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I admit it: I’m a copycat.

Why? Because nearly everything in this post was inspired by the magnificent food at Bonobos—a restaurant I recently visited with Ms. Bitt.

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And where I was also lucky enough to lunch with the lovely Sophia. She was pretty impressed with my enthusiasm for their soup:

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I could pretty much take up residence at Bonobos, and feast on coconut chai and avocado soup and nori rolls forever. Since that wouldn’t be the most practical use of my time, I try to imitate their dishes as often as I can instead. On Thursday, when Bitt and I were picking out our dinner selections, I noticed that Bonobos has a poppy seed pate. This got the wheels turning: I’ve never included poppy seeds in pate, but I do think they’re pretty cute. And believe it or not, poppy seeds are a very good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. While we all tend to get relatively generous amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids, we tend to skimp on Omega-3s, so it’s a good idea to balance the ratio out whenever we find a convenient food source.

This is my own version of a poppy pate. I didn’t use poppy seeds as the base; I used pumpkin seeds, and added poppy seeds in at the end. (In future test runs, I may try soaking and using poppy seeds exclusively—has anyone else tried this?) It worked very nicely, and I loved the slight crunch and texture that the poppy seeds added to the dish!

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Pumpkin Seed and Poppy Pate (Raw, vegan, gluten free)

Yields 1 1/4 cups

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked 1 hour or more
1 small clove garlic, chopped
2-3 pitted dates
1-2 tbsp lemon juice (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp nama shoyu or tamari
Water
3 tbsp poppy seeds

1) Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor and process till smooth. If you haven’t soaked the seeds for long, you’ll want to add water in a thin stream to make the mixture blend and become smooth. If you soaked them for a while, you may not need much water.

2) When the mixture is smooth, transfer to a container and stir in poppy seeds. The texture should be thick:

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And the taste ought to be heavenly!

In another act of Bonobos imitation, I served my new pate stuffed into a nori wrap. My rolls were not as pretty as Bonobos were, but, well, I’m getting there. Bonobos version:

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And my version:

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Not too terrible for a relative nori novice.

This pate is simple, versatile, and delicious. I hope you try it soon!

And of course, I can’t sign off for the night without thanking you all for your wonderful, welcoming, and honest response to the green recovery series and Freya’s words. I was really touched by all of the feedback, and I’m so glad that the reader demand is as robust as I expected it to be. All systems go! To answer two practical questions:

1) Can non-bloggers contribute?

Yes! Please! This series will wither and die if I don’t make it open to everyone. I don’t care if you write a blog or not; as long as you can write thoughtfully and be mindful of all CR readers (that is, as long as you can be careful to frame your story with respect for others who have or have recovered from EDs), I welcome you.

2) Will all series be guest posts?

Nope. I’ll be writing topical posts sometimes, too.

3) If veganism actually didn’t work for me—if it reinforced my need for control—can I write about that?

Absolutely. As I said, my goal is to make this series an honest and open discussion—not a sales pitch for the vegan diet. I see all of the reasons why veganism can in fact reinforce the patterns of disordered eating, and I want us to talk about that without fear.

Speaking of that last point, I also really appreciate the thoughtful criticism that I received about the premise of these guest posts—privately and in the comments (I’m thinking about Lauren’s comments in particular, which were awesome and insightful). I agree that it’s important to remember that for those who are still in the most intense, or clinical, phase of a disorder, veganism may *not* be a healthy option at all. Experience has shown me that it *may* be suitable for those who are in the period that comes after the formal part of recovery, when the individual is struggling to define a new and healthy relationship with food. When an active ED sufferer emails me to ask if he or she should go vegan, I always say that the formal part of recovery should come first, under the guidance of RDs and MDs and family, and that veganism can come later. That feels tough, because I do actually think some people who have active EDs could benefit from a plant based approach. But it’s the wisest answer.

It’s also true that veganism can prompt an obsession with control or restriction, even in the post-recovered. I see this tension, naturally, and want to avoid triggering people who are prone to such impulses. This is a big tension for me as a food/health blogger, and it’s not limited to this discussion: how can I talk about something that I think needs talking about without triggering readers who are vulnerable?  It’s a dilemma, but I don’t know that shutting down conversation to protect readers is the right move. Instead, I think careful language and considered approaches are the best we can do. The fact of the matter is that vegan diets do seem to enrich the lives of many people with ED histories. As long as we take care with our language, isn’t this something worth discussing?

Finally, the point was raised that, because veganism places tremendous importance on our food choices—even asks that we shape an identity around them—it’s not suitable for post-ED women and men, who are prone to allowing food to loom too large in their sense of self-worth. I think this is a good point, but I’d counter that, for many people who have struggled with food, it’s not possible or even valuable to deemphasize the importance of food altogether. Instead, it can be helpful to transform and redefine what will always be a naturally emotional relationship with food. There is a school of thought that would say that attaching any sense of identity to an eating style is by definition incompatible with recovery. My point here is that I don’t agree. I think that veganism offers a way of thinking about food that, while all encompassing, is nevertheless not necessarily a barrier to full recovery for every man or woman. In some cases, it may be a door.

But the main point here is that we can use these posts to talk about all of this stuff! From what I gather, there are very few safe spaces in which the many vegans who have ED histories can share their stories and inner thoughts without feeling judged by the fellow recovered, and I don’t think that’s right. I simply want to create a responsible forum in which we can discuss the relationship between plant-based diets and EDs—both the pros and the cons. And perhaps those of us who are recovered—vegan and non–can learn a lot about each other.

On that note, some quality time with my Mom and a long night of work awaits. G’nite, everyone!

xo

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