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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

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.

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Weekend Reading, 5.20.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

On Tuesday morning, I graduated from Teacher’s College with a master’s of science in nutrition and education. It’s one of the final steps in my road to becoming an RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist).

Regular readers know that this has been a long, long road for me. I took my first pre-requisite science classes while I was still working full time, in 2010. I wasn’t yet sure what route I’d take into healthcare; six months later, I had quit my job and become a pre-med, post-baccalaureate student. Four years after that, I’d finished the post-bacc, sat for the MCAT, and gotten rejected from medical school. I’d also come to the difficult and surprisingly realization that I had no desire to reapply.

I came home to New York, regrouped, and saw clearly that an RDN is probably the degree I should have been pursuing all along—that is, it’s the role that’s best suited to my interests and strengths. I started at Teacher’s College, Columbia University a year later, and I’ve been at it ever since; the master’s degree typically takes two years, but I wanted and needed to work the whole time, so it’s taken me three.

In August or September, I’ll start Columbia’s DI, or dietetic internship—a 10-12 month series of clinical, community, and food service rotations in the dietetics field—before taking the RD exam and hopefully starting a new chapter in my work with clients, words, and food.

At the start of all this, I was confident that a strong work ethic and lots of enthusiasm would be the assets I needed to excel. I was wrong. Those qualities have mattered, but they weren’t the things I needed most. Going back to school for an education in the sciences has been the toughest and most humbling thing I’ve ever done. At every step of the way, I’ve been forced to confront my own limitations, to withstands affronts to my sense of identity (as a “good student” and achiever) and to ask for help—lots and lots of help.

When I posted about convocation on Instagram earlier this week, I wrote,

When I started this process, I wasn’t focused on building relationships. I figured I was there to get my degree and move on—you know, the whole “I’m not here to make friends” attitude. It didn’t take me long to realize that what I’d really been feeling was insecurity: I was self-conscious about being older than a lot of my peers, frustrated that it took me a while to find the right pathway into healthcare, envious of my fellow students for often grasping easily the concepts that were a struggle for me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Thank goodness I wised up and opened up my heart, because this education wouldn’t have been possible without the support and inspiration given to me by my peers. Many of them are about a decade younger than me, and they’re already doing incredible things with their energy, minds, and hearts. They’ve taught me so much, and I can’t wait to see where their professional lives take them.

I meant every word. One generous reader commented, “Keep up your great attitude of depending on others for the support you need (and deserve). It’s wisdom that you can count on at any age.” I loved this advice, which was so beautifully put, and I’ll hold it close to me in the year ahead and always.

Yesterday, I told a friend that I was proud of my persistence through all of this, because there were so many points along the way when I wanted to quit and could have. The persistence I’m talking about isn’t the kind that asked me to grit my teeth or tighten my muscles, though; rather, it was a kind of faith, a willingness to keep going because I believed I’d learn more by staying the course than by leaving it. I’m guessing that many fellow career changers and longtime students can relate.

I haven’t always felt at home in this process or in my program. It’s funny: when I started blogging years ago, I was very comfortable putting on the expert hat, making big claims about what’s healthy and what isn’t, and what constitutes an optimal diet. I understand that part of what RDNs do is to communicate best practices and evidence-based dietary guidelines to the public, and there will be times when it’s my job and responsibility to generalize.

The longer I work with food, though—and this includes exploring my own relationship with it, as well as guiding others through that process—the less comfortable I am speaking in broad strokes. The business of eating is so personal, and while there are fundamental pieces of nutrition guidance I believe will work for most people, I’m never all that comfortable administering suggestions until I’ve taken the time to hear a person’s story.

I know more about nutrition than I used to, and I’ve become better at assessing evidence, which is thanks to this degree. But the irony of being at the finish line is that I feel less like an authority or expert than ever. If anything, I realize that the being a student continues, even if school is finished; I have so much to learn, and it’s my future clients, peers, and members of this community that will continue to teach me.

I’ll do everything I can to be a trustworthy and informed resource as I move forward, but I hope I’ll always maintain a person-focused approach to nutrition work, meeting people where they are and allowing them to communicate to me what kind of nourishment they need. (Interestingly, my thesis project involved researching use of psychosocial theories to encourage dietary behavior change, many of which are focused on fostering a sense of self-efficacy.)

Since Tuesday, I’ve been feeling bowled over with gratitude to all of the people who have cheered me on through this very long process. That includes all of you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every person who has watched and read and been a witness. I’m so grateful.

Onwards to the RDN—and now, to recipes and reads!


I love Amanda’s recipe for authentic vegan tikka masala! I’d never have thought to use shredded oyster mushrooms, but they must give it the perfect “meaty” texture.

Know what I’d like to serve that tikka masala over? A warm batch of Heather’s simple, golden saffron brown basmati rice.

An easy, vegetable-packed summer chili from Christine of Jar of Lemons.

What a beautiful, comforting pasta supper: white beans and pasta with rosemary pesto. (Super easy to make vegan by replacing the butter with vegan butter, or simply omitting it.)

My desire for a post-graduation treat is good and strong, but until I’ve spent about a week taking regular naps, I’m not sure I’ll be in the mood to bake 😉 Jessie’s no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies are a perfect solution.


1. Troubling reporting on how difficult it can be for those with mental illness to navigate the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP—in spite of the fact that this population has high rates of food insecurity.

2. A fascinating, complex look at the nature of clinical trials and what is learned when they’re halted.

3. A humorous article, and I like the topic that author Eric Thomas is exploring: what happens when we’re willing to do just enough?

4. So interesting! How aerobic exercise might aid in word recall.

5. In the last year, I’ve become a big fan of pauses. Pausing in all sorts of situations—after triggering interpersonal moments, when work stress hits, when I’m grappling with a big decision and don’t know what to do—has helped me to become far less anxious and more self-aware, to make choices that feel aligned with my intuition.

I love Heather Hower’s perspective on the value of pausing in ED recovery. She recounts the advice of a friend who once advised her, when she was doubting the value of recovery “Pause; you don’t have to move forward, but don’t go backward.”

