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March 15th, 2013

How to Cook & Prepare Kale (with videos)

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I love kale. Hail to the kale! 

When I first adopted a plant-based diet, I started… rediscovering
the produce section of the grocery store. Even though the store hadn’t
changed their inventory, I kept having all these new discoveries — wondering where that particular fruit or vegetable had been all my life.
(Note: right there all along, of course… I was just too busy buying
packaged “convenience” crap to notice all the vibrant life I was
missing!)

Anyway, “greens” were probably the last thing I came around to trying. Something about them was intimidating. I have to eat… a plant? I mean, I loved salad mixes and baby spinach… but those cruciferous greens were a bit daunting!

Somewhere, I got over my fear of the
unknown, gave them a try, and became hooked. Kale and I have been in a deep
relationship ever since… 

And would you look at this gorgeous bunch of purple kale? 

I’ll get to my point ;) 

A few weeks ago my assistant, the lovely Lindsey Talene, texted me: “How do you cook kale?” She’d
visited me recently and I was feeding HER kale at every meal — and
she’d gotten hooked! (Kale is pretty addicting!!) Except now that she
was home, it was up to her to appease her kale cravings!

A few texts later, I realized that LT is probably not the
only one who is unsure what to do with kale. After all, I once was
equally unsure how to eat it — so I decided to create two videos, and
this blog post, for all you kale newbies! 

LT’s first time cooking kale. She added mushrooms! 

In
my first video (below), I’ll show you how to be a stripper! A KALE
STRIPPER! This is a technique I learned from Ann Esselstyn. It makes
prepping kale quick and easy. No knife required!

Once you’ve removed the stems, it’s time to get cooking! Here’s my quick video on how to cook kale: 

Now for some kale recipes (here on the blog): 

Kale Chips

African Kale & Yam Soup

Greens Quiche  

I also love to keep it simple: fresh lemon on top,
hot sauce, Old Bay seasoning, salsa (especially
fruit-flavored salsas), nutritional yeast, or vegan parmesan cheese for a treat. 

And you’ll find more kale recipes in my cookbooks too!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 14th, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Ruth H.

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Back in December 2012, Ruth posted a side-by-side comparison of her “before” and “after” picture on Happy Herbivore’s Facebook page. She was an instant sensation  with over 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments giving her congrats. Dozens of Herbies asked me interview Ruth as part of the series and, lucky for us, Ruth is bravely sharing her weight-loss story with us today!

My Weight Loss Journey
By: Ruth Hughes

Since a young age, weight has been a struggle in my life. I definitely experienced challenges growing up, from peer acceptance to trying to keep up with healthier and fit kids, but never really realized until my late 20s how carrying the extra weight would lead me to a reality that I never thought I would face — ongoing health issues. At the end of 2009, I was prompted to see a doctor after experiencing nausea, muscle aches, dizziness and extreme exhaustion for several weeks. During this appointment, I was given a routine exam. It had been several years since I had been in a doctor’s office, let alone stepped on a scale. After weighing in, the nurse told me the actual number; I was in shock…290 pounds! Immediate shame, remorse, among other feelings took over as I sat in the examination room waiting for the doctor. After these initial feelings though, I thought “what if I could finally beat the weight issue for good and live a healthier life?” This wasn’t the life I had imagined. All of the food choices I had been making for 29 years were literally shortening my life expectancy, and I knew I had to make immediate changes. With a history of high blood pressure and diabetes in my family, it wasn’t a shock when the doctor told me that I had both, but I thought that I had more time before having to succumb to taking medications and managing a disease on a daily basis. I told the doctor that I had no desire to be dependent on medication and that I would do the work necessary to lose the weight. I left that appointment, feeling for the first time in my life, that I could truly attain my weight loss goals with fortitude and perseverance.

Immediately after leaving the doctor’s office, I started researching healthy eating, weight loss programs, fitness routines, among other topics in an effort to jump-start my weight loss. Several stepping stones in my weight loss journey included Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. Due to the high costs of membership and food though, I only participated in each of these programs for
a short time. These programs provided me with a wealth of information on making better food choices, but were only a jump-start in my weight loss journey; because in order for me to achieve long-term weight loss, my approach to health and fitness would need to become a permanent lifestyle change. While I did see results from these programs, I still wanted to eat less processed foods and felt that in order to maintain long-term weight loss, I needed to continue my research towards finding the right balance of healthy eating and fitness.

During my research and recommendations from numerous friends, I watched the documentary Food, Inc. This documentary changed my perspective toward eating meat and was extremely informative. A little under a year and half into my weight loss journey, I reached a plateau and was not able to lose weight as consistently as I had been. While continuously adjusting my exercise routine, counting calories, etc., proved to be helpful it still did not yield the results I was hoping for. Earlier this year, I was talking to a good friend of mine, who adopted a whole-food plant-based diet nine months prior, about my weight loss journey and she encouraged me to watch Forks Over Knives. Literally, a few days after that conversation, the documentary was available to view for free on an internet video streaming website and after watching this
documentary, I knew I needed to adopt a whole-food plant-based diet. This was a whole new world to me though, and I am the type of person that always researches something in order to have a plan in place or at least an idea of how I would implement this new lifestyle change before diving in. I knew in order to be successful the first six months of my transition from carnivore to herbivore while finishing my Master’s degree (by the way, I graduated a
couple of weeks ago) would require me to find resources that clearly explained this type of diet and provided quick and easy recipes. So I started my research on the Forks Over Knives website, which introduced me to the world of plant-based eating and through the amazing list of resources provided, I purchased several books including: Plant-Based Nutrition, Engine 2 Diet, Happy Herbivore Cookbooks, and The China Study. This website truly opened my eyes in ways for which I will be forever grateful.

After my initial research, reading several books, and finding additional resources through the world of Facebook, I decided to make the switch to a whole-food plant-based diet immediately and not gradually — I went all in from day one. Personally, that approach is much easier for me than still keeping one foot in a lifestyle that I wanted to move away from. I have been herbivore
strong since June of this year, and within that time I have lost 70 pounds, making my total weight loss 155 pounds since my journey began. Since adopting a whole-food plant-based diet, I have reversed and eliminated all of my medical issues (Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, etc.) no longer experience feelings of exhaustion, have so much more energy than I know what to do with…LOL, as well as so many more positive health results that my list literally could go on forever. Bottom line — I feel absolutely amazing!

I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle and will maintain a low-fat, whole-food plant-based diet the rest of my life. I’m so thankful for amazing resources like Happy Herbivore that provide a community of support, encouragement, and a plethora of recipes! Now that I have graduated and have my free time back, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and friends, volunteering at various organizations, traveling around the world, mountain biking, and cooking my way through all three HH Cookbooks!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 13th, 2013

Kiwi Parfait, Quick Pesto Pasta, and More Meals with Greens to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

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To show our love of St. Patrick’s Day and health-promoting green foods, our meal plans are exploding with healthy green goodness this week! PLUS new recipes like Kiwi Parfait (both plans), Creamy Asparagus Soup (both plans), Quick Pesto Pasta (both plans), and Green Gobblin’ Muffins (family) — YUM!!! Fan-favorite green-loving dishes like our most requested Apple Jack Smoothie and Spinach Wrap are also on the menu! Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has never been so healthy or tasty! OR GREEN!

Individual Highlights

  • Dill, Lemon & White Bean Salad
  • Apple Jack Smoothie
  • Quick Pesto Pasta (NEW!)
  • Cannelloni & Strawberry Spinach Salad
  • Green Apple Oatmeal
  • Kiwi Parfait (NEW!)
  • Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • Spinach Wrap
  • Chips & Chili Bowl
  • Creamy Asparagus Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Family Highlights

  • Black Bean & Salsa Soup
  • Kiwi Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Spicy Tomato Soup
  • Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • Spinach Wrap
  • Quick Pesto Pasta (NEW!)
  • Green Apple Oatmeal
  • Green Gobblin’ Muffins (NEW!)
  • Mexican Stuffed Peppers
  • Creamy Asparagus Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials

Had the Bombay Breakfast oatmeal today. You have taken my love of oatmeal to a new level! Thank you for amazing meal plans!” — Jess

Just wanted to tell you that I LOVED the meal plan I purchased! Everything has been amazing! Especially loved the kale soup! So glad I found you.” — Andrea F.

Get the current meal plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

Kiwi Parfait, Quick Pesto Pasta and more meals with greens to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Written by admin

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To show our love of St. Patrick’s Day and health-promoting green foods our meal plans are exploding with healthy green goodness this week! PLUS new recipes like Kiwi Parfait (both plans), Creamy Asparagus Soup (both plans), Quick Pesto Pasta (both plans) and Green Goblin Muffins (family) — YUM!!! Fan-favorite green-loving dishes like our most requested Apple Jack Smoothie and Spinach Wrap are also on the menu! Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has never been so healthy or tasty! OR GREEN!

Individual Highlights

  • Dill, Lemon & White Bean Salad
  • Apple Jack Smoothie
  • Quick Pesto Pasta (NEW!)
  • Cannelloni & Strawberry Spinach Salad
  • Green Apple Oatmeal
  • Kiwi Parfait (NEW!)
  • Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • Spinach Wrap
  • Chips & Chili Bowl
  • Creamy Asparagus Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Family Highlights

  • Black Bean & Salsa Soup
  • Kiwi Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Spicy Tomato Soup
  • Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • Spinach Wrap
  • Quick Pesto Pasta (NEW!)
  • Green Apple Oatmeal
  • Green Goblin Muffins (NEW!)
  • Mexican Stuffed Peppers
  • Creamy Asparagus Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials

Had the Bombay Breakfast oatmeal today. You have taken my love of oatmeal to a new level! Thank you for amazing meal plans!” – Jess

Just wanted to tell you that I LOVED the meal plan I purchased! Everything has been amazing! Especially loved the kale soup! So glad I found you.” – Andrea F.

Get the current meal plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 12th, 2013

Falling Off the (Plant-Based/Vegan) Wagon (& How To Get Back On)

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A few weeks ago this tweet came my way:

@happyherbivore went off being vegan this week, I am so sick now with stomach cramps. Memory lane not worth the fall :’(

Since I see tweets, emails, comments, etc. like this one, I thought I’d talk about it on the blog today.

First: Remember, above all: It’s about progress, not perfection.

Second: You are on a journey. You might take a few wrong turns. You might back track and sidetrack, or sit down and stay awhile. Nevertheless, the goal is the same. You have a destination. Keep making your way there.

That said!

I feel very blessed to have have the amazing opportunity to work with and coach dozens of people through their transition to a plant-based diet.

I have met with people from all kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles, men and women, all different ages. Different hobbies, careers, jobs — geographic locations! And most of them -— not all, but many — have had some kind of “slip-up” or “cheat” (their words) in the process.

And in every single one of those instances, they regretted it, had some kind of digestive episode, but ultimately, came out even more committed than they were previously. They became true believers. They became zealots. It was as if that experience reinforced and solidified their choices and beliefs. Now they had the proof. Now they knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was right. That they were doing the right thing and most importantly — that this is what they wanted. That this was the path for them. That they COULD do it.

Even my clients who seemed very committed. Who seemed very convinced — crazy determined… still THEIR passion, dedication, and determination increased 10-fold after an incident.

While I certainly don’t wish a heavy heart or upset stomach on anyone, I’m ultimately glad they had these experiences. These moments of pure clarity.

Most of them came to me waiting for a lecture. They wanted me to be disappointed. They waited for me to say “SERVES YOU RIGHT!” — but I never did, because I didn’t need to say anything. Their body and heart already said it all. Plus it’s not about me, and my beliefs, and opinions — it’s about them and their journey.

It’s about you and your journey. It’s about doing what was best for you.

If you fall off the wagon, get right back on. Move forward.

The first year I was “vegan,” I cheated. I was hung over and not thinking clearly (at least this is what I told myself) when I accidentally ate a piece of my friend’s cheese pizza in the fridge. Let’s just say the hangover felt like a massage compared to what I went through next.

And because I’m the kind of person that doesn’t always learn the first time — I had a repeat. And well, it stuck with me that time.

Scott, my husband, had a similar experience. Some months after he had been meatless, he decided to go have a pepperoni pizza. He’d been thinking about it nonstop and how much he missed it. One bite and he realized he wasn’t missing anything. It was greasy and gross and not good. He couldn’t believe he used to eat like that. He’s never been even slightly tempted since.

SO — if you fall off, let it be a learning experience. Turn it into a positive experience. Let it empower you in the future. Keep in mind how you felt.

At the next meal, make a choice you can be proud of.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 11th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: I Am… (How to Make Changes and Make Them Stick)

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What we say after “I am” is very powerful. It’s an affirmation.

If you say “I am now plant-based” — you will be. Or at least, it is more likely you will be than if you say or affirm nothing at all.

Why? We have a deep need inside each of us to be consistent.

There is more to it than that, though.

By making an affirmation (and the more public the better), our attitudes start to change. We start to see ourselves differently.

Take, for example, a psychological study done by Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser in the 1960s. (Yes, I know it’s an old study, but it’s still relevant! Hear me out.)

A researcher, posing as a volunteer, went to various homes in a California neighborhood, asking the homeowners to place a gigantic (ugly) public service sign in their front yard that said “Drive Carefully.” The researcher showed the owner what the sign looked like and everything. Not surprising, 83% of the first group refused.

However, when the same sign was shown to another group of homeowners, in the same neighborhood, with the same big, ugly sign and same request, a whopping 76% agreed. WHAT?

For the second group — those that agreed — one small, trivial detail was different. A few weeks prior to the “drive carefully” sign request, a researcher, posing as a volunteer, went to the second group of homeowners a few weeks before asking them to sign a petition to “Keep California Beautiful.” Of course, nearly everyone signed the petition.

But what does a petition have to do with driving safely? And why did the petition signers agree to the ugly sign when their neighbors did not?

Freedman and Fraser learned that signing the beautification petition changed the view those homeowners had about themselves. They saw themselves as public-spirited citizens who acted on their civic principles.

Their attitudes about themselves changed. “I am…”

Years later, Dr. Michael Pallak found similar results in his study. Before a cold winter in Iowa, he talked to two groups of homeowners. Both groups received a lecture on the importance of conserving energy and were asked to promise to reduce their use of energy. All agreed.

The only difference? The second group was also told if they successfully reduced their energy usage, their names would be praised in the local paper.

After the first month, those that weren’t promised newspaper coverage did not make a change. Their use was equal to those of other homeowners who were not contacted at all. Those that were in the newspaper incentive group, however, did reduce their energy use.

You are probably thinking it was the bait of a prize — the public praise that got the second group to make a change — and you’re right… but then something really interesting happened. After the first month, Pallak apologized and said he couldn’t run their names in the paper after all.

You’d think this meant those families would go back to their old ways, right? Wrong! The saved even more energy. That’s right — even once the “prize” of public praise was removed, those families saved even more energy.

Why? Once the commitment was made (even though that commitment was made in hopes of a “prize”), it started generating its own support. The homeowners began acquiring new energy habits, began feeling good about their public-spirited efforts, began convincing themselves of the importance of energy conservation and started viewing themselves as energy conservationists, and so forth.

Their attitudes about themselves had changed.

Affirmations are powerful.

You can read more about these studies and others like it in the book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.

This book helped me understand why I have tried and failed at so many different goals in my life. I tried to stop biting my nails for years. YEARS. It wasn’t until my sister stopped biting her nails, that I resolved on Facebook that I would do the same. Was that all it took? Me saying I’d stop biting my nails too, publicly on Facebook? Apparently.

Accountability is an amazing motivator.

I was also recently talking with a woman who went plant-based several months ago in the toughest of circumstances. No one in her life supported her. Not her family. Not her friends. Not her coworkers. They were all naysayers.

She would surely be forgiven, then, if she succumbed to peer pressure? Right? Except, all that negative turned out to be positive! She told me all those people rooting against her helped her stay strong. She couldn’t wait to prove them all wrong. She said to me, “They will never know how helpful they actually were in helping me keep my commitment to myself… and to prove the they were wrong! I could do it! I did do it!”

Back to what I said about our need to be consistent :)

We want to be true to our word. We want our actions to match our words, especially if we say them publicly.

This is why affirmations are so powerful.

I am….

And what could be more minimalist than a simple statement that can help us change?

I am…

a minimalist.

I am…

a plant-eater.

I am….

I so much believe in the power of suggestion and I truly believe we can harnass that power to be our best selves.

So post it on Facebook. Tell your coworkers. Send me an email. It doesn’t matter… but do it.

Make that affirmation — and change begins!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 10th, 2013

What is Non-Dairy Milk? (Everything You Need to Know)

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I saw a ridiculous commercial on TV recently. It was a mimic game show and the point of the commercial was that soy milk and other non-dairy alternatives have a couple of ingredients, while dairy milk only has 1, so you should pick dairy because it’s simple and has less ingredients. ::eyes roll::

I took the commercial as a sign that the harms of dairy are getting out there and the dairy industry is getting nervous. I’m sure if sales were as high as normal they wouldn’t be running advertisements against their non-dairy competitors… nonetheless, dairy isn’t just one ingredient. Just because they’re not required to put what the cow was force-fed (corn, soy, etc., which invariably comes back out in their milk), plus note the antibiotics and hormones the animal was also given (also in the milk), and anything else that is artificially added doesn’t mean it didn’t happen ;) But this isn’t a rant on dairy, because we all know how gross and bad for our bodies it is. If you don’t know, this is a good start on why dairy is awful. I also recommend watching Forks Over Knives.  

Now, let’s talk plant-based milk! I have a video blog post, what is non-dairy milk?, but the topic is worth a little more exploration.

When people ask me which one they should purchase, my general answer is to find a plant-based milk you like and use it. If you don’t like soy milk, that’s fine. Try almond or rice or oat milk. Try different brands, too. There is a reason there are so many brands — they taste different. You might also prefer sweetened over unsweetened. The only milks I suggest avoiding are the coconut milk-based ones because they are so high in saturated fat (and they don’t always work well in cooking and baking) and hemp milk because the earthy hemp flavor can be strong and not complementary to the flavors in your recipes. You can also make your own rice milk very easily. (You can also make your own almond milk and oat milk easily, but soy milk generally needs a machine).

What to look for when buying your non-dairy milk:

1. Make sure the plant-based milk you are using doesn’t contain oil. Refrigerated milks tend to, but shelf-stable do not. The shelf-stable ones also tend to be cheaper, and the great thing about them is you can stock up so you never run out in the middle of the recipe.

2. If you trying to eat a low-fat diet, you might want pick the brand with the lowest amount of fat per serving. This tends to be rice or oat milk, as soy and almonds both are fairly rich in fat naturally. You can, however, find low-fat and fat-free soy milks. We like WestSoy’s non fat soy milk but tend to buy unsweetened almond milk

3. Pick the brand with the least number of ingredients. 

4. Buy unsweetened if you can. If you need your plant-based milk sweetened, that’s fine. Sugar is a scapegoat, not the biggest concern. A little sweetener in your plant-based milk is nothing to worry about — just make sure you’re buying sweetened plain or vanilla, not chocolate or another flavor, which is basically a candy bar in a glass. 

I predominantly use unsweetened almond milk in my cooking and baking, but I don’t drink it by the glass or eat cereal. When I ate cereal, I used sweetened fat-free soy milk. Scott used to drink plant-based milk by the glass when he was transitioning to a plant-based diet (because he used to drink a lot of milk by the glass and habits are hard to break) and he liked sweetened soy milk or sweetened almond milk.

I find most people coming off milk like sweetened almond milk the best, but again, we all have our own tastes. 

Finally, about that commercial. I can make rice milk (and almond milk) with just rice or almonds and water. So, I win on simplicity. LOL!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 9th, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking MS, Kids, Depression, Books, Rice Milk and Grains)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: Does a plant-based diet help with MS?
A: Current research suggest that it does. For more information, please see Dr. McDougall’s website re: MS. (Dr. McDougall is currently researching the connection between diet and MS and the benefits of a plant-based diet on MS).

Q: Any suggestions for kid meals?
A: The tricky part with kids is they are all different. Anyone who guarantees a recipe is kid-approved is a little too optimistic. For example, I have 8 nieces and nephews. 7 like blueberry muffins, 1 does not. 6 like pancakes, 2 do not. 4 out of 8 like oatmeal. Even within the same family (each family has 4 kids), there is no consistency. What I can tell you is that my testers have kids of all ages — from newborns to college-age, and I don’t include any recipe in my cookbooks that doesn’t win over the majority.

Q:  I was wondering if you could talk about depression and bipolar at all when it comes to eating a whole foods plant-based diet.  I do believe there might be a link to eating healthy and helping with these mental illnesses.
A: While some people have experienced benefits in treating their depression with diet and/or exercise (and there are some studies that support this), it’s not necessarily applicable to every case of depression, and while I am not a doctor, my understanding of bipolar disorder is that it is much more complex than a simple dietary cause (though perhaps diet could help). For example, a friend of mine is bipolar, and will always have to be on medication, no matter what diet she eats. We know this because her bipolar disorder remained unchanged when she changed her diet. Both bipolar disorder and depression are serious and anyone who has either, or thinks they might, should speak with a professional immediately for evaluation and if necessary, treatment.

Q: Do you recommend any books on this link between diet and health?
It depends on what you’re looking for, but generally speaking:
The Starch Solution
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes
The Pleasure Trap
The China Study
Whole
Forks Over Knives
(film)

Q: Do you have a video of your making brown rice milk?

Yep. See my post, “What is Rice Milk (& How to Make Rice Milk Recipe)

Q: Do you have a beginner’s shopping list for getting the pantry/fridge stocked when first starting out?
There is a shopping list at the front of each book, and I also did a blog post on pantry staples. If you use our meal plans (which I can’t recommend enough for beginners), you get a custom shopping list each week.

Q: Is there any way to search your blog or find by keywords?
A: Yes, use the labels or the search bar at the top of the page.

Q: How long can I keep grains once they are cooked?

A: If you don’t use them in 2-3 days, put them in the freezer.

Q: Can you share a day or week’s worth of no soy/tofu ideas?

A: Our meal plans are always soy-free and tofu-free. You can also see these related posts.

How To Replace Tofu

Soy-Free Vegan

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 8th, 2013

Finding a Way to Eat Right With a Busy Schedule (A Guest Post by a Herbie)

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Like many of us, Natalie knew she wanted to eat better and make a change — and she did! In fact,Natalie was a past Herbie of the Week.

When Natalie emailed me a few days ago, I asked if I could share her email on the blog as a guest post. Natalie reminds us that it really is about progress, not perfection, and that there is always room to grow. Improvements can always be made, and that life is great about throwing curve balls. It’s up to us to find a working solution, and Natalie did just that! I hope you can find some inspiration from Natalie and her brave honesty.

Natalie is the only Herbie in her house, and she’s about to start working a crazy schedule — but she figured out a solution to make sure she sticks to her healthy, plant-based diet.

“Hi There!  I just wanted to send you a quick update that I thought would make you smile.  Since going plant based 1 1/2 years ago, I’ve had some great successes (being Herbie of the Week!), some spectacular failures (coconut oil is healthy in a raw soup, right?), and a whole lot of learning.  Sort of like that chart you put up about the road to success vs. how we think it looks.  

Anyway, despite being plant based, I still can’t kick this last 30 pounds and I realized although I exercise regularly, it’s my love of nuts, chips, avocados, and soy coffee creamer that is keeping me from getting to a healthy weight.  So I made a resolution to only cook out of your books and Engine 2 for 90 days… OK, so far so good.  

Well, as life does, it threw me a curve ball and a job I had applied for months ago, in part to get me out of the high stress emergency room nursing I was working in, called me back for an interview.  

After being very part-time for the last 9 years to be home with our kids, I go back full-time next week.  So now, I have to shift gears to being a full-time working mother of 3 elementary-aged kids.  Panic set in, how is this going to work?  I’m the only Herbie in the house!  What about when I’m exhausted after a long day, or while we’re getting adjusted?  I don’t want to wimp out and eat the kids’ sloppy joes.  

I know myself well enough to know that if I’m too tired, stressed, or hungry, I do NOT make good food choices.  And then you started posting all the “cook in a day” ideas and it hit me!  Freezer.

Today, in under 4 hours I have made these freezer meals: Cajun Meatloaf (p. 141 HHC), Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins (p. 42 HHC), Maple Muffins (p. 46 HHC), Hawaiian Chickpea Bowls (p.127 HHC), Mexican Chowder (p. 112 EHH), and Smoky Black Bean Wraps (p. 95 HHC) — with the doubled recipes for Veggie Korma (p. 100 HHA) and the frozen pancakes made earlier this week….

I’m feeling super confident I can easily maintain despite this huge adjustment.  I can either fly out in the morning to drop the kids off at school with a healthy muffin and banana in the car or sit down and eat my pancakes (which microwave beautifully).  

Lunch will be easy to grab and go with bags of carrots or an apple.  The meatloaf can go in the oven with a baked potato while I steam some kale and cook the family’s dinner.  This can work!  

Of course, the last hurdle is that dreaded two in the afternoon slump (Scone and Latte Time, in my previous working life), but I have a plan for that too.  Butter Bean Cookies and Black Bean brownies to the rescue in individual snack bags, perfect with a cup of coffee/tea.  Or little Tupperwares of Engine 2 Healthy Hummus and veggies which I’ll pre bag.

Speaking of portion size, I use myfitnesspal on the iPhone to track.  Just about every recipe I’ve made from all the cookbooks has been entered by Herbies.  By following the recipes closely, and portioning them out as stated in the book, it makes tracking intake super easy.  

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for all the yummy recipes.  They truly are the best food I have ever made and eaten.  Easy, quick to prepare and out of stuff you can find at almost any store.

From a seriously Happy Herbivore,

Natalie

P.S.: I also can’t recommend the meal plans enough to busy individuals, or anyone trying to eat better. It’s so much easier when you have a plan. Print the shopping list, buy groceries, spend 2-3 hours making the meals and voila! done for the week!” 

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 7th, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Erin O.

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Meet our Herbie of the Week, Erin! By adopting a plant-based diet, Erin overcame her struggles with food and bravely shares her ongoing battle with spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health.

[Editorial note: What I love most about Erin? She refers to her diet and herbivore lifestyle as "Debbie" to fool some not-so-supportive people in her life]

HH: Tell us a little bit about your history.

Well…first I’ve been overweight and a big eater for the past 20+ years. I struggled with my weight, but I certainly wasn’t pressured by my husband, friends, or family to lose weight. At my top weight of 225 lbs., I was performing a LOT as a belly dancer, belly dance teacher, and doing a lot of PR for my shows.

But many years later, after surviving a rare form of cancer, losing my left eye, having my marriage end, and coming back to Tucson, I weighed 50 lbs. less — but had no control over eating. High blood pressure and diabetes are not unusual in my family. I was diagnosed with HBP when I was 35 years old and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when I was 44. I was not taking insulin yet, but felt pain starting in my feet and legs.

HH: You mentioned you “had no control over eating.” Can you elaborate?

Even up to June 2012, my two adult sons would hide pizza and sweets from me. They knew that I would keep eating until it was gone. If it was in the apartment, I was going to eat it. My younger son even tried to get a food intervention for me, but he couldn’t find anyone.

So, one Spring 2012 evening, my sons both started talking to me about the danger I was putting myself in — that they were really afraid I would have a massive heart attack, or go into a Diabetic coma.

They were very sincere, especially my younger son who said he is too young to lose his mother. And that evening, I really started thinking about changing my eating habits. I was on all kinds of meds, and every year adding on more and more. It slowly dawned on me that I was going to have to do something radical to stop my cravings. But as long as my sons kept cheese, meat, candy, and ice cream, I wouldn’t make it.

HH: What changed?

This past June, my older son moved out, which cut way back on food I craved. Until my younger son also moved out in August, we didn’t have much dairy, meat, or sugary foods. But by mid-August 2012, I knew I would have to go on a plant-based diet. The day my son moved out is when everything changed. I gave him all the food we had, emptying out my kitchen. The next day I went to the store and bought fruit and vegetables. I always have loved fresh produce, and I will eat it every day; as long as there is nothing else with which to stuff my face. I had no more dairy products and gave away the bag of sugar. I started on almond and rice milk, and carried raw cashews and almonds with me.

HH: What else did you eat?

The first month, I made lots of veggie-fruit smoothies and every kind of raw veggie that looked semi-interesting to me. I live in Southern Arizona, and our summers are brutally hot. When I go out, I overheat easily. I also needed to keep my blood sugar from plummeting, so I kept frozen grapes in giant bags in my purse. I decided to not let myself get ravenously hungry so as not to undermine my determination.

And for the first time in 35 years, I lived completely alone. I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing either. By the end of September 2012, I went for blood work, and the results were amazing.

HH: Yes! Tell us about the results and benefits!

My blood pressure had dropped, and my cholesterol and blood sugar were much lower; almost in the normal category. And I had lost about 10 lbs. in those first few weeks, just eating the “new” foods! I told my happy doctor that I’m different now — that each day, I know I’ve changed. I feel it in my core. I’m not the same person regarding food, just for today. I don’t worry about any longer time; today is all I have. By the second and third month, I began to eat cooked veggies and brown rice. So, now I’m in the middle of my 4th month. I feel much different than before I went herbivorous. I haven’t given myself any ultimatum. I get up every morning, willing to keep going. Yes, I’ve eaten some of my beloved former foods. But not every day like I used to.

Also my ex-hubby and I finally ended our divorce disagreements after 2 years in court. I won, which I feel is fair. So, a great amount of peace has returned to my life. On the outside, nothing has changed; but on the inside, EVERYTHING has changed.

HH: Have you been able to go off any of your medications?

I’m still on my different medications because I really could have a heart attack or stroke out. This past year,  I was diagnosed with “serious mental illness,” and this was a GREAT relief to me. It made me eligible for more services, which I desperately needed. I finally got on a good dosage of anti-depressants and the gut-wrenching fear of the unknown is leaving me. I’m not one of those people who can just stop taking their meds for mental illness. It doesn’t work that way for me. I have a chemical imbalance, pure and simple. It has affected me in all areas of my life, which I think triggered the crazy eating patterns. And I believe the eating affected my brain chemicals.

I have had to battle my demons on all levels: spiritual, mental, and physical. Everyone is different, and this has been my way. It has just unfolded by itself. When I started eating healthy, I had very few expectations or plans.

HH: You seem to be a great example of the “take it one day at a time” approach, which is wonderful. Still, I have to ask: Do you also have any hopes or goals for the future?

Just to eat a plant-based diet and take my meds. I’m going to have normal blood results very soon. I see my doctor this week and will get my blood tests and I do think I will be in normal range for all categories. It was love that brought me here. I want to take back my health so I can see my youngest son get married someday and start a family. I have 4 grandchildren who I want to help grow up. They need me to be around a long time, to help them as they grow. I have dreams for myself too. My crazy little hobby of making unique crowns has turned into a little business.

In April 2012, a few of them will be in an art show for women artists in downtown Tucson.  I’m truly stunned and amazed. I never dreamed any of this was possible. 

HH: Anything else you’d like to add?

Today, I wear smaller clothes that fit, and even my shoes are getting too big because my feet lost weight! And it’s fun to be somewhat “cute,” but I needed a bigger reason to change: to extend my life expectancy, to buck the family trend of obesity and poor health. And to maybe get a little tranquility in life as I sliiiiiide into my golden years.

HH: Thank you for sharing such an honest and open story with us. We wish you and your family continued good health!

Update 2/28 — “Well, I got my blood results back about 3 weeks ago, and my lipids,
blood sugar, and LDLs are normal. After some 20 years… I went off all
my medications, including  the anti-depressants and high blood pressure
meds. I did this mostly because I needed to try a new way to get better,
instead of stuffing my body full of meds.  I also met a lovely man on a vegan dating site, and have moved to Idaho
to be with him. We live in his lovely home, he is a bio chemist, working
with green plants, and we’re setting up new ways to meet other vegans,
and get folks involved in cleaning  up the air and water…. etc. Yeah,
big changes.”

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 6th, 2013

Cauliflower Risotto, Dark Chocolate Pancakes, PLUS More Favorites!

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This week we have Dark Chocolate Pancakes (family), Kale & Black-Eyed Pea Stew (both plans), Cauliflower Risotto (individual), Italian-Style Spaghetti Squash (family), and Chipotle Sweet Black Bean Chili (both plans) headed your way — PLUS more favorites like Berry Berry Quinoa, Steak Tacos, and Spiced Sweet Potato!

Individual Highlights

  • Cauliflower Risotto (NEW!)
  • Pineapple Teriyaki Chickpeas
  • Veggie Pot Pie with Apple Biscuits
  • Kale & Black-Eyed Pea Stew (NEW!)
  • Hawaiian Sunrise Oatmeal
  • Pineapple Rice
  • Chipotle Sweet Black Bean Chili (NEW!)
  • Sweet Potato Dal
  • Berry Berry Quinoa
  • Steak Tacos

Get this meal plan now.

Family Highlights

  • Dark Chocolate Pancakes (NEW!)
  • Sweet Potato Dal
  • Steak Tacos
  • Kale & Black-Eyed Pea Stew (NEW!)
  • Veggie Pot Pie with Apple Biscuits
  • Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
  • Italian-Style Spaghetti Squash (NEW!)
  • Tex Mex Chickpea Salad
  • Berry Berry Quinoa
  • Chipotle Sweet Black Bean Chili (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials:

Love the single meal plans! Such a great idea for those like me that live in an omnivore household. I pretty much eat some kind of hummus/veggie wrap every day now. Looking forward to trying some of the more detailed recipes too!” — Jenn L.

“I am loving the meal plans. After one week, I signed up for the monthly plan. I don’t make every meal, but so far, I haven’t found ANY I don’t like. And my omnivore husband likes them all too!!! Thank you.” — Emily C.

Get the current meal plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 5th, 2013

The Power of Leading By Example (It Works!)

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Recently, Alisha wrote me a beautiful email testimonial to the power of leading by example (which I’m always preaching). Alisha allowed me to repost her email here; I hope you enjoy it and find a little inspiration! 

—————————————–

I think that your approach to plant-based living is so pragmatic and sensible. I have been very happily herbivore for about a year and my favorite benefit to date is the improvement in my athletic performance. I have been running half marathons for almost three years and I have never felt better after an arduous workout than I have since I started my plant-based life. So, thank you for that!

Over the past week, I have had three events that have made me feel as though the best part of being a herbie may not be athletic performance, but rather sharing with other people. 

I have had two friends, exclusive of one another, approach me to ask for advice and resources on adopting a plant-based diet. I have been a vegetarian for almost ten years but have never been more excited to talk about it since I started engaging in the HH community. I directed them both to your cookbooks, meal plans, etc., and used your suggestions for talking to friends about plant-based dietary choices. The best part about both exchanges is that they cited my aforementioned postings on the various social media outlets referenced above and my non-threatening attitude towards being plant-based as the reasons why they wanted to reach out. They BOTH said that I seemed so happy with the choices and made such great-looking food that it inspired them to make the steps a diet they had considered for awhile.

Gingerbread Mini-Loaves as mini muffins from HHC.

The third event was almost as exciting — I was in the checkout line at my co-op yesterday and the person in front of me, the cashier, and I got into a conversation about vegetarian/vegan eating. The cashier was talking about how expensive and difficult it is to eat plant-based and do so in an ethical way. Keep in mind, this is someone who works at a store that supports a large community of organic, plant-based households! 

I told him about HH and how affordable it is to follow the meal plans, etc. He said “yes, but if I know I can be full on fast food for $2 when I’m broke, it’s a tough choice!” I pointed out that a pound of black beans in the bulk aisle are $.89 and the rest of what he would need for your quick burgers he probably already had on hand. He said that it was a good point and both he and the person in front of me wanted to know more about your books and which ones I would recommend, etc.

I was so proud — it feels good to share information about something that has been so helpful in my life with others.  It made me think about how I would be interested in seeing an occasional Herbie of the Week doing something in their community to inspire plant-based living. I personally have not done much, but I gather that others are starting potlucks and things. [Editorial note: We recently shared a few Herbie-initiated potlucks on the blog as part of our "How to Start a Community Potluck" post]. It would be great to see how the HH community is growing in a more grassroots way with individuals connecting in person. [Editorial note: I totally agree and would love you hear and share your stories and experiences! Email me!]

Anyway, that’s my story for the week and I thought you would like to hear about it. As the Greens Queen, you may also enjoy knowing that I bought a bunch each of kale, swiss chard, collards, and spinach. I am making teriyaki chickpea “wraps” tonight with the collard leaves as the wraps! I love that the recipes are so versatile. It never gets old!

[Editorial note: Oh look! I have a new nickname! Thx!]

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 4th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Stop Chasing the Promotion (More Money, More Problems)

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A few months ago, Scott started experiencing mild back pain during prolonged activity — running, snowboarding, etc. Not wanting to worsen the issue, he sought professional help to correct it. I too have been dealing with some postural issues and muscular imbalances (from all the years I ran around in high heels with a heavy purse or laptop slung on my shoulder), so when we moved to Tahoe, we both started working with a local fitness expert.

Neither of us knew TJ previously, so as the weeks have gone by, we’ve been getting to know each other better — sharing and learning new things about each other.

Somehow my minimalist lifestyle came up during a recent session. I can’t remember what provoked it exactly, but the conversation gave me a new perspective and honesty I had never came to terms with before.

I recalled the decade before my decision to be a minimalist — and how more money never made things easier. Allow me to explain:

When I was 20, I was making $8.00/hour at my part-time job (a little more than minimum wage). I was in college, and like most coeds, I struggled to make ends meet. It was a challenge to scrape enough money together to pay my bills each month. I was always riding on fumes in my car. My bank account was always just a dollar or two above $0.00 come payday. I even overdrafted a few times and invariably had those tear-filled embarrassing phone calls home, asking my parents for money. (Who, bless them, always helped me out).

My roommate, meanwhile, wasn’t in school. She worked full-time and made $10.00/hr. I was jealous. I kept thinking how much better my life would be if I made $10.00/hr. I would fantasize about it all the time. “If only I could make $10.00/hr.!” I thought, “My life would be so much easier!” All my financial problems would be solved! It would be so easy to pay my bills. I could fill the gas tank completely. I could start saving some money!

Then when I was 22, I finally made $10.00/hr. I’d left South Carolina after graduation and moved to Boston for law school. I’d applied to a few part-time jobs and nearly fell over when I was hired at a retail store and the manager told me the starting pay was $10.00/hr. It took everything I had to contain my excitement.

I floated the entire way back to my apartment. “Finally! I was rich!” I thought. I’d also gotten rid of my car when I moved to Boston since I could walk everywhere or take the subway. Without the added expense of a car and gas, and now the bigger paycheck I thought, “All my financial troubles are OVER!” and let out a sigh of relief.

Except they weren’t. $10.00/hr. didn’t cut it. It only took a few weeks for that euphoria to wear off and for me to realize I was just as broke as I ever was. I was still struggling to pay my bills — maybe even more so than ever before because city life was all kinds of expensive. I was falling deeper and deeper into debt, forced to put things like groceries on my credit cards so I could eat.

Meanwhile, I’d made friends with a classmate who was a paralegal, going to law school at night. She made $12.00/hr. I was insanely jealous. I kept thinking how much better my life would be if I made $12.00/hr. I thought, “My life would be so much easier!” All my financial problems would be solved!

So I started looking for paralegal work (I thought, “heck, if nothing else, it would be great for my budding lawyer resume!”) and about 6 months later, I finally found a position that paid $12.00/hr. I was over the moon. Not only would I get great hands-on experience, all my financial problems would be over!

And for a short while, they were.  I seemed to be able to pay my bills with more ease. Come payday, my bank account wasn’t negative. I was living more comfortably, until one day, I wasn’t anymore.

By the time graduation came 2.5 years later, I’d found myself right back where I’d started. I was struggling. Only now, I was also married, so we were both struggling.

There had been some setbacks, true — but nothing substantial. Scott had moved to Boston so we could be together (rather than in an ongoing, long-distance relationship) and it took a few months for him to find work, so we had fallen a little in debt, but things had greatly improved once he had a paycheck.

Our landlord had also raised the rent when Scott moved in, as he was entitled to do, but the raise was barely 10%. The wedding had cost us some money, true, but we it was modest and humble (we only spend about $2,000-$3,000 total), and so forth. In those two years, I’d also received two raises and was making $13.50/hr. by graduation. The most I’d ever made! Yet I was constantly checking the couch for change to cough up subway fare. I was so broke, and I couldn’t stand it.

I can vividly remember having a meltdown saying to Scott, “I’m married. I’m 25. I’m a lawyer. I’m tired of living like a broke college student! I lived better in college!”

I pressured Scott to look for another job that paid better. Meanwhile, I too looked for a job that paid better and I hit the jackpot! I found a clerk job that paid $15.00/hr. Around the same time, Scott also found a better paying job. Our lives were finally going to change! Our money troubles were over!

And for a little while, they were. Then my student loans kicked in.

I was in the worst financial state of my life. The struggles I had in college seemed like bliss in comparison.

I was making about $563 a week before taxes — about $2,250 a month before taxes. My student loans? They were about $1,750 a month. There was literally no money left over to live on. I was totally dependent on my husband, except Scott didn’t make nearly enough to cover all our bills and expenses. We were drowning in debt.

