Featured post

Your Guide to Ultherapy

As we age, the skin loses its natural elasticity and shine as the cells die out through a degenerative process. Though there are a lot of skin products that help in making the skin retain its smoothness and softness, most are still a temporary solution and in the long run become a hefty cost. Surgery can also be done but the pain and the costs often make people shy away from taking the option. Now here comes Ultherapy, a new alternative that gives you healthier and younger-looking skin.

What is Ultherapy?

Ultherapy is a skin treatment that doesn’t involve going under the knife or getting wheeled into a surgery room. This uses ultrasound waves to make the skin more loose and then lifting it without the need for surgery. Ultherapy stimulates the deep layers of the skin that are often addressed in skin surgery, but this therapy works without the need of injuring the tissues at all. Because of ultrasound, healthcare professionals are capable of visualizing the skin and just the right amount of energy is applied to the specific area of the skin to be treated.

How Does it Work?

Ultherapy makes use of ultrasound waves to stimulate the tissues beneath the skin, even reaching several layers up to the muscles. This makes the skin grow tighter, close pores, and make the skin look smoother. Regarded as safe by the medical community worldwide for over 50 years, Ultherapy eliminates the need for one to undergo surgery or other invasive procedures in order to make the skin look healthier and younger.

Contributed By:

Skin Tightening Clinic Singapore
Blk 125 Bt Merah Lane 1, #01-174, Singapore 150125

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake | The Full Helping

In January, I resolved to get back into the swing of steady meal planning. I’ve made good on that promise, mostly. For the first time in a long time, my Sundays are filled with the rhythms of batch cooking. At any given moment, there are a couple of pots of beans and grains soaking or boiling, a few sweet potatoes baking in the oven, and maybe a pot of soup simmering on the stovetop. It feels nice. It feels like coming home.

But then there are those Sundays when a craving hits for traditional, hearty comfort food: a casserole or a winter stew or a cassoulet. Something like that.

The problem is that my enthusiasm for longer cooking projects is a little low these days. I’ve had things on my mind that push cooking to the back burner, or at least limit the energy I can devote to it. Fortunately, I’m realizing that there are many strategies for creating fulsome, hearty dishes without spending hours in the kitchen. This easy vegan pizza pasta bake is proof.

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake | The Full Helping

Strategy 1: Prep. This recipe uses a couple of my homemade staples, including my all-purpose cashew cream and my tofu feta. So the recipe is technically a couple of recipes, folded together. But if you make the simple ones a day or two in advance, it comes together super quickly when it’s time to bake. (And store-bought staples can fill in if you don’t have time to prep your own.)

Strategy 2: Make it semi-homemade. I could have used my homemade, stress-free marinara sauce in the recipe, but lately I’ve been enjoying the convenience of using store-bought. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we all have different quirks and preferences when it comes DIY-ing. There’s a lot to be said for figuring out which homemade staples feel like a pleasure to make, versus those you’d rather let the pros handle. I often find that just one or two store-bought ingredients makes the whole process of a seemingly “fancy” dish so much easier; in this recipe, it’s the marinara and the vegan parm (I heart the Go Veggie brand).

Strategy 3: Frozen veggies. I love using seasonal produce in my cooking, and when a single vegetable is featured in the dish, I’ll almost always opt for fresh. But frozen veggies can be a lifesaver when you need to feature a mix of produce in a single dish, if only because they save you a lot of chopping/prep time. I also find that it makes sense to use a frozen blend in pastas and casseroles—they’re just so easy to heat up and fold in. I used a bag with broccoli, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and green beans in this recipe. If you’d like to use your own mix of fresh and seasonal veggies, awesome.

Strategy 4: Use efficient cookware. Using a multipurpose pot or cooking vessel—something that can move easily from stovetop to oven, from boiling to baking, and so on—can help to save the mess of multiple dirty dishes. I also love using healthy nonstick cookware for the speedy cleanup!

My cooking vessel for this recipe met all of those criteria. It was the lovely Lagostina Nera hard adonized 5-quart casserole.

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake | The Full Helping

The Lagostina brand was founded in Italy over 100 years ago. It’s been a leader in high performance cookware ever since, and the new Nera line of cookware is their most innovative to date. The 5-qt casserole features premium hard anodized construction with thick, 3.5mm base for even heat distribution, non-stick coating for easy cooking and cleaning, sturdy stainless steel handles (and a lovely, hammered stainless steel lid), and flared edges for easy pouring.

The casserole is also dishwasher safe, oven/broiler safe, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Quite a piece of cookware—and I love the stylish look. It’s a treat to work with cookware that’s versatile and attractive enough to easily transition from cooking to serving; when I made this bake, I used the casserole to simmer my veggies, mix all of the ingredients, cook, and serve.

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake | The Full Helping

Lagostina is all about preserving the traditions and culture around food, and they invited me to share a regional, family recipe created with the Nera casserole. I got to thinking about what recipe might seem to capture the essence of NYC, and of course my mind went to pizza, which is probably the city’s most iconic food. Dearly though I love pizza, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to make crust, and a hearty, one-pot pasta casserole sounded perfect for the still-chilly weather.

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake | The Full Helping

I decided to channel the flavors of pizza—herbs, marinara, cheese—into a pasta casserole. And this feels even more like a family recipe because pasta bakes were my mother’s specialty comfort food when I was growing up. We didn’t eat a lot of elaborate, oven-baked dishes at home, but there’s something about baked pasta that gave my mom a lot of pleasure to make (and me a lot of pleasure to eat).

It feels nice to put a vegan spin on a dish that spelled comfort to me all those years ago, and still does today. I’m so excited to keep this recipe on hand as an easy, crowd-pleasing option for sharing with family and friends.

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake | The Full Helping

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake

Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free option, oil free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 lb pasta of choice
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 cup cashew cream (you can substitute unsweetened, non-dairy creamer)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen vegetables, cooked according to package instructions, or 5 cups steamed, chopped vegetables of choice (broccoli, carrots, green beans, peppers, zucchini, and cauliflower are all great)
  • 1 batch tofu feta (reserve all of the marinade)*
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan topping or my hempesan
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions, until it’s al dente.
  2. While the pasta cooks, mix the marinara sauce, cashew cream, tomato paste, oregano, and thyme. When the pasta is ready, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the marinara mixture, the frozen vegetables, and the tofu feta (tip: don’t forget to include the tofu feta marinade, which is super flavorful!). Taste and add black pepper to taste, as well as extra salt (or some extra nutritional yeast, if you like).
  3. Transfer everything to your casserole dish and top with the parm. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pasta is bubbly and the top is just a little crispy. Serve.
*In place of tofu feta, you can substitute 1½ cups of your favorite vegan cheese. Add an extra tablespoon of lemon juice and 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (to taste) to the recipe.

Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake | The Full Helping

In spite of being the kind of dish you can confidently share with company, the bake is so low-maintenance. It’s also easy to customize for whomever you’re sharing with. Gluten free or whole grain pasta works perfectly, and you can replace the cashew cream with a non-dairy creamer if you need to accommodate a nut allergy. The dish is naturally oil free, depending on the type of marinara you use, and tofu feta can be replaced by a commercial vegan cheese.

When I make a meal like this, I think about how much my eating has changed since the days when I made virtually everything by scratch, eschewed packages as much as possible, and got leery of anything “processed” (a relative term, I realize now). It’s hard to imagine having the resources to spend as much time in the kitchen as I used to. But I’m glad that my style has evolved, because it has allowed me to keep cooking for myself, week in and week out. Whether I’m cooking fast or slow, that’s what really matters.

