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

Creamy Cauliflower Turmeric Kale Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Turmeric Kale Soup | The Full Helping

I made and photographed this soup a few weeks ago, when I was home sick with a virus and didn’t care that it was hot and summery outside: all I wanted was a meal of soup and something bready. I’ve been thinking about this thick and creamy cauliflower turmeric kale soup ever since, and I know it’s on its way to becoming a staple for me, whatever the season.

Creamy Cauliflower Turmeric Kale Soup | The Full Helping

When I threw this soup together I had actually been planning on making, or tweaking, this recipe, but as I went along the meal took on a life of its own. I wanted to add turmeric for color and to offer my body an anti-inflammatory seasoning, and I realized before blending the soup up that I wanted it to be a lot thicker than the creamy, blended soup I was considering initially.

I’d say that the texture is someplace at the intersection of soup, stew, and curry: thick enough to scoop over rice, but still soupy enough to enjoy with a spoon. And you can adjust how soupy it is by adding more or less liquid along the way.

I gave my batch creamy texture with my all-purpose vegan cashew cream, which is my favorite means of adding richness to a recipe like this. If you’re in need of a shortcut, you could add full fat coconut milk instead. I tend to make cashew cream in double batches and store some in the freezer, since I use it so often—it’s easy enough to do, and I’m never sorry I did it!

Creamy Cauliflower Turmeric Kale Soup

Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, no oil option
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil*
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus extra as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium/large head cauliflower, thickest bottom stem removed, cut into florets and pieces (about 1½ lbs after preparation)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup all-purpose cashew cream or full fat coconut milk (from the can)
  • 1 medium bunch curly kale, stems removed and chopped (about 5-6 cups)
  • 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Pita, naan, rice, or any other grain, for serving (optional)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots. Sauté the vegetables for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is clear and soft and the carrots are becoming tender. Add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper. Sauté for one more minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the cauliflower and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is completely tender.
  3. Puree half of the soup in a standing blender or with an immersion blender, for texture that’s creamy but still textured. You can also blend all of the soup, so that the whole mixture is creamy. Once you’ve blended the soup partially or entirely, return it to the pot and stir in the cashew cream. Bring the soup back to a simmer, then add the kale in handfuls. Cover the soup and simmer for 8-10 more minutes, or until the kale is tender.
  4. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add some extra water or cashew cream to loosen it up. Stir in the lime juice. Taste the soup and add extra salt, pepper, and lime as needed. Serve with pita, naan, rice, or any desired accompaniment.
*You can substitute a few tablespoons water or broth to make the recipe oil-free.

Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the soup will keep for up to five days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.


Creamy Cauliflower Turmeric Kale Soup | The Full Helping

I love scooping the soup up with whole wheat pita, but homemade naan or chapatis would also be wonderful. As I was enjoying the leftovers I also served it with brown basmati rice that I’d seasoned with lime juice and chopped cilantro, and I loved that, too. It was especially nice when perched next to a few bright flowers, which offered their own healing powers to the meal.

I hope that you’ll enjoy the soup in good health, but if you happen to catch a summer cold, I can attest to how comforting the dish is. Next time I might try it with chard or collards, and I’m guessing that zucchini would be a nice addition for summer, too.

A few weeks into a genuine effort to stay engaged with work while also resting, I’m having a hard time striking a balance that works. It’s a learning process, and each week teaches me something. I’ll stick with it between now and the weekend—and I’ll see you for the Sunday roundup.


The post Creamy Cauliflower Turmeric Kale Soup appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 6.17.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I’m drafting this post from a room that’s only a few blocks away from where my old apartment used to be in Washington, D.C.. I’m down here because my cousin’s twin babies were baptized over the weekend, and my mom and I made the trip to celebrate them.

It’s a short trip, only two nights. My hope was to come down earlier and spend time catching up with my friends here, but with all of the recent feeling unwell, I wanted to spend more time at home last week, resting and catching up on work in a peaceful, gradual way. It was the right choice: my usual instinct when I’m in D.C. is to see as many people as I can, recognizing that we no longer live nearby, but this makes for sort of frenzied weekends.

The other upside of planning a short, family-focused weekend is that I’ve had time to experience the city quietly, privately, and reflectively. Being here brings back so much nostalgia and gratitude; every time I’m in the District I feel bowled over with the memories of how many people made me feel welcome and at home when I moved here. My time in this city was difficult in a lot of ways, but it was an incredible lesson in how generous and full of grace people can be.

In the past few days, I’ve also appreciated how rich and adventurous my time here was. Moving four and a half hours south of one’s home town for a few years may not sound very daring, but my post-bacc really was—and still is—the great adventure of my life so far.

It was something I could never have imagined doing until I did it: learning within a completely new set of disciplines, allowing myself to struggle, rather than yearning for mastery, and surrendering my need to be an “expert.” It taught me how fun it can be to learn from younger peers (as opposed to being the quintessential teacher’s pet, which had been my posture as a student in the past).

