Weekend Reading, 10.11.13
October 11, 2013

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

It’s hard to believe it’s been a week since I floated the idea of a “weekend reading” series, but here we are, seven days (and a few recipes) later. I was happy that so many of you expressed enthusiasm about this idea, so without further ado, here is yet another roundup of my favorite recipes and links from the past week. 


Spaghetti Squash with White Rosemary Bolognese from Allyson Kramer


Autumn Bars from Janae of Bring Joy


Goji Chia Chocolate Crunch Bars from Heather of YumUniverse


Pear Arugula Tarts with Pine Nut Crust from Susan of Rawmazing


And finally, Ricki’s epic roundup of 75 wholesome, vegan Thanksgiving recipes:



1. Tips for Packing School Lunches (and 10 Back-to-School Recipes) from Dreena Burton

I may be on a student hiatus this year, but that won’t last for long, and in the meantime I pack a lot of work lunches. I found every single one of Dreena’s tips to be incredibly helpful!

2. 7 Reasons to Eat Meat? by Ginny Messina

On September 30th, Christina Sterbenz published a post called “7 Reasons Why I Refuse to Stop Eating Meat.” Ginny Messina has responded with the logic, knowledge, and capacity for concision that make me love reading her blog every single time she posts.

3. Fat and Thin Find Common Ground by Abby Ellin

I’ve highlighted Abby Ellin’s work in the past, when she wrote an article about EDNOS and the difficulties of using language to categorize and diagnose eating disorders. This week in the New York Times, she talks about new efforts to treat people with binge eating disorder in some of the same groups as people with anorexia and bulimia. This is complicated stuff, and the article touches on both pros and cons. I’m not sure how I feel, but I did find it interesting. And I liked this quote, from Chevese Turner, founder of the Binge Eating Disorder Association, who said, “Part of what drives me crazy is that the obesity community and policymakers dismiss eating disorders as a small group of people, when in fact it is 30 million and growing – with more and more evidence that the focus on obesity and restriction, and growing weight stigma in the culture, is contributing to this rise.”

4. Gutbliss by Robynne Chutkan

More fulsome review to come, but I’m delighted that my friend and mentor Robynne Chutkan’s book, Gutbliss, has finally hit the stores. When I’m not writing CR, I work as a research assistant in Dr. Chtukan’s practice, do nutrition work with her patients, and am helping her with a study of the impact of different nutritional interventions on IBD management. I’ve read and re-read Gutbliss, and it has been enlightening, informative, and entertaining along the way.

5. From My Eating Disorder to My Life’s Purpose: How Veganism Changed My Life Forever by Alessandra Seiter.

That Ali Seiter is only a freshman in college never ceases to astound me, because she has one of the most self-assured and precocious writing voices I’ve come across on the internet. In this fabulous essay, which she wrote for Our Hen House, she describes how veganism helped to free her from the grip of disordered eating, and give her life shape, meaning, and purpose. It’s Green Recovery at its most eloquent. Highly recommend.

With that, the weekend begins. I wish you all a great one.


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  1. I read an interview recently in which Robynne Chutkan discussed Gut Bliss. I am eager to read your review of it, and even more eager to read the book. I feel like most people think there’s nothing more to a healthy gut than popping a probiotic or eating yogurt. It’s often only when we experiences issues that we begin to understand how much the gut is a cornerstone of our health and also how it can be set off balance by many different factors. I’ve become fully engrossed with the complexities of this topic! And that is so awesome that you are working at her practice. I’m sure the experience is invaluable!

    • Yes, I think that having had really bad GI illness of any kind — and even more when you’ve had a GI illness that’s “invisible,” hard to explain to the outside world — makes you appreciate the importance of gut health. Working with Robynne has been revelatory for me, both intellectual, as someone who is curious about the gut, and professionally, as she is a fantastic mentor. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Thank you Gena for the link to Dreena’s lunch box post! I have been struggling to move beyond PB&J lunch boxes for my 9 and 10-year-olds, and now I am inspired by her creative, yummy, simple, kid friendly delights!

