Weekend Reading, 10.5.13
October 5, 2013

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I was an avid blog reader long before I became a food blogger. Like many people, I discovered what might be called “healthy living” blogs first, then more dedicated recipe/culinary blogs. I had been reading food blogs for only a short period of time when I decided to go vegan, so vegan food blogs (Vegan Yum Yum, the PPK, Bittersweet) quickly became a source of guidance and inspiration. Over time, I fell in love with certain bloggers’ voices, felt as if I knew them, even if they lived thousands of miles away and we’d never met. When I started CR, these long distance admirations turned into real life friendships.

And then my post-bacc started, and everything changed. I realized early in the process that I’d have to choose between being a blog reader and a blog writer. I managed to keep CR up and running (even if my posts in the last year haven’t always been as deep or as personal as I like), but my consumption of food blogs has dwindled dramatically.

This has had both good effects and bad. On the one hand, I think that not reading other blogs has in some ways helped me to grow into my own blogging voice. It has also helped me to define my own “style” of recipe development, and focus on what I do best (rather than trying to emulate what I see on other blogs). On the other hand, I miss the blogging community, the camaraderie and the fun. I miss feeling as though I’m a part of my blogger friends’ lives: hearing their updates, seeing photos of their kids or their travel or their homes, listening to their stories. And more than anything, I miss the joy of food photos and delicious recipes. Reading food blogs is a wonderful source of inspiration and creative fuel. I’ve missed it so much.

With that in mind, I’m going to start to devote Friday or posts (at least for the coming year) to sharing a little link love with you all. This both encourages me to read blogs more widely, and it helps me to share the recipes/posts that have had an impact on me with all of you! I’ll be sharing ten links altogether: five recipes and five more narrative-driven posts. I may also mention recipes that I tested myself and loved. I think it’ll be a fun way to celebrate the fact that, for a little while, anyway, blogging can take front and center in my life again. So, without further ado, I present this week’s installment of “weekend reading.”


Image (c) Janae Wise of Bring-Joy

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 7.43.33 AM

JL’s vegan shepherd’s pie with lentils and kale

Janae’s pumpkin pasta with roasted cauliflower and red pepper

Nicole’s gluten free and vegan banana pear loaf

Em’s ultimate raw vegan ice cream sandwiches

Janet’s kale salad with raw thousand island dressing


1. One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Kristy of Keepin it Kind, is now hosting a series called “my vegan story.” The idea is to call attention to how and why people chose to become vegan. Even if you’ve been reading a certain blog for a long time, it’s wonderful to gain more insight into that blogger’s journey into the vegan lifestyle. I particularly enjoyed reading contributions from Cadry Nelson, who is already one of my favorite vegan bloggers, and Dan Hanley of The Gay Vegans, who’s honest and outspoken voice is always a joy.

2. I really enjoyed reading Ethan Ciment’s heartfelt essay for Our Hen House about using empathy as a means of overcoming personal suffering. Ethan, who is one of the co-authors of Vegan Mos, talks about how he spent the days following a recent (and painful) facial surgery thinking about the suffering that animals experience routinely around the world.

3. I read this a while ago, but my friend Laura’s essay, “Do Not Envy the Dancers,” is worth revisiting. I particularly like this quotation: “And so, Ashtanga stirred up my stuff. It is the point of yoga, sort of. And, it totally worked. For the first few years of daily practice I was a complete mess. As a person with a difficult relationship to food and body image, it was incredibly painful to face myself on the mat every morning.” I’ve done a lot of facing myself on the yoga mat. I mean this in the sense of facing my demons and struggles, but I mean it even more in the sense of facing my physical body, forcing myself to touch and inhabit and experience it. Laura’s sentiment resonated with me.

4.ย What I Learned Running 100 Miles (And What’s Next), by Matt Frazier. An inspiring meditation on what it means to have completed a massive feat of endurance and determination. See my review of Matt’s new book, No Meat Athlete, in this post.

5. Also from a while ago, I enjoyed reading Meghan O’Rourke‘s essay about her struggle with autoimmune disease (an excerpt can be found here). In the gastroenterology practice where I work, a large number of our patients struggle with autoimmune diseases (most often IBD, but since autoimmune diseases can present themselves in clusters, it’s not uncommon for them to also have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or celiac as well). I realize that every person’s experience of an autoimmune disease is very different, but it was helpful for me to read the essay, because every perspective I get helps me to better understand what our patients are experiencing. Worth reading in its entirety, if you’re able to get your hands on a copy.