You can find the Lagostina Nera casserole—along with the entire Nera cooking line—for sale at Macy’s. And if you’d like to create a regional, family-inspired dish of your own using this lovely and durable piece of cookware, good news: the folks at Lagostina are sharing one complimentary Nera casserole with a Full Helping reader! The giveaway will run for two weeks, and it’s open to US and Canadian readers. Enter below to win (and if you do, I hope to hear about what you create with it).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you’ll enjoy this little homage to New York, family, and food—and perhaps someone you love will enjoy it with you. I’ll see you soon for another weekly roundup!


This post was sponsored by Lagostina USA, and I received a complimentary Nera casserole in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!

The post Easy Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 3.19.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I read Rachel O’Meara’s article on the importance of pauses—especially as a tool for reevaluating professional direction—about a month ago. I took interest in the piece because I’ve been working to slow down these days.

Not too long ago I mentioned that I tend to force decisions, or make them too precipitously. My intention—to be proactive and not overthink things—is sensible enough. But when I act too quickly I often regret it; I end up wondering whether I might have come to a clearer and more lucid determination had I given myself time to think.

Like many people, I’ve historically fallen into the trap of believing that quicker is always better. I forget that time—unstructured time in particular—can encourage problem-solving. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with what it feels like to pause often, sometimes for longer than is comfortable, so that I can tune into my intentions before choosing to act.

O’Meara, whose career was reinvigorated after a three-month leave of absence, speaks to the value of pausing as a means of reassessing priorities and replenishing personal resources. Like many professionals, she hit a moment of burnout that left her questioning whether or not she could remain at her job. Unlike many professionals, she had the good fortune to be employed by a company (Google) that grants unpaid leaves of absence for non-medical reasons. O’Meara’s time off gave her a chance to move deliberately, without an urgent agenda. She writes,

Taking these simple steps enabled me to clear my head and become more sure of who I really was. I achieved a level of introspection that simply would not have been possible while dealing with the daily urgencies of the office.

In the end, the pause actually encouraged her to return to work with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility, which she believes has made her a more valuable employee and colleague. While she acknowledges that sabbaticals or unpaid leaves would, if adopted widely, result in some employees choosing to move on, she suggests that those who stay would be positioned to do more meaningful work:

Some people will inevitably choose not to return to work after a pause. This may not be such a bad thing and may even be a blessing in disguise that allows someone to pursue a new opportunity that might otherwise not have occurred.
Pauses bring employees a renewed sense of purpose and alignment. Exploring new interests or lifelong passions, taking a class, or spending time with family that otherwise wouldn’t happen are all big payoffs. Employees can reflect on what matters in life and take action to align their behavior with that. Employees end up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated — a feeling that is likely to have a ripple effect on their job and their co-workers when they return.
New leadership and growth opportunities emerge from these pauses. Newer or less experienced employees can fill interim roles and learn new skills. This leads to more fully engaged team members, which leads to greater flexibility and adaptability across a team or company.

Needless to say, most employers can’t or won’t offer the kind of pauses that O’Meara took, and any amount of unpaid time off is too much for the vast majority of individuals. Still, it’s interesting to think about what would be possible if more of us were given small opportunities to stop and reassess.

More and more, I find that big decisions—the ones that really matter—can’t be rushed. When there’s no readily apparent “right” choice, it’s important to give oneself time to weigh options, consider different outcomes, and even change one’s mind a couple of times. It’s incredibly difficult for me to embrace that last bit; having always prided myself on being decisive, I’m uncomfortable with fluidity. Yet I’m coming to understand that changes in perspective are often an essential part of finding direction.

Hope you’ll enjoy the reads this week, which include a fascinating report on cholera treatment around the globe and a nurse’s honest reflections on finding herself in the role of patient. As usual, let’s start with some wonderful food!


Nothing beats a hearty, healthy, nutrient-packed vegan burrito. Heidi’s super green vegan quinoa burrito is all of those things, and it’s also a great make-ahead option for packed lunches and travel.

It’s not exactly the height of pumpkin season anymore, but winter squash is still easy to find around here. I think my farewell to squash season will be Kati’s beautiful roasted pumpkin soup. I love the addition of crispy tofu as a “crouton” (I do the same thing with tempeh all the time, and this would be a nice variation).

I’ve had crispy roasted broccoli on my mind ever since I made this recipe a couple weeks ago. Now I have an exciting new use for it: Shira’s recipe for spicy roasted broccoli and sesame noodle salad, which is packed with plant protein (there’s kale and tempeh in there, too).

I love making homemade pizza, but sometimes it feels like a commitment. Alissa’s recipe for vegan Greek pizza is so simple and awesome-looking that there’s no excuse for me to whip up some homemade dough very soon.

Speaking of simple, I’m loving Tessa’s easy vegan chocolate pudding cake recipe! No mixer required, one bowl, and super fudgy—that’s my kind of dessert.


1. I remember reading The Ghost Map years ago and being surprised to learn that in spite of cholera’s communicability and virulence, treatment for the disease is relatively simple. This New York Times profile of global efforts to halt cholera outbreaks dives into that paradox and highlights some recent advances in the fight against a notoriously deadly infection.

2. When I first went vegan, I started to realize that my food choices stretched far beyond me and my body; I saw that what and how I ate could have an impact on the environment, animals, and fellow non-human animals, too. I wish I’d made these connections sooner; I think they would have helped me to be less obsessive and more passionate about eating.

So, I was interested to read about a new app that teaches kids about the environmental impact of their food choices. The app isn’t intended to push a dietary agenda, but rather to help kids understand that their food has origins and a story. It—and other technology like it—might be an important step forward in making young people feel informed as consumers.

3. Also on the topic of kids/teens and food, I really like these insights into helping children develop a healthy relationship with eating.

4. Lindsay is an oncology nurse who crossed the bridge into life as a patient when she was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer. In this beautifully honest blog post, she offers an apology to the patients’ whose struggles and experiences she may have dismissed or witnessed without empathy, until now.

5. Finally, Rachel O’Meara’s thoughts on the value of pausing.

I hope you enjoy the reading, and the next time I check in, it’ll be with an easy, hearty vegan comfort food recipe!


The post Weekend Reading, 3.19.17 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils (& Bowls)

Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils | The Full Helping

This is one of those recipes that began as one thing and became another. Prompted by a pound of green lentils that needed using, I started off with the intention of making a big pot of curried green lentil soup. As it was cooking I found myself hesitant to add more liquid; I kept thinking about my masala lentils and how much I love their dense, creamy texture. I also thought about my friend Ali’s tribute to Julia Turshen’s lentils with coconut milk, and how I’ve had that recipe bookmarked for a while.

In the end, I let the mixture stay more stew-like than soupy, and I’m not sorry about it. These creamy coconut curried green lentils are so versatile: you can serve them like soup if you want to (even adding a splash of water or coconut milk to loosen them up), but you can also serve them over rice, pile them into a bowl, or scoop them up with naan or flatbread.

Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils | The Full Helping

Usually when I make a big ‘ole pot of lentils, I’m aiming to have leftovers. So, as with most of my soup and stew recipes, this one makes a lot. I’d say it’s about 8 servings. It’s totally freezer friendly, though, and the leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, so it’s not a bad thing to make and store for the weeks and months ahead. NYC has been battling a cold snap and snow for the last few days, and I’ve taken a lot of comfort in simple, flavorful bowls of lentils and rice.