So much about that time in my life was foreign and strange. As I wandered the streets of D.C. yesterday and early this morning, I wondered how I—as a person who who tends to fear and resist novelty and change—managed to do it at all?

It took me a few steps more to recognize that I wasn’t giving my identity enough credit for being fluid. Right now, emerging from the various challenges of my last five years in New York, I’m craving stillness and grounding. But there’s a part of me, too, that’s bold and daring, and that part was in the driver’s seat during my post-bacc years.

After picking up a cup of morning coffee today, I sat on a stoop near Dupont Circle, smiled gratefully at the familiar scenery around me, and I silently thanked the part of myself that allowed me to be brave and take so many personal and professional risks when I lived here. I marveled at this “self state,” at her energy and endurance.

Then I took another moment to acknowledge where I am right now. It’s a different place, a little more bittersweet and uncertain and humble. But there’s a lot I like about it: I’m moving through life slowly and consciously, which wasn’t possible when I was careening through organic chemistry and microbiology classes and trying to keep up with work at the same time. I’m more rooted in the familiar and everyday, not out of fear but because I appreciate how vital they are to my happiness and health. I’m more attuned to my body and its needs. I’m less grandiose and more content.

It felt poignant to acknowledge past and present selves and inner capacities at once, recognizing that they’ve each served me well, depending on where I am in life. I hope I can take stock of my experience like this again in a few years, and that I’ll have interesting contrasts to consider then, as I do now.

Wishing you a gentle start to the week—and a happy Father’s Day to those of you who are celebrating.


The first recipe that caught my eye is a quinoa salad with a tropical, summery twist: the addition of coconut flakes, mango, basil, and dried fruit.

I love my friend Emily’s simple, springy, one-pot green farro, which is easy to veganize with vegan parm or nutritional yeast.

I stuff potatoes with cooked fillings all the time, but I hadn’t thought to load them up with salad or raw veggies. These salad stuffed potatoes are such a fun idea!

My packable lunch pick of the week: protein-rich ginger peanut tofu wraps. Yum.

For dessert, I’m drooling over Tessa’s vegan (and gluten-free!) peanut butter pie. Any dessert with PB in it knows the way to my heart.


1. I love Kelsey Miller’s tribute to the company and solace of cooking and cookbooks. I spend plenty of time exploring and downloading recipes online (as these weekly posts illustrate!), but I agree with Miller that there’s nothing quite like a cookbook and its guidance. I was touched by her appreciation of Anthony Bourdain’s cookbook writing in particular:

Cookbooks are a particular comfort, on bad days or during times of grief and loss. It’s not only that they help with the cooking of comfort food — though there is healing in that, certainly — but also the people they bring to life. That’s why, I realized, I didn’t reach for Bourdain’s famous essays, but for his old cookbook. I don’t mean to knock the rest of his work — the man never wrote a boring sentence in his life, as far as I can tell — but his recipes are different. In them, Bourdain is at his most joyful.

I’m my most joyful self when I’m creating recipes, too; I think many of us are.

2. Supermarket led nutrition education interventions seem like such a smart idea to me (a captive audience, an opportunity to highlight products or ingredients in real time). How cool that Weis Markets is instituting a plant-based program in its stores.

3. A new weight loss procedure—the gastric balloon—is proving to be far more hazardous than its marketing would suggest. I’m glad that this article is publicizing the risks.

4. Pamela Druckerman offers up some wise and (for me) relatable tips on time management, which aren’t only about time management: they’re about self-knowledge and the process of identifying and prioritizing what matters.

5. A lot of healthcare practitioners, in spite of many years of training, are never really prepared for handling personality mismatches or interpersonal conflicts with the individuals who are under their care. It can be a jarring experience for a person in a helping profession to realize that he or she is grappling with feelings of discomfort or dislike around a patient.

This essay, written by a resident, captures the experience humbly. Of a patient with whom she did not easily or readily connect, and who ultimately passed away under her care, she writes,

What I remember most about Mrs. G was how imperfect our interaction was and how little it had to do with the mistakes I thought I would make — wrong medication doses or a procedure gone bad. Our relationship was rocky, our attitudes clashed, and the clinical outcome was not what any of us wanted. It was imperfect but it taught me the importance of being honest with yourself about the way you feel when you interact with others, especially patients. This will help you to both forgive yourself and others such that you can form powerful and needed relationships during difficult situations. It was a first in many ways but certainly not a last as the human interactions in medicine are part of the healing we do every day.

What an honest and human reflection.

Switching topics completely, is it officially too hot for soup? I hope not, because I have a pretty delicious one to share in the coming week. Happiest of Sundays to you.