I think it’s so wise; my own experience of AN recovery has been that treating the process as if it’s a race to the “recovery finish line” (Hower’s metaphor) is counterproductive. Each time I treated recovery that way, I got swallowed up by relapse. I experienced lasting freedom only when I was able to hold myself accountable to certain physical endpoints (which for me, included weight restoration), but also able to honor and respect the non-linearity and slow unfolding of my healing process.

Enjoy the reads, friends, and I’ll be around this week with a new, springy recipe.


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Anya Kassoff’s Vegan Borscht

Anya Kassoff's Vegan Borscht | The Full Helping

It seems a funny time for me to be making borscht, which is often thought of as a winter soup, but when I passed the farmer’s market last Saturday it was teeming with beets and cabbage. I picked up both before I knew what I’d do with them.

Anya Kassoff's Vegan Borscht | The Full Helping

There’s a story at the start of Anya Kassoff’s beautiful new cookbook, Simply Vibrant. The main character is Anya’s grandfather, Aleksei Gerasimovich Golub, a shoemaker who was born in the North Caucasus before the Russian Revolution of 1917. One of the fables he passed along to his grandkids involved a long ago, early morning trek through the streets of Blagodatny. Aleksei was nursing a hangover from the previous evening’s festivities, and he suffered under a rising summer sun.

Aleksei paid a visit to an acquaintance who lived along the route to work, secretly hoping that this hospitable friend would offer him a drink of cold milk. The friend—Pyotr Vasilevich—did just that. Aleksei refused once, partaking in a custom in which it was polite for a guest to refuse offerings of food or drink initially and for a host to then insist. Pyotr insisted in keeping with the custom, but Aleksei was hit with what Anya calls “a stubborn, Slavic politeness that often overcame him” and refused a second time. He expected a another offer, but it never came, and so he trekked back out into the heat, parched and unsatisfied.

Anya claims that her grandfather told this story so often that she suspected that something about it haunted him, even if he found it humorous. She writes,

“What I took away from my grandfather’s account is that chances are there to be taken and opportunities don’t come around every day, so it makes great sense to take hold of them with a strong grip. I think about this moral of missed chance often, and have used it as a guiding force in my own life. It helps me see the big picture, and I often ask myself whether I’m accepting my glass of milk or letting it go. When it comes to my professional life, which today involves cooking, coming up with recipes, and dreaming about food, I’ve found one very straightforward way of fulfilling the moral of my grandfather’s story: cooking with the seasons.”

This is all my very roundabout way of saying that, even if Anya lists the borscht as a winter recipe (one of the nice features of her new cookbook is that recipes are marked by season), it felt like a fulfillment of her invitation to seize chances to use my beets and cabbage in this beautifully colored, delicious soup.

Anya Kassoff's Vegan Borscht | The Full Helping

I didn’t review Anya’s first cookbook, The Vibrant Table, on my blog, but it’s one of the most creative plant-based cookbooks I’ve come across, and her blog, Golubka Kitchen, is a favorite. Anya’s recipes are always playful and nourishing, but what I think love most about them is their color. They’re always a joy to look at: fresh, bright, and vibrant indeed.

Simply Vibrant is tribute to seasonal cooking, but it shares the qualities that I love about Anya’s other books: thoughtful recipes, an emphasis on whole foods and cooking from scratch, and a sense of connection to tradition. Anya often interjects stories about her family and her roots into her headnotes, and she offers up many recipes that are or have been inspired by traditional Russian fare.

Reading her blog and books, I feel as though I’ve been transported to a kitchen in which many generations of people have prepared food with love. As someone who doesn’t have a strong family food history, it feels like a treat to be invited into Anya’s home.

Anya Kassoff's Vegan Borscht | The Full Helping

A friend asked me early this winter if I had a go-to borscht recipe, and I really don’t, so I’m happy to accept Anya’s as my first. Really, it’s her mother’s. Anya writes that “my mother came up with a unique vegetarian version of her beloved staple in an attempt to give us kids lighter, healthier fare.”

When I first read the recipe, it seemed as though it demanded a lot of slow simmering and layering, and even though school’s out I wasn’t sure about the time involved. I often take liberties with cookbook recipes, but I follow Ina Garten’s suggestion of always making a recipe exactly as written, or close to it, the first time I make it. That way I know what it’s supposed to taste like, and I get a sense of what each ingredient and step contributes.

I’m so glad I made the recipe as Anya relays it, rather than taking shortcuts. She notes that her mom’s way of “gently steeping a gigantic amount of various vegetables in their own juices gives this vegetarian borscht irresistable flavor,” and she’s right: not only is it incredibly flavorful, but it’s better if you let it sit for a day before eating. Allowing the flavors to meld makes a huge difference.

Anya claims to have a very intuitive approach to cooking, so while I wanted to be faithful to her technique, I did throw in my own small flourish, which was a big splash of red wine vinegar at the end. I love acid, and even though the tomatoes contribute some of their own, I thought it brought out even more flavor from the soup. I served mine with old-fashioned pumpernickel bread (both on the side and ripped into rustic croutons), but I love Anya’s suggestion to stir in something creamy (vegan sour cream, cashew cream, or yogurt would all be great).

Anya Kassoff’s Vegan Borscht

Recipe type: soup, main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Anya Kassoff
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 10 servings
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots
  • 2 medium parsnips
  • 1 medium red beet
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 small celery root (optional)
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 small jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil (I used olive)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ medium head green cabbage
  • 4 to 6 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving
  • A splash of red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Vegan sour cream, cashew cream, or yogurt (I love the Forager brand plain cashew yogurt), for serving
  1. Peel the carrots, parsnips, beet, onion, and celery root, if using, and remove the seeds from the bell peppers and jalapeño. Roughly chop all the vegetables to fit into the feeding tube of a food processor with a shredding attachment. Shred all the vegetables and transfer the mixture to a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot.
  2. Add the oil to the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and let the vegetable juices release and start simmering, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the vegetables cook gently in their juices for 30 minutes, until all the juices are released and the vegetables are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, change the food processor attachment to a slicer. Roughly chop the cabbage to fit into the food processor’s feeding tube, and slice it using the attachment. Alternatively, thinly slice the cabbage by hand. Transfer the cabbage to a large bowl and cover it with cold water; set aside.
  4. After the shredded vegetables have cooked for 30 minutes, place the potatoes on top and pour in enough water to cover the potatoes completely. Increase the heat to medium, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a kettle or medium saucepan of water to a boil. Drain the cabbage and add it to the pot with the potatoes and shredded vegetables. Pour the boiling water over the cabbage, filling the pot but leaving some room for the tomatoes. Add a few big pinches of salt. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cabbage is soft, then add the crushed tomatoes and bring the soup back to a boil over medium heat. Taste for salt and adjust if needed. As soon as the soup comes to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the garlic and herbs.
  6. For best results, let the borscht come to room temperature and then refrigerate it overnight so it can develop fully in flavor. When you’re ready to serve it, reheat the borscht on the stove. Serve with sour cream and more chopped dill and parsley, if desired.

