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Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

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Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

It’s the last day of my little mid-rotation fall break. Of course I didn’t do all of the things I wanted to do this week: ambitious home cleaning and organization projects, getting up-to-date on my inbox, etc.. But it was good. I gave myself a lot of empty time. I lay around plenty. I cooked some recipes for the blog. I’m not exactly ready for the pace to pick up again, but I’m ready enough, rested enough.

While I was resting, I gave a lot of thought to the rhythms of my days. At many points in the last few years I’ve wondered whether I ought to have a job that’s more structured. I have a lot of freedom with my time, which I know is a privilege, but it can be a mixed blessing. My solitude and privacy sometimes give me too much opportunity to dwell on my thoughts. Working from home can make motivation a struggle, and when I’m in a dark mood, there’s no place I have to be that would transport me away from it. No matter how hard I work, I sometimes worry that I’m not doing enough to serve the world around me, or to serve animals.

Now I’ve been temporarily flung back into a pace that I remember well from my twenties and early thirties. “On” all day, always doing or speaking or processing information, coming home at night to tend to the things I love, this blog included. It’s exhilarating in some ways; I have a sense of purpose, and even if I wanted to brood about something, I wouldn’t really have the time to.

But I’ve learned a lot about myself from slowing down, too. It’s given me space in which to think, and thinking has in turn helped me to be more compassionate. In the last few years, I’ve been able to critically examine certain entrenched thought patterns that don’t serve me, and I’ve let myself sit with emotional wounds that have never really healed because I never really admitted they were there. I don’t think I could have done that “work” amid the rushing around of my post-bacc, or the period before that, when I was balancing a full time job with this blog and my science prereqs.

On Thursday night, I had some cuddle time with Ashley, who sweetly came to visit me this week. We hadn’t connected like that since we worked on Power Plates, and it was the first time in eight weeks that I actually let myself open up to a friend. I talked about work, about my recent struggles with my body, about trying to date again. When I get busy, I tend to hold everything in, tightly. Talking face-to-face felt like a deep, nourishing breath, made even sweeter because of Ashley’s capacity for generous listening.

I don’t really have any conclusions here, but it’s interesting to mull it over. I’m being reminded that some amount of busyness is good for me; it tethers me to the world, gives me a sense of direction, energizes me. Helping people in real time is different from helping them through words, and I know I’ll need more interpersonal engagement, in private practice if not in a clinical setting, when all of this is over.

But it’s taken me a lot to embrace slowness, simplicity, and a gentle approach to life, too. Creative work and unstructured time keep me honest with myself and my feelings. I need them, just as I need to feel useful and engaged. With any luck, once this marathon of a DI year is over, I’ll be able to balance the my days in such a way that I can make and do and create while also giving myself space to be, to reflect, and to feel.

Wishing you that kind of balance as the week gets underway. Here are recipes and reads that I’ve been gazing at this weekend.

Recipes

Freekeh is one of my favorite whole grains, and I’m loving this Middle Eastern inspired dish of toasted freekeh, pine nuts, tahini, and chard.

Everything I want for fall: a rustic, hearty, nutritious cabbage and potato stew.

Also in keeping with the season, a beautiful autumnal salad of roasted squash, pear, arugula, quinoa, and cannellini beans. That’s what I call a meal sized salad!

Two homemade vegan goodies for the trick-or-treaters in your life (or just for you). First, Jackie’s white chocolate vegan pumpkin peanut butter cups. I love white chocolate and have never tried a homemade version!

Second, how cute are Tessa’s mini crunch bars?!

Reads

1. We all read about the dangers of too much screen time, but what is screen addiction, really?

2. Haiku magazine has published a profile of Kelly, a 44-year-old female dolphin at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. It’s a saddening read in the context of Kelly’s captivity, incredible to discover the dolphin’s noteworthy personality. The author, Rose Eveleth, ends with some thoughtful considerations of anthropomorphism, sentience, and her own, human response to Kelly.