The post Weekend Reading, 6.17.18 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad

Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad | The Full Helping

In spite of a chilly couple of evenings here in New York, it’s summer, and with summer comes the sweet arrival of fresh strawberries at the farmers market. The moment is extra special because it heralds more summer berries and fruits to come, and I’ve been celebrating by putting strawberries in and on everything—this balsamic tofu, quinoa & strawberry summer salad included.

Technically the salad spans the seasons—it’s got radishes, baby greens, and green beans, which are abundant in spring, but the strawberries give it a summery feel for sure. I love how the bitter radishes contrast with the juicy, plump sweetness of the fruit.

I mentioned recently that in spite of it being warmer now, I still tend to go for grain salads with plenty of plant-based protein, especially if that salad’s intended to be a meal. There’s protein aplenty here, both from quinoa and from firm, seasoned cubes of balsamic marinated tofu from Nasoya.

Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad | The Full Helping

I’ve been a huge fan of Nasoya tofu for a long time; the extra firm and super firm options are almost always my go-to for baking and sautéing. I love their texture (I like my tofu on the uber-dense side, which they are) and the fact that the brand has made tofu and soy foods so accessible to so many home cooks across the country.

This was my first experience using the brand’s Toss’ables, which are pre-cubed, pre-seasoned, and ready to eat. They come in two flavors, Balsamic Vinaigrette and Garlic & Herb, and for me balsamic was the clear winner. I love its sweet tart flavor, and the texture is perfect.

I’m always inviting my clients to keep pre-baked or seasoned tofu in the fridge as a handy protein option for busy times and for dishes just like this one. Experience has shown me that protein often falls by the wayside when folks don’t have enough time to meal prep. So happy to add this tasty option to my repertoire of suggestions!

Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad | The Full Helping

The rest of the salad pretty much speaks for itself: fluffy quinoa, chopped green beans, radishes, strawberries. And, oh yeah—the balsamic Dijon tahini dressing that I just can’t get enough of 🙂 Here’s the recipe.

Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad | The Full Helping

Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad

Recipe type: salad, main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 larger or 6 small servings
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Fluff the grain gently and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss well to combine. Serve.

Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad | The Full Helping

There’s so much nutrition here; it’s most definitely a power plate! Oftentimes I find that summery salads don’t quite have the macronutrient balance that I need to stay full (protein + complex carb + healthful fat), but this one does—with plenty of fresh, seasonal flavor. A new keeper for me, for sure.

Speaking of all this, so happy that a bunch of you have already made the balsamic Dijon tahini dressing and loved it. If you’re enjoying it in your kitchen, you’re enjoying it right alongside me!

Wishing you all a sweet rest of the week. See you this weekend for some reads and recipes.


This post is sponsored by Nasoya. All opinions are my own, and I love this go-to brand of tofu and soy foods! Thanks for your support.

The post Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa & Strawberry Summer Salad appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 6.10.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Oftentimes when I read about the importance of saying no and setting boundaries, the advice seems to assume that the things being declined aren’t all that desirable: unmanageable amounts of work, exhausting social commitments, and so on.

This week, I learned how hard it is to turn down things that might be very enjoyable, but yet feel like too much. As soon as I was on the mend, I wanted so badly to connect with friends, get back to work, and feel more engaged with the world around me. Even quick forays into doing more quickly resulted in my feeling lousy again: another unequivocal request from my body for me to slow down. Possibly to a full stop, if only for a little while.

This weekend, I’ve practiced saying no, not only to the things I (secretly or not-so-secretly) don’t want to do, but also to things I’d really like to do, if only it weren’t so important to be gentle with myself right now.

It has been challenging, not because any external pressures are being applied to me, but because it’s still my instinct to muscle through this period of feeling unwell. Being honest about what I can and can’t do right now means that my actions align with the truth of what I feel in my body.

There have been times in my past when going about my usual routine in the face of a health or psychological challenge was actually healing and soothing. This isn’t such a time, and as long as I’m going to commit to healing this summer—whatever that ends up looking like, for me—I owe it to myself to do so honestly and wholly.

Only a few hours after saying no to a few things I was anticipating happily, I feel sad to be missing out, but a little more rested and at peace. A hopeful sign that I’m tuning in wisely. Wishing you a week of heeding intuition, whether that means saying no, saying yes, or saying both when each makes sense. Here are the recipes and reads I’ve been catching up on.


A spicy, earthy, simple vegan soup is just what the doctor ordered right now!

I love Steven’s idea to add meaty portobello mushrooms to classic ratatouille.

This hearty, plant protein-packed dish is my kind of summer salad. I love the combination of lentils and wild rice.

I’m always happy to have a new mango avocado salsa recipe!

Elena’s vegan cherry almond galette is show-stopping.


1. This past week has issued a powerful reminder that mental health struggles often go unseen. Joanna Goddard shared a powerful reflection depression and suicide, which is worth reading for the comments that were shared as well as the original post.