I’m sort of ashamed to say that I didn’t use homemade green curry paste here. But if you’d like to make your own, which is certainly worth doing, I really recommend Lisa and Nicole’s recipe from DIY Vegan. (I recommend that book in general for homemade vegan pantry staples and condiments—it’s an incredible resource!)

You’ll notice that I mention soaking the lentils prior to cooking. I never used to do this, but lately I’ve experienced a lot of variation in cooking time with green lentils (just a function of how old my lentils are, where I buy them, etc.), and so I’ve started soaking them for a few hours prior to cooking. I find it to be a helpful step, a way of ensuring that you don’t end up stuck with a batch that won’t seem to get tender, no matter how long you simmer it for. You can skip the soak if you like, but know that your cooking time could vary a bit. If you do choose to soak, you can do so for up to 8 hours, or for as few as two.

Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils | The Full Helping
Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils | The Full Helping
Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils (& Bowls)

Recipe type: main dish, side
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • ¼ cup green curry paste (homemade or store-bought), plus extra to suit your taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb (about 2¼ cups) green lentils, soaked for a few hours prior and drained prior to cooking*
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth + 1 cup water
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (substitute cashew cream)
  • 6 cups finely chopped spinach or baby spinach
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • For serving or bowls: Cooked jasmine or long-grain brown rice, shredded cabbage, steamed greens, toasted cashews or peanuts, sriracha
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until clear and tender, stirring often. Add the garlic, ginger, and green curry paste and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the salt, lentils, broth, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until the lentils are tender (more time may be needed, depending on whether you have time to soak your lentils first). Uncover and add the coconut milk and spinach. Cook for 10 more minutes, uncovered, or until the spinach is tender. Add lime juice and crushed red pepper to taste, and adjust salt as needed.
  3. You can scoop the curried lentils over cooked rice, or you can serve them bowl style (as pictured!) by serving them with rice, steamed vegetables, and some crunchy toppings. The lentils are also great with flatbread.
*Soaking isn’t necessary, but it can help to reduce cooking time.

Leftover lentils will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Recipe can be cut in half for a smaller yield.


 Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils | The Full Helping

As you can see, I’ve been serving the lentils bowl style, with cooked jasmine rice, steamed greens, and a crunchy topping of shredded purple cabbage and freshly chopped cilantro. A squeeze of sriracha or a little handful of chopped nuts is really nice, too.

If the recipe yield is too much, you can certainly cut the whole recipe in half for fewer portions. You can also use brown lentils in place of green, and I’m guessing that black lentils and French lentils would work nicely, too (red lentils would create a soupier mixture, but they’d still taste great). If you’d like to substitute cashew cream or light coconut milk for the full-fat coconut milk, go for it: there’s not too much coconut milk in the recipe, at least not in proportion to all of the other stuff, so I didn’t mind the richness of the regular variety here.

Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils | The Full Helping

There’s something so comforting about having a giant batch of cooked legumes on hand for a week’s worth of meals, especially when it’s cold outside. I hope you’ll enjoy this simple, generous batch of food as much as I have.


The post Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils (& Bowls) appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 3.12.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

A few weeks ago, one of my readers sent me a link to Steph Davis’ post “Love Dogs.” Ostensibly it’s the story of how Davis lost one companion animal and found another, but it’s more than that. It’s a sweet, moving reflection on the boundlessness of love.

Davis’ story begins with a description of the bond she formed with Fletch, the quiet and self-sufficient dog she’d adopted from the brother of a friend. Davis and Fletch were both uprooted when they met, and they found home in each other. “The life of a traveling climber can be lonely,” Davis writes. “But Fletch and I shared hundreds, probably thousands, of miles of highway and trail. We grew up together.”

When Fletch passed away from spinal arthritis, Davis was devastated. She feared she wouldn’t be able to open her heart to another dog again, and when she did adopt for the second time—a rambunctious stray named Cajun—she struggled to adjust to her new pup’s personality. Cajun was Fletch’s opposite: rambunctious, defiant, and unruly. Davis couldn’t help but compare her unfavorably to the independent and well-behaved companion she’d lost.

Over time, though, Davis’ heart opened up to her energetic new friend. “After two years,” she writes, “I had fallen completely in love with this leaping, prancing, exuberant creature, who could sprint like a cheetah and climb like a goat.” (Her post contains a photo of Cajun, caught mid-air in an olympian leap.) She realized that love doesn’t demand either/or choices:

Fletch was my sensei. Cajun was my wildchild. For the first time, I understood that I loved Cajun with all my heart and I also loved Fletch with all my heart, and love doesn’t have math. I realized that love is not “or,” love is “and.”

The post ends on a particularly poignant note, as Davis describes losing her (human) partner, Mario, and falling in love again some time later. Davis’ experience with Fletch and Cajun had primed her to trust in newfound love, even after a profound loss:

…when it happened I didn’t question it or second guess, though I’d been warned by many that I would. I didn’t struggle with fear or sadness or doubt, thoughts of how life ends and begins, of how to fit together the past and the future, because Fletcher and Cajun taught me something about love. Love is the one thing that has a beginning but not an end, that makes more space the more it grows. It’s the one thing that lasts forever.

My reader said that the article had made her think of me and weekend reading posts, but she couldn’t have known how much the idea of love as a regenerative force would speak to me right now.

In the wake of a great loss it’s tempting to measure everything we encounter in terms of its similitude to the thing (or the individual) we’re mourning. Part of what makes loss so difficult, though, is the singularity of what’s gone—after all, if something were easily replaceable, we wouldn’t feel its absence so strongly. In my experience, healing often means opening ourselves up to the possibility that we won’t be able to revive what’s gone, but we can and will experience new attachments. What’s lost may be irreplaceable, but love is resilient.

Other reads that caught my eye this week include two powerful pieces of reporting on the healthcare system, a peek at the nature of compulsions and compulsive behavior, and a lyrical look at the heroic efforts of individuals who are on a mission to save the Oregon silverspot butterfly. I hope you’ll enjoy them. And first, some food.


I’m still on a comfort food kick, and I can’t think of a better way to satisfy the craving than these perfect vegan potato gnocchi. Valentina offers more than a recipe: her post will also tell you everything you need to know for homemade gnocchi success.

Brian’s lentil and green bean salad with crispy tofu is going on my lunch lineup ASAP. So simple and good.

I don’t always have the best luck with homemade veggie burgers, but I know an awesome recipe when I see it, and Alex’s spiced lentil burgers look fantastic.

I love Japanese sweet potatoes, but I’ve never thought to try them as fries. Leave it to Alanna to turn them into the crispiest and most flavorful fries I’ve seen in ages–with a simple recipe for wasabi aioli to accompany them. Yum.

And for dessert, I’m loving Sarah’s creative and colorful recipe for coconut matcha rice pudding with date-sweetened adzuki bean paste. So pretty!


1. David Epstein and ProPublica’s tough examination of the epidemic of unnecessary health care has been making the rounds recently, for good reason. It’s a sobering indictment of procedures, like angiograms and stent placement, that are prescribed more often than is necessary, often with serious risks and consequences. I appreciate that the authors profile health care providers who stress the potential of lifestyle change, including nutrition, as an alternative to needlessly invasive measures.

