What’s in a Name?

Happy Thursday, friends. I’m checking in with a pretty big announcement, which is that Choosing Raw, the blog title that has served me faithfully since 2009, is being retired. In its place, this blog will soon have a new name: The Full Helping.

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Before I get into the reasoning behind this shift, I just want to let you know what to expect on the technical side of things for the next week or so. I’m working hard (along with the help of the wonderful Melissa and Erin) to keep the transition as smooth as possible for all of you, but there will inevitably be some bumps along the way. Everyone who visits Choosing Raw will soon be seamlessly rerouted to The Full Helping, but you may not see it right away. Once the redirect is firmly in place and you’ve gotten to The Full Helping, please update any bookmarks you’ve set up so that you go straight to the new site!

I’ll be updating all of my email subscribers as soon as possible, but it’s possible that some updates will slip through. If you’re following me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, you can expect those feeds to be updated in the next week or so. If anyone has any technical issues, or they don’t get to the new site within a few days, please let me know! I’ll be sure to look into it and figure out what’s going on, and user feedback will help me. I’m really grateful in advance for everyone’s patience and humor, and I hope that any inconveniences will be short-lived. If you want to peek at The Full Helping now, it’s totally live. You just may not be rerouted automatically for a little while.

So, why the name change? I think that most regular readers of this blog will feel that the shift is timely, if not overdue. It’s no great secret that the “raw” part of “Choosing Raw” is at this point more historical than descriptive, as I haven’t shared fully raw recipes in a long time. Life was very different when I started blogging six years ago, and one of the differences was that, at the time, I was totally smitten with raw foodism. While never a strict raw foodist, raw foods did influence my eating habits significantly for at least the first few years of my blog life.

Over time, I’ve moved away from raw foods, or at least from the conscious and concerted effort to eat them. I still love raw salads, nut pates, nut cheeses, cashew cream, collard wraps, zucchini noodles, and especially raw desserts. These foods will always be a part of the way I eat, evidence of the culinary education that raw foods gave me. I learned a lot–and I had a lot of fun–eating raw.

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But the effort to be raw, in any particular percentage or amount, hasn’t fit me for a long time. For one thing, I’ve come to crave more variety than raw foods afforded me. For another, I’ve come to rely heavily on getting macronutrient balance (good amounts of complex carbs, fats, and protein) with each meal, for the sake of feeling energetic and grounded. While eating raw always made it easy to load up on healthful fats, I found it limiting in terms of protein and starches. Finding more balance has been key to my longterm satisfaction and happiness with food, and it’s a huge part of the work I do with clients.

Beyond all of this, my ongoing nutrition education has compelled me to break the idea that raw foods are inherently more nutritionally valuable than cooked ones; if anything, cooking can help to release anti-nutrients, to activate particular micronutrients, and it affords a tremendous deal of dietary variety, which is crucial no matter what sort of diet you eat.

Roasted Tomato & Rice Soup

I’ve written about all of these changes, but until now, the name of my blog hadn’t evolved to reflect them. I told myself that the “choosing” part of “choosing raw” was enough to imply that I didn’t eat or recommend wholesale raw foodism. But it’s certainly enough to cause confusion. I frequently get emails asking why my blog is called “Choosing Raw” if I cook my food so often, and I can’t say I blame anyone for being perplexed! So, it’s time for a new name, a name that fits my present day philosophy.

I chose “The Full Helping” for a lot of reasons. First, the word “full,” which captures my belief that we should all be embracing our appetites and taking a satisfying approach to meals and eating. This is a value that I try to celebrate with green recovery stories and all of the conversations we have about disordered eating in this space.

Golden Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

I also like to think of the foods and recipes I share on this blog as being full and filling; full of nutrients and satisfying to eat. One of my favorite things about plant-based, whole foods is that they are often so nutritionally rich. You can expect to see this theme carried out on the blog as I move forward, with an emphasis on balanced plates, hearty recipe ideas, and plenty of variety.

Yellow Split Pea and Millet Cakes with Carrot Miso Sauce

Finally, there’s the word “helping,” which in an immediate way suggests a serving of food. I think of it as being a cozy word, something that implies a warm, comforting, heaping plate–and it sounds so much more friendly than “serving” or “portion”! The word also captures what I’ve always tried to do on this blog, which is to help others to love and appreciate food.