Anya Kassoff's Vegan Borscht | The Full Helping

Other recipes in the book are similar to this one in that they might involve a stepwise process, but it’s not random: if different vegetables are cooked separately, for instance, it’s so that each kind is perfectly tender, rather than over or undercooked. Many of the remaining recipes are incredibly simple, including the salads and bowls, the basics, and the vegetable sides.

The book also includes a whole chapter of porridges and pancakes (my kind of breakfasts!), wraps and rolls, risotto, paella, and pilaf, and noodles, pasta, and pizza. There are so many things I’m eager to try that I don’t know where to start, but I’m keen on the Bukhara Farro Filaf (a spin on plov), the spelt fettuccine with melted rainbow chard, the chickpea and kohlrabi salad wraps, and the couscous stuffed collard greens in coconut curry sauce. The book isn’t all vegan, but it’s very predominantly plant-based, and most of the recipes can be veganized with non-dairy substitutions if they aren’t vegan already.

I’d love for one US reader of this blog to have a copy of Anya’s bright and bold tribute to seasonal fare! Enter below for a chance to win a giveaway of Simply Vibrant; as usual, I’ll pick a winner in two weeks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s been a big week around here, so I’m winding down slowly and intentionally, grateful that it’s now Friday and a weekend is on the way. I’ll see you for Sunday’s roundup.



The post Anya Kassoff’s Vegan Borscht appeared first on The Full Helping.

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Banana Mocha Overnight Oats

Banana Mocha Overnight Oats | The Full Helping

I ate the same breakfast nearly every day when I was a post-bacc student: overnight oats with a banana. I mixed up my mix-ins, and sometimes it was berries or an apple instead of a banana, but a basic combination of soaked rolled oats and chia seeds served me faithfully for all of those years. It was filling, easy to make, and easy to transport to class in the morning.

The downside of having eaten overnight oats so consistently for that period of time is that I may have gotten a little tired of them—something I’ve realized only because it hasn’t often been my instinct to make them ever since! These days I have the luxury of eating breakfast at home, which gives me the option of freshly simmered hot cereal or more time-consuming, savory options, like a weekday tofu scramble.

Now I’m anticipating the dietetic internship ahead of me, and with it the prospect of packing breakfasts and lunches most of the time. Overnight oats will make a comeback even before the DI starts, because summer is the right time for them, but I know how useful they’ll be when I have rotations with early start times.

Banana Mocha Overnight Oats | The Full Helping

Accordingly, I’m giving some thought to new recipes and flavors. I’ve tried chocolate overnight oats in the past and loved them—such a wholesome way to enjoy chocolate for breakfast! The only thing I enjoy more than chocolate is chocolate + coffee, and that’s how these creamy vegan banana mocha overnight oats came to be.

Banana Mocha Overnight Oats | The Full Helping
Banana Mocha Overnight Oats | The Full Helping

I made this recipe once as an experiment, and I loved it so much that I immediately made it all over again. The mocha flavor is rich and delicious, and blending bananas and dates into the liquid portion of the recipe adds just the right amount of sweetness. Often when I make overnight oats I end up loading them up with mix-ins—dried nuts, fruits, spices, etc.—but there’s so much flavor in this batch that I’ve been eating them just as they are, with extra sliced banana on top.

I used Silk almond milk in the recipe, which gave it the perfect creamy texture. I’ve been using Silk non-dairy milks for years now—Silk soy milk was one of my very first non-dairy staples as a new vegan. Over the years I’ve enjoyed watching Silk’s options expand, and nowadays I enjoy the almond and cashew milks regularly, as well as the brand’s almond milk and soy yogurts.

Banana Mocha Overnight Oats | The Full Helping

Speaking of Silk, I’ll be joining the brand and some other influencers for an awesome event this Wednesday morning at The Coffee Shop on Union Square. As part of the brand’s Progress is Perfection campaign (a motto I love), and in recognition of National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week (May 14-18), Silk will be surprising NYC pedestrians with free bikes, helmets, and locks! What an amazing opportunity for more people to access the healthful and environmentally friendly option of a bike commute.

Me? I’ve never been a regular biker, but that’s in part because I don’t have a steady commute to consider. I’m hoping that a few of my clinical sites next year will be within biking distance for me, and I feel lucky and excited to help the folks at Silk hand out bikes and share enthusiasm for progressive, sustainable lifestyle changes. Even within the hustle and bustle of city life, there are ways to stay active and to give back to Mother Earth.

If you’re around, the event will run from 8am to 11am, and I’ll be there between 9am and 11am. The Coffee Shop is located at 29 Union Square West. See you there, maybe! And here’s that recipe.

Banana Mocha Overnight Oats | The Full Helping

Banana Mocha Overnight Oats

Recipe type: breakfast
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free option, soy free, tree nut free option
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 banana
  • ¾ cup almond milk (or another non-dairy milk of choice)
  • ½ cup strong coffee (cold brew works well)
  • 2 pitted dates (if your blender isn’t very strong, you can soak these in warm water for an hour, then drain before blending)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1½ tablespoons chia seeds
  • Fresh fruit, for serving
  1. Blend the banana, almond milk, coffee, dates, cocoa powder, and sea salt together in a blender till smooth. Place the oats and chia seeds in an airtight container. Pour the liquid mixture over the oats and chia seeds, then stir everything well to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In the morning, stir your oats again and add a small splash of additional non-dairy milk as needed. Top with fresh fruit and enjoy.

