Weekend Reading, 8.30.15
August 30, 2015

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday, everyone. I’ve had a good weekend so far, a combination of rest and work. I purposefully took Friday off from my nutrition clients so that I could spend the weekend catching up on my inbox, decluttering my apartment, downloading syllabi and picking up school books, and doing all of the other things I wanted to do before my new semester began. The decluttering bit ended up being incredibly cathartic–a massive purge of no-longer-useful papers, files, garments, kitchen odds and ends, and even books. Paring down always reminds me to ask myself what it is that I really need in life, and what I don’t, and there’s something valuable to be learned in the process.

I have plenty of thoughts running through my mind about heading back to school this week, but I’m saving them for another post, tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some recipes and reads for you!

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To begin, something beautifully light and bright, from Sherrie of With Food + Love. I love the idea of a summer slaw with peaches and parsley–all of the crunch of a traditional cabbage mixture, but added sweetness and freshness. Sunflower seeds make a great garnish, too.

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Dahl is without a doubt one of my tried-and-true go-tos. Like curries, simple pastas, or quinoa salads, it’s something that I can make quickly, customize easily, and which I know I’ll love every single time. Just when I think I’ve seen a thousand dahl recipes, Belen has given me a wonderful surprise in the form of summery tomato dahl–a fresh, unexpected approach to a vegetarian favorite.

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This pepita rosemary pate from The Clean Dish, which is spiked with nooch and hot paprika, looks super flavorful and tasty–a great spread for crackers or for adding kick to wraps and sandwiches.

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For comfort and satisfaction it’s hard to beat a simple bowl of noodles. These udon noodles with sesame dipping sauce from Two Red Bowls are calling my name–so simple and appealing.

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Finally, how fabulous is the electric color of this beet and coconut milk ice cream from 600 Acres? Totally show stopping, not to mention an easy recipe.

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

1. First up, I love my friend Maria’s recent blog post, entitled “Spread Your Feet Like Stars,” about her yoga practice and the seemingly improbable ways in which it has opened up space in her body. One of the most wondrous parts of my own yoga practice has been the number of times I find myself suddenly capable of something I thought I’d never be able to do–whether that’s touching the palms of my hands to the floor, lifting up into an inversion, or being able to look at my body without flinching. Yoga is full of such surprises. Maria sums this up perfectly (while also addressing her body’s own unique narrative) when she says,

With a body that wants to tip the scales toward stiffness and spasticity, this formula is  like a magic incantation. I stretch beyond where I could ever stretch if I were simply trying to stretch or straining to stretch–something we are definitely not supposed to do when practicing yoga, but which nearly everyone does do. Spreading my feet like stars–and letting myself believe such an impossibility is somehow possible–has made me conscious of how many years I have spent struggling, trying and straining, either thinking this was the best I could do, or not even knowing that’s what I was doing.

2. There’s a lot of buzz right now about gender neutral toys and their implications. The Science of Us takes a look at the actual science and research behind toys and how kids respond to them. The results are pretty interesting, and they certainly validate the intention behind gender neutral labeling.

3. The Vegan RD, Ginny Messina, has a new nutrition primer up on her site about calcium. It’s great–succinct, useful, and it covers all of the bases. I highly recommend reading it if you’re eating plant-based and experiencing any questions about your calcium needs. I’m overdue to write posts on both calcium and iron, now that my recent post on protein and protein-rich food combinations seems to have been helpful! Stay tuned for those.

4. Well known physician Oliver Sacks passed away this morning. The cause was cancer, a diagnosis and experience that he wrote about in numerous essays and op-eds, including this one and this one, both thoughtful and brave. The New York Times article about his life is worth reading, and it also collates a number of his more memorable articles for the newspaper over the years.

5. NPR has a new piece out about how more and more of us are eating alone. This isn’t news–the decline of shared and communal meals is something that many contemporary food writers have discussed–but it’s always interesting to ponder.

The article isn’t only about dining in solitude; it’s also about the decline of food as a ceremony, and the rise of grab-and-go meals. “‘…A smoothie and a bar [can] represent a lunch today,'” it notes. “…[T]he fixed thinking about three square meals a day is becoming passe.” While I’m the first person to recognize the need for convenience when it comes to food, I do often caution my clients against drinking their meals, or assembling meals from snack bars. It’s not a big deal now and then, but too much of it can distance us from the process of creating balanced, whole meals, which I think are nourishing on both a nutritional and a personal level.