Za'atar roasted cauliflower, red onion, and lentil salad with harissa tahini dressing

No matter how right this shift of identity feels, it doesn’t take away from the fact that raw foods played a big role in my journey. When I first got interested in raw foodism, I was climbing out of a long, sad, on-again-off-again battle with anorexia and its associated fears. Raw foods made me believe that food could be magical, endowed with wonderful healing properties. They showed me that food could be colorful, beautiful, and delicate; they assured me that eating could be an act of harmony with nature. The raw foods emphasis on “purity” had mixed consequences for me, and I’m glad that I’ve moved past it, but I can also acknowledge that what I needed at that moment is different from what I need today. Maybe I needed a little magical thinking back then, a little inspiration. Raw food gave it to me.

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It’s difficult to speak with fondness for an approach to food that I no longer endorse or recommend to others–at least not in its strict iterations. But, for better or for worse, raw foodism is where I come from. And I’m glad that I shared my passion for it with all you on this blog, and that I collected some of my favorite raw recipes in my first book. That cookbook feels like an ode to the best dishes and techniques I took away from “un-cooking,” and I’ll always cherish it for that reason.

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And now, it’s time to move on without the pressure to share raw recipes or identify with raw eating. You’ll still find raw recipes around here from time to time, because I haven’t stopped loving or admiring the food. Eating raw just won’t be a point of emphasis. I know that this change will make my blog less interesting and appealing to some of my readers, and of course, I welcome you to keep reading or stop reading as makes sense to you. If you find yourself around here less often from now on, then know how much I appreciate the time you’ve spent exploring Choosing Raw so far.

And I hope that many of you have been enjoying the rotation of recipes you’ve seen in the last year or two, and that you’ll continue to feel excited about The Full Helping. For my part, I can say that I’ve been feeling more passionate and inspired about food than I ever have before–and it’s a wonderful feeling.

Food52 Vegan_Gingered Carrot Bisque

It’s tough, as a blogger, to acknowledge change. There’s so much pressure to “brand” oneself in a certain way, and then stick to it. But I’ve never really been comfortable seeing my blog as a brand, even if it is one. I see it as a chronicle of my ongoing journey with food, a place to share what I eat and what I learn and what I think might be helpful to others. Coming clean about a shift in perspective is certainly humbling, not to mention scary, and it makes me grateful that so many of you have watched me grow into my food identity with grace and compassion.

Thanks for that. And here’s to a continuation of the journey.

xo

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Categories: Food and Healing

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    65 Comments
  1. I fully understand & support this. Your journey has been one that has been interesting because I imagine a lot of us learned along with you (I know I did!) I am inspired by your recipes past and present-and there are really only 6 food blogs I respect and read-yours is definitely on that list and has been since I found it in 2011. I must admit that for my own personal health reasons (I have Fibromyalgia and have found my pain is worse without animal protein in my diet) I am not a vegetarian, much less a vegan, but I appreciate a vastly vegetable based plate. Anyway, thank you, and I look forward to what is next!

  2. hi gena!

    i have been readin on my phone lately and havent been able to comment. i have to say, first i was confused (it took me about 10 minutes to click this link when i was searching for choosingraw!) but then it dawned on me! honestly, it will be an adjustment. i’m used to choosing raw, and to me, it does fit you as “choosing”, but i definitely understand the need to change, as most of your recipes aren’t raw. i do like the new name though, and i know its been a time coming 🙂 i’m glad you are happy with the way things are going and i cannot wait to see how the blog grows 😀

    much love <3

    • Thank you for such a sweet and supportive comment, Priya! I’m so sorry you had search trouble — I’ve worried about that, but I have to hope people keep finding their way to this post. Many thanks for your support. I miss the “choosing raw” name too sometimes, but change is good.

  3. I think that the new name is brilliant; perfectly fitting your latest endeavors, and honoring your work overall. I just hope I might have the opportunity to photograph more of your cooked creations one day! <3

  4. you’re such an inspiration, Gena! the new name is excellent, nay, perfect. i think in a way your confidence to change your blog & brand name to fit who you currently are will set a trend. it’s so wonderful to read the love and support in the comments here, too! you have a beautiful community, girl!