Banana Mocha Overnight Oats | The Full Helping

It’s a little unsettling for me to ponder a more on-the-go lifestyle next year; I’m a creature of habit, and in the last few years my home space has been a particularly important sanctuary for me. But I know that I have the resources I need to get out into the world a little more often, facing the unfamiliar, and nourishing food will be the most cherished of these resources. In the spirit of honoring progress, I’m using this coming summer to test some portable meals that I know will give me comfort and grounding—starting with breakfast.

Hope you enjoy this sweet morning meal, and hope to see some of you, if you can make it out, on Wednesday!


This post is sponsored by Silk. All opinions are my own, and I love the powerful message that #ProgressIsPerfection!

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Weekend Reading, 5.13.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday, and to those who are celebrating Mother’s Day, a lovely afternoon.

On Thursday morning, when I arrived at my regular yoga class, a good friend commented on the slouchy pants I was wearing. “Love them!” he said. “Not your usual look.” (The usual look is leggings.) Without skipping a beat, I replied, “yeah, I’m feeling lousy about my body today, so not in the mood for spandex.”

The thing is, I offered this reply lightly, with a smile. I wasn’t registering distress or confiding in him sadly (though it would have been fine if I had been). What made the moment special was the fact that I was in the midst of what I used to call a “bad body day” and feeling pretty OK about it.

Just over a decade ago, I wouldn’t even have been able to speak so freely about a moment of low self-image. Back then, I didn’t only want to manipulate my body into being precisely what I wanted it to be: I also wanted to pretend that the results were effortless. I wanted the world to believe that I maintained my underweight frame without any effort at all, that I was simply immune to the ebbs and flows in self-esteem that affect so many of us. I was ashamed of my body—desperate for it to be something it wasn’t—and I was ashamed of my shame, too.

Making peace with food came long before making peace with my shape in recovery. Whether or not one has struggled with an eating disorder, body acceptance is no easy process. The approach that works best for me is to adopt a position of body neutrality and body respect; a lot of messages about self-love, at least as it extends to body image, simply don’t feel authentic to me. But I made a vow to myself many years ago that I would respect my body and treat it well even if I couldn’t love its appearance, and I’ve kept the promise ever since.

Even this position hasn’t always been easy, but with each year it gets easier and more automatic. I realized on Thursday that the embarrassment I used to feel about my body and my relationship with it is receding, too. That I could shamelessly (and even humorously) admit to someone who doesn’t know my story with food that I was having a moment of low body image marked a new kind of openness and ease about something that I’ve guarded secretively for a long time.

In the past, I greeted bad body days with a playbook of coping mechanisms. They were valuable, but I need them less these days. I can feel uncomfortable in my skin without feeling as though I have to do something about it: I know that it’s just a passing feeling. I can recognize it without identifying with it.

During last Friday’s panel, there was a long discussion of the word “recovered.” What does it mean? What constitutes recovery? When does one know that it’s time to identify that way? Many of the ED recovered dietitians present felt very strongly about using the world firmly; they noted that they think it’s important to model full recovery and hold space for it for their patients.

I understand this completely, but the older I get, the more comfortable I am with the idea of being recovered in some ways, “in recovery” in others. I don’t engage in ED behaviors with food or exercise, and my body is at a biologically appropriate weight for me, which means that I’m “recovered” by many standards. I still feel old impulses or compulsions sometimes, but I don’t act on them, which I think is also an expression of recovery.

But compulsion and a desperate yearning for control still pop up in other areas of my life, and without my ED to serve as an outlet they’re often fierce and persistent. My anxiety is worse now than it was when I could hide within the rhythms and routines of anorexia. Things come up that evoke my ED, even if they aren’t the ED itself. In this sense, I’m a person who’s “in recovery” and may always be—a process that doesn’t preclude my having a beautiful relationship with food and feeding myself.

Yesterday I took a terrifying tumble down a long flight of wet subway steps in the rain. According to this morning’s urgent care visit and X-ray, I have a sprained wrist. Ten years ago, I think my immediate response would have been intense dissatisfaction with having a bodily impediment—possibly coupled with panic about whether or not I’d be able to exercise.

These thoughts didn’t even occur to me. In the moments after the fall, I could only think one thing, which is how grateful I was that it hadn’t been worse: a head injury, a broken limb, taking another person down the stairs with me. And when I saw the X-ray this morning I could only give thanks that my bones, which I haven’t always been good to, were safe.

This is my recovery: messy mornings of feeling at odds with my body, followed by moments of intense and poignant gratitude to it and for it. Being triggered now and then, but feeling secure in the transience of it all. Being able to joke about a bad day—not to hide my suffering, but because I’m treading lightly through the mud. Having a scare, and greeting it with more perspective than I ever have before.

I’m entering this new week with deep appreciation of this body of mine and everything it gives me. Happy Sunday, and here are the recipes and links that caught my eye this week.


If I’d only had the energy for one-armed baking this morning, I’d have made my mother these delightful vegan chocolate raspberry scones for Mother’s Day.

I’m blown away by the vibrant color of Eva’s vegan palak paneer.

I have a feeling I’ll be making Karen’s simple Mediterranean veggie pasta all summer long.

Another summery treat: Russian roasted eggplant spread, or ikra.

A totally genius vegan comfort food idea: carrot dogs!


1. In my work with clients, I’m always amazed to hear how deep and lasting the wounds of body shaming early in life are. According to a new study, being called “fat” in the early teens puts girls at higher risk for developing EDs, and the association is greater if the word is uttered by a family member.

2. I loved this: seven women reflect on their unconventional mother figures.

3. Vegan dietitian Matt Ruscigno addresses new disagreement about soy in an article for Today’s Dietitian. The controversy in question is whether or not soy still deserves the qualified health claim as being a cholesterol-lowering food. Whether the FDA revokes the claim or not, the evidence for soy as a nutrient-dense and beneficial protein source is still strong.

4. Smart ideas about how physician and nurses’ time can be better managed, freeing them up to deliver higher-quality patient care.

5. On a similar topic, thoughtful reflections from a third-year resident on whether or not it’s ever acceptable for doctors to give their patients gifts.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a quick, easy, and delicious new breakfast recipe. Till then, be well!


