Weekend Reading, 7.27.14
July 27, 2014

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Hello, everyone. I’m still in the depths of pre-move commotion: trying to keep up with work and tie up loose ends before leaving D.C., saying “bye for now” to my friends here, and slowly (too slowly) putting together boxes. Even so, I just took a little time to peruse some cool recipes and articles from the week. I hope you’ll find them as engaging as I did.


First up, an absolutely exquisite coconut broccoli soup recipe from Heidi Swanson. Nourishing, delicious.


I love Susan’s kidney bean and walnut dip; it’s flavorful and simple. There’s a lentil walnut dip that I make often and love, but this would be a really nice alternative.


My kind of meal, for sure: a huge, meal-sized Mediterranean kale salad from Julie of the Simple Veganista.


Another toast post, this one a gorgeous mango and avocado toast from my ridiculously talented friend Kathy. Plus, check out 18 of her other best toast ideas!


And finally, dessert. Allyson Kramer’s rocky road brownies. Enough said.


1. I have a fond memory of sitting at my table last summer ago with my genetics lab partner, Reed, a box of lancets, and a home blood type kit that we’d ordered online. A few moments later, I was confirmed as A+, Reed as O positive. Things I probably should have been aware of already, but it was fun finding out for ourselves.

After our little experiment, a few jokes ensued about how apt it was that I’m vegan and Reed is a committed meat eater, since according to Peter D’Adamo, author of the popular book Eat Right 4 Your Type, people with A type blood thrive best on plant-based diets, while O types should eat primarily meat and avoid grains (loosely translated, something paleo-ish). Of course, all jokes aside, this theory has been debunked by numerous sources; there’s a nice summary of why the theory is so far afield on the Skeptic’s Dictionary, but my most favorite, recent debunking was through researchers at the University of Toronto. You can find their published article here, but the upshot is that, while eating a vegetarian diet or a diet that excludes cheap, refined carbohydrates may indeed yield heath benefits, there is no evidence that those benefits have anything to do with blood type.

All of this is a way of introducing the article that really caught my eye this week. It’s published in Mosaic magazine, and it’s not only a good response to the whole “eat right 4 your type” thing, but also a very smart inquiry into why we have blood types at all. Worth reading.

2. I have no doubt that many of you have seen this article in the New Yorker; it peers into the lives of families whose children have been diagnosed with diseases that are either one-of-a-kind or extremely rare. I was interested to hear about how families have banded together to advocate for themselves and others who are feeling equally at a loss for answers or support.

3. Speaking of children and illnesses, this is the very harrowing account of Kali Hardig, a twelve year old girl who survived infection with Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba that causes extreme brain swelling. Kali picked it up swimming in an Arkansas water park. Chances of surviving such infection are extremely slim (maybe as low as 1%), and her story is considered something of a miracle.

4. A lovely, sad, meditative essay from Leslie Van Gelder on time and illness. Originally published in the Bellevue Literary Review, it describes how our perception of time–indeed, our very ability to keep time–can warp and shift as we’re confronted with mortality (in this case, the death of Van Gelder’s husband, Kevin, to cancer). To try to sum it up any more would be to take away from its impact. It’s the kind of thing you should just read, if you’re prepared for something mournful.

5. And finally, on a lighter note, Food52 provides us with a list of 11 grocery items we should all be making at home, including pickled ginger, curried paste, and vanilla extract. So inspiring! I can’t wait to have an unpacked kitchen, so that I can jump into more DIY-ing in August.

And speaking of that, the sooner I pack up my kitchen, the sooner that moment will come. Till tomorrow!


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  1. All those pictures re making me drool… attractive i know. But the rocky road brownies look just irresistible !! The joys of having a sweet tooth. And Hannah if you have ever watched Dexter? it totally reminded me of that show lol p.s a great read aswell


  2. Hi Gena–Wow, that article about blood types was excellent!! And the food looks great too–thanks for another fabulous weekend reading series–and good luck with packing–I can relate. 🙂

  3. How have I never thought to put mango on avocado toast???? That is genius.

    Also, I don’t know my blood type either. But I’ve always believed that whole “eat for your blood type” craze was BS.

  4. i hope you get things settled soon! moving is exhausting! something i’ve been keeping my eye on is this ebola outbreak: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/american-doctor-in-west-africa-contracts-deadly-ebola-virus/

    i’m also all about the diy condiments to have on hand. one of my favorites is a vegan friendly green curried grape recipe! i should post it! it’s got incredibly complexity of flavor and can be used in hot or cold dishes.

  5. I am from Arkansas, and I remember when that girl got infected by the amoeba and how the water park was subsequently shut down. A lot of people were talking about it when we went back to school last year. It was definitely something of a miracle that she has survived.
    Also, I love the Food52 article; it’s given me the impetus to be a little more proactive in my homemade condiment endeavors!

  6. I love your Weekend Readings, I almost always discover new blogs to follow 🙂
    I just got your book and made a salad with the Creamy Maple Chipotle Dressing for a BBQ, everybody raved about it.
    Good luck and hopefully not to much stress with the move.

  7. The blood type diet, or the idea of eating right for your type, is one I was suspicious of from the moment I heard about it. (Even though I am also type A and while not vegan cannot digest meat.) I never had to read anything debunking it as I never believed there was anything to it. In fact, the whole concept has always seemed SO hokey to me that I have also tended to dismiss advocates of other dietary approaches who lend credence to the blood type diet, most notably Donna Gates in the Body Ecology Diet but also Gabriel Cousens. Ironically enough, I did find the Body Ecology Diet convincing in parts – I was curious enough to want to try it – but then at the end there was a whole chapter on blood type which led me to dismiss everything I had read to that point.

    • Ha! Yes, hokey is the word.

      Body Ecology never appealed, in part because so much of it (like a lot of candida stuff) felt arbitrary and only half-explained, and in part because of the food combining, but mostly because it felt ridiculously hard to do if one happens to be vegan. I agree that some of it was compelling, though. Had no idea that Gabriel Cousins was a believer in the “eat right 4 your type” business!

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