  5. I love the name change. It’s funny, I do identify still very much as raw foodist, but if I’m honest, there are so many things I prefer cooked (and eat cooked) like porridge, squashes, sweet potatoes, beets, legumes, etc., and my diet is so full of those cooked things. And in the last couple of years I’ve gotten into warm tonic beverages (Jing tonics, etc.). But I guess it’s one of those things that’s never created cognitive dissonance for me because I’ve never from day one pretended or aspired to be any percentage of raw than I felt like on a given day. And of course my diet is more raw than not. But I might feel differently as a blogger, of course, loosely as I wear the label in real life, to be so publicly identified with a way of eating. And I agree absolutely on the macronutrient front. I find it very hard to get enough protein (to say nothing of calories!) on all raw diet.

  6. Congratulations on a MUCH more fitting name. And such a wonderful name it is. I saw it, today, on Instagram, and I was like “wait? what? oh! that is sooo much better!”.

  7. I have been following your blog since 2009 Gena and I truly admire how you have embraced your evolution of knowledge and experience, especially how eloquently you express your reflections. It’s my favourite part of your blog! It takes guts to realize that sometimes we put self-imposed labels and expectations on ourselves that we need to shift when they no longer accurately reflect us or stagnate our learning. So I love the name change and all that goes with it!

  8. So my internet was being super slow tonight and I glanced over and the ONLY thing up was “The Full Helping” header and I basically squealed with delight because its so perfect. For all the reasons you articulated and because helping is exactly what you do.

    To that end a small story. The other day I was make a tahini dressing and I had this moment where I realized that I’m not afraid of fat or oils anymore and it was AMAZING. Yes, I did the work, but having this blog inspire ideas and show life beyond an ED, where food is nourishment, love, and (to be totally cheesy #dontjudge) helping, was a part of my recovery.

    Super excited about this shift and all the amazing things to come.

    xo

  9. Love the new name! I think it represents everything you stand for so well. I love the play on words, too, although I’ll enjoy coming back to your blog no matter what you call it. <3

  10. Hello Gena -congratulation to this reflected step into- what I believe is- the right direction. I think this change perfectly reflects what your blog is evolving to. Actually, I wanted to let you know that the recipes and topics featured here speak to me more and more. As far as eating goes, I am into whole foods, and love what you came up with, especially in the past year. Most of it just appears to meet my eating habits so well. Thank you so much for constant inspiration and thought provoking impulses!
    Best, Iva

  11. I love how the new name perfectly describes your evolved philosophies and of course your incredibly generous spirit and attitude. So pleased for you and your readers as we continue on this journey towards greater health and acceptance together.

  12. Very fun, and nice, to follow along with you on the path you’ve taken over the years Gena. Would love for us to catch up sometime – send me an email when you get a chance! Kudos to you & what you do.

  13. ” I know that this change will make my blog less interesting and appealing to some of my readers,”
    I can’t even imagine!
    I love the new name! It’s perfect – it conveys a lot about you and how you’ve changed and evolved over time. I didn’t start reading your blog until a couple of years ago, so I didn’t see the beginning of it, but I love the way it has progressed. I enjoy your recipes a lot and the articles you share, but most of all, I appreciate you sharing yourself with us. It gives depth to your blog =)

  14. Gena,
    I love what your blog stands for, on so many levels. The name change seems so meaningful, the opposite of restriction in any way. Powerful stuff!

  15. i’m a little late getting over here to comment, but i wanted to congratulate you on the big change! i’m glad you shared a bit of the context surrounding the old name and the new – it makes the new name really resonate. i wish you all the love and support moving forward with The Full Helping!

  16. I kept seeing “The Full Helping” pinning these awesome pins on pinterest, and I looked at the profile picture and thought, “Wow that looks a lot like Gena!!” Haha turns out it was you all along!! 😀 I LOVE the name change and I’m so excited to see the new developments in your site. I’ll definitely be following along 😉

  17. How boring life would be without growth and change- kudos to you for your bravery in taking this step. Coupled with the RD, I’m just so excited for you.