2. I’ve never given much thought to medical waste, and that’s part of why this article was an interesting read. Marshall Allen takes a look at the high cost of medical equipment and supplies that hospitals throw away—in spite of the fact that such supplies are desperately needed in the developing world.

3. The Oregon silverspot butterfly used to range from Northern California to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Habitat loss—erosion of the coastal dunes and grasslands where the butterfly dwells—is precipitating the species’ disappearance. This article profiles the work of scientists and conservationists who are fighting to preserve the future of this beautiful insect.

4. Sharon Begley’s new book, Can’t Just Stop, takes a look at compulsive behavior in both its extreme and commonplace forms. In this interview, Begley paints an incredibly compassionate portrait of compulsions and the way they work. She suggests that beneath all compulsive tendencies is an impulse that most of us can relate to. Take, for example, hoarding. Begley says,

…One of the things I tried to do is explain in a way that I hope is sympathetic why people who are doing things that society frowns on are acting the way they do. Hoarding, obviously, is worse than frowned on. But the hoarders I spoke to were, in absolutely every case, just expressing an extreme form of something that I think all of us feel. Many, many, many cases of hoarding are because people have an emotional attachment to their stuff. I think we all have an emotional attachment to our stuff. I was working at Newsweek during the turn of the Millennium, 1999 to 2000. I was working the morning of January 1st, and I walked through midtown, and there was confetti all over. I thought, “This is the Millennium confetti.” So I picked up a few pieces and I’ve kept them. It’s not like I have a closet full of the stuff, but absolutely, it means something to me. It was a teeny little tile in the mosaic of my life.
So we all have feelings like that. People who hoard have them to an extreme. It’s not a different feeling, it’s the same feeling, just ratcheted up.

Begley extends the same kind of integrity and empathy to other compulsive habits, as well as to anxiety, which is being diagnosed more frequently these days. It’s a wonderfully down-to-earth interview, and I recognized plenty of the factors that drive my own compulsive tendencies as I was reading it.

5. Finally, Steph Davis’ lovely reflections on dogs and love.

I wish you a great start to the week. It’s dipping back into freezing temperatures and snow around these parts, and I’ve been staying warm with a hearty, spicy soup that I’m excited to share in a couple days!


The post Weekend Reading, 3.12.17 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Smashed Kimchi Chickpea Salad

Smashed Kimchi Chickpea Salad | The Full Helping

Once upon a time, I knew chickpea salad as a wholesome vegan alternative to chicken salad, a plant-based mainstay for sandwiches and wraps. Nowadays chickpea salad is so popular that I’ve seen it on (omnivore) restaurant menus, not to mention all over the interwebs, and the other day my own mom announced to me that she had seen a recipe and wanted to try it.

My standard recipe for chickpea salad is pretty traditional; it’s indeed reminiscent of the chicken salad I grew up with (vegan mayo, mustard, sometimes dill or parsley). Lately, though, I’ve been getting more creative and taking more liberties with how I prepare it. Just as with hummus, avocado toast, or oatmeal, there are tons of ways to approach this everyday staple. My latest favorite is a smashed kimchi chickpea salad that’s a little salty, a little spicy, and all things tasty.

Smashed Kimchi Chickpea Salad | The Full Helping
Smashed Kimchi Chickpea Salad | The Full Helping

The recipe was inspired by Julia Turshen’s kimchi avocado toast from Small Victories, which takes advantage of kimchi as a topping and also uses some of the brine for drizzling. What that recipe showed me is that the bold flavor of kimchi can go such a long way in flavoring a dish; once you add it, you don’t really need to fuss around with much additional seasoning or flavor.

So, in this very simple recipe, you fold together smashed chickpeas, vegan mayo (or tahini), a squeeze of sriracha, and a dash of crushed red pepper. You can certainly get fancy with the addition of dulse, gomasio, sesame seeds, or something else for crunch; you could add herbs or grated carrot. But the kimchi does most of the work here. I found that I didn’t even need to add additional salt to the dish once I’d incorporated it.

As far as serving goes, the salad is perfect with toast, crackers, or on a wrap, but it’s also a nice topping for lunch bowls. The other day I mixed a big scoop of it together with a heaping cup of cooked rice and some steamed greens, then topped it all with a squeeze of sriracha and lime juice. It was random and messy, for sure, but it was so, so good.

Smashed Kimchi Chickpea Salad | The Full Helping

Smashed Kimchi & Chickpea Salad

Recipe type: side dish, dip, spread
Cuisine: vegan, no oil option, gluten free option, soy free option, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 5-6 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise or tahini (as needed)
  • 1 heaping cup finely chopped kimchi + 2 tablespoons kimchi brine
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Sriracha, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Optional mix-ins: A few dashes of dulse or kelp flakes, 1-2 tablespoons gomasio or toasted sesame seeds, finely chopped scallions, grated carrot
  1. Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and add the mayonnaise or tahini. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash the chickpeas up; they should be mostly mashed, but it’s nice when a few of them remain whole. Start with 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise or tahini, then add a little more as needed for a creamy texture.
  2. Fold in the kimchi, vinegar, sriracha, and pepper. Add any additional mix-ins you like, then taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.
Leftover salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 Smashed Kimchi Chickpea Salad | The Full Helping

Another way to make the salad even more versatile is to vary your toppings. You can use additional chopped kimchi, thinly sliced cucumber or radish, grated carrot or beets, greens, or herbs.

Throughout the last week or two I’ve been diving into more intense work and academic routine than I’ve had in a while, so toast has been a very comforting, simple lunchtime mainstay for me. No matter how many toast lunches I eat, I’m always happy to have a new favorite spread or topping to play with, and I have a feeling this one is destined to stick around. I hope you enjoy it, too—and I’ll be checking in with some new reads this weekend.


The post Smashed Kimchi Chickpea Salad appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Cheesy Vegan Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Root Vegetables

Cheesy Vegan Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Root Vegetables | The Full Helping

There’s something so felicitous about a meal that wasn’t meant to be a meal, about a mishmash of ingredients that added up to something greater than the sum of its parts. This simple plate of cheesy vegan roasted broccoli with smashed root vegetables was really meant to be two side dishes: the roasted broccoli on the one hand, the rutabaga and turnips on the other. Once I’d gotten around to preparing both, it occurred to me that they’d play nicely together, and suddenly my attempt to use up the produce in my fridge had amounted to lunch.

 Cheesy Vegan Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Root Vegetables | The Full Helping

The star of the dish is the broccoli, a simple vegan spin on roasted broccoli with parmesan (which I used to love, love, love in my pre-gan days). This is one of those dishes that I’m shocked I haven’t made yet, and now that I have, I’m sure I’ll be roasting up trays all the time. The nutritional yeast gives the broccoli savoriness and cheesy flavor, and the red pepper flakes a touch of heat. It’s a great way to prepare broccoli for bowls, pasta, or as a simple side dish.

Smashed root vegetables are a winter mainstay for me, a perfect pairing for baked tofu or tempeh, beans, sauteed greens, and more. (Sometimes I even enjoy them as a snack, which I know is a little strange.) What I’m sharing here is my most basic for making them. As you’ll see, I like to smash them roughly and leave plenty of texture; they’re not mashed potatoes, so the goal isn’t something pillowy or smooth. You can use parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, celery root, winter squash, or a combination of any of these; for this recipe, I used turnips and rutabaga. Feel free to add any seasonings or extra to the mash that are calling your name; I offer my personal favorites at the bottom of the recipe!

