Weekend Reading, 11.16.14
November 16, 2014

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday! It’s been a brisk few days here in New York, and I’m relishing the autumnal weather (even though work kept me indoors for most of the weekend). For the next two weekend readings, I’m all about vegan Thanksgiving. Here we go:


Start your meal off with this hearty chanterelle mushroom and kale salad with lime tahini sauce. SO much flavor and texture in here!


This poblano cornbread stuffing will make a fantastic accompaniment, and it’s even hearty enough to be a centerpiece.


There are few things I love so much as perfectly roasted brussels sprout. Check out these perfectly seared and seasoned sprouts from Veganroad!


This week, I shared lentil and walnut loaf in my Food52 column. A gorgeous centerpiece, if you ask me!


And for dessert? Don’t miss Emily’s carrot cake cupcakes with coconut cream and chocolate. Yum.


1. A really great, balanced article from my friend Katie on seven of the main myths surrounding sugar, posted on Kiersten’s blog. I love Katie’s balanced, fad-free, and (most importantly!) non-alarmist approach to nutrition.

2.  If you haven’t yet seen Michael Specter’s New Yorker article about gluten, it’s well worth reading. I’m biased because I’m a tremendous fan of Specter’s journalism, but this is well researched and balanced.

3. Absolutely fascinating article about mind body medicine, via the New York Times. The article profiles Ellen Langer, a psychologist who has studied aging, immunity, weight loss, and numerous other health conditions within the context of placebo medicine. Not surprisingly, she has found that psychological directives–such as telling a population of nursing home inhabitants to try to inhabit their former selves, or telling hotel maids who complain of lack of exercise that their work is actually intense exercise–yields incredible biological effects. The nursing home residents became more nimble and socially engaged and performed better on a slew of physical tests. The maids lost weight.

The whole article is worth reading, but I also loved this quote from Langer: “I was never — and maybe this is a character flaw — the type of person who is going to take one idea and beat it to death,” she said. “Part of that is that I have so many ideas. If whatever it is I’m excited about now doesn’t happen, it doesn’t matter, because there’s always the next possibility.”

What a great way to live life.

4. A strong, comprehensive, and cohesive argument for veganism from Chris Hedges. Well argued and forceful.

5. Great article from Jasmin Singer on labels and activism. In short, her point is to stop thinking too much about whether you’re an “activist” or a “feminist” or an “animal rights advocate,” and simply focus on making a difference, now. She writes,

“Truthfully, I see labels as something that can both help and hinder us. I think they can be over-thunk and can give us unnecessary fear or expectations. Just as there is nothing wrong with a 19-year-old girl having a fling, or a love affair, with another girl her age – and that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s gay(though maybe she is! In which case, welcome to the team!) – there is also nothing wrong with trying on labels, and the behaviors that go with them, for size and seeing how they fit. Maybe you’ll be uncomfortable with their gravity, or with the looks you get from your church group, or your fetish community – or maybe you’ll feel liberated and inspired and ready to embrace your newfound gayness, or activism, or veganism, or whatever…

If the labels help you and your work, take them on. If they don’t, leave ‘em on the side of the road. Call yourself what you want, but don’t spend too much time thinking about it, because rather than getting overly caught up in discussions of whether or not you’re this or that, there are 286 chickens dyingeach second in the United States alone. And they need you on their side, pronto, no matter what you call yourself.”

Amen, Jas.


Speaking of activism: yesterday, Steven and I sponsored Turpentine as our turkey adoptee this year. If you’re considering doing something kind for animals this holiday season–aside from not eating them–please check out Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-a-Turkey project! Get to know this year’s adoptees, and consider welcoming one of them into your heart. They need you, more than ever, and in return, you can be inspired by their stories and personalities.

On that note, friends, good night.


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  1. It’s always nice when you have someone you respect recommending things to read, because I hate wasting time trying to find a bunch of articles that I SHOULD read.

  2. Wow, that placebo article really rocked my world. It just loved it so much. My mind is kind of blown. I guess in a way it is expected, but you forget, or lose faith sometimes that the idea of it is true. It is nice to read some studies that show it substantiated. Thank you so much for sharing that article. It really is what I needed to read.

  3. Gena, thanks for posting the link to the Hedges article. While I don’t agree with everything he writes (he relies too heavily on Keegan Kuhn), and I don’t like the attention he’s giving to Cowspiracy, a problematic film, I really admire him for taking this “next step” as it were. As the owner of a zillion Apple products, I am the first to admit that living morally and ethically consistent lives is impossible. We all have to earn a living, a not easy task that can involve many ethical compromises. That said, I have always appreciated the ‘seamless garment” approach to ethics, one that avoids the focus on single issues (like, say, abortion) while ignoring related issues (poverty, war, etc.). So it’s nice to see Chris’s work for peace and justice is evolving to include non-human species. I do wish he would have made a distinction between industrial production and traditional farming rather than lumping them together under the “animal agriculture” heading, but I’m pleased he’s begun to address the issue.

    • Hi E,

      Thanks for putting the article on my radar. What you say re: Apple reminds me of when I wrote my post on finding a winter parka, remember? Many commenters pointed out the problems with the choice I had made (labor, pollution), but I guess I was trying to suggest that it is really hard to avoid some sort of compromise. We all do our best to put the issues that resonate with us at front and center of our decision making. I don’t exempt myself from trying harder (since that post I’ve stopped buying “cheap chic” shoes and only support eco-conscious vegan brands), but, well…nothing is easy. I’m striving for a more “seamless garment” approach in my life as a consumer, for sure.

      Though I don’t support traditional farming when it involves animals, I of course think that there is a distinction between that and CAFOs, and I agree that he could have mentioned it, but as you say, it was a brave start.


    • I too thought the gluten article was so well done. I think it likely is a far more complicated issue than we want to make it out to be right now in our popular media and culture, and I appreciate how many factors Specter wants to take into consideration.

  4. I always love your Weekend Reading. The best roundup hands down. What do you find most of these? Are their other blogs you pull from or do you just read The NYT, Atlantic, etc?

    • Hannah, I wish I read all of those publications all the time 🙂 I don’t, but each week I skim for articles. A lot of my readers also send me stuff they know I’ll like — this week, the placebo article and the Hedges were suggested by CR readers.

  5. I always look forward to weekend reading! please link to more raw food recipes! (especially for this holiday season! I’m at a loss for creative raw savoury dishes
    also what is the texture of tofurkey like?
    and thank you for the wide variety of reading articles! interesting stuff! x

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