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 8.53.39 AMBefore I go, I wanted to mention to my DC area readers that my friend Matt (the no meat athlete I’ve mentioned so often this week) and I will be doing a casual, fun “hangout” tonight at Cause Philanthropub here in DC, along with Doug Hay from Rock Creek Runner. The bar will be serving all vegan food, as well as drinks. Come out, say hi, eat some vegan snacks, and take a chance to ask Matt questions about his recent feats of running greatness! The fun starts at 8pm. Details can be found here.ย Hope to see some of you!



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  1. What a delightful surprise to see myself mentioned here, especially from someone who I admire so much! You’ve hit upon several of my favorite bloggers, and I look forward to familiarizing myself with those whose blogs are new to me. I’m going to enjoy this weekly series. It’s always nice to know what I’m missing!

  2. I love when my favorite bloggers share their favorite reads–it’s a great way to discover even more favorites.
    I especially love the “Do Not Envy the Dancers” link you shared since my last couple of Bikram yoga classes were full of distractions and frustration because I was doing just that: focusing not on myself but the seemingly perfect yogis around me. So true that we all struggle in different ways.
    I’m eager to try some of the recipes you’ve shared, too!

  3. Thank you so much for mentioning my “My Vegan Story” series! I’m so happy that you like it and should you ever want to share yours, I would be delighted! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know what you mean about finding time to read others’ blogs. It’s getting very hard as of late with other projects taking precedence but I do love connecting with this community and the friends I’ve made in it. It’s something I’m relearning to make a priority again so I look forward to your recommendations!

  4. This is so funny. I was just thinking that since starting Meghan’s CNE program, stepping up my own blogging and trying to hold down a “day job” all at the same time, I had fallen behind on my reading and commenting. So I decided to look at my bloglovin’ app and see what I missed. Thanks for the shout out Gena! You say it so well, it’s important to figure out how to inhabit, and maybe even enjoy(!), the bodies we inhabit in this life, even while trying to understand our consciousness is much bigger.

    I hope you have a little bit of more relaxed time for a stretch! Be in touch!

  5. Thank you for all the links Gena! What an awesome post. I can’t wait to go through all of your recommendations.

    I totally agree with you, the blogging community is really fun. Glad that you are back being able to enjoy it!


  6. Love this Gena! Most of the blogs I read were based on a referral so I look forward to learning about other blogs here. (And thanks for the shout-out!)

    Matt will be here in Colorado Springs in a few weeks – you should join us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Yay! Now another reason to look forward to Fridays. I know I often have to choose between writing and reading as well, in part because of time and in part because it’s not healthy for me to get too connected when it comes to certain issues (I know that you can relate to.) But I love what I read and look forward to a few new finds from you going forward.

  8. Great idea Gena! I am loving this weekend reading. I love reading vegan food blogs as well and I love you recommendations.

  9. This is great, Gena. I started off reading healthy living blogs and through those found Oh She Glows and No Meat Athlete. It’s always fun to find new, inspirational and informative blogs. The Gay Vegans looks especially interesting and I look forward to reading more! Thanks for giving me the push to read more widely and to challenge the way I look at things ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. You are a rockstar. And so inspiring! It’s difficult to be a full time student and work simultaneously to be able to afford a lifestyle, but you also always provided us with thoughtful and encouraging posts, whether they are recipe related or sharing stories. That is a difficult feat to accomplish! So bravo, and thank you for being so positive and compassionate.

  11. What an awesome idea Gena, I look forward to getting to know more great blogs from this series. I love that you’re going for a mix of recipes and narrative based posts. Reading wonderful blogs was a big help to me when becoming vegan, and it’s something I would highly recommend to people making the switch. Despite the fact that I don’t actually know any vegans in “real life” I feel like part of a community that has similar values and doesn’t think I’m crazy for spending my time soaking almonds and grinding flaxseeds ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Ha! Nothing crazy about that, Emma ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad that reading blogs provides you with a sense of kinship and company.