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Ali Maffucci’s Sweet Potato Skin Nachos + Inspiralizer Giveaway

Ali Maffucci's Sweet Potato Skin Nachos | The Full Helping

Happy Friday! I’m feeling buoyed by a few days of sweet spring weather and celebration of my mom’s birthday a couple of days ago; it was such a gift to carve out a special evening for her. And I’m excited to be sharing this scrumptious recipe for sweet potato skin nachos from my friend Ali’s new cookbook, Inspiralized & Beyond.

I’ve known Ali through blogging for years now, and I’ve always appreciated her enthusiastic, yet totally down-to-earth and relatable approach to healthful cooking and eating. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ali’s work, she’s known for being the creator of the Inspiralizer, which is the type of spiralizer I use at home, and the Inspiralized website.

Ali was able to enhance her own health by using spiralized vegetable bases as part of her meals, and her past cookbooks (I’ve written about both of them, here and here) have been full of creative, inspiring, spiralizer meals. In recent years Ali’s recipes have become more inclusive: she still spiralizes often, but her main goal is to showcase vegetables in interesting and unexpected ways.

Ali Maffucci's Sweet Potato Skin Nachos | The Full Helping

Her new book, Inspiralized & Beyond, is dedicated to that goal. The subtitle is “spiralize/chop/rice & hash your vegetables into creative, craveable meals,” and it’s a perfect summary of what the recipes are all about. There are zucchini boats, Brussels sprout sliders, cauliflower and cabbage steaks, zucchini dumplings, jicama shell tacos, and of course, plenty of vegetable noodles.

As someone who eats plenty of the starches that riced and spiralized vegetables are intended to replace, I don’t often bookmark zoodle or cauli rice recipes. But I do love using vegetables creatively, and summer is an especially nice time to allow them to be the centerpiece of meals. I also often recommend investing in a spiralizer to clients who are struggling to eat more veggies: spiralized zucchini, carrot, beet, celery root, and butternut squash can be folded into traditional spaghetti, soups, and stir-fries for a subtle, nutrient-dense boost.

Ali Maffucci's Sweet Potato Skin Nachos | The Full Helping

Now I’ll be recommending Ali’s new book, too. She describes her goal as being “not just making vegetables taste good,” but rather “turning them into meals that will inspire you and surprise both your mind and your taste buds.” As always her recipes are creative, fun, and accessible, and they channel her infectious love of food, which I’ve always appreciated in her work and as her friend. I’m already excited to try the jicama chips with a chili-spiced cashew dip, the Brussels sprout and tofu mini-sliders, the beet poke bowls, jicama tacos, and the split pea dal in acorn squash cups (yum!).

This isn’t a vegan cookbook: I’d say about a quarter of the recipes are vegan as written, and half are vegetarian. Among the vegetarian options, many can be veganized with a vegan cheese; a few (like the delicata squash cups with baked eggs) could be made vegan with tofu scramble in place of eggs. If you’re keen on dedicated vegan options only, this may not be the right book for you, but if you’re trying to eat more plants overall, I think it’s a super resource.

I can already tell that I’ll use a lot of Ali’s tips for using vegetables to create my own templates for meals. And in the front matter, she explains in detail what she means by “beyond,” explaining which vegetables work best for which forms (noodles, rice, buns or wraps, etc.) and saying a few words on how to use plant-based proteins if you’re trying to eat less meat.

Ali Maffucci's Sweet Potato Skin Nachos | The Full Helping

These baked sweet potato nachos have already taught me something! I’ve made twice-baked potatoes before (this one is a fave), mashing the center of the potato up and then stuffing the potatoes before baking. Ali’s recipe calls for scooping the potato flesh out, saving it for whatever (I made a sweet potato mash and served it with baked tofu and broccoli for dinner), then broiling the skins till they’re crispy. They turn into a very handy, all-veggie “nacho” chip.

Be sure to leave about 1/4-inch of flesh in the potato skins, so that they aren’t too thin when you bake them (if they are, they might burn). Ali notes this, but I forgot to do it when I was scooping my first two halves, so I thought I’d mention it. I didn’t have cilantro or scallions, so I substituted chopped romaine—next time I’d definitely use the former for extra flavor.

Alis’ recipe calls for shredded cheese. You could omit this altogether if you wish—with all of the toppings, the recipe will still be super tasty. You can also use a vegan shredded cheese, or you can use a vegan cheese sauce, which is what I did! I used the carrot cheese sauce from this mac n’ cheese recipe, which I’m loving on baked potatoes lately. My cashew queso sauce would work well, too. Here’s the recipe.

Sweet Potato Skin Nachos
4.0 from 1 reviews

Recipe type: appetizer, main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free option
Author: Ali Maffucci
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup no-salt-added canned corn kernels, drained and rinsed (or ½ cup frozen and thawed corn)
  • 1 cup carrot cheese sauce (from my carrot mac recipe), cashew queso sauce, or 2 cups shredded vegan cheese of choice
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, sliced into very thin rounds
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 to 2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and cubed
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup finely chopped white onion (I omitted in my version)
  • 1 lime, quartered, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center position.
  2. Pierce each potato 4 times with a fork. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until the skins are crisp and the flesh is fork-tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Turn the broiler to high.
  3. Halve each potato lengthwise, then cut each half in half crosswise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about ¼ inch intact. Reserve the flesh for another use (or snack on it now).
  4. Brush the skins on both sides with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange them skin-side up on a baking sheet, spacing them apart, and broil until the skins start to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes, monitoring them closely so they don’t burn. Flip the potato skins over and broil until the top edges just start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Push the skins together on the baking sheet so they are just touching. Top with the beans and corn. Drizzle the cheese sauce (or sprinkle the cheese) evenly over the top and bake until the cheese melts and ingredients are all warm, about 5 minutes.
  6. Immediately garnish with the jalapeño, tomato, avocado, cilantro, scallions, and white onion if using. Season with salt. Serve warm, with lime wedges.

Ali Maffucci's Sweet Potato Skin Nachos | The Full Helping

Ali and her publisher have generously offered one US reader the chance to win a copy of Inspiralized & Beyond plus an Inspliralizer to play with! I love my Inspiralizer and am really excited about this giveaway. Enter below, and I’ll announce a winner two weeks from today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe—it’s perfect for summer parties and gatherings. See you on Sunday for the weekly roundup.