    I’ve followed you for a long time, and not for the recipes necessarily (although I’m happy to report your recent embrace of onions, garlic, and less emphasis on raw foods has made your food much more appealing to me!); I just love your writing. The way you write about veganism and compassion has always inspired me. I particularly love your honest reflective posts about your life, the struggles you’ve had and the changes you’ve made. As someone who has made a lot of career changes, struggled with my identity over the years as a vegan/vegetarian, and just in general feels, cares, and loves very deeply, the perspective you share through your thoughtful and beautiful writing has always touched with me. I will continue to read anything you write, under whatever name you write it (for the record I do love the new name though), but I can say as someone who is perhaps at times overly concerned with people’s perception of my food philosophy, I have been hesitant in the past to share recipes and articles from a site titled “Choosing Raw” as I don’t actively promote or necessarily agree with a raw-foods diet. I’m very excited to see the name change for that reason, and as a longtime reader it seems like an expected shift as your focus and food philosophy have so evidently evolved. Congratulations, Gena, and best wishes as always!

    • Amy,

      This comment means a lot to me — I just wanted to let you know. You have a *lot* of perspective on this website, so I’m very touched to hear you embrace the changes so heartily — and I like how you feel about change and growth on the whole. Thank you!

      G

  18. Congratulations on the name change, Gena! I love your blog, always have, and I’m genuinely excited for this new, “Full” chapter 🙂

    <3

  19. Hi Gena – well done for being brave and changing your website name/identity! Funny it happened this week, as I was only last week thinking about the name as I was reading one of your articles, and thinking you have moved on from the past journey. Congrats! x

  20. HI Gena, So happy for your new changes. I love following you no matter what your name is though 😉
    I made your Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake from Food 52. I have a guest coming who is allergic to nuts so i don’t want to add cashew or almond butter to the filling. Do you think coconut butter would work? I almost don’t think any butter is necessary because i have the filling made minus any butters and i think it would be delicious without. Do you have any opinions?
    thanks so much…..robin m

    • Robin, I suspect you could skip it, but coconut butter would be truly delicious 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

  21. Love the name change, and I think it really reflects what your purpose and tone have always been! I’m looking forward to continuing to support your blogging endeavors!

  22. Hey Gena. Good for you. We all develop and transition as we move though life, but we don’t always (want to) acknowledge it. One thing I really hope though is that you don’t remove any of the recipes that currently exist on the blog, that you posted during your journey, as many of them are my favourites — several of them raw ones. As you said, that’s where you came from and they have helped, and no doubt continue to help, many on their own journey. xx

    • Thank you, Kathrine!

      I’m not going to take recipes down, fear not! One goal I have is to go back and re-photograph a lot of the older ones, possibly tweaking them if reader feedback (in the form of comments) has accumulated enough over to compel me to make a small adjustment. But I want to respect what’s on this site — it’s a record of the past, as you say 🙂 The goal of new images would be to bring them to life more vibrantly — and it would also be a fun excuse to revisit recipes I haven’t made in a while!

      G

  23. […] it does smell as sweet!
    Gena, it’s wonderful to see your blog name evolve with the content and your own viewpoints. Names do evolve: when I was young, I was Kate. Then Katie. Now apparently Katherine. The point is, nothing is static, so why should names?
    The Full Helping to me evokes instant memories of my Grandma’s warm kitchen, and her kind, generous, and adventurous spirit. All qualities you have as well. It makes me think of warm hugs, cozy conversations, and the feeling of being safe and accepted. Without saying, it implies sating, delicious food. Maybe I read too much into this, but it can mean all this and more.
    I grew with you on your raw journey, and I look forward to joining you on this leg of the journey.
    Cheers,
    Katie

  24. Congrats, Gena! It’s a perfectly fitting title and one that reflects you as a person. I’m one of the people who’s watched your evolution online since the beginning. . . can’t wait to see where you take us all next. xo

  25. Love the new name Gena = and it really does suit your style and approach. I too, find the name warm and inviting…..

  26. I came to your blog a few years ago when I was likewise experimenting with raw, and also realised fairly quickly that I wasn’t going to embrace it fully although I continue to find the inventiveness of raw cooks amazing. I do agree that a name-change for the blog was necessary. I love your current style of cooking and the honesty and integrity of your writing, so I will definitely be sticking around!

  27. I’ve loved all your recipes, cooked and raw alike. Congratulations on this new chapter 🙂

  28. Ah, it all makes sense! I hadn’t really thought about the disconnect between your blog name and more recent blog content. I guess because I’ve read your blog since the beginning then I’ve just happily continued reading it without a second thought to the title! Loving it.