  12. I was wondering, I know you eat kale and a very green extremely healthy “restricted” diet. So when you create things like that cake recipe for food 52, even though I would consider it a completely acceptable thing, do you actually eat this? I feel like you live off kale! Just curious

    • Anonymous,

      I test and eat every dish I prepare for Food52 — though when I make something like a layer cake, I do share it with my neighbors (two vegetarians downstairs, and one vegan and her omni husband). The diet I keep, day in and day out, is maybe a little less “mainstream” (I’m struggling to find the right word, but you probably know what I mean) than some of the food I write for Food52, but that doesn’t mean I don’t and won’t enjoy them. I used to be a bit stricter in what I would and wouldn’t eat, but in the last few years I’ve eased up quite a bit. So yes, I do eat a whole lot of kale and raw vegetable salads and smoothies. But — and this is particularly true when I’m traveling or dining at restaurants — I also enjoy vegan desserts, or the odd dish or two that may not be my norm, but is delicious and enjoyable for me. And when I’m sharing vegan food with others (as I am via keystrokes when I write The New Veganism), I’m always aware that not everyone wants to be introduced to veganism via kale salad! Sometimes a pasta dish, a shepherd’s pie, or a layer cake is a much better starting place.

      Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Love this idea and I completely relate. It’s just impossible to keep up with all the blogs I’d like to, create recipes and write for my own, study for my M/A and have a social life! I’ve definitely had to cut back on my blog reading too sadly.
    That pear and banana loaf looks so scrummy.

  14. Thanks for the shout-out, Gena. I have been behind on my blog reading, and commenting, but always find time for my favourites… like yours!! Glad to hear you are having some time to relax now…. until the interview invites start rolling in… right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. This is such a great idea! It’s interesting to me to see what blog writers like to read and where they go for inspiration. Rebecook was the first vegan blog I visited, and when one of her posts mentioned you (admirably, of course), that’s how I found your blog. I’ve been an avid reader ever since.

    • You are one of the readers whom I most feel I “know,” Elisabeth! I’m always excited when you comment.

  16. Dearest Gena, how you have managed to keep your blog up and running, with the kind of quality that CR readers have come to appreciate about your posts–intriguing new recipes, insightful health advice, personal reflections, oh yeah and attending health expos–while doing your post-bacc is seriously beyond me. From what I heard, post-baccs are usually a year or two, but you’ve been at it for a bit longer, so I’m not sure if the whole juggling of everything has been a factor. Anyways, I’ve clearly missed out on a lot of your life updates, but I think I heard you applied to med school (finally!). So I’ve got my fingers crossed for you. Unrelated, among the other questions you’ve probably addressed in your posts for the past few years that I’ve been on blog-reading hiatus…I’ve always wondered if you miss New York. ๐Ÿ™‚

    All the best.

    • Aletheia,

      Most post-baccs are a year to two for the actual coursework. But since most people apply in June for the following august (not that coming august) there’s usually a gap year built into the process. For me, the coursework took exactly two years, but I started in January. So I ended in December, spent that spring studying for/taking the MCAT, then applied over the summer. And this is my gap year. So when all is said and done, it’ll have been 3.5 years–another undergrad education!

      It’s definitely possible to do it in a single year. I started on an accelerated track, but it took all of one exam to realize that I couldn’t handle that pace. Most of my friends also did 2 years, though at least one close friend (who is an exceptional student) did his in a year, and is now on his gap year along with me. I don’t think the juggling affected my pace so much as my adjustment to the sciences, but it was definitely hard. On the other hand, writing my blog was a gust of creative fresh air, and an important outlet for me throughout.

      To answer your question: yes, I miss NYC terribly, but now that I’m done with the program, I’m there all the time! And I kept NY residency for applications. Of course, we’ll see where I end up…if I get in, that is. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I remember some of your insightful comments about being a humanities person and romanticizing the sciences as I was just starting this process. I hope that you are thriving–it’s so lovely to see a comment from you!


    • Thanks Heather!!! I always love reading your blog, and hope I’ll get to spend more time there this coming year ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. We seem to hang out in several similar spaces–I love Bittersweet, Keepin’ it Kind and Cadry’s Kitchen, especially ๐Ÿ™‚ Excited to check out the new names, as well!

    Definitely get what you mean about feeling part of a community when it comes to the blogging world. Blog reading was what originally got me into experimenting in my own kitchen, then into vegetarianism, then into clean eating, then veganism, etc. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all these amazing voices.

  18. I love learning about other food blogs, so thank you for the recommends! I reading other people’s blogs is my favorite part of being in the blogging world–it helps me connect with so many amazing people.

    And, thank you for the shout out.

    Hope you have a great weekend, Gena.

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