2. Relatedly, it can incredibly difficult to know what to do or what to say when a loved one is struggling with severe depression. Here are some broad, yet thoughtful tips.

3. Today’s Dietitian addresses the benefit of family meals and tackles the challenges that folks face in making them happen. I appreciate the invitation to toss out the idea that everything has to be made from scratch: appliances and wholesome store-bought options are a powerful means of making at-home meals doable for families, and for all of us!

4. A review of a new memoir about endometriosis and how poorly it’s often understood by healthcare providers.

5. Gut health is a huge topic of interest, and there’s a lot of buzz around probiotics and probiotic-containing foods. Still, there’s a great deal we don’t understand about how the microbiome works; it may take more time for us to identify all of the factors that actually enable beneficial bacteria to colonize and flourish the gut.

Coming up, a lovely summer salad that utilizes my fave balsamic Dijon tahini dressing. Can’t wait to share.


The post Weekend Reading, 6.10.18 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico


I wanted so much to sit down and write something very thoughtful and reflective today, as I have in past years on my birthday. The last twelve months have certainly given me plenty to say; they’ve been full of interesting insights and realizations, lots of renewed human connection, and important steps toward coming home to myself.

When I wrote last year’s birthday post, still in the shadow of the great breakup of 2017, I was wounded and bewildered. I’ve let a lot of that go. I’ve stopped feeling resentful about the fact that things went differently than I thought they would. I no longer feel a sense of injustice about what happened; it’s just what happened. And I’m at peace with the fact that I’m mapping out a new life and new direction for myself. It’s still hazy and uncertain, but the future is always uncertain. I’m starting to appreciate how much freedom I have, which is overwhelming at times, but is its own blessing.

These things aside, I’m short on words today. I’m still feeling sick—now with an ear infection too, which I’m fortunately being treated for. I’m not feeling as anxious or fearful as I was on Sunday, but I’m conscious of being tired and turned inward. I have a strong, clear sense that my only priority right now is to take care of my body, which is what I’ll do more of today. My blogger’s instinct is to say more or share more—to process my feelings in greater detail or to search for lessons beneath them—but sometimes it’s important to say only what’s true and not say any more.

I said something akin to this to a very dear friend over email the other day—I told her that I was short on words, and also that I was feeling discouraged and weary. She said that my words were perfect; they were the truth. I was surprised at how directly her email touched my heart; I began to cry as soon as I’d read it. I didn’t realize how badly I must have wanted, or needed, for someone to remind me that being honest is enough.

So this is where I am, honestly, on my thirty-sixth birthday: a little wiser, I think, and apprehending the interesting, unknown future that stretches out before me. Still a bit lost; still paused at a life crossroads and wondering which way I’ll go. Time will tell. And time is the true birthday gift: another year added to the journey.

In the past few days, when I’ve felt overwhelmed, I’ve gone to sit in the park near my apartment, breathing in fresh air and listening to the springtime symphony of birds chirping in the trees. There’s been a lot of cool breeze this week, which has been soothing.

It’s gotten me thinking of how important it is to be with nature in moments of uncertainty, fear, or doubt. And it brings to mind a Wendell Berry poem I’ve always loved, “The Peace of Wild Things.” I thought I’d share it today, for myself but also for any other person who might need it:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The birthday wish I make for myself this morning is to have a year filled with moments like the one Berry describes: moments of grace, wonder, and faith in the rhythms of life’s unfolding.

I wish it for all of you, too. Thank you for celebrating another year with me, and I’ll “see” you on Sunday for the usual roundup.


The post 36 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Balsamic Dijon Tahini Dressing

Balsamic Dijon Tahini Dressing | The Full Helping

Thank you for kind responses to Sunday’s weekend reading post. In the spirit of that post—a spirit of R&R—this post is going to be short and sweet, so that I can get back to taking it easy. And after all, how much actually needs to be said about a really great dressing?

Balsamic Dijon Tahini Dressing | The Full Helping

This dressing is a hybrid of two favorites: the balsamic tahini dressing that I posted here years ago, and the maple mustard dressing in Power Plates (which you can find in this recipe). It resembles the former thanks to, well, balsamic and tahini. Like the latter, it’s got a touch of sweetness (this time I used a pitted date for that magical caramel flavor, but if you’re whisking instead of blending, you can use maple syrup instead) and some Dijon mustard.

It’s sort of the best of both worlds, in other words, and I’ve been calling it my “everything dressing” lately for obvious reasons. I do tend to go through these phases for with a new favorite dressing or sauce; for a while it was this sweet Dijon vinaigrette, and for months it was yum sauce. I’m more than happy to ride this current dressing wave for as long as it lasts.