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Vegan Barley Asparagus Mushroom Risotto

Vegan Barley Asparagus Mushroom Risotto | The Full Helping

Normally when I’m wrapping up a semester, cooking is the only thing I want to do. My home cooking routine invariably goes into autopilot during finals: I rely on a tried-and-true handful of simple recipes to get me through. As soon as my coursework is wrapped up, I dive back into cooking with creativity and relish.

This semester is different. I’m looking forward to more varied meals, for sure,  but my appetite for cooking is at an all-time low. This home stretch of grad school has felt particularly long, and when it’s over in a week I suspect I’ll want nothing more than to read and nap, when I’m not catching up on work. Somehow the thought of being in the kitchen isn’t drawing me in.

Nothing wrong with any of this: I go through peaks and valleys with cooking and my enthusiasm for it, and I know that the kitchen always calls me home sooner or later. In the short-term, I imagine I’ll make a lot of simple food this summer, which will be a relief for me, and maybe for you, too? My impression has been that unfussy recipes are usually very welcome in this space.

Vegan Barley Asparagus Mushroom Risotto | The Full Helping

What I love about this vegan barley asparagus mushroom risotto is that it’s a stress-free recipe that has the look and flavor of something a little fancy. I made it last Wednesday night, after I turned in what I knew would be the last substantial assignment of my semester. I wanted to celebrate with a dish that wasn’t a bowl or a soup + bread combo as usual, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time at the stove. Regular risotto wasn’t an option, but I knew that a quicker barley risotto could be. And I was feeling inspired by the first crop of asparagus that I’d seen this year at my local farmer’s market.

Vegan Barley Asparagus Mushroom Risotto | The Full Helping

I used pearl barley for the recipe, which took about 30 minutes to cook. You can use hulled barley instead; just know that it might take 40-45 minutes to become tender. I loved the combination of chewy mushrooms and bright, tender asparagus, but you could omit the mushroom and add peas, or you could replace the mushrooms with leeks or carrots or another vegetable that you love. I kept the seasoning simple: a splash of white wine to start, lemon, shallots, garlic, and nutritional yeast at the end.

Vegan Barley Asparagus Mushroom Risotto

Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: vegan, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 ounces (about 2 cups) chopped mushrooms of choice (any variety)
  • 1 cup (dry) pearl barley
  • ½ cup white wine (optional; if you don’t wish to use it, use ½ cup vegetable broth instead)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb), thick ends trimmed off and cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Walnut herb parmesan, for serving (optional)
  1. Add the oil to a large, deep skillet or roomy pot (one that comes with a lid) over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, or until the shallots are clear. Add the garlic and mushrooms, along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender and reduced in size and have released their juices (about 5-7 minutes).
  2. Add the barley to the skillet and stir everything well. Add the white wine. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the wine has been absorbed (3-5 minutes). Add 2 cups of broth to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet. Allow the barley to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir the barley, then add the remaining cup vegetable broth. Cover the pot and cook for another five minutes. Uncover and fold in the asparagus. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Taste the risotto; the asparagus should be tender and the barley should be toothsome but tender, too. If the meal needs a little more time (this may be true if your asparagus stalks are thick), stir in an extra splash of broth before covering the skillet again and giving it an extra five minutes. When the dish is ready, stir in the nutritional yeast and lemon juice, along with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve, topped with walnut herb parm if you like!

Vegan Barley Asparagus Mushroom Risotto | The Full Helping

Sometimes it’s the smallest differences that spell the difference between a recipe that feels doable versus one that feels like a drag. I loved using shallots here because they cooked faster than onions, and that first, twenty-minute simmer of the barley—which didn’t demand any stove-side babysitting from me—gave me time to throw on sweats, respond to emails, and take care of other end-of-day stuff. Traditional risotto wouldn’t have been much more complicated, but this recipe was as much as I was in the mood for. It allowed me to satisfy my craving for a “special” meal while honoring my energy level at the same time.

If you give it a try, I hope it’ll feel as doable for you as it did for me. And it’s such a lovely recipe for spring!

I’ll be back on Friday to share another easy recipe—there’s some inactive baking time, but otherwise it comes together in a snap. It’s from my friend Ali’s new cookbook, and it’s perfect for summer get-togethers. Till then, be well.


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Weekend Reading, 5.6.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

On Friday, I was honored to be a part of a conversation titled “Hot Topics in Eating Disorder Treatment,” hosted by Castlewood Treatment Centers and Balanced Eating Disorder Treatment Center here in New York City. The workshop’s moderators were Tammy Beasley and Melainie Rogers, both registered dietitians who specialize in ED treatment.

One of the topics under discussion was whether or not vegans can and should be treated in high-level, in-patient care. Tammy and Melainie invited me to share about my own recovery and relationship to veganism; I also shared a sample, 4,000 kcal outpatient meal plan.

For years, it has been the policy of many ED treatment centers not to accommodate vegan diets (vegetarianism is usually OK). This leaves vegan patients in the position of making potentially painful dietary choices or trying to “go it alone” with their care. I have the sense that many treatment providers are starting to question whether this stance is tenable, given a rapidly expanding vegan population in the US. Yet there’s very little research available to inform how vegans would be treated at higher levels of care, and many ED dietitians lack familiarity with plant-based diets and the foods that are available within them.

I was candid about the fact that I’ve never experienced in-patient care myself and that my ED preceded my veganism; in other words, I don’t have much perspective on re-feeding as a vegan eater. But I do feel that veganism has been an integral part of my healing process. I had regained physical vitality by the time I transitioned from being vegetarian to vegan, but I hadn’t yet made peace with food. Veganism animated my choices with a sense of purpose, compassion, and connection to life, and it turned out to be the cornerstone that I needed.

Veganism wasn’t a cure: it was part of a much bigger process of healing and self-examination that was only possible with extensive therapy and support. And I understand that the lifestyle that has been so healing for me can be a trigger or a hindrance to other people with restrictive histories. Melainie noted that vegetarian diets often serve as “smoke and mirrors” for the disease, and of course it’s important to acknowledge this, creating the necessary vigilance around it.

