Weekend Reading
September 25, 2022

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I recently held The Vegan Week in my hands for the first time.

It was a good feeling. I’ve joked so much about how difficult this writing process was, how it moved in fits and starts and deadline extensions.

In spite of my own floundering, I worked with an amazing team of collaborators, and thanks to them, it’s really a beautiful book.

Today in class my yoga teacher said something about the process of taking on a challenge.

She pointed out how often we find ourselves committing to something difficult, then complaining about the difficulty and wondering why we signed up for it later on.

Part of her point was that we seek out challenge and tension as a means of growth.

I thought about The Vegan Week. I’m not sure I started working on that book with the intention of growing or getting better in any way.

Actually, I really loved writing Power Plates, and I thought it would be enjoyable to do another cookbook, even though they’re a lot of work.

Writing The Vegan Week was different from writing Power Plates, and it was so much harder. At various points, it was such a slog that I genuinely did regret taking the project on. It felt impossible to imagine an end product that I’d like at all, let alone feel proud of.

I mostly feel proud that I stuck with the thing and got it done, no matter how messily. But when I got my copy I also felt unexpected gratitude.

That book got me through the pandemic and lockdown. It did so by driving me crazy most of the time, by testing my capacities and making me doubt myself. It occupied me with sweat and mountains of dirty dishes and recipes that required endless iteration before they were right.

But it kept me busy. It kept me at work.

I’m very fortunate that my depression didn’t flare up badly during lockdown. I had some lows, but nothing akin to what I’d gone through during the two years before.

I think that the book, which gave me a sense of purpose and kept my hands full through all of those strange, fearful, solitary hours, is at least partly to thank for the fact that I didn’t find myself in a dark place.

That was 2020. It’s now 2022. My life is quite different than it was as coronavirus first swept through the country.

I live in a different apartment in a new neighborhood, one that’s especially full of the restaurants and shops and coffee spots and foot traffic that I longed for during lockdown.

I practice at a still new-ish, if very beloved, yoga studio. I’ve made a lot of new friends in the past couple years. I fell in love with someone whom I was connected to only briefly, and then I learned to let that go.

I have been quietly, steadily trying to cultivate a more fluid, open, and appreciative approach to being.

The Vegan Week has been a constant through all of this. I may joke about what a bumpy ride it was, but actually, it’s one of the main threads that runs from February 2020 to these last days of September 2022.

No matter what my intentions were when I decided to write it, the book has been by my side through a difficult, beautiful, meaningful, and developmental period of my life.

And now, when I flip through its pages, I feel touched and grateful that we got through it all together.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say closer to publication in late December. But for tonight, happy Sunday, everyone. Here are some recipes and reads.


These chipotle black bean burgers look so hearty and good.

Delicata squash toast is a fun idea for fall.

These Italian-inspired, pull-apart sliders are on my “must make” list!

Also Italian-inspired, this pasta salad looks easy to prepare and very tasty for lunch.

Finally, I’m drooling over Lindsay’s vegan dirt pie.


1. I’m not often in the mountains, but I like this exploration of crying and how we can learn to be curious about it, rather than ashamed of it.

2. It’s cool to see the CEO of CVS health writing about the necessity of more mental health support from business leaders.

3. An interesting look at bioacoustics, which is the “planet’s soundtrack,” and what it says about the health of our earth.

4. An inspiring profile of Ian Mackay, who was paralyzed in a bike accident, but has found his way back to the road.

5. A fun little profile of Bonne Maman jam—my personal favorite brand—and its enduring popularity.

It’s been a long week of feeling overextended and behind on everything. Still figuring out how not to feel that way as often as I do.

I guess that this week is a new opportunity to try.

Till soon,


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    1 Comment
  1. Congratulations, Gena!!!

    I look forward to hearing more about your book and experiences writing it.

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