Balsamic Dijon Tahini Dressing

Author: Gena Hamshaw
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Serves: 1-1¼ cups
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic (or a pinch of garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large pitted date (or 2 teaspoons maple syrup)
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Blend all ingredients in a powerful blender till smooth. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together till smooth (if you do this, use syrup in place of the date). Dressing will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

“Everything” includes using the dressing on salads, pouring it on bowls, and dipping vegetable slices into it for snacking. Another favorite use has been to dress a bowl of greens and veggies and beans, then stuff the whole mixture into a whole grain pita pocket or wrap. It’s one of my favorite easy lunches for the summer months: a perfect midway point between a sandwich and salad.

Balsamic Dijon Tahini Dressing | The Full Helping

If you try it, I hope it’ll prove to be—if not an everything dressing—something that’s as versatile for you as it has been for me. Happy Tuesday, and more soon.


The post Balsamic Dijon Tahini Dressing appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 6.3.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

It’s been another weekend of Kleenex, Netflix, and soup—i.e., another lousy cold. I say “another” because colds have been pretty constant this year so far, though this one was definitely the worst I’ve had (bad enough that I got a rapid strep test; the doctor at urgent care also saw me with the sprained wrist a few weeks ago, and we had a laugh about how this isn’t my body’s month).

When I wrote about being run down in April, I mentioned the importance of respecting my body wherever it is—whether I’m exhausted or energized, sick or well. I also wrote about how feeing ill, especially for prolonged periods of time, can sometimes summon up my orthorexic tendencies, challenging the part of me that still struggles with my body not being as I’d like it to be.

The last two days have definitely brought all of this up. I’d been feeling better since graduation and hoping that leaving behind the past semester and all of its associated stagnancy and burnout would bring me back to “normal.” I put quotes around this word because I understand intellectually that bodies are always changing with time, and our baseline senses of normalcy are bound to evolve. But the truth is that I’m still clinging to an old vision of what health looks like for me.

I don’t mean that I’m ready to accept constant sniffles and feeling run down as the way things need to be or will always be—in other words, I don’t perceive the way I’ve been feeling lately as my new norm. It’s communicating weariness, and there’s a spiritual dimension to all of this, too, a soul sickness that I’m working through and have been for some time.

But it’s time to accept that what it takes to keep me healthy—as I understand and experience health—has changed dramatically in the last decade. I have to be a lot more careful than I used to be about how I take care of myself. I have to heed my body’s cues sooner and more sensitively than I did in the past, because ignoring even small signals tends to place me in the hands of some bug or another. I need more sleep than I used to. I’ve had to completely redefine what a reasonable day’s workload looks like. And while I’ve always enjoyed being mindful of nutrition because nutrition and food fascinate me, I need solid nutrition now because my well-being depends on it.

I’ve known this for a while; when I was leaving DC, having dealt with several major viral and bacterial infections in only a couple years—not to mention chronic lack of sleep—I could already sense that I’d been physically changed by my post-bacc experience. How true that premonition was, but a part of me still wants to ignore it. Long after I gave up my anorexic attachment to lightness and smallness, I retained an attachment to being lively and quick, which I fueled by pushing my limits and ignoring the warning signs of fatigue.

Just as I’ve learned to maintain and nurture an identity that isn’t confined by the underweight body I used to feel at home in, I’m now learning to inhabit a body that demands more of my attention and care. Once again, I’m being asked to be comfortable with the idea of physical necessity and hunger—not for food, but for whole body nourishment.

I hope that over time I won’t perceive this as inhabitation so much as true embodiment—really being in and of my body. Right now, there’s still some curiosity, confusion, and feelings of distance as I befriend a physical self that is slower and much more sensitive than the one I’m used to. That’s OK. Friendships can be built gradually.

On that note, it’s time for soothing food, rest, some fun TV, and another pint or so of tea. And some beautiful recipes to gaze at, because I experience all things culinary as medicine!


Oh, this is my kind of snack: wholesome, whole grain vegan blueberry muffins, made with spelt flour and rolled oats.

I’m loving my friend Alexandra’s mustardy new potato and asparagus salad (just look at the crispiness of those spuds!).

June isn’t exactly pot pie season in my part of the world, but Joscelyn’s vegetable pot pie looks so hearty and delicious that I just may need to try it soon.

Clearly, I need to get on the BBQ waffle iron tofu bandwagon—a totally genius idea from Susan of FFVK.

I spied Alexandra’s Moroccan carrot salad with harissa and avocado a few weeks ago, and I’ve been dying to make it ever since, and then to slather it on a piece of her wonderful bread.


1. I’m not sure how separate I think acedia is from depression and vice versa—at least for me—but I’d never even heard of the term until I read this article. The apathy and inertia Benjamin Sledge describes are certainly familiar components of my own experience of depression, and it was interesting to read about how commonplace they seem to be.