We considered moving to a less expensive place — we knew Boston was expensive, but it quickly became apparent that if we moved somewhere cheaper — to another city, etc. our wages would severely drop, too, but my student loans would not.

So Scott and I kept looking for better paying jobs, and when Boston didn’t have any, we looked at other cities (bigger city, bigger paycheck) and found our way to Los Angeles (the first time). I was hired at $18.00/hour. We also found a cheaper apartment.

Little by little, we got control over finances and things started improving. 

After I passed the bar exam and I was officially an attorney, I was bumped up to $20.00/hr., then $22.00/hr. a few months after that, and finally my highest pay ever: $24.00/hr. Despite the big paycheck, it wasn’t easy. The loans still ate me alive, but we were finally living better than how I lived in college.

Though, I couldn’t help but think, if I only made $26.00/hr., my life would be so much better!

Then reality hit us hard again. I was laid off and Scott’s work was laying people off in droves. We knew he was going to be in the next wave. What were we going to do? 

We left LA and moved to New York City since one of Scott’s friend’s worked at a company there and felt pretty confident he could get Scott a job. (He did).

But our problems were hardly solved: Scott’s salary in NYC was lower than what he’d made in LA and the cost of living in NYC was much, much higher than LA too. Plus, I was unemployed. It didn’t look good.

And that’s when we became minimalists. It was forced on us, but forever changed our lives.

We moved into an impossibly small studio apartment — too small for a couple and 2 dogs, but we made it work. We only had room for our bed, couch, a bookshelf that acted as a privacy wall, a 2-seater table, and a small computer desk. Our personal belongings and clothes were also drastically reduced since everything had to fit in one small closet plus a wardrobe. 


Here’s the apartment. 

[Editorial note: Looking back at old photos, I think we could have gotten by with even less, but that's the beauty of a journey: continual progress. Hindsight reminds us there is always room for improvement!]

Here’s the kitchen I wrote HHC in!!

We also pinched every penny. We scraped and scraped and scraped some more. Meanwhile, I’d decided to give up my lawyer life and focus instead on Happy Herbivore. I started freelancing to help pay the bills (aka, my student loans) and went back to making a little less than $10.00/hr.

Yet we were getting control of our finances. We were chipping away at debt. Despite having such a drastically reduced income, and fewer material possessions, we were much happier and oddly, more financially sound.  

Of course, when I was talking to TJ, I didn’t go into this much detail. Instead I said, 

“You know, when I was 20, and making $8/hr., I kept thinking my life would be so much better if I made $10/hr. Then I made $10/hr. and kept thinking my life would be so much better if I made $12/hr. Then I made $12/hr. and so on … all the way up to $20/hr., and nothing ever changed. In 10 years, and doubling my salary, nothing! I was still in that state of financial stress. I kept chasing that next promotion, raise, better paying job, but it never got better until I went minimalist and realized what the real problem was — and that it wasn’t my paycheck.”

TJ’s assistant was nodding along the entire time I was talking and when I finished he said, “Yes. It’s because you were increasing your lifestyle along with your pay increase.”

I said, “You are exactly right. I was upgrading my lifestyle with my paycheck, thereby keeping myself in the exact same position.”

As I realized in that small apartment in New York, with every “promotion” in pay, I should have kept living my previous lifestyle. Even though I was making $10/hr., I should have acted and lived like I was still making only $8/hr. THEN I’d have found that financial freedom I so desperately sought.

More money, more problems.

The solution for me was to live with less. I had a smaller apartment, a smaller paycheck, less “things” and more happiness. (And less debt! And less financial stress!)

It is a daily struggle for me not to revert back to my old lifestyle, I freely admit that. Now that Scott and I are finally out of debt — at least personal debt (my law school loans aren’t going anywhere), and I’m making more money than I did in New York a few years ago, we have “extra” income, and that “extra” income makes me want to “upgrade.” 

I’m not saying I never splurge or treat myself — I do. We go out to eat with friends. We buy ourselves new things when we want them, but with so much more awareness. 

It wasn’t as if Scott or I landed a new job, or a promotion, and said “Okay, let’s go get a bigger apartment.” or “More money! Let’s go out to eat more.” Instead, it just happened. The lifestyle increased, seemingly unknowingly with the pay. 

We could afford to eat out more, so we did, then we developed a new expensive habit in our lifestyle. We could afford TV, so we got one. Then we could afford HBO, so we ordered it.

It can happen to anyone. It’s not a lack of willpower or a sign of weakness. We live in a consumerism society — keyword: Consume. We are told all day, every day, that bigger is better, that whatever we have is not enough. We’re faced with the message that we need more, should seek more, that we should strive for more, at every turn.

It takes a lot to rage against this. I still fight it. My hope is in sharing my realization — and my journey, that you can find a little more relief, too.

LESS.

IS.

MORE.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 2nd, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Menstrual Cycle, Sugar, and Flour)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: I
have heard that when switching to a plant-based diet, your menstrual
cycle can change for a period of time while your body is adjusting to
the hormones in your body re-regulating themselves.  Do you know
anything about this?  I have been plant-based for 10 months now and only
get my period once every couple of months.

A: I’ve never heard this, but I’m not a doctor. I don’t see
how or why a diet change would affect your hormones or affect a woman’s
menstrual cycle, but again, I’m not a doctor.

Not
having a period is a big deal though, so if it continues (and you’re
sure you’re not pregnant) I’d contact your OBGYN for an exam. Amenorrhea
may be something that is unrelated to diet, and it can be serious. Check out this article too.

Q: Raw
and vegan sugar is so much more expensive than regular sugar. Please
explain that added benefit so I feel better when I’m buying it. 

A: White sugar is highly processed and
contains bleach and other chemicals, raw sugar does not — and actually
offers some nutrition. If you’re am ethical (animal rights) vegan, white
sugar is not suitable because bone char is used. 

Q: I need a flour and
sugar lesson and I bet others do too. I have regular flour, whole-wheat
flour, ww pastry flour, white ww flour, chickpea flour, and on and
on…could you explain (generally speaking) which flour is good for
what? Maybe what can be substituted for what? 

A: See this post, “Baking 911,” and these posts for more specifics:

Here’s a post about flour, and part 2 is about gluten-free flours (like chickpea flour).

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

March 1st, 2013

Happy Herbivore Buttons & Stickers are Here! Order now!

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At long last, we finally have some Happy Herbivore Swag for you!

We now have Happy Herbivore Stickers and Happy Herbivore Buttons.

You can purchase the stickers and buttons in our store

Order 10 stickers for $10 ($1 each), or 4 buttons for $10 ($2.50 each).

Unfortunately, it’s too burdensome (and not eco-friendly) for me to mail just one button or just one sticker, which is why we’re selling them in bulk :) Buy some for you and your friends! 

Maybe the super cute button or sticker will entice them to eat more plant-based meals! 

The proceeds will go to the maintenance and support of this free website and help fund some future projects like new cooking videos or a phone app!

We’re also looking into having T-shirts made and those will hopefully be available for pre-order in the next few weeks! Keep your eyes peeled!

By the way, we’re also having a blowout sale with my cookbooks — signed copies are $20 each with shipping included (domestic) while supplies last! 

Buy a signed copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad. (NEW!)

Buy a signed copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore.

Buy a signed copy of The Happy Herbivore Cookbook.

Thanks for supporting Happy Herbivore! I greatly appreciate it! 

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 28th, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Ami

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For those of you who follow Engine 2, you may already be familiar with our Herbie of the Week: Ami. A coach for Engine 2 Extra, Ami, a former low-carber turned dairy-loving vegetarian, finally found health with a plant-based diet. Her cholesterol is in check, she lost over 40 lbs. and her hubby has lost over 70 lbs. too!

HH
: You initially found your way to a vegetarian diet thanks to your husband. Can you tell us a little more about that?

When I met my husband in 2009, he had been a vegetarian for 5 years. He was also an amazing cook, so I tried being vegetarian. We even had a vegetarian wedding reception complete with vegan cupcakes at our wedding.

HH: What was your health and diet like before you met your husband?

Prior to meeting my husband, I was a low-carber trying desperately to maintain an 87-pound weight loss for the past three years. Attempting to maintain my weight was really tough. I gained back half the weight I had lost before we even met. I had weighed 210 pounds back in 2004. Weight had always been an issue for me. My cholesterol was 242.

HH: Speaking about being misinformed — I find a lot of people assume a vegetarian diet is automatically healthy, but that’s not always the case. We’ve had a number of Herbies of the Week who were vegetarian, or vegan, but were still overweight, sick, etc. because they were not eating whole foods or plant-based… they weren’t keeping the “veg” in vegan or vegetarian, as I say. What kind of vegetarian diet did you eat?

We loved to eat! We ate a lot of dairy and high-fat foods.  

HH: Eventually, you switched to a whole foods, plant-based diet — nixing the dairy and high fat foods. What spawned your dietary change?

Our busy lives, stress, career changes for both of us, and everyday life began to take a toll on our health. Our clothes didn’t fit. We had to do something. I bought Brendan Brazier’s book – Thrive. I read it cover to cover and attempted a couple of recipes.  Then it sat collecting dust. I wasn’t ready.  

The following year, we tried Dr. Barnard’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart.  It worked, but we fell off the wagon in Chicago.  Foiled by Gino’s East Pizza!

At my annual check up my Cholesterol scores were: 229 – TRI: 177, HDL: 52, LDL: 142

During that time, I had purchased Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease.  I read it cover to cover, made a couple of recipes and then…well…same old story… Dr. Esselstyn sat on the bookshelf next to Brendan Brazier, shaking his head in disappointment.  

Spring came last year, and found us at our heaviest in years.  That’s when I bought The Happy Herbivore Cookbook.  I remarked to my husband, Bill, that this…this I can do! I can eat this way and be happy!  I’m a sucker for cookbooks with photos!

Everything looked amazing and it was just the push I needed.  I bought The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn shortly there after.  I was building a compendium of information and recipes to sustain us.  I was trying to figure out how to commit to being whole foods, plant-based.  How do I give up my beloved plain yogurt? A few months later, I stumbled upon Forks Over Knives on Netflix. That’s it. Yes!!!

WE ARE DOING IT! December 27, 2011, we got down to business.  Several false starts, excuses, and laziness prevented us from getting started earlier.  As we had the tools all along. Sitting there collecting dust and waiting for us to get smart and get busy.

HH: Did you gradually cut out the dairy, etc. or did you jump straight in?  

We jumped in, cold turkey, we got our behinds to the gym, found fitness that is fun for us, learned a lot about ingredients and what we are really capable of accomplishing.  I love being a recipe scientist! Constructing meals that we truly enjoy, that nurture us.  I attended the Farms2Forks Immersion Weekend in Austin, TX to learn even more about how we could thrive. I learned so much from the Farms2Forks team over the course of the weekend.  I came home rejuvenated and focused on making this change a permanent one and helping others to do so as well as a plant-based food coach.

HH: So for you, this hasn’t just been about your personal weight-loss and health, it has also changed your career and life! Amazing!! But we have to ask  — tell us about the weight loss and other benefits you’ve experienced!
 
I have lost 45 pounds, so many inches, gained a bunch of muscle, but most of all, I gained the empowerment of knowing I can sustain this lifestyle. My cholesterol score after 6 months of plant-based living: 139 – TRI: 91, HDL: 40, LDL: 81. Almost a 50% reduction! I take no meds and feel amazing!

I LOVE being whole foods plant-based.  It has made a tremendous difference in my health, my energy level, my relationship with food.  My husband’s too! He’s lost 73 pounds as well.  

HH: With your weight in check and feeling so good, what are your goals and focuses now?

I am focused now on continuing to improve my fitness level with strength training, running, swimming, and yoga. My whole life has improved since making this change. I’ve been certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation/eCornell.  I have also become a Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I am part of the Engine 2 Extra team, helping others on a daily basis with their plant-based journey.  

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 27th, 2013

Chocolate Expresso Quinoa Pudding, Bean & Barley Stew, Plus MORE!

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OMG Chocolate Expresso Quinoa Pudding!!!! You have to try it! Also featuring two other ALL NEW recipes: Bean & Barley Stew (family) and Kale & Vegetable Soup (both plans), plus many fan favorites are back: Stove-Top Chili Mac is back! plus Banana Split Overnight Oats, NACHOS!!!, Peanut Butter Quinoa… yum yum YUM!

Individual  Highlights

  • Chocolate Expresso Quinoa Pudding (NEW!)
  • Creamy Chipotle Corn Soup
  • Nachos
  • Easy Enchilada Bake
  • 5-Ingredient Tacos
  • Peanut Butter Quinoa
  • African Kale & Sweet Potato Soup
  • Fiesta Bowl
  • Kale & Vegetable Soup (NEW!)
  • Blueberry Parfaits
  • BBQ Chickpea Salad (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights

  • Chocolate Expresso Quinoa Pudding (NEW!)
  • Chickpea Chili
  • Easy Enchilada Bake
  • Mediterranean Stuffed Pita
  • Pineapple Crisp
  • Kale & Vegetable Soup (NEW!)
  • Two Bean Tacos
  • Bean & Barley Stew (NEW!)
  • Blueberry Bliss Oatmeal
  • Stove-Top Chili Mac

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials

I can’t recommend the meal plans enough. I’ve been following them for 5 weeks and have lost 20 pounds.” – Michelle D.

It was great!  I couldn’t believe how much food each meal made.  I don’t
think I’ve eaten that much food in one day ever…and healthy! I love
it!
” – Tonya

Get the current meal plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 26th, 2013

Ever struggle staying plant-based/vegan? Here’s how to overcome the struggle.

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So often I get emails like this one:

I just need to talk to other Herbies. Some days, I just really struggle with being vegan. I hate that I do. I’ve been Herbie since July 2011. I know it’s better for me, and I do feel great eating this way, but yesterday was just hard and I ate some chicken and I felt disgusted after doing so and like I had failed. I did it at lunch. For dinner, I got right back and made the Black Bean Burger, which I love. I just wish I didn’t have those moments where I struggle and, worst yet, end up giving in and then feel terrible for it.”

Dr . Lisle, author of The Pleasure Trap wrote a great article, “Does Willpower Hold the Key to Your Success?

Most of us are the only “Herbie” in our family or friends circle, which is why I advocate finding a buddy online. Happy Herbivore’s Facebook page is a great community you can be a part of. 

Some of my closest friends I met online through Facebook and Twitter. You can also look for veg societies and meetups in your area. 

Tips for overcoming the struggle:

1. Plan ahead — always be prepared. Scope out restaurants in advance. Pack a meal to take with you. Communicate your dietary needs to a host. (Try our meal plans!)

2. Take it a meal at a time. Don’t worry about Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas — or some other far-off event. Focus on your next meal. 

3. Know your motivation. Keep a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing. I am never tempted because I no longer see animal products as “food” — I see them only as poison. 

4. Make a friend (even if it’s online).

5. Progress, not perfection!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 25th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Jen’s Minimalist Journey

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I love hearing about your personal journeys toward minimalism, and
today I’m thrilled to share Jen’s journey and hope you draw some
inspiration from her!

“A little background about me: I have been married for eight years and
my husband Mike and I just purchased a home recently. After three
apartments and too many moves, we started to lighten the load of stuff
that we had before and after marriage.

Time is always crunched for us. I work 40 hours a week, and Mike works
an opposite schedule from mine, so we only have a short time together
before he has to dash off to work. It can be difficult to sit down and
sort stuff.

We each come from different backgrounds. Mike grew up in a household
where things were stacked floor to ceiling in boxes kept in the
garage, as well as in certain parts of his parents’ home.

I grew up on a farm with parents of limited means. My mother always
tried to be organized. She got by with less, not more. She would
gather up clothes that no longer fit growing farm kids and pass them
on to others. Families in the community did the same.

With this frugal background, I learned the value of hard work and
making what money I did have count.

My husband and I paid off all our debts before we purchased our home.
We agreed to go on a money diet, limiting eating out, going to the
movies, and other splurges that add up. We agreed not to make any
purchases other than necessary things like food, gas, rent, and a few
other bills.

We drove a lot less, and we agreed to a weekly allowance of $20.00 per
person to spend, no questions asked. We paid off two car loans, all
the credit cards, my husband’s student loan, and that left us just my
student loan to pay, which is almost done.

We had a set budget for everything and we still manage to stick to it
fairly well. We even put some savings away for the future.

There were some unexpected things like unplanned car repairs that
slowed us down, but my husband rode the bus to work for six months
until we had enough for the repairs. I dropped him off at work if he
didn’t have to go in before I got off from work.

We bought a smaller, older home that was partially remodeled by the
previous owner. We wanted to live within our means in this difficult
and unsure economic climate.  Since we know too many people in the
Pacific Northwest without employment, Mike and I agreed it would be
good to be prepared for anything.

At first, our house organization and the clutter felt like a huge,
daunting task, but we started out small. We did sell some things that
we had, plus we donated stuff we no longer needed to Goodwill.

Next year, we plan to grow our own organic garden. One of the goals is
to get a greenhouse in the future so we can grow year-round.”

Thanks for sharing your story, Jen! Herbies, what are your goals on your minimalist journeys?

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 24th, 2013

Herbie Business: Joanna — Plus Your Chance to Win $50 for Cute Clothing and Accessories!

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Giveaway time! To enter to win a $50 store credit to Lovenell, comment below with what your favorite article of clothing is. This is open to U.S. residents only.

1. Tell us a little bit about your business.

My husband, Jon, and I recently started an online boutique for Juniors’ and Ladies’ Clothing called Lovenell. Our mission is that we are an “honest boutique,” which means that we sell the same clothing that you see in other boutiques, but literally at a fraction of the price. You may see a lot of boutiques initially price their products high, only to later mark these items on sale. We feel that being honest from the beginning is the best policy. 

2. How did you get into the clothing business?

We have family with connections that helped us in the wholesale arena and set up contracts with well-known suppliers and distributors.

3. What motivated you to open a boutique?

This all stems from my own experience and not wanting to spend a lot on clothing, but still liking the feeling of having something new. I’m quite the frugal shopper and I love seeing sales. With that, it is almost frustrating when you miss a great sale. Jon and I came up with the concept of starting with a fair price point and after asking around, people seemed to love the idea.   

4. Is this a full-time gig, or something you do on the side? a hobby?

We both run this business on the side (Jon is a business student and I work in healthcare) and although it has been stressful at times and quite a bit of work, we really love it.

5. How long have you been a member of the HH community?

Joanna: Vegetarian for 4 years, Vegan for 2 years, and HH member for 2 years.

Jon: Vegan and HH member for 2 years. 

6. What advice do you have for anyone interested in pursuing their dreams of opening a boutique or selling clothing?

Lots of research and becoming familiar with your market and your customer, as with any business! Also ensuring that the clothing you are selling is quality clothing.

7. What is the most rewarding part of your business/work?

While I love healthcare and helping people, opening this boutique has been such a breath of fresh air, because I absolutely love the work and the detail that it entails. I really love that, especially in the economy that we are in, we can be “honest” with our prices by keeping overhead expenses low — which in turn, still helps ladies feel good about themselves. We handpick each item to ensure the quality of the piece and like I said, we really love it.

8. What is the most challenging aspect?

A lot of online boutiques are able to spend quite a bit of money on marketing, but they also drastically mark their clothing up in price. So the most challenging part is keeping our prices low, but still finding creative ways to market our business.

9. Does your business directly relate to your Herbie lifestyle?

It does not directly relate to our Herbie lifestyle per se, but I feel that being health conscientious and compassionate for the lives of animals ultimately plays a role in your entire life and the person that you become when you make a lifestyle decision like this. Your kindness and caring for the health and well-being of others (both human and animal) becomes portrayed in every aspect of your life.

10. Anything else you’d like to add or share?

We are so happy that Lindsay and Happy Herbivore are doing this small business spotlight (refer to our biggest challenge in #8). We personally always try and support small businesses, as well as vegan-owned businesses and we are so incredibly thrilled to receive support ourselves. Jon and I actually have a “future Herbie” bun-in-the-oven, so we are excited to start not only our online clothing boutique journey, but a brand new journey in life as well, and we truly appreciate the support.

Update 2/19 — We had our “bun in the oven” that I wrote about! (I had a 100% vegan pregnancy that physicians surprisingly commended!)

Be sure to check out their site, Lovenell Clothing.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 23rd, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Weight Loss, Gluten-Free, Cereals, Hens)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: I
switched to a soy-free, gluten-free, plant-based diet about a month ago,
and have gained quite a bit of weight. Do you know why this might be?
(Do you have any tips?)

A:
It’s hard for me to guess without seeing some kind of food journal to
know exactly what you are eating — and how much. In most cases, I find
people are 1) eating too many calories overall, 2) eating too many high-fat and calorie-dense foods, and 3) are drinking calories — coffee,
tea, soda, smoothies, juice, alcohol. 

If you need to lose weight, I can’t recommend the meal plans enough. We have so many great weight-loss success stories. The meal plans are also soy-free and gluten-free.

You can also check out this post for additional information and advice: “Engine 2: Stuck In A Rut.”

Q: Which of your books has the most gluten free recipes?

A: I’d say they’re all about the same — 85% or more
gluten-free. The ones that aren’t automatically GF can be made GF with
simple substitutions (like using gluten-free all purpose flour). I have 4
GF testers, and I don’t put any recipe in my cookbook that doesn’t
translate. There is also a recipe for GF all-purpose flour in EHH and HHA. All three books have a “gluten-free” icon to designate GF recipes.

Q: Hi!  Do you have to add oats to the black bean brownies?  I am gluten intolerant.

A: Yes, but you can use certified gluten-free oats, such as these from Bob’s Red Mill. You can pulse rolled oats in the food processor or blender to make “quick” oats.

Q: I’ve
always wondered why you don’t do (healthy, whole grain of course) boxed
cereals for breakfast, or whole grain breads/bagels/English muffins? I
never see these on your meal plans.

A: I (personally) don’t consider cereals healthy
because they are so processed. Even 100% whole grain ones are processed — just think about what a grain must go through to get in a weird
cereal shape. It’s also nearly impossible to find whole-grain cereals
that are also unsweetened , and the meal plans are designed so people
can buy what they need at any store — not have to make a special trip,
or spend $5 on a box of cereal. Cereal is just not an easy or
affordable option — or as healthy as oats, quinoa, etc. 

We
do use whole-wheat bread and bagels on occasion, but not English
muffins since I’ve never been able to find 100% whole-wheat, oil-free,
vegan English muffins — even in large cities like New York and Los
Angeles. I assume if I can’t find it in a big city, most other people
can’t find it at all. We try to make sure the meal plans will work for
everyone, even those in small cities or towns. 

And
although whole-wheat breads, etc. are better than white, they’re also
still more processed that oatmeal or quinoa, and not as filling, so
that’s another reason why we try to stick to grains. 

For more information, see this post: “Caloric Density.”

Q: I’m just wondering if you have any recommendations for eating out — for those times that you forgot to make lunch or didn’t get up early
enough in the morning to make one. 

A: There are about a dozen blog posts on this — click the “Travel” button or try the search bar.

Q: We have five hens that free range 100 percent on twenty acres and
come in at night on their own, and I shut the area for safety — I have
felt ethically it is reasonable to eat their eggs; however, health-wise, I
am wondering after watching Forks Over Knives.

A: Eggs
contain cholesterol, which is harmful to the heart. All dietary
cholesterol (meaning cholesterol you eat) is harmful. It only exists in
animal foods. 

The takeaway from FOK is simple: only eat plant foods. It doesn’t matter how the goat/chicken/cow lived, died, what it ate, etc. — the proteins and cholesterol are the problem.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 22nd, 2013

Easy Caribbean Black Beans & “Plantains” Recipe

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Here’s an island-flavored twist on the Skillet Refried Beans in Everyday Happy Herbivore

Black beans & plantains are a common pairing in Caribbean cuisine, but I know how hard plantains are to find — and then they take eons to ripen. Anyway, I’m using bananas as a cheater approach — and trust me, it’s good. 

Bananas are one of my favorite “surprise” ingredients — check out the Red Red Stew in EHH too and see what I mean. Nom! 

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 21st, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Gina

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Back in November, Gina posted this beautiful picture of herself on Happy Herbivore’s wall with the following caption:

“This
time last year, I was telling everyone how thankful I was to have found
you; I’d lost 30 lbs. cooking from your cookbooks and blog. Now, a year
later, I can say I’m over 130 lbs. lost, due to your methods of
cooking delicious food easily and quickly (and especially the meal
plans!)! Thank you doesn’t seem like enough. Here I am in my kitchen
with your newest book, which was an early Christmas gift from my mom! :)
And there’s a recipe for gluten-free, vegan crepes…it really does
feel like Christmas!!! I am one Happy Herbivore!”

As
soon as I reposted the pic and quote — Gina was a sensation. Hundreds
upon hundreds of Herbies congratulated her and thanked her for being an
inspiration. Of course, I knew I had to show her off as Herbie of the
Week.

HH:
Most of our Herbies of the Week go from your more typical American diet
to a plant-based diet but you — you were vegan. Tell us a little about
that.

I stopped eating meat when I was 13,
for ethical reasons, and became vegan shortly after, at 19 (after
reading John Robbins’ Diet for a New America). That
said, I was not a healthy vegan. I gave up meat, but never really got
how to “balance” meals and make them healthy; I ended up living
on “side dishes” and if I went out to eat with friends? French
fries. Soda. Pasta if I was “lucky.” Bread. So, unlike almost
everyone else who goes vegan, I gained
weight. A LOT of weight. I never felt like I was a “good”
representative of the vegan lifestyle, and for many of my friends,
I’m the only vegan they know. Why would anyone else want to follow in
my footsteps, when I looked like I did?

HH: Other than the weight, did you have any other health issues? 

I had many other “issues” in regards to my health. I had lots of GI
problems, and this persistent rash on my fingers that blistered and
caused them to crack and become very painful.

HH: So how did you find your way to a plant-based diet? 

It was only in
researching this skin issue on the internet (after having gone to a
dermatologist, being diagnosed with eczema, handed steroid creams, and being told there was
nothing more that could be done except treat it topically), that I stumbled
on a site on that showed something that looked
remarkably like my rash but called it ”dermatitis herpetiformis.”

Further, the website claimed it was a hallmark of Celiac disease.
What?!? I couldn’t possibly be allergic to wheat. I live on
wheat products. I’m vegan! 

I
read the list of symptoms and had many of them. I figured
I had nothing to lose by trying to give up wheat for a while, to see
if anything changed. I don’t think it took more than a week for the rash on my
fingers to disappear. I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t have
it, and it was gone. That alone changed everything.

HH: How so?

I made the
decision to return to college and finish my degree. As you
can imagine, I became incredibly busy and often missed lunch. (I do
not recommend doing that, but it happens.) I figured if breakfast was
the only meal I’d until dinner, I’d better make sure breakfast was
something better than a plate of
tater tots (Tater tots are vegan and gluten-free!). I started Googling
for recipes that were both vegan and gluten-free, and I came across
Happy Herbivore. 

Some of the first recipes I
cooked were from the website, and they’re still the ones I recommend
to people who are looking to try out plant-based eating: Hippie Loaf,
Quiche with Greens, even the Dirty Mashed Potatoes. Because serving sizes were something that always
challenged me, too, I loved how Happy Herbivore spelled everything out so easily.
I made the recipes, and portioned them out into containers in the
fridge so my meals were set to be
heated up and eaten in a hurry. 

Then I
bought your cookbooks and found many, many more new favorite
recipes. I think I own literally every vegan cookbook on the market,
and they all end up gathering dust on my bookshelf, mainly because
the recipes are incredibly complicated. But
HH recipes are different. Amazing. Delicious, simple, easy, fast,
and healthy. (LEAF!) My M.O. Became this: cook on Sunday, fill the
refrigerator, eat from the already-portioned out containers all week
long. 

HH: Aww, you are too kind! So when did the weight loss start happening?

Before I even knew it, my jeans were getting looser. Then I
needed a belt. Then I needed a smaller belt. I dared to step on the
scale and was amazed at how much I’d lost. I gave myself a goal, and
declared that, when I reached it, I’d start exercising. I met the
number just as last summer began and started walking every day. I
felt like I’d come out of a fog. I never knew how sick I was, until I
wasn’t.

Somewhere
in there, you started issuing meal plans every week. I started buying
them, even though I had the cookbooks, because these were portioned
out to mainly single-servings, or two servings. I don’t have to do
math anymore. You even include GF alternatives for me. I don’t even
have to think! I just buy what’s on the list, and make the meals, and
I’m still losing. As I’m typing this. I’ve lost 133 lbs., and I’m
only about 10 lbs. from what I think is my end goal.


If someone had
told me, even a year ago, that I would be buying jeans in a SIZE 4,  I
would have laughed — but that totally just happened
. And it would
never, ever have happened on my own, without you! You have honestly
changed my entire way of life. I can now say I AM a good example of a
vegan. I post pictures of the meals I cook, and, in fact, many of my
friends are asking about what I’m doing. (I always direct them right
to you!)

HH: Anything else you’d like to add?

I
hope you know what a huge difference what you do makes in the lives of
others. You have literally changed my life! (And now, you have given me
crepes and anise cookies and so many other new things I cannot WAIT to
try.) THANK YOU!!!

HH: No thank YOU, Gina, for sharing your story and being such an inspiration to all of us!

Update 2/18: “I’m now in size 2 pants, where I think I was in size 4 at the beginning of the year! ;)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 20th, 2013

Leek & Potato Soup, Chickpea Gravy Bowl Plus Easy Fan Faves!

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New recipes this week: Leek & Potato Soup (individual), Chickpea Gravy Bowl (both plans), and Spicy Black Bean & Corn Wrap (both plans). PLUS tons of fan faves that YOU keep requesting such as Chocolate Shake, Pecan Sweet Potato Bake, Hippie Loaf, Pineapple Quinoa Salad, and so many more easy “weeknight” recipes!

Individual Highlights

  • Double Chocolate Muffin (single serving!)
  • Hippie Loaf
  • Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal
  • Leek & Potato Soup (NEW!)
  • BBQ Rice & Veg
  • Pecan Sweet Potato Bake
  • Chickpea Gravy Bowl (NEW!)
  • Chocolate Shake
  • Spicy Black Bean & Potato Bowl
  • Vegetable Pad Thai 
  • 3-Ingredient Vegetable Soup
  • Spicy Black Bean & Corn Wrap (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Family Highlights

  • Chips & Chili Bowl (kids love it!)
  • Chocolate Shake
  • Thai Peanut Bowl
  • Chickpea Gravy Bowl (NEW!)
  • Beans & Rice Burritos (perfect for lunch boxes!)
  • Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal
  • Soft Shell Chickpea Tacos
  • Spicy Black Bean & Corn Wrap (NEW!)
  • Hippie Loaf
  • Pineapple Quinoa Salad 
  • Make-Your-Own-Personal-Pizza

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials

I don’t have that overwhelmed feeling of standing with the refrigerator door open, just starring, wondering what to do for dinner. I can’t tell you what a stress reliever that is!” — Kristy

“After being almost vegan for 2 years, your meal plan is exactly what my boyfriend and I needed. We are looking forward to staying within budget and creating exciting new recipes.” — Megan R.

Get the current plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 19th, 2013

Response to Naysayers (How to Deal With Negativity About Your Diet)

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It’s unfortunate, but most of us will come into contact with a “naysayer” when we switch to a plant-based diet. If that never happened to
you, you are very lucky (and we’re all jealous) but chances are you’ve
experienced a naysayer, or you will at some point in your life.

Before I talk about ways to respond and deal with naysayers, there are two things you need to know (and keep in mind).

1.
If someone is attacking you (and this is true for anything — not just
when it’s about diet/food), it’s never about the person attacked, but
the attacker. 

You are a mirror. When people act hostile and are
confrontational about your diet, it’s because your mere existence makes
them reflect back on themselves and they don’t like what they see. They
then attack you to make themselves feel better. 

(For further reading, see my post: “The Secret to Handling Confrontation and Dealing with Negativity“)

2. Every time someone asks you a question — even the
utmost annoying “where do you get your protein?” — remember that they are
presenting you with an opportunity to plant a seed and spark a curiosity. You’ve got their undivided attention. Use it wisely.

That said, here’s how to respond to naysayers. I asked the Herbies on Facebook, “How did you deal with the naysayers in your life when transitioning to a plant-based diet?”

And here is their advice! My favorite, above all, is what Sue said:

“Don’t argue your lifestyle. Live your lifestyle. The changes in you will be argument enough and you won’t even have to open your mouth.”

“Smile on the inside while thinking
about all the health and emotional benefits I will receive from a
plant-based diet.” — Hannah

“Learn to ignore
them. Defending my choices and actions weren’t worth it. Some people are
set in their ways. I guess ignorance is bliss.” — Melanie

“I show them the facts….and the truth… if they don’t like it or
don’t believe it, that’s their problem and I ignore the ignorance.” — Teresa

“Actions speak louder than words; the results speak for themselves.” — Dana

“I loved the Nay-Sayers because they are what
kept me going in the beginning. All of the “you won’t stick with it” made me all the more determined to do it. And when I was tempted to
cheat, I just thought of them and how much I wanted them to be wrong.
Now, I’m strong on my own, but they will never know how much they helped
me.”
 — Kay

“Ignore them. They normally just feel threatened and
that’s why they need to challenge you. The more you engage in rationale
or reasoning, the more fuel you give them to be combative.” — Patricia

“I say, ‘Thank you for your concern. My doctor says it’s okay, and actually, better.’” — Monica

“I tend to question them about their diet the way they question me. Makes them realize their diet sucks.” — Katine 

[Editorial note: Lindsay likes to ask people where
they get their fiber, when they ask her where she gets her protein in a
nasty way].

“I just compassionately stand my
ground and play the, “I do not wish to add to the suffering in this
world, the suffering felt by, especially, farm factory animals.” — CA S.

“I make them something to eat. And then they quiet down.” — Val 

“Naysayers shut up after a while when they realize you REALLY ARE enjoying
your food and if you make a point not to criticize theirs. Food is a
personal choice. If you don’t make it a big issue, they usually won’t.” — Joy

“I tell them “well I’ve lost 50 lbs., cured some
chronic medical conditions, look better than I ever have in my life, and
I’m at peace with the food choices I make. Seems to be working pretty
well for me… how’s that calorie restriction diet working out for you?” — Kelly

“The only people who have a problem with it are those who are defensive and unsure of their own choices.”  — Sarah 

“I say, “Do I LOOK like I’m starving?” -—Laura 

“Take advantage of every educational opportunity:
if they ask, I tell, spill the beans. Some others, I just kept my mouth
shut.”
 — Raquel

“I just advise they get
a blood test and the results and then TRY plant-based for 6-8 weeks and
get another blood test. Kinda says it all.” — Elise

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 18th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Do A Random Act of Kindness Today

Written by admin

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Recently, I complimented a stranger on an outfit she was wearing. It was as simple as “I just wanted to say how much I love your dress.” The stranger practically broke into tears and said, “Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today.” 

It made me think back to an experience I had about a year ago when I’d told a cashier to “Have a nice day,” as I always try to do, and that person thanked me, saying they too really needed to hear it.

Then I remembered the time my sister went to pay for a coffee only to find out the person in front of hers had already paid for it — or the time a friend of mine handed a toll clerk $20, asking them cover everyone’s toll fee behind them.

It’s amazing how profound these little acts of kindness can be. You could turn someone’s day around. You have that power.

Think about how awesome you felt as a kid to find $1 on the street.

So this Minimalist Monday — do one random act of kindness. Pay for a stranger’s coffee, give a compliment, tell a cashier to have a nice day. If you get good service at a restaurant, ask to speak to the manager and compliment that server. Fill out a customer card complimenting someone who helped you in a retail store, and so on.

Imagine the impact we could all have if we each did something nice today. It can be small — perfectly minimalist. 

Related Post: Minimalist Monday: Random Acts of Kindness

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 17th, 2013

Get The Community Involved! (How to Host a Plant-Based Potluck!)

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After our Start Your Own Community Potluck post aired, several Herbies wrote in asking for more details on the “how to.” Having not done one myself (I know! The shame!), I started thinking about suggestions and advice when Kelita emailed me saved the day! 

A few days after my potluck post, Kelita told me about a recent plant-based potluck at her church. Her experiences answered many of the questions I and other Herbies had about potlucks in general, so I asked if I could share her email on the blog. Thankfully, Kelita agreed! I hope you find some inspiration from her and the Rock Family Worship Center in Parkersburg, WV.

By the way, if you don’t belong to a church, etc., consider working with a veg society in your area or even with the local health food store. When I was in Colorado, I also attended a function at my library. The library had a cookbook club and one month they did vegan and vegetarian cookbooks — it was a lot of fun and everyone brought a dish. There are great ways to create events. If nothing else, have some friends over and as time goes on, ask them to bring a friend!

———————————————

From Kelita: I have to tell you what we did at my church yesterday.

First, background — After being diagnosed with painful osteoporosis last May, I began to do some research and came across Forks Over Knives, which led to The China Study, which led me to Happy Herbivore.  I took the Engine 2 28-day challenge with my hubby, and we felt great and all my pain disappeared.  So I shared this with my pastor, who is very health conscious, but had been unable to stabilize his blood pressure or blood sugar for the last 5 years.  After watching FOK, he was convinced and he went plant-based.  Within 3 days, his BP and sugar were NORMAL.

Six weeks later, he shared his results with our congregation.  My husband and I had a couple of people doing this already, but that day, several people hopped on with us. Six weeks later, 23 people had lost over 300 pounds!  Not only that, they were dropping BP meds, acid reflux meds, diabetes meds, etc.

Our church has a coffee bar and Grille, and they started offering plant-based foods after service and were selling out!  Plant-based energy drinks and so on.

So yesterday, we held a LIFE Fair.  We arranged through several nurses at our church and a local lab company to draw blood and have lab work done for a nominal fee.  We did free blood pressure checks and free diabetes screenings.  We found 2 people whose BP was at stroke level and didn’t have a clue!  We found 2 people whose sugar was over 300 and were unaware!

We had folks, who had been plant-based for a couple of months, get up and share the difference.  One man is no longer on extended release nitro glycerin!  Several are off diabetes meds and blood pressure meds.  Acid reflux is gone.  Joint pain is gone.  Sleeping and energy improved.  Whoohoo!

AFTER church, the Grille sold plant-based foods for lunch and several of us vegans brought in dishes for folk to try.  We had over 100 people stay for lunch and I added 30 people to my email list.  The Grille served Life Pizza, Life quesadilla, Baja Burgers, and even vegan chocolate cake.  Our samples were Spicy 13 bean soup, Vegan Taco meat, stir fry, vegan chili, vegan potato soup, rice and beans, and a cold bean salad.  It was a huge success. 

We are going to do a plant-based pot luck (subsidized by our Grille) once a month this year!

Thank you for all your recipes and blog info!  I pass much of it on to my list and share a lot of it on my plant-strong Facebook page.  I love your weekly recipes and menus.  Thank you so much!

HH: Thank YOU!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 16th, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Gluten-Free, Deficiencies, IBS, Snacks)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: To make a recipe gluten-free, can I substitute oat flour for wheat flour equally or is it more complicated than that?

A: It’s more complicated than that, unfortunately. For one,
while oats themselves are gluten-free, most are cross-contaminated with
gluten, so you’ll have to make sure you’re using certified gluten-free
oats to make oat flour, or certified gluten-free oat flour.
With muffin recipes, oat flour tends to be a good solution, but not
necessarily for things like cookies. For more tips and help with GF
baking and substitutions, see this post, Baking 911.

Q: Is is true that vegans are at risk for iron deficiencies, protein deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies? 

A: No! Please see this post: Herbie 101 Series: Nutrition.

Q: Have you ever heard about any research related to veganism and inflammatory bowel diseases?
A: I
know that a plant-based diet can (and often does) cure IBS, but I can’t
remember a specific instance of a discussion about Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Of course that doesn’t mean a discussion didn’t happen or
there is an absence of research; I just can’t remember everything I see
or read :)

I did a quick Google search and came upon this article.

I’m sure you could find more Googling on your own since you probably know the keywords better than me, though!

Q: Do you have
any advice for me on how I can increase my following, get a book
published and basically, do what you have done?  I’m very inspired by
your success and following and hope to achieve that some day. 

A:
I’ve written about a dozen blog posts specifically addressing all of
this. For example,there are 4 blog posts on publishing a book, another 2
on starting a business and getting clients, etc etc. Use the search bar
and also click on the blog label for “Business 101″ — that should get
you started.

Q: Do you ever get cravings for meat, cheese, or junk food? What do you do?

A:
I’ve been plant-based for so long that I don’t get cravings. I don’t
even see meat, cheese, or junk food as “food” anymore. It’s just not an
option or consideration for me. I can’t ever remember struggling with
cravings, but maybe I did and I’ve wiped it out of my memory :) 

As for “what to do,” why not make vegan versions of the foods you’re craving?

You can also check out these posts for more help and information: “How to Deal with Food Cravings and Addictions” and “How to Overcome Food Cravings.”

Q: My
family and I are heading to Disney next week and I am worried finding
healthy plant-based snacks in the parks. Can you recommend some portable snacks that I can carry with me?

