look on this wintery Sunday afternoon. If you start to poke around, you’ll find that recipes can now be searched according to dietary preference (gluten-free, tree nut free, no oil, etc.) or meal…

On Friday, I was honored to be a part of a conversation titled “Hot Topics in Eating Disorder Treatment,” hosted by Castlewood Treatment Centers and Balanced Eating Disorder Treatment Center here in New York City. The workshop’s moderators were Tammy Beasley and Melainie Rogers, both registered dietitians who specialize in ED treatment. One of the topics under discussion was whether or not vegans can and should be treated in high-level, in-patient care. Tammy and Melainie invited me to share about my own recovery…