But I know that my experience with veganism isn’t singular, either, and my intention in sharing at the workshop was to acknowledge my own story and others. For those who are already firmly rooted in a vegan lifestyle when the ED develops, I believe that dedicated, well-researched vegan treatment options would serve as a compassionate expansion of the healing space. If I’ve learned anything about ED recovery, it’s that the process looks very different for each person; all the more reason for us to pave all of the pathways with informed guidance and support.

The workshop’s other two topics were the “language landmine” of eating disorder treatment—the fact that words like “healthy” are now loaded with complex meaning that hits each person differently. How can practitioners speak fluidly while also being mindful of language and its power? I loved this discussion; it gave me so much to think about as a blogger and a future RD. It reminded me how important it is to establish and clarify the meaning of words and phrases with my clients, rather than assuming that my own definition holds for the person I’m working with.

The final topic was bariatric surgery as a part of ED treatment. Another speaker detailed how surgery gave her the space and relief she needed to address Binge Eating Disorder and its role in her life. It was interesting to observe all of the mixed feelings about surgery and its complications in the room; the main concern voiced was that psychological and ED screening prior to surgery is often inadequate. The speaker made clear that her recovery, like mine, wouldn’t have been possible without therapy. But for her, therapy and its associated processing was only effective after the surgery helped to regulate her appetite.

The workshop left me with two main takeaways. The first is that ED treatment, along with all dialogs about food and body, is endlessly complicated. Much as practitioners might wish to be above reproach in how they treat, the reality is that we’re bound to make mistakes and to confront our own biases and judgments along the way. Better to be brave and keep doing the work, acknowledging that missteps will happen, than to shy away from it. This is an important lesson, especially since many RDs have ED histories of their own and may struggle with lingering perfectionism.

The other message I left with is one that I’ve felt in my heart for a long time, which is that we can create space for a multitude of recovery options without feeling the need to endorse any one of them as being exclusively valid. Nutrition is a science, but dietetics practice deals with people, and people are varied. Much as I believe that it’s important to collect research and data about ED treatment, using it to inform best practices, I also feel strongly that it’s important for providers to remain open to the possibility of new treatments. This includes treatments that aren’t appropriate for some or even most people with EDs, but may prove life-saving to others. A willingness to revise or broaden understanding is what science is all about.

It’s been a long time since I’ve opened up about recovery in an unfamiliar setting, and I definitely left the workshop feeling vulnerable. I worried that I hadn’t articulated my story clearly enough, and I felt as if there was so much more to say about the complexities of veganism and recovery. But it was in keeping with the spirit of the day to believe that speaking up, even if I did it imperfectly, was better than not speaking at all. And I’m really grateful to Melainie and Tammy for having created such a welcoming, courageous space for me and others to do that in.

I’m now just over a week away from my graduation, feeling exhausted but relieved that there’s an end in sight. Here are the recipes and articles I’ve been peeking at this week.


Spring is here! And this lemony mint pesto potato salad is a perfect way to welcome it.

I can never have too many sloppy lentil recipes.

I love the idea of cauliflower rice in a big old pot of stew! Susan’s red lentil and cauli rice soup is genius.

Those ginger miso sweet potatoes, though.

I think I know what my first post-graduation baking project will be!


1. Nothing surprising here, but good to see it publicized: there are still significant nutrition knowledge gaps in medical training in the US.

2. Positive associations continue to emerge between Mediterranean-style eating patterns and protection of cognitive function.

3. On a similar note, nutrition researcher Walter Willett continues to call attention to the potential of meatless diets to prevent prevalent chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.

4. It seemed appropriate that, right after Friday’s workshop, I found Roxanne Gay’s article on the choice to have bariatric surgery. It is a deeply personal meditation on a topic that often evokes strong feelings and opinions, and I think it’s brave of her to share her experience.

5. While we’re on the topic of courage: Olympic athlete Jana Pittman is speaking out about her 15-year battle with bulimia.

Anytime I’m part of a dialog about EDs, bodies, and food, I’m reminded of the strong cloud of shame that surrounds these topics for so many of us. I send love and gratitude out to any person who’s willing to speak, share, and shine a light.

Till soon,




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Kitchen Sink Black Bean Chipotle Quinoa Chili

My regularly meal planning strategy has fallen by the wayside in this last, hectic month, so this week I adopted a new strategy: no strategy. I bought a bunch of produce and figured I’d know what to do with it when the time came. It’s led to some fun, tasty, and creative bowls and salads, and it also gave me this hearty, healthful vegan black bean chipotle quinoa chili.

I’m calling this a “kitchen sink” chili because that’s sort of what it turned into. I knew I wanted to use black beans and quinoa from the start (a riff on this recipe, which I love, and also the quinoa chili in Food52 Vegan), because I had plenty of both. Then I added the produce I’d stocked up on: peppers, kale, and mushrooms, along with the usual garlic and onion.

This chili certainly isn’t reinventing the wheel; it’s similar to many other plant-based chilis that I’ve made and loved before, often using chipotle en adobo for smokiness and heat. But it is unusually chock full of texture, thanks to all of the veggies and greens, and also thanks to them, unusually nutrient-dense. Plus it’s freezer-friendly, which means that you can freeze some of the plentiful leftovers if you aren’t feeding a crowd. I’m glad to have it on hand for some tasty future dinner.

Kitchen Sink Black Bean Chipotle Quinoa Chili

Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free, no oil option
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8 servings (recipe can be halved)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (you can sauté with a few tablespoons of water to make the recipe oil free)
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any color you have), chopped
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms (about 3 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (2 if you don’t care for spicy food)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (dry) quinoa, rinsed through a fine sieve
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth + 1 cup water
  • 1 large bunch curly kale, thick stems removed and leaves chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Your favorite chili fixings (some of my favorites are diced avocado, tortilla chips, vegan shredded cheese, or soy curl chick’n strips!)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Saute the vegetables, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and reduced in size and the onion is clear and soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute; add a splash or two of water at any point if the vegetables are sticking.
  2. Add the chipotle peppers, paprika, cumin, salt, quinoa, beans, tomatoes, broth, and water to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the kale to the pot (you may need to stir it in in batches). Re-cover the pot and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the kale is tender.
  3. Add the lime juice. Taste the chili; adjust salt and extra lime juice to taste. Serve with any fixings you like!
Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Any other students out there in the end-of-semester home stretch? I’m sending you love: you got this. If a giant pot of nutritious vegan chili would make your evening studies just a little easier—or give you some tasty leftovers to pack up for library marathons—this is a good one.