  3. I am loving your “Weekend Reading” posts, thank you! I appreciated seeing the link to Dreena Burton’s “Tips for Packing School Lunches”, but something you mentioned really caught my eye. You said “I may be on a student hiatus this year, but that won’t last for long…” do you have some med school news to share??? 🙂

    • You’re sweet to ask, Deborah. That’s wishful thinking/talking on my part 🙂 I’m on my gap year, waiting for news. Of course not getting in is a very distinct possibility, but right now I’m trying to put positive energy out there, and not assume the worst.

      • I have been following your pre-med post bacc journey and am amazed with how much you have already accomplished. Getting into med school would be the (coconut) icing on the cake and I wish you the very best!!! I am currently taking a graduate level Biochemistry class and now I have even more admiration for your tenacity and drive to complete some of the very challenging pre-requisites!

  4. Great some more ideas for school lunches with the Autumn bars and Chocolate bars. Quite inspiring recipes. Really does help some of us with certain food intolerances and allergies to enjoy

  5. I am very intrigued by the idea of treating BED and AN patients together. In my experience, many of the issues are very much coming from the same place, though I can understand the controversy and distraction it might cause for some patients.

    Looking forward to your review of Gutbliss. A dodgy Australian news site [news dot com dot au] featured it on the front page today under the headline “Is what you eat making you ugly?” Pretty sure that’s not what it’s about, so I look forward to reading your take! 🙂

    • Ha! Yes, while there is a chapter on gut health and skin/hair/beauty, I’d call it an entertaining diversion. The rest of the book is much more focused on the mechanics and microbiology of our gut, written in a captivating and user-friendly tone.

  6. I love that you do these posts, because I’m always looking for new blogs to follow! Considering I just started my blog, I could definitely use the inspiration. Those gingerbread bars look incredible, as does everything else. I can’t believe it’s already time to bring out Thanksgiving recipes!

  7. Gena, these are great finds, thank you for sharing. I especially love the piece featured on The Hen House and subscribed to the Ali’s blog. Ironically enough, her reasons are the same as mine for choosing a plant based diet, yet I fell to the same ploy as she did initially. I hope to see people choose plant based diets for reasons that don’t have to do with diets and being thin, and hate when society or authors promote them as such. I was at my thinnest weight as an omnivore, when I was at the worst of my disorder. I hope to be a changing voice, no matter how small, for this dilemma I once fell prey to myself. Oh and by the way, I am making those Autumn Bars tomorrow and love that blog as well!:)

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Ali Seiter really inspires me, and her writing is incredible. Thanks for the link to her story. I knew that she had a history of disordered eating, but I hadn’t ever read how she exactly came to veganism. What a great read!

  9. Thank you for doing the work of filtering the best reads for me! I have lots to catch up on and this list is such a good place to start. And thanks for including my 75 recipes post here as well! 🙂 xo

  10. I’m most interested in the 5th recommended reading. I never tire of reading memoir-ish essays, particularly as they deal with topics of which I can relate. I’ve loved all your green series posts, so I’m sure I’ll find it worth the read.

    As a side note, I am fascinated by young writers who can really articulate, & write well, because I know at that age, though I’d like to think I had a higher level of thinking & maturity than my peers (doesn’t every young person think this?) I did not have the skill nor the experience to convey anything that was of much worth.

    (& thank you for the mention–ox)

    • Yes, I think that every young person does think that. I was eloquent at that age, but totally uncontrolled; if you think I’m prolix now, I’d invite you to read my writing then! So many words, sprawling everywhere, which is why Ali’s capacity to actually make a point astounds me.

      • I know what you mean–I wasn’t just uncontrolled, but unfocused & waaay too flowery. Reading some of my past writing (even on my blog), makes me cringe. Some people just have a raw talent, like Ali, with others (like myself) have to work really hard at being focused & concise, while also remaining relevant/interesting.

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