Gena Hamshaw is the architect behind “The Full Helping”, a popular website that educates people on the health benefits of plant based eating. Parvati Magazine caught up with her to talk about eating whole, nutrient dense foods with a focus on living a richer, more fulfilling life.
Parvati Magazine: Many people can relate to your story. What would you say was the catalyst to begin your healing journey?
Gena Hamshaw: For me, the catalyst to healing was wanting to live a richer, fuller, bigger life. Anorexia kept me closed off and small; I wanted to live more expansively and boldly. I wasn’t really ready to give up the disease, but I was ready to experience the world in a different way, and that was enough to start the process.
PMAG: In many of your posts, you speak about the switch to nourishing your body with plant based foods. What is most noticeable benefit you have experienced with a plant based diet?
GH: A sense of peace and meaning within my food choices.
PMAG: You have built a great community through your website and social media channels. What do you enjoy most about connecting with your followers?
GH: Struggles around food—whether they take the form of an eating disorder or pains with body image and the difficult work of finding balance—can feel incredibly isolating. It’s so inspiring to be reminded that we’re not alone, and that there’s so much that knits us together as we find our way. That’s what really stands out to me when I connect on social media: the sense of shared experience and mutual support.
PMAG: Which of your books would you recommend to someone who is looking to incorporate more plant based meals into their diet?
GH: Anything by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She was the first vegan cookbook author I found, and no one explains the fundamentals of vegan cooking better than she does.
PMAG: As a nutrition counselor, what is the most common concern for your clients, and how do you work with them to achieve their objectives?
GH: Most of my clients come from histories of food extremes: restricting, binge eating, unnecessarily limiting elimination diets, and more. Most of them are hoping to find balance, to eat in a way that supports their health and their bodies but also gives them freedom and permission to experience pleasure through food. It’s my job to support them and help them tune into their intuitions.
Gena Hamshaw is the author of the blog “The Full Helping”, which she started in 2009. She is also the author of the cookbooks “Food52 Vegan” and “Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals”. She has contributed to or been featured in “Self”, “Shape”, “Slate”, “Time”, “The Splendid Table”, “The Washingtonian”, “Redbook”, “O Magazine”, and more.
Headshot Photo Credit: James Ransom