Weekend Reading, 5.1.16
May 1, 2016

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday, friends–and happy first of May! It’s Greek Easter this weekend, which I don’t observe in a formal way, but the holiday does evoke a lot of memories. And, though I don’t have much time for cooking in the next few days, at some point I’ll have to cook up a commemorative bowl of my vegan avgolemono soup, which is my own, private way of keeping tradition.

In the meantime, here are some other recipes that are on my mind.

Recipes

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Laura’s vegan grilled asparagus and French lentil Nicoise features a ton of spring vegetables, tender baby potatoes, and protein packed legumes. It looks fabulous, and it’s on my list of recipes to try when finals are over!

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I haven’t jumped on the homemade dukkah train yet, but this recipe is certainly tempting me. It’s a slow roasted cauliflower salad with sweet potato hummus and homemade nut dukkah–in other words, a whole lot of things that I’d like in my belly right now.

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Speaking of hummus, I’m drooling over Shira’s creamy chipotle hummus platter with cashews and greens. I love the idea of using a chipotle sauce in place of tahini!

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The next time I’m hankering for a hearty, flavorful bowl meal, I’m going to make Haley’s pickled Mediterranean eggplant bowl with faux-lafel. I’ve never had pickled eggplant before, but it sounds terrific, as does the Israeli couscous tabouli.

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Finally, I can’t think of a more beautiful, light spring dessert than Kayley’s white chocolate vanilla panna cotta with rhubarb.

Reads

1. First up in reads, a look at the unexpected health benefits of body acceptance. First and foremost, I like Sunny Sea Gold’s realistic take on being “OK with” your body, as opposed to the sometimes overreaching and unrealistic injunction we see all over social media and print media to “love” our bodies:

Notice I’m not saying ‘loving’ your body. Because honestly, I believe it’s unrealistic to love everything about ourselves, all the time…for many of us, learning to feel positive or even neutral about our physical form may take some work—but I’ve dug up three very concrete reasons why it’s worth it.”

Those reasons include good evidence that body acceptance can improve health, encourage resilience, and help people to maintain an appropriate weight.

I’m certainly not opposed to the aspiration of body love–especially if we take “love” to mean something nuanced and complex, a feeling that allows for hardship and conflict, just like real love between people (for more thoughts on this, check out this post). But I agree that acceptance and respect are also worthy, significant goals, even if they’re not the same thing as love.

2. I don’t have much to add to Chrissy Harrison’s fabulous article, “Why Detox Diets and Cleanses Always Fail” except a wholehearted “hell yes.” Awesome and totally spot-on.

3. I was interested to read this mental health article on what are called “trans-diagnostic dimensions”–traits or tendencies that exists on a spectrum and are not specific to one mental health disorder, but rather involved in numerous different mental health conditions.

A new study has examined three trans-diagnostic dimensions — compulsive behavior and intrusive thought, anxious-depression, and social withdrawal –in an effort to see whether or not they map more closely with the disorders they can characterize than other, more disease-specific symptoms. The essence of this research, it seems, is to create a way of characterizing mental illnesses that gives as much consideration to underlying and overlapping tendencies as it does to the symptoms that are currently used for DSM diagnostic criteria.

4. I was interested to read about the notion of “social self-care,” as opposed to the quiet, meditative acts of self-care that we might observe in privacy.

My tendency during times of stress is admittedly to turn inward and look to solitary acts–deep breathing, journaling, meditation–for relief. It can be both helpful and isolating. There are moments when calling a friend or even striking up a conversation with a stranger can feel equally restorative, if different, and it’s cool to see these small acts of connection getting attention as part of a larger self-care toolkit.

5. Finally, some hopeful new research into the potential of genetic engineering to help treat sickle-cell anemia.

Alright, friends. I wish you a lovely Sunday. Later this week, a post on making an informed transition to plant-based diet–really great for those of you who are considering veganism for the first time, or looking to extend your experience with plant-based food–and on Thursday, a recipe for soft tacos that I think you’ll love. Till soon,

xo

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    7 Comments
  1. thank you, gena, for the discussion of self-care. something i definitely need to work on. and in the spirit of all things the full helping, i may roast some cauliflower tonight 🙂

  2. Such a lovely post with thought for food amongst other things. Thank you for linking to my slow roasted cauliflower post 🙂 xx

  3. HI Gena–My two faves tonight are those rhubarb rosettes–WOW! –and the article about social self care. Very apt. Every day my walks with Romeo on which we visit with strangers along the way are an integral part of my self-care. Once you talk to “strangers” they are not strangers anymore! I’ve made many friends this way in my neighborhood, which makes it feel like a neighborhood. Also, I like that the question “what do I want?” or need, is the question to ask, and that the answer isn’t always the same. So very true, as I have learned in my many years of living and learning to take care of myself. Always a work in progress. Thank you!!

    ps made a version of your easy vegan pizza with white corn tortilla I had in the freezer and a black bean mash–OMG, these are going to be on regular rotation for as long as I can turn the oven on!! xoxo

  4. I’m Greek too, and like you don’t formally celebrate but I did make stuffed grape leaves – filled with bulgar, tomatoes, dill, mint, and lots of lemon 🙂 I can’t wait to try your vegan avgolemono! Now if you could figure out how to make a vegan galatomburiko, I would be forever grateful, lol!

  5. Thank you for directing us to Chrissy Harrison’s article- eloquent, to the point and TRUE. I especially love her emphasis of the fact that our organs do not and have not ever ‘stored’ toxins; that our gut, especially, must be used in order to be in optimal condition. As a pathologist, I see colon biopsies of what is known as ‘diversion colitis’- an extreme version of what it looks like to ‘rest’ your gut. Our intestinal cells require an environment rich in certain fatty acids; when they are deprived of this (such as when our gut is surgically bypassed with a colostomy) the cells become inflammed and die prematurly. Under the microscope the inflammation and tissue distortion is virtually indistinguishable from a bad flare of ulcerative colitis.

    Don’t be fooled by trendy, complicated (and expensive) cleanses. You will end up cranky, hungry and with a body full of organs which have been deprived of the food and nutrients they require to thrive!

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