Wishing you all a good end to the week. See you this weekend.



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Weekend Reading, 4.29.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I nearly broke into clapping (at home, alone) earlier this week when I read Amanda Cohen’s Women’s Health article on women and appetite.

In her essay, Cohen describes a scenario I think most women can relate to:

Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds of dinners from the pass, and I have a terrible confession to make: When I see two women sit down, my heart sinks a little, because of what I see happen so often. First, one of them says, “I’m starving, do you want to get this? And one of these?” then the second woman begins, “I’m not that hungry, but if you really want it. . .” Soon, three courses becomes a few appetizers, and a bottle of wine becomes a glass. I get it: We all want to look and feel good, but I see this so predictably that it feels pathological.

I see a lot of it, too. I’ll never forget being at a dinner long ago with a group of vegan eaters. At the time, I associated veganism strongly with newfound freedom and healing with food. So I was surprised when, after a multi-course meal, more than half of the women at the table started expressing remorse about how stuffed they were, how they’d need to go for long a run the following day, and started Googling juices bars for the morning after.

The meal had been wonderful. Of course I’d had my own little nagging nudges of guilt—should I have eaten every bite of every course? Did I really need to sample the two desserts that were brought out? But I’d also felt lucky to have eaten the food and proud of giving myself permission to bask in that sensation. I wasn’t actually stuffed—I was comfortably full—so to embrace a posture of having overdone it would have felt disingenuous, too, more socially programmed than truthful.

I knew it wasn’t my place to question anyone else’s experience that night: I couldn’t know what others were feeling, and if recovery has taught me anything, it’s to stop fixating on what other people are doing and to focus on my own needs. But it was challenging to stand by my feelings as the collective discussion of food guilt got louder.

In the years since, I’ve had this experience many times. The common denominator is how rarely I can actually relate to exclamations of fullness. When I’m at a dinner and everyone leaves the table declaring how stuffed they are, half the time I want to say, “really? That was delicious, but I could go home and eat a sandwich right now.”

Maybe that’s because I have a bigger appetite than most people, or maybe it’s because I’m not interested in pretending that my appetite is any smaller than it really is. As a kid, I was told repeatedly that I was a “bottomless pit”; at one point, when I was only eight, I was labeled at a family dinner table “the human trashcan.” I carried the sense that there was something wrong with me and my appetite and all of the shame that came along with it for so many years. Putting the burden down was a huge relief.

Maybe I do have an unusually robust appetite. If so, cool: it’s a feature of my body and biology, like any other. Maybe my appetite is enhanced by the fact that, at a very early age, I was instructed to deny it. No matter the case, years of watching the very scenario Cohen describes leads me to suspect that many women are in the same boat as me—hungrier than we’ve been socialized to say we are.

I know that there’s a flip side to all of this, which is that social situations and group dining can encourage a lot of us to eat more than we really want, because there’s a lot of food on the table or because we’re people pleasers and we have a hard time turning things down. That’s its own food-related challenge; I don’t want to make a broad assumption about what’s going on when people eat more than they initially expressed wanting.

But I do think that Cohen’s observations are worth talking about, and her main point is definitely worth talking about:

The dominant emotion I sense at these meals is fear: fear of looking like we want too much, of being judged. From the time we’re kids, we girls are taught to be ashamed of our appetites—that they have to be controlled, that they’re dangerous, embarrassing. The result? We live in a world where 53 percent of women are at a healthy body size but still report that they’re trying to lose weight.

Cohen’s essay brought to mind this post, which has always been one of my personal favorites from the blog. When I read it now, I’m aware of the fact that I was much less at peace with my appetite when I wrote it than I thought I was. It doesn’t matter; for me, that post was a brave declaration of an intention to eat and enjoy it, and I’ve done my best to live by that intention in the eight years since.

I’m grateful to Cohen and other women who are doing what they can to normalize, celebrate, and speak up honestly about the experience of hunger, wanting, and getting appetites met. And while this dialog may resonate especially with women, I think it’s crucial not to confine it by gender. A few of the articles that I’m sharing today demonstrate that eating disorders and food shame affect all of us.

Here’s to celebrating food, appetite, and the great blessing of being able to feed ourselves when we’re hungry. I’m wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.


I was so excited to dive into my first meal-sized salad lunch in months yesterday, and it brought on a rush of spring salad fever. I love Marie’s colorful asparagus orange spinach salad with a bright lemon basil vinaigrette.

More asparagus! I have yet to try hummus as a pasta sauce, but I use it often as a quickie salad dressing, so I think I’ll dig it. Evi’s quick hummus pasta with asparagus is inspiring me.

A simple, inexpensive, nutritious, and colorful side: Caitlin’s Moroccan spiced carrot salad.

I’m always hunting for new portable lunch ideas, especially now that I’m anticipating a year of bringing lunch to work at clinical sites, and I’m super intrigued by Amy’s creative, colorful chickpea and cranberry coleslaw wraps.

Finally, a little comfort food. Mike’s sun-dried tomato and chickpea burgers are hearty, healthy, and super simple to make. I love adding sun-dried tomatoes to food for umami, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy these.


1. Runner’s World reports on eating disorders among men. I was really interested to read that, because male runners don’t experience the classic “female athlete triad” (underweight, amenorrhea, osteopenia), symptoms of ED often slip under the radar.

2. Another important piece of reporting on this subject: Daniel Summers on the very high prevalence of EDs in the LGBTQ community.

3. From the Cup of Jo blog, 17 beautifully sensitive reader comments about grief.

4. Joanna’s blog also pointed me to this article about how older Japanese women are finding community in jails. As I read, I felt saddened that a sense of support and belonging wasn’t more readily available to the women elsewhere, yet sort of amazed at the strength of the human impulse to connect at all costs.

5. Finally, Amanda Cohen on loving food. Lots of it.

Happy Sunday, and love to you all.


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