A: Dried
fruit, trail mix, peanut butter packets, crackers, celery, carrots,
hummus packets, fresh fruit, PB&J, muffins, granola bars (from EHH),
granola, pretzels, dehydrated vegetable chips, kale chips, sweet
potatoes, bean burritos, HH muffins…. I’m sure anything you regularly
pack in the kids’ lunches would translate too!

Q: Is it really possible to take a passion and figure out a way to incorporate it into a new opportunity? Into a career? 

A: I did. I think it’s possible for anyone, if they have the
commitment, passion and dedication. It takes a lot of work — more than
most people realize. More than I ever imagined, but my, how it has been
worth it. I’ve written a lot of blog posts about this topic, I highly
recommend you check those out :) 

Q: Where do you get your calcium?

A: Please see this post: Herbie 101 Series: Nutrition.

Q: I made brownies but forgot to add sugar! Can they be saved?

A: There’s no way to add sugar to a baked good after it’s baked, unless you add a frosting of some kind. Sorry!

Q: My
friend was just diagnosed with diverticulitis and, because she knows I
have drastically changed what I eat, asked me if I can give her some
advice.  Have you had any feedback on your cookbooks helping this
problem?

A: Off
the top of my head, I can’t remember a specific instance of someone who
had or reversed diverticulitis, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t
happened (I just can’t remember every email anymore). Chances are, it’ll
improve the condition in some way. If not the condition, your friend’s
life, so it’s worth a shot.

I did find this article with a quick Google search.

Q: I have a child who just started eating table food. I want to make sure he gets all that he needs to thrive. Any suggestions on resources that may be helpful?

Kids’ nutrition is the same as for adults, they just need more fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.) for brain development. 

Here are some helpful links:

Q: What was your journey from law school to where you are now?

A: I’ve written several blog posts about my journey. At least a dozen. You can find them using the search bar :)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 15th, 2013

The “New Recipe Saturday” Challenge

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A few days after I initially started talking with Jana about her challenge to cook a new recipe each day from Happy Herbivore Abroad, I had dinner with a few Herbies in San Fran

(Me with Herbie of the Week Candy!)

During dinner, a group of us got to talking about our initial experiences and the challenges we faced when we first adopted a plant-based or vegan diet/lifestyle. 

One Herbie’s comment really stuck with me. He said the best thing he did was to initiate a “new recipe on Saturday” rule. Every week, he would make and try a new recipe on Saturday.

He said while didn’t love every recipe, it kept him from being bored, it forced him to try new things — foods, cuisines, ingredients, etc. that he was unfamiliar with or intimidated by, and so on.

A world opened up to him as realized, rather quickly, how limitless (not limited!) eating a plant-based diet is.

I thought back to my early days as a vegetarian, and then a vegan, and how I thought my life was going to be pasta, PB&J, and salads (and obviously, it’s so. much. more!).

But when you grow up eating “meat and potatoes,” all you know is “meat” and “potatoes.”

I eat a much wider variety of food now as a plant eater than I ever did as a meat eater. I think I ate, perhaps, a total of 10 different dishes, with a few variations to each (i.e., BBQ chicken sandwich vs. spicy chicken sandwich vs. ranch chicken sandwich) as an omnivore.

I often look back at my old diet (and my old life) and am shocked at how limited my diet really was. BUT when I was first leaving that lifestyle, I didn’t have this perspective.

All I knew was meat and potatoes, and when I took out the meat, I only looked at the potatoes. 

Initially, I felt like I’d chopped my world of food in half, because, realistically, I had, but only because my world of food was so small — there was so much out there I hadn’t discovered!!

T. Colin Campbell gave this analogy recently — and he wasn’t using it to explain food at all, but I think it captures so beautifully the point I’m trying to make here.

Dori (Nemo’s fishy friend) was born in the ocean and all she knows is the ocean until, sadly, one day she is caught in a net. In the net on a boat, Dori suddenly realizes the whole world is not the ocean. Rather, the ocean is part of a bigger, dry and hot world. Plus now she also knows the ocean is “wet”  and “cold.” Before her capture, she had nothing to compare the ocean to. It was all she knew… How can you know what cold and wet is if you’ve never experienced dry and hot?

Happy news: Dori wriggles free and goes back to the ocean. She then tells her friends what she has experienced — how the ocean is cold and wet, that there is another world beyond the ocean that’s hot and dry… except the other fish and sea creatures just don’t get it. Because they don’t have her context or experience. They can’t see past what they know: the ocean. The ocean is all they know. 

I was Dori in the ocean. I didn’t know a whole other world of food was out there waiting for me.

After tiring of salads, PB&J, and Boca burgers I started looking for other options — I knew they had to be there, and over the years I did find my way to other cuisines: Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Japanese, African, and so on. I tried new foods — different kinds of beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables. I rediscovered the produce section — heck, I rediscovered the entire grocery store. 

Before long, I developed an interest and passion for this culinary exploration… I just wish I’d tried it a lot sooner!

So, that’s the point of this post: I challenge you to adopt a “new recipe Saturday” rule (or pick another day of the week if you like).

A new recipe each week is a small task, but one with great effects and reward — if you don’t believe me, reread Jana’s post!

What new recipe are you trying next?

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 14th, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Kelsey

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Last October, Kelsey and I were brought together by one of Kelsey’s
coworkers, who’d emailed me about Kelsey, suggesting I interview her as
a Herbie of the Week. I asked Kelsey’s coworker to have Kelsey email me
directly, so we could talk about her journey. Right off the bat, Kelsey
hit me with amazing news:

“I changed
my lifestyle 8+ months ago, dropped 27 lbs., my total cholesterol
dropped from 219 (at the age of 23) to 140 (at the age of 25) and my ALT
Liver function is now normal at 11 (used to be 89, which is crazy
high).”

Then Kelsey buttered me up a little bit ;)

“I frequently use your cookbooks for mealtime (as well as my husband!) and found you early on in my journey.”

SOLD! Just kidding! I’d have interviewed her regardless :)

P.S.: A special congrats to Kelsey! Yesterday was her 1-year Veganniversary!!! 

This is Kelsey’s story in her own words.

My journey started after my mom was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 2011. My grandmother had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a decade earlier, so I knew I was at a higher risk. In February 2012, I stepped on a scale at the doctor’s office and was surprised as they slid the bar until it read 155 lbs. I was shocked to see that I had gained 35 lbs. since high school, but it made sense with my diet and lack of exercise during that time. Those two events prompted my lifestyle change. I had some worrisome bloodwork results from nearly a year earlier but failed to take action until last February. My cholesterol was at 219 in January 2011, and probably much higher than that when I changed my entire lifestyle. My only regret was that I did not have blood work done when I started my lifestyle change. I truly believe I was much worse off because I had eaten even worse throughout 2011.

How did I let my health slip? After a couple of stressful years, I started to care less about what I was eating and assumed that I was bulletproof since I was in my mid-twenties. Even as I prepared to get married, I joked that I wasn’t going on a diet like all the brides out there. I had always taken my health for granted. Looking back, I know exactly how I got here: fast food drive thrus and excuses for not wanting to cook at home and make healthier food choices. Every time I ate something I shouldn’t have, I thought, “This isn’t that bad! It won’t hurt to eat this little piece.” I was just in denial that my food choices would have any impact on my health.

After I left the doctor’s office in February of 2012, I immediately went home and watched Forks Over Knives for a second time. I had seen it a few months earlier and was shocked by the information in the film. Although it was educational and inspiring the first time, I didn’t alter my habits too much. However, the second time I watched it, there was now a sense of urgency to
retain the information, discover new resources (like the Happy Herbivore cookbooks and blog!), and put the information to use immediately. Once I finished the film, I walked to the pantry and nearly emptied it completely. We had a bag of rice and some beans, but almost everything else was not plant-based. I had to relearn how to shop, prepare meals, and even cook. My dad always liked to joke that I couldn’t even boil a pot of water (somewhat true)! This lifestyle has definitely taught me how to be creative in the kitchen and to not be afraid of trying new ingredients. The change was definitely huge and there were many naysayers in the beginning. Some people thought I would lack many nutrients and others thought that what I was doing was dangerous for my health. I knew there was nothing dangerous about eating fruits and vegetables and I armed myself with knowledge and found Dr. Linda Carney, an amazing vegan doctor just outside of Austin, Texas. I am lucky to have such a great doctor who has supported me from the moment we met. She spent time educating me on the benefits of eating plant-based and introduced me to various resources that have been vital to my success.

Within three months of going plant-based, my cholesterol dropped to 140 (nearly 80 points down from 219 in January 2011) and my liver was no longer in the red (my ALT went from 89 to 25). I had a surge of energy, was feeling great, and the “fog” that I was living in had lifted. I have a renewed sense of purpose and love for life. The internal results that were shown in my blood
work assured me that I was going the right thing for my health. I took pride in my choices and had found other reasons for veganism besides the health aspect. By my six-month mark, I had lost 30 lbs., and my bad cholesterol dropped a total of 64 points. My husband also benefited from our change and lost a total of 35 in the first six months. If he hadn’t changed his lifestyle to support me, I don’t think I would have been able to stay vegan. The temptations are tough to deal with outside of the home, but luckily, with his support, I was able to avoid any further temptations that could have been lurking in the pantry.

With the help of documentaries, all three Happy Herbivore cookbooks, hours of exhaustive research and much more, I was able to quit “cold turkey”, so to speak. I had a two-month relapse with cheese from April to June, but once I was back on path, I haven’t looked back. I’ve learned so much from my experience and I truly believe this has changed me completely. I even celebrated my six-month anniversary with an herbie tattoo (inspired by Lindsay’s Herbie). I knew I wanted to express my change with ink, and adding an elephant clutching some leaves was the best way for me to inspire myself every day to stay strong in my decision. Although at first I was quiet about my lifestyle change, I soon began to seek refuge in my blog, The Little Red Journal, as a place to document my journey. The blog gave me a place to celebrate my accomplishments, acknowledge my struggles, and serve as a resource for others who are interested in this lifestyle. Ever since I noticed the changes in my health, I have wanted to share my story and help others that want to make a lifestyle change.

I look forward to my future as a vegan, and although my husband and I don’t have immediate plans for having children, I’m beyond excited with the thought of one day having my own vegan pregnancy and raising a vegan child. Many people have voiced their concerns with my choice and suggested that I would need to eat meat when we do plan to have children. The recently featured Herbie of the Week who went through a plant-based pregnancy was truly inspiring and gives me hope that I can one day experience the same. Although it’s still a few years away, these thoughts keep me on track and will probably deepen my dedication as a vegan once I am caring for another person. I’ve learned to shut out much of the negativity that I have encountered on this subject and many others related to my lifestyle. Once you immerse yourself into the vast knowledge available on plant-based diets, you realize that you’re doing the right thing and it’s for the best of your health (and the health of your loved ones!).

I’m now much happier mentally, emotionally, and physically and although the transition to this lifestyle was challenging, it has been rewarding. I now feel like myself again and know that this journey has had a huge impact on me, as well as others! I am lucky to have a group of supportive individuals in my life, including my husband, coworkers, friends, and family. These changes are tough to make on your own, but well worth it once you realize that your health has improved and that you’re preventing chronic diseases from occurring in the future.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 13th, 2013

PB Cup Quinoa, Mardi Gras Beans & Rice Plus Valentine’s Inspired Recipes

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Read Full Story HereValentine’s Day & Mardi Gras inspired recipes! We’ve got lots of chocolate and peanut butter recipes coming at you this week, plus a few Cajun & Creole-inspired meals such as Cajun Potatoes (both plans), Creole Black-Eyed Peas (both plans), Cajun Corn Soup (both plans), Mardi Gras Tofu Scramble (family), Mardi Gras Beans & Rice (family), Strawberry Parfaits (both). Plus a few other sweetheart faves like Chocolate Granola, Chocolate Berry Bliss Oatmeal, Spinach Love Wrap and PB Cup Quinoa.

Individual Plan Highlights

  • Easy Black Beans & Rice
  • Raspberry Cream Oatmeal
  • Broccoli Marinara
  • Creole Black-Eyed Peas (NEW!)
  • Cajun Bean Dip
  • Cajun Corn Soup (NEW!)
  • Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal
  • Cajun Potatoes (NEW!)
  • Strawberry Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Chocolate Berry Bliss Oatmeal

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights

  • Chocolate Granola
  • Strawberry Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Mardi Gras Beans & Rice (NEW!)
  • Cajun Cornbread Casserole
  • Cherry Pie Pancakes
  • Cajun Bean Dip (NEW!)
  • Spinach Love Wrap
  • Mardi Gras Tofu Scramble (NEW!)
  • Cajun Potatoes (NEW!)
  • Chocolate Berry Bliss Oatmeal
  • Cajun Corn Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials

You are so inspiring. I am going to purchase another week of your HH eating plan. It is fabulous and so are you! Cutting the dairy out has been so difficult because of my words and thoughts but not because of physical need. Thank you for making it easy!” – Mary H.

Since yesterday I have already made three of your meals Sweet Potato Dal, Portobello Strip Dinner, and the PB Cup Quinoa.  All of them were delicious.
I will be using more of your meal plans well worth the money and has saved me a lot of time
” – Jamie

Get the current plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 12th, 2013

Herbie 101 Series: Misc. Questions

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Well my students, this is our last class! I hope you have enjoyed the Herbie 101 series! If you missed any of the previous posts, here they are:

Herbie 101: Nutrition

Herbie 101: Soy & GMO

Herbie 101: Allergies and Medical Conditions

Herbie 101: Pregnancy, Kids & Bodily Functions

Herbie 101: Baking, Cooking & Ingredients

Now for your general and miscellaneous questions!

Is it safe to juice lemongrass?
I’ve never seen lemongrass juiced at a juice bar, so I’d say no. I don’t juice.

What are your thoughts on juicing?
I don’t juice — I follow Dr. Essy’s advice, who says not to juice (Source). 

From his website:

Juicing — Is it all right to juice?
Do not juice. You lose all the fiber and its benefits.

Fruit juice — What about fruit juice?
Drinking fruit juice is like pouring the sugar bowl down your throat. It is fine to eat the whole fruit. Do not drink the juice. 

If you’re looking to lose weight, you probably shouldn’t juice — or drink any calories.

What is an appropriate amount of almonds to eat per day? What is too much of a good thing?
If you are looking to lose weight or you have heart disease, you should not eat any almonds at all (or other nuts/seeds). Dr. Fuhrman says you can eat up to 1 ounce of nuts per day.

Low-cost ways to have a plant-based diet?                                                    Plant-based staples like beans and rice are a bargain. I also have a “budget” icon in most of my cookbooks, indicating which recipes are under $5 to make. See this post, “Eating Healthy on a Budget.”

I also can’t recommend the meal plans enough. Most people report spending as little as $30 a person for all their food for the entire week, 21 meals and snacks!

Why do you say plant based and not vegan? Is it the same?
See this post, “What is a Plant-Based Diet vs. Vegan Diet.”

How about people who go plant-based and feel great for the first few months, then all of a sudden feel tired, lethargic, and crappy. What would this be due to and how might one address it?
It would depend on your symptoms, but most often: there has been a dietary change. Maybe you’re eating out a little more. Maybe vegan junk food has started to creep in.  

Being vegan and losing weight — Is it mainly watching caloric intake or what you’re eating. When I first started eating a plant-based diet, I actually gained weight!
Weight gain is caused by too many calories and as Dr. McDougall says, the fat you eat is the fat you wear. As I know from personal experience, if I start increasing a lot of fat in my diet (nuts, seeds, avocado), I put weight on. Make sure to eat a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet. Not just a “vegan” diet. You can be “vegan” and live on french fries and cola.

I also can’t recommend the meal plans for weight-loss. We have so many success stories.

I  have been hearing a lot about cleansing and detoxing. I looked up cleansing programs, and it’s kind of expensive, is there a chance for a Happy Herbivore week cleansing menu? I love your taste in food!!
Don’t waste your money on a cleanse or “detox” — just eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. Eat foods that are minimally processed and as close to nature as possible. Eat clean — use your intuition. You know what healthy is. I also can’t recommend our meal plans enough.

If you cook popcorn in a lunch bag, how can u keep it from burning?
Same way you cook all popcorn — be careful not to overcook.

Does living a plant-based diet mean you just have to accept the fact that you will go to the store more frequently for produce and may have to spend more money on food?
No. With our meal plans, for example, you only go to the grocery store once a week. Most people also report saving over $100 a month using the meal plans. My grocery bill went way, way down when we adopted a plant-based diet. Also see the above Q&A about eating on a budget.

What is an easy way to cook for my family (that is not plant-based) and myself for dinner without making 2 completely different meals?
Make a plant-based meal and then add some meat or dairy on the side that they can add to their portions.

Explain complete proteins. Do we get all the amino acids from plants or not? I hear both ways.
Some years ago, nutritionists were saying vegans needed to combine foods (such as beans and rice) in order to obtain so-called complete proteins. This has long been abandoned by the nutrition community since we now know that’s not true. The myths about having to combine foods to get the proper balance of nutrients has been long disproved, but like the protein myth, seems to carry on never the less. I won’t get too scientific, but the short of it is: you don’t have to eat beans and rice or nuts and grains or any combination at the same time. You just have to eat them, period. Not necessarily together. (Source)

How do you resist temptations to quit and go back to how you were eating before?
See this post, “Dealing with Cravings and Food Addictions.” For me, once I understood just how bad that “food” was for me, it was very easy for me to pass it up. I see it as poison now.

What is good for someone not looking to lose weight. Maybe even gain?
If you need to gain weight, eat more calories and choose high-calorie foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, dried fruits, grains.

What do I do about holidays when Thanksgiving dinner is a potluck and I’m the only vegan in the extended family?
Ask your relatives if they’d be opening to make a few vegan options at dinner. If not, bring your own meal and maybe something everyone can try.

Why is it that everytime I bake something plant-based (including cornbread, waffles, pancakes, etc.) it always turns out gooey?
Hmm I’m not sure — could be undercooking, over-measuring flour, over-stirring, bad baking agents, or your altitude.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 11th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Be An Early Bird (10 Reasons to Wake Up Early, and How to Do It!)

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We all know that saying, “the early bird gets the worm.” I’ve always
been what you might call a morning person. Even when I try to “sleep in,”
I’m still rousing by 7:00 a.m.

Sunrise in Nevada. I was driving from Tahoe to SLC last week for a HH Meetup! It was amazing to watch the sun come up in the dessert/mountains.

In college and law
school, I opted to wake up early, rather than stay up late studying. I
had high marks, and a recent 2008 study by Texas University suggests
that was due to my habits. In the study, college students who identified
themselves as “morning people” earned a full point higher on their GPAs
than “night owls” (3.5 vs 2.5). 

Anyway, a few weeks ago my assistant (Lindsey Talene) was visiting me
in CA. Normally LT puts the morning blog posts on Facebook since she’s
not three hours behind the east coast like I am, but now that we were
both in CA, I volunteered to be the person getting up at 5:00 a.m. to publish
the post. 

An amazing thing happened — I was infinitely more
productive.
It actually amazed me how much more I accomplished. I also
had a great sense of satisfaction each day. I felt accomplished and
productive, partly because of my increased work output, but also because
I’d finally (finally!) had days where I did everything that I wanted to
do. At night, I felt cozy and comfortable taking it easy watching TV
with my husband or working on a jigsaw puzzle with LT (my favorite pastime). I didn’t have anything else to do. I could… relax.

Getting up early also had these other effects: I
ate better (I had time to make a healthy breakfast for everyone — no
rushing to feed myself, or them, while rushing out the door late). I
exercised more (which helped me feel less stressed, and also promoted
better rest at night) and I felt genuinely happier because I was
greeting my mornings (no “ack. is it morning already?”) and I found a
certain kind of peace in the early darkness and quiet. 

To summarize, 10 reasons to wake up early:

1. Improved Quality of Life. Getting
up early gives you time to exercise (before the family is awake or your
official work day starts). Regular exercise has far-reaching effects:
improved mood and fitness, reduction of stress and anxiety, increased
energy throughout the day, and deeper sleep at night so you feel rested
and can be more productive the next day. Some studies have also shown  morning people tend to be more agreeable and optimistic, as well as
satisfied. 

2. You’ll be more proactive. In 2010, Harvard
biologist Christoph Randler discovered early risers were more
proactive. They were more likely to agree with statements like “I spend
time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of
making things happen.” Randler’s research also revealed that “morning
people” are more likely to anticipate problems and minimize them
efficiently (a key trait to being successful in the business world). 

3. Planning. We also know that having a plan is the key to accomplishing what you want — it’s why the meal plans
make it so easy for you to eat healthy; you have a plan! Most early
birds use their morning quiet time for organization, goal-setting, and
planning out their days and weeks ahead. 

4. More time to relax. If you’ve gotten a
jump on the day, you’ll have more quality time in the evenings to spend
time with family or do what you want to do (i.e., puzzle) and without
that nagging feeling like you’re slacking off and you should do
something else. No need to bring work home! Relax and unwind.

5. Better commute. Skip the crowd at the gym and the traffic on the street by getting up a little earlier. 

6. Increased Productivity / Shorter Workdays:
Waking up early and having a “quiet hour” at work will maximize your
productivity (as I experienced). You’ll get much more work done compared
to usual. Be amazed by how much you accomplish by noon. Come 5:00 p.m., your
work day will be over. P.S.: If you’re constantly distracted at work, I
can’t recommend this enough! Less distractions. More efficiency.
(You’ll also have more energy thanks to improved sleep).

7. Greet the day. GOOD Morning indeed — not
“ack! It’s morning. Just 5 more minutes in bed!” Once you get used to
waking up early, you look forward to waking up and mornings. I greet
each new morning as though it’s a gift. I’m here another day getting to
do the things I love. Getting to be with the people I love. I have
another day to inspire change!

8. Less Stress. Experts say that how you lead your
life the first hour after you wake up sets the tone for your day. Trade
in rushing and worrying about being late for a zen experience.

9. Breakfast. Getting up early means you’ll not only
time for breakfast, you’ll also eat a healthy one. Often, our initial
meal set the tone for how we eat throughout the day. Start the day
right! (Can’t recommend our meal plans enough!)

10. Better sleep: Sleep experts say that if
you go to bed earlier, and wake up earlier, your body will be more in
tune with the earth’s circadian rhythms, which offer more restorative
sleep. Sleep needs also vary depending on your activity level, diet,
sunlight exposure, etc., which is why it’s better to focus on wake-up
time as opposed to bed time. By waking up early at the same time each
day, you’ll stabilize your circadian rhythm. Try to set and rise with
the sun!

Another picture from the drive!

How to Become an Early Bird:

1. Go to Bed. Recently
I went to bed at 8:00 p.m. and my husband said, as I was walking towards the
bathroom, “what are you doing?” Me: “Going to bed.” Him: “But it’s only
8:00 p.m.!” Me: “But there’s nothing I want to do. Nothing’s on TV. I’m done
with the work and don’t feel like working. Why stay up? I’m going to go
to bed and get up early to work when I’m productive.”  Now, I’m not
saying you have to go to bed at 8:00 p.m., but do go to bed earlier tonight.
Even if you don’t feel tired. Read if you must, just get to the bed. I
usually go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. I like to get at least 7, preferably
8, hours of sleep. 

2. Do it Gradually. Don’t go setting the
alarm for 4:30 a.m. Instead, set the alarm for 15-30 minutes earlier than
normal. As the days and weeks progress, chip away at it until you find
your ideal time. Most early birds prefer 4:30-5:00 a.m. I’m a 5:00-a.m.-er. 

3. Distance yourself from the alarm clock. I
keep mine on a dresser across the room so I literally have to get up to
shut it off. That’ll get you out of bed and avoiding the snooze button.

4. Treat yourself. For most of us, we don’t
want to get up early — it sounds awful! So the first few days (or
weeks), treat yourself in the morning. Don’t use it for anything else — not work or chores. Do a little yoga, read a book, read a trashy
magazine — whatever your guilty pleasure is (chocolate?). It’s your
reward for starting a good new habit. 

Finally I’ll close with a quote:

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin, famously

Related Articles & Sources:

Editorial Note: Since I am a typo queen, a few months ago I hired my good friend Nichelle to start editing my blog posts. Recently, I asked Nichelle, since she lived on the East Coast, if she could put the morning posts up at 6am on Facebook during the week so LT could have some much deserved time off and I wouldn’t have to get up at 3am to cover her… “vacation.”
Nichelle agreed, even though it would require her to get up much earlier than she normally did to put up the post, and then she would still go to her full-time (and often demanding) job all day after. 
Anyway (I’m getting to my point–swear!) After editing this blog post, here’s the email Nichelle sent to me:
I just read this post and I have to agree, even though I am historically the most anti-morning person ever. Doing the morning posts has been amazing for me. Starting that AND the meal plans makes me feel better about so many things. So thanks :)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 10th, 2013

Jana’s Challenge — Cooking a new HH Recipe Every Day! (Be inspired!)

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If you don’t already follow @janasooter on Twitter, you should. Over the last few weeks, Jana & I have become Twitter friends — tweeps, as the lingo goes. In fact, I’ve already told her we could never meet in person because her kids are so dang cute, I worry I might try to steal and adopt them as my own ;)

Anyway, I found Jana by a happy accident. Unbeknownst to me, Jana decided to create a challenge — cook a new recipe from Happy Herbivore Abroad every. single. day. After a few of her tweets about the challenge, I scoped her profile out, followed her, and have been as happy as an uneaten clam ever since.

When Jana started approaching Day 50, I asked if she would be interested in guest posting on happyherbivore.com about her challenge, her story, and why she’s doing it. Thankfully, she said yes. Jana and her family are such an inspiration!!

The Happy Herbivore Abroad Challenge

I was a vegetarian for 20 years — and several of those years were vegan. But today, my world has grown to include a husband, 5 kids, and my mother. When you have a large family, home school, own a farm, and run a home business, dinner plans can suffer. And you can only throw together beans, rice, and a salad so many times before morale plummets and a rebellion begins to brew. If I wanted support a healthy lifestyle for my family, I had to do something. Thus, the challenge.

I love challenges. And I love making them public to motivate accountability. And, I love to cook. When I received Happy Herbivore Abroad in the mail, I got excited. Real excited. Here were quick vegan dishes that had some spunk and around-the-world flavor. I tweeted a thought, “Thinking of making it a 135-day challenge. Would be deliciously fun.” And there it was. Public. Several people responded, and I was committed.

And I have to tell you, it has been incredible for the entire family.

The recipes are so quick and easy that I don’t have to plan way ahead. Most of the things called for are already in my pantry or easy to find at the store. And most importantly, the ingredients don’t break the bank for a large family on a tight budget.

The most precious, awesome, amazing thing is that the kids are so into it. They come into the kitchen every morning asking what the recipe for the day is. Even my 5-year-old created a dish tonight with his father because he has been playing a part all along.

So, we’re at day 50, and I want to give you a list of our favorites. We use a three-star rating system, with the whole family weighing in for the vote. It’s hard to narrow down the list, but here are the 3-star favorites out of the first 50 days:

Quick Queso (pg. 198) — Now a staple in our house.

Lentil Taco Meat (pg. 43) —  Licked the plate. Seriously.

Thai Noodle Soup (pg. 29) —  Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

Moroccan Mint Tea (pg. 220) — This is easy and elegant.

Taquitos (pg. 53) —  Couldn’t even tell you how many times we have made these. Scrumptious!


Cheater Pad Thai (pg. 178) — So fast, and so wonderful. Tears. Made me cry happy tears.

Cuban Black Bean Soup (pg. 17) — Perfectly spiced. Applause from all 8 of us.

Enchilada Sauce w/ Veg Enchiladas (pgs. 201 and 103) — Wow!!!!!!!!

Blueberry Bundt Cake (pg. 151) — Perfect. What else can you say?

Texas White Chili (pg. 281) — Surprised me how flavorful this one was!

Hot Chocolate (pg. 214) — Made every day in our house. In the Vitamix. Brilliant! 

Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts (pg. 155) — Made me like doughnuts!

Lemony Kale (pg. 78) — I love ALL things kale. Truth.

French Fries (pg. 70) — You can’t make enough of these.

All good. All easy. All made us happy! In fact, my family is so inspired and thrilled with this experience that, after we finish HHA, my 11-year-old Kitchen Shadow is going to blog his way through cooking every recipe from Everyday Happy Herbivore — just to prove how easy it can be to be vegan and healthy! If an 11-year-old boy is able to do it with passion, anyone can.

The challenge continues, so we’ll send an update when we get to 100 days of HHA. Follow our adventure on my blog or on Twitter

Happy healthy eating!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 9th, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Cookbooks, Cravings, Crockpots & PCOS)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: I would like to get one of your cookbooks, but I don’t know which one to buy. Help!

A: I recommend HHC, EHH, and HHA equally. If you can only purchase one of them, I suggest looking through the table of contents of each on Amazon to see which one speaks to you most — fits your tastes and personality, then you can expand from there.

If you’re brand-new to a plant-based diet (or cooking), I can’t recommend our meal plans enough. They’re perfect for beginners and newbies, as well as those looking to lose weight and/or clean up their diet.

Q: I really want to go vegan, but I crave meat so much. I actually stopped for a while, yet ended up going back to the meat.  I am horrified at the inhumane treatment of the animals and I am grossed out by thinking about it now, but I also feel like I could go out and eat meat right now.  Gosh, this sounds like I am a meat addict… Are there any suggestions you have to redirect my thoughts in a way that may help me rewire my brain and train for going vegan?

A: You hit the nail on the head: You have an addiction. You’re probably dealing with both physical and mental addictions to meat — you just have to make a commitment not to eat it, then not eat it. As time will go on, it will get better for you (the addictions will break) and eventually, meat products will completely turn you off. As for rewiring your brain: KNOW YOUR MOTIVATIONS and keep those in sight. If you think about a cow’s suffering, you won’t eat the burger.

Maybe try some of the vegan meat substitutes in the meantime to help with transition and read this post, “Dealing with Cravings and Food Addictions.”

Q: Is there ever a reason to not drain and rinse canned beans?

A: Drain/rinse instructions for beans depend on the recipe. Most of the time, you need to drain and rinse, but some recipes need the liquid. For example, the HH Butter Bean Cookies and the Cassoulet in HHA.

Q:  I am busy and would love to see you do a book/blog on OAMC (once-a-month cooking) — and why don’t you use a crockpot?

A: Aren’t we all :) OAMC is not realistic for me/my situation, but you can create your own OAMC cooking plan using the meal plans or my cookbooks, or a combination.

With the meal plans, we advocate cooking once a week, which is a better alternative than once a month. Spend a few hours one day a week and voila! All your meals are made — and without freezer burn or needing a big, deep freezer.

I don’t own a crockpot for the simple fact that I can’t be bothered to wait 8 hours when I can prepare something in 8 minutes. Plus all that overcooking — long hours in a crockpot — seems like it would deplete the nutrients. There are several vegan and vegetarian crockpot cookbooks out there, however, if it works for you. 

Q: Can a plant-based diet help with PCOS?

A: I know of two women who had had luck treating their PCOS with a plant-based diet and have been successful being plant-based despite having PCOS.

Here is an article by Dr. McDougall about PCOS and being plant-based.  (There are also about 10 forums on McDougalls site dedicated to PCOS).

I also did a quick Google search and found this.

Q: Being a vegan was recommended by my cardiologist because of my high BP and high cholesterol that can’t be controlled with staton drugs. Any suggestions are deeply appreciated!

A: First, kudos to the doc for recommending a dietary change over pills or a procedure! Second, I highly recommend reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease if you haven’t already — it’s a great book.

Q: Have you any insight on where to find unsweetened, nonfat soy, or nonfat almond milk?

As far as I know, there is no such thing as nonfat almond milk. Almonds contain fat naturally. The only reason you can find nonfat soy milk is because the fat has been removed from the soy through processing (soy contains fat naturally).

You should be able to find unsweetened almond milk anywhere almond milk is sold, but it is not nonfat.

I know WestSoy makes a nonfat soymilk, but I think it only comes sweetened. I find unsweetened soy milk is fairly uncommon in general — forgetting nonfat or low-fat, though most “health stores” usually offer it.

If you’re looking for a non-dairy milk that’s low fat and unsweetened, try unsweetened rice milk (I like Trader Joe’s brand). You can also make rice milk yourself at home — here’s my recipe (with video) for rice milk.

Q: I bought the electric pressure cooker you suggested.  But the manual says to use oil.  Help!  How do you cook in it without oil?

A: Simple — I just don’t add oil. I use the pressure cooker all the time, never adding oil. No problems yet!

Q: Do you have a suggestion for a quick way to make garlic bread?

A: I don’t have a recipe, but I’ve heard of people forming a yeast dough
(like my recipe for pizza dough) into breadstick shapes covering the dough with generous amounts of garlic or garlic salt before baking.

Q: If I want to turn one of your brownie recipes into peppermint brownies, how much peppermint extract do you recommend I add?

A: I find all the extracts are a little different in potency… I’d add a few drops, taste the batter, than add more as necessary.

Q: Are grass-fed and organic animal products safer?

A: It’s the proteins in animal foods that cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. It doesn’t matter if the animal was organic or not, filled with hormones, or free-range. The proteins still exist and still wreak havoc. I recommend reading The China Study and The Starch Solution for more information.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 8th, 2013

What to Make for Special Occasions — Like Valentine’s Day!

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Valentine’s Day is almost here! Have you thought about what to do for
that special someone (even if that someone is yourself)? Whether it’s
breakfast in bed or a decadent dessert, we have some suggestions for
healthy and delicious treats!

  • Stuffed Acorn Squash (HHA pg. 254)
  • Balsamic Braised Asparagus (HHC pg. 171)
  • Fettuccine Alfredo (HHC pg. 163)
  • Pasta with Braised Vegetables (EHH pg. 210)
  • Strawberry & Spinach Salad (EHH pg. 126)

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 6th, 2013

Southwestern Bean Burgers, Citrus Waffle, Plus More Healthy Recipes

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More NEW recipes this week including Banana & Blueberry Waffles (both plans), Citrus Waffle (individual), Southwestern Bean Burgers (both plans) PLUS more recipes to help you stay on your New Year’s resolutions including Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad, Greek Goddess Pita, Farmer’s Beans & Pasta, Pumpkin Oatmeal and more!

Individual Plan Highlights

  • Citrus Waffle (NEW!)
  • Quick Black Bean Tacos
  • Skinny Puttanesca
  • Balsamic Sweet Potato & Spinach Salad
  • Black Bean & Salsa Soup
  • Southwestern Bean Burgers (NEW!)
  • PB&J Yogurt Cup
  • Banana & Blueberry Waffles (NEW!)
  • BBQ Wrap
  • Sweet Potato Breakfast Tacos

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights

  • Banana & Blueberry Waffles (NEW!)
  • Vegetarian Delight
  • Roasted Chickpea Salad
  • Southwestern Bean Burgers (NEW!)
  • Rajma Masala
  • Spinach & Black Bean Wrap
  • Black Bean & Salsa Soup
  • Smoked Cauliflower Soup
  • Puttanesca
  • Sweet Potato Muffins

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials

“I try to tell myself I have enough of these for a little while, then you make them so appealing I HAVE to buy them! I just love your meal plans, everything is so delicious and they make my life so much easier. Thanks, this one looks delish and I just bought it!!” – Nancy M.

“Your
cookbooks have changed my life. I am down 60 pounds and just ran my
first half marathon on Sunday. Thank you so much for giving me the tools
I needed to change my life” – Jen R.

Get the current meal plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 5th, 2013

Herbie 101: Cooking, Baking, and Ingredients

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We’re back this week and we’re talking about one of my favorite subjects: FOOD

Ideas or Thanksgiving and holiday meal choices in general! How to have it without the turkey!

See my post, Thanksgiving Meal Ideas.

Here is what I made last year.

Dinner ideas to replace the old staples (like meat)?

First things first; stop looking for meat on your plate. Come to love that vegetables, legumes, grains — THOSE are the meal. 

Ideas for school lunches served cold.

I can’t recommend the meal plans enough — especially the family meal plan, which has kid-friendly recipes with lunch boxes in mind.

What group of foods are the essentials for everyday? Something for protein? Veggies and fruit? Grains?

Remember: ALL PLANT FOODS HAVE PROTEIN. You can eat nothing but potatoes all day long and still meet your protein needs. Don’t worry about it. Any plant-based meal you eat has protein.

Next, don’t worry too much about eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains every day. Make sure they’re all incorporated in your overall diet, and make sure you are not focusing on one group more than the others. And, of course — the more greens, the better!

Snacks for out and about? Fruits, vegetables, steamed or baked potatoes, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds if you eat them. HH muffins are great on-the-go snacks too.

Ideas for fast-food eating when the whole family (including out-of-town grandparents) wants to go there for a meal?
See this post, How to Eat Healthy and Plant-Based (Vegan) On the Road in Fast Food and Chain Restaurants.

I don’t want to have to just eat salads for lunch. What else is convenient for when you don’t have a lot if time to eat?

Again, can’t recommend the meal plans enough — they’re perfect for the busy professional on the go-go-go.

When planning meals, what’s the healthiest ratio of protein, veggies, and grains to follow?

At least half your plate should be vegetables, especially if you are looking to lose weight.

How do you know you’re creating a ‘well-balanced’ meal? 

This is the beauty of eating a plant-based diet. Eating an array of whole plant foods means you don’t have to worry about the details — your body does the math for you. 

Some years ago, nutritionists were saying vegans needed to combine foods (such as beans and rice) in order to obtain so-called complete proteins. This has long been abandoned by the nutrition community since we now know that’s not true. The myths about having to combine foods to get the proper balance of nutrients has been long disproved, but like the protein myth, seems to carry on never the less. I won’t get too scientific, but the short of it is: you don’t have to eat beans and rice or nuts and grains or any combination at the same time. You just have to eat them, period. Not necessarily together. (Source

Food combining — how true and important is it?

As far as I can tell, there is no science supporting the notion of “food combining.” (If someone has a link to a study, please send it to me). Yet I have a friend who swears it works. I tried it and didn’t really notice any difference. My advice would be, if you are having stomach issues, you might want to try it, or just try food journaling in general. Maybe there is a combination of food your body doesn’t like. For example, I can eat oranges. I can eat bananas. I cannot eat oranges and bananas together. Otherwise, just focus on eating whole plant foods. Your body does all the math for you.

Are there any foods that shouldn’t be paired together?

No, unless you have anemia and are trying to correct it with diet. Then you’ll want to avoid consuming calcium with iron.

Can you address all this hype about limiting carbs (even good ones) and increasing protein?

Limiting carbs is a recipe for disaster. Carbs are the preferred energy source of the body. Too much protein is also very taxing on the body (refer back to Herbies 101: Nutrition). If you take away carbs, the body has to turn to protein for energy (not it’s preferred source) and in order to do so, the body becomes very, very sick. Carbs don’t make us fat. The fat you eat is the fat you wear. I’m so ready for Atkins to go out of vogue. For more information, I recommend reading The Starch Solution.

I also struggle with being more tired than normal and feel better with more protein. I need protein ideas for breakfast that are fast and easy.

Well, protein is not a good energy source — if you feel tired, you likely need more complex carbs like whole grains or potatoes. Still, if you’re looking for a protein-packed breakfast try a Tofu Scramble!

Quinoa, beans, and spinach are also good choices.

What other words that I might not recognize, like casein for example, do I watch out for in the event I buy a packaged product? (So I know what contains animal products.)

See this list.


Suggestions on eating out with family and friends?

See these posts:

Dining Out

Eating out with Friends“ 

How to Eat Out Healthfully

What is bad about milk? What is casein?

Casein is the protein found in milk. It’s highly addictive and and biggest known carcinogen — it can turn cancer on. Milk is one of the worst animal products you can consume. I could talk about how deadly it is for days. Dairy is linked to all sorts of health issues, and besides, no one needs to be breast-feeding past infancy, especially on another species. 

For more information, read Dr. McDougall’s article “When Friends Ask: “Why Don’t You Drink Milk?”

and also Dr. Hyman’s “Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at All Costs.”


Do you consider things that “may contain traces of milk” as vegan? Even if milk is not in the ingredients?

Among my vegan friends, most of them will still consume a product that “may contain traces of milk” as long as the product itself does not contain milk. I have other vegan friends that are much more strict and if it “may contain traces,” they will not consume it. I suppose it is a personal decision based on your interpretation of vegan.

Which miso to buy? What are the different colors?

Yellow is the miso I use. If you cannot find yellow, white or red should be an okay substitute. Do not use brown miso (it’s gross).

For more information, see my post “What are the Different Colors of Miso.”

We buy only organic and are vegan, but if you are on a budget, what are the implications of eating a vegan non-organic diet, which is sprayed with pesticides?

I can’t afford to only eat organic and some of the places I have lived, organic was not an option at all. I’m still here. No third eyeball yet! 

My belief is a conventional apple is still a lot better than an organic potato chip. We all have to do the best we can within our own limits — financial, availability, etc. 

That said, most people recommend following the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15″ rule. (Refer back to “Herbie 101 Series: Soy & GMO” for a list)


Whats wrong with egg whites?

According to Dr. McDougall, “A whole egg is 32% protein and the white of an egg is essentially 100% protein.  Infants, growing children, and adults need, at most, 5% of their calories from protein.  Therefore, eggs and egg products are 6 to 20 times more concentrated in protein than we need.  Excess protein places burdens on our body and especially on organs of metabolism, the liver and kidneys.  Animal proteins, and particularly those from egg whites, are high in the troublesome, sulfur-containing amino acids, such as methionine.” For more information, see his article, “Eggs are for Easter,”

What can I use in non vegan recipes when they call for an egg?
See my vegan baking post — it includes egg substitutes. 

