Weekend Reading, 12.7.14
December 7, 2014

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday, friends. I hope you’ve had festive and restful weekends. If you missed it, don’t forget to check out my raw pecan sandies, which were part of Kristy’s fabulous vegan cookie swap party this weekend!

And now, some weekend reading links.


Of course I’m drooling–drooling, I say!!–over Cady and Maddie’s  kabocha squash recipe with miso tahini dill sauce. My lord.


This purple cabbage salad with pomegranate seeds is so spectacularly colorful!


Did someone say vegan caesar dressing? With pine nuts? Sign me up. Now.


Elenore’s pulled pumpkin burgers are delicious, hearty, and gorgeous, to say nothing of creative. Must try!


And for dessert? Ms. Emma‘s contributions to the vegan cookie swap: chocolate dipped lemon cranberry shortbread. Yum!


1. A great article detailing new archeological findings that call into question how and where the capacity for creative thought–embodied in the use of symbolism in cave art–began. Homo sapiens began to emigrate from Africa between 60,000 and 125,000 years ago, and it’s thought that the species reached Europe approximately 40,000 years ago. Because there is an abundance of Paleolithic art in Europe and very little of it in Africa and Asia, many 20th-century archeologists assumed that man’s creative spark was turned on upon arrival in Europe.

New archeological digs, however, have unearthed symbolic art in Indonesia and South Africa. The former dates back to 40,000 years ago, which means that what was happening in Europe was happening in Asia, too.

“‘There has always been the belief that a light switched on in Europe, and there was this efflorescence of creativity,’ says Brumm, a research fellow at Griffith University. ‘That’s not the case. On the other side of the world, the same thing was going on at the same time.’ Indeed, it might have happened earlier. Brumm and a growing number of archaeologists are ready to abandon longstanding Eurocentric views regarding the origin of human imagination. Like so much that makes us human, symbolism appears to have emerged early on in Africa and spread from there.”

Fascinating stuff.

2. An interesting article on whether or not it’s possible to exercise too much. The specific focus is on endurance athletics and their impact on cardiac health. The article stops short of suggesting that there’s a particular amount of exercise that’s too much, for good reason: no upper limit has really been established. But it does suggest that recovery time between endurance events is vital. We read so much about the danger of exercising too little; it’s important to at least mention that excess of anything (even something so vitally important as exercise) is problematic, too.

3. This article from The Guardian, on the mythology surrounding “detox” diets. A little harsh, a little flip, and even a little facile. But I’d rather read this than read about the latest liquid diet.

4. Really interesting article on the battles over the patents for CRISPR, a new form of DNA editing.

5. I loved this article about millennial career jugglers. The article profiles a collection of young professionals who make a living by combining several different professional pursuits, or who support one professional pursuit (for example, DJing) with another.

My professional life often feels a little modular: I’m a practicing nutritionist, a seemingly perpetual part time student, a blogger, a food writer, an occasional freelancer. Since I quit my life as a book editor, I’ve struggled with the fact that my professional life can’t be summed up neatly with a title or a short description. Part of it is ego, and part of it is fear at the recognition that it’s up to me to craft an untraditional and composite professional identity. Med school rejection was heartbreaking on many fronts, and frightening on others; having assumed that I’d have a single, all-encompassing, heavily structured path ahead of me, I felt adrift when I realized that I’d have to reshape my professional future, and that it would be far less concrete than what I’d planned on.

But I’m learning to appreciate the freedom that my life as a food blogger, nutritionist, and aspiring health professional gives me — the freedom to shape my work and my choices. I’m even getting comfortable with identifying myself as a writer. I’m also realizing that my work is more cohesive than I’ve given it credit for in the past: it’s all united under my two great passions of writing and food. Funny how it’s taken me so long to understand this.

And that, friends, is that. Tomorrow I’ll return with a new chia pudding recipe, a seasonal one, just in time for the holidays. Till soon!




