Your Personal Meal Planning Assistant
December 15, 2015 / Nicole Villeneuve

Read the Blog, Eat the Meals: The Full Helping

You read their recipes. You drool over their photos. Now eat their food! We’re excited to be partnering with several of our favorite authors and bloggers, helping you cook some of their most popular meals through PlateJoy.

Gena Hamshaw's vegan recipes are all about balance ... but it wasn't always that way. "I’ve spent much of my life experimenting with food extremes," she writes." After building a raw foodism following online, Gena ventured into cooked veggie proteins and starches, developing recipes for everyone from Food52 to O Magazine. On her blog, The Full Helping, she uses her background in clinical nutrition to create meals that highlight the variety and the nourishment in vegan cooking.

We caught up with Gena to here more about how she balances her recipes, her favorite vegan flavor-boosters, and more.

Try meals from The Full Helping on PlateJoy! Check out the menu here. 

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[caption id="attachment_1943" align="alignright" width="355"]Photo credit: James Ransom Photo credit: James Ransom[/caption]

What’s your healthy eating philosophy?

My healthy eating philosophy is focused on the idea of balance. I know it's a cliche, but I really do stand by 'everything in moderation' -- and this includes sugar and sweets every now and then. It's the big picture that ultimately determines how we feel and how we relate to food, not occasional indulgences.

Most importantly, I see food as not only fuel for the body, but also as a source of pleasure. For me, eating is a spiritual and emotional act as well as the fulfillment of a physical need. I try to emphasize taste and fun in my recipes, along with balanced nutrition.

You mention how vegan food helped you find balance. What kinds of balance should people to looking for in their diet - vegans and non-vegans alike? 

I think it really starts with getting all of the essential macronutrients with each meal: a good source of protein, a source of complex carbs, a source of healthful fat. Of course, different things work for different individuals, and it's important to modify your diet in accordance with what feels right. But we need all of the macronutrients to survive, and remembering to represent them within meals is a big step toward feeling nourished and sustained.

[caption id="attachment_1944" align="alignleft" width="504"]Easy Tahini and Soba Noodle Salad Easy Tahini and Soba Noodle Salad[/caption]

What are a few staples you always have on hand to help boost the flavor in your meals?

Tamari, nutritional yeast, tahini, smoked paprika, maple syrup, fresh herbs, and a well-stocked spice rack!

You just got home and want to make yourself something quick and comforting. What do you go for?

Usually a grain, bean, and vegetable bowl (like brown rice, chickpeas or tofu, and all sorts of roasted or steamed veggies) with a killer sauce (tahini sauces are my favorite!).

Nicole Villeneuve

Nicole Villeneuve is a certified Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. A graduate of Yale University, she previously worked in book publishing, with a focus on cookbooks and health, and ran the food blog Paper and Salt. Her writing has been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and The Daily Beast. Nicole lives in San Francisco and loves cooking, reading, exploring new restaurants, and running by the ocean. You can (very occasionally) find her on Twitter.

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