Weekend Reading, 9.22.17
September 24, 2017

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy weekend! And to those of you who celebrated Rosh Hashanah this week, happy new year. I greeted the holiday with Isa‘s vegan challah from Superfun Times and a gathering with my chosen family on Thursday evening. It was a lovely night, rich in conversation and good food.

I got to thinking about how five months ago I sat at the exact same table for Passover, my outlook and spirits so different than they are now. I remember how much it took for me to even get to Passover that night: I was stuck in what could probably be described as some mild agoraphobia, anxiety about leaving my home space that had descended on me in the winter last year. I was glad to be around loved ones, but also self-conscious, nervous about socializing after an isolated year.

This week, by contrast, I felt like myself, or the self I’m becoming as I pass through a lot of change. It felt easy to open up, to laugh, to share; I wasn’t closed or anxious, and I didn’t second guess what I had to say. When we uttered blessings for a sweet new year, I found myself believing with my whole heart that this year would be sweeter than last, not because I expect it to be free of pain or challenge, but because I feel stronger and more assured of my resilience than I have in a long time. It was a happy moment, and I was grateful for it.

It’s not the turn of a new year for everyone, and since I’m not Jewish I suppose it isn’t technically a new year for me, either! But it feels like the right moment to acknowledge a fresh start. I wish you all sweet new beginnings, too, and I hope you enjoy the links this week.

Recipes

I think I’ve found my new favorite savory breakfast: Erin’s hearty, healthy smoky beans and polenta.

What a beautiful salad for late summer: Lindsey’s bowl of arugula, peaches, avocado, kale, and a scrumptious roasted poblano lime dressing.

I’m loving this untraditional, accessible, weeknight-friendly vegan paella from Agnes of Cashew Kitchen.

I’m bookmarking Amber’s mushroom and chickpea korma as fall gets underway. Paired with some homemade vegan naan or chickpea rice flatbread, it’s a perfectly cozy and flavorful dinner.

The seasons are changing, but it’s still summer, and while the warm weather lasts I’m dying to make Sarah’s vegan coconut ginger ice cream with plantain chips!

Reads

1. I can barely put into words how much I love this story! Eight-year-old Sophia Spencer’s passion for the insect world was making her the subject of teasing at school, until her mom reached out to the Entomological Society of Canada for some support.

She got an overwhelming response from professionals who were thrilled to help encourage Sophia’s interests. The story went viral, inspiring the hashtag #Bugs4Girls, and Sophia was even asked to co-author a paper about science communication and public perception of entomology! It’s an inspiring story of the scientific community coming together, of parents nurturing a child’s interests, and of a girl who was unafraid to wear her passion on her sleeve at a young and vulnerable age.

2. With his characteristic talent for turning science reporting into artful and riveting storytelling, Siddhartha Mukherjee describes our quest to understand how and why tumors metastasize.

3. A mother’s candid, humble reflections on watching her daughter develop the anxiety that seems to affect generations of women in her family. Sobering, but the genetic component of mental health struggles is a reality, and I think Paula Fitzgibbons handles it gracefully and with hope.

4. At the request of curious ecologists, a juice company dumped leftover orange peels in a deforested area of Costa Rica. A decade later, here’s what it looks like.

5. Journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin has been reporting on back pain and the industry that has sprung up around it for almost a decade, and she has a new book forthcoming on the subject. In this article, she reports on how relief for chronic back pain may require patients to consider the role that the brain and central nervous system play in their symptoms, rather than looking to spinal treatments for answers.

The busyness of a new fall semester is now fully fledged. I’m staying afloat and also leaving myself some space for messiness and for figuring it all out as I go along. This week, I’ll be sharing a savory breakfast bowl recipe that’s doable even on a hurried morning. See you soon.

xo

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    3 Comments
  1. Gena, this is a beautiful post. It touched my heart deeply, and made me smile (and that’s no small accomplishment since one of my teeth broke tonight, which was not what I had planned for this evening!) Your beautiful assertion about resilience made me think of a deck of angel cards I may still have somewhere–they are tiny cards, almost like fortune cookies–each one has a word with a little drawing of an angel or angels illustrating the word. My favorite one was always “resilience.” So you were the angel tonight who reminded me what a valuable gift it is in life. Thank you!!

    The polenta and smoky beans look great (thinking soft food over here) and also the chickpea rice naan. I have read the article about the orange peels–wonderful and inspiring! And I look forward to reading about the girl and her bugs. 🙂 Also it sure makes sense to me that back pain needs to be addressed by also including the central nervous system.

    Thank you so much for this, you are a love, and best to you as you begin your school year in earnest. xoxoxo

  2. OMGOSH I’m always in search of polenta recipes – thank you!

    And thank you for the article on pain. Mine has gotten worse recently and while I dismissed the yoga/alternative med folks who kept telling me it’s in my brain…well hot damn I know that (I teach the SAME concept about orgasm). I’m grateful to have recently worked with a PT who was so up to date on pain science and so beautifully was able to shift my body out of either a trauma or fight/flight response into peace. There is definitely some mechanical stuff involved but it doesn’t explain everything!

    xo

  3. Gena, This post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for opening up and sharing your struggles. I can relate; I’ve recently transitioned back to freelance life, which means working from home. Your words so accurately describe what I’ve been feeling (and working through with my therapist). We are strong. Thank you for the reminder.
    Also: I forgot to comment when you shared an update recently, but congrats on your next book. It’s one I eagerly await, for your recipes as well as Ashley’s photos!

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