Weekend Reading
May 12, 2024

I was happy to join Dr. Laurel Trujillo on The Yoga Hour podcast this past week.

The Yoga Hour is a podcast that explores how practices and insights drawn from Kriya Yoga can help us to navigate the human experience.

My conversation with Dr. Trujillo focused on veganism as a personal expression of non-harming and on meal prep as a form of self-care.

Dr. Trujillo asked me about how I started meal prepping. I told her that meal prep became my sole means of cooking during my internship year.

Then I described how I lost touch with the habit during Covid lockdown. I returned to it, ironically, as I was trying to finish the manuscript for The Vegan Week.

I said candidly that I enjoy the end result of cooking but don’t always relish the process. Cooking continues to be a necessary form of self-care in my life, but in contrast to how it felt when I was in my twenties, I no longer think of it as being a pleasurable hobby. This is in spite of—and possibly because of—the fact that it’s now such a big part of my work.

Dr. Trujillo seemed to find this perspective refreshing, and I was glad.

When you write about food, there’s so much pressure to project a sense of ease and joy around being in the kitchen.

I find tremendous relief in a sentiment that Ina Garten has shared: “Cooking’s hard for me. I mean, I do it a lot, but it’s really hard and I just love having the space to concentrate on what I’m doing, so I make sure it comes out well.”

Same, same.

It’s a relatively new thing for me to own this. I don’t think I even realized that it had become true before I wrote The Vegan Week.

Now I find it freeing to admit that cooking is my job and a habit that I value, but I don’t always enjoy it. I can own the fact that I’d often rather eat out than stay in, and there are a lot of foods that I’d rather purchase than make from scratch.

This shift feels related to other realizations about where I find enjoyment and how I experience a sense of identity.

For example, I’m really glad that I stuck it out through grad school, because it means that I get to practice as a dietitian.

But I can’t claim to have enjoyed the process. Much younger me had always considered herself academically inclined. By the time I finished my master’s degree, I regarded school solely as a means to an end, and I was so glad to be done.

When I was traveling last summer, it was the first trip I’d taken in which I didn’t—and didn’t want to—check email. I gave almost no thought to work, which was a new sensation.

I realized that I’m lucky to do work that’s meaningful to me, but I’m increasingly interested in working to live, rather than the other way around.

I find myself less interested in sharing things on social media, more interested in having private experiences and living in the moment.

It’s all so different from how I thought about work in my late twenties and early thirties, at which point blogging seemed like the biggest piece of my identity.

I know there’s nothing groundbreaking about saying that cooking can be a drag, that education can be compulsory, and that work is work.

But for those of us to whom over-efforting and perfectionism come easily, or who tend to measure our worth in accomplishment, there may be a special kind of growth in realizing that we don’t have to be overly invested in all of our labors.

We can take care of our responsibilities without always relishing them.

We can separate work and life.

It’s cool when those arenas overlap, and they also don’t have to.

Wishing you a week of good work and good fun, whether the two are coupled or not.

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

Recipes

1. Nettle risotto is a springtime classic, and this one is perfectly minimalist.

2. This tofu katsu looks so crispy and good.

3. I’ve made countless noodle salads but somehow have never thought about spaghetti salad—yum.

4. Chickpea salad on toast or stuffed into a pita never fails me. I’m adding avocado chickpea salad to my list of go-tos.

5. What a beautiful rhubarb upside down cake.

Reads

1. All major life transitions can make us more vulnerable to the resurgence of old eating disorder behaviors or the development of new ones. I’ve worked with many women who grapple with eating disorders during perimenopause or menopause.

It’s good to see some attention given to this particular vulnerability in the media. Carrie Dennett wrote about it for the May 2024 issue of Today’s Dietitian, and here’s another brief article that addresses eating disorders and perimenopause.

2. I know I’ve linked to a bunch of articles about ARFID recently, but here’s another. It includes a helpful, bulleted list of symptoms to look out for, plus some tips for distinguishing between ARFID and picky eating in both teens and adults.

3. I’d never have imagined the topics of mushroom foraging and disability justice as being seamlessly interrelated, but thanks to this essay, I see that they are.

4. All things considered, I’m so glad that we’re talking more about mental health. But I do sometimes wonder if there’s a downside to the conversation, especially as it impacts adolescents. Ellen Barry poses this question in The New York Times.

5. Like John Devore, I’m a devout drinker of hot black coffee first thing in the morning.

There can be lattes and cold brew and other coffee-related drinks later in the day, but on any day, in any season, hot black coffee comes first.

Devore writes:

“I am steadfast in my loyalty to hot black coffee. I am reminded that the best things in life are straightforward. Plain. I have so many feelings and responsibilities to juggle, but my morning coffee is a prayer, short and centering — a quiet moment before an otherwise noisy day. My life is simmering chaos, my coffee a cup of serenity, black like the bottom of a well full of wishes.”

Yes.

Speaking of a quiet moment before an otherwise noisy day, I’m posting early today.

Wishing you a long, excellent Sunday—and a happy Mother’s Day to those who are celebrating in some way!

xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    No Comments

You might also like

You know how sometimes somebody says something to you at precisely the moment you need to hear it? I’m guessing that the real reason for this is that we create meaning from our experience. If something is already on our minds, we’re probably likely to hear what other people say and find some relevance in their comments. We hear and listen because we’re ready to hear and listen. Even so, there’s a part of me that really believes in serendipity. I’ve been surprised…

I’ve been trying to write something all day, without much success. Events of the past week have left me at a loss for words. I was thinking that I’d post a weekend pause, telling you that I’d be back with regularly scheduled programming next week. But in the back of my mind was an exchange that I’d had with a friend earlier in the week, on Monday. For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about it. And I thought that there must be…

I got a lot of good advice while I was a post-bacc student. Some of it took a while to settle in, either because I needed to overcome some initial resistance in order to see its truth, or because I couldn’t grasp what had been offered without hindsight to help me. Some if it hit me immediately and changed how I saw things. An example of the latter is something my friend Erin said to me one day over coffee. I’d just wrapped…

When I was a kid, according to my mom, I used to spend hours at a time lying on the floor and staring up at the ceiling. She was the sort of parent who gave me plenty of space to do my own thing, but this habit was so pervasive that she finally asked my pediatrician about it. “She can stare at the ceilings for hours at a time,” she told him. “Should I be worried?” My doctor—an older Greek gentleman whom we…