Is it ok to use Earth Balance as margarine ?

I follow the advice of Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. McDougall, and Jeff Novick MS RD — that oil is unhealthy and danagerous and should be avoided. Since Earth Balance (and all margarines) is made from oil, I do not recommend using it. For further reading, click the links attached to each name and also check out this post and this post at Engine 2.

Can veggie shreds be used as cheese?

You mean the brand? Not if you want to keep the meal plant-based or vegan. That brand contains dairy products. There are other brands of vegan cheese, like Daiya, though I do not recommend them because they are so processed and junky.

Why shouldn’t we eat free-range eggs?

Eggs are loaded with harmful cholesterol and animal protein. See also the answer about egg whites, above. 

Nutritional yeast flakes vs. powder. Which is better to use in certain recipes and are ratios the same?

I’ve only ever come across the flakey kind of nutritional yeast and it’s what I use exclusively.

For more information, see my post, “What is Nutritional Yeast?

I read that we should consume no more than one cup of rice per week (and rinse it before cooking) because of arsenic. We eat a lot of instant brown rice. Should we cut back?

See this thread over at the McDougall forums.

I generally don’t follow these kind of reports because I find if you dig deep enough you’ll find the “study” was paid by someone who would benefit if people stopped buying that product OR you’ll find the media is blowing it out of proportion to get your attention. This “news story” has been recirculated for a long time, and each report/study I’ve come across draws more and more red flags. Plus, the people in Asia eat rice as a main staple in their diet  far more rice than most of us eat, and how many reports of arsenic poisoning have been reported?


I did a quick Google of “arsenic” and “brown rice” to see if I could find what you were talking about — and the first study I came across said “studies report it MAY contain it” — and that was my first red flag. *MAY* usually means unlikely, and blowing it out of proportion. Still, I kept Googling.

I read another news story that said the testing was done on brown rice SYRUP, not actual rice… this confused me so I looked for another report, and that one said the studies were done on 60 rice products — rice PRODUCTS, not necessarily rice (i.e., rice cereal, rice cakes). The reason I have a problem with this is because how do we rule out the processing part as being the problem?

Still another article said higher levels were found in some brown rices, compared to white rices, which means white rice must also have it then, but that isn’t being reported? Finally, another article said it was only found in rice PRODUCTS from certain areas. I buy my rice from South Carolina or California, and neither of these states were listed (Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas) and with a lot of digging, it seemed to also be limited to one or two brands not all. The two brands were generic, i.e. Walmart brand, so I’m guessing it’s actually the same company, whoever it is that supplies to all companies that sell generic rice under their label — and again, how do we know it’s not this one company that is the problem?

Finally, with a little more Googling, I realized this same story ran several months ago. Another flag.

BUT to play “devil’s advocate” and assume it is true, I read commentary from various experts which all said the same thing: If there is arsenic, the levels are very, very small and they pose no health risk and you can remove most of it by simply rinsing the rice pre-cooking, and then cooking with a little extra water in the pot, draining that off.  

If you’re still nervous, try using different grains :) 

I just don’t like the taste, texture, and smell of most of the plant-based foods/recipes. Any thoughts to help me succeed at being plant-based? 

Keep eating more and more plant-based meals. Your palate will change. I used to hate mushrooms; now I love them.

The population in India and China eat white rice correct? does it grow that way?

White rice is made from processing — there is no “white rice plant” You can’t get white rice without “making” it.






Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 4th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Life Advice (How to Stay Young)

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My Dad (“Papa Herbivore”) sent me this email on New Year’s Eve last year. He had copied an article he found in the  Old Town Lackawanna County newspaper and sent it to me. Although the article was titled “How to Stay Young,” I quickly realized this was good life advice in general. 

In a world where unsolicited advice runs rampant, I thought this — THIS is the basic, all-encompassing, short-and-sweet list of advice we all need. This is a minimalist’s list for life advice!

I also realized I’d written about many of these topics in one way or another as part of this column.

HOW TO STAY YOUNG

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight, and height. Let the doctors worry about them. This is why you pay “them”!

2. Keep only cheerful friends… The grouches pull you down. (MM: Removing Toxic People, Unhealthy Relationships)

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, cooking, whatever. Never let the brain idle. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things. (MM: Get What You Want (Anti-Consumerism)

5. Laugh often, long, and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6.The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county, to a foreign country — but NOT to where the guilt is. (MM: We Are Not the Worst Things We Ever Did (Letting Go)

10. Tell the people you love that you love them at every opportunity. (MM: Have More Meaningful Relationships)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

Minimalist Monday: Life Advice (How to Stay Young)

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

My Dad (“Papa Herbivore”) sent me this email on New Year’s Eve last year. He had copied an article he found in the  Old Town Lackawanna County newspaper and sent it to me. Although the article was titled “How to Stay Young,” I quickly realized this was good life advice in general. 

In a world where unsolicited advice runs rampant, I thought this — THIS is the basic, all-encompassing, short-and-sweet list of advice we all need. This is a minimalist’s list for life advice!

I also realized I’d written about many of these topics in one way or another as part of this column.

HOW TO STAY YOUNG

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight, and height. Let the doctors worry about them. This is why you pay “them”!

2. Keep only cheerful friends… The grouches pull you down. (MM: Removing Toxic People, Unhealthy Relationships)

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, cooking, whatever. Never let the brain idle. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things. (MM: Get What You Want (Anti-Consumerism)

5. Laugh often, long, and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6.The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county, to a foreign country — but NOT to where the guilt is. (MM: We Are Not the Worst Things We Ever Did (Letting Go)

10. Tell the people you love that you love them at every opportunity. (MM: Have More Meaningful Relationships)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 3rd, 2013

Alicia Silverstone’s Moroccan Couscous Recipe + Book Giveaway!

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Back in 2009, I met Alicia Silverstone at a Food Network party. I was just starting to write my first cookbook, The Happy Herbivore Cookbook,    when I met Alicia so her book, website and spirit became very much an inspiration to me. I loved what she was doing. I thought, ”I want to touch lives like her!” 

Today Alicia is giving away a *signed* copy of her book, The Kind Diet, to one lucky Herbie! AND Alicia is sharing one of my favorite recipes from her book with you too!

Moroccan Couscous with Saffron Recipe

[HH Editorial note: This recipe has been adapted to meet my dietary standards. I replaced the oil and margarine called for with broth and changed the cooking techniques slightly to accomodate this adaption].

Ingredients: 

2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes.
2 cups diced yellow onion (large dice)
1 1/2 cups carrots, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes (skin optional)
1 1/2 cups zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
pinch salt (optional)
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat couscous (uncooked)
2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and place squash, onion, carrots and zucchini on the prepared sheet, careful not to overlap. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper if desired. [Editorial note: Alicia suggests 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper]. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a spatula midway through. [HH Editorial note: When the vegetables are fork tender and a little browned on the sides, they are done. If you cut your veg rather large, bake time may vary.]

Meanwhile, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Once boiling, remove pot from heat and stir in cumin and saffron plus salt and pepper to taste. [Editorial note: Alicia suggests 1/2 tsp pepper and salt to taste]. Once roasted vegetables are fork tender, transfer them (and their juices, if any) into a large bowl and add the couscous. Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil, then poor over the vegetables and couscous. [Editorial note: the couscous will absorb all the liquid broth]. Cover the bowl tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Add green onions, toss couscous and vegetables with a fork, and serve. [HH Editorial note: I tend to add 1-3 additional tablespoons of vegetable broth just before serving to make it a little moister]. 

[HH Editorial note: Use quinoa instead of couscous for gluten-free option, but cook quinoa on the stove in the broth mixture until fluffy.]

For a chance to win the signed copy of Alicia’s book, leave a comment sharing a random act of kindness you’ve done today (or recently). For example, tell someone to have a nice day, compliment a coworker’s outfit. It doesn’t have to be grand, just kind.

For an extra entry, follow Alicia on Twitter (@AliciaSilv) and post a comment with your twitter name saying you followed her.

Giveaway limited to U.S. residents (sorry International Herbies!)

Winner will be selected on Monday night (February 4th).

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 2nd, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Soy, Thyroid, Cholesterol, Flours & More)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: I just wondered what your thoughts are on soy.
A: Read this well written and researched article at Zen Habits “Finally, The Truth About Soy.”

Q: I’m having a hard time losing weight even though I am plant-based. Is it because I eat a lot of nuts?
A:
I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist,
but I follow Dr. McDougall’s advice.
He says “the fat you eat is the fat you wear,” and in my experience that
has always been the case. Plus the more I think about it, the more it
makes sense. If I’m trying to lose fat, why should I eat more of it? Dr.
McDougall and Dr. Esselstyn both promote a low-fat/no-added-fat diet
for optimum health and weight loss. As soon as I started limiting the
amount of added fats in my diet — nuts, seeds, avocados, peanut butter,
etc. I lost weight and I’ve been able to keep it off. Any time I start
eating a lot of high-fat foods again, the weight creeps back on. For
more information, read The Starch Solution. Also, if
you’re looking to lose weight, I can’t recommend the meal plans
enough. We have so many great success stories and testimonials!

Q: I’ve been faithfully following a whole foods, low-fat, plant-based diet since watching Forks Over Knives in April. Today I was looking forward to
my check-up with my endocrinologist to hear what awesome cholesterol
numbers I had.  Come to find out, four months ago my number was 138,
today it was 152!!!  I know that this is within “normal” range, but
still!!!  My thyroid-stimulating hormone is also elevated to .1 of the
max. There has been no change to my meds, I take them every day at the
same time, the same dosage.  So is it normal to have an elevation of
cholesterol AFTER changing to a plant based diet?  

A: I’m not a physician so I can’t really comment or give medical
advice
, especially since you’re situation is complicated
(medication/thyroid removal) and not straight-forward. I recommend
talking to your doctor and perhaps a second doctor if necessary.

What I can say is I do know one other person whose story might shed
some light on your situation. She changed her diet, and her cholesterol
lowered so the medication was reduced. Then it was so low the doctor
took her totally off her medication — but saying she had to come back
in 6 weeks for a test, to make sure things were fine. Unfortunately, her
cholesterol had gone up and the doctor forced her to go back on her
medication. The woman was even more inspired to try to get off the meds and started trying different approaches and eating a 100% plant-perfect
diet. The same thing kept happening. She would qualify to go off, but
then once she was off the meds, her cholesterol went back up and she had
to go back on medication again.

After about a year of this (and her doctor being VERY supportive of
her diet and desire to get off meds), her doctor concluded that she
wasn’t doing anything wrong. Her body just makes too much
cholesterol, so she’ll have to be on medication no matter what, but the
plant-based diet had clearly helped her in lowering the numbers and
putting her on the lowest dosage. I think Dr. Essy says in his book,
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
, that there are some patients who will
never get off medication, no matter how plant-perfect their diet
because of genetics or other factors — but I could be remembering incorrectly. If you’re not yet following Dr. Essy’s program (it’s a bit
more strict than what I or FOK recommends), I would also try that and
see if it makes a difference.

Here is a link to his book.


Q:  My partner feels that she needs a certain amount of meat and
cheese to feel…stable and not spindly.  Does this make any sense to you?
Do you have any advice for us?

A: Watch Forks Over Knives. Humans do not need meat or cheese and both products cause
a host of problems in humans (cancer, diabetes, hypertension), even in
small doses. Some people don’t eat enough calories when they try eating
100% plant-based, because they don’t realize that vegetables are so much
lower in calories, and that can make them feel a little off, but I find
as soon as they eat more calories, and include things like potatoes and
whole grains, that goes away and they feel much better than they ever
did on their previous omnivore diet.

Q: I don’t understand why you designate “white” whole-wheat flour. How is this different from whole-wheat flour?
A:
It’s a different type of wheat berries — much softer and better for
baked goods. See my post, “Flour — White, Wheat or Gluten-Free” for help.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

February 1st, 2013

Cinnamon Bun Minis

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I love cinnamon buns, but they take hours to
make and then I end up with a whole tray that I can’t resist. I wondered
if I could make a single-serving from pizza dough — and yes! Yes I can!
Mini-style. By the way, all of my tester’s kids went crazy for these
minis! 

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 31st, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Jenn E.

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I met Jenn at a Happy Herbivore meetup in San Diego. Upon meeting this
pretty gal, she shared some exciting news with me — she’d lost almost
50 pounds since adopting a plant-based diet and had radically improved her
life in other exciting ways (more on that soon!) I just knew I had to
parade her around on the Herbie of the Week series!

HH: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your health history: 

I’m
a 31-year-old biologist and southern California native living in San
Diego. Despite always being a very active person, I have always struggled with
my weight. I never went for fad diets because I knew that they weren’t based
in any real research. The only thing that worked temporarily for me was calorie
restriction and extreme exercise; there were a few times where I could get down
to about 200 pounds by watching every single morsel I ate, but it never lasted.
How could it?  After a year of intense
field work, which entailed long hours and left no room for cooking or exercise, I was heavier than I had ever been — 230 pounds. I was always tired and napped
constantly, no matter how much I slept the night before. There were also
struggles with lower back pain, which had been a constant in my adult life.

HH: How did you find your way to a plant-based diet?

My
journey into the world of plant-based diets started when my chiropractor
lectured me on the ill effects of dairy on the body. I told him straight to his
face I thought he was full of it. The next week, I was telling my family about
this guy’s seemingly ludicrous claims. “Oh, yeah, he’s absolutely right,” my
mom said. “Haven’t you seen Forks Over Knives?”  

When I gave up dairy for the Lenten season, honestly, it was to prove my chiropractor wrong. After watching the film and
being able to look at thorough, peer-reviewed research conducted by respected
scientists, I embarked on my own experiment eating a whole foods, plant-based
diet. That first week I lost 4 pounds. I continued the experiment — another 4
pounds the following week. After that, I stopped calling it an experiment and
started calling it a lifestyle change. 

My appetite for information became
tremendous: I couldn’t get enough books, films, blogs, or lectures off of the
internet. I still can’t get enough
info, really. Being informed reinforces confidence in my choices, and prepares
me for all the inevitable questions and debates that surface. And I welcome
such discussions. I’ve been able to convince two friends to go plant-based
after they’ve seen my results, and some family members to ‘dabble’ a little
bit.

HH: Tell us about the benefits you’ve experienced! 

Health-wise, my back pain is gone, I am never tired
anymore, and I’ve lost 47 pounds in eight months! There were also a myriad of
other little health-related benefits: acne issues disappeared, I smell better,
and I don’t have dandruff anymore.

HH: When we met, you mentioned the overall quality of your life improved — including in ways that have nothing to do (directly) with your new diet. Can you elaborate?

Career
improvement, fitness goals reached and exceeded [Note: Jenn is a rock star — she now rides her bike to work every day!!), broken
friendships mended, destructive relationships ended, and I’m just an
overall happier person to boot!  I just feel so much more present in my
own life, which allows me to be more present in the lives of those I
love. We’re talking total paradigm shift here. 

 As my body began to heal, other parts of my life started to heal, also. 

HH: Anything else you’d like to add? 

One
of the most liberating things about a whole foods, plant-based diet stems from
the fact that, as a heavy person, one receives so many mixed messages from the
media, doctors, and one’s peers. One part of the message tells you that if you
just stopped being a lazy slob, you could be a healthy trim person. One part
tells you to love your body to matter what, and still another tells you to
starve/torture your body in order to look a certain way — regardless of the
health consequences. So, when you try as hard as you can and are still
unsuccessful at this whole weight loss thing, its difficult not to internalize those
negative feelings. 

With a plant-based diet, though, there is consistency: eat
as much as you want, love your body and be good to it, and it will get healthy
for you! It is such a relief, on an emotional level, to know that it wasn’t my
fault that I wasn’t succeeding previously; I just didn’t have the right tools or
info!  

While I still have a good bit of
weight to lose, I am confident now that it will eventually come off. For the
first time in my life, my body and I are on the same page, working toward
common goals. And as my body gets healthier, my overall life becomes healthier,
too. That is something I never expected of plants. It’s pretty cool!

I
started doing cooking demos on YouTube. It’s kind of cool
because you can see me getting smaller and smaller in each one! Here’s a link
to one I did for oil-free pesto.

Update from Jenn, post-interview: (dated 1/8/13)

“As far as updates go, life continues to be happy, positive, and
productive with plants. I made it through the holidays without any
weight gain, and am happy to be free of resolutions in this New Year.
2013 is going to be the Year of Awesome!
Best wishes for a happy New Year!”

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 30th, 2013

Strawberry Oat Muffins, Lentil Stew, Sesame Greens & More New Recipes!

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More NEW recipes this week including Moroccan Stew (both plans), Strawberry-Oat Muffins (family), Lentil Stew (both plans), Sesame Greens & Chickpeas (both plans) PLUS more recipes you can’t get enough of including Easy Spinach Wrap, Berry Berry Quinoa, Portobello Wrap, Easy Enchilada Bake and even more! These recipes are quick to prepare and ones that you will want to keep making!

Individual Plan Highlights:

  • Apple Biscuits
  • Easy Enchilada Bake
  • Moroccan Stew (NEW!)
  • Portobello Wrap
  • Spiced Sweet Potato
  • Lentil Stew (NEW!)
  • Pot Pie
  • Sesame Greens & Chickpeas (NEW!)
  • Thai Teriyaki Salad
  • Orange Oatmeal
  • Peach Parfait (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights

  • Berry Berry Quinoa
  • Lentil Stew (NEW!)
  • Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
  • “Steak” Tacos
  • Sesame Greens & Chickpeas (NEW!)
  • Pumpkin Chili
  • Butternut Soup
  • Chickpea Love Wrap
  • Moroccan Stew (NEW!)
  • Strawberry-Oat Muffins (NEW!)
  • Peach Parfait (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.


Testimonials:

“Hi Lindsay! I just love your cookbooks and use your meal plans weekly. Thanks so much for making cooking fun!”- Tonya

“We’ve
made 6 recipes so far this week and loved all of them. The hardest part
is deciding what to make next because they all sound so yummy!”- Helena P.

Get the current meal plan now

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 29th, 2013

Herbie 101 Series: Pregnancy, Kids, and Bodily Functions

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Pregnancy

Is plant-based OK during pregnancy?

Yes. Absolutely. For more information, links and resources, please see my post “Plant-Based (Vegan) Pregnancy.:

Children

Can children be vegan/plant-based?

Yes.
Absolutely. It is the official position of the American and Canadian
Dietetic Associations that a plant-based diet is suitable for all stages
of life. As long as your children are eating a diet with a variety of
whole foods, they should get all the nutrients they need. Also note that
eating animal products doesn’t mean they are any more likely to get
everything they need, and many of today’s kids aren’t getting all the
nutrients they need because of the standard American Diet. Nevertheless,
you should to have your pediatrician check just to make sure your kids
are thriving and meeting their needs (though this is true for all kids,
not just plant-based ones). We also have a parents’ group on Facebook, called
Herbie Parents.

Engine 2 also has a great resource for parents and so does PCRM

You can also read Disease Proof Your Child by Dr. Fuhrman.

I’ve got a picky kid, and she don’t eat much as it is. Any suggestions for kid meals?

Kids in general are picky and what works for one
child doesn’t always work for all. I find there is no one-size-fits-all
with kids. In talking to parents, most say that they give their child a
few choices — say 3. They have to pick one. They find the child does
better with options to choose from, rather than just one option. Many parents
also swear by the one-bite rule.

As an aside, most of my testers have children and grandchildren of all ages, and their kids eat my recipes :) 

I also can’t recommend our family meal plans enough. We have kids (and lunch boxes!) in mind.

Bodily Functions

How long will the flatulence last?


Toot!
Toot! Many people, when they first adopt a plant-based diet, experience
an increase in flatulence (gas). That’s normal. How long it lasts
varies from person to person and some people are always gassy. For more
information, see my Flatulence post.


How to deal with constipation in a natural way, please.

If
you eat a plant-based diet, you will not have constipation. (All the
fiber in plant foods is great about keeping you regular). Eat more
plant-based foods. If you continue to have chronic constipation, please
see a doctor. Everyone I know that has dealt with constipation, cured it
with a plant-based diet. For example, read Kate’s interview. For more information, see my Elimination post.

Since going vegan, I am so gassy! Lol — is there something I can add to my diet to help? 

It should get better over time, but there are some things you can do, like soaking beans. See my Flatulence post for tips.

Now that I am totally vegan, I experience extreme bloating, gas pains, and am extremely uncomfortable.

As
previously mentioned, sometimes gas occurs when you first switch — but
it should not be extreme. You may have a food allergy, and if this
continues, you need to be tested (and start a food journal). Your body
also may not like some food combinations, which a food journal will also
help you discover. For example, I can eat bananas. I can also eat
oranges. I CANNOT eat oranges and bananas at the same time.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 28th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Have More Meaningful Relationships

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Facebook said I had 718 friends. Thing is, I only accept requests from people I know well in real life — friends from high school or college,
old coworkers, and so forth. I don’t blindly accept requests from people I don’t know because many of my family members value their privacy and are uncomfortable with my “public life.”

One thing I love about
Facebook, however, is how easy it is for me to stay connected with everyone. It
doesn’t matter if I move away or they do — we can easily keep up on
each other’s lives.

Still, 718 was surprising. Scrolling through the
list of names I realized there were hundreds — hundreds of people that
I hadn’t socialized with or talked to since adding them years (years!)
ago.
I hadn’t even been on their Facebook page. I knew this because I
was surprised to see they were married, or had children — two things
that generally don’t happen overnight!

Then I had to face another truth. I had “friended” a
number of people to scope them out. See what they were up to and
perhaps, size them up. Facebook is sort of like a high school reunion. 

This I wasn’t proud of. 

Lately
I have felt guilty about how out of touch I’ve been with certain
friends. The last few years have been a total mad dash for me. I’ve
worked and worked and worked some more. My relationships with others
took a back seat. They were the “give” in “somethings gotta give” and
while I have success to show for my hard work… what good is it if I
have no one to share it with?

I know that many of these friends are understanding,
and will be there for me when I come around — a testament to their
greatness… and I knew that. I knew that they would “understand,” but
that doesn’t make it okay. It only makes me feel worse.

As I looked around, I realized that I’ve been
focusing only on myself and my goals. It wasn’t that I set out to be
selfish; it’s just what happened during the wild ride that has been
Happy Herbivore and this career.

With my hiatus now in full swing, I realize it now
more than ever. I stopped calling. I stopped emailing. I stopped reading
Facebook’s main feed and only checked my personal page and Happy
Herbivore’s. 

I went into total “response” mode — I reacted. I
responded. I never instigated. I never took the first step in my
relationships. 

Relationships — all relationships — are a two-way street. 

Then something happened. A friend, who I hadn’t
spoken to in months, maybe even a year, but someone I should be more in
contact with — someone I want to be more in contact with — someone I
was once very close to and talked to nearly every day — emailed. A
mutual friend of ours had died in Afghanistan. 

I was saddened by the loss, and even more saddened that it was something so tragic that got us talking again. 

All the while, I was reminded just how short and precious life is. 

We’re all busy, but we all need to make time to
invest in the relationships we have.
We have to make time for those we
care about. We can’t keep saying I’ll call them tomorrow or next week or
next whatever. That whatever may not come. 

Then, suddenly a poem — a poem I cherished as a teenager, but I have not thought about in more than a decade — came back to me.

“Around the Corner” by Charles Hanson Towne 

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.

And I never see my old friend’s face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,

He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell.

And he rang mine but we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.

“Tomorrow” I say! “I will call on Jim
Just to show that I’m thinking of him”,
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.

Around the corner, yet miles away,

“Here’s a telegram sir,” “Jim died today.”
And that’s what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.


As part of my minimalist journey, I’ve
decided to have more meaningful relationships.
This includes making a
better effort at keeping in touch, but also minimizing who those people
are. 

I don’t really have 718 friends. 

I’m
going to focus on the people I want and need in my life. I don’t need
to be “friends” with someone online that I never talk to. People that
I’ll probably never talk to. People that I friended just so I could size
them up. These are not positive things.

So I started chipping away at my friends on
Facebook (it’s nothing personal), and I’m making a promise with myself
to email one of my real friends each day. To see how they are. Tell them
I love them. And that they are missed.

I’m down to 516 and I’m working on it. Progress, not perfection!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 27th, 2013

Herbie Business: Nature’z Candyz + Plus Giveaway!

Written by admin

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Today we’re
spotlighting another Herbie owned and operated business: Nature’z
Candyz. I took several bags of Nature’z Candyz with me when I went to
Mexico and they made for delicious (healthy!) snacks when I was on the
go in an unfamiliar area. I also made friends with a parrot — I bribed him with some of my Nature’z Candyz. While they’re all delicious,  my absolute favorite are the lime-bananaz snacks which, I know, sounds
crazy, but they are SO GOOD. Who would’ve thought banana and lime went
together?

AND Nature’z Candyz has graciously agreed to giveaway a few snack
prizes to a lucky Herbie! See below for details… now on to the
interview!

HH: Tell us a little bit about your business. 

Nature’z Candyz are
all-natural gourmet dehydrated fruit. They are hand-crafted specialty
dried fruit snacks that are made without any added sugar or
preservatives. I make fun flavors like Coconut Bananaz, Cinnamon Applez,  and Lime Bananaz. I also only make what fruit is in season and I try to
buy locally grown fruit when available. 


HH: What sets Nature’z Candyz apart from other brands of dehydrated fruits?

Every
single bag of Nature’z Candyz was hand sliced and packaged by me.
Another key factor is that my products are dehydrated and not freeze-dried, so they have a more natural flavor and texture. Nature’z Candyz
are made in small batches and dried at low temperature to maintain the
nutrients of the fruit.  I take pride in each batch and hopefully that
comes through in the quality and the taste.

HH: How did you get into this business of selling delicious dried fruits?

It
all started with my love of snack foods.  I was continually searching
for healthy fruit snacks that I could take with me in the car or to the
gym.  But all the dried fruits that I found were loaded with sugars and
sulfurs.  So my mom bought me a counter top dehydrator that I started
experimenting with.  I would put anything and everything in that
dehydrator and always had so much on hand that I would end of giving it
away as gifts.  It started to blossom from there. About 5 years ago, I
saw a need and wanted to fill it, so I rented out a commercial kitchen
and started my own website and Nature’z Candyz was officially born.



HH: Is this a full-time gig, or something you do on the side? a hobby?

Nature’z
Candyz is my full-time gig, but as my hobby and side job, I teach group
fitness classes, which keep me active and is my form of therapy. I teach
kickboxing, Core, and Boot Camp-style classes at a couple of local gyms.

HH: How long have you been a member of the Herbie community? 

I have been a HH member for over a year, but I have been a vegetarian for almost 23 years!

HH:
What advice do you have for anyone interested in pursuing their dreams
of selling a perishable item like fruits or snack bars?


My advice for anyone wanting to start a food business of any
kind is that it must be your passion.  As with any business, it is hard
work, with many ups and downs and you must be fully invested in it — mind,
body and soul. Sometimes working with food can be tricky, and there are
also many responsibilities that come with working with food. Also just
remember that you have to be proud of the product that you present. I
believe in quality over quantity.



HH: What is the most rewarding part of your business/work?

The
most rewarding part of my business is the feedback and the comments
that I get from customers.  I was featured on the Cooking Channel’s show “FoodCrafters,” and I got an overwhelming response from that airing.  But
the most touching things were all the personal comments that people
wrote to me telling how much they appreciated what I was making.  They
told me that they were proud of me and I helped them find something that
they were proud to feed to their kids. Amazing!

HH: What is the most challenging aspect?

The most
challenging aspect for me right now is balancing the creative part of
the business and what I find to be the less interesting aspect……the paperwork.

HH: Does your business directly relate to your Herbie lifestyle?

Yes, I truly believe that I couldn’t be in this type of business
if I wasn’t living the Herbie lifestyle. I have so much energy and
enthusiasm for good quality healthy veggie food. Also I don’t think I
could sustain my active days without being a Herbie!

HH: Anything else you’d like to add or share?

If you are local in the Denver area, you can have Nature’z Candyz delivered directly to you through Fooducopia’s Corner Store.

Thanks Patricia for telling us about your company. For a chance to win a
snack from Patricia, leave a comment saying which candyz you’d like to
try — see all available flavors on her website! (Limited to U.S.
residents)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 26th, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Shaving Products & Ranch!)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: Can you make something packaged, like cake mix or shake mix, safer if it contains milk? Say by diluting it with almond milk or rice milk if this will take away from the danger of it containing milk?

A: There is no way to make something with milk “safe.” Can you dilute cocaine to be safe? No, of course not. Milk, even in small quantities, is very bad. The good news is, you can easily make pancakes and cake without milk very easily (I have recipes in both cookbooks). If you don’t want to make it from scratch, there are several boxed brands that are dairy-free.

Q:  I’ve lost too much weight on a vegan diet. Can you please give me some advice to put the pounds back on?

A: Two things. First, calculate your BMI and compare your height and weight to the charts for your sex and age. If you’re not below the healthy range, you don’t need to add weight. I remember Dr. McDougall saying in a lecture that people are often surprised at how much they lose — worried they’ve lost too much when they haven’t. Second, if you really DO need to add weight because you’re below the healthy range, make sure that you’re getting enough calories each day and if that’s not it, then start adding in some fats (like nuts, seeds, and avocado) and condensed calorie sources like dried fruits. See this post for more info on how to gain weight on a vegan diet (scroll to #4).

Q: Lindsay, My dogs are completely vegan now. What supplements do you give your babies?

A: If they’re on home-cooked food, vegedog as a proactive measure and if they’re on vegan kibble (i.e., V-dog), none. For more information, see my post on vegan dogs and Elisabeth’s post about vegan dog nutrition. 

Q: I was wondering along the lines of baking soda in the shower (hair and body), what do you use for shaving cream? Is there an alternative or do you use the classic foams from the store?

A: I’ve never been able to afford those fancy shaving creams, but still have shaved legs ;) I just use soap. I buy a bar soap such as Dr. Bronners and soap up my legs before shaving. My husband is fanatical about using Burt’s Bees shaving bar for his sensitive face. Even if I could afford the fancy creams I’d skip them. Who knows what’s in them?! I like to keep it natural. Soap. Suds. Water. Go!

Q: How long would the Mayo and Ranch in HHC last?

Q: It depends on a number of factors: your fridge and climate, how “fresh” the tofu was when you made it, etc. When tofu goes bad, you KNOW it. It smells to high heaven and turns pink.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 25th, 2013

Herbies of the Week: My Parents! (Part 2)

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I asked my parents to reflect on their first year being plant-based. 

Here’s what my Dad had to say:

Where did a year go?  It has been one year since my wife and I became plant-based.  Ironically, the last piece of meat I had was in the hospital after having a mild heart attack and it was a dried-up piece of “Turkey Bacon.” (Not my choice for a last omnivore supper.)

It’s been an interesting journey. We both have done this together, although I know it was centered around my health condition. But there are no regrets. The sacrifices were actually a lot easier than I thought they would be. I was the meat eater, probably three-to-one over my wife.

Throughout this year, I can honestly say, without an occasional urge for a big burger, I have not missed meat and have sat right next to platters of turkey, ham, meatballs, etc. Actually the most craved things by far I miss are tuna salad and egg salad. I have tweaked Lindsay’s tuna recipe in HHC to a close second, but not the egg salad. [Editorial note: I keep insisting he try adding black salt to get that eggy taste.]

One of the surprising things from this year is when you tell people you are plant-based, they say, “that it is so hard to do,” not, “it’s great that you are eating healthy.” Also when we are invited to someone’s home, they are concerned about what we are going to eat. Our answer, thanks to our daughter’s quote is: “We didn’t come for the food, but the company.”

Being educated on the benefits of eating a healthy diet, many people we have come across can’t comprehend just eating plant-based. It is a mindset; you have to want to do it for yourself and the results speak for themselves. We feel better, have more energy, and we know you can eat and still enjoy it.

Another surprise is how we now use so many different spices that we never would have thought to use before cooking plant-based. The combination of some of these spices and the flavors they bring out are amazing (thanks to Lindsay’s wonderful recipes). One being curry — which we now love, Indian food, and let us not forget Thai food, and many recipes using Cayenne pepper. [Editorial note: my parents would never have eaten these cuisines or flavors in the past. They have become foodies!]

One aspect of this journey that has made it fun has been the cooking part. We both help each other to make Lindsay’s and other recipes. I am primarily the sous chef. I am trying to do more and hopefully someday will be the primary chef. But thank goodness for our daughter’s easy and delicious recipes.

We have learned through the first year to stay away from most vegan processed foods. We have tried most of the “fake” meats and do not care for any of them except Boca crumbles and spicy chik’n patties. Other than that, we try to stay fresh and eat whole foods as much as we can and as Lindsay has guided us.

I started this journey primarily with the hope and possibility of reversing my heart disease. Only time will tell if that is happening. But other positives happened, which weren’t necessarily expected. We each have lost 20+ lbs, feel so much better, have reduced our cholesterol #s down to the mid 120s, and have improved on other health stats also. What more could one ask for?

From my Mom:

Our loving thanks and gratitude to our daughter Lindsay for her support, caring, and guidance. Being Lindsay’s Mom, I personally wish that as a daughter I could have passed on to my parents some of what my daughter has taught me on eating healthier. Lindsay’s grandparents would be so very proud of her today.

And finally, our special acknowledgement to all of Lindsay’s fans who have supported us and prayed for us, and particularly the Herbies of the week, whose stories are so much more inspiring than our own.

Onward to year #2, a lot smarter, wiser, healthier and hopefully a Happy New Year.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 24th, 2013

Herbies of the Week: My Parents! (Part 1)

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I was out having lunch with my husband and one of my closest
friends when my mom called and I ignored it. We were just finishing up
our meal, I thought, it can wait. A few moments later, she called my
husband and we both kind of laughed. She does this from time to time. If
I don’t answer my phone, she tries his.

A few minutes later, as we were paying the check, my mom called my
friend, which seemed off. They’re social, but usually only by email
unless it’s a birthday — and it wasn’t. Then I knew something was up. I thought
perhaps a relative had passed (at the time, one of our relatives was
terminal with cancer) and decided to excuse myself to go outside and
call her back. I noticed she’d left me a voicemail but I didn’t listen, I
just called.

“He’s on his way to the hospital now,” she answered.

“WHAT?” I blurted out.

“Did you get my message?” 

“No Mom, I was at lunch. What are you talking about?”

“Your father had a heart attack.”

That was January 19, 2012. 

My husband came out a few minutes later asking what my mother wanted
and I said “My father had a heart attack, he’s on his way to the
hospital.” I could see the tears welling up in my husband’s eyes. I knew
I should have been crying too, but I couldn’t. I was too shocked. I had
always been Daddy’s little girl and like all little girls, still
thought her Daddy was invincible.

My father was first diagnosed with heart disease in 2004. At the time,  I wasn’t plant-based and I didn’t really know what heart disease was or
the severity of it. I graduated college that year, and then went
straight on to law school, so when my father told me he was having an
angioplasty (An-jee-oh-plas-tee) and explained it all so casually to me,
I figured it was on par with going to the dentist to get a filling. 

He had a second stent four years later in 2008. A stent is an
artificial mesh tube that is inserted into an artery (a blood vessel
that carries blood away from your heart to your body) to prevent our
counteract flow constriction caused by disease. 

Neither stent was discovered by physical symptoms such as chest pain.
My father was asymptomatic (completely free of symptoms) and he felt
healthy. His blockages were found during annual nuclear stress tests and
cardio caths. 

I adopted a plant-based diet in December 2006. I was motivated by the
plight of farm animals and my own health, but my focus was mainly on
cancer. I’d read The China Study and became aware of the link between
eating animal products and cancer risk. I was trying to avoid cancer, having had a scare with it myself and losing a few family members and
friends to cancer as well. Heart disease was off my radar because I
didn’t have it and I didn’t know anyone that did.

I realize now that my father had heart disease at that point, but
back then I didn’t understand what heart disease was and I thought he
was fine, that stents were a normal part of growing older. I think my
parents probably had that mindset, too, especially because many of their
friends and colleagues had also had stents. In a way, it was normal. I
can’t speak for them, but I thought you had to have open heart surgery
or a heart attack to have heart disease. 

Even in 2008, when my father had his second stent, I wasn’t aware
that a plant-based diet could prevent and reverse heart disease. I was,
however, aware that a plant-based diet was the healthiest choice all
around, so I pushed it on my parents and little by little, they made
small changes. Out went the white pasta, in came whole-wheat. Out went
fast food and in came the salads and more vegetable dishes, but I won’t
lie. There were times it got ugly — arguments over their diet. My
parents would tell me they were doing pretty good and I would say that’s
not good enough. I pleaded, I begged, I cried, and I threw temper
tantrums. My parents would ask me why I was so compassionate and gentle
with others but so pushy and bull-dogged with them. All I can say is,
selfishness. I wanted my parents around for as long as possible, and it’s
easier to do the tough love thing on family.

Both of my parents thought they were doing pretty good, and compared
to most, they were. But compared to what I wanted, it wasn’t quite
enough — so I pushed and pushed a little more. 

On May 29, 2011, I was on the webcam with my Mom. I was living abroad
in St. Maarten, so she and I web chatted fairly frequently. I had asked
where my father was because he usually stopped by to say hi to me. She said he was out cutting the grass, then glanced out the window to their
lawn. That’s when her face went red, and then white, as terror struck and
she screamed “Daddy’s on the ground” running out of the room. 

I sat there for 20 minutes straining to listen. Terrified of what was
happening. I immediately called my Aunt who lived up the street from my
parents, but she didn’t answer. Meanwhile, Scott called her daughter,
my cousin, and asked her to drive to my parents house, about 20 minutes
away, explaining what happened.

I waited and waited by the webcam. Finally my mom came back and said
that my Dad was on his way to the hospital in an ambulance. He had
passed out mowing the lawn but was alive and they’d call me later.
Several tests and specialists later, it was determined my father had a
vasovagal syncope (vay-zo-VAY-gul SING-cuh-pee), a brief loss of
consciousness. Vasovagal syncopes are the most common form of fainting
and are brought on when your body overreacts to triggers, i.e., the sight
of blood, but fainting can also be caused by heart disorders. 

Unlike during his stents in 2004 and 2008, this time I was aware of
the heart-healthy benefits of plant-based diet, so I sent him a copy of
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. I begged
him and my mom to read it, knowing they probably wouldn’t, or it wouldn’t
have an effect on them. I’d sent them The China Study, Skinny Bitch and
The Kind Diet previously, and those books hadn’t made much of a
difference and no surprise, this book went largely ignored. 

Still determined, I sent them a copy of Forks Over Knives three
months later. Around the same time, CNN aired “The Last Heart Attack” with President Bill Clinton. Oprah had also had a vegan episode earlier that year. 

Hearing the message from people my parents respected (and not just
hearing it from me) helped open them up a little more and more changes
started being made. It started with meatless Mondays, and then my
parents were eating several days vegan or vegetarian, but they were
still not completely plant-based.

In November 2011, my parents came to visit us over Thanksgiving in Colorado.
They ate plant-based the entire week they were here and marveled at how
good the food was and how great they felt. We’d even convinced my Dad
to give up cheese altogether when he returned home, and he did.

Two months later, he had a heart attack. I can remember talking to my
mom on the phone that night, her spirit defeated and helpless. “Here we
are trying to eat healthier and exercise, and your father still has a
heart attack.” That’s when I chimed in and said “It’s because you’ve
been eating healthier and exercising that he had a mild heart attack,
not a fatal one. You’ve been given the gift of a wake-up call.” That was
the game changer. My parents realized they weren’t helpless victims,
they could be in control of their lives and their health. 

On January 20, 2012, my parents went plant-based and tomorrow,
proudly as Herbies of the Week, they will talk about their year and the journey.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 23rd, 2013

Bombay Breakfast, Indian Red Lentils & More Fast Weeknight Meals!

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Lots of NEW recipes this week, including Bombay Breakfast (both plans), Rice & Bean Taco Bake (family), Lentil Chili & Cornbread Biscuits (both plans), Indian Red Lentils (individual) PLUS old favorites, such as Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese, BBQ Chickpeas, Peanut Butter Quinoa and even more! All guaranteed to keep you full and energized!

Individual Plan Highlights

  • Bombay Breakfast (NEW!)
  • “Tuna” Salad
  • Creamy Carrot Soup
  • Banana Split Overnight Oats
  • Indian Red Lentils (NEW!)
  • Lentil Chili & Cornbread Biscuits (NEW!)
  • Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • BBQ Chickpea Salad
  • Roasted Pear a la Mode
  • Roasted Carrot, Squash & Sweet Potato Soup (NEW!)
  • Acorn Squash & Apple Soup

Get this meal plan now. 

Family Plan Highlights

  • Hawaiian Sunrise Oatmeal
  • Roasted Carrot, Squash & Sweet Potato Soup (NEW!)
  • 2-Bean Tacos
  • Pineapple Teriyaki Chickpeas
  • Rice & Bean Taco Bake (NEW!)
  • Bombay Breakfast (NEW!)
  • Black Bean & Corn Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
  • Acorn Squash & Apple Soup
  • Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheeze (NEW!)
  • Veggie Peanut Noodles
  • Lentil Chili & Cornbread Biscuits (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.