3. More considerations in the ongoing debate about whether anorexia nervosa is a culturally mediated (and therefore, predominantly modern) disease. My own experience of the illness is that it felt far more intrinsic than culturally mediated, but my guess is that triggers vary widely from person to person. I’d also guess that the current prevalence is owed to a mixture of culturally predisposing factors and genetic susceptibilities.

4. A succinct, yet moving consideration of how mental health professionals should be supported in their grief after a patient dies from suicide.

5. Let’s end on a fun note: twelve totally mind-bending perceptual illusions to stare at again, and again, and again.

Early this week, I’ll be sharing a recipe “failure” that I came to embrace as not being a failure at all. You’ll see what I mean. Have a great Sunday, friends.

xo

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Nutrition and Wellness

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

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Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

For dietitians, the DI year is supposed to be a pre-professional experience, supervised work that prepares us for the realities of practice. One of these realities, I’m starting to realize, is the exercise of judgment.

When I started the DI, I assumed that I’d be trained in guidelines and standards that would neatly inform all of my interventions and decisions. I’ve gotten plenty of exposure to evidence-based guidelines and best practices, but what I didn’t understand before the DI—and what I’m coming to understand now—is that the rules only go so far.

In a clinical or practice setting, a lot of the cases we see end up falling into gray areas. A patient presents with multiple complaints or diagnoses, all of which are significant, but some of which are more high priority than others. It’s the dietitian’s job to decide which nutrition problems are the most urgent and in need of addressing; in some cases, interventions for various problems might actually conflict.

Weighing treatments against each other, learning to prioritize nutrition problems, understanding the difference between medical nutrition therapy as it was taught to me in a classroom vs. real-world application: this isn’t something that I learned in school. It’s something I’m learning now, from my preceptors and my patients. The most daunting part of it all is the fact that preceptors can only guide me so far.

The other day, my preceptor pointed out to me that the calorie need estimate that I’d made for a patient was in keeping with clinical recommendations, but the actual energy intake looked, on paper, a little too low. I agreed, but I hadn’t been able to reconcile the discrepancy because I was so hung up on following calorie per kilogram guidelines for the disease state in question. “Use your clinical judgment,” my preceptor told me. “If the estimate looks low to you, then it probably is.”

It’s hard for me to do this when I show up to work each day. It feels less risky to memorize a set of rules and apply them diligently than to take a step back and ask myself whether what I’m seeing or recommending looks right, feels right, sounds right. Part of what I’m getting hung up on, I realize, is the idea that judgment and guesswork and intuition have no place in a clinical setting. I want to believe that everything in a hospital can work according to evidence and procedure.

I’m off—way off, really—in this kind of thinking. Everything I’ve ever learned working in healthcare environments has suggested to me that the most able practitioners are the ones who have developed clinical instincts. The physician I worked for in DC was exceptional precisely because she’d take risks and leaps of faith with her intuition as a diagnostician: even when a diagnosis wasn’t obvious, she’d have have a sneaking suspicion that it was right, and she’d investigate accordingly. Her instincts were usually confirmed, and even when they weren’t, she gained valuable information in pursuing them.

Intuition and judgment intimidate me right now because I can’t memorize them or develop them by sitting at home with a stack of flash cards. I have to build toward them through practice and exposure, which will involve some errors, and that’s what last week’s post was all about.

In the last few days, though, I’ve had some heartening reminders that I have better judgment than I give myself credit for. A few of them have happened on the job: I allowed myself to trust an instinct and then had it affirmed by evidence or validation from my preceptor.

But what’s helped me the most is actually thinking back to the nutrition counseling work I’ve done in the past, with far less clinical training than I have now, and realizing it has already given me much of the intuition that I need. If nothing else, it’s taught me to listen carefully to people, to pay attention, and paying attention is where clinical judgment springs from.

