Weekend Reading, 9.6.15
September 6, 2015

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday, all. I hope that this post finds you enjoying the weekend, and if it’s a holiday for you tomorrow, then I hope you spend today basking in the glow of just a little more weekend time.

I’m working tomorrow afternoon and have been adjusting to the sudden onslaught of schoolwork, so it has been a fairly busy few days for me. But I’m still enjoying a quiet Sunday, punctuated by beautiful weather and lots of coffee–and the recipes and words you’ll find below!


To begin, a beautifully light and colorful wheatberry and cherry tomato salad from Green Evi.


I love the looks of this simple mung bean + veggie toss from 80twenty, seasoned with cumin, coriander, and fennel. It would be a refreshing side dish or light lunch (along with a hunk of crusty bread or a nice bowl of soup!). Yum, yum.


Anna Jones’ recipes are always stellar, and this creative carrot and chickpea pancake with lemon spiked dressing is no exception. Substitute cashew cream, coconut cream, or vegan yogurt for the Greek yogurt called for in the recipe.


I can’t wait to try Meg’s lightly grilled sweet potato and lime taquitos, which are both gluten free and vegan. The light drizzle of avocado dipping sauce adds an irresistible finishing touch!


And finally, dessert. Who can resist Kristy’s decadent–yet refined sugar free–snickers ice cream? Not me. Bring on the peanuts, chocolate, and date caramel sauce (which I’d surely be tempted to slurp with a straw…)


1. NPR recently shared a study that demonstrates veganism’s potential to aid in healthy weight loss. It’s not new information: it’s a fairly well documented pattern that vegans typically have lower BMIs than omnivores, pescatarians, and vegetarians (1, 2). With the potential of the diet to aid in weight loss comes reduced risk of conditions like Type II Diabetes. Taken together, these can be big selling points of plant-based diets.

I don’t love it when veganism is presented exclusively as a diet or weight loss solution, because the potential health benefits extend far beyond lean BMI, and also because many people go vegan for reasons that have nothing to do with health improvement. Still, I’ve seen time and time again that veganism can be a particularly nutrient-dense approach to weight loss, with lasting and life-changing results. That it spares animals and reduces strain on the environment is of course another wonderful dimension, and studies like this provide promising information for those wish to explore the lifestyle!

2. Can transfusion of blood from a younger person to an older person help to increase longevity and quality of life? It’s possible, and this Guardian article details the work of scientists who are exploring transfusion as a means of life extension and age reversal. The article fascinating and very thought-provoking from a health science standpoint, but I should give a disclaimer that the descriptions of animal experimentation are graphic–more difficult to read than what one typically finds in newspaper coverage.

3. A glimpse at the promises, complications, and limitations of so called “personalized medicine,” told through the story of one remarkable cancer patient. I won’t say too much–the article is extremely long, for good reason–but it’s unforgettable.

4. The threats of physical harm (like unintended bacterial infection) in healthcare settings are real, but strict procedures exist to help prevent them. What about emotional harm, injuries to the psyche and to a patient’s sense of self? Because optimism and frame of mind impact health outcomes strongly, emotional harm is a huge part of the calculus of a patient’s prospects and recovery. Emotional harm is difficult to define, but according to this article, it has been articulated as,

something that affects a patient’s dignity by the failure to demonstrate adequate respect for the patient as a person.2 This definition takes into account that not every case of emotional harm is the result of human action. It might be the result of the disease process itself or the result of a compromising surgical oncology procedure. The emotional harm might stem from the technique used to instruct a patient about the care of a colostomy bag, or it might come from a simple lack of privacy during an infusion due to limited space on the outpatient oncology unit. A group of medical students observing during an examination could certainly cause emotional harm to the patient.”

The article goes on to describe some of the controversy and disagreement surrounding the idea of emotional harm and how to prevent it in clinical settings.

5. Finally, an in-depth profile of a single tequila producer in Mexico, who is taking an innovative approach to agriculture and business.

Many thanks to all of you for your kind words on my first week back in school! It was a bit of a whirlwind, and I’m sure it’ll take me some time to get into the swing of things. That said, I’m already developing a sense of how I’ll organize my work flow in the weeks ahead, and the material is all very interesting so far. Funnily enough, while I expected that Advanced Nutrition I (which is essentially a nutritional biochemistry course) would be my least favorite class, it may well be my favorite…which is a sign of how far I’ve come in the hard sciences. I look forward to sharing more as the semester takes shape!

This week was also marked by the arrival of these:

Food52 Vegan

I can’t believe that Food52 Vegan is just about to hit bookstore shelves–it feels as though I was frantically testing recipes just yesterday! My team at Ten Speed press has done a remarkable job with the book, and it’s beautiful. I’m so excited to share some recipes with you later this month, and to keep you all posted on the publication fun.

I’m not sure that this qualifies as “fun,” but on Thursday and Friday, I spent exactly 24 hours in the Penguin Random House warehouse in Maryland, signing 3500 books for the exclusive Food52 shop presale:


My wrists and hands were a little sore by the end of it, but I loved meeting the folks who make books come to life at the warehouse; we put on a long playlist, and the work went quickly.

And now I’m home, and it’s all reading, all the time. Tomorrow I’ll get to catch up with clients, and I’ll also be sharing an awesome (and simple) new vegan quesadilla recipe. Later this week, a new Green Recovery narrative. So, I hope to see you all soon. Happy Labor Day!


1. Diet and body mass index in 38,000 EPIC-Oxford meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. E A Spencer, P N Appleby, G K Davey and T J Key. International Journal of Obesity (2003) 27, 728–734.

2. Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes. Serena Tonstad, MD, PHD, Terry Butler, Ru Yan, and Gary E. Fraser. Diabetes Care, 2009 May; 32(5): 791–796.

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  1. I finally got around to read that Agave article. It was interesting because I just started to read The Drunken Botanist and it pretty much starts out with the agave plant (she breaks down all the plants from various parts of composing a drink) and she talks about how mezcal production is pretty much hurting the wild agave population, while tequila (and I assume agave syrup as well) are creating fragile monocultures. These two articles really make me want to try some fine mezcal! XD

  2. I love these round ups so much! One thing – I think you may have the wrong link for the taquitos? It seems to link to the recipe before, Anna Jones’ carrot and chickpea pancake?

  3. Congratulations on the Food 52 book Gena! That’s great! And wow, what a weekend reading line-up. I’m wiped out just from skim reading the cancer patient story. But I’m glad you put something up about emotional harm. I think it is a serious and often overlooked or dismissed issue. Thanks again for another thought provoking and mouth watering Weekend Reading. And good luck with school! xo

  4. Hey sweetie, just noticed you’ve put Anna Thomas instead of Anna Jones for that pancake 😉

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