Testimonials

“I was very pleased with everything I received. The menus, shopping list
and especially the recipes! I went with the $5 option only because I
was afraid I wouldn’t care for the choices….not the case!” – Carolyn B. 

“Your meal plans, in my
opinion, are based on recipes that my Grandmother would make, only minus
the unhealthy ingredients. You truly have a genius for preparing great
tasting and healthy foods simply” – Lynn W.

Get the current meal plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 22nd, 2013

Herbie 101 Series: Allergies and Medical Conditions

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Before we get into the Q&A, I wanted to share this list, from my post “Herbie of the Week: YOU.”

Summarized medical issues, symptoms, and health problems that have
been reduced or eliminated by adopting a plant-based diet (as reported
by Herbies on Facebook):

- Eczema
- Headache/Migraine
- Bloating/Stomach Issues

- Hypothyroidism
- Allergies/Nasal Congestion
- Acne/Cysts
- Rosacea
- Acid Reflux/Heartburn
- Cholesterol
- PCOS
- Anemia
- Joint/Muscle Pain
- Constipation
- T2 Diabetes
- Asthma

- Overactive Bladder
- High Blood Pressure
- Disordered Eating
- Hot Flashes
- Lupus

Other noted improvements in health and well-being reported by Herbies:

- Weight-Loss
- Mental Clarity

- More Happiness/No Depression
- Improved Appearance (look younger, more rested, etc.)
- Improved Energy
- Improved Immune System (no sickness, quick recovery, etc.)
- Improved Fitness/Muscle Mass
- Improved Physique (i.e., more toned)

- Improved Sleep
- Improved Romance/Sex Drive
- Improved Sexual Function
- Improved Bowel Movements
- Improved Spirituality
- Improved Senses (smell, taste, etc.)
- Improved Teeth (less sensitivity, whiter)

- Reduced/Eliminated Cravings for Junk Food
- Reduced/Eliminated Insulin Dependence
- Reduced Inflammation
- Strong Nails/Hair
- Off Medications
- Enjoy Cooking/Food

Does a plant-based diet help people with MS?

Yes. New studies are showing a plant-based diet is a possible treatment for MS (Source).
Dr. McDougall is also studying MS, and you can read about his findings
in his newsletter, “The Multiple Sclerosis and Diet Saga” and/or watch his lecture about diet and MS.

Here are two McDougall success stories: Donna McFarland and Deb Tasic.

Dr. Terry Wahls also credits reversing MS through a plant-based diet (and other holistic treatments).

Is there any truth to the myth that only certain blood types are able to be completely vegan?

Absolutely none. The
consensus among dietitians, physicians, and scientists is that the
theory is unsupported by scientific evidence. (Source).

I know many people (myself included) that are
supposed to eat the opposite of a plant-based diet according to our
blood type, and yet we’re all thriving on plants.

Can you be plant based if you do not have a colon?

Please speak to your doctor and a nutritionist, preferably ones that support a plant-based diet. 

I recently found out I have diabetes. What do I need to know about eating plant based and diabetes?

Please read Prevent and Reverse Diabetes by Dr. Neal Barnard. I also recommend reading The Starch Solution after it.

I went plant-based about a month ago. I feel very tired and run down ever since. Just wondering if that’s common in the beginning?

Two
things could be going on: You could be experiencing a detox symptoms
(many people experience this) and symptoms from food addictions. Or you
may not be eating enough calories. I find people who switch to a
plant-based diet often don’t consume enough calories, particularly
complex carbs like brown rice or potatoes. Make sure you’re including
those foods in your diet and you’re eating enough calories. Also drink
plenty of water and try to get several hours rest each night. If the
chronic fatigue continues, please see your doctor as it may be caused by
another medical condition.

Now onto allergies!

First,
the good news: A lot of people have reversed or reduced their allergy
symptoms with a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet can’t cure “all”
allergies, though. For example, if you’re allergic to cats, you’re still
going to be allergic to cats :) Similarly, if you’re allergic to tree
nuts, you’re still going to be allergic to tree nuts.

Having a food allergy just requires a little extra patience and substitution.

If
you seem to have a lot of food allergies, please talk to your doctor
about leaky gut syndrome. My friend Matt was allergic to most
vegetables, fruits and beans, but after is diagnosis and treatment, he
eats those foods now. (Read more).

My child is allergic to dairy and eggs, as well as legumes and nuts. I’m at a loss how to continue with a vegetarian diet. 

All
of my recipes would be suitable for her if you left off the beans :)
Her diet can center around fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can
find hundreds of plant-based and vegan recipes (no dairy, no eggs) that
are also nut-free and legume-free. In most cases, you just need to leave
off the legumes. Don’t worry about protein — there is protein in all
plant foods. For more info, see Herbie 101 Series: Nutrition.

I’m allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Can I be plant-based/vegan?

Absolutely.
I don’t eat nuts (they bother my stomach). Pretty much all of my
recipes are nut-free in all three of my cookbooks. I use a dab of peanut
butter on occasion (for my husband) — maybe a total of 10 recipes
across all three cookbooks. You can skip those recipes or use sunflower seed butter. Soy nut butter might also be an option.

For more reading and ideas: see Engine 2′s post, “Allergies: Nuts and Seeds.”

I’m allergic to soy, can I be plant-based/vegan? 

Yes! Absolutely. Our meal plans
are always soy-free. I also have a soy-free icon in my cookbooks — something like 85% of the recipes in each book are soy-free! (most
recipes use a touch of soy sauce, which you can replace with coconut aminos).

You can also see the Herbie 101 Series post on Soy.

For more reading: How to Replace Tofu and Soy and this post by Engine 2.

I’m allergic to wheat/gluten — how can I bake? How do I adjust recipes?

If you’re allergic to wheat, but not gluten, try spelt flour. For gluten-free baking tips, see this post. Also see this post for a list of false friends and safe gluten-free foods.

You can also use this gluten-free gluten substitute to replace vital wheat gluten in recipes.

Our meal plans
are always gluten-free, and my cookbooks are over 85% gluten-free (with a
gluten-free icon). I have several gluten-free testers and I don’t
publish a recipe that cannot be adapted if it is not already
gluten-free.

Engine 2 also has a great post, “Food Allergies: Gluten.” 

Is it possible to be allergic to all nondairy milks? I swear, I bloat
up no what type of milk i drink — soy, rice, almond, coconut…

You’re
probably allergic to something added to the milks — perhaps a
preservative or something. If you can eat soy, almonds, oats, and rice
without bloating, then should be able to drink milks made from them. You
may need to start making your milks at home. You can find recipes for
how to make almond milk online. Here’s my recipe and video for making
rice milk.

What about if you are allergic to gluten AND soy?

No problem. Our meal plans are always gluten-free and soy-free.

It’s
easy to avoid both soy and gluten on a plant-based diet. The key parts
to a plant-based diet — fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils),
whole grains (like quinoa and brown rice) — are naturally soy and
gluten-free.


I’m allergic to bananas. How can I make recipes without bananas? 

It depends on how the banana is being used. See this post, “How to Replace Bananas.”

I’m moderately allergic to tomato, potato, broccoli, cabbage,
barley, peaches, and mushrooms and mildly allergic to a boatload of other
things like soy, wheat, corn, almonds, peanuts and rice. I’m wondering
what to do?

Write a list of all the foods you can have — you’ll be amazed
at the options. When dealing with multiple food allergies, it’s
important to think about what you can have, not focus on what you’re
allergic to. 

With your allergies — especially the soy, wheat and corn — you’ll
also need to avoid all animal products, as livestock are fed mainly
wheat, corn, and soy, and you’ll react because it’s in their milk, meat,  and eggs. (Read more about this here).

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 21st, 2013

Minimalist Monday: We Are Not the Worst Things We Ever Did (Letting Go)

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A few weeks ago, I gave this piece of advice to my friend:

“It’s
not fair to judge someone based on past actions they can’t change. What
matters is who they are now. We are not the worst things we ever did.”


I met Derek* at
the gym about 6 months ago. We were enrolled in the same fitness class
and the instructor had paired us up a few times. Derek and I had made
small talk (as you usually do in those situations) and when I realized
Derek had many similar interests as my husband, I offered to introduce
them. (Derek was also new in town and hadn’t made many friends).

Scott
liked Derek. Scott’s friends liked Derek. I liked Derek. My friends
liked Derek. Derek is a nice guy. He’s smart, funny, genuine, honest,
respectful, fun to be around, reliable — I could go on. 

In
the few months I’ve known Derek, he’s come to my rescue a number of
times. I had to go out of town and Derek offered to watch my dogs for me
without my having to ask. Then when I was out of town and UPS kept
trying to deliver something to my vacant apartment, Derek sat at my
apartment all day waiting for it for me. A friend of ours needed help
moving and Derek loaned them his truck — and his labor! I could go on
and on, but you get the picture. Derek is a great guy.

About
a month ago, Derek started seeing Carrie.* From what he told us, Carrie
sounded like a great girl — a perfect fit for him. We were happy for
Derek and hoped things would work out for him. 

Everything seemed great until Derek came over for dinner and I could tell something was wrong. I pressed him until he told me.

Derek,
who is now in his mid-30s, admitted that when he was in high school
and college, he was a bit of a “player.” He wasn’t proud of the things he
had done, but he couldn’t undo them. It was surprising in a way because
Derek is such a nice guy, so respectful and chivalrous that I almost
couldn’t believe it. Yet, Derek is also quite handsome and has that
infectious kind of a personality, so I could see how he might have
been a “ladies man.” 

Point
is, Derek wasn’t that guy anymore. That’s all that mattered to me, but
Carrie just couldn’t get past it. After Derek had told Carrie about his
past, she told him that given his history, she couldn’t trust him anymore. She
told him she doubted his character. (That one stung Derek the most. He’d
worked so hard to overcome his past and to be a better person) and
finally, that perhaps they should see other people and cool it for a
while. Derek was crushed. He’ll kill me for saying this but, the poor
guy was near tears.

I told Derek, “It’s
not fair to judge someone based on past actions they can’t change. What
matters is who they are now. We are not the worst things we ever did.”

Derek is not the worst thing he ever did. I am not the worst thing I ever did. You are not the worst thing you ever did.

As Oprah says, “We are not defined by the mistakes we make.” 

Our
past, our mistakes, our indiscretions — become a part of us, but
that’s not all we are. Hopefully those experiences act as a lesson and
growth exercise so that we may become better people. 

So this Minimalist Monday, let go. Forgive. Look past. It’s time.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 20th, 2013

My Trip to Marshall, TX

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Recently I was in Marshall, TX for the “New Year, New You” event. It was a great weekend — I had such a good time. Here are some pictures from the event:

I had over 100 students (!!!) at my food demo.

I also gave my first-ever lecture. The topic was being plant-based in a non-plant-based world. Everyone clapped. No one fell asleep! SUCCESS! I really enjoyed giving a lecture. 

Now for some of the FOOD:

Lunch Day 1. A lovely spinach salad (complete with oil-free dressing) from Blue Frog Grill. (I picked off the nuts). It was very good. The restaurant has a special vegan/plant-strong menu year-round.

Dinner Day 1: DIY refried bean tacos with rice and corn salsa from Central Perks. Central Perks also always has a vegan menu.  

Breakfast Day 2: Oatmeal and fruit!

For lunch, I went out to eat with friends. The only restaurant open in Marshall was filled to the gills with people, so we went to a local Chinese restaurant. Everything was fried, fried, and fried — but we managed to make a healthy dish from rice, green onion, pineapple, and soy sauce. I also had some grapes and a small salad. Proof that you can find a meal anywhere! (That’s ginger).

Dinner Day 2:

Salad, fruit, tofu paneer (sadly, I did not like this), a rice dish (this was good), and a barley-green beans dish (also good). 

R&R Bakery in Marshall, TX, which always has vegan cookies and muffins made special vegan, gluten-free, sugar, salt, and oil-free cookies for some of the presenters. These were magical! 

I also had the chance to work out with my friend Chad, who owns BeyondFIT in Austin, TX. Yes, Chad is plant-based — and those are meat-free muscles! He didn’t become a body builder until after he became plant-based! 

Here’s Colin doing his thing. It was wonderful to get to spend time with him and his wife Karen. Karen said they made my pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and it was the best she had ever had in her life. I died. I also finished Colin’s new book, WHOLE, and got to talk to him about it at length, which was exciting. It’s a great book!! Preorder it! 

Me and Del Sroufe (author of the Forks Over Knives cookbook) judging a vegan chili-off. (I have a hard job some days!!)

And now, with all of my previous commitments behind me, I can finally settle into my hiatus

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 19th, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Discussing Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Skin Care & Vinegar)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: Can you explain what you mean by “granulated” onion powder?

A:
When looking for garlic and onion powders, you want the kind that is a
bit granulated, like a fine salt or sand — not powdery like a flour.
This picture helps illustrate what I mean: 

Q: Is it possible to download past meal plans, or is the current week only available? 

A:
The current week is the only meal plan available for purchase on the
website, but you can order past meal plans directly from us. Contact
lindsay(at)happyherbivore(dot)com for help.

Q: What is your monthly food budget?

When
I was shopping for three adults (Scott, me, and my sister) I was spending
around $90-110/week, depending on whether we needed to purchase bulk
items, like flour, which has a big upfront cost, but then lasts for
weeks and weeks. That’s what I love about the meal plans — they save me so much money and time. Most people report spending
only $30 a person on the plan if they have a stocked pantry. I did the
family meal plan a few weeks ago (four people) and my entire grocery
total was $127, including toilet paper, shampoo and dish detergent that
were “extra.” 

Q: What do you recommend for skin care? I have acne.

A:
As I learned with my skin, acne is often related to diet. Dairy is the
biggest trigger (for most people, myself included). So make sure you’re
totally off dairy. Next, oil. Make sure you’re not eating or cooking
with oils. Once I removed oil from my diet, my skin cleared beautifully.
Some (few) people can get acne from other foods, like wheat or soy, so
if you’ve removed oil and dairy, and otherwise cleaned up your diet but
acne persists, try eliminating soy or wheat and see if it changes your
skin. Also, try washing your face with baking soda for acne treatment. It’s one of the best kept beauty secrets. Lastly, see this vegan skincare post by a professional (vegan!) makeup artist.

Q: Is white wine vinegar vegan?

If
you’re asking for an ethical/animal rights perspective, I think that
would turn on what type of white wine was used to make the vinegar
(you’ll probably need to call the manufacturer). If the white wine was
vegan, then yes. If the white was was not, then no. On the up side, white
wine tends to be vegan more often than red wine. (These same issues
would apply to red wine vinegar). If you’re not a vegan for moral or
ethical reasons and are just plant-based, then white wine vinegar and red wine
vinegar are suitable. For more information on wine not being vegan, see
this post.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 18th, 2013

Elimination (Let’s Just Talk About It.)

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Everybody poops but no one wants to talk about it. Yeah, I know, TMI! but I get so many questions about elimination via email that I want to address it (just like I addressed 

flatulence

).

I’ll start by saying one of the funniest “vegan” T-shirts I’ve ever seen was one that said “I’m vegan so I poop 4x a day.”

Elimination is one thing everyone seems to notice when they adopt a plant-based diet. Even my parents called and inquired about BMs when they went plant-based, a la can one have too many? ;)


Constipation is almost always caused due to inadequate fiber. So if someone switches from a diet that’s low in fiber (animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs have no fiber) to a plant-based diet that’s filled with fiber, constipation is no-longer a problem. You’ll go ;)

Where can you find fiber? Fiber is abundant in beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Processed foods (even vegan ones) can also be low in fiber, and juices — even fresh juices — typically have all or most of the fiber removed, which is why people on a juice fast longer than a few days usually need an enema.

Inadequate liquid can also cause constipation, so be sure you’re drinking plenty of water.

According to the Mayo Clinic, everyone’s frequency or pattern of bowel movements is different, and there is no generally accepted clinical definition for frequency. Your unique frequency pattern may also change over time, particularly if your diet or lifestyle changes. Call your doctor if you experience cramping or have bloody or watery stools.

For my lady readers, know that women sometimes experience elimination issues in conjunction with hormonal changes. I know several women who eat a healthy plant-based diet but experienced constipation during pregnancy or menopause.

Chew your food and chew it well — start the digestive process right :)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 17th, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Daniel

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After my father’s post “What It Really Means to Feel Better,”
Daniel sent me an email detailing his journey to a plant-based diet.
The results and changes were remarkable, so I asked him if he would be up
for sharing his story as a Herbie of the Week. Luckily, he agreed!

HH: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m
70 years old, have been on a complete plant-based diet including NO OILS
for….let’s see, I’m on my 14th month. I began after having a
complete body “meltdown.”

HH: Can you tell us a little more about the “meltdown”? 

I woke up in the hospital being told that I had “died.”

I
went home with a bag of pills and was told to start kidney dialysis. I
was devastated. I was 68 years old. Had always eaten “well” — lots of fish,
no junk/fast food, sodas, physically “active.”  I had always done a yearly
or more blood panel.  Over the years, my “numbers” didn’t change much,
but what was considered “normal” sure did, and I ended up with high
cholesterol and blood pressure. Yeah, I was a “few pounds” overweight, but I
had always been a “big guy,” and yeah I drank wine every day, but the
medico’s told me everything was “OK” — until it wasn’t.
 (That has become my “mantra” when people ask me “what have you done?” and then want to argue with me. “Don’t tell me I can’t have my bacon!” I
tell them, well then have it! You’re fine! UNTIL YOU’RE NOT!).

HH: How’d you find your way to a plant-based diet?

The following Sunday evening, I just happened to turn on CNN, and watched intently the interview of Bill Clinton and his describing his path on a plant-based life, the positive effects
he had attained….I was enthralled.  Maybe this would help me!  

So the following morning, I drove to Whole Foods (had never been in the store before!) and purchased Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Eat to Live. I went
home, read the books, cleaned out my kitchen (no easy task, as I had
always cooked, had my own catering company years ago, was known for my
“dinner parties,” etc. etc.), returned to Whole Foods and restocked. I never
looked back! 

HH: Have you experienced any benefits? 

So, I’ve lost 40 lbs., my total cholesterol is 86, I generally feel better, and I sleep
better. I think I’m pretty happy, but I hate being 70.  I realize now that I’m
certainly in better health, but I “started too late.”  Two back
operations, two hip replacements, arthritis, neuropathy, bad ankles, no
feeling in my feet…..these issues remain.  I haven’t gotten worse, but I
guess I had higher expectations……..So it was nice to read someone
else in my demographic relating the same kind of issues. [Editorial
Note: He's referencing my Dad's blog post, linked above]

I will “pound” the plant-based life for as long as I’m alive.  There are
so many other areas that I feel better about, i.e., being “in control of
my life!”  Shopping, reading labels, cooking all of my food that I put
in my mouth, the feeling that I’m in total control of my health. I
will also continue to answer people’s questions about “the way I look,” the comments that “I can’t believe you’re still alive” (from my own doctor!) by giving them a
book by Fuhrman, Esselstyn, McDougall, et al. and by telling
them to subscribe to the Happy Herbivore.

HH: Anything else you’d like to add?

People
have often asked me how I could so drastically change my entire life as
I have, and I always try to explain that you feel so absolutely better,
wonderful even, that your palate changes so quickly, that there is never
(for me) a thought of “returning” to my previous life.

HH: Thanks Daniel! Keep rockin’!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 16th, 2013

Creamy Broccoli Soup, Black Bean & Roasted Corn Chili & More Warm-You-Up Meals

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More New recipes on this meal plan including Creamy Broccoli Soup (individual), Black Bean & Roasted Corn Chili (both plans), Rice & Kale Soup (both plans), Mexican Stuffed Peppers (family), Chiptole Sweet Potato Bowl (family) plus some returning favorites such as Blueberry Crisp, Skillet Green Bean Casserole, Skyline Spaghetti Squash plus MORE! All easy to prepare and guaranteed to satisfy all!

Individual Plan Highlights:

  • Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal  
  • Breakfast Quesadillas (fan fave!!)
  • Cajun Bean Dip(NEW!)
  • Winter Crunch Salad (NEW!)
  • Greek Goddess Pita
  • Broccoli Chili Delight   
  • Hummus Wraps   
  • Black Bean & Roasted Corn Chili (NEW!)   
  • Spicy Orange Broccoli & Noodles   
  • Sweet Potato Breakfast Roll-ups
  • Creamy Broccoli Soup (NEW!)
  • Rice & Kale Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights:

  • Mexican Stuffed Peppers (NEW!)
  • Skillet Green Bean Casserole
  • Chickpea Tacos (fan fave!!)
  • Sweet Potato Pilaf
  • Blueberry Bliss Oatmeal
  • Chickpea, Kale & Brown Rice Soup (NEW!)
  • Black Bean & Roasted Corn Chili  (NEW!)
  • Breakfast Quesadillas
  • Banana Pancakes
  • Broccoli Chili Delight (kids fave!)
  • Banana Pancakes (my fave!)

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials 

“Makes my life easier and the recipes are good no left overs most of the time” – Karen L. 

“Thank you for your help with this – as a full-time working mom of a 7 month old, I think this is going to be very helpful and healthy for my family!” – Kerri F.

Get the current meal plan now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 15th, 2013

Herbie 101 Series: Soy & GMO

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Before we talk about soy (and before you leave a comment), please read
this article on soy, “Finally, The Truth About Soy”, and also read this post in its entirety.

As you will read (with ample links to scientific studies), soy is not
dangerous, unhealthy, or unsafe for most people, despite myths floating
around thanks to the WAPF.

Legitimate soy concerns: Some people
are allergic to soy (just as some people are allergic to peanuts) and
those individuals should abstain from soy. There is also conflicting and
inconclusive evidence about soy’s effect on women who already have
breast cancer (Some evidence suggests it might be beneficial, but it’s
not conclusive). If you already have a thyroid disorder, excessive soy
consumption could affect thyroid function. (You can find links to
studies supporting these statements (and for further reading) in the
article I linked to above).

 
Onto your questions!

Do you have to eat soy/tofu to be plant-based/vegan?
No.
While many people choose to include soy products: soy milk, tofu,
edamame, soy sauce (etc.) in their plant-based diet, it is not required.
You can eat a plant-based diet without soy in it. Our meal plans are always soy-free!

Soy….what is the limit if there is one? I don’t want to overdo soy products.
The
key to a healthy diet is eating a variety of plant foods. While most
people can eat soy a few times a day, you don’t want to be on an all-soy
diet every day. In other words, don’t have tofu scramble for breakfast,
followed by soy yogurt or fake meat (made from soy) for lunch, with a
tofu stir-fry for dinner and soy ice cream for dessert. Make sure you’re
not eating soy at the expense of other healthy plant foods. Let soy
accent your diet. Make sure you’re eating plenty of vegetables, greens,
beans, lentils, whole grains, seasonal fruits.  

See also Dr. McDougall’s newsletter, “Soy — Food, Wonder Drug, or Poison?”

Is TVP healthy?
TVP (and TSP) are processed foods. I think we can all agree that processed foods are not as healthy as whole foods.

What does GMO stand for?
Genetically Modified Organism. Any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.


What are GMO foods?

Although soy is perhaps the most
known plant food for being genetically modified, soy is not the only
genetically modified (GM or GMO) product in our food system. Corn,
papaya, zucchini, yellow squash, and sugar beets can also be genetically
modified. (Source)

Most vegetable oil used in the U.S. is produced from GM crops — canola,
corn, cotton, and soy beans. (This means cooking oil, shortening,
margarine too). I’m not just talking the oils and margarines *you* buy
in the store. I’m also talking about the oils and margarines used by
restaurants in cooking, baking, and frying, as well as the oil in packaged
foods. (Source)

Farm animals (those raised for meat, milk, eggs) are typically fed GMO soy and GMO corn. (Source)

How can I avoid GMO foods?
The best way to avoid
GMO is to eat a whole foods plant-based diet (absolutely no animal
products) and avoid processed foods — even if they are vegan. By
processed foods, I mean foods that come in a box or packaging — like
cookies or chips. If nothing else, take care to avoid “foods” (I use
quotes intentionally) with corn syrup and HFCS. Avoid oil for your
health, but especially if you want to avoid GMO. The most common oils
(i.e., vegetable, canola, and corn) tend to be GMO, so avoid fried foods
and processed foods with oil.

Additionally, buy organic produce whenever possible. 

How can I find GMO-free soy?
With
tofu (and other soy products), usually there is a non-GMO label on the
box or package. Although I’m not absolutely certain, it is my
understanding that organic soy cannot be GMO. 

I’m allergic to soy, what alternatives are there?
There
are many soy alternatives, depending on what you’re looking for. There
are nut and rice milks, chickpea miso, coconut-based yogurts and ice
creams, Daiya cheese, to name a few alternatives to soy. Our meal plans are always soy-free friendly too.

What is tempeh?
Tempeh is fermented soybeans.
It’s made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process
that binds soybeans into a cake form. You can find tempeh at any health
food store and most supermarkets. Fun fact: tempeh originates from
Indonesia.

I have heard that soy has anti-nutrients
Not true. See the article I linked at the beginning of this post, and also Dr. McDougall’s article linked above.

I can’t always afford all organic, what do I do?

If you can afford organic, great. If you can’t,
that’s okay. A conventionally grown apple is still healthier than an
organic potato chip, after all. Do the best you can. When I lived abroad
for a year, I had no access to organic foods and I’m still here. No third
eyeball!

You’ve probably heard the phrase “the dirty dozen”
and “the clean 15.” The “dirty dozen” refers to foods you should always
buy organic and the “clean 15″ refers to foods you don’t have to worry
about whether or not they are organic (or so the experts say).

Here are both lists:

The Dirty Dozen Plus:

  • apples

  • celery

  • sweet bell peppers

  • peaches

  • strawberries

  • imported nectarines

  • grapes

  • spinach

  • lettuce

  • cucumbers

  • domestic blueberries

  • potatoes

  • green beans

  • kale, collards, and leafy greens

The Clean 15:

  • onions

  • sweet corn

  • pineapples

  • avocado

  • cabbage

  • sweet peas

  • asparagus

  • mango

  • eggplant

  • kiwi

  • domestic cantaloupe

  • sweet potatoes

  • grapefruit

  • watermelon

  • mushrooms

(Source)

Please note that these lists may change.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 14th, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Worry About Being You (Being Yourself Always)

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Back in October, my friend Marie sent me this email: 

“Dear Lindsay,
As I was reading this quote from another blogger, I immediately thought of you and your Minimalist Mondays articles. Can you use this quote as a new article on Minimalist Mondays? I think it would do a lot of people a lot of good to be reminded of this… especially for the new the plant-based person in a meat eating world.


“It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.”  - Byron Katie


Love,
Marie”


I
liked the quote (and topic) and immediately jotted it down on my
editorial calendar in the next open spot (which happened to be today). I was unsure what exactly I’d do with it, but just as fate would have it, two great life experiences tumbled in
this past week.

When
I first read Marie’s email, I thought back to something my mom used to
tell me as a child — when I would make some comment like “Oh well Jenny
is allowed to do xyz” and she’d tell me she wasn’t Jenny’s mother, and I
wasn’t Jenny.

Her point at the time was that just because Jenny was allowed to do
something, doesn’t mean I’m allowed to do it. Or that my mom should
allow me to do it. It’s not that Jenny’s mom was right or my mom was
right — they were both doing what they felt was best as parents. 

Now
that I’m older, and thinking a little more profoundly back on that
lesson — there is a deeper meaning that’s so obvious. I am not Jenny. 

I am not Jenny.

I
will never be Jenny. It’s Jenny’s job to be Jenny. It’s my job to be
me. Jenny doesn’t even have to like me. That, too, is my job. All that
matters is I like myself.

(and here’s a secret: You’ll never like yourself trying to be someone else or something that you are not). 

So be yourself. If someone doesn’t like you – that’s their loss. 

My greatest fear, which I blogged about last year, was that no one would like me and I wouldn’t have any friends or fit in
socially. I conquered that fear by realizing I have people in my life
who love me for who I am. And also, do I really want people in my life
who don’t like the real me? “Friends” who want me to be someone or something that
I’m not?

When
I adopted a plant-based diet, most of my friends were supportive. The
few that weren’t… let’s say it quickly became apparent to me that they were not
real friends to begin with. (see my post,
The Secret to Handling Confrontation and Dealing with Negativity).

You can love me or you can hate me but all I can be is me. 

Which brings me to my next point :)

I’m often getting strange, unsolicited life advice via email. People
just love to tell me how to live my life and it tends to be handed out
in a negative, nasty way — about how I’m presently doing something
wrong. 

Some
of it is mild— people love telling me how I should pose in photos,
how I should wear my hair, how I should dress. Or better, how I should not post in photos, wear my hair, and what I should not wear.

Some
of it is telling me not to talk about certain things on my blog (for
example, apparently talking about flatulence, a bodily function, is
offensive, and I shouldn’t do that ever again. oops), or that I shouldn’t tweet, or write about political issues on my personal facebook page (not Happy Herbivore’s page), as though I’m not allowed to have an opinion and express myself. (Now you see where that crayon quote came from!)

Most popular
(and a little too personal if you ask me) people tell me, at least weekly, via email, that I should “grow up” buy a
house and start a family. 

The beauty of being an adult means I am free to live my life however I choose. 

I always tell these people: Worry about being you.

At
the end of the day, we can only be ourselves and controls what happens
in our life. We have to answer ourselves. We have to like ourselves. 

As
hard as it can be, really try to disregard what other people think. I
have found the most happiness doing what I believe is right. 

It’s my job to be Lindsay. 

It’s your job to be you. And no one NO ONE is better suited for the job. 

Be yourself. for yourself.

That’s minimalist!

I don’t pretend to live a conventional life. My life is not ordinary by any stretch of the imagination and I’m okay with that. 

I’ve come to appreciate that all those awkward gears and oddly-shaped bolts fit together to make me… me. If you changed one thing about me — even if it was a small thing…. I would be a different person. 

I could not be me if any part of my life, my personality — my spirit was different. I could not do the work I do. It all comes together in song.

I may be an odd ball. I may live and odd life. But that’s what it takes to be me. 

When it comes to others: Please stop trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. When it comes to you: Please stop trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. 

You are who you are. I am who I am. Embrace that — even if you’re a little bit of an odd ball too. (Just go find another odd ball, personally an ball that’s even odder than you and you’ll feel normal ;) 

Every part of us is an important part.  We are who we are.

To close, here is a quote someone sent me when I was expressing how hurt I was by the mean emails people send me:

“Everybody has negative thoughts… but we don’t
have to verbalize them… That gives the negative thoughts power… We
want to take away their power”

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 13th, 2013

Vegan Taste of San Francisco & Berkeley

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I was in the Bay Area the other weekend for two photo shoots (one for the cover of my next book due out Dec 2013!). In between shoots I was able to meet up with some local Herbies at Herbivore. Some 40+ herbies came out! It was such a great time and we pretty much took out half of the restaurant :)

Lame as ever, I ordered a salad — but it sounded so good!

(and it was good!) It had all sorts of greens, sprouts, tomatoes mint, beets!!! I ordered it with lemons instead of the dressing it came with. It really was good! I wasn’t sitting by Scott, which means he didn’t remember to take a picture of his burrito! 

Mark also gifted me with this homemade towel. I LOVE IT! It’s what I’m always saying right? I think I need to make HH Tshirts!!

I also had a chance to get a quick bite with Scott and our friend Jon at Cha-Ya, an all-vegetarian Japanese restaurant. I’d visited Cha-Ya on a previous trip to San Fran and was happy to have a chance to visit them again. 

Scott ordered steamed vegetables and brown rice:

I ordered this salad (without dressing) that is even bigger than it looks! 

Finally, here are two pictures from the photo shoots — Jon & I and me in the kitchen (for the cover of my new book!).

(I’m goofing off in this picture — this isn’t really the cover image!)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 12th, 2013

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Pumpkin Pie Spice, Xanthum Gum, Rice Milk, Clothing & Miso)

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You’ve got questions…

Q: The pumpkin pie recipe calls for brown sugar. Is that the moist brown sugar that comes in light brown or dark brown, or is that the brown turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)?

A: Even though turbinado (raw) sugar is brown in color, it is not brown sugar. Brown sugar is different from other sugars, because it contains molasses. If a recipe calls for brown sugar, you need to buy light or dark brown sugar (I personally prefer light). You can also make brown sugar from turbinado (raw) sugar.

Q: Can xanthum gum be used in place of agar agar?

A: I have not worked with either, so I’m unsure, but based on my (limited) knowledge I have of the ingredients, I wouldn’t think so. Xanthum gum
is a binder and agar agar works like a gelatin.

Q: Is all rice milk made from brown rice?

A: It depends on the company. Some companies use white rice, some use brown. You can also make rice milk at home.

Q: I was wondering where you get your clothing? I love your simple style, and was so inspired by your minimalist approach to shopping. Also, do you have any favorite boots/ shoes?

A: I shop all over the place. I do tend to buy most of my shoes at Payless, since the vast majority of their shoes are not made from leather. BUT I have also bought shoes at Target and other stores, plus Goodwill.

I buy clothes from a number of stores: Ann Taylor, LOFT, Target, Banana Republic, H&M, Forever21, Goodwill, Kohls, JCPenney. It really depends on where I am and what I have access to… (and often, what it is I’m looking for).

Q: Regarding the miso, is it the powdered miso soup mix? I’m miso-challenged, lol. 

A: It’s a paste. See these posts: “What is miso?”

and “What are the different colors of miso?”

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 11th, 2013

How To Make It Work In A Mixed Household

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This question bubbles up in my inbox often — if the whole family isn’t plant-based, how do you make it work? 

When
I was vegetarian and Scott wasn’t, we agreed the house would be
vegetarian — meaning Scott could eat however he wanted outside of the
home (i.e., at work, at restaurants), but at home, our meals were
vegetarian. Scott did most of the cooking back then, and he was fine
preparing us meatless meals.

Then when I went plant-based (vegan) about a year later, Scott said I
had to help with the cooking since the only vegan meals he knew how to
make were salads, stir-frys, and pasta. (Plus reheating a frozen veggie
burger). Good thing too! Otherwise happy herbivore wouldn’t exist ;)

Since Scott wasn’t much of an egg eater and he didn’t mind soy
milk, out the milk and eggs went with my dietary change. Scott really
loved cheese, however, so it remained in the fridge (though I constantly
bought vegan cheeses hoping he’d warm up to them — and he did!). All
the meals we made were vegan, but sometimes Scott would add cheese to
his. Eventually, Scott gave up meat, and then he gave up cheese and
committed to being 100% plant-based.

But that’s just what we did and how it unfolded in our household.
Every family and situation is different, so what works in your house
might be different…

Anyway, wanting you to have suggestions outside of my own experience, I polled the Herbies on Facebook asking those who lived in a mixed diet house how they made it work.

Over 100 responses poured in and here are some of the highlights.
There were three clear “solutions” — all food prepared in the house is
plant-based (my and Scott’s solution), each person cooks their own
meal but share sides and still eat together, and cooking
two separate meals each night. A lot of people are also using the meal plans, especially if they are the only veghead in their house. 

I’m
a single mom of two young kids, so they have no choice! They eat what I
make when we are home. I let them choose when we go out or if they are
with other relatives.
” — Heather S.

I take my meal plan
and plan similar stuff with meat for hubby. Then I double both the
vegan meal, and the meat meal, so the kids can eat both and choose
.” — Cambret N.

I
cook vegan dinners as well as main dish meat dinners, and I eat the
sides. I have been experimenting with “veganizing” recipes as much as I
can. I made our traditional meat lasagna a veggie one, for example. They
didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell
” — Caren C.

I’m
veg, he’s not. We agree on the side dishes, I cook my main dish and he
cooks his. We time our cooking so we can eat together. this works for us
very well. We get to spend time in the kitchen together, and we get to
eat together
.” — Julie W.

If you are alone in your herbiness amongst a house full of omnis like me, get Lindsay’s individual meal plans
and double, triple, etc. the dinner recipes. Serve it as a side for a
veggie serving with whatever else the rest are having. Her plans are
truly quick and easy. It is worth the very little extra time and
expense.
” — Annette D.

I fix dinner. If the hubby and kids don’t like it, they can eat it or be hungry.” — Lisa C.

Mutual
respect. We cook together. Some meals are all vegan. Some meals he adds
meat. But I will NEVER tell my husband that he cannot cook what he
wants to eat in the home that we built together. The first 30+ years we
were together I was a meat eater too, it’s not like this was a
“pre-existing condition” that he was aware of.
” — Sue B.

I
bought my husband a broiler pan, so now he buys and cooks his own meat.
Otherwise, he eats whatever I make and is learning to like more veggies
and grains! Now if only I could get him to WASH the broiler pan….
” — Shannon C.

Me,
husband, youngest — vegan. Eldest — disgustingly carnivorous. Solution?
Pushed him into student digs and downsized so he can’t come back. This
is all completely true!
” — Nicola L.


We
kinda do a 50/50.. sometimes I’ll cook a few things I know they will
eat… and other times she makes stuff for them, and I do my own
thing… I’ve never tried to push this lifestyle change on my family.
” — Russ I.

Hubby
makes his own breakfast and lunch. We bought a little George Foreman
grill that is to be used only for his chicken or burgers.
” — Aimee D.

I have a family of 5….1 plant-based, 1 vegetarian, and 3 meat eaters. I cook 2-3 different dinners every night.” — Bren H

I won’t buy meat, if they want it, they have to buy/prepare it.” — Rose D.

I
am vegan (50% raw) and my husband is mostly Paleo. He cooks all his
meats on Sundays and adds them to the meals I prepare throughout the
week. It blends flawlessly.
” — Jules B.

I
only prepare dairy-free and meat-free meals at home. If my handsome
husband wants meat, he buys it and cooks it himself. The kids eat the
vegan lunch I send to school but eating out they choose EITHER meat OR
cheese
” — Winnona S.

Only
Herbie in a house of 5 people. I get one shelf in the fridge, one in
the freezer, two shelves of the pantry…and I keep separate pots &
pans.
” — Gina C.


I’m
the only vegan in a household of 8. I knew it was going to be
difficult, so I took it upon myself to just cook for everyone. Who’s
gonna pass up an already made meal?
” — Christine A.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 10th, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Brenda

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The day after my birthday, I received the most beautiful email from
Brenda (I doubt she even knew it was my birthday). Brenda bravely shared
her story with me — the subject line of the email “It’s time to tell
you my story.” I was moved to tears and asked Brenda if I could feature
her, and share her email as part of our Herbie of the Week column. Lucky
for us, Brenda said yes! 

“Hi, Lindsay

I
have been following you and using you cookbooks for over a year now. I
have lost all the weight I need to (35 pounds) and my cholesterol is
going down slowly.

I
was a vegetarian for two years and have been an ethical vegan for
slightly over one year. I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gherig’s) disease
two years ago.  I had been having decreased energy levels for several
years and thought it was due to getting older and was just part of that
process. Two and one half years ago I started having foot drop. I had
many blood tests done, had an MRI done of my lower back and had nerve
testing done of my lower legs, arms and upper back. October 2010 just
before vacation to visit friends in Austin with my partner all the tests
were back and I was told in not uncertain terms that I had ALS and was
going to die.

I
asked for a second opinion and was told the same thing. I was also told
by the physician who did the second opinion that there were cases of
this nerve condition with the weakness staying only in one appendage and
not progressing to other appendages.

My
regular neurologist told me at every 3-6 months when I would see him
that I was going to die from this disease even though the weakness had
not progressed beyond my right foot. He did want me to take a medication
that slows the progress of the disease if it progresses to the lungs,
but only prolongs life 3 months when it gets to the lungs. The drug is
liver toxic. I wouldn’t even consider that drug!

So
I have been seeing the neurologist every 3-6 months since October 2010
and nothing has worsened in 2 and a half years. The neurologist had the
nerve to say in April this year that I was probably going to die with
this disease instead of because of this disease. The prognosis is death
in three years with this disease.

I
am thoroughly convinced that this disease has not progressed because of
not eating any meat, any eggs or any dairy in over one year. I feel good
most of the time. I get tired if I do too much but all I have to do is
rest for a few hours and get me strength back.

I
am so thankful that I watched Forks over Knives, got your cookbooks,
gone to some supportive vegan potlucks and am now living my life in
gratitude for all my blessings. All I now wish is that the poor animals
that suffer for other peoples meals would stop then hopefully more lives
would be saved and violence in the world would stop.
Brenda”

Update (1/8):
“I am still doing well and have had no
new symptoms of my ALS in 2 years and 9 months. I am so grateful that I
heard of eating a plant based diet for my health and the health of the
precious animals. My only regret is that my family and friends won’t
listen to this information!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 9th, 2013

Healthy Chocolate Muffins, Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Wraps, Soups, & More Weeknight Meals

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More NEW recipes on this week’s meal plan: Mexican Breakfast Potatoes (both plans), Peanut Butter Oatmeal (both plans), Rustic Sweet Potatoes (individual), Sweet Potato & Black Bean Wraps (family), PLUS fan favorites like chocolate muffins, PB Cup Quinoa, Chickpea Noodle Soup, and MORE! All easy, all healthy, all tastes approved!  