Cheesy Vegan Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Root Vegetables | The Full Helping

Cheesy Vegan Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Root Vegetables

Recipe type: main dish, side dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free optional, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 3-4 servings
  • 1 head (3 crowns) broccoli (about 1 lb)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as avocado or grapeseed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Coarse salt and crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium large rutabaga, peeled and cubed (about 1 lb)
  • 2 medium large turnips, peeled and cubed (about 1 lb)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Optional additions to the mash: 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, hempesan, or vegan parmesan for cheesiness; finely grated horseradish for spiciness; garlic powder or pureed, roasted garlic for garlicky flavor
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Trim and peel the broccoli stems. Cut the broccoli crowns into small florets and the stems into small pieces. Toss the broccoli with the vegetable oil and nutritional yeast. Place it onto a lined baking sheet and sprinkle generously with coarse salt, along with crushed red pepper to taste. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender and golden.
  2. While the broccoli roasts, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the rutabaga and turnips and cut them into large cubes. When the water is boiling, add the root vegetables. Boil for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Drain them and add them back to the pot, along with the non-dairy milk and nutmeg. Use a potato masher to mash them roughly, leaving some texture. Add salt and pepper to taste and fold in the parsley. Add some hempesan or vegan parmesan and/or any other mix-ins of choice.
  3. Divide the root vegetable mash onto plates and top with a generous handful of the cheesy roasted broccoli. Serve.

 Cheesy Vegan Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Root Vegetables | The Full Helping

On it’s own, this is a light meal. You can increase the nutrient density and make it more filling by adding some beans, baked tofu, your favorite vegan meat, or perhaps some of my baked lemon pepper tempeh cubes. It’s a lovely, comforting dish to make while root veggies are still in season.

Before I go, a quick thanks for the kind comments and emails during NEDA week. I’ll be back in a couple days with my new favorite (!) toast recipe.


The post Cheesy Vegan Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Root Vegetables appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 3.4.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Today’s the last day of NEDA week 2017, and this weekend reading roundup places special emphasis on ED stories, research, and reporting.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I spend more time looking than I used to, but I feel as though the ED narrative has expanded a lot in the last few years; media is taking interest in the whole spectrum of EDs, rather than focusing exclusively on anorexia/bulimia (though we still have a long way to go), and first person voices and testimonials of recovery seem to be diversifying.

There’s greater awareness these days of the fact that disordered eating does not always show up as being clinically underweight/overweight. I hope this encourages more people to speak up about their struggles, rather than feeling as though they should ignore them or try to go it alone because they don’t fit into a diagnostic box.

One of the articles I’m sharing today makes open acknowledgment of the fact that eating disorders, which have long been “widely viewed ‘as a white girl vanity issue,’” in the author’s words, are gaining recognition as complex mental illnesses. It discusses how the tech industry may be a surprising and invaluable ally in changing public awareness/perception and offering more tools to support those who are suffering.

Gillian Harvey’s humble and candid essay in The Guardian also tackles the reality of EDs as mental illnesses. Harvey writes,

For women like me, the perception that anorexia is a disease of the young and is linked to narcissism is damaging. It’s embarrassing to admit, when teetering on the brink of your fourth decade, that you’ve just gorged on chocolate and found yourself hunched over the toilet bowl. But it shouldn’t be. Eating disorders are a mental illness.

I’m not sure whether Harvey and I feel similarly about the promise of a full recovery, but I agree with her observation that EDs can flare up repeatedly over the course of a lifetime, which makes the work of guarding one’s recovery through continual mindfulness all the more important.

In the last year or so, I’ve come to understand that anorexia was, for better or for worse, my primary coping mechanism for a really long time. Staying in recovery means resisting the urge to summon up a set of behaviors that made me feel safe, protected, and empowered. I’ve learned how to critically examine and resist the ED tendencies, but the process of developing a toolkit to cope with pain or powerlessness is ongoing. In many ways, life feels much lonelier than it did when I had the disorder to keep me company. Even now, this comes as a surprise; it’s one of those realities of life-after-recovery that no one can really prepare you for.

I was often told during recovery that the process was like letting go of an abusive lover—sometimes he was given the name of “Ed.” For me, the process felt more like parting ways with my best friend—a tender confidant who had shepherded me through hard times. It has been many years since my physical recovery, and I still find myself longing for her company sometimes. My personal NEDA week observance this year has been to understand that recovery isn’t simply a process of doing battle or dancing on one’s demons; it can also be a painful and poignant rupture, the pangs of which can be felt for many years after.

I’ve never been farther away from my ED in my habits, never more certain that I won’t go back to tedious cycles of restriction and obsession. But the last year in particular has made me yearn for the feelings of certainty and structure that the disorder gave me. That I know how deceptive those feelings were makes it easy to resist engaging with them again, but it doesn’t necessarily soften the blow of living without them.

That’s recovery, in all of its mess and incongruities. I’d never trade the rich world I inhabit today for the narrow and rigid one left behind. But I miss it sometimes. Lately, I miss it a lot of the time. I take heart in reminding myself that recovery—at least as I have experienced it—is a practice, not a neat story of before-and-after. It’s a process that I give myself to with attention and faith every single day. This week, more than in other weeks, I’m lifted up and supported by the many voices of others who have found their way through it.

And of course, one of the major joys of recovery is to live in peace and celebration with food! On that note, let’s move on to some links.


I’m loving Elizabeth’s bright, zesty, and seasonal avocado and grapefruit salad—and I especially love her recipe for green goddess dressing made with pumpkin seeds.

Sam’s vegan spinach, cashew ricotta, and “ham” cannelloni is vegan comfort food at its finest. I love the idea of a coconut ham recipe.

Muhammara is one of my favorite dips, and I can’t wait to try Lisa’s version, which incorporates a drizzle of pomegranate molasses (I’ve got a bottle sitting in my pantry that could use a little love).

More innovative, sumptuous comfort food: Anya’s colorful spaghetti squash and mung bean lasagna.

Finally, something sweet. Thalia’s vegan chocolate mousse is made with aquafaba, melted dark chocolate, and coconut milk for plenty of thick, smooth decadence, and then it’s topped with a layer of cardamom cream. What a wonderful dessert!


1. Fast Company reports on how eating disorders are getting the “silicon valley treatment.” It’ll be interesting to see how the use of apps and other tech platforms might impact these mental illnesses (and mental health in general).

2. One of the more difficult parts of my recovery—another one of those uphill battles that I didn’t anticipate—was that my readiness to embrace a new relationship with food preceded any real advances in making peace with my body. As I was learning to respect and even celebrate my own cravings, I had to fight off the continuing discomfort of body dysmorphia (especially as my body started to change). This article provides some good tips on how to make peace with food even as body discomfort persists.

Growth comes in bits and pieces. Sometimes it doesn’t feel cohesive or progressive, but it’s important to celebrate each small victory or gain in freedom anyway. The process begins wherever it can, and if it begins with food—no matter what else remains to be healed—well, that’s pretty great.

3. Binge eating disorder (BED) is now the most common ED in the United States. In spite of this fact, it remains poorly understood and often shrouded in misconception. Julie Friedman, a research scientist at the front lines of working to better understand BED, explains some of the common myths surrounding this type of eating disorder.