I’ve also been thinking about judgment, discernment, and decision making as they pertain to my broader responsibilities and identity as a practitioner. In the past few days I’ve been struck by how often I feel as though I don’t fit nearly into many of the communities or schools of thought that I work alongside in the nutrition space. I celebrate vegan nutrition, but I don’t always communicate or message the lifestyle the way other plant-based practitioners do. I’m evidence-based, but I’m also interested in the spiritual dimensions of well-being, the ways in which human beings give meaning to their own healing narratives. I’m inspired by the ideals of intuitive eating, but I stop short of thinking that it’s the only approach for all people; I always let my clients guide me in determining a philosophical framework for eating. I move through lots of different nutrition/food spaces, but rarely with a sense of full belonging.

Case in point: on Thursday night, in our DI class, we had our eating disorder lecture. I felt the same thing I felt when I spoke at the Balance panel last spring, which was that I’m deeply admiring of the work being done in the ED treatment space, and I’m also not at home there. The way I’ve come to understand, define, and experience recovery is at odds with a lot of the prevailing thinking about what “full recovery” means. The importance I’ve allowed food to have in my life would defy many practitioners’ conception of what a healthy relationship with food looks like. And my veganism is certainly at odds with the common assumption in treatment circles that food selectivity is always “smoke and mirrors.”

I’m at peace with this. When I left that lecture, I actually felt more solid in recovery than I have in a while, given how challenging my body dysmorphia has been (still is, honestly) this fall. And I felt reminded of what I’ve always believed, which is that all of us who have had tangled relationships with food will ultimately come to understand recovery in our own way. I understand not acting on destructive impulses and engaging in healthful, self-caring behaviors and thoughts as a firm, ED recovery bottom line. I’d stop short of telling any person what the meaning of recovery is, or what it looks like. I know what mine looks like, and that’s all I know.

These musings look scattered when I glance over them, but for me, it all feels connected. This has been a week of learning to trust in my instincts, of having the courage to acknowledge that I have my own perspective on things. Nothing makes me feel safer or better or more accomplished than doing a stellar job of being what other people (or institutions, or programs) want me to be: meeting and exceeding expectations, hitting goals, scoring well. Even now, at thirty-six years of age, I’m a hopeless teacher’s pet. But the whole point of this education is to head out into the world and do my own work, even and especially when it means sticking to my guns.

I wish you a week of feeling tuned into your own intuition. Thanks for reading, as always, and here are the recipes and reads that caught my eye this week.

Recipes

This and next week’s recipe picks will be all about things I’d love to have on my theoretical Thanksgiving table! First up: Kristen’s autumn roasted pumpkin curry.

A great looking (and easy!) quinoa stuffing from my friend Sophia.

Loving Sarah’s perfectly seasonal, garlicky roasted green beans.

Dessert #1: Kristina’s awesome, cozy cinnamon baked apples.

Dessert #2: Will someone please give me a big slice of Emilie’s scrumptious vegan pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate crust?!

Reads

1. If you’re as excited as I am about holiday baking, this quick flour primer from the folks at The Kitchn may come in handy.

2. I love the idea of toy libraries, which have the potential to build upon “the social foundation that people already understand from traditional book-lending libraries . . . a kind of infrastructure for sharing and disseminating knowledge.” Not to mention an important place for kids to play, to explore, to savor unstructured time.

3. So much I agree with in Shayla Love’s frank, gutsy take on food intolerance testing. There is a growing body of tests being marketed as valid, reliable means of diagnosing food intolerances. The problem is that food intolerances are more incompletely understood than food allergies, for which there is a long-established, known mechanism. And the presence of IgG antibodies, contrary to what intolerance test marketers claim, isn’t necessarily indicative of an intolerance. It can simply mean that you’re eating a certain food pretty often, which has the particularly insidious result of forcing unsuspecting consumers to eliminate foods they love and rely upon.

