Weekend Reading, 12.16.18
December 16, 2018

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

This was one of those weeks in which nothing, big or small, went according to plan. From travel delays and disastrous commutes to missed deadlines and forgotten emails, it all felt like a mess.

Funnily enough, I was OK with it. It’s funny only because I don’t typically handle curveballs well. Anything that reinforces my lack of control tends to addle me at best, freak me out at worst.

This week, though, the rarest of things happened, which is that I greeted all of the chaos with a sense of humor. I had my moments, of course, but for the most part I rolled with the tumult. I fixed the messes I could and didn’t agonize over the ones I couldn’t. I took responsibility for the stuff I’d let slip without falling into my habit of anxious over-apologizing. I let myself feel frustration, but I encouraged myself to let the small stuff go. Ways of being that I’ve been trying to cultivate for a long time just seemed to…happen.

I’m not really sure what to make of this. It may be my job right now, which is interesting and often enjoyable, but also puts me in close proximity to a lot of suffering and loss. This week was particularly full of poignant exchanges, and I just didn’t have the energy to fret too much about train delays or forgotten deadlines. I certainly didn’t have the energy for perfectionism (I rarely do these days, but I still cling to it sometimes).

Maybe it’s the holiday season, too, which tends to resonate deeply with me, putting a lot of things into perspective. And perhaps all the work I’ve done to relax my grip on life is finally bearing fruit—wouldn’t that be nice 🙂

Whatever the case, I’ve felt a lot less brittle in the last few days—more resilient, more forgiving of myself and others, more relaxed. One of the hallmark symptoms of my depression/anxiety is feeling quickly and easily overwhelmed. That tendency comes and goes, but I do recognize (and give thanks) whenever I’m able to find ways around it. And I’m so glad that I had a different kind of reaction to what might have been a triggering week.

Wishing you the ability to bend, flow, and forgive in the week ahead. I’m heading into the last week of my clinical rotations, completely amazed by the fact that the finish line is here, and I made it in one piece.

Lots to be grateful for—including the recipes in today’s post.

Recipes

A perfect easy, weeknight meal: vegan lemon butter pasta.

I’ve never made my own dumplings before, but Lisa is the perfect teacher. Her vegan savory Tang Yuan look so good!

A perfect plant-based side dish for the holidays: baked acorn squash with (dairy-free) creamed corn.

This vegan chickpea shepherd’s pie is calling my name! Hearty, carby, comfort-food goodness (that also happens to be both gluten free and no oil).

Finally, my holiday dessert wish list is growing by the day (we’ll see how much baking I can do between the last day of my hospital rotation and Christmas eve), and this gorgeous chocolate cake with gingerbread caramel is at the top of it right now!

Reads

1. An interesting new study examining the relationship red meat and TMAO (a metabolite that’s associated with greater risk of heart disease).

2. I really enjoyed Amanda Hesser’s Cooking for Mr. Latte; I found the book exactly when I was gathering up courage to date again for the first time in a long time, and its humor touched me. This past week, I enjoyed reading Amanda’s candid reflections on how her cooking style has changed in response to love, family, and the teamwork of marriage.

3. A powerful call to arms on how we might better treat newborn withdrawal (in which newborns who have been exposed to addictive substances in utero have withdrawal symptoms shortly after birth)—with compassion extended to both babies and their mothers.

4. In my work—culinary and soon-to-be dietetic—I give a lot of thought to helping folks be mindful of protein consumption. That said, protein overconsumption, often from non-whole foods sources, remains prevalent in America. This article offers a good perspective, especially when it comes to powders and bars.

5. Good news, via The New York Times: while many coral reefs are suffering in the face of climate change, some sturdy ones are doing OK.

In spite of the end-of-semester craziness, I’ve got two recipes to share this week, each too good (and too easy!) not to share. So, I’ll be back around soon. For now, a very happy Sunday to you.

xo

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    3 Comments
  1. Gena,

    I am sure glad that you had such a successful week navigating everything. That is a real testament I think to resiliency, something I think we all need if we are going to make it for the long haul.

    I read the article on newborn drug withdrawal and treatment with interest. Just recently I watched a documentary on drug addiction and learned about a newish approach called “harm reduction”. I sure hope that our country can begin to innovate and to move forward with treating drug dependency. We are still sort of stuck in our old ideas and a “zero tolerance” approach to drug use. Stigmatization, rather than compassion and understanding, seems to be what we gravitate towards.

    Good luck this week. Almost there!
    Thank you for the recipes and articles:)
    Libby

  2. Dearest Gena! SO happy to read this one! What a breakthrough, the kind that comes through grace (and lots of long time commitment to somehow get “there”)–and then, one day, it happens! Bless your heart. I can almost hear your laughter. Much love to you–that cake looks amazing! Happy last week! So proud of you.

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