2. Outright potassium deficiency is incredibly dangerous, and I’ve never come across it in my work, but potassium insufficiency is a lot more common. Here are 6 telltale signs.

3. I’m always surprised at how little media attention and constructive advice is devoted to Binge Eating Disorder (BED), which is the most common type of ED in the United States by far. I like Christy Brissette’s tips for dealing with it, and I definitely echo her emphasis on regularly paced, nourishing mealtimes and snacks, as well as quitting restrictive and hypocaloric diets.

4. A new randomized trial with a large sample size suggests that lower fat eating patterns are associated with better breast cancer survival rates in women. In real world dietary terms, this would almost definitely mean placing a greater emphasis on plant foods.

5. A new health study examined the cost efficiency of plant-based diets as well as their appropriateness for overweight patients who were seeking to healthfully lose weight. As it turned out, plant-centric eating patterns were economical as well as effective for weight management. It’s great to see cost examined directly here, as fear of higher grocery bills is a big concern for many folks who are trying to eat lower on the food pyramid.

One upside of having a cold is the creamy, tasty cauliflower turmeric soup I made yesterday, which I’ll be blogging about soon. But first, this week, I’m sharing the simple balsamic tahini dressing that I’ve been calling my “everything dressing” lately, for obvious reasons.

Till soon!


The post Weekend Reading, 6.3.18 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pistachios & Dates

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pistachios & Dates | The Full Helping

Usually at this time of year, as the temperatures warm up, my salads become progressively lighter and more colorful, vegetable-centric rather than grain-centric (which is the winter norm).

This hasn’t been the case lately. Whether because of springtime rain and little bursts of chilly weather—or simply because it’s what I’m craving—I’ve continued to make a lot of hearty grain and legume salads, with vegetables and herbs serving as seasoning rather than the main event. I’m sure this will shift around when summer arrives in earnest, but for now, I continue to love the heft and substance of these easy meals. This pistachio date Israeli couscous salad with roasted cauliflower & herbs is my latest favorite, a sweet and savory mix of texture and taste.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pistachios & Dates | The Full Helping

It was love at first bite when I first tasted Israeli couscous. I’d always enjoyed regular couscous, but I couldn’t get over how much more satisfying and toothsome this variety of teeny tiny pasta was. I don’t rely on Israeli couscous the way I do quinoa, barley, farro, or rice, but I do pick it up whenever I see it, reminded of how versatile and fun it is.

This particular salad is all about texture: the chewy grain, crisp-tender roasted cauliflower, and crunchy pistachios. My favorite part of it all, though, are the little jewels of chopped medjool date and golden raisins, which give the salad an irresistable sweetness in spite of its being a basically savory dish of food.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pistachios & Dates | The Full Helping

The dried fruits and nuts here are thanks to the folks at Sunnyland Farms, who reached out to me and asked if I might be interested in incorporating some of their products into a recipe this spring. Sunnyland is a family-owned and operated farm and mail order catalog in Georgia, which sells nuts, fruits, cakes, and candies. Pecans are the locally grown specialty, but Sunnyland also sells pistachios, cashews, almonds, dates, coffee, and more—as well as nut butters and pecan meal for baking.

I requested some of my favorites to try from Sunnyland’s catalog: pistachios, walnuts, medjool dates, and golden raisins. Originally I was only planning to use dates in the couscous salad, but when the raisins arrived—triple the size of what I’m used to and absolutely gorgeous—I knew I had to throw some of them into the mix, too. I like how their more tart sweetness balances the candy sweetness of the dates (which were also plump and beautiful). Meanwhile, the pistachios add a kick of saltiness and crunch.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pistachios & Dates | The Full Helping

I kept other seasonings simple here: a splash each of red wine vinegar and lemon juice for acidity, and I zested the lemon, too, which brightened everything up. The herbs are also key, not just for freshness but also a little bit of green color.

Like most grain or pasta salads, this one can be seasoned to taste as you go along. Throw everything together, try it, then add whatever’s needed—for me, this was a drizzle of olive oil, extra salt, and a little more vinegar. If you like, you can add chives, cilantro, or even chopped arugula in place of the herbs I chose.

Pistachio Date Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower & Herbs

Recipe type: salad, main dish
Cuisine: vegan, soy free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 small head cauliflower, thick stems removed and chopped into florets and pieces (about 1 lb after preparation)
  • 1½ tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed or refined avocado
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups (dry) Israeli couscous (you can substitute 1 cup dry barley, farro, or brown rice if you can’t find it)
  • ¼ cup pitted and chopped medjool dates
  • ¼ cup golden raisins (roughly chopped if they’re jumbo sized)
  • ¼ cup shelled and chopped pistachios (raw or roasted, whichever you prefer)
  • ⅓ cup chopped mint leaves
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil for drizzling, as needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Toss the cauliflower pieces with the oil and transfer it to the baking sheet(s). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden and crisp at the edges, and tender all the way through. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow it to cool for ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to package instructions.
  3. When the cauliflower is finished roasting and cooling, add it to a large mixing bowl, along with the couscous, dates, raisins, pistachios, mint, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and vinegar. Mix everything well. Add a drizzle of olive oil as needed (I used about a tablespoon and a half), as well as additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve while the ingredients are still warm.
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pistachios & Dates | The Full Helping