More importantly, at least from a mental health perspective, these tests tend to capitalize upon the idea that, if you have GI distress, you’re being quietly sickened or poisoned by food. Love writes,

The problem with these tests isn’t that the truth is being hidden from consumers, it’s that: if you are struggling with any kind of disordered eating or thinking patterns, you will latch onto them despite what the evidence says . . . Because of my OCD, I also love rules, and once I implement a rule, it’s extremely difficult for me to break it, as it becomes a ritual. As last year went on, and I got my anxiety under control again, I still couldn’t manage to eat those foods.

Love also interviews gastroenterologist Emeran Mayer, who notes that the anxiety associated with identify certain foods as potential triggers or intolerances can actually create—via the nocebo effect, which I spent a lot of time studying as a master’s student—the very cascade of symptoms that folks are hoping to get relief from:

He thinks everyone is vulnerable to the underlying mental booby traps these tests put out there: The idea that there are foods, healthy foods, that are secretly making you sick. The anxiety such a thing creates is not benign, he says . . .

. . .  [w]hen people have extreme anxiety, the brain generates stress signals that travel to the gastrointestinal tract through the autonomic nervous system and the vagus nerve. This stress can change a lot of aspects of the gut and digestion. It can alter transit time of food through the digestive system, it can change blood flow or immune responses, it can change secretion of mucus, and all of those changes can then affect the bacteria that live in your gut, or your microbiome.

‘If you’re walking around being stressed around your food and being constantly worried, that is becoming kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy from the nocebo effect,’ he says . . . ‘But also it changes your gut-environment context in a way that can compromise the proper digestion of food. There’s a really close link between anxieties, food-related stress, and gut dysfunction.’

Of course certain food can serve as very real triggers for digestive distress: this can be true of high FODMAP foods for those who are sensitive to them, and more broadly, some of us just have a hard time digesting certain things (onions, crucifers, raw veggies, spicy food—you name it).

But it has been my overwhelming experience that the dialog about intolerances in the wellness space is often scientifically misleading, and that the anxiety it creates can actually compound and worsen GI distress. I think it’s so important for practitioners who work with digestive health to remain vigilant of food-related anxiety and disordered eating, addressing intolerances only in a way that’s evidence-based and sensitive to the health and well-being of patients.

4. I’m grateful to Carrian for introducing me to the phrase, “if you’re on the right path it will always be uphill.” Not sure I agree with the “always” bit, but I need a lot of reminders that struggle and pain are a natural, important part of life experience. Or, to quote from one of my wise readers, “it’s not easy and it isn’t supposed to be.”

5. Finally, and while we’re on my favorite topic of the placebo/nocebo effect, the New York Times shares new insights into how the placebo effect really works.

Happy Sunday, everyone. I’m back this week with a new, tasty, low-maintenance Thanksgiving recipe!

xo

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Nutrition and Wellness

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

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Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Five or so years ago, I sat in my apartment in DC one late winter evening with my friend Reed. We were surrounded by dirty mugs (we’d actually taken pictures at the number of coffee cups in my dishwasher as a joke, to document how hyper-caffeinated we were), index cards, papers. It was a chaotic scene, and I was adding to the chaos with something resembling a meltdown over not being able to figure out a complicated genetics problem.

We were approaching the second exam in our genetics class. The first exam had taken us all by surprise: at that point I was used to getting Cs on post-bacc tests, but most of my peers weren’t, and a hush had fallen over the class when that test was handed back. Few had done well, and some of us had done worse than others.

For me, it wasn’t the single grade so much as the prolonged discouragement of feeling as though I couldn’t catch a break in the program. And I hated the thought of spending yet another semester with the heavy burden of having to redeem myself on the next test, or else end up with a grade on my transcript that I wouldn’t be able to recover from.