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  1. Those recipes YUM! Dying to try Emma’s cookies:) And that pulled pumpkin Burger…I had to share that recipe and now I have to make it! Thank’s so much for sharing these.

    And I felt the same way about the detox article…that was circling Facebook a little to much for me:) Hope you’re having a good week & Happy Holidays:)

  2. Great links, as always, and the last one is particularly timely for me as I just left a job on Friday after eight years (not really my choice) and now I don’t know what I can/should do to move forward. While there is a whole world of freedom out there, I also need stability and to be able to continue to support myself. It’s that passion versus practicality thing, but maybe it takes piecing things together to form an eventually cohesive piece. Nothing is just black and white.

    As for exercise, I think you know where I stand on that with my issue. Any time something becomes and addiction, it can be harmful. I realize that’s not the point of that story exactly, but in a society where “more is more,” it’s an issue that’s not often discussed.


    • Abby,

      I always appreciate your perspective on the exercise issue, and moreover, I wish you much success and gladness and fulfillment with whatever comes your way. Uncertainty is hard, especially for those of us who like control, but it’s liberating, too.


  3. Ah Gena, so wise as always! Thank you for sharing that last article particularly – It’s good to be reminded that, especially nowadays, most people can’t put their careers in a neat, little box and try out various things before settling on a few things, rather than just one.
    I saw the Guardian article over the weekend and though it’s certainly dismissive I do agree with the main point over the misuse of the word “detox”. Every time I see the word it makes me cringe!
    Thank you for sharing my shortbread recipe too – gutted we’ve finished them all!

  4. The last article rings so true! I too am just now beginning to make my peace with–and in fact embrace–the messiness of my career situation. Freedom is the word you used, and it is the word that I find myself employing most often as well. I like being in control of my schedule and pursuing what interests me. For all of the limits of not having a traditional, easily summed up 9 to 5 job, I have a great deal of autonomy, and I’ve realized that for my personality, that is what matters most.

  5. I think what we do professionally is so constitutive of our identity, in this culture anyway, that it becomes a challenge to forge an identity when what one does is not who one is. For that reason, I avoid nouns when I describe my own job because there are none that sum it up.

    I enjoyed the detox article. It’s interesting that despite my background and my fastidiousness around food in general, I have been wary of cleanses and detoxes (and really any way of eating that involves restricting calories and/or consuming bad-tasting herbs/juices/powders). I do tend, however, to avoid food additives and the like, chemicals such as aspartame whose metabolic byproducts are damaging to the brain, non-organic fruits/vegetables, and most animal products. But my motive is not to cleanse or to purify, it’s more a way of reducing overall toxic load. I actually have a hard time being around people who are overly preoccupied with cleansing and detox, probably because it detracts from my enjoyment of food, to say nothing of life.

  6. omg, that shortbread looks divine! and i didn’t realize that my career juggling was part of a larger phenomenon. makes me feel on-trend. 😉

  7. That pulled pumpkin recipe looks delicious….especially because the words “pulled pork” give me a traumatic mental image every time I read them. So I love to see a kinder alternative. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I never knew pulled pork existed until long after I stopped eating animals, but I remember the horror I felt when I read those words and guessed at what they meant!

    As for the last article, this is just the sort of thing I am contemplating right now. It is possible (and quite likely) that I will have to do several different things to keep myself busy when I move to the UK and then finish my PhD. I know this is normal for our generation, but there is still that tinge of discomfort from my ego. It’s hard enough to tell people “I am an environmental and social scientist” (or more accurately, but even more obscure, “I am a human ecologist”….it will be even more disorienting to try to explain where I sit if juggle multiple things! But there is joy to be found in the variety, I am sure.

  8. Hi, thank you for sharing our blog! And for all other links too, you made a really interesting list.
    And I know what you mean by untraditional professional identity. My life is kind of like that right now, but I love the freedom and diversity of every day work. So keep up the good work, and don’t fear to be different!

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