Eating in solitude vs. eating together is something I’ve given much thought to since I entered into a serious relationship and cohabitation. One of the nicest things about my relationship with Steven is that we love food, and we love our dinner routines at home. We both feel that the week is impoverished when we don’t have much time to share meals. I find that the more I share food with others, the less I harbor attachments to foods and mealtimes that are overly obsessive and reminiscent of my EDs. In entering into a partnership, I’ve been encouraged to let go of strict mealtimes, repetitive combinations of food, rules and regulations about what I do and don’t eat. I’ve grown a lot, becoming more culinarily adventurous along the way.

And yet. There are some times when I miss my lovingly prepared, solitary dinners from the days when I was on my own, first in NYC and then in D.C.–the quiet, the focus on flavor and taste, and most importantly, the pride I felt at going out of my way to create something special solely for my own consumption. As someone who had always tended to deprive herself, the act of feeding myself well, with some amount of ceremony, was a big deal. I’m glad that the NPR article mentions MFK Fisher’s praise of solo dining; for more on the pleasures of eating alone, I recommend this awesome essay collection by Jenni Ferari-Adler.

And that’s it for this Sunday. Enjoy the reads, enjoy the food, and I will be back tomorrow.

xo

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    14 Comments
  1. Summery basil dahl sounds great! Very interesting.
    Beet ice cream, huh?
    I’m interested in the NPR article – I’ll have to check it out when I have more time to read it. Thanks for sharing.
    Oh and I love decluttering! I’m just finishing up the last of decluttering our entire place and it feels great =) Everything is all pretty & organized and we got rid of a good chunk of stuff. I feel lighter already ;p

  2. Thanks for the link love Gena! xx

    Also – I really enjoyed that science based article about gender neutral/labeling toys. I can send it to all my very conservative family members 😉

  3. Another funny thing about eating alone vs. eating with someone else (at least for me)… when I eat by myself, I don’t really care as much what I’m eating. But if I’m cooking for my boyfriend, I put a lot of care into what I make.

  4. Wow, Gena–thank you for including my post “Spread Your Feet Like Stars in your Weekend Reading line up!! What an amazing surprise! I teared up. I’ve had my head in a recipe and then drafting a story from which the recipe sprang all day and was about to shut off the computer and save your Weekend Reading for tomorrow morning. But something told me to go take a look. I am so honored. And I see this is yet another weekend reading I am definitely back to tomorrow. The “peach” slaw looks great and so does the tomato dahl. I was sad to read Oliver Sachs has passed and I definitely want to read about calcium and dining alone. So I will be back. . . .thank you again, and have a great week. I look forward to your thoughts about heading back to school, too. With much love and appreciation–M

    • Maria, your blog post was such a joy to read. So glad you were happy to find it in this round up. Have a wonderful start to your week! XO

  5. love your thoughts and the article on eating alone. i used to LOVE eating in groups, cooking for others, etc. however the food at my school last year caused me to be super picky when i ate in the halls, ask a bunch of questions, and only be able to eat at a few places. eating with others was a headache because i took forever, so i became accustomed to eating alone (either out, or just cooking/prepping in my room. which was out of the ordinary as a freshman). it’s weird now that i have to get BACK into the mindset of eating real meals, at meal times, and with others, and feeling relaxed. i dont like that my experiences last year made me so used to it. i do miss eating alone, like you said, feeling accomplished when you make a meal for yourself, and having a few moments of peace and being able to think for myself. but i also miss looking forward to meals with others, then moving on with my day and not thinking about food all the time
    (the now refers to this summer at home, and this school year, since i transferred).
    thanks for sharing that article!

  6. A *very* quick comment about decluttering: I can’t recommend strongly enough the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up! I’ve quickly become obsessed with it, and I know I’m not alone! XO

    • I read it, Rebecca! Super helpful and practical. I haven’t been following her method faithfully, but I definitely took away a lot of useful guidance and tips (as well as an overall invitation to question whether or not my belongings spark joy, meaning, etc.).

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