Reed and I had been doing our best to prepare ourselves for the test. He was as calm and organized as ever; he’d shown up at my place with an action plan and a stack of neat, detailed flash cards. It was no surprise: Reed was a supernaturally talented student, and in fact, seemed supernaturally talented at everything. He ran weekend marathons and practiced jiu-jitsu at the blackbelt level while achieving near-perfect grades in our program and continuing to work in finance nearly full time. It wasn’t even possible to resent all of the talent and ability, because on top of everything he was a really nice person—and an unusually patient study buddy.

Me? I wasn’t handling our study session so well. After my fourth or fifth crack at a tricky problem, I was begging Reed to simply give me the answer. “Just tell me how to do it,” I moaned. “Once I know, I’ll get to the answer and I’ll show you.”

Reed shook his head firmly. “You have to struggle a little so that you can get to the answer,” he said. “You won’t figure it out until you do.”

I kept trying to convince him that I wasn’t game for this struggle, and he kept refusing to buy it. “I’m going to stay here until you work your way through it,” he said. (It was past midnight).

I was tired and irritated to be getting this kind of a push from a friend, but Reed’s insistence worked. An hour later, I’d solved the problem and explained it to him in my own language. It wasn’t a test or a tutoring session, but it was probably the first real learning breakthrough of my post-bacc, and there were more that followed.

I think about Reed’s words each time I’m feeling spectacularly ill-equipped to do something. I think about how sure he was that, if I spent enough time with it, I’d figure the problem out. The greatest challenge of my post-bacc wasn’t the difficulty of the classes, or the workload, or even the sleep deprivation. It was my belief, which seemed to get affirmed with every poor grade, that I just didn’t have the brain for science. Reed believed otherwise, and his faith softened my own lack of confidence.

This week, I began my second clinical rotation. It’s at a large hospital, and I’m working in acute care. It’s a much faster pace and a more stressful environment than my first rotation. I’ve learned how to apply clinical judgment in the last seven weeks, but now I’m facing cases that are a lot more medically complex than most of the ones I’ve seen. It’s daunting, and while I haven’t completed an assessment on my own yet, I’m wondering if I have the critical thinking skills to do it.

I’m glancing back to that night with Reed and reminding myself that discouragement and self-doubt can be much bigger obstacles than lack of knowledge or practice. I’m keeping in mind that every single dietitian goes through this experience; my current preceptors did it, too. I have to imagine that no one feels prepared, or able, at the start. Interns do their best, and preceptors are there to guide, support and teach them along the way.

At my last rotation, one of my preceptors noted that I was still hesitant to address labs in my assessments. She was right: I still had the feeling that I wasn’t ready for the more medical parts of dietetic practice, interpreting bloodwork included. “Take a crack at it,” she said. She wasn’t being flip; she went on to explain that she’d correct me and explain my mistakes if necessary. But she wanted me to try.

She wanted this, I know, because it was her job to help me become more confident. And confidence, at least in these types of settings, isn’t a have or a have not. It’s acquired through practice, through trying and sometimes failing and then trying some more. My preceptor gave me the same push that Reed gave me five years ago.

Today, at the start of week 2, I’m giving myself that push. I don’t expect to wield perfect clinical judgment this week, but I’ll challenge myself to keep trying. That same, excellent preceptor at my last rotation said to me at the beginning, “what we’re really looking for is growth.” Growth I can handle; growth I can do.

Wishing you all a great Sunday, and a good start to the week. I’ve got a cozy new soup recipe headed your way in a couple days. For now, here are some links I’ve been enjoying.

Recipes

I cook with cashew cream all the time, but walnut cream? What a great idea (and great looking risotto) from my friend Erin!

Has anyone else started collecting Thanksgiving recipes yet? This vegan pot pie is going on my list!

I love the idea of a mole pasta, and this particular one looks so cozy and filling. Bonus points for plant protein from black beans.

Can’t wait to try this wintery cauliflower, black lentil and carrot salad with some of my tofu feta.