I can imagine making this salad year round, pairing it with baked tofu or adding lentils or when I need a more filling meal, or with veggies or a cup of soup for an easy lunch. It’s reminding me of how much nuts and dried fruits can add to simple pilafs like this one—and also that I don’t have to reserve dates, which are probably my favorite dried fruit, for oatmeal or baked goods. They’re intense, but a small amount works so nicely in savory dishes, too.

If cauliflower’s not your favorite vegetable—or if you’d like to use something more summery here—zucchini and summer squash would work beautifully. I think adding roasted carrots would be a nice touch, too. No matter what, if you try it, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

This short week is flying by already, thanks to Monday’s holiday. Wishing you all a happy Hump Day, and I’ll be back soon for the weekend roundup!


This post is sponsored by Sunnyland Farms. All opinions are my own, and I love these flavorful nuts and dried fruit. Thanks for your support!

The post Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pistachios & Dates appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Weekend Reading, 5.27.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

When I was a kid, according to my mom, I used to spend hours at a time lying on the floor and staring up at the ceiling. She was the sort of parent who gave me plenty of space to do my own thing, but this habit was so pervasive that she finally asked my pediatrician about it. “She can stare at the ceilings for hours at a time,” she told him. “Should I be worried?”

My doctor—an older Greek gentleman whom we both affectionately nicknamed “Dr. A,” simply shrugged and said, “that’s her prerogative.”

When I told this story to my therapist a few years ago, we both had a good laugh, because at the time it was impossible for me to imagine, let alone connect with, this dreamy child self. Part of why I returned to therapy when I did was that I realized I’d lost a capacity to savor and inhabit quiet spaces. Life was starting to feel frenetic; I had blamed graduate school and my post-bacc at first, but it was dawning on me that the hectic pace was often a choice. When I did have pockets of down time, I felt anxious and adrift, and I filled them up with any compulsive activity I could find, from unnecessary tidying and house cleaning to checking my phone.

Since then, my therapist and I have explored what I was evading in those moments. The discovery process has been painful at times. Busyness shielded me from truths I couldn’t yet face and emotions I didn’t want to let myself feel. In this way, the “busy” persona reminds me a little bit of my eating disorder: protective in some ways, though at a terrible cost.

The biggest disservice that hyperactivity did me was to make me unaccustomed to being alone with myself and my thoughts—that magical capacity for reverie that I seem to have had as a child. Now that I recognize all of this, I do my best to inhabit stillness appropriately. Sometimes, having things to do can be a useful escape from anxiety or wallowing; when I’m depressed, it’s a blessing to have responsibilities and tasks at hand. They keep me from feeling as though I’m going to be consumed.

But I’ve grown a lot by slowing down, learning to sit with myself once again. I have no idea what I felt when I was seven years old and lying on the floor of my bedroom; these days, being alone with myself can feel spacious and peaceful and juicy at times, full of turmoil at others. But it’s good to stay there for a while, without looking to a jam packed schedule for an exit.

I spent the few days after graduation last week catching up on work stuff that needed tending to. Then, when I knew there was more I could do, but nothing urgent that I had to do, I hit pause and stayed there. I’m spending this long weekend the way I usually spend Memorial Day: savoring an uncharacteristically peaceful city.

This mini-pause hasn’t always felt good; there has been some predictable anxiety and restlessness. Occasionally I catch myself searching for an obligation; I tell myself that this would be a perfect time to read the novel that’s been sitting on my Kindle, to do the spring cleaning I never did, to catch up with a certain friend, to take a deep dive into my inbox. I’ve held back on these things, because the truth is that what I’ve really wanted to do is laze around on my sofa, binge watch TV, and occasionally cook something. All by myself.

It’s not quite staring at the ceiling for hours, but it is the most comfortable and peaceful experience of solitude that I’ve had in a very, very long time. I know that I’ll dive back into the swing of things next week, but for now, I’m surrendering to stillness, and it feels a little bit like coming home.

Wishing you all a weekend that’s as quiet or lively as you want it to be. Here are the links that caught my eye this past week.


Since making this dip, I’m all about using lentils as a base for dips/spreads/sauces. Shannon’s puy lentil hummus is just beautiful.

‘Tis summer, season of being outdoors and on-the-go. I love Margaret’s no-bake chocolate almond coconut bars as a portable treat.