Individual Plan Highlights:

Double Chocolate Muffin 
Mexican Breakfast Potatoes (NEW!)
PB Cup Quinoa (fan fave!)
Peanut Butter Oatmeal (NEW!)
Chickpea Noodle Soup
Rustic Chili Bowl (NEW!)
Sweet Potato Dal
Chips & Chili Bowl (fan fave!)
Olive Hummus Wrap (NEW!)
Portobello Steak Dinner
Portobello Burgers 
Refried Bean Burritos 

Get this meal plan now.

Rustic Sweet Potatoes — crazy addictive! and Mexican Breakfast Potatoes — my go-to lately in the AM.

Family Plan Highlights 

PB Cup Quinoa (fan fave!)
Peanut Butter Oatmeal (NEW!)
Chocolate Muffins
Mexican Breakfast Potatoes (NEW!)
Chickpea Noodle Soup
Portobello Burgers
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Wrap (NEW!)
Broccoli Marinara (kid-approved!)
Two-Bean Tacos 
Stir-Fry with Rice 
Nacho Night (fan fave!)

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials:

“The meals are so healthy and easy and the plan has helped me enormously. Prior, I had no plan so meal times felt overwhelming — I won’t even get started on how challenging grocery shopping was. Thank you so much. I feel extremely confident that this plan will keep me organized with feeding my family.” — Missy J.

“I bought my first weekly meal plan last week and I could not be happier. Even my husband enjoyed it and, for him, “vegetarian” and “vegan” are practically curse words. As a busy mom/wife I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the comprehensive shopping list, calendar and recipe packet. Having it all together and in one place makes my (post 7-5 work day) job so much easier.” — Kate L.

Get started with our individual and family meal plans now. 

Chips & Chili Bowl — one of the most requested dishes!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 8th, 2013

Herbies 101 Series: Nutrition

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Read Full Story HereBack in November, I asked the Herbies on Facebook what questions they had about adopting a totally 100% plant-based diet. Hundreds of comments poured in, and we’ve classified them into groups that I hope to cover each week as part of the Herbies 101 series :) First up: Nutrition.



Do you still get all the minerals and vitamins that you get when eating meat and dairy?

YES. With one caveat: B12. (Click the link for more information on B12)

Let me also make a note that I have several friends — friends who eat meat with a side of meat — and they are B12 deficient. I also have friends who eat meat and dairy and have other deficiencies — vitamin D, anemia (iron), etc.

Point is, deficiencies can happen on any diet and are sometimes not related to diet. For example, my sister, regardless of the diet she eats, will always be anemic. We know this because she tried everything possible with food (including eating a lot of iron-rich meat before going plant-based) and nothing changed. (Read Courtney’s post about iron and anemia).

I recommend everyone obtain a yearly physical that includes blood work to check for deficiencies, regardless of diet or lifestyle.

To end on a positive note, I have two friends who reversed their iron deficiencies when they adopted a plant-based diet :)

How do I get calcium on a plant-based diet?
Some of the best sources of calcium are plant-foods: sesame seeds, tofu, greens (like collard greens and spinach), asparagus, quinoa, herbs (like basil, thyme, and oregano), spices (like cinnamon, cumin, and cloves), green beans, oranges, Brussels sprouts, leeks, cabbage — just to name a few! (Source).

Interestingly, milk and dairy — which have long been touted as necessary for healthy bones — actually cause osteoporosis. (Source).

That’s why in places like Asia, where milk and dairy is not widely consumed, there are little to no instances of osteoporosis, but in places like America, where women consume a lot of dairy, osteoporosis runs rampant.

Dairy is one of the biggest health offenders and is linked to numerous medical conditions — acne, prostate cancer, allergies, IBS (and other GI issues), type 2 diabetes, anemia in children, it raises estrogen and promotes growth hormones — just to name a few. If you can only give up one thing right now: Get off dairy.

More reading: Dr. Hyman’s 6 Reasons You Should Avoid Dairy

Dr. McDougall: When Friends Ask: “Why Don’t You Drink Milk?”

How much protein do I need?
Don’t worry about protein! You could eat nothing but potatoes all day long and still exceed your protein needs. All foods contain protein, even kale and bananas. Spinach (which is 51% protein) also has more protein calorie for calorie than steak!

When was the last time you heard of someone being hospitalized for protein deficiency? Never. You cannot be protein deficient unless you are calorie deficient (meaning you’re not eating enough calories — and in that case, you’re deficient in everything).

Our bodies also need less protein than you might think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average 150-pound male requires only 22.5g of protein daily based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, meaning only 4.5% of calories should come from protein. (WHO recommends pregnant women get 6% of calories from protein). Other nutritional organizations recommend as little as 2.5% of calories from protein. Most Americans consume 20% or more.

Excess protein is also very taxing on the body, especially if that protein is animal protein (it has the same effect as milk, above, causing the body to leach calcium from your bones in order to neutralize the acidic effects of animal protein, thereby causing osteoporosis).

For more information: Can I get enough protein on a plant-based diet?

But I’m a runner/swimmer/cyclist/weight lifter — I still need extra protein, right?
NO! Even if you are an athlete or body builder you still do not need extra protein or need to take extra protein supplements. If you want to put on muscle, you just need to eat more calories (energy). The body builds muscle from calories (energy) — it doesn’t matter where that calorie came from. Despite a widespread misconception, eating extra protein doesn’t do much toward boosting your muscle mass and strength and remember: excess protein is harmful. (Source).

One of my closest friends is a body builder, and any time he needs to put on substantial muscle, say, for a competition, he eats a lot of food to put on weight first. As he says, he fattens himself up, so he can eventually turn that fat (extra calories — energy) into muscle.

High performance athletes need extra calories in general, but they do not need added concentrated sources of ‘nutrition.’ 

For more information, see WebMD: Will Eating More Protein Help Your Body Gain Muscle Faster? Find out how consuming too much protein can harm your body.

If you are working out between 1-2 hours per day, you should not have to increase much in your diet. If you find yourself losing weight (and you don’t want to), bump up your calories. There is no need to add any powder/shakes, etc.

Even if you still feel you need extra protein, eat whole foods to get it — not highly processed protein powders (most of which have weird artificial things added to them to make them somewhat palatable).

What is a “balanced” meal? What foods do I need to combine?
This is the beauty of eating a plant-based diet. Eating an array of whole plant foods means you don’t have to worry about the details — your body does the math for you.

Some years ago, nutritionists were saying vegans needed to combine foods (such as beans and rice) in order to obtain so-called complete proteins. This has long been abandoned by the nutrition community, since we now know that’s not true. The myths about having to combine foods to get the proper balance of nutrients has been long disproved, but like the protein myth, seems to carry on nevertheless. I won’t get too scientific, but the short of it is: you don’t have to eat beans and rice or nuts and grains or any combination at the same time. You just have to eat them, period. Not necessarily together. (Source)

That said, there are some foods that complement each other. For example, vitamin C increases iron absorption. (On the other hand, some studies have found calcium can inhibit iron absorption when the two are eaten together). Overall, I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless you’re anemic and then you should talk to your doctor about your options: supplement, trying to change your foods, etc.

If you still want to “balance” your meals, PCRM has a terrific power plate (it’s interactive!) that may help.

Do taking digestive enzymes and probiotics really help?
You’ve got at least 1,000 different bacteria in your gut. All of those bacteria are in a balance. Taking a pill (or, eating say, a yogurt) with 8, or even 30 new ones isn’t going to make a difference. What WILL make a huge difference is what you feed the ones you have. (Feed them well). 

I also had a dreadful experience with probiotics that you can read about here.

For what it’s worth, the European Food Safety Authority (Europe’s “FDA”) has rejected most claims made about probiotics, including that they help the digestive system, saying they are unproven. (Source)

More from the Herbies 101 series is on the way in upcoming weeks!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 7th, 2013

2 Ridiculously Easy (and Rewarding) Things to Do For the New Year

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All right my minimalists and budding minimalists here are two (ridiculously easy!) things I want you to do — no excuses.

1. Turn all your hangers around in the opposite direction. Every. last. one. When you wear something on that hanger, turn it around to the “correct” direction. At the end of 2013, you’ll see what clothes you wore and what it’s time to donate. If you have OCD or otherwise can’t stand hangers facing the wrong direction or mixed directions, add a mark to the hanger, such as a small sticker around the neck, or a twisty tie — whatever work to help indicate what’s worn and what’s not.

I used to have a hard time parting with my clothes — feeling like it was a waste of money. It’s not. Donation allows those unworn clothes to serve a better purpose. Your donated threads are clothing someone who needs clothes. It’ll make a world of difference to that person — something it can’t do sitting in your closest collecting dust.

If you have old business clothes, even if they are from 1985, please donate them. So many people need those clothes to get back on their feet and go to job interviews. You will really change their life.

2. Grab an empty jar — an old bottle of marinara sauce or whatever. Clean it well and leave it someplace where you see it all the time, like on the fireplace or near your night stand. Every time something good happens, write it on a piece of paper and slip it into the jar. Then on December 31st, 2013, we will dump it out and read it. Chances are something great has already happened this year, so you already have something to add to it. You can also write future notes to yourself.  (This idea came to me by way of Engine 2 Diet LOVE it! Image and original concept by Mom Scholar).

So that’s it. Two ridiculously easy minimalists tasks for the new year that will add up to a huge change at the end of the year.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 6th, 2013

Start Your Own Community Potluck!

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Jen emailed me with pictures of her community potluck that she held at her church. After her husband tested his blood sugars and found out his levels were over 300, they decided to take matters into their own hands and use a plant-based diet to get healthier. Now, Jen and her family are helping members of her community and church by educating them and getting them active. They have hosted a vegan potluck on the first Sunday of every month since May.

Here are some great pictures from Jen’s potluck:

Are you inspired to start your own community potluck? You can start with your community center, Meetup.com, church, even schools!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 5th, 2013

Happy Herbivore Abroad has been on Tour!

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Happy Herbivore Abroad has been busy on tour — visiting more than 30
blogs in December. Here’s a list of all the places the book stopped at.
Each blogger interviewed me, and there were some really great questions!
Check them out! 

Ashley from It All Started in 6th Grade
Ami from Plant Based Adventures
Vala from Single Childfree Me
Jacqueline from Barefoot Essence
Molly from S/V Stella Blue
Karen from Ready Set Green Diet
Winnie from Lettuce Free Vegan
Shelly from Plantiful Wellness
Laura from Plant-Based Junkies
Sandy from Gluten Free Vegan Living
Jennifer from Reinventing Nutrition
Somer from Vedged Out
Elizabeth from NashVegan
Debra from Soul Reflections
Gretchen from Veggie Grettie
Annie from An Unrefined Vegan
Audrey from Just Audrey
Rebecca from Why Not?
Lisa from The Fountain of Health
Madison from Eating 4 Balance
Laura from Plantcentric
Crissie from RunCrissieRun
Jenn from Organic Cents
Rachel from Former Fish Taco Fanatic
Lacey from Lacey Loves Food
Jill from The Year of The Phoenix
Hannah from Clean Eating Veggie Girl
Diana from Veggie Next Door
Mina from Sharing a Love of Running, Vegan Cooking and Life
Marty from Marty’s Flying Vegan Review
Heidi from Wellness Junkie

Thank you to everyone who hosted me and my book — it was so much fun! 

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 4th, 2013

The Top Blog Posts of 2012

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With the help of Google Analytics, I was able to figure out which of my blog posts had the most hits, likes, shares, etc. In case you missed them (or you need a second helping!), here are the most popular blog posts on happyherbivore.com for 2012 (and all time!) 

This Year:

1. So, What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

2. What Is Vital Wheat Gluten?

3.The Mighty Potato (Different Ways To Eat Potatoes)

4. Quick & Easy Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes

5. Backpack Across Europe on $1,000

All Time:

1. What Are Rolled Oats?

2. Vegan Paleo Diet

3. I’m Not “Vegan” Anymore

4. What Is Nutritional Yeast?

5. Top 10 Go Vegan Tips

Enjoy!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 3rd, 2013

Herbie of the Week: 2012 Recap

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It has been an amazing (Amazing!!!) year. So many people are changing their lives thanks to a plant-based diet. We had so many incredible stories in 2012, and I already have another 14 lined up for 2013! Lives are changing! Hail to the kale!

Here is a look back on all of our 2012 Herbies of the Week!!!

Lisa lost 20 lbs., a total of 10 inches, gained more confidence and energy, and lost the “brain fog!”

Teresa struggled with a plant-based diet on and off again for the past 25 years but finally found the determination and resources to make it stick after being diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome!


Candy reversed her diabetes, lost 30 lbs., has more energy, and looks and feels so much better inside and out!


Dale got off his medication for diabetes, gout, and high blood pressure plus lowered his cholesterol!


Sara struggled with losing weight, but turned to a plant-based diet and lost 96 lbs., lowered her blood pressure, has more energy, and is much happier!


Angie lost 70 lbs., plus lowered her cholesterol and blood pressure. She is so much more active and feels wonderful!


Pam lost 67 lbs., raised her iron levels so she was no longer anemic and has gained her life back!


Deanna no longer needs her blood pressure medicine and has greatly improved her overall health. She is more in shape and has more energy!


Kay lost 40 lbs., lowered her cholesterol, has more energy than she has had in years, and feels so much better!


Mike lost 83 lbs., does not struggle to find any good food, and has cured his headaches and sleep problems!


Jennifer lost 50 lbs., her IBS and acid reflux have been cured, plus she has gotten off her blood pressure medicine!


Pragati lost 8 lbs. in 21 days and feels less sluggish and much lighter!


Lisa P. lost 65 lbs., going from a size 16 to a 4. She also lost all her cravings for sweets and sugars!


Nancy is thrilled with her plant-based lifestyle and knows she will never get bored with the endless options offered!

Kessa lost 30 lbs., gets more done in her day, and has reversed her oily skin!


Cole lost 140 lbs. and has an awesome attitude about life!


Melissa lost 100 lbs. and feels so much lighter! Plus, she loves the added bonus of cheaper grocery trips!


Julie turned her 30-year vegetarian lifestyle to plant-based and lost 60 lbs. and also became more active!


Ryan lost 40 lbs. and combated all of her stomach/digestive issues!


Georgie used plant-based eating to help her overcome her eating disorder and have a more positive attitude!


Mary Lou cleared up her rosacea and was able to run the family tradition 5k!


Aaron is a firefighter who lost 22 lbs. and got off his blood pressure medicine!


Jeannine lost 85 lbs., lowered her blood pressure, and got off her auto-immune medicine!


Tina lost 63 lbs. and stopped her dieting yo-yo!


David lost 70 lbs., is at 9% body fat, and has no more pain from his many severe injuries!


Jessica lost 35 lbs. and got off her medications for fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, IBS, depression, and bipolar disorders!


Pamela lost 30 lbs. and no longer has her chronic fatigue!


Jenny has lost quite a bit of weight, and her diet has helped stop the growth of a tumor she has!


Claudia turned around her 30-year cholesterol problem and lowered her blood pressure!


James lost 35 lbs., cleared his skin, ran his first 5k, and has more optimism than ever before!

Todd lost 10 lbs. in 2 weeks and has more energy than ever!


Marissa & Nick both have so much more energy, and neither one has meat or dairy cravings!


Monica had her best pregnancy with her 4th child at 42!


Kim fixed her cholesterol, thyroid, and asthma issues, plus she lost a few pounds!


Talia & Jacob are some of the cutest kids! Their mom was able to cure Jacob’s constant stuffy nose and upset stomach by going plant-based. When Talia was born, she was having diaper rashes that were easily fixed by the complete plant-based lifestyle their mom made.


Brianne lost 9 lbs. by only changing her diet and significantly improved her PMS symptoms and her skin!


Natalie completely got rid of her gestational diabetes and lost 50 pounds!


Bob massively lowered his cholesterol and knows he can never go back to eating how he was!


Anne lowered her cholesterol, has lost weight, and has loved trying all the different foods!


The Fox family all changed their diets and have enjoyed weight loss and a higher energy level!


Michelle’s plant-based diet helped with her eating disorder and she has noticed changed in her athletic performance!


Chris lost 130 lbs. and is incredibly proud to be a Happy Herbivore!


Ruth lost 30 lbs. and completed her first triathalon! 


Andrea W. lost 20 lbs and lowered her bad cholesterol!


Carolyn lost 50 lbs., lowered her cholesterol, and knows there is no turning back!


Dana reversed her pre-diabetic state and knows it is never too late to change your health!


Kevin lost 90 lbs. and was taken off his blood pressure, heart, water pills, cholesterol, and stomach acid medications!


Erika lost 60 lbs. and got rid of her constant headaches! 

Ferrin was able to turn around a very scary situation and fixed her severe abdominal pains!

Diane lost 50 lbs., cleared her eczema, and has let go of her Diet Coke and junk food addiction!

Robin lost 200 lbs. and has followed her passion and designs t-shirts and other products!

Congratulations to all of the 2012 Happy Herbies of the Week and thank you for sharing your stories!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 2nd, 2013

Cranberry Pancakes, Pumpkin Dip + Easy “Weeknight” Meals & Fan Favorites!

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Cranberry Pancakes, Pumpkin Dip, Hummus & “Cheesy” Tomato Breakfast Sandwiches, Black Bean Soup plus lots of our fan favorite (easy) “weeknight” meals to make getting healthy in 2013 a breeze! 

Individual Plan Highlights: 

Pumpkin Dip 
Hummus & Cheesy Tomato Breakfast Sandwich (NEW!)
Cranberry Apple Oatmeal
Blueberry Muffin
Quick Burgers (Fan Fave!)
Moroccan Lentil Soup
Black Bean Soup (Mmm!)
Mediterranean Wraps
Creamy Carrot Soup 
Chana Palak Masala (Popular!)
Asian Stir-Fry
Cool Noodle Bowl 

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights: 

Breakfast Burritos
Chocolate Granola (Fan Fave!)
Pumpkin Dip
Cranberry Pancakes (NEW!)
Apple Crisp Muffins
Hummus & Cheesy Tomato Breakfast Sandwich (NEW!)
Black Bean Soup
Easy Enchilada Bake (Popular!)
Meditteranean Wraps
Quick Burgers (Always a hit!)
Creamy Carrot Soup 
Lasagna Rolls (Kid-approved big time!)
Creole Beans & Rice
Winter Chili Bowl (NEW!)
Mexican Stuffed Peppers 

Get this meal plan now. 

Testimonials: 

“We’ve been using the meal plans for a few days now and I must say that we have loved everything that we’ve made so far. We have been plant based for almost a year now and sorta fell into a “rut” with our meal choices. Your meal plan has recharged both of us and we’re looking forward to heading  into the New Year with some direction and guidance.” – Scott D.

“I have to give you a big thank you for your food plan. It is so convenient. We have been using it for the past 2 weeks. My non-vegan husband is loving the food and the portion control.” – Louise H.

Get started with the meal plans now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

January 1st, 2013

Why Did You Adopt A Plant-Based Diet?

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Any time someone asks me why I follow a plant-based diet, I share the “10 Reasons I’m Plant-Based” (health, environmental concerns, plight of farm animals, world hunger, etc.). 

When I went vegetarian as a child, my motivations
were purely compassion: I loved animals, I didn’t want to eat them. When
I returned back to a vegetarian diet in my early twenties (after a few years’  hiatus due to peer pressure), my motivation was primarily health: I
thought being vegetarian would help me make better food choices, but I
also still cared about animals and eating meat never really felt quite
right. Going plant-based (vegan) was mostly rooted in vanity, with some
motivation from health, too. Of course the reasons I remain plant-based
are long and vast. I have so many motivations… 

Point is, I think any reason someone adopts a
plant-based (vegan) diet is a good one. I also find even if they only
initially care about one issue (i.e., health), over time they start to
care about the other issues, too. It becomes a multi-pronged stool for
them as it did for me. 

Still, I’m always curious to see what motivated someone to make the change, so I asked the Herbies on Facebook what their motivation was. 

Over 100 people answered! Here are the highlights:

13
years of chronic fatigue and getting the flu 4 times a year! I had HAD
it, and was desperate for a change. It’s been 21 months, I’ve lost 30
lbs. and never felt better. :)
:)” — Jessica L.

my
gym recommended The China Study and Forks over Knives and after I read
that I started eliminating meat and dairy. I continue to do it because
of my health and I don’t want to leave cancer up to chance or luck if I
have an opportunity to prevent it.
” — Sara M.

FOK and a small piece of plaque found in my carotid artery!” — Laura H.

after
2 1/2 years of being sick finally realized I was allergic to meat and
dairy. On 7 meds at the time (32 years ago), within a year I was off all
meds and never felt better
.” — Jess R.

I
ate bad burger at a fast food restaurant, was sick for 2 days. That did
it for me… Then I started googling vegan stuff, and found Happy
Herbivore
” — Jaira S.

I
saw fish being sliced open while they were still alive on the Montauk
boardwalk when I was in middle school… became vegetarian instantly and
a vegan 1 year ago. I couldn’t imagine it any other way now.
” — Audrey
J.

I
watched both of my parents die, and both of them having an American
processed food diet made their battles so much worse
.” — Julie M.

The
realization that the reason I was sick all the time was that I was
unable to digest animal products. Then the realization that the factory
farm industry is one of the most disgusting and depressing things
EVER… then the knowledge of the antibiotics, the hormones, the GMOs…
gee, need I go on?
” — Kaitlin P.

So
wanted to get off the calorie counting, exercise to eat merry go round!
Took control of my health and now will never look back
” — Leslie M.

Love
for animals! And the books Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer
…The Lucky Ones by Jenny Brown and the movie Food Inc.? Changed my views
forever!
” — Michele W.

I am Buddhist and certified in yoga, so becoming a vegetarian came natural to me. As I deepened both my Buddhist studies.” — Ann Marie N.

Health
and the environment… Vegetables wrapped in their own skins are so
much less wasteful than the boxes and bags and outer wrap and inner wrap
of the processed stuff
.” — Laura M.

The happy herbivore facebook page and cookbooks!” — Lisa Y.

My
friend asked how I could be an animal lover and actually eat them. She
changed my life and I am ever grateful to her
.” — Valerie S.

My
mom and dad had heart attacks at 58 and 61. Unfortunately, my Dad didn’t survive. I had children later in life and don’t want the same fate
.” —Stephanie H.

My bunny.” — Emilia B.

It
was a perfect storm of things that came together to bring me to this
fantastic place. New Year’s was coming up and I needed a resolution to
make, PCRM was starting their 21 Day Kickstart program and I saw the
first few minutes (it was all I could w
atch)
of Paul McCartney (BIG Beatles fan since very young) narrating the “If
Slaughterhouses had Glass Walls” video. I have been plant-based ever
since (coming up on 3 years and 50+ fewer pounds later…) And it was
very shortly after all that when I discovered Happy Herbivore and a ton
of fantastic recipes (I won a collection of your eBooks early on) and
great advice that made the transition so easy!”
 — Dennis P.

I
read “The China Study” this summer, the first anniversary of my breast
cancer diagnosis. Going plant-strong for my health, although giving up
dairy is drastic for this Norwegian-American.
” — Britt O.

Introducing our Herbies 101 series! 

Back
in November, I asked the Herbies on Facebook what
questions they had about adopting a totally 100% plant-based
diet. Hundreds of comments poured in and we were able to classify them
into several groups:

- Medical conditions & bodily functions

- Allergies

- Kids

- Cooking & meals

- Ingredients

- Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrition questions

- Misc. concerns

I’m going to try to answer all the questions in each category starting on Tuesday as part of our new Herbies 101 series! 

If you have any questions, leave a comment here and we’ll make sure it’s included.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 31st, 2012

Minimalist Monday: Reaching Your Goals (Short-Term Goals For Long-Term Success)

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With the new year comes a sense of rebirth — starting over. It’s a new
year — everything that happened the year before is forgiven, forgotten,
gleefully lost. It’s a new year and its arrival spawns hope and
optimism in many of us. 

We aspire to be better. 

We are inspired to be better. 

We set goals and “New Year’s Resolutions” so we can become our best selves. 

This year and this Minimalist Monday, I want to help you reach
your goals by teaching you my simple strategy. It’s not something I
developed but something I adopted, and it has made all the difference in
the world for my life and my minimalist journey. 

Sure, being a minimalist was initially about having
less debt and finding more personal happiness, but over time, I have
realized being a minimalist is about becoming my best self. Letting the
brightest parts of me shine without obstruction and feeling like I am my
best, working optimally and growing personally and profoundly in all
aspects of my life.

Now, a confession: Patience is not a virtue I have.
I’m the classic “live for instant gratification” type of personality;
I’m simply not the type of person who can labor away at something on the
sheer promise of a big payoff later down the road… (and that’s
okay).

So how can someone like me — someone lacking
patience with an impossibly short attention span — accomplish goals that
take more than an instant to gratify? How can I reach goals even with a
tightly jammed schedule that has no give?

By breaking my goals down and making my “now now NOW” personality work to my advantage.

Surrender large and lofty aspirations and exchange them for small, seemingly harmless goals and challenges. 

Each week I adopt a new goal and when I complete it,  I congratulate myself and move on. And in the chance that I fail (and I
have failed), I try again the following week.

Smaller changes are easier than big ones, but they are no less valuable. 

Sure making a goal to drink 2 more glasses of water a
day doesn’t have the glitter and pizzazz of a goal like “I’m going to go
to the gym 6 days a week and give up diet soda, cookies, and ice cream!” But which of the two goals is more likely to be successful?

Plus, when you succeed, you’re empowered to do more, versus a failure that might cause you to retreat. 

Small changes added together still yield the same result, but with a better success rate. 

Humans are creatures of habit. We thrive on
structure and order, which is why so many of us struggle to make and
stick with huge, over-arching changes… but small changes are less
burdensome and if done right, are all but a hiccup in the status quo. 

For example, planning to exercise an hour a day is a
nice goal, but a tough one if you’ve previously been inactive. Start
with a smaller goal instead — exercising 5 or 10 minutes each day, and
adding on each week you’re successful. With small goals, you’re effectively creating new habits
and without straining past structure and order. Plus, you’ll get out of
bed if you say “just 5 minutes” of dancing in the living room, but are likely
roll over and hit the snooze if the option is driving to the gym to
work out for 60 minutes.

Take little bites and think of it this way: If you
set one small goal each week, you will have accomplished 52 total goals
by this time next year.

I don’t care how small
each goal is. 52 minor changes equals one heck of a big change in my
book — and most importantly, they were 52 changes you stuck with! How many
changes did you stick with in 2012?

What’s your first small goal? 

Mine
is to stop biting my thumbs. I know I won’t be able to quit biting my
nails totally straight out the gate, so I’m taking it a finger at a
time!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 30th, 2012

I have OCD (and I moved to Lake Tahoe)

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Remember when Scott & I visited Lake Tahoe in September? (See A Vegan Taste of Tahoe part 1 and part 2)

We
fell in love. Well, we knew we would. We went up there for a birthday
“getaway” and to check out the area — see if it was somewhere we
wanted to live for the winter.

Los Angeles has a lot to offer but it isn’t exactly the place you want to live when your world revolves around snowboarding.

So, two weeks ago, we moved to Lake Tahoe :)

One thing I love about being a minimalist? I was able to pack up what we
needed in a few hours on Friday night (I’m a terrible procrastinator)
and unpack all of it within an hour or so when we got to Tahoe.

We
tend to rent furnished places so all we have to do is pack our
computers, clothes, my cooking stuff and my spices. Oh, and the pugs.
Can’t forget them! (Not that they’d let us!! They actually sit in my
suitcase as I pack it!)

I unpacked my spices first. It’s all about priorities!

So
we’re in Tahoe and loving it. We hit the slopes first thing Sunday
morning (again, priorities) and it’s been hard to remind myself that I
have to do work, too. Why can’t someone pay me to snowboard already ;)

Speaking of work: I’m just finishing up the manuscript for my fourth cookbook (due out December 2013!). So enjoy Happy Herbivore Abroad for now — she has a sibling on the way! 

Once I turn my manuscript in to my publisher on New Years I’m taking a long hiatus.


For
the past five years I haven’t really had a day off. I’ve worked and
worked and worked some more. (I wrote about this in greater detail in my
post, Minimalist Monday: Learning to Say No). Even when I went to Europe last year for a month, it wasn’t really a “vacation” because I was busy researching for Abroad.

The workaholic lifestyle has certainly benefited me
– I cannot deny that. I constantly look around and am amazed (though
humbled) by my success and what I have achieved.

Though for someone who has OCD (and I have OCD) this can become very problematic. 

I used to have a lot of stress and anxiety all the
time. I was constantly scared and worried about Happy Herbivore and if,
god forbid, I forgot to post something on Facebook. Or if I missed an
email or tweet. I had really wound myself up about it. I was checking my
rank on Amazon hourly. I was micromanaging everyone who worked with
me. 

It was getting worse by the day. My obsession was
taking me over. I was always angry and on edge. I would scream if Scott
dared pry my phone or laptop out of my hand. 

I
knew it was getting unhealthy but I didn’t know what to do about it. I
didn’t know how to sign out of my email.
I didn’t know how to power down
my laptop. I didn’t know how to be away from Happy Herbivore.

I was worried if I took a break – even a moment away
— that everything I had worked so hard for — everything I had built
up — would unravel. That it would all be lost and I’d be back at square
one.

I was going insane. That much is clear.

So
that’s when I started talking to someone. Right off the bat my doctor
diagnosed me with OCD. I thought, “OCD? WHAT? Isn’t that, like, people
who was their hands 100x?

It is, but I had OCD too. It just showed itself in a non-hand washing kind of way.

My therapy? I
started taking breaks. It was killing me at first but when I would go a
day without checking my email, only to realize everything was just as I
had left it, I felt better.

Then I went to Finland for the release of EHH in Finnish (leaving Happy Herbivore in
capable hands) and was so happy to see she was still there in all her
glory when I came back. 

I started to accept that I, too, could have the balance I’m always preaching to others. (Those that can’t do, teach, right?).

Between learning to say no, and being able to take a
break without hyperventilating, I made a grand resolution to take a
real break.
Have myself a happy vacation. In LA, they call this a
hiatus. 

So what does the hiatus mean for me, you and Happy Herbivore?

It
means I won’t be traveling to any conferences or book signings, at
least not for the next three months** and I’ll be (politely) declining
radio interviews and the like. (Please come back in April).

Happy Herbivore will still be here — I’ll still be posting blog
posts and I’ll be active on Facebook and Twitter — though I may be a
bit slower in response time. I’ll also be checking my email with less
frequency. You’ll get an email response – promise! Just not instantly :)

The meal plans will still be released each week too — so no worries there! 

Maybe you won’t even notice a change — but I sure hope I will.

I’m here to enjoy Tahoe, breath and find a balance. Living with OCD is all about finding that balance.

[Editorial note: After writing this blog post I found this comic
by The Oatmeal then shot both fists in the air saying, SOMEONE
UNDERSTANDS ME! As a warning, it is a tad graphic with adult language,
but, oh, how I love The Oatmeal, and my best friend who introduced us].

**
I did make some commitments before deciding to take a hiatus and will
be honoring those. As such, I’ll be in the Bay Area Jan 5 and Marshall, Texas Jan 11-13.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 29th, 2012

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Coffee, Cornstarch Substitutes, Iron, B Vitamins, & Workplace Treats!)

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You’ve got questions…


Q: Do you drink coffee? Is drinking coffee unhealthy?

A: I don’t drink coffee.  It makes me too jittery. As for whether or not it’s unhealthy, I think we can all agree that coffee isn’t a health food, like, say, a bunch of broccoli or an apple :)

There are other considerations too — Is the coffee more like a candy bar in a glass? (Think Starbucks latte). If so, that’s not good. Has milk or cream been added? Because dairy is bad for the bod, even in small amounts.

Also — how many cups are being consumed per day? 1? 5? 10? Is there a caffeine addiction? Is the coffee drinker using caffeine to mask chronic fatigue for a poor diet or lack of rest, or both? 

Sure, there are worse things, but I think it’s important to remember that coffee is not a “health food,” even in its black state, and caffeine is still a drug. Decaf coffee isn’t necessarily all that better, since it still has some caffeine and the process of removing caffeine from coffee is pretty harsh.

If you want coffee without the coffee, try Teeccino . It’s awesome.  

Q: Is there a substitute for cornstarch?

A. Try arrowroot powder

Q: Have you ever blogged about diabetes and plant-based diets? As I skim through vegan recipes, I’m a bit leary about all the sugar, dried fruits, carrots, etc. that I see.

A: I recommend Prevent and Reverse Diabetes by Neal Barnard.

Q: Just wondering how you deal with low zinc, iron, and Vitamin B. I’m low.

A: I don’t have any deficiency issues (and never have had them), though they can happen regardless of diet. My sister, for example, is anemic (low iron) and will always be anemic no matter what diet she eats. Two friends of mine that eat meat and more meat are B12-deficient, and anemic. Sometimes a supplement is required. If you’re testing low, your doctor should put you on a supplement if necessary. Talk to your doctor.

For more info about iron, you can read my sister’s post. 

You can also Google to see what plant foods are high in zinc, iron, and B, and incorporate more into your diet. A great resource for this info is whfoods.com.

I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist though, so you really should discuss these concerns with a doctor or other medical professional.

Q: I’m going to a coffee hour next week and would like to bring a gluten-free treat. There will be about 5 of us there. Any recipe suggestions?

A: Make any HH muffin recipe with GF flour, either a commercial blend, or the blend in EHH.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 28th, 2012

How To Wash Vegetables with Baking Soda and Vinegar

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Getting minimalist in the kitchen — how to wash your vegetables with baking soda and vinegar.

After a severe case of food poisoning last year, I’ve become somewhat militant about washing my produce.

While
there are sprays and cleaners you can buy commercially, I like to stay
“minimalist” and use basics I have at home: my beloved baking soda and vinegar. (Coincidentally, I also clean my house with these two items!)

Most fruits and vegetables need to be washed before
eating. I used to think a good rinse under warm running water was
sufficient, but as I learned the hard way, this does not actually remove
germs and bacteria. 

Enter our pals vinegar and baking soda! 

How to clean produce with vinegar: 

For smooth-skinned fruits and vegetables: Pour
white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle with 3 cups water. Secure
lid and shake well to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Spray the
fruit/vegetable enough so the entire food is covered (about 6 sprays).
Rub your fruit/vegetable to make sure it is well covered. After a minute
or so, rinse fruit/vegetable under cold running water to remove the
vinegar (and vinegar taste). Pat dry before slicing or eating.

For leafy greens: Pour white distilled
vinegar into a large bowl and add 3 cups water. Stir with a large spoon
to mix the liquids together. Separate the leaves of your leafy
vegetables and dip them into the vinegar solution. Remove leaves from
the bowl and rinse under cold running water. Shake off excess liquid and
let air dry or pat dry before serving. 

For vegetables with crevices (i.e., broccoli): Pour
white distilled vinegar into a large bowl and add 3 cups water. Stir
with a large spoon to mix the liquids together. Place vegetable in a
large bowl and submerge. Let soak for at least two minutes. Rinse under
cold water and shake off excess. Let air dry or pay dry before cooking
or serving. 

How to clean produce with baking soda:

For sturdy (not soft-skinned) fruits and vegetables: Sprinkle
baking soda generously on your fruit/vegetable and scrub. Rinse under
cold running water until all traces of the baking soda are gone. 

For leafy greens: Sprinkle baking soda all over the leafy greens and let sit for about 2 minutes before lightly scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly.

Do you have any household tips or tricks for cleaning produce?

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 27th, 2012

Herbie of the Week: Robin

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Back in July, I received this email from Robin:

I
am a vegan like you. I used to weight 333 lbs. and now I weigh 132 lbs. I
have been following a vegan diet for the past 7 years. I was raw for a
while; now I eat low-fat vegan after watching “Forks Over Knives” and seeing
Dr. Esselstyn speak in person. 

I couldn’t help but blink and stare at the words — she’d lost 200 lbs! I knew I had to interview her…

HH: 200 lbs. is an incredible weight loss! Tell us about that. 

I am more embarrassed about my weight loss than proud of it. I mean how
can a person let themselves get up to 333 lbs.? I have tried to hide the
fact that I have lost 201 lbs. because telling someone that is like
saying I was a failure. I know it is a backwards way of thinking, but I
have a lot of shame about ever being that big. I think unless you have
ever been that overweight, you don’t realize how alone and alienated you
feel being the largest person in a room, or not fitting into to normal
clothes.

HH: So what happened? How did you get up to 333 lbs.? 

I
have always struggled with my weight throughout my life. When I was a
child, my mother was a health nut and completely obsessed with her weight
(and mine). She
convinced me that I was a fat kid and I was always being restricted or
put on a diet. Funny thing is, when I look back at old pictures of myself
as a child, I was normal weight. Not heavy at all. I did eventually gain
weight when I was in middle school and high school and was sent to fat
camps during the summer where I would lose 30 bs., get back down to a
normal weight, and then gain it back during the school year. I used food
as a friend, to comfort me when I felt alone.

I finally found love when I was 20 years old and I dealt with all the
ups and downs of that relationship by using food as my drug of choice.
Eleven years later, my marriage ended. Since I was thin, I couldn’t blame
it on my weight, which I had always done in the past. That SUCKED! I
always had told myself that if I was just thin..then my life would be
perfect. WRONG!!! My weight went up and down most of my adult life, but
my marriage ending sent me over the deep end. Because I wasn’t fat when
my marriage ended, it must be me that was flawed. At least that was what I
told myself at the time. I drowned myself in food. No one was ever
going to get that close to me and hurt me again. I went from 135 lbs. to
333 lbs. I had given up! At least I thought I had. 

HH: What changed?

One day, I went to pick
my daughter up at her girlfriend’s house. She lived on top of a very
steep hill and I had to park my car at the bottom and walk up. By the
time I had got to the front door, I thought I was having a heart attack.
I was beet red, I couldn’t stop sweating, and I couldn’t catch my
breath. I thought “this is insane!” I am killing myself and I have a 4-year-old daughter to take care of. TIME TO CHANGE!  They say it matters
why we end up fat and that we are eating to stuff down some big emotions  that we don’t want to deal with. That’s probably true, but in the end
for me it just all boiled down to the fact that I just didn’t want to live like this
anymore. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up with a mom that she had to
make excuses for, and I didn’t want her to turn out like me.

HH: What did you do? Did you change your diet? Exercise?

I am somewhat of an extremist (It takes that all or nothing
personality to get up to 333 lbs.), so I decided to pick a diet that was
the complete opposite of the way I was eating. I was living on coffee,
diet soda, candy, ice cream, and fast food. I chose a diet that
eliminated all processed food, all caffeine, all bread, and the only
carbs I ate were fruits and vegetables. I slowly started exercising
again. At first I could only do 5 minutes on a stationary bike, but that
was a start. I worked my way up to 45 minutes. If I wanted to overeat, I
turned to chicken, cheese, and salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Even with the overeating, I still lost weight. In about 2 years, I was
down to 165 lbs., but the scale stopped moving.

HH: What brought you to a plant-based/vegan diet? 

After the weight loss, I felt really good but I still had 30 lbs. left to
go and I knew the large amounts of chicken and cheese I was eating
weren’t that healthy. For the first time in my life, I stopped focusing on
the weight and was focusing on my health. I read a book that advocated a
vegan diet but was afraid that the main reason the cravings were gone
were because all that protein was stabilizing my blood sugar. Still, I
felt it was something I had try, so I eliminated all animal products and
added more carbs in the form of beans and whole grains like quinoa,
yams, sweet potatoes, corn, and rice. 

HH: What was the result?

I was right, the cravings came back, but I fought through them and
managed to lose 20 more pounds. I was down to 145 lbs., but I was fighting
back the urge to overeat all the time. 

HH: Did it ever get better for you? 

After a couple of years
of being vegan, I lost all desire for animal. My big problem was that
slowly but surely, my desire for sugar was creeping its way back. Sugar
is vegan, you know. Over the next few years, I managed to keep almost all
of the weight off with the exception of 25 lbs. that I would keep losing
by juice fasting, or worse, the master cleanse (a concoction of lemon
juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup) and regaining by binging on
sugar and fat. I would rationalize my action by telling myself at least
when I was overeating, I was eating healthy version of unhealthy foods
like organic chocolate instead of a Hershey bar, or a healthy cookies
with agave nectar and oil instead of an Oreo, or raw chocolate treats
with nuts and coconut oil. What it all came down to was I was losing my
war on controlling my cravings and I was scared to death of ever gaining
my weight back. I had made a promise to myself that I would never let
that happen but I seemed to think 20 to 30 lbs. still kept me within a
normal weight range so it was OK.


HH: Was there another turning point for you? 

The next turning point for me came during a family trip to Disneyland. We were in Tomorrowland and they had an exhibit showing
what 10 lbs. of human fat looks like, and it hit me. I had 2 to 3 extra of those
unhealthy, jelly-looking things I was carrying around with me.

I
decided the juice fasting was becoming more unhealthy than healthy for
me, because I was using it as an easy way to lose weight fast and then I
would go back to my binging on sugar and unhealthy (yet vegan)
processed, fat-laden foods soon afterwards. I was fed up and ready to
get off this ride. So this time, I tried green smoothies. I thought for
me they were healthier because they had the fiber, but they were also
high in fat (nuts) and sugar (dates and fruit). It wasn’t until I
watched the movie Fork Over Knives and saw Dr. Esselstyn speak that a
bell went off and I FINALLY got it. It was the fat that was addictive! I
thought it was the sugar and the carbs, but fruit alone or grains
without fat are NOT addictive. 