    And a belated congrats on your new book, it looks amazing.

    One more thing, in my blog i’ve linked to your green recovery series as a resource for veganism and eating disorders. Hope that’s ok. Recently I was thinking about my old green recovery post. It seems so long ago now and I’ve since become 100% vegan, had a vegan pregnancy, and am bringing my kids up as vegan. I may email you with an update instead of taking up your comment space inappropriately. xxx

  29. Dear Gena–Congratulations on a new blog name to go with this new phase of where you are now. I love the name, the subtitle, and the URL is showing up here, too. I agree with all previous words of encouragement and just want to add that I especially appreciated these words of yours: ” “I’ve never really been comfortable seeing my blog as a brand, even if it is one. I see it as a chronicle of my ongoing journey with food, a place to share what I eat and what I learn and what I think might be helpful to others. ” Amen to that, and yes, your blog has been and is a beautiful generous example of that. And now it’s got a new name to fit! xoxo

  30. While I will miss the Choosing Raw name and feel a bit of an attachment to it (since I was a client of yours during that time – I truly hope you look back fondly on that time, haha), I really like the new name! I’m so excited to continue following your guidance and blog, with this new Full Helping chapter.

  31. I love the new name and think it is very fitting given the current content of your blog. Your commitment to finding joy and fullness in good helps keep me grounded when I feel an old pull toward restriction. Thank you for that.

    Further, your ability to be flexible with your philosophy has been an inspiration to me recently as I contemplate (and recongnize) a shift in my own work and writing.

    Thank you, Anya

  32. So exciting, Gena!! Love the new title and enjoyed reading about what drove the change. I emailed you, and it bounced back, so I’ll wait to re-send till the changes go through.

    Your site looks beautiful!!

  33. Love and support the name change and the reasoning behind it. I started reading fairly recently, some time after you ceased predominantly featuring raw recipes, but I knew the history of the blog. I wondered if this was a change you would make, but honestly didn’t care either way – I enjoy your recipes and your writing no matter the name of the blog!

  34. I have been following your blog for years, Gena, and I am so excited about the new blog. Your blog is the one I always came back to time and time again and will continue to for years to come. Best of luck to you!

  35. This is perfect! In the years I have been following your blog I have seen a definite, wonderful, healthy shift and it only makes sense that your name should reflect that. Your voice is an absolutely spectacular one in the vegan, blogging, and eating disorder recovery stratospheres and your title should certainly reflect *you*. Thank you for all your years of blogging service and here’s to many more as The Full Helping!

  36. This change makes great sense and I like that The Full Helping suggests generosity, which is indeed part of your blog. Good luck with all the changes. I think one of the interesting aspects of long term blogs is chronicling how we all change over time. Wouldn’t it be sad if there was no change!

    • I couldn’t agree more, Johanna! I think for all of us, part of what makes a blog interesting to read (or keep reading) is the evolution. And yes, how boring life would be without change! 🙂

  37. This is major, Gena! So much love and admiration for the personal integrity and evolution that you model. I’m a little upset with myself that I find your new title triggering. There’s something about the idea of being full that feels scary and out of control and too similar to overly full. Even though I currently eat til full and agree with it. So thanks for highlighting that, I will sit with that feeling and work on it! I LOVE the subtitle, made to nourish. I do think there’s something key to the recovery process about making some kinds of foods special and pure and magical. I hope there’s a way to leave a “trail of crumbs” like that on your blog for people who are in that place, because I know a lot of people on this blog have followed that path.

    • Don’t be upset with yourself! I’m upset that it feels triggering to you, Laura. I know that the idea of fulness can be complex territory, but I certainly didn’t mean to imply excess or “overly full” — just abundance and satisfaction. And yes, I plan for a trail of crumbs to be there, so to speak 🙂

  38. I love it and as you said, it’s overdue and makes perfect sense. People don’t stay the same and are constantly evolving, so why should your blog be any different? I wish you continued success and am excited for your future.

  39. that’s a lovely name. it fits perfectly! and just to let you know i can see the title, so it seems to be working!
    also, thanks gena, your blog has really helped me with my eating disorder over the past year and i really appreciate the effort you put into your blog! i’m 15 and I think your blog was one of the things that pulled me out of the deep end before things got more serious. thanks again! :)))

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