Finally, a stunning dessert: vegan black sesame chocolate cake with matcha cream cheese frosting. I’m not a huge matcha person, but this would be a welcome way to enjoy it 😉

Reads

1. I enjoyed this touching essay by a pediatrician, published in the New York Times, about wearing a hijab around family to help mask the side effects of chemotherapy.

2. An interesting new study, conducted by a doctoral candidate in the UK, associates vegan diet with improved mental and physical health for Type 2 Diabetes patients.

3. I’m sort of fascinated by flow states, and this article touches upon their relationship with the perception of time.

4. Amanda Mull’s hard-hitting, insightful perspective on the language and branding of new health/nutrition apps, home testing kits, and other technologies. Her take, which I think is compelling, is that the emphasis that these technologies place on “optimization” echoes and potentially reinforces the perfectionism and rule-bound thinking seen in eating disorders.

5. I’m not a mother, but having had my own brushes with mental illness, I’m really grateful to Alissa Ambrose for this essay on post-partum depression.

Till soon,

xo

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Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

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Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Whenever I write about my experience of eating disorders, I make a point of saying that the healing process isn’t linear. It’s full of odd, surprising twists and turns, realizations and moments that take one by surprise.

Still, it’s natural to hope that a linear trend will emerge. After all, it’s the promise of change, of transformation, that keeps us going when the process is at its ugliest. When recovery was at its worst for me—when I was feeling the most robbed of my identity, the most enraged, the most at odds with my body—I got through it by assuring myself that it wouldn’t always be like this; one day, I thought, it would almost never feel like this anymore.

That wasn’t an empty promise. It’s exactly how things turned out, albeit with lots of ups and downs.

When I wrote this post in May, I was as strong and solid in recovery as I ever have been. In the last few weeks, body dysmorphia has reared its nasty head again, and my experience of it is nothing like it was five months ago. Then, I was able to feel the old triggers, talk about them, note their appearance with some humor and self-awareness. It all felt very grown up, very reasonable.

My experience in the last week has been completely different. The dysmorphia itself has felt different: not like a poke or a prod or a nudge, the way it was in May, but more like the dysmorphia I remember from years ago: hot and angry. Loud. Distracting.

I’m feeling things I haven’t felt in years: waking up in the morning with the sensation that I’m trapped in my skin, wanting to claw my way out. Avoiding my own reflection in mirrors. Certainty that my body is a mistake, something that went wrong a long time ago and will always feel wrong. I’m handling it, but it’s unnerving. I’d started to believe that all of this was behind me.

Why now? I’m not sure, but I have some guesses: a new schedule, loss of my routines, being tested and evaluated and sized up by authority figures more regularly than I have since my post-bacc years. Change, nerves, shame, worry—in other words, the familiar triggers.

I’ve tried to let the discomfort of the last few days give me insight into how I respond now, versus how I did in the past. What have I learned? How much deeper is my capacity for self-compassion? The answer is that it’s a lot deeper, and the evidence is the fact that I haven’t restricted food at all since this began or let it enter into my eating habits.

But recognizing my more mature capacity for self-care isn’t actually making this experience less painful. Right now, my primary feeling is resentment that I can’t access my old recourses. Even if there was any part of me that wanted to eat less now, I couldn’t. Food is too important to me. The difference between now and then, I realize, is that I want food much more badly than I want control. This is growth, but it can feel like failure.

On Friday, I found myself at my mom’s place, telling her all of this, probably in greater detail and with more honesty than I’ve ever been able to share with her. “But honey,” she said, “I know you don’t want to go back to where you were. You need your strength.”

How to explain to her—to anyone—that the old ways so often felt like strength—more strength than I’ve ever had? That I do want to turn back the clock sometimes, even if I can’t and won’t? “You don’t understand,” I blubbered. “Back then was probably the only time I’ve ever really felt right in my body.”

I don’t think that’s true. But it felt true in the moment. I’m glad I said it and let it go.