HH: What’s your diet like now? 

Now
I follow a no oil, no nuts, fat-free, plant-based diet with LOTS of
greens and am the thinnest (132 lbs.) I have ever been. I love the way I
feel and how weight (and food obsession) is no longer a problem. 

I am also really happy that I convinced my husband and daughter to eat
this way as well. My husband has suffered from knee problems for the
past 15 years and hasn’t been able to run or ride bicycles for the last
10. He assumed it was from years of abuse from being a carpet layer and a
previous motorcycle accident. After a month of eating this way, he
caught himself running up the driveway and got all the way to the house
before he noticed he was running (no pain) and we just went on a 17-mile
bike ride a few weeks ago. Before switching to this way of eating, he
was looking into knee replacement surgery…WooHoo!!! 

HH: When I first saw your pictures, I could not believe you are 50. I
still don’t believe it. 50 is a big birthday for a lot of people — was
it for you? 

When I turned 50, I did some real soul searching. It was a hard birthday,  because I felt I was saying goodbye to the last 50 years, and then I
realized that wasn’t true. I was actual saying “HELLO” to next 50. ;) I
had been designing t-shirts and products for everyone else over the last
25 years and decided to follow my passion. So I came up with a line of
vegan tees and gifts. I am so passionate of this lifestyle and way of
eating and feel it has changed every aspect of my life. I am vegan for
life!

HH: Thank you Robin for sharing you story — it was so brave and powerful. If you’d like to check out some of Robin’s
shirts, visit her store.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 26th, 2012

Butternut Hummus, Gingerbread Pancakes & MORE + FREE New Year New You ebook!

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More holiday flavors this week like Gingerbread Oatmeal but other new tastes like Butternut Hummus, Butternut & Bean Tacos, Spicy Noodles & MORE! Plus our New Year, New You eBook that will help you reach your 2013 goals!

Get the meal plan now.

Individual Plan Highlights:

Peanut Butter Quinoa
Gingerbread Oatmeal (NEW!)
Single-Serving Cranberry Muffins
Cranberry-Apple Oatmeal
Butternut Hummus (NEW!)
Fall Veggie Wrap
Easy Black Beans & Rice (NEW!)
Spicy Black Bean Wrap
Spicy Peanut Noodles
Hippie Loaf
Butternut Squash & Black Bean Tacos (NEW!)
Maple Glazed Vegetables

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights:

Sweet Potato Breakfast Roll-Ups
Gingerbread Oatmeal (NEW!)
Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal
Gingerbread Pancakes (NEW!)
Green Spring Wraps
Smoked Cauliflower Soup
Butternut Hummus (NEW!)
Orange Teriyaki 
Butternut & Black Bean Tacos (NEW!)
Veggie Pot Pie
Hippie Loaf
Peanut Noodles
“Steak” Tacos

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials: 

“I buy your meal plans almost every week! They’re wonderful! You’ve helped me cut down on my grocery bill and made life much simpler – thank you!” – Karla A.

“These [meal plans] are great! I’ve been vegan for about
a year and a half and I have to tell you, if you aren’t careful you
can really get into a rut with your meal options…Thank you Happy Herbivore for providing a variety!!!” – Bobbie B.

Get started with the meal plans now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 25th, 2012

Exploring the Relationship Between Veganism and Religion

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Back in July, a Herbie emailed me asking if I knew of any Bible quotes
that supported veganism or a plant-based diet. I didn’t know of verses
off-hand, but thanks to a quick Google search, I found this website:
Vegetarianism and the Bible.

Afterward, I started thinking about religion and veganism, and how I
have friends of many different faiths and beliefs, many of which are
vegan or vegetarian because of their faith, or they find the two go hand
in hand. For example, when a friend of mine became Buddhist, he adopted a
vegan diet, explaining he felt he had to be a vegan to be consistent
with his beliefs. Similarly, another friend of mine was born and raised
vegetarian because she is a Seventh Day Adventist.

I wondered if others, particularly others of different faiths and
beliefs, found this same connection. I decided to ask the Herbies on
Facebook
for their thoughts. I explained I was interested in writing a blog post
that explored religion/spirituality and its relationship (if any) to
their vegan lifestyle and/or plant-based dietary choices. I welcomed
anyone to email me with their thoughts and opinions. Dozens of emails
poured in, and I’m sharing their thoughts with you today.

Please note that I’m not advocating any one religion or even religion at all.
I’m only sharing what some people in our community feel and believe,  since this topic doesn’t seem to be discussed elsewhere on the internet.
This is also a question I get fairly often and I’m hoping this post can
help answer some of those questions in greater detail.

I come from a family that is very religiously diverse (nearly every
family member has a different faith or no faith at all) and our practice
is to “love and respect” each other, even when we differ. I take that with me always.

Now, let’s explore!

“Religion didn’t play into the decision
for me to move to a plant-based diet, but it did confirm to me the
feeling that our bodies are made to perform perfectly without meat.
(Biblically speaking, we were vegetarians until after the flood.)” — M.
B.

“I’m a Seventh Day Adventist Christian, and the church as a whole
promotes a plant-based vegetarian diet as the ideal based on it being
with the original diet (check the book of Genesis). For more
information, SDADA Facts.”  — M.P.  

“I’m a Hindu — born and raised as one — but that’s not why I changed
to a plant-based lifestyle. My dad ate meat all his life. My mom has
never eaten it once and I have family members at all ends of this
spectrum. I’m the only one who has given up dairy products. We’ve always
abstained from eating meat on certain days of the week, at religious
ceremonies (weddings, births, religious holidays, etc.) but my religion didn’t have anything to do with my giving up meat, or dairy, or oil (unless you call my health my religion).” — P.C.

“I feel that God blessed me with this body and I’m sure he wants me
to take care of it. My diet and exercise routine helps me do that.” —
 A.M.

“I’m not a follower of any religion, but eating animals and
thoughts of them facing death or cruelty is harmful to my spirit and my
conscience. No leader or dogma directed me to feel that way, though.” — H.K.

“My mom is a fundamentalist Christian, but she’s a vegetarian now. Some Christians like to use the God-gave-us-dominion-over-animals argument (a.k.a., “eat meat the way God intended” argument). There is a great book called Dominion by Matthew Sculley that addresses this — he’s a vegan and a Christian. It’s interesting. To
me, veganism is a spiritual belief and it’s part of my spiritual
practice of non-harming. If people are offended by it, I try to be open,
non-defensive and polite
.” — M. B.

“Although I’ve been Buddhist for years and was attracted to
vegetarian/vegan diets for health reasons, it wasn’t until my wife and I
started to study Chan Buddhism that she switched dramatically, and very
quickly, to a vegan diet.  After a couple of months of my wife eating a
vegan diet, I realized that her views on suffering were right,
especially when I learned that dairy cows are the source of veal. Chan
contemplation allowed me to see that it really isn’t that hard to create
a new set of habits that create less suffering… For me, it was a
combination of understanding the environmental damage done by commercial
animal agriculture, the suffering inflicted on the animals, the
incredible health benefits of a plant based diet, and deep examination
of the ethics of killing specifically for food in places where abundant
plant based foods are available.” – C.E.

“I never ascribed to any one religion before I became vegan. I
suppose I was just agnostic. But veganism has become my religion…my
set of ethics, beliefs, my service to my community (all the things
religion IS).” — K.E.

Although I don’t follow veganism for religious reasons, the
concept of veganism is more or less a religious concept to me. It’s what
I follow because it adheres to my ethical principles
.” — B.G.

“I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints (Mormon)… There is one specific revelation that addresses how
the Lord would have his people eat: The Word of Wisdom,
which is where the basis for a plant-based diet is found. I have found
much deeper truths in this scripture as I have learned more about the
food industry and food in general. We haven’t been plant-based very
long, but it’s been amazing to see things come to pass in fulfillment of
this scripture.” — K. L.

“In summary, animal eating continues on both the old and new
testament BUT it’s not true that God made animals as a food source. I’ve
hear many people say “God made animals for us to eat”. My belief as a
Christian is that God made us plant-based (his perfect will) and charged
us to be guardians and stewards over the animal kingdom. But once sin
entered and animals were being sacrificed as an atonement for sin, the
meat eating shortly followed (His permissive will).” — S. S.

“The primary reason my wife and I remained vegan (after trying it
for health reasons) was because of our ethical and religious beliefs. My
wife and I are Mahayana Buddhists and Unitarian Universalists. One of
the teachings of the Buddhist precepts is ‘Do Not Kill.’ The Buddha
himself was not vegetarian and neither was his sangha, group of
followers, but many Mahayana Buddhists today are vegetarian in
observance of this precept. It has also been translated as ‘Do no harm’ or ‘I undertake the training to do no harm’.” — A. L.

I didn’t adopt veganism as a spirtual practice, but it has become that way as I’ve grown in
my yoga practice and have become a teacher. I gravitate towards
Jivamukti, and they are all about compassion/non violence (ahimsa) and
the founders are vegans.” — K.P.

“In the Old Testament, God gives man (Gen.1: 26-28) “dominion” over
animals and tells man to “rule” the animals, but doesn’t say eat them. He
tells man what to eat next (Gen 1:29-30) “Look, I have given you every
seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree
whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the
wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature
that crawls on the earth — everything having the breath of life in it. I
have given every green plant for food.” In my study, I learned many
times over, what God calls meat we call plants, and what we call meat,
God called “flesh”. Once the flood happened and Noah and his family came
upon dry land, God gave them permission to eat flesh (see Gen. 9) but
only because all vegetation had died from the flood. At this time, the
life expectancy went from 700 to 120. Proof that flesh will make us
sick.  So in looking at how God intended for us to eat, it is clear
animal products were not involved. Only when sin became so rampant and
God was going to destroy the world, did we have to eat flesh. We are no
longer in Noah’s situation….plant food abounds!” — B. H.

“Buddhism itself doesn’t condemn eating animal products, such as the
Theravada tradition, where monks accept whatever is offered to them in
their alms bowl, even if it’s meat. Tibetan Buddhism advocates a
vegetarian lifestyle. Personally for me, I didn’t feel comfortable eating
other living things anymore… I went vegetarian for spiritual reasons
and feel I’m getting a bonus in that I truly believe eating plant-based
is the healthiest way to live. Buddhist beliefs and my health go hand in
hand for this one.” — H. W.

“I’m a Christian, and according to the New Testament of the Bible,
diet has no moral implications — we are free to eat as we please and it
is not a sin to eat animals. However, when studying the Bible, you see
many instances of a plant-based diet as a HEALTHY way to eat and that
ties into the NT commandment to, ‘glorify God with your body.’ From the
aforementioned ‘original diet’ in the Garden of Eden before any death,
all animals were herbivores, even those that now are carnivores. From
there you see instances of plant-only diets or fasts, such as Ezekiel
(hence, Ezekiel bread), who ate nothing but his bread for 390 days. And
Daniel, who, along with his companions, chose to eat vegetables and
water instead of the king’s “choice food and wine,” and the king noted
their appearance was better than those who ate of his choice food. So while my faith doesn’t give me moral issues with what I choose to eat, it reinforces the healthy choices. They are not completely separate, as my faith in some way influences much of my life.” — D.S.

“I have always been an atheist, but veganism has become as close to a
religion as I will ever get. It is a strong ethical foundation from
which I make all of my decisions.” — L. B.

“I am Unitarian
Universalist, and the denomination decided a couple of years ago to make
ethical eating a social justice study issue. We agree to uphold seven
principles, the seventh of which is ‘respect for the interdependent web
of life.’ It’s often interpreted as respect for the environment, but
some, including myself, take it further to mean that everything is
connected and that my behavior is not in a vacuum. I might have the ‘right’ to eat badly as many Americans insist, but my choices do affect
others when it comes to the environmental cost of a meat and dairy heavy
diet, as well as health care costs that get borne by everyone.” — J. F.

“Buddhist and vegan. But, it seems to me, whether one becomes
plant-based for ethical reasons, health-supporting reasons,
environmental reasons, religious reasons — one intention, inevitably and inadvertently supports the other. In other words, whatever the motivation, good comes of it!” — S. R.

“I did not go plant-based for any reason other than health; HOWEVER,
when I did, I was confronted by several in my church who felt I was
putting myself in spiritual danger. I was told I would open myself up to
spiritual attack and that I would be ‘too weak to battle,’ and that I
was entering a false religion based in New Age. I am part of a very
popular Christian, evangelical church. I was very shocked at the
reactions I got. On the flip side, I have gotten a real understanding of
how God intended for us to eat when He created us. I feel closer to Him
in many ways.” — H. B.

I was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
(Mormon) but haven’t practiced in over 11 years. However, if Mormons
followed the Word of Wisdom to the letter, they would be very close to
Vegan. See Doctrine & Covenants 89
.”

“Coming from a Pagan perspective, which has no central doctrine
but has adopted a number of different phrases to describe the practice
(in a very general and/or a Wiccan-based way), I’ve personally taken on
“An’ it harm none, do as ye will”, the very common Wiccan Rede, as a
reason to take on a vegetarian diet. It wasn’t the initial reason why I
became vegetarian, but was adopted later on.” — S. F. 

Daniel 1:11-16 was also quoted several times over to me, plus Gen 1:29-30 and Gen 1: 26-28.

Lastly, I welcome continued discussion in the comment section, but please remember — love and respect :)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 24th, 2012

Minimalist Monday: Cathy’s Tips (Guest Post)

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After reading some of my minimalist posts, Cathy started making changes
in her home and sent in pictures of her progress. She also graciously agreed
to let me share them on this column, along with her commentary.

Cathy says, “I
am enjoying Minimalist Monday and like you, I think I have a bit of
OCD, as it makes me crazy to not know where everything is and my mantra when our two kids were young (they are grown and gone now) was ‘one new thing in — two old things out!.

As
a busy primary teacher for many years while raising our family, I found
many of the tricks and traffic management plans of a smoothly running
classroom of 25 students also worked well in our home of two adults and two
kids!

The
clear shoe bags are great because we so often don’t take advantage of
vertical space hiding behind closet doors!
We sure find it easy to grab
batteries, flashlights, bags, tissue supply packets, etc. while ‘on the
run’ (as most of us are!) 

For a houseful of kids, letting them each
choose a level, depending on their age and needs might be another way of
keeping track of little (but important!) treasures. 

Doesn’t
matter where you live, you always need a screwdriver, hammer, nails,
tape, elastic bands…
and the little interlocking containers in a wide
drawer such as the one in the picture, make it easier to see what you
need…

As
for an organized junk drawer, when you are busy, the frustration of
never being able to find all the little things you need for the smooth
running of the home is lessened by being able to instantly find the
rubber bands, chair floor protector pads, picture hangers, tools, etc! 

It
is also nice to have such useful bits and pieces close to where they
will be needed
, rather than to have to trek all the way down to a
basement or out to a garage to find them.

My
mantra is ‘As few steps/movements as possible!’
in managing the
‘things’ in all areas of the house. 
If clutter starts to affect how
quickly you can find/deal with household needs, then frustration ramps
up and almost insidiously steals away precious time from being able to
enjoy time with family and friends! [Editorial note: See my
posts, Conquering Clutter part 1 and part 2].

Another
of my ‘must haves’ is an electronic label maker 
and the pockets  could
be labeled easily that way. It makes it SO
much easier to find the various beans, flours, rices etc. called for in
our beloved plant-based recipes from your books!

Additionally,
in our front hall, we also have a 10-cube system, and in one of the
lower cubes there is a wine rack…but instead of wine bottles, we keep
collars, leashes, umbrellas, shoe shine buffers and the odd pair of
shoes! Big baskets in the other cubes store out-of-season boots/sandals,  etc. Sure keeps us more calm when in a hurry…to know most things do
‘have their place’ and SHOULD be in that place!’ Training of husbands
and family members is often ongoing! lol!

Hope your readers might find these organizers helpful in reducing frustration and in increasing fun time, Lindsay!

Cheers!”

— Cathy, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 23rd, 2012

Herbie Business: V-Dog + Giveaway

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Quaid and Lily Bean have been plant-based for several years now and
are thriving. Switching them over to a vegan diet has made all the
difference in their health and well-being. 

You can read more
about my vegan dogs here and here. If you’re thinking about switching
your dog to a vegan diet, read this post, “how to change your dog to a vegan diet,” by a pet nutritionist. 

My
pugs *LOVE* V-dog. We’ve tried all the vegan kibbles on the market and
this is their absolute favorite. Although I like to feed them fresh
food, it’s not always realistic, such as when we’re traveling in the car
for long hours or when our friends are babysitting them when I’m away. 

Anyway, over a year ago, I was at a conference
speaking and Dave, one of the owners of V-dog, happened to be there
promoting his kibble. I stopped at his table to tell him how much my
dogs loved V-dog, and within minutes of talking it was clear how
passionate Dave was about animals and his product. It made me love
V-dog even more.

In February, Dave’s lovely wife Linda came to one of
my book signings and graciously gifted me with one of their V-dog
shirts — Dave had remembered me from the conference more than a year
ago and knew how much I loved V-dog. I was so touched!

Then in November I ran into Linda again at HTLA — this time she had a surprise for my pugs, a sample of their new
V-Dog BreathBones. (The pugs LOVE them!)

While
chatting with Linda, I mentioned to her that Scott had tried the V-dog
kibble (before you go thinking my husband is weird and has lost his
marbles, his position is you should not feed your dog something you
would not eat yourself). Linda joked and said if a major natural
disaster was ever to hit Sacramento, she would eat V-dog — no
question!

Given my love for this company — and the owners — I
asked them if I could interview them as part of my Herbie Business
series, and they graciously agreed. They’re also giving away kibble and
treats to two lucky dog owners! (Limited to U.S. residents) — deets
below!

I sat down with Dave and Linda’s son, Darren, who has his hand in the “family business.”

HH: When did you start V-Dog and why?

We
started V-dog in 2005 because we met some guys in England who had a
veggie dog food formula called HappiDog, and after learning that they had
several generations of happy dog-owning customers who were thriving on
their veggie dog food formula, we became excited about the idea of
creating a 100% vegan dog food company in the USA. We did the research,
consulted with several veterinarians, and learned that dogs can thrive on a
well-balanced vegan formula. Then we started working on our formula!

HH: Is this a full-time gig or something that’s more like a hobby?

Full-time gig for my Dad and myself! But I also run another full-time vegan fitness training business in SF called PlantFit!

HH: Speaking of fitness, I hear your parents are
super fit and active, which they attribute to their plant-based (vegan)
diet. Give us the scoop! 

My parents have
been vegan for 20 years and are both very active and healthy. My dad is a
avid cyclist and tennis player, and my mom is a personal trainer and
head of the Vegan Society in Sacramento!  My dad is almost 75 and my mom
approaching 70, and they are both full of life and in great health,
inside and out. I have been vegetarian for over 15 years and vegan for
the past 10.

HH: You mentioned V-Dog was a full-time job for your father. Is V-Dog a family business and if so, do you
have any advice for those looking to start a business with their family
or are in business with their family? What’s the secret for making it
work?

Yes, V-Dog is a family business. Our secret to success is that we
are truly committed to a bigger purpose — to the mission of ending animal
abuse and reversing global depletion, a mission that connects us and
drives us to stay focused on the greater good. My mom and dad are true
pioneers of veganism and animal rights, and we do not waiver from this
core focus. We also find tremendous inspiration from the life-work of
Dr. Richard Oppenlander, author of a brilliant book called Comfortably Unaware

We also have several Animal Rights affiliates that we support in one way or another. We are 100%  committed to the cause and very happy to offer cruelty-free dog food
products. 

We promote a three-pronged approach to veganism:
animal welfare, environmental depletion, and our health. The net result
is a shift in spirituality that is hard to explain and, quite frankly,
something that one must be curious enough about discovering to cause a
shift in actions. I could expand on this, but maybe on a separate
interview :)

HH: Tell us about the products V-Dog offers consumers. 

We currently offer our V-Dog Vegan dog food kibble and our V-Dog BreathBones, a hard chew bone.

HH: My dogs thrive on a vegan diet and LOVE V-Dog, but is it suitable
for all dogs? Should pet owners talk to their vets before switching?

V-Dog
is formulated for all adult dogs 5 months and older. We have three vets
that we consult with if anyone would like an “alternative opinion.” Any
vet who has any current nutritional education will confirm that dogs
are omnivorous and can thrive on a well-balanced plant-based formula.

HH: If someone buys V-Dog, what’s the best way to introduce it to their pet?

Slowly mixing in with current formula over 1 to 2 weeks.

HH: What is the most rewarding part of your business/work? 

Meeting amazing plant-based people and helping animals!

HH: What is the most challenging aspect?

Dog food is a very challenging industry. We are up against the big
guys, the big meat-based companies with massive marketing dollars and
inside connections. We will not waiver from our focus on helping bring
awareness to the plight of animals.

HH: Anything else you’d like to add or share?

We
would like to thank you for your mission of promoting a happy,
cruelty-free, herbivorous lifestyle and helping us get the word out that
dogs can be totally healthy and, more importantly, happy on a
well-balanced plant-based diet. Our beautiful pooches don’t need ground-up pig, cow, chicken, fish by-product or eggs or dairy to be healthy.

Darren of V-Dog:)

Now, for the giveaway! V-Dog is giving away a bag of kibbles and a bag of the hard chews, V-Dog Breath Bones, to two lucky
dog families! For a chance to win, leave your pooch’s name in a
comment. (Limited to U.S. residents)

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 22nd, 2012

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Oats, Sticking to a Plant-Based Diet, Coconut Flour, Braces & Apps!)

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You’ve  got questions…


Q: I have been dancing around the vegan diet for years.  I seem to be good for a few months and then I slowly start sliding back into the SAD diet. It starts off innocently enough, with just a little sushi or a small bit of cheese and then before you know it I’m hitting the drive-thru and ordering pizzas because I’m just too tired to cook dinner. I will be the first person to tell anyone and everyone why they should follow a plant-based diet. But I can’t seem to make it stick. It’s been a long pattern that I really need to break.  Any advice on making it permanent would be greatly appreciated!

A: Your story is not uncommon. I wrote a post recently about how my clients that had scheduled “cheat days” found themselves on a slippery slope back to SAD more so than my clients who committed 100% to a change for life but occasionally (sporadically) indulged. 

My best advice is to try our meal plans. They take all the guesswork out and they make sure you always have healthy meals ready and prepared, so you have no excuse to go to the drive-thru. I find having a plan in place makes it so much easier to stick with it, especially in the beginning. You just have to build new habits.

Q:  Do you have any advice to staying plant-strong with braces on?  So far, I’ve just stuck to softer foods, but I’m not liking the idea of not having many raw veggies for the next year and half.  Thanks again!

A: I just had jaw surgery — accepted bone into my jaw, and I’m doing pretty well with foods as long as they are cooked — or if they are raw, they are cut thinly or small.

Q: Do you have any recipes that use coconut flour? Or advice on how I can use it?

A: I’ve never used/eaten/worked with coconut flour, so I’m not going to be much help, but a friend of mine that has a gluten-free bakery uses coconut flour in a handful of her desserts, so perhaps look for some gluten-free recipes.

Q: On the weekly meal plan, if a recipe calls for rolled oats, can I substitute steel-cut?

In an oatmeal recipe, you could use steel-cut, but note that steel-cut oats take much longer to prepare and I think need more liquid as well, so you can’t follow the recipe directions in the meal plan (which are intended for rolled oats only). You’ll have to make the steel-cut oatmeal according to the directions on the packaging, then add in the other ingredients once the oatmeal is done. 

In a non-oatmeal recipe, such as a bean burger recipe that uses rolled oats or instant oats, you CANNOT use steel-cut.

For more information about the different types of oats, see this post.

Q: Do you have an iPhone/iPad app for your recipes?

A: You can view my cookbooks on your iPhone/iPad with the free app software by Kindle/Amazon, or you can buy them in iBooks. The digital version of my books is about the same price as an app — but so much better. They look really great. I have them on my iPad and iPhone, and I love it in the grocery store.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 21st, 2012

How To Get Your Friends and Family on Board with Eating a Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet

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Any time I speak at conferences or immersions, the one question I seem to get over and over is “I love this! I’m a believer but… how do I convince my… (family/friend/partner/etc).”

My parents’ dog, Nicke. The last family member that’s not plant-based, but I’m working on him.

I HEAR YA.

I led the charge in my family. I’ve written about my vegan husband before and his reluctancy at first. My sister Courtney discussed her journey to a vegan diet and then how she went from a junk food vegan to plant-based. Perhaps most notably: my parents who went plant-based in January following my Dad’s heart attack. I have also inspired change in numerous friends who are now vegan, vegetarian, and more mostly plant-based flexitarian. If you follow me (personally, not Happy Herbivore) on Facebook you’ve probably been seeing my updates about ‘converting’ my friend Jon. It’s a work in progress but I’m definitely rubbing off ;) 

Point is, I’ve had a lot of success converting people and so can you. 

My short answer is always, “Have you watched Forks Over Knives together?” Forks Over Knives is a great documentary for a number of reasons, but what I like about it most is that it is so clear-cut and science-based. Unlike other “vegan” documentaries you’re not dealing with the animal torture, which causes most people to tune out (sad, yes, but reality). 

I find pretty much everyone is interested in improving their health, losing weight or avoiding diabetes and cancer, so Forks Over Knives is right up their alley, focusing on their interests, which brings me to my first piece of advice:

Know your listener. 

In my post about how to talk about veganism, I suggest being conscious of who you are talking to. The more you know about the listener, the better you’ll be able to tailor your explanation and reasons for being plant-based in a way that they will understand and most importantly, accept. 

For example, I know that my uncle, a hunter, would tune out anything I said if I started off on animal right issues. However, he is very health conscious, so if I explain my choice to be plant-based (and why he should give it a try himself) from a health perspective, he is more apt to listen to what I have to say and with a lot less judgment and preconceived notions.

Another example. A girlfriend of mine had been a vegetarian for years out of a love for animals. I tried to convince her six ways from Sunday that a vegan diet (no dairy, no eggs) was far more compassionate, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. Mostly because she’d say, “but I love cheese so much! Lindsay, how do you live without cheese!”

Anyway, one day, I mentioned in passing, “you know your skin would clear up if you’d just stop eating dairy.” Truth be told, I was being sort of snarky about it, but my friend reached across the table, grabbed my arm and said “WHAT! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THIS BEFORE!” She’d dealt with embarrassing acne for years and within a week of going dairy-free, her skin was clear. 

Another example: A friend’s husband ate junk and fast food as his only food group. He refused to believe any of the food could be bad for him, or doing any kind of damage, because he was so fit and trim. I explained to him that just because someone looks good on the outside, doesn’t mean they are healthy on the inside. After all, several professional athletes die each year suddenly from a heart attack, caused by heart disease, which is only caused by diet. Even the “fittest” can’t escape poor food choices. It took only a Google search “professional athletes die heart attack” with hundreds of news results to change his mind instantly.

One more example: A friend recently lost a parent to cancer. My friend is deeply sad about the loss, but also very concerned she might have the same fate. I talked to her about diet and it’s relationship to cancer. I told her, “genes load the gun, but diet pulls the trigger. You don’t have to die from cancer too.” She didn’t believe me at first, but I encouraged her to do her own research. I sent her a few studies and waited. She came around :) 

So, know your listener. 

My next piece of advice is my all-encompassing advice for anything and everything: Lead by Example.

Last week I posted a picture of Scott and I at a baseball game on Facebook. A friend left a comment begging for me to share my secret for how I get my glow and complexion. I wrote back, “no oil, low-fat whole foods plant-based diet.” Because that is my secret. I am frequently stopped by strangers asking how I stay trim, what’s my secret for long, shiny hair, etc. It all comes back to my diet and I tell them that.

If you’re looking and feeling your best, people are going to notice. And they’re going to want to know your secret. Tell them :) If you’re loving life and having a great time and happy as happy can be, people will see it, want it, and ask for help to get it.  

Next piece of advice (this is particularly true with friends and coworkers) — Spark a Curiosity. 

When I first went vegan, most of my friends were like “sure, okay, whatever floats your boat” but as time went on, they had questions. This was especially true with my coworkers. After everyone realized it wasn’t a “phase” or some “crash diet” — that I was sticking with it (and loving it!), they were curious. 

My coworkers and friends started asking me questions and scoping out what I was eating at lunch. This gave me the opportunity to kindly inform them why I did what I did and help create a positive image about this lifestyle. Often one answer would lead to another question, and I could see the gears going in their heads. 

Going back to Jon, who I mentioned earlier, one of my first conversations with him was him asking me, “Where do you get your protein?” I said, “the same place your protein gets its protein.” Jon was baffled and surprised to learn that meat didn’t eat meat. It had never occurred to him that the protein he was worshiping in beef was grass-grown and that the animals didn’t need animal protein to grow protein. That was a big curiosity spark.

Finally, Feed them. 

Show them how delicious and amazing plant-based food can be. When I first went vegan, I brought a basket of muffins in to the office but no one would try them. I remember trying to hand one off an a coworker saying “oh no, I’m not that adventurous.” The following week I dropped a banana bread (the one from HHC) off in the break room before everyone else arrived. It was gone by lunch time with a buzz going around the office about the “incredible banana bread” and “who brought it in?” I sent out an office-wide email with the recipe. NO ONE could believe that they loved something that was vegan AND whole-wheat and fat-free. 

Everyone’s mind changed that day. Before long, people were hitting me up for recipes, asking me to bring food in. At lunch, people would ask for a bite to taste whatever I was having. Perhaps my favorite day was when a male coworker was going up and down the hall “looking to see who had ribs” (he’d been the one to reject my muffin) and was shocked to realize I was the girl with the tasty BBQ smell. It was my Gardein riblet that got him salivating  After I gave him half, he brought it to work almost weekly. 

By the time I left that job, one woman had committed to eating vegetarian until dinner and everyone else was eating vegan and vegetarian meals regularly. What a difference from rejecting a muffin! 

Remember, it’s a marathon… slow and steady wins the race.

Lead by example. Educate (but don’t preach) and feed them. And when they trying something, thank them.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 20th, 2012

Herbie Of The Week: Diane

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Diane left the following comment on my post, “10 Reasons I’m Plant-Based,” and I just knew I had to bring her back as a Herbie of the Week! 

“I’ve become almost entirely vegan over the last year, and I’ve never felt better! One of the things I find amazing about this whole process (in addition to losing the extra 50 lbs. I thought I was stuck with — woohoo!), is that I have been able to cut out things that used to be addictions for me, mainly Diet Coke and junk food. While I’m not perfect, I can feel a difference when I let myself slip, so my slip-ups are becoming fewer and farther apart. I’m also clearing up my eczema through diet and enzymes and nutrients, when my regular doctor told me the only thing I could do was ‘manage’ my eczema, which mainly meant using steroid creams, which are scary! I love that I’ve discovered that proper nutrition is an amazing way to cure yourself of a lot of things, including the supposedly incurable.”

HH: You mentioned you’re clearing up your eczema, and that you’ve lost weight. Congrats! Did you have any other health problems? How was your health before you adopted a mostly plant-based diet?


Diane: I never thought I was unhealthy, I didn’t have major issues and ate what I thought was a balanced diet. But I’d slowly gained weight over the years, and my knees had begun to bother me. It didn’t occur to me that I could change my life simply by changing how I ate.


HH: How did you learn about eating a plant-based diet?


I had a part-time job at our local library. One day a book came across my desk titled Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Just reading the back cover inspired me to check it out. I’m not sure why this particular book spoke to me in a way other eating plans had not, but I really got how the digestive process works and how foods affect our health, either positively or negatively.

I started making changes to my diet. I started eating whole grains, greatly increased the amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables I ate, and cut back on dairy, eggs, and meat. 



HH: Did you experience any positive benefit for the change?


I started to notice changes almost immediately. Within 10 weeks, I had dropped 20 lbs., my knees didn’t hurt as much, and I felt better in ways I hadn’t realized I felt bad!

I gradually cut meat completely out of my diet and started calling myself a vegetarian. My husband and I had a trip to Hawaii coming up, and I was able to buy warm weather clothes in February, two sizes smaller! Talk about a great way to reward myself. Other diets had always failed me — I hated counting calories or eating tasteless diet food.

After continuing to lose weight and feeling better in general, I decided to try cutting out all animal products from my diet. Another book was again an inspiration, this time The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. I have been eating whole foods, raw foods when possible, and vegan (with an occasional foray into goat cheese) for over a year now. My weight loss seems to have reached a plateau, and while I wouldn’t mind losing a few more pounds, I feel so good I don’t really mind (I blame my two kids for the belly fat I can’t seem to ditch!).

I have not only been able to ditch 50 lbs. of unwanted weight (that I thought I was stuck with forever), I have also been able to drop foods I used to be addicted to, namely Diet Coke, chips, chocolate, and ice cream. 

HH: You mentioned you had children — is your family on board?

I haven’t been able to get my family fully on board, although they do benefit from my healthier cooking at home. (I don’t cook meat at all anymore). My hubby, college-age daughter, and teenage son still eat meat and dairy, although they have cut back. I try not to nag, but I do point out that when everyone else comes down with the sniffles, cough, or sore throat, I manage to dodge the bullet, and the only reason can be my diet.


HH: Can you elaborate on your experiences with eczema?

I have been battling eczema, and was told by my doctor that it could only be managed, not cured. Well, I decided not to believe it. I went looking and found a website created by an amazing woman, Donia Alawi, that chronicles her eczema healing journey through diet. 

I found that by following her recommendations for eating whole foods, following the body’s natural digestive and detoxification processes, and adding some whole food supplements, I have begun to heal from eczema. Detoxification is a slow process, but I have seen enough improvement to keep going.

HH: Wonderful news! Anything else you’d like to add?

I never knew how bad my diet was until I started to make changes. I can’t believe I began this whole process two years ago! I hate to imagine how I’d feel if I hadn’t made the plunge back in 2010 — I’d still be 50 lbs. overweight, my knees would still hurt, I’d be using toxic steroid creams to treat my eczema, and I’d be much less content with my life. I now know what it truly feels like to be healthy.


Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 19th, 2012

Gingerbread Quinoa, Eggnog Pancakes, and More Holiday Flavors

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More holiday flavors this week like Gingerbread Quinoa, “Eggnog” Pancakes, and “Eggnog” French Toast, plus easy, comforting weeknight-ready meals like Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese, Pizza Hummus, and Tacos!

Individual Plan Highlights:

Orange Oatmeal
B&B Baked Oatmeal (NEW!)
Potato Breakfast Tacos
“Eggnog” French Toast (NEW!)
Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese
Easy Spinach Wraps & Tomato Soup
Black Bean & Corn Tacos (NEW!)
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
Mexican Mac n’ Cheese
Black Bean & Corn Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (NEW!)
Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Moroccan Lentil Soup
Acorn Squash & Apple Soup 

Get this meal plan now.

Family Plan Highlights:

Gingerbread Quinoa Bowl (NEW!)
Orange Oatmeal
Baked Blueberry & Banana Oatmeal (NEW!)
“Eggnog” Pancakes (NEW!)

Sweet Potato Breakfast Tacos
“Eggnog” French Toast (NEW!)
Smashed White Bean & Avo Sandwich
Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese (NEW!)
Pizza Hummus 
Black Bean & Corn Stuffed Sweet Potato (NEW!)
Refried Bean Tacos
Easy Black Beans & Rice (NEW!)
Garden Chowder

Get this meal plan now.

Testimonials:

“My boyfriend and I are doing the meal plan and we saved so much time and money! As college students on a budget, this plan is so perfect.” – Shannon S.

“Last week was our first week trying the meal plans & my husband & I love it! I spent most of today whipping up the recipes in this week’s meal plan.” – Carol Y.

Get started with our easy, time and money-saving meal plans now.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 18th, 2012

Everything You Ever Need to Know About Low Fat (Oil-Free) Vegan Baking (Gluten-Free Tips Included!)

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I’ve been getting several emails asking about baking and adapting
recipes for the holidays that I thought I’d put a big post together.

“Made vegan soft molasses cookies with my nephew…yum!” – Corinna

Adapting Recipes 

If
you’re looking to adapt an old family recipe to just be vegan, that’s
easy. Flour is vegan. Sugar is vegan** (see Sugar section below for more info). Oil is
vegan and you can replace butter with a vegan margarine like Earth
Balance. Not all margarines sold at the store are vegan (many contain
animal products) but you should be able to find one if your store does
not sell Earth Balance. (You can find Earth Balance at any health food
store).

Adapting the recipe to be plant-based (vegan) and
healthy (or at least, healthier) and fat-free is where it get’s a little
tricky but it’s still possible with these tips and tricks. 

Replacing Eggs in Baking

I’ve heard about 10 different ways to replace eggs in baking, but here are my top three:

1/4
cup applesauce. Add with wet ingredients but avoid using more than 1
cup total applesauce in a recipe. Applesauce works best in breads,
muffins and cakes.

1/2 mashed banana. Cream banana with sugar. The riper the banana, the sweeter and more banana flavor you’ll have. 

2
1/2 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water. Add as you would
add an egg in the original recipe. Note that flax has an earthly flavor
so it may not work in most recipes. 

There is also a commercial egg replacer.
I don’t use it, but it can be helpful when you’re starting out. Some
people remark it has a chalky taste, but I’ve never experienced that.

Here is a great PDF I created for replacing eggs in baking, click here. (see page 2)

Replacing Fat in Baking (Making Low Fat Goodies)

My
go-to choice for replacing fat (oil or butter) is applesauce. My second
favorite is pureed pumpkin. I’ve also used beans, bananas, shredded
vegetables (like zucchini in my chocolate-zucchini muffins) and prunes. 

For more information, see this post, How to Replace Fats in Baking.

If
you’re looking to cut out oil or butter, but aren’t also trying to make
it low fat, avocado can be a great choice — provided your baked good
is darker in color to mask some of that green coloring. I’ve also heard
you can use nut butters, but I haven’t tried using them myself in place
of butter. 

Here is a great PDF I created for replacing fats in baking, click here. (see page 1)

Understanding Flour (and interchanging them)

Not all flours are the same. For gluten-free flours skip to the section on gluten-free baking below. 

White Flour/All-Purpose Flour (the
most common flour) is highly processed and refined. The most nutritious
part, the wheat seed, as well as the bran and germ, are removed from
the wheat grain to make this flour. In fact, this flour is so devoid of
nutrition that the FDA requires manufacturers to artificially add some
nutrition back in, which is why you’ll see many flours say they are
“enriched.” (Only a fraction of what removed is artificially added back
in). 

This flour may be bleached or unbleached to be more white.

Whole Wheat Flours

Unlike
white/all purpose flour whole wheat flours still contains all these
nutrients, but there are three very distinct types of whole wheat
flours.

(Regular) Whole Wheat Flour 

Whole
wheat flour is made from red wheat, which is why it is so dark in
color. It is very dense and grainy, making it great for hearty breads
but not delicate baked goods like cookies, cakes and most muffins.
Generally speaking, you do not want to use whole wheat flour in place of
white (all purpose flour). Your goods will come out heavy and dense.
Whole wheat flour is also much, much thirstier than all purpose, so if
you don’t also add more liquid, you may end up with wheat bricks instead
of goodies. I don’t recommend using regular whole wheat flour, particularly if you are a novice baker. 

Stone-Ground Flour 

Stone-ground
flour is regular whole wheat flour, the difference being that it is
milled with a stone wheel over another stone wheel, slowly, to make
flour. Most mills today use a steel roller to grind flour (not stone),
hence the difference.

White Whole Wheat Flour 

White whole wheat flour
(what I use in most of my recipes) is ground from white wheat instead
of red. White whole wheat flour is not bleached. It’s the different type
of wheat grain — the white wheat, that makes it white in color. It’s
also softer and lighter, making it a great (nutritious) choice for baked
goods. White whole wheat is a heathy alternative to white flour (all
purpose). You baked goods will not be as light and fluffy, but they will
be much softer and lighter than is you used regular whole wheat. Most
supermarkets carry white whole wheat flour. 

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour 

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
is made from red wheat but has a slightly lower gluten content. It is
lighter and fluffier as a result and makes a great alternative to all
purpose (white) flour in baking, though it can be more expensive and
harder to find. (You can usually find it at health food stores). 

For more information on flours in general, see this post, Flour – White, Wheat and Gluten-Free part 1.

Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour is flour mixed with
a leavening agent (see below for more information on leavening agents). A
recipe that calls for self-rising flour needs self-rising flour (it
won’t rise without it) and a recipe that does not call for self-rising
flour, cannot use self-rising flour. Basically, they are NOT
interchangeable. 

For more information and a recipe for DIY self-rising flour, see this post, The Difference Between Self-Rising Flour and Regular Flour

Gluten-Free Baking 

Adapting
a recipe to be gluten-free is a little tricky, but manageable. The
easiest way to convert a recipe is to use a gluten-free all purpose
flour blend such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour in
place of the flour called for. One note: I find gluten-free flours tend
to be a little thirstier, so you may need to add a little more liquid. 

