Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I probably should have thought to
post something festive before today, but instead it’s coming to
you in a day or two. It’s a very tasty cabbage and pasta recipe,
which I hope you’ll like.

I wrapped up another community rotation of my internship this
past week. This rotation included a lot of group education and a
little bit of counseling. In both contexts, I was touched, as I
always am, to be reminded of how deeply people care about nutrition
and what they eat.

It’s funny: in my nutrition grad program, we received so much
guidance on motivating people and helping them to overcome their
ambivalence. Motivational interviewing is virtually the only
counseling technique we were taught, which I thought was a
disservice. I understand why this was the way it was: our program
was geared toward group education, rather than individual
counseling, and one of the assumptions made was that we’d be
working with groups of people who weren’t entirely sold on
getting nutrition guidance in the first place–for example, those
who have been referred to a dietitian by a primary care

The relentless focus on motivation and “rolling with
resistance” always struck me as limited, because my overwhelming
experience has been that people are interested in food and strongly
motivated to eat better. For a while I wondered if my experience
was intrinsically limited by the population of folks I’ve crossed
paths with as a nutritionist, but now that I’m more than halfway
into my internship, I’ve only seen more proof of how much people
care and how motivated they are.

From what I can tell, what stands in the way of meaningful
change isn’t resistance or ambivalence so much as circumstance.
It’s hard—really hard—to change one’s eating habits even
when circumstances are working in one’s favor. It’s even harder
in the face of life’s many difficulties, including financial
hardship, stress, mental illness, family obligations, time
constraints, and so on. Even with strong motivation in place, life
can and does get in the way.

This isn’t to say that incredible dietary transformations
aren’t possible even when circumstance is stacked up against it,
nor to suggest that all nutrition patients and clients are strongly
motivated. I guess I’m just struck by often people’s desire for
change shines through to me.

I’ve seen so many examples in the last week alone, from the
patient who broke into tears as she told me about a recent
osteoporosis diagnosis (and her confusion about what to eat for
bone health) to the patient in her early 90s who explained to me
with pride his efforts to cook more vegetarian meals. None of my
patients this year have lacked barriers to healthful eating. In
spite of that, they care, and they’re doing their best.

This all makes me think about
an article
I read a few weeks ago, which makes important points
about the way we construct and label laziness. I’m linking to it
in my reads today. It also reminds me to be compassionate to myself
when things stand in the way of what I’d like to do. My mind’s
refrain is always “I could have done more,” but it’s often
the case that I actually couldn’t have, because circumstances
(fatigue, scarcity of time, being distracted by something more
urgent) stood in the way. I wanted to do more, which is fine to
acknowledge, but it’s different.

Wishing you a peaceful Sunday, with full recognition that
you’re doing your best. We all are. Here are some recipes and


Lauren’s split
pea soup with cheesy sage dumplings
is the definition of
comfort food!

I can’t get over how authentic Anastasia’s vegan
tofu benedict

I love the texture and color contrast of Stephanie’s
smashed chimichurri potatoes

A perfect weeknight supper recipe for creamy,
peanutty noodles and mushrooms.

Finally, how adorable are these bunny-shaped
vegan Easter rolls


1. Recent research has called into question the idea that eggs
raise blood cholesterol, but
a new study affirms the case for dietary moderation

2. I love variety, but I also know the pleasures of a
tried-and-true meal. I smiled to read
this article
on people who eat the same thing every day.

3. Edith Zimmerman
grapples with the awareness that happiness is fleeting

This article
about California’s wild flower superbloom
brought a smile to my face.

5. Finally, Devon Price on
why laziness doesn’t exist

Much love to you this evening, friends. A veggie-packed pasta
recipe is coming your way in a day or two.


The post Weekend
Reading, 3.17.19
appeared first on The Full Helping.