4. Carrie Arnold (@edbites on Twitter) has a lot of smart, heartfelt things to say about EDs and ED treatment. Her latest article for STAT News touches on all of the issues I’ve mentioned in this post, starting with the importance of recognizing eating disorders as illnesses, rather than a form of willful behavior. She writes,

Treating a disease that involves self-starvation seems relatively straightforward. “Just eat” seems to be the obvious solution. If only it were that simple. Just as someone with schizophrenia can’t will themselves out of psychosis and a person with bipolar disorder can’t wave a wand to eliminate mania, those with anorexia can’t just eat. Malnutrition accompanies eating disorders, which has been shown to shrink the brain and affect cognitive function, potentially interfering with a person’s ability to see the necessity of treatment. Many with anorexia also don’t find the weight loss alarming or disconcerting. As my illness tightened its grip and my weight dropped, I didn’t find the prospect of dying nearly as terrifying as the thought of having to face a plate of food five times a day. I wanted to get well, just as long as it didn’t involve eating or gaining weight.

Arnold and I had different experiences of anorexia and recovery, but I can certainly remember the denial and fear she references. I see time and time again how casually people assume that the disease can be consciously overcome—without the expert care and support we assume are necessary for other types of illnesses.

Arnold’s life was saved by forced tube feeding, but her thoughts about the value of this type of intervention are anything but simple. Instead, she weighs the procedure with thoughtfulness and nuance, and her considerations are worth reading.

5. Finally, Gillian Harvey’s bracingly honest thoughts on her ongoing struggle with disordered eating, along with a personal plea for us to fight back against stigma and stereotyping.

These aren’t easy reads, but I think there’s comfort in bearing witness to honest and brave reflections. These remembrances aren’t neat or sanitized or simplified, but they’re truthful, and I admire the courage it must have taken to write them.

That’s it for today, and for NEDA week. I’ll be back to business this week with some new food to savor.


The post Weekend Reading, 3.4.17 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

NEDA Week 2017: It’s Time to Talk About It

NEDA Week 2017: Time to Talk About It | The Full Helping

In lieu of a regular weekend reading roundup this week, I’m sharing a few words to help commemorate NEDA week, an annual event that’s intended to help bring more consciousness to eating disorders.

This year’s theme is “it’s time to talk about it.” When I first saw this, I assumed that the primary focus would be how to communicate with those who have eating disorders. This is a worthy topic, as it’s very hard to know what the “right” thing to say is when someone is struggling.

As the NEDA website makes clear, though, the theme is a lot broader than that. It’s about bringing more attention to eating disorders in all of their range and complexity, about breaking the stigmas that surround the topic, and celebrating those who have gathered up the courage to challenge their illnesses. Or, as NEDA puts it:

It’s time we take eating disorders seriously as public health concerns. It’s time we bust the myths and get the facts. It’s time to celebrate recovery and the heroes who make it possible. It’s time to take action and fight for change. It’s time to shatter the stigma and increase access to care.

I’m so glad that awareness is being framed this way. It’s all too easy to treat EDs as something aberrant or other. But these illnesses will probably touch all of our lives sooner or later, and we can all participate—or choose not to participate—in the cultural norms that enable them.

This year, I’m thinking about how we might share our voices in service of a more open, honest, and healing dialog about EDs. Here are a few of the conversations that have been on my mind, along with some personal thoughts on how best to approach them.

If you’re expressing concern to someone who has an ED:

  • Understand that your loved one may respond defensively or with expressions of denial that something is wrong. It’s OK. Even if the conversation is short, even if it doesn’t go very far, you’ll still have an opportunity to plant a seed of awareness and concern. This seed may grow into your loved one’s being able to understand and appreciate that he or she is cared for and that the struggle hasn’t gone unnoticed.
  • Don’t approach the dialog with an agenda. The defensive reflex will probably be stronger if your loved one senses that you want him or her to do something or respond in a certain way. Instead, treat your part of the conversation as a heartfelt, non-judgmental expression of love. Let your loved one know that you’re paying attention and are there to help and support in any way you can. This may not be all that needs saying, but I think it’s a good place to start.
  • Remember that it’s not your job to fix or treat. ED treatment should be administered by professionals who have specialized training and an understanding of the process. It’s totally OK to recommend resources or offer to support your loved one in finding a treatment professional. It’s not your job to come up with a treatment plan of your own, or to push your recommendations on your friend, partner, or family member.
  • Educate yourself about the realities of EDs, so that you can better understand what your loved one is going through. Many of us have a certain idea of what EDs look like or how they show up, which may or may not be overly limited or narrow. NEDA offers resources and toolkits that help to broaden the dialog and supply a fuller vision. This may help to feel better equipped for a dialog. You can also check out memoirs, blogs, and websites like Project Heal.

If you’re supporting a caretaker or family member of a person with an ED:

  • Supporting the recovery process on the home front can feel like a full time job. If you know a parent, partner, sibling, or close friend of someone with an ED, you can make an offer of coffee, a casual friend date, or even a phone/online chat. This kind of support can mean so much to a caretaker.

If you’d like to change the conversation surrounding EDs in our society:

  • Expand your understanding of eating disorders, disordered eating, and body dysmorphia. Challenge the assumptions you draw about how people who have EDs might look or behave. Understand that EDs aren’t associated with any single appearance or shape. Know that a person may behave in a way that seems “normal” and still be suffering. Listen closely to the words people use to talk about food, anxiety, fear, stress, and worry: they may give you clues to an underlying struggle.
  • Work to erode the stigma, discomfort, and unease that surrounds EDs. Many ED sufferers are afraid to ask for help because they’re ashamed of how they’ll be perceived; it doesn’t help that perfectionism and fear of making mistakes is a risk factor for developing EDs in the first place. The more we dismantle stigmas surrounding mental health and mental illness, the sooner healing can begin.
  • Create more awareness within your community, whether by hosting a talk, arranging for a lecture or workshop within a school or workplace, or simply learning more about what you can do.
  • Advocate for ED treatment to be covered by more health insurers. This is an uphill battle, especially as health insurance itself may be under threat for many individuals. Still, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the difficulties that many families face in trying to secure affordable treatment for a child or spouse, and to read more about what can be done if treatment isn’t covered.

If you’d like to help create a more body-positive culture:

  • Cultivate a body-respecting lexicon. This means avoiding “fat talk,” judgment that’s based on shape or size, and any presumptions that have to do with weight.
  • Celebrate food as a source of nourishment—nourishment that extends to the soul as well as to the body. Avoid language that demonizes certain types of food or ingredients. Steer clear of food alarmism. Resist the urge to participate in or normalize diet talk (or cleansing/detoxing talk). Celebrate moderation, balance, and perspective when it comes to eating.

If you’re struggling with an ED:

  • Consider speaking up to someone you trust. If you’re scared, anxious, or fighting off fears that this person will use the information you’ve shared against you, close your eyes. Think about the times he or she has truly shown up for you, truly had your back. Think about the love that he or she has extended to you in the past. Try, if you can, to remember that your loved one is on your side.
  • You don’t have to speak to a close family member or friend if such a dialog feels threatening. You can open up to a school counselor or teacher, a mental health professional, or someone on the other end of a helpline. Speaking to a trained professional or an experienced stranger may feel safer than speaking to someone you know.
  • Communicate the struggle in your own language. You may not yet be ready to say the words “I think I have an eating disorder,” or you may not feel as though such a statement is truthful. But you may be ready to say “sometimes I wonder if I’m struggling with disordered eating.” It may feel right to say something more open and curious, like “I’m having a lot of anxious thoughts around food, and I just wanted to tell someone,” or, “I’m worried that I may be using food to cope with my sadness/anxiety/fear,” or, “lately I feel as though I’m spending a lot of time thinking about food, and it worries me.” Capture your feelings in a way that feels authentic.
  • Listen to your intuition. Online screening tools for EDs are important and helpful, but they can sometimes give the impression that one has to meet all of the criteria of an ED in order to have a problem that’s worth talking about. This isn’t true. If your intuition tells you that something is wrong, or if there’s a part of you that suspects that the behaviors you’ve been justifying or normalizing may not be so healthy after all, listen. And try to talk to someone about it.