In some ways, the timing of all of this has been unfortunate. I’m on my feet more than usual with my new work, which means I’m hungrier than usual and eating more than usual. It wouldn’t feel like a big deal were I not at odds with my body, but I am, so it does. In my class on Thursday night we practiced the nutrition focused physical exam. It wasn’t an ideal time to have my triceps pinched and belly prodded.

As usual, though, what feels like inopportune or unfair timing may actually be the opposite. Each day at work, I cross paths with people who have experienced dramatic shifts in their capacity to eat. Some have dysphagia, others have lost their appetites from illness or medication. Some are tube fed, and may never take in food by mouth again.

What must this be like? I can’t begin to know or understand, because my only experience of decreased food intake has been a result of my disorder, not a question of necessity. I know that it has never been a choice, but I can recognize the difference and give thanks—the deepest kind of thanks—that eating hasn’t always been easy for me, but it has always been possible.

On Friday, my mom admitted surprise at hearing how badly I felt. “You’ve just come so far,” she said. I know I have. I know that I’ve worked hard to create and protect my recovery. I know that everything is different now. I know that I’ve transmuted a lot of struggle into a relationship with food that’s beautiful, creative, and special.

But that relationship isn’t only beautiful, creative, and special. It’s also messy and complicated. It might always be messy and complicated. There may always be weeks like this, when my relationship with food feels more like a burden than a gift. It’s difficult to accept this paradox. I want to be either a success story, or I want to feel like I used to feel: powerful and in control, even if I wasn’t. But a major part of my recovery has been developing a capacity to handle ambiguity and complexity, to acknowledge realities that can’t be neatly categorized. The very fact of my struggling this week is one of those.

Before I left her place, my mom gave me the sweetest and gentlest word of encouragement that she’s ever given me about body stuff. “Eat your delicious food, Gena,” she said. “Make your recipes.”

Today, I woke up. I made a good breakfast, and later on a good lunch. I’m doing all of the usual batch cooking, so that I have sensible and nourishing things to eat this week. I’ll keep talking about this spell of dysmorphia in therapy, doing the work, sitting with my feelings, being honest. I may hide myself under a few extra layers or baggy garments while I’m at it, but if that’s as far as old behaviors go, that’s pretty good. Another dimension of recovery—one I’m only just getting acquainted with—is to struggle while continuing to put one foot in front of the other, calmly and without discouragement.

In the spirit of making recipes, some of my favorites from the past week. And some good articles, too.

Recipes

My vegan sandwich crush of the week: Gina’s awesome, plant-based pea pesto grilled cheese.

I know what bread-y thing will be a part of my Thanksgiving this year! Eva’s beautifully fluffy, whole wheat dinner rolls.

Deryn and I are on the same page, since I’ve been working on a new hash recipe. I’m loving her easy vegan breakfast skillet and will definitely make it with Field Roast, my favorite vegan sausage.

If vegan chicken parm isn’t comforting enough, here it is served over a beautiful bowl of penne 🙂 A comfort food fest from Plant Power Couple.

Finally, more comfort: Erin’s creamy, dreamy vegan broccoli cheese soup.

Reads

1. A fascinating look at why the phytonutrients in plants are beneficial for us, while growing research suggests that antioxidant supplementation may not be.

2. Heartache isn’t only a manner of speech: more research is emerging on the link between emotional distress and heart disease.

3. Another look at the health ramifications of stress, this time focusing on mitochondrial DNA and telomere shortening.

4. More evidence that plant meats are a sustainable as well as compassionate choice. (I still need to try the Beyond Burger!)

5. An important, informative article on enhancing diversity within the dietetics profession. It gave me a lot to think about—including a helpful reminder to always check, acknowledge, and address my own biases.

It’s the start of a new week, and I’m entering it with an open mind and optimistic heart. Wishing you lightness, too. I’ll be back with a tasty new slow cooker recipe in a couple days.

xo

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