I’ve made creamy lunch salads with chickpeas, tofu, and tempeh, but never with seitan. Can’t wait to give my pal Emilie’s curried seitan salad a try.

Another gorgeous lunch salad: Iosune’s colorful, summery vegan nicoise.

I’m so glad that crisp/crumble/slump/cobbler season is officially started, and I think I’ll be kicking mine of with Natalie’s tahini oat blueberry crumble. I’ve used almond and peanut butter for fat in baking before, but not tahini (which is crazy, since I put tahini on practically everything!). What a delicious looking dessert.


1. A thoughtful probe into our complicated relationship with animal liberation: namely, why do we cheer for animals who have escaped slaughterhouses, even as we accept the presence of those institutions in our world?

2. An interesting inquiry into the nature of coincidences and how we process them.

3. A user’s guide to recognizing the symptoms of migraines, which are often more varied and different from what people expect them to be.

4. A fascinating consideration of psychosis—in particular, the phenomenon of hearing voices—and whether it might benefit some people to engage with these voices.

5. I can’t tell you how many times a person—client, friend, acquaintance, blog reader—has told me that his or her eating disorder began with unintentional weight loss, followed by unsolicited compliments on a suddenly diminished body. I love Carrie Dennett’s seven reasons not to compliment people on weight loss (and what you can say instead).

On that note, I’m off to enjoy a little more quiet 🙂 See you this week, with a new favorite pasta/grain salad recipe!


The post Weekend Reading, 5.27.18 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico

Savory Spring Oats with Tofu, Spinach & Peas

Savory Spring Oats with Tofu, Spinach & Peas | The Full Helping

I posted these savory spring oats on Instagram a month ago, without the intention of blogging about them, but a few folks immediately requested the recipe (if it can even be called that!). I’ve made them enough in the last few weeks that it’s definitely time to share; they’re one of a few simple meal formulas that carried me through the end of a very busy spring semester.

Savory Spring Oats with Tofu, Spinach & Peas | The Full Helping

My formula for savory oats begins with 1/2 cup rolled oats, a cup of water, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, and a big handful of baby spinach. That’s the oat base. It’s the same one I use in this recipe, which is a favorite, and in the two savory oats that made it into Power Plates.

This base can be seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, made spicy with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, or given zest and variety with turmeric, curry, cumin, harissa, smoked paprika, and a host of other spice blends.

After the base is created (10 minutes or less on the stovetop), it’s time for savory toppings. I often use any combination of:

It really depends on what I’ve got in my fridge and what needs using up, and possibilities are endless; this is a quintessential “clear out the fridge” meal in my home.

Savory Spring Oats with Tofu, Spinach & Peas | The Full Helping

In this case, I had frozen peas, some leftover hummus, and smoked tofu. The smoked tofu from the SoyBoy brand is my jam, and a staple for me (I can usually find it locally without too much trouble), but any marinated and baked tofu, commercial or homemade, would work.

I love the contrast of smoky, firm tofu cubes and light, sweet peas, and I added a little lemon zest to the dish to give it even more seasonal brightness. It is an incredibly filling and satisfying morning meal, and it’s equally good for a simple, one-pot & single serving lunch or dinner.

Savory Spring Oats with Tofu, Spinach & Peas

Recipe type: breakfast, main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free option, tree nut free, no oil
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 1 serving
  • ½ cup rolled oats (be sure to select certified GF oats if you avoid gluten)
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest and a little squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 large handful (about a cup, packed) baby spinach (or chopped Swiss chard or regular spinach)
  • ⅓ cup green peas (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • ⅓ cup chopped, pre-baked or smoked tofu
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) hummus of choice
  1. Place the oats, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the oats are starting to thicken but aren’t yet fully cooked (about 3-5 minutes). Stir in the nutritional yeast, lemon zest and juice, and then add the spinach; cover the oats and allow the spinach to wilt down for about a minute. Then, remove the lid from the oats and stir the spinach in. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, or until the oats are creamy and have reached a desired consistency. If they get overly thick, you can always add a splash of water. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  2. While the oats are cooking, you can steam, simmer or microwave the peas till tender; if you prefer, you can also stir them into the oats while they cook (I like to pile mine on top, but it creates another step).
  3. When the oats are ready, top them with the peas, tofu, and hummus. Serve right away.

Savory Spring Oats with Tofu, Spinach & Peas | The Full Helping

I’m excited to cook more this summer, but I’m still craving the very flexible and the very simple, and I suspect that a lot of varied savory oat bowls are in my near future. I’ll share any of combinations that become favorites! 🙂

I’m slowly settling into a period of rest post-graduation. Having space and time all of a sudden feels a little strange, but I’m grateful for it and giving happy thought to the summer months ahead. See you before too long, for another weekend roundup.


The post Savory Spring Oats with Tofu, Spinach & Peas appeared first on The Full Helping.

Powered by WPeMatico