My Experience

I’ve participated, or tried to participate, in all of the above conversations. But it’s of course the experience of speaking up about my own ED, and being spoken to by family and friends, that is most vivid to me as I think about NEDA week and its theme this year.

My behavior when I was sick is a prime example of why it can be so hard to talk about EDs. I was in furious denial, which made it hard for anyone to speak up at all. I was incredibly knowledgable about nutrition—and indeed, pretty smug about how I ate—which made my loved ones afraid to question or challenge my food choices. And I was very highly functioning, even at my most disordered, which meant that I could do a pretty good job of hiding how bad things were.

A few of my friends had the courage to speak up along the way, to tell me that they were worried about my weight, the fact that I’d stopped eating in groups, and all of the elaborate food rules, dressed up as healthy eating principles, that I’d embraced. They didn’t get very far. I responded with calm, confident assurances that everything was perfectly fine; when my mother repeatedly vocalized her worries, I was more vehemently defensive.

In the end, I opened up about my anorexia by going to therapy. After so many years of defensiveness and guarding, that was the space that felt safe to me. This doesn’t mean that my conversations with friends over the years went unnoticed, though; on the contrary, they planted very important seeds.

They showed me that I didn’t appear to be “in control,” even if I had convinced myself that I was. They taught me that I wasn’t living in a vacuum after all, but rather in a web of relationships, and that my behaviors caused great pain to those around me. They forced me to realize how transparent my habits were, how visibly and obviously troubled. Most of all, they reminded me that there were people who loved me and were hoping for me to be myself again. Awareness of this love gave me courage when I did ultimately work through the mess of recovery.

If you’re hoping to talk to someone about his or her relationship with food, know that your words will have an impact, no matter how oblique or indirect or slow. Know that your love will be felt, sooner or later. Know that so many of us who have lived through the recovery process can think back to a conversation or exchange we had with someone who had the guts to be honest with us, and we can remember that moment as a turning point in the way we related to our illness, whether or not we were able to act on the consciousness right away.

Before I wrap up, I think it’s important to mention that “talking about it” often forces us to confront our own language, biases, and baggage. Many people with EDs live in homes where food, weight, and nutrition are constant topics of conversation. Even as that person’s illness is challenged, the diet talk and casual commentary about size and shape continues—sometimes at the dinner table itself. It is so, so difficult for recovery to unfold in an environment where food and bodies are being policed, no matter how subtly or unconsciously.

“Talking about it” means taking a good, hard look at our language and conversation and vowing to speak about food and bodies in a more compassionate, caring way. It means questioning the harsh judgments we bring to the business of eating. It means speaking up about the fact that all of us, whether we’ve experienced disordered eating or not, sometimes struggle with food. It means bringing deep humanity to these conversations, being willing to see glimpses of our own experience in someone else’s struggle. It means working to be more empathic, rather than carelessly problematizing what we can’t immediately understand.

If you or someone you love is struggling with food, know that there are so many avenues for conversation and acknowledgment. You can begin by exploring the NEDA site and checking out some of the resources offered, then heading over to Project Hope for additional resources and information. There are many other sites that offer comprehensive tools, so don’t be afraid to keep looking until you find an outlet that feels supportive and safe.

This year and every year, I send my love and boundless hope to those who are working to make peace with food. You’re not alone.


The post NEDA Week 2017: It’s Time to Talk About It appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew

Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew | The Full Helping

Since the new year, I’ve made good on my intention to dive back into meal planning and batch cooking. I spent most of last year immersed in recipe testing that was by turns exciting and exhausting. In December we ate up what was in our freezer, along with a lot of dinner salads and some takeout. I hoped January would be a return to a more regular home cooking routine, and for the most part, it has been.

This isn’t to say that all of what I’ve made has been exciting or memorable. We’ve eaten a lot of simple pasta (and by that I mean pasta + marinara + a cup or can of beans, nothing fancier), a lot of soup, some dinner toast, and I’ve gotten a generous dinnertime helping hand from my favorite vegan products. Compared to last year’s rotation of exciting new dishes, it’s pretty humble.

The thing about cooking, though, is that no matter how humble or random the results, I’m always glad to have done it. Even if I rummage through the pantry and slap a couple of odd ingredients together, even if the results are just OK, I’m still happy to have cooked; I’d still prefer a slapdash, homemade meal to takeout. I can think of very few activities that feel this consistently worthwhile.

Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew | The Full Helping

This creamy chickpea miso vegetable stew is one of those random creations. It was born of necessity: I cooked a pound of chickpeas in my slow cooker over the weekend and found that they’d gotten a little too soft for salads or bowls. So, I set about making a week’s worth of hummus and this soup, both of which are ideal uses for ever-so-slightly mushy beans.

Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew | The Full Helping

It’s not the most intentional or deliberate batch of soup I’ve made, but it works. And in fact, I was happily surprised by its simplicity. I was running low on herbs and didn’t want to spend too much time mulling over which seasonings I’d use, so I decided to use miso for both flavor and umami. I don’t usually use miso in creamy soups, but I loved the richness and subtle saltiness that it added here.

I also love the combination of textures: half of the chickpeas get pureed until they’re silky smooth, which adds body to the stew, and the other half stay the way they are. After the creamy portion of the stew has been returned to the pot, you can add any vegetables you like. I had cauliflower, carrots, kale, and a lone rutabaga on hand, but there are plenty of other winter veggies that would work, including broccoli, parsnips, potato, or turnips. Golden beets would be delicious, too (and they’d compliment the soup’s slight sweetness).

Once the soup has simmered for a while, you can adjust the seasoning and serve it with some toast or a hunk of bread, and you’ve got a pretty satisfying meal on your hands. The recipe makes a lot–about 6-8 portions–but it’s freezer-friendly and easy to cut in half if you’d rather not have a lot leftover. I was thrilled to have as much as we did, and I’ve got a bunch frozen in single portions for easy lunches in the next few weeks.

Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew | The Full Helping

Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew

Recipe type: soup, stew
Cuisine: gluten free, soy free optional, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large (or 6 small) stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup white miso (you can substitute red or brown miso if that’s what you have; use chickpea miso or barley miso if you need the soup to be soy-free)
  • 4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced into half-moons (about ½ lb)
  • 1 small (or ½ large) head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1 lb, or 3-4 cups)
  • 1 medium sized rutabaga, turnip, or potato, peeled and diced (or 3-4 parsnips, peeled and diced)
  • 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  1. Add the olive oil to a stockpot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and celery. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion is clear and tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the chickpeas and broth to the pot. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  2. Place the miso in a small bowl. Use a ladle to transfer a small amount (about ¾ cup) of broth to to the bowl. Whisk the miso with the broth to create a smooth slurry, then transfer the slurry back to the soup pot. Stir the soup. Place about half of the soup into a standing blender and blend till it’s totally smooth, then return it to the pot; alternately, you can use an immersion blender to puree half the soup. Stir again.
  3. Add the carrots, cauliflower, rutabaga, and kale to the pot. Bring the soup back to a low simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender. Taste the soup and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Serve.
Leftover soup will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 1 month.

 Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew | The Full Helping

Another advantage of the stew is that it comes together relatively quickly. The chickpeas don’t need to simmer long before the miso is added, since they’re pre-cooked, and after you add your miso slurry and puree half the soup, you only need to simmer it for as long as the vegetables take to become tender. It’s a good candidate for weeknight cooking as well as a cozy weekend meal.

The chickpea/miso combination now has me mulling over a miso hummus; I should probably slightly overcook another batch of chickpeas this coming weekend!

It’s rare that I cook at random these days; blogging and meal planning don’t give me much space to peer into my pantry or fridge and just come up with an idea on the fly. This stew was a happy reminder that really good things can happen in the absence of a plan, and I hope it’s the first of many casual kitchen experiments this year. When I started blogging, my recipes were often happy accidents (mixed up with lots of not-so-happy accidents). I’m glad to have become a little more deliberate and thoughtful with my food, but some spontaneity has been lost, and in the spirit of small adventures that I mentioned last weekend, I’m ready to welcome it back.


The post Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 2.19.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I got into a long conversation about adventures the other day. I was chatting with a friend–a friend who happens to fit my very definition of an “adventurous spirit.” She loves trying new things, taking calculated risks, traveling to new and interesting places. Her curiosity and thirst for new experience is clear in everything she does, whether it’s flying up into an inversion she’s never tried in yoga or tasting an exotic ingredient at a restaurant.

Me, I’m a different story. It took me years and years–not to mention many piles of props–to cautiously raise my feet into a headstand. I’m slow to warm up to new flavors and ingredients, which is something of a liability when recipe development is part of your job. I haven’t seen much of the world, and when I do travel, I tend to plan it all out carefully. Intrepid isn’t exactly a word I’d use to describe myself.

This isn’t a bad thing, of course: we all have our predispositions, and my attachment to home and hearth is as much a part of my character as my friend’s daring is a part of hers. But as my friend and I were speaking, it occurred to me that I’ve lately been even less intrepid than usual.

This gives me something to think about, because some of my most valuable life experiences came about when I was willing to set some cautiousness aside. My post-bacc is a good example: it was a professional risk, a leap of faith, and a true adventure, at least for someone like me. It involved exploring a new place–this after many years of being tethered to one zipcode–and taking a chance on a fledgling relationship. Nothing went as planned, but that wasn’t ultimately the point. So many friendships, lessons, and memories emerged from those years, and I’d never have met Steven had I not moved to D.C.

I can think of other examples, including the risk-taking that defined ED recovery, along with the culinary exploration that comes along with going vegan, or changing one’s diet in any substantive way.

It doesn’t surprise me that I’ve been particularly guarded in the last year or so. Venturing into unknowns doesn’t feel like much of a possibility when you’re struggling to keep equilibrium from day to day. But life is cyclical, and seasons change. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to start being just a little more adventurous again, even if that intention shows up in small ways.

It was a good time for me to read novelist Christina Kline’s lovely ode to her father’s endless curiosity and openness–what she calls “a kind of purposeful recklessness.” She shares several stories about her father’s willingness to talk to strangers, take detours, and venture into the unknown. “My childhood was rife with moments like this,” she says:

Dad was always going out on a limb, befriending people who didn’t necessarily seem to want new friends, trespassing on private property, pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior in quest of adventure. His philosophy was that you don’t need money or plans, only a willingness to be present in the moment and to go where inspiration takes you. If you don’t, you’ll miss the entire point of being alive.

Kline makes clear that her father’s curiosity sometimes led him–and his family–to dead ends or dicey circumstances. She also notes that his garrulousness wasn’t universally appreciated:

Dad’s unorthodox and sometimes embarrassing friendliness got him, and us, into trouble now and then. Some people didn’t take kindly to probing questions. Others found his puppy-dog openness suspect or unsophisticated. But his innate, bottomless curiosity about the world also taught his four daughters to be open to new experiences and comfortable with improvisation. Even now, in his late 70s, he lives each day with a kind of purposeful recklessness, asking provocative questions and seeking new experiences in the belief that he can break through to something better, more meaningful, more satisfying.

We all have gifts or special qualities that can, at certain moments or when taken to extreme, serve as handicaps. I’m sure this is true of unquenchable curiosity, just as it’s true of being especially deliberate. But I was touched by Kline’s deep appreciation of her father’s way of being, and it’s clear that she and her siblings learned a lot from bearing witness to his explorations.

That’s one of this week’s reads, along with a few other memorable articles. But first, some of the recipes I’ve been pinning and pining after this week.


I’m feeling super inspired by cozy breakfast fare this week, starting with Sophie’s super simple blender buckwheat banana pancakes.

I can never get enough tofu scramble for breakfast, and Kimberly’s tofu scramble with garlicky kale will be my next batch.

I’ve really fallen in love with delicata squash this winter–it’s just so easy to prepare, and I love its tender sweetness–so I was really excited to see these lovely squash and butter bean tartines over at Honestly Yum. What a delicious idea for an easy lunch or appetizer.

I can never get enough ideas for roasted cauliflower–it’s one of the vegetables we eat most often in the winter here at home–and right now I’ve got my eye on Kristen’s turmeric roasted cauliflower. I love the idea of adding thinly sliced lemon to the sheet pan!

…and if you need an easy, healthy way to serve your roasted cauliflower, check out Lauren’s roasted cauliflower bowls with tahini sauce. Simple and beautiful.


1. A few new years ago, I meditated a bit on the idea that before we speak, it’s helpful to filter our words through three questions: is it kind, is it necessary, and is it true? These are still questions that I pose to myself, especially before I voice an opinion or an idea that might be hurtful or difficult to hear.

In this post, RD Emily Fonnesbeck applies the same questions to the words one speaks to oneself internally–what we’ve been calling “self-talk” in my counseling class. It’s a good exercise, because it brings to light the discrepancy that often exists between the way we treat others and the way we treat ourselves.

2. Also on the topic of compassionate self-talk, I like Jennifer Rollin’s ideas for supporting a loved one who is communicating body dissatisfaction.

3. This excerpt from Christine Hyung-Oak Lee’s new memoir on losing her short-term memory (after suffering a stroke at the age of 33) is pretty incredible. Lee’s vivid and evocative portrait of day-to-day life without the use of short-term memory taught me a lot about how memory functions and enables us to manage our everyday patterns and routines.

4. An interesting perspective on the idea of willpower. Psychiatrist Carl Erik Fisher offers a challenge to the idea that willpower is a discreet, limited resource that human beings either do or don’t possess. This notion, he suggests, has its origins in certain moralistic schools of thought about what governs human behavior, and it may have outlived its usefulness as a way of looking at issues like addiction.

It’s a complex topic, but the article resonated. I see often how discouraging the idea of innate willpower can be; “I guess I just don’t have enough willpower,” clients have often exclaimed to me with exasperation. The idea of willpower as something that one either does or doesn’t possess can create a sense of hopelessness or being broken, and it can prevent us from examining the forces in our lives that stand in the way of change. In this way, I can certainly see the value of a fresh perspective–one that’s less tainted with self-blame.

5. Finally, Christina Bake Kline’s sweet essay on her father and his adventurous spirit.

Sending everyone good thoughts on this Sunday.


The post Weekend Reading, 2.19.17 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico