Weekend Reading
May 7, 2023

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

The past few weeks have been full of work challenges.

It feels as though I’ve grown professionally in a very short period of time, which is a good thing, even though it hasn’t been easy.

This week presented me with so many moments in which I thought, “I can’t do this.”

Regardless, I had to do whatever thing was in front of me, so I did.

My efforts were definitely imperfect, but the important thing was that I stood by my responsibilities as best I could.

A while back, I saw this Tweet, which made me laugh.

Yes, it is very unpleasant—especially if you battle any amount of perfectionism—to discover that a lot of the most important skills in life are not bestowed on us. We have to develop them, through trial and error.

I’m getting better at the process of iteration, though.

It’s becoming more and more clear to me that my duty as a dietitian is not to avoid mistakes. For my clients’ sake, I wish I always got things right immediately.

But nutrition counseling is a dynamic process, and it’s often the case that a client and I only find out what works through agreeing to try things. The results of those experiments show us where we need to go.

I’d become a lousy RD very quickly if I ever became uninterested in this process of inquiry and discovery. It’s what all science, nutrition science included, is about.

Healing, which is the process I’m most often entrusted with supporting, is especially full of surprises. So it’s basically a good thing that I continue to feel as though I have, whether I like it or not, a beginner’s mind.

I’m not alone in any of this; it’s how professional development works. But anyone can forget it, especially those of us who work for ourselves and don’t have a lot of collegiality to lean on.

Similarly, it’s nice to get an occasional reminder that we know more than we think we do, or that we have something to offer that we take for granted.

In this month of continuous challenge, I had a nice moment two weeks ago.

As I mentioned last Sunday, I gave a short grand rounds presentation on plant-based diet and chronic kidney disease to a group of nephrology professionals two weeks ago.

I was a little nervous. I’m neither a renal dietitian nor a clinical dietitian. I read studies constantly for my own understanding, but it’s been a while since I actually presented on research.

And there’s a part of me that feels intellectually inferior to doctors, remembering that I didn’t have it in me to join their ranks.

I nitpicked at my slides, worrying about whether I had enough figures or referenced enough studies. I probably made the presentation too busy and heavily footnoted, in the end.

When I finished speaking, I was braced for a lot of intricate questions about the research I had touched on. Funnily enough, that’s the opposite of what happened.

All of the nephrologists were interested in food.

Questions ranged from how to help folks transition toward plant-based eating patterns in a way that isn’t too abrupt (answer: focus on what you’re adding, not on what you’re giving up) to what my favorite low-salt seasoning is (answer: Mrs. Dash).

I was totally at ease discussing these topics; I do that almost every day, anyway.

For a moment, just a moment, I felt sort of like an expert, or at least a person who’s confident in something she knows well. And I had that feeling in the very context that I most expected to test me.

We never really know where and when our knowledge and skills will flow freely. Likewise, I continue to be surprised how seemingly familiar scenarios can baffle and humble me.

I’m ready for a week of whatever comes next: another string of challenges or a little bit of flow. Wishing you readiness, too.

Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

Patricia Greenburg’s dairy-free crepes would make a beautiful Mother’s Day brunch option.

The next time I have leftover mashed potatoes, I’m making Iryna’s potato pancakes.

Jess’ herbed potato salad is springtime on a plate. And I’m totally going to try to find those ready-roasted potatoes. I need all of the shortcuts I can get lately!

Brita’s sushi rolls look easy, colorful, and fresh.

Finally, Jhanelle’s blueberry pie is making me excited for summertime.

Reads

1. As someone who’s prone to overwhelm, I tend to make a big deal of it when my space is messy. I love this “five things tidying method” that streamlines and simplifies the process of cleaning up.

2. An interesting perspective on the acts of misremembering and forgetting.

3. Sad, and as I know all too well, true: eating disorders among teens are more severe than ever.

4. I love this self-talk for combatting the Sunday Scaries.

5. Ronnie Scott’s reflections on life with an older, adopted cat are so touching and profound. I especially loved this:

Living with an animal who’s had a life before you, who has so many secrets, means coming to terms with how little you can really know of their experience, which is a way, also, of coming to terms with how little you can really know of yourself.

Here’s to not knowing. And here’s to a restful evening for all of us—have a good night, friends.

xo

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