In most recipes, you cannot just use a gluten-free
flour (i.e. rice flour, chickpea flour) in place of wheat flour in a 1:1
ratio. You need to use a blend of gluten-free flours with a binder such
as xanthum gum. You cannot just use, say, chickpea flour. If you want to make your own blend, see the recipe in EHH and HHA.

Homemade oat flour
is a pretty good solution, but it can come out gummy AND you have to
make sure your oats (and oat flour) are certified gluten-free as oats
can be cross-contaminated with gluten.

If possible, I suggest doing a “trial run” before
you’re serving the GF goodies to others so you can tinker with the added
liquid.

For more information on making oat flour, see my post, Oat Flour: The Gluten-Free Solution?

For more information on gluten, see my post, What is Gluten?

“We,
too, rolled out the Soft Molasses Cookies. What fun…we added a
little more applesauce and more flour until we could roll them. Thanks
for making the kiddos happy AND healthy!”
– Robin

Wheat-Free Baking

If you
need to avoid wheat (but not gluten) spelt flour is a great substitute
and can be used in a 1:1 ratio. Spelt flour, however, does have a
slightly nutty taste to it, so it might not be complementary in every
baked good. 

Sugar 

I’m of the
opinion that sugar is sugar. I try to use the least processed sweetener I
can, but at the end of the day recognize that sweetener should accent
my diet and not play a large role since it’s not and never will be a
health food. 

White sugar, brown sugar and confectioner’s
(powdered) sugar are pretty much the same from a health and nutrition
perspective. Most brown sugars and powdered sugars are made from white
sugar, but you can make your own brown sugar and make your own confectioners sugar at home using raw sugar.

Taste wise, however, these sugars are different and
generally cannot be interchanged. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2
cup sugar, you can’t use 1/2 cup confectioners sugar. 

*Vegan Issue: If you (or someone you love) is vegan for ethical
reasons, some brands of white sugar may not be suitable for them as the
sugar is processed through bone char. No bone or animal product ends up
in the final product, but the use during processing has led some ethical
vegans to abstain from white sugar. You can, however, find certified
vegan brands of white sugar at most health food stores.

Dry Sugar Substitutes 

There is a great chart in the back of all of my cookbooks for how to replace sugar in recipes. The easiest alternative is raw sugar (also called turbinado sugar), which is a little less processed than white sugar (but is still sugar and not a health food). Sucanat is similar. 

Date sugar is another option. With date sugar, use 2/3 cup to replace 1 cup of sugar. 

For more information on dates as sweeteners, see my post, How to Make Date Syrup & Date Sugar.

Wet Sugar Substitutes

Switching
from a dry sweetener (like raw sugar) to a liquid sweetener (like maple
syrup) can be a little tricky. You always need to reduce liquids if
you’re using a liquid sweetener. For example, with barley malt syrup and
brown rice syrup, you usually need to reduce liquids by 1/4th. You also
don’t want to do a straight 1:1 ratio. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of
sugar, use 3/4 cup syrup. (I find agave nectar is so overpoweringly
sweet that I usually only do 1/2 cup for 1 cup sugar, plus more liquid).
With pure maple syrup specifically, reduce liquid by 3 tbsp and add 1/4
tsp baking soda. 

Other Sugar Substitutes

If you
don’t want to use any sweeteners at all, one option is stevia. I have
never used stevia myself (I can’t stand the taste) but most websites
recommend 1 tsp stevia to replace 1 cup sugar. 

Another option is to use juice (i.e. apple juice) in
place of sweeteners but be mindful that most commercial fruit juices
are no healthier than a pepsi and some are so acidic you may need to
adjust your leavening agent. You’ll also need to reduce your liquids.

For more information, see my post, What is Sugar? & Sugar Substitutes

Leavening Agents

Baking
soda, baking powder and yeast all my baked goods rise. They are
not interchangeable! You also don’t want to fuss with the amounts called
for in a recipe. 

Baking soda is used when you have an acidic ingredient in the recipe like chocolate, soy yogurt, buttermilk (see note below).  

If
your baked goods have an awful bitter taste, you used too much baking
soda. If your baked goods rise then collapse, you used too much baking
powder. 

For more information, see this post, Baking Powder and Baking Soda.

[*Buttermilk you can make vegan buttermilk by combining 1 cup soy milk with 1 tsp lemon juice or 1 tsp apple cider vinegar.]

Other Tips:

1.
You should always whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking powder/baking
soda, salt, spices) together before adding wet ingredients to insure
equal distribution. 

2. Spoon your flour into measuring cups, don’t scoop or dump!

3. Use an oven thermometer to find hot spots and to ensure your oven is heating at the temp you think it is!

Happy baking!

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 17th, 2012

Minimalist Monday: No Regrets

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What could be more minimalist than having no regrets and no emotional
baggage? (It may not be physical, but less is more there too!)

A
few months ago, someone noted all the (self-inflicted) moves I had in
the last 10 years or so: Charleston, Boston, Manhattan, Los Angeles,
Colorado, Abroad — just to name a few, and asked if I’d ever regretted
any of those moves.

My response was simple: I don’t live my life in a way that allows for regrets. 

I
stumbled on this concept in high school, when someone asked me if I
regretted a choice I had made, given how things had turned out, and my
response was “I made the best choice I could at the time with the
information I had. It’s unfair to go back with new information and judge
myself.” 

Little did I know that this would become the core of my belief system for navigating through life and making decisions. 

I’m
not saying that every decision I have made has been a great one. I’m
not saying that things have always worked out the way I wanted them to,
but I haven’t regretted any decision, even when things end up a little
sour, or at least, not the way I had wanted or hoped, because I know
that I made the best decision I could have, given the limits and
knowledge I had at that moment the decision was made. (Wow, that was a
long sentence!)

Point is, I don’t look back at something and think
“I could have done that differently” or wish I didn’t do something
because the truth is, I probably couldn’t have done it differently — if
I could have, I probably would have. 

Here’s a great example:

Do I regret going to law school?

I don’t want to ruin too much of the story in Happy Herbivore Abroad,
but the short of it is I went to law school and hated it. I finished,
became a lawyer, too, but hated that as well. So after 6 years of misery
and $150,000 in educational debt, I changed careers.

I find a lot of people assume I regret my
decision to go to law school — all that hard work, misery, and debt for
nothing — but when I was 22, I didn’t know that I wouldn’t like law
school. Or being a lawyer. I wasn’t even plant-based yet. I didn’t know
how to cook — or that I would love cooking, or that one day, I would write
cookbooks. I didn’t know that I would start a blog when I was 26 that
would become a company. And so on. 

It’s not fair to use all this new info at 31 against
my 22-year-old self. When I was 22, going to law school was a good
choice based on the information I had at the time. I had just graduated
college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but had enjoyed being on
student government and the debate team, so law school sounded like a
good fit. Many of my teachers had told me I would make a great lawyer
and I had liked all of my “law” classes in college. I had even enjoyed
mock trials in high school. There were lawyers in my family — it just
made so much sense.

So I don’t regret my decision. I’m not sure I could
have even made a different choice back then anyway. I mean yes,
technically it’s possible — but when I consider the real circumstances — the thoughts, the emotions, I don’t think so. I’m still me in that
equation. I’m still limited to what I knew and felt then. If I could
have truly made another decision, I would have.

If you grapple with and accept this idea, but still
feel you made a mistake, then acknowledge it. Make amends if you can and
recognize it as an opportunity for growth. 

Sometimes
I feel like we live in a society where mistakes and failures are
unacceptable — as though they should be swept under the rug and
forgotten. I don’t know why failure is so embarrassing. Failures and
mistakes are often what make us who we are. 

I’m not perfect. I still fear failure and even
get embarrassed by it sometimes, but when I take away the stigmas and
pride, I realize, instances in my life that could labeled as “mistakes”
or “failures” — those were the experiences that led me to the most
success. Perhaps in a very roundabout fashion, but I couldn’t have
gotten to Point C without going from A to B first. 

Perhaps not the best example, but I was in an awful
relationship in college. (I’ve blogged about it before, “One Piece of Advice We All Need“). I was miserable. All we did was fight, break up, get back together, “start over,” and so on. 

Once I was finally out of the relationship, it would
have been so easy to think, “what a mistake that was!” Or what a giant
waste of my time and emotion it was. It was tempting, but I let myself
off the hook. I must’ve thought it was the right decision at the time I
was making it. The reality is, I’m not sure if I hadn’t been through that,
that I’d have really, truly appreciated the relationship I had with my
next boyfriend, and now husband.

I can remember saying to one of my friends “I’m
really glad all that happened with Jacob* because it’s allowing me to
appreciate all these little things Scott does — things that would have
been lost if I hadn’t been with Jacob first.”

No regrets. I mean it. Just life experiences. Dump the baggage — be more minimalist!

Recently, a good friend of mine from high school moved from Australia to
Canada. She posted this quote on Facebook, which I just loved:

“Stop thinking about what you’re leaving behind, think about what you’ll find next.”

I’ll close with a saying I like:

“The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” ~ Unknown

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 16th, 2012

Review Palooza + GIGANTIC Giveaway

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It’s that time again! In my last product review post, I mentioned how awful I feel that I get so many products and books for review and then I sit on them for months. I always have the best of intentions but…. alas.

I thought with the upcoming holiday season, now would be the best time to do reviews (and it’ll clear my plate so I can maintain my 2013 resolution not to accept items for review). 

Plus, you have a chance to win a boatload of FREE stuff! WINNER TAKES ALL. Yeah! (You can see what items are up for grabs in the reviews). 

*Limited to residents in the U.S. (sorry!)



APS Berry Blast Veggie Protein

I accepted this product so my friend Jon could review it. Although I’m generally against protein powders (vegan or not), I respect Jon feels differently and was eager to get him off whey protein, at the very least. Jon liked these protein powders (he said they tasted good and mixed well in his shakes) and he used them until his supervisor insisted they were bad for him. It’s an uphill battle some days…

Giveaway: The winner will receive the following — the French Vanilla and Berry Blast Veggie Protein (each 2 pounds). Please note that the Berry Blast will be shipped at a later date due to seasonal ingredients needed. 

Good ‘N Natural Fruit Bars
I was sent four bars. Two had oil in them, so I gave those away. The other two didn’t but were so heavy in nuts that I couldn’t eat them. Scott did and said they were pretty good, but nothing he wanted me to buy again.

SereniTea
If you like green tea, this might be a great product for you. You just mix the contents of a packet with water and voila! instant green tea. Scott and I both thought it was all right, but to be fair, neither of us are big into green tea, so we may not be the best person for an opinion. I did think it was a cool idea, though!

Giveaway: The winner will receive 20 boxes of mixed tea flavors. 

Glory Foods
Glory Foods offered to send me pre-made vegan meals. After assuring me the meals were vegan and oil-free, I agreed to sample them. The products came and none of them were meals. Half were not vegan (contained dairy), and they were cans of buttery cinnamon apples. The other two were not really ‘meals,’ but canned vegetables. They didn’t look appetizing at all — canned okra just isn’t my thing, I guess, so I donated all of the canned goods to a local food bank…

Algae Bites
I normally don’t accept supplements but made an exception since this company wrote me a letter about how they’re trying to end the food crisis (Now I think that was just marketing speak). 

Anyway, I was initially put off by the literature that came with it — a letter saying that said since I was vegan, I knew how important it was for me to make sure I eat enough protein. Yeah, not so much. I could eat nothing but potatoes all day and meet my protein needs, thanks. (The protein myth and misinformation really makes me batty). Still, I let it go and reviewed the product materials more. It came in a container (think lip balm) with little pieces — like tic tacs. The problem I had was the accompanying literature said I had to gobble up dozens of these “tic tacs” in one sitting (every day) to reap the benefits… basically I’d have to eat the entire canister in one shot and buy one every day. This seemed so ridiculous. Here I thought I’d pop one and go once a day, not eat them all. Overall, it just left me feeling like it was a big rip-off. I did try a few, and didn’t feel any different after taking them. After about a week, I gave up. 

[Editorial note: it seems the company has changed their literature, and packaging, since I received my samples]


Sparkling ICE Samples
These drinks were so pretty! While they do have a sort of artificial sweetener taste to them, they don’t contain artificial sweeteners. Scott and I loved all of the flavors, particularly the pineapple one. Sparkling ICE is naturally flavored sparkling water that contains zero calories, zero carbs, is gluten-free, and lightly carbonated. It’s an excellent soda alternative!

Giveaway: The winner will receive a case (12 bottles) of their choice of drink.
Bee Free Honee
A Herbie emailed me asking for a good alternative to honey, something other than agave nectar, which s/he was allergic too and maple wasn’t an option for other reasons. I asked Twitter for help, and several people responded mentioning this product. A few days later, an email bubbled up in my inbox asking me if I’d like to try it myself. How could I resist? Bee Free Honee is made from apples and it’s delicious. I think it tastes more like apples than honey, but if you’re looking for a vegan alternative to honey, this is it!

Giveaway: The winner will receive the following: 1 bottle (12 oz.) of Honee. 

OMG! (Organic Meets Good)
Although I generally shy away from supplements (I have that whole, “get it from the source directly, don’t eat supplements” mentality) OMG! is an LA-based company, and I figured I’d give it a try since I’m living in LA — support my local vegan businesses! I can’t begin to say how impressed I am with OMG! as a company: the CEO hand-delivered the samples to my door and stopped to talk to me for a while. You just don’t get service like that anymore. (I also sent him home with a copy of HHC). Since I don’t drink smoothies anymore, I wasn’t sure how to use these supplements, until I saw a pancake recipe on the back of the package — SOLD! (The recipe was also vegan and oil-free, which I so appreciated). I ended up giving the supplements to my friend Jon and he loves them.

Giveaway: The winner will receive 1 of the flavors (Pomegranate or Maqui Berry). 

Mini Pops
Mini Pops are like mini popcorn (they taste like popcorn and look like mini popcorns) but they’re made from popped sorghum grain instead of corn, so they’re certified gluten-free, certified organic, corn free, and certified kosher. All sorghum for Mini Pops is also farmed in the USA. Although Mini Pops offers a number of flavors, only the “plain” was oil-free, so that’s the sample I tried. Scott’s never been a fan of popcorn because “it gets stuck in your teeth” (his words) but since these were so small, he didn’t have that problem. We liked them, but aren’t popcorn people in general, so it’s probably not something we’ll buy again.

Giveaway: The winner will receive a No-Cheese Sampler. 



Core Foods

First, I must compliment their customer service. Core Foods had sent the bars to me for review, but USPS never updated the tracking information online, which meant the bars were in my mailbox for several days unbeknownst to me. When I went to my mailbox to pick something else up, I noticed the bars were there, along with perishable stickers all over the package. I immediately emailed Core Foods asking if the bars were still safe. They said I should throw them out to err on the side of caution, but sent me another package, which was so generous of them. Anyway, the fat content (from nuts and seeds, they are raw and oil-free) was too high for my sensitive stomach, but my friend Lisa’s kids loved them and said they were very filling. I think what I like most about them is that you keep them in the freezer, grab them on the way out, and in 10 minutes they’re ready to be eaten. Great for on the go if you can eat a diet high in fat!

Giveaway: The winner will receive Raw Almond Raisin Defender Meal; Raw Cashew Cacao; Raw Walnut Banana. 

Galaxy Global Shreds
I’m not much of a faux cheese eater. I never really liked cheese and I generally shy away from substitutes because they can be so processed and contain oil and other ingredients I avoid. Still, I knew Scott would never have forgiven me if I didn’t accept these samples, especially since Galaxy has a “Mexican cheese” blend, which was Scott’s absolutely favorite type of cheese to buy when he was a vegetarian. Scott gives both the Mexican blend and Mozz a thumbs up, saying if you like Daiya, you’ll definitely like these cheeses. (I didn’t try either cheese).

Giveaway: The winner will receive 2 GO Veggie vegan shreds — Mozzarella and Mexican flavor. 


Healthy Surprise
Healthy Surprise delivers snacks to your door monthly. When Healthy Surprise emailed asking me to do a review, I asked if their snacks contained oil. They assured me their snacks did not contain oil, so I was pretty disappointed when most of the snacks we got contained oil. The snacks that didn’t have oil were packets of nuts or seeds, which I can’t eat, so I sent all of it to Scott’s work for his coworkers to enjoy. The only item I could have was the dehydrated apple slices, which were okay, but not great. If you eat a lot of nuts, seeds, and oil, this might be a good option for you if you need snacks delivered to your office. It seemed like too much food for a household.

I Love Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Cookbook
This cookbook’s recipes only use ingredients found in a Trader Joe’s, which is pretty cool. The one thing I really like about this book is although it is “vegetarian,” it explains how to adapt any recipe to be made vegan. Some of the recipes are healthy, some are not. Most use oil, but I don’t see why you couldn’t omit it. If you’re a college student (or shopping for one) and you have access to a Trader Joe’s, this is a great cookbook option for you.

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of I Love Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Cookbook.

The Burger
When the PR company told me this book had “great options for veggie lovers” I was skeptical thinking maybe it had a side of potato salad. Shame on me. Not only does this burger book have vegan and vegetarian side recipes, some of the burgers are plant-based, oil-free, and quite innovative! I’m not sure the small veggie collection would warrant buying the entire book for a vegan or vegetarian, but I certainly appreciated the inclusion. I haven’t had the chance to try any of the recipes yet, but it’s one of the few books I received for review that I found myself wanting to try the recipes in my downtime (if that ever comes). It’s also a really cool book to look at with wavey pages and fun “comic” graphics.


Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen
I like the idea of this book — a guide to beating cancer, but was disappointed some of the recipes contain animal products (perhaps the author hasn’t heard of The China Study) and most, if not all, the recipes use oil. Sure, oil isn’t as cancer-feeding as animal products, but it’s no health food. I was expecting really clean, extra-healthy, and mostly raw recipes, I guess. That said, the recipes only make up a small section of the book, so unless you’re shopping for someone who (unfortunately) has cancer, I’m not sure I’d recommend the book as a gift.

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of “Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen.”


Veggies for Carnivores
As a disclaimer, one of my pet peeves is when someone refers to humans as carnivores. Humans cannot be carnivores, it’s impossible. That said, I’m not sure this book lives up to its title. My extended family fits the “carnivore” (meat lovers) description well, and these are not the kinds of dishes they’d be willing to try. I guess I was expecting a book with recipes that would help a meat eater open up to more veggies. It’s a slim book, about a quarter the size (or smaller) than any other cookbook. It also feels very much like a homemade, self-published work. I hate to say unpleasant things about this book because the author emailed me personally and was very nice, but I wanted to be honest about what to expect. The book does have some oil-free recipes, but most of them contain oil, and a good bit of it. There are a lot of raw recipes, however, so if you’re looking for that it could be a good choice — if you don’t mind that it’s not polished book.

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of “Veggies for Carnivores.”


Cooking Light – The New Way to Cook Light
I used to subscribe to Cooking Light magazine, so I accepted their new cookbook for review. It’s a big and heavy book — it makes any other cookbook look tiny. Although this is not a vegan or vegetarian book, it has icons throughout that indicate vegetarian (not vegan) fare. Except for the meat-centered sections (i.e., “Fish & Shellfish,” “Meats,” “Poultry,” etc.) you can find a good bit of vegetarian (not vegan) recipes. I also must applaud the book for encouraging readers to “eat less meat” in the first pages. Vegetarians will find many options in this book, though not necessarily healthy — plenty of butter, eggs, mayonnaise, cheese, and oil. Vegans will find even less, unless they stick to the salads, soups, and appetizer sections. The food is pretty (magazine-like photos throughout) and some ideas are innovative, but overall I wouldn’t consider it healthy. Lower in calories doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you. Nutritional info for each recipe is provided.

Giveaway:  



Wild About Greens
I’m a total greens junkie. I try to eat them at every meal, but I make sure to have greens at least twice a day. I’m usually pretty lame about it  I steam them and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, or nutritional yeast -— or I eat them raw in a salad with some kind of dressing from EHH or salsa. (I love salsa as a dressing). In other words, I was pretty excited to get a book (an entire book!) dedicated to recipes that use greens in more ways. Although Nava uses oil, I’ve had no problem removing it when I make her recipes. The book has smoothies, soups/stews, grain/bean dishes with greens, and salads (plus dressings).

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of “Wild About Greens.”


Eat & Run
Eat &Run is elite vegan ultramarathoner Scott Jurek’s memoir. If you’re unfamiliar with Scott, he’s won all major ultramarathons, which are any races longer than a traditional marathon of 26.2 miles and are often over 100 miles. Scott also holds the U.S. record for the most miles run in 24 hours: 165.7! Who says vegans can’t be elite athletes?

The book traces Scott’s gradual transition from a meat-and-potatoes kid to a McDonald’s-obsessed co-ed to a vegan, with some of his recipes mixed into the text. A lot of his recipes use oil (but you can leave it off) and others use ingredients I don’t normally keep around (i.e., Kombu seaweed, dried epazote powder (what is that?) and expensive specialty ingredients), but there are some oil-free, down-to-earth recipes, too. I think the seller of this book is the memoir part, which any runner will find motivational and inspirational.

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of Eat & Run.


The Vegetable Diet
I don’t get this book at all. It looks like a really old book (complete with golden bible-like pages), so that’s kind of neat but otherwise… There are no recipes. It’s just page after page of textbook-like text. It’s like reading a treatise. 

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of “The Vegetable Diet.”


The 80/10/10 Diet
I first heard about this diet two years ago when I wanted to try raw but without the nuts, seeds, and high-fat foods. I was intrigued by the idea — fruit! fruit! fruit! I don’t know why I never tried it back then — maybe I couldn’t afford all the fruit, but I was excited to read the book when a review copy came in the mail. I will admit that the book made a compelling argument, but overall, I didn’t think the 80/10/10 diet was really practical for me. I do have a friend that’s been 80/10/10 for a few years and he loves it and is thriving, but I love potatoes too much. And kale. And beans. And rice. And I just feel better when I eat those things. The Starch Solution still remains my solution, but I did appreciate the wealth of information in this book, a lot of which aligned with Dr. McDougall’s recommendations.

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of “The 80/10/10 Diet.”


Cooking with Love
I fell in love with Carla when she was on Top Chef and appreciated that many of the dishes she made on the show were vegetarian. I’ve watched her career go and cheered her on — she’s such a fun-spirited woman. I was particularly excited to receive her book and while there is a lot of meat in it, she does have many vegetarian recipes and some can be vegan. Like most celebrity chefs, she does use a lot of oil and other unhealthy ingredients, but not nearly as heavily as others, which leads me to think many of her recipes could be the inspiration for a healthier plant-based dish. I wouldn’t recommend this book for a health-conscious, plant-based eater, but it might be a choice for flexitarians.

Giveaway: The winner will receive a copy of “Cooking With Love.”


NBW Lotion
I’m not sure if it’s my skin type, diet, or climate, but I’ve never really needed to use lotion or moisturizer, except when I’m in a really cold climates and the place I’m staying at has radiators blasting, or I shave my legs. I always seem to need lotion after shaving, so when NBW offered to send me a sample for my review, I thought I’d give it a go. I love the light scent of their summer lotion (their products change with the seasons) and how clean it feels and applies. NBW is a natural, organic, ethical, Canadian body care company that makes a full line of cleansers, lotions, scrubs and other essentials; most of which are vegan-friendly. Everything they make is petroleum-free, organic, and vegetable-based. I HIGHLY recommend!

Giveaway:



Soyabella
Scott and I were both really excited to receive this. I loved the idea of making my own soymilk. Problem was I didn’t have luck finding soy beans (suitable for making soymilk) in the bulk bin at my local store, or any store. I found them online, but I’d have to buy a lot of them in bulk. I didn’t really want to take on that kind of financial commitment (or big purchase) without knowing if I liked homemade soy milk or not. I just wanted to get some beans to try it out… Having no luck, I opted to donate the maker for a charitable auction and never used it.

Giveaway:


Halo Vegan Garden Medley for Dogs
Halo, Ellen DeGeneres’ pet food company, developed a vegan dog food formula. Although the pugs love V-Dog, I was happy to accept a sample. The problem is, you’re not supposed to just change out a dog’s food. You’re supposed to mix a little new with the old, and work your way up. By the time I would have been able to work my pugs up to that, I’d have been almost out of the sample and it wasn’t sold locally so I couldn’t keep them on it, or take them back off it gradually. I ended up putting a little in the pugs bowls for a snack and they seemed to like it. Even though I love Ellen, my pugs are so happy with home-cooked meals and V-Dog (when we travel, etc.) that I don’t think I’ll change their food.

Giveaway: The winner will receive the following: a bag of the dry vegan food, a couple of big cans of vegan canned food, and some vegan pumpkin chews.


ArcaNatura vegan pet products
ArcaNatura sent us a product you spray on dogs’ food — which did not go over well with the pugs. They also sent a shampoo that was fine. They liked it and it left their coat feeling and looking great, but no better than what we usually use. I did, however, like that the company is eco-friendly and vegan. Perhaps when the shampoo runs out we’ll buy from them again.

Giveaway:

———–

Now for a chance to win all the swag! Leave a comment saying what your favorite Happy Herbivore recipe is.

This contest is open for 24 hours. Winner announced on Monday.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 15th, 2012

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Vegan Makeup & Kid’s Lunches)

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

You’ve got questions…


Q: Desperate for ideas for kids’ lunches. I find I send the same thing every day. BORING.  Please help.

A: The family meal plan  takes into account kids lunches. We also had a blog post about kids lunches  on the blog. 

Q: I plan on baking some HH desserts when I’m in Colorado visiting my daughter (I am from Florida). Any special high altitude directions?

A: It depends. When I was living in Colorado, I had to add a splash of extra liquid, and bake for less time, but it can really vary depending on your altitude (I was 8000 ft. or so). Your daughter should know how to make adjustments based on where she lives — but the easiest thing is to add more liquid (when in doubt, wetter is better) and check it like crazy.

Q: We just made the chocolate cookies from HHCwhich are totally addictive. However it says that they are 61 calories — is that for 1 cookie out of 16? What is the serving size?

A: The serving size and nutritional information is included next to each recipe in the books as well as on the blog. If something makes, say, 12 muffins, the nutrition is per serving (i.e., per muffin) unless indicated otherwise. If a cookie recipe makes 16 cookies, it’s per cookie, etc. This is explained in greater detail in the front of each cookbook. 

Q: Can we make our own bean flours by putting dry beans in a food processor and processing the diddly out of those beans until we get a flour consistency?

A: You’ll kill your food processor. I’ve known a few people who overheated and killed the motor or destroyed the blades or the cylinder. If you have a Vita-mix or Blendtec, and the special “dry” container (does not come with the machine, it’s an extra $100), then you can make your own flour — but you’ll ruin your processor. I’ve heard that a coffee grinder will make flour, though I’ve never tried it myself. If you’re looking to save money, buy flours in bulk online or from bulk bins. 

Q: What brands/websites do you recommend for vegan skin products and make-up, shampoo, soap, lotion etc.?

A: I wash my face with baking soda and use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with a loofah or Dr. Bronner’s bar  to wash my body. I don’t find I need lotion, but if my skin ever gets really dry I use an unscented shea butter or coconut oil (just don’t eat it!). 

As for makeup, I don’t really wear any day-to-day. Usually only at conferences/events and for professional photos. Even then, I just use a light layer of SPF-tinted moisturizer, a little eye shadow, chapstick, and mascara. For makeup brand suggestionss, see this guest post by a vegan makeup artist about vegan makeup. Gin also wrote a blog post on vegan skincare.

For more information on living without products, see my post about baking soda for face, hair. and armpits.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Vegan Makeup & Kid’s Lunches)

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

You’ve got questions…


Q: Desperate for ideas for kids’ lunches. I find I send the same thing every day. BORING.  Please help.

A: The family meal plan  takes into account kids lunches. We also had a blog post about kids lunches  on the blog. 

Q: I plan on baking some HH desserts when I’m in Colorado visiting my daughter (I am from Florida). Any special high altitude directions?

A: It depends. When I was living in Colorado, I had to add a splash of extra liquid, and bake for less time, but it can really vary depending on your altitude (I was 8000 ft. or so). Your daughter should know how to make adjustments based on where she lives — but the easiest thing is to add more liquid (when in doubt, wetter is better) and check it like crazy.

Q: We just made the chocolate cookies from HHCwhich are totally addictive. However it says that they are 61 calories — is that for 1 cookie out of 16? What is the serving size?

A: The serving size and nutritional information is included next to each recipe in the books as well as on the blog. If something makes, say, 12 muffins, the nutrition is per serving (i.e., per muffin) unless indicated otherwise. If a cookie recipe makes 16 cookies, it’s per cookie, etc. This is explained in greater detail in the front of each cookbook. 

Q: Can we make our own bean flours by putting dry beans in a food processor and processing the diddly out of those beans until we get a flour consistency?

A: You’ll kill your food processor. I’ve known a few people who overheated and killed the motor or destroyed the blades or the cylinder. If you have a Vita-mix or Blendtec, and the special “dry” container (does not come with the machine, it’s an extra $100), then you can make your own flour — but you’ll ruin your processor. I’ve heard that a coffee grinder will make flour, though I’ve never tried it myself. If you’re looking to save money, buy flours in bulk online or from bulk bins. 

Q: What brands/websites do you recommend for vegan skin products and make-up, shampoo, soap, lotion etc.?

A: I wash my face with baking soda and use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with a loofah or Dr. Bronner’s bar  to wash my body. I don’t find I need lotion, but if my skin ever gets really dry I use an unscented shea butter or coconut oil (just don’t eat it!). 

As for makeup, I don’t really wear any day-to-day. Usually only at conferences/events and for professional photos. Even then, I just use a light layer of SPF-tinted moisturizer, a little eye shadow, chapstick, and mascara. For makeup brand suggestionss, see this guest post by a vegan makeup artist about vegan makeup. Gin also wrote a blog post on vegan skincare.

For more information on living without products, see my post about baking soda for face, hair. and armpits.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Vegan Makeup & Kid’s Lunches)

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

You’ve got questions…


Q: Desperate for ideas for kids’ lunches. I find I send the same thing every day. BORING.  Please help.

A: The family meal plan  takes into account kids lunches. We also had a blog post about kids lunches  on the blog. 

Q: I plan on baking some HH desserts when I’m in Colorado visiting my daughter (I am from Florida). Any special high altitude directions?

A: It depends. When I was living in Colorado, I had to add a splash of extra liquid, and bake for less time, but it can really vary depending on your altitude (I was 8000 ft. or so). Your daughter should know how to make adjustments based on where she lives — but the easiest thing is to add more liquid (when in doubt, wetter is better) and check it like crazy.

Q: We just made the chocolate cookies from HHCwhich are totally addictive. However it says that they are 61 calories — is that for 1 cookie out of 16? What is the serving size?

A: The serving size and nutritional information is included next to each recipe in the books as well as on the blog. If something makes, say, 12 muffins, the nutrition is per serving (i.e., per muffin) unless indicated otherwise. If a cookie recipe makes 16 cookies, it’s per cookie, etc. This is explained in greater detail in the front of each cookbook. 

Q: Can we make our own bean flours by putting dry beans in a food processor and processing the diddly out of those beans until we get a flour consistency?

A: You’ll kill your food processor. I’ve known a few people who overheated and killed the motor or destroyed the blades or the cylinder. If you have a Vita-mix or Blendtec, and the special “dry” container (does not come with the machine, it’s an extra $100), then you can make your own flour — but you’ll ruin your processor. I’ve heard that a coffee grinder will make flour, though I’ve never tried it myself. If you’re looking to save money, buy flours in bulk online or from bulk bins. 

Q: What brands/websites do you recommend for vegan skin products and make-up, shampoo, soap, lotion etc.?

A: I wash my face with baking soda and use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with a loofah or Dr. Bronner’s bar  to wash my body. I don’t find I need lotion, but if my skin ever gets really dry I use an unscented shea butter or coconut oil (just don’t eat it!). 

As for makeup, I don’t really wear any day-to-day. Usually only at conferences/events and for professional photos. Even then, I just use a light layer of SPF-tinted moisturizer, a little eye shadow, chapstick, and mascara. For makeup brand suggestionss, see this guest post by a vegan makeup artist about vegan makeup. Gin also wrote a blog post on vegan skincare.

For more information on living without products, see my post about baking soda for face, hair. and armpits.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Vegan Makeup & Kid’s Lunches)

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

You’ve got questions…


Q: Desperate for ideas for kids’ lunches. I find I send the same thing every day. BORING.  Please help.

A: The family meal plan  takes into account kids lunches. We also had a blog post about kids lunches  on the blog. 

Q: I plan on baking some HH desserts when I’m in Colorado visiting my daughter (I am from Florida). Any special high altitude directions?

A: It depends. When I was living in Colorado, I had to add a splash of extra liquid, and bake for less time, but it can really vary depending on your altitude (I was 8000 ft. or so). Your daughter should know how to make adjustments based on where she lives — but the easiest thing is to add more liquid (when in doubt, wetter is better) and check it like crazy.

Q: We just made the chocolate cookies from HHCwhich are totally addictive. However it says that they are 61 calories — is that for 1 cookie out of 16? What is the serving size?

A: The serving size and nutritional information is included next to each recipe in the books as well as on the blog. If something makes, say, 12 muffins, the nutrition is per serving (i.e., per muffin) unless indicated otherwise. If a cookie recipe makes 16 cookies, it’s per cookie, etc. This is explained in greater detail in the front of each cookbook. 

Q: Can we make our own bean flours by putting dry beans in a food processor and processing the diddly out of those beans until we get a flour consistency?

A: You’ll kill your food processor. I’ve known a few people who overheated and killed the motor or destroyed the blades or the cylinder. If you have a Vita-mix or Blendtec, and the special “dry” container (does not come with the machine, it’s an extra $100), then you can make your own flour — but you’ll ruin your processor. I’ve heard that a coffee grinder will make flour, though I’ve never tried it myself. If you’re looking to save money, buy flours in bulk online or from bulk bins. 

Q: What brands/websites do you recommend for vegan skin products and make-up, shampoo, soap, lotion etc.?

A: I wash my face with baking soda and use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with a loofah or Dr. Bronner’s bar  to wash my body. I don’t find I need lotion, but if my skin ever gets really dry I use an unscented shea butter or coconut oil (just don’t eat it!). 

As for makeup, I don’t really wear any day-to-day. Usually only at conferences/events and for professional photos. Even then, I just use a light layer of SPF-tinted moisturizer, a little eye shadow, chapstick, and mascara. For makeup brand suggestionss, see this guest post by a vegan makeup artist about vegan makeup. Gin also wrote a blog post on vegan skincare.

For more information on living without products, see my post about baking soda for face, hair. and armpits.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Vegan Makeup & Kid’s Lunches)

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

You’ve got questions…


Q: Desperate for ideas for kids’ lunches. I find I send the same thing every day. BORING.  Please help.

A: The family meal plan  takes into account kids lunches. We also had a blog post about kids lunches  on the blog. 

Q: I plan on baking some HH desserts when I’m in Colorado visiting my daughter (I am from Florida). Any special high altitude directions?

A: It depends. When I was living in Colorado, I had to add a splash of extra liquid, and bake for less time, but it can really vary depending on your altitude (I was 8000 ft. or so). Your daughter should know how to make adjustments based on where she lives — but the easiest thing is to add more liquid (when in doubt, wetter is better) and check it like crazy.

Q: We just made the chocolate cookies from HHCwhich are totally addictive. However it says that they are 61 calories — is that for 1 cookie out of 16? What is the serving size?

A: The serving size and nutritional information is included next to each recipe in the books as well as on the blog. If something makes, say, 12 muffins, the nutrition is per serving (i.e., per muffin) unless indicated otherwise. If a cookie recipe makes 16 cookies, it’s per cookie, etc. This is explained in greater detail in the front of each cookbook. 

Q: Can we make our own bean flours by putting dry beans in a food processor and processing the diddly out of those beans until we get a flour consistency?

A: You’ll kill your food processor. I’ve known a few people who overheated and killed the motor or destroyed the blades or the cylinder. If you have a Vita-mix or Blendtec, and the special “dry” container (does not come with the machine, it’s an extra $100), then you can make your own flour — but you’ll ruin your processor. I’ve heard that a coffee grinder will make flour, though I’ve never tried it myself. If you’re looking to save money, buy flours in bulk online or from bulk bins. 

Q: What brands/websites do you recommend for vegan skin products and make-up, shampoo, soap, lotion etc.?

A: I wash my face with baking soda and use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with a loofah or Dr. Bronner’s bar  to wash my body. I don’t find I need lotion, but if my skin ever gets really dry I use an unscented shea butter or coconut oil (just don’t eat it!). 

As for makeup, I don’t really wear any day-to-day. Usually only at conferences/events and for professional photos. Even then, I just use a light layer of SPF-tinted moisturizer, a little eye shadow, chapstick, and mascara. For makeup brand suggestionss, see this guest post by a vegan makeup artist about vegan makeup. Gin also wrote a blog post on vegan skincare.

For more information on living without products, see my post about baking soda for face, hair. and armpits.

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

December 14th, 2012

How To Eat Healthy, Plant-Based in Fast Food Restaurants

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

After my post, How to Travel on a Plant-Based Diet (What to Pack, Snacks &
More!)
 Sue emailed asking, “Have you done anything on best
choices at chain restaurants? Sometimes when traveling (especially during the
holidays) there isn’t time to find anything but a chain close to the highway.
Suggestions would help a lot!”

Subway- breads: Italian White Bread, Hearty Italian White
Bread, Light Wheat English Muffin, Roasted Garlic Bread and Sourdough Bread.
All veggies, of course; mustard (yellow & deli brown); oil, sweet onion
sauce, vinegar

Dairy Queen- Side Salad; French Fries; Cherry Starkiss;
Stars & Stripes Starkiss, Arctic Rushes (Blue Raspberry, Cherry, Grape,
Lemon Lime, Strawberry Kiwi); Fat Free Italian Dressing

Arby’s – Apple & Cherry Turnover; Homestyle Fries;
Arby’s sauce; Garden & Side Salad (no croutons); Raspberry Vinaigrette; Red
Wine Vinaigrette

Burger King- French fries, house salad with oil &
vinegar

Jason’s Deli- Organic Vegetarian Vegetable Soup; Fresh Fruit
Cup (no dip); Steamed Veggies; Mediterranean Wrap; Guacamole; Fresh made salsa;
Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips; Baked Lays; Bagged Chips; Pozole Verde Soup;
Fire Roasted Tortilla Soup

P.F. Chang’s – Buddha’s Feast (steamed or stir-fried);
Spinach Stir-Fried with Garlic; Garlic Snap Peas; Steamed White Rice; Steamed
Brown Rice (Some vegetarian items marked on the menu contain sugar, which is
the only thing that is stopping them from being marketed as vegan. Depending on
your stance on sugar, you can have any vegetarian marked item.)

Quizno’s- Garlic Focaccia; Italian Herb Wrap; Wheat
Baguette; White Baguette; Fat Free Balsamic; Four Pepper Chili; Guacamole;
Yellow Mustard; Zesty Grill Sauce; All veggies; Veggie Sandwich with no cheese

Taco Bell- Bean Burrito (no cheese); Chalupas (no cheese,
ask for beans instead of meat); Taco Salad (no cheese, ask for beans instead of
meat); Taco (no cheese, ask for beans instead of meat);  Crunch Wrap (no dairy products, beans instead
of meat). Just about everything on the menu can be made with beans instead of
meat and have no cheese or dairy ingredients, so pretty much everything on the
menu is good to go.

Wendy’s- Garden Side Salad; Italian Vinaigrette; Pomegranate
Vinaigrette; Plain Baked Potato (no butter); Fries (could be cooked in the same
oil as animal based items); Apple Slices

Chipotle- Vegetarian Burrito with black beans (no cheese or
pinto beans)

Johnny Rockets- Streamliner Burger (no butter on the bun)

Au Bon Pain- some bagels; some soups; customizable
sandwiches and salads

Denny’s- Amy’s veggie burger; baked potato; oatmeal (ordered
to be made with water, not milk); English muffins; bagels; Dutch apple pie; applesauce;
most dressings

Chili’s –salad; tortilla with beans; steamed vegetables

McDonald’s – plain bagel (not fries or hash browns)

El Pollo Loco- BRC burrito (ordered without cheese); corn on
the cob; guacamole; cucumber salad; spiced apples; Italian dressing; pinto
beans (not black beans)

Baja Fresh – vegetarian burrito (no cheese, using black
beans not pinto)

Fazoli’s – pasta (egg-free); veggie submarine; pizza without
cheese; salads

Jack in the Box- fries; potato wedges; salad; English muffin;
sesame bread sticks; tortilla bowl; pita bread; apple turnover

KFC – three bean salad; side salad

Long John Silver’s – side salad; corn Cobettes without
butter; rice

Shakey’s – cheeseless veggie pizza; Garden Ranch Pizza;
pasta; marinara sauce; Pasta Fresca without white sauce

Related posts:

Traveling Herbivore: How I Eat Healthy, Low-Fat and Vegan in Airports

Lindsay S. Nixon

via Happy Herbivore – Blog

How To Eat Healthy, Plant-Based in Fast Food Restaurants

Written by admin

Read Full Story Here

After my post, How to Travel on a Plant-Based Diet (What to Pack, Snacks &
More!)
 Sue emailed asking, “Have you done anything on best