Weekend Reading, 5.24.15
May 24, 2015

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

When I woke up this morning, just before 6, I immediately started to slide my feet out of bed. I was feeling more foggy than usual, thanks to my allergies, and I started to run through the day’s schedule and to-do list. What time were my clients scheduled for? How many meal plans were on the docket for that morning? Where was I with my freelance projects, and did I have any substantive writing to do this afternoon? A moment or so later, it dawned on me that it’s Sunday, and I don’t have any clients on the schedule, and I’ve made an effort to take tomorrow off so that I can quietly catch up on blogging, household stuff, and spend some time with Steven. It was the nicest feeling.

I hope that everyone else is enjoying the prospect of a long weekend, or at least taking a few hours today to rest and restore. Perhaps these links and recipes will serve as pleasant (and thought-provoking) distraction.


For several weeks now, I’ve been ogling my friend Jackie’s artichoke “crab” cakes with sriracha tartare sauce. Steven and I had hearts of palm crab cakes at Great Sage last year on my birthday, and he has raved about them ever since. I think it’s time to give Jackie’s version a try.


This Mexican brussels sprout slaw with quinoa from Sylvia of Feasting at Home is so creative and unusual–I’ve rarely seen brussels sprouts paired with these seasonings!


I love savory waffles, and I love waffles made with unconventional batters (like mung bean or chickpea flour). I couldn’t help but be intrigued by Josie and Tanney’s red lentil waffles. Served with pomegranate syrup, they’re both savory and sweet–and probably quite rich in protein and fiber, thanks to the lentils!


Summer is the season of on-the-go snacks. Rachael’s almond trail mix cookies (vegan and gluten free) look like a perfect addition to picnic lunches, hiking backpacks, travel carry ons, or the kitchen cookie jar 🙂


And while we’re on the topic of sweets, what can I say about my friend Ashley’s crispy peanut butter cups, featuring cooked quinoa and dark chocolate? Nothing. Just make them.


1. I’m a big fan of Dan Buettner‘s books, and I enjoyed his recent article in the WSJ about Sardinia, an island which is home to 21 centenarians. (To give you some context, Sardinia has a total population of about 10,000; only about 4 Americans in every 10,000 reaches the age of 100.) Buettner talks about some of the Sardinians healthful habits, such as physical activities (gardening, walking) and a diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates, especially legumes. But it’s the culture of Sardinia that interests him the most. He writes,

What we found in Sardinia is similar in other blue zones. None of the spry centenarians I’ve met over the years said to themselves at age 50, “I’m going get on that longevity diet and live another 50 years!” None of them bought a treadmill, joined a gym or answered a late-night ad for a supplement.

Instead, they lived in cultures that made the right decisions for them. They lived in places where fresh vegetables were cheap and accessible. Their kitchens were set up so that making healthy food was quick and easy. Almost every trip to the store, a friend’s house, work or school occasioned a walk. Their houses didn’t have mechanized conveniences to do house work, kitchen work or yard work; they did it by hand.”

Buettner is also quick to note that diet and exercise are only one part of the longevity equation. Life in Sardinia is firmly wrapped around community, and it is clear that this helps to keep its inhabitants healthy. Buettner reports traveling to the hamlet of Moses, where

“…I met 94-year old Salvatore Pinna and three of his friends, whose ages ranged from 88 to 90. They wore woolen newsboy caps and the kind of rugged tweed jacket fashionable in both sheep pastures and the village square. They get together every morning for coffee, again in the afternoon to play dominoes and at night to drink homemade Cannonau wine. Two of them were living alone, but as one told me, ‘We’re never alone.'”

2. An interesting article on the evolution of bone health. Apparently, the human skeletal system is thinning, and the fact that we are far more inactive than our ancestors is largely to blame.

3. A cool story, via Slate. Anthropologist Kate Clancy recently spent a Saturday morning listening to NPR with her daughter. She heard astrophysicist Shrinivas Kulkarni interviewed, and was struck when he described scientists as “boys with toys.” When the phrase was repeated and emphasized, she started to get angry–especially as she thought about how these sorts of stereotypes might influence her daughter.

My 7-year-old daughter knows more about whooping crane migration than most adults do, can sex a monarch butterfly, and has designed her own tools using a 3-D printer in her dad’s lab. But I know what is coming: Research shows that middle school, a major time for gender identity development, is when many girls begin to lose a sense of having science be part of their identities. By high school many drop science classes despite outperforming the boys who stay. In higher education, implicit biases will continue to plague her: Recent work presented by Daniel Z. Grunspan at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists meetings, for instance, demonstrated that in biology classrooms, male students are not only evaluated by their peers as more competent, but male students consistently underevaluate female students. In my own work, in a collaboration with Julienne Rutherford, Robin Nelson, and Katie Hinde, we have shown that female scientists in the field sciences, particularly trainees, face hostile work environments, including sexual harassment and assault.”

So, Clancy started the hashtag #girlswithtoys, and it’s gone viral on Twitter.

Clancy, who studies the evolutionary origins of women’s physiology and cultural origins of gender inequality, is excited about it, and so am I.

4. I really enjoyed Victoria Schlesinger’s recent article about evolution for Aeon. Schlesinger echoes other scientists who have recently alleged that the process of evolutional selection is actually happening far more rapidly — sometimes within a small number of generations — than we have previously assumed was possible.

5. Finally, I’m sure that many of you saw this already, but two Dutch artists cut exactly 98 foods into identical cubes. Can you guess them all? I got almost all of the vegetables and fruits, but missed nearly all of the fish and meat. Go figure! Regardless of how many you can guess, the spread of foods is pretty mesmerizing and beautiful.

On that whimsical note, my friends, I’m off for the day. But I’ll return tomorrow night, and in the meantime, I wish you a great Sunday.


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  1. I’m actually really happy I didn’t start really looking at gender inequalities until AFTER I did all my science training. That is a very privileged thing to say but until the very end of my college career (when a certain prof was let go for multiple sexual harassment incidences), I was completely oblivious. It also was just never an issue for me – I was good at it, I did it, kept getting better, and then did it again. There were certainly more male science profs than female but I don’t remember ever being treated differently. Plus I had fabulous female friends studying just as hard…in the sciences. It both angers and saddens me that any girl is discouraged from following her dreams. Science hasn’t been a boy’s field for a VERY long time 9was it ever, really?) and I’m happy to see more conversation around this popping up, along with the use of social to spread the message.

    Thanks as always for another fabulous roundup!

  2. Always love reading your weekly round-up, but this one in particular had some great recipes and articles! Thanks Gena for putting this together week after week!

    Glad you’re getting an opportunity to rest this Memorial Day. I have some work on the agenda, but I’ll also be taking some time for a picnic with my boyfriend, so it’s sure to be a great one!

  3. I love your weekend reading. I really must get more organised. Time to try those fabulous recipes.

  4. I love mornings like that, well not the waking up with the to-do list running in my head but having time to relax:) It’s so important! The Mexican Brussels sprout recipe is really intriguing to me as well, gonna have to check that out. And thanks for sharing the article on Sardinia, I love reading about other cultures lifestyles. It doesn’t surprise me that they have strong community and walk alot, as that seems to be a common thread among those who live a long time. I love Where we live (San Diego) but it’s not very walk-able, I hope to move to a smaller community in the near future, I think less driving is key to longevity & community! Hope you and Steven have a great holiday:)

  5. i loved reading this post, the lentil waffles are different and interesting and I loved the article on Sardinia, thanks for sharing x

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