I’m happy to report that I’m fully recovered from the flu. And I felt better in time to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom last weekend.
I felt the mix of emotions that I always feel on Mother’s Day: appreciation of my mom, admiration of my friends who are moms, sympathy for anyone who chooses not to observe that day because it evokes difficult personal history, and empathy with all people greet the day—and other family-oriented holidays—with some sadness and longing.
I posted some photos of me and my mom on Instagram, with a loving and appreciative caption. One kind reader thanked me for nurturing my community of followers.
A few hours later, a new client wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, disclaiming that she didn’t know whether it applied directly. But she guessed that, as a dietitian, I’m a nurturing person.
Both comments touched my heart more deeply than their senders might have intended.
I get so, so tired of feeling as though I’m only taking care of myself. I sometimes can’t see, or don’t acknowledge, that I have the capacity, opportunity, and gift of caring for others.
The majority of my private practice is now eating disorders, and many of the individuals I work with are teens. I’m able to be a caring, watchful presence in their lives, and I’m able to encourage their parents and family members, too.
I do some of the same things, albeit in different ways, for my clients who aren’t dealing with eating disorders. It’s always my hope to find the right balance of offering support while also sensing when a client needs me to stand back, remain present, and allow them to work through a problem on their own.
I’d imagine that this is a kind of intuition that mothers use often.
Speaking of my private practice, it’s been taking a lot of my time lately. It’s hard work in the best of ways, and this happens to be a particular intense moment in the lives of many young people that I work with.
So, in the spirit of mothering myself (and not picking up another virus), I relaxed this evening, which is why I’m now posting so late.
To whatever extent I do nurture and care for the community that reads these weekend posts, I feel so lucky to do that. Thank you for allowing me to realize that part of myself.
And happy Sunday, folks. Here are some recipes and reads.
I know that Passover has passed, but I just found Lindsey’s smart recipe for homemade, gluten-free matzoh.
I love all of the vibrant colors in these vegan mushroom bowls.
Red potatoes and leeks, for spring.
What a beautiful sesame orange cake! And that frosting—tahini in/on everything, always.
1. I didn’t know anything about Dr. John Fryer until I read this article in the New York Times this week. What a legacy—and how poignant it was to read about both the personal cost and the powerful impact of his professional anonymity.
2. An interesting article on the “network associations” of food craving, restrained eating, hunger and negative emotions. The findings are complex, and fair warning, they’re presented with complex visuals. But one major takeaway is that restrained eating, which in the context of the study means intentionally limited eating, was a “central predictor” of eating behaviors and negative emotions. It was a predictor of food craving, hunger, sadness and loneliness.
According to the authors, “food craving was also predicted by hunger and stress, and hunger predicted loneliness.”
Given the nature of my work, I know all too well how devastating the longterm consequences of intentional food restriction can be. Eating to adequacy is crucial.
3. I know almost nothing about climbing, so I’m fortunate to have stumbled on this essay. The author, who is of Piikani Blackfeet heritage, describes the personal thrill she finds in climbing and addresses the complexity of popular narratives about climbing as they relate to Indigenous Peoples.
4. I was very interested to read about Protactile, a language of touch that originates in DeafBlind communities.
5. I appreciated this take on the term “junk food,” which is a phrase that I don’t use. When I work with a new client, I ask them directly whether it’s OK for us not to use words like “junk” or “crap” when we discuss food choices. I also try to gently steer us away from saying that food choices were “bad” or “wrong.”
I even discourage use of “healthy” to describe a single type of food or instance of eating. Context is everything.
It’s up to my clients to define with is nourishing and healthful for their own bodies, along with a vocabulary to describe it. But it’s my choice to create a counseling environment that’s neutral, curious, and free of judgment.
Terms like “junk food” have, as the author of the essay explains, taken on moral insinuations that are problematic for a lot of reasons.
What I can speak to is the problematic reductiveness and oversimplification of assigning these words to food selection. We choose the foods we do for a lot of reasons. Nutrition isn’t always one of them.
This week, a lovely and simple new baking recipe for spring. Look forward to being back here soon.
On Tuesday night, my mom and I went to see a revival of The Music Man that’s on Broadway, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. This alone was something to celebrate, because for the few days before the performance, we weren’t sure that we could make it. My mom’s flu had been lingering, as flu often is, and we weren’t sure she’d be up to it. It was also the first Broadway show we’d seen together—something that we love doing as mother and…
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