Happy Herbivore Blog

The Forks Over Knives Plan Giveaway + Roasted Stuffed Winter Squash Recipe!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

**This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering!**

Everyone knows how much I *love* the FOK documentary -- I still cannot recommend it enough! Watch it on Netflix or YouTube, it'll totally change your life!

Since the documentary's debut, my pals at FOK have released their extended interview DVD, their companion book, and the official FOK cookbook, authored by my good friend and an amazing plant-based chef, Del Sroufe!

NOW, FOK has released another terrific book, The Forks Over Knives Plan.

Here's my little love quote that you'll find on the back cover:

"Dive into a deeper understanding of how you can eat for health—complete with delicious whole-foods recipes!"

This book is a wonderful transition guide in that it goes a bit deeper with the "why" -- explaining what a plant-based diet is, why it works, and what it can do for you. (I mean, they could only make their amazing film so long!)

The book then suggests a 3-week transition period. Week 1 you transform your breakfasts, lunches at week 2, and then dinners at week 3. There's also about 100 new breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts recipes in the book to help guide you.

If you're looking for a true step-by-step meal plan, though, the kind where it says "eat this for breakfast on day 1, this for lunch, that for dinner" and so forth, you won't find it in this book. Instead they arm you with knowledge, tips, resources, and recipes so you can create your own roadmap or blueprint.

If you need a true step-by-step meal plan, check out my 7-day meal plans. They're prefect for people like me who need to be told exactly what to do. If you need everything detailed out for you, use the meal plans, and they line up perfectly with FOK advice! However, if you like more flexibility or figuring things out yourself, or you enjoy creating your own meal plans and shopping lists, this book will be invaluable to you!

One thing I'm most excited about: trying their borscht! I've always wanted to try it and am now so glad to have a plant-based version! It's on my agenda for this weekend :D

aaaand I'm giving away FIVE (5!) copies of The Forks Over Knives Plan plus a recipe FROM the book!

Scroll down for the Roasted Stuffed Winter Squash recipe :)

Roasted Stuffed Winter Squash Makes 4 stuffed squash halves

2 medium acorn squash

½ cup wild rice medley

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more as needed

½ medium red onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1½ teaspoons dried rosemary

½ cup finely chopped carrot

½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper

½ cup small broccoli florets

½ cup small cauliflower florets

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sea salt

3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)

1. Cut each acorn squash in half through the stem. Trim the stem and remove and discard the seeds (keep the skin on).

2. Bring a large saucepan or pot of water to a boil. Add the squash halves and cook until the squash is slightly soft when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the water and drain well. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

3. Meanwhile, bring 1½ cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the wild rice medley and cook, covered, over medium heat for 25 minutes. (Alternatively, follow the cooking instructions on the rice package, using a bit more water than called for so that the rice is moist after steaming.) Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Use a spoon to scoop out the inner edges of each cooled squash half to create a wider and deeper hollow for the stuffing; leave about half of the squash flesh attached to the peel. Reserve the scooped-out squash flesh for the stuffing. Set the squash shells aside.

5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

6. In a skillet with a lid, combine the vegetable broth, onion, garlic powder, ginger, and rosemary. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7. Add the carrot, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, black pepper, and salt to taste, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more.

8. Add the reserved squash flesh and wild rice. Use a wooden spoon to mix the stuffing together; it should be a bit creamy. If all the liquid has dried up, add about ¼ cup broth or as much as is needed to make it slightly creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat.

9. Arrange the acorn squash shells on a baking sheet and divide the stuffing evenly among them. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top.

10. Bake until the pine nuts are browned and the stuffing is heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Serve hot.


For a chance to win a copy of The Forks Over Knives Plan leave a comment below about the favorite thing you learned from watching Forks Over Knives. If you haven't seen the documentary, leave a comment on your favorite way to eat squash.

Note: For peeps who get these blog posts via email, you have to leave a comment on the blog on happyherbivore.com. I cannot accept entries via email, so hop on over to the blog.

Thanks + good luck!

**This giveaway is open to residents of the US**

BBQ Ranch Sweet Potato Pizza, Pumpkin Lentil Tacos, Fall Quinoa Bake & More

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

We're ushering in the arrival of fall with all sorts of healthy, seasonal dishes on this week's meal plan!

Pumpkin Lentil Tacos (NEW!), Cinnamon & Butternut Chickpeas (NEW!), Fall Quinoa Bake (NEW!), and Butternut Home Fries (NEW!) are all new and capture the taste of autumn.

Also new on this week's menu: BBQ Ranch Sweet Potato Pizza (NEW!)!

Dig in!

BBQ Ranch Sweet Potato Pizza

Individual Highlights

  • Pumpkin Lentil Tacos (NEW!)
  • Cinnamon & Butternut Chickpeas (NEW!)
  • Almond Broccoli Noodles
  • BBQ Ranch Sweet Potato Pizza (NEW!)
  • Fall Quinoa Bake (NEW!)
  • Kale-Powered Pasta
  • Butternut Home Fries (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Cinnamon & Butternut Chickpeas

Family Highlights

  • Cinnamon & Butternut Chickpeas (NEW!)
  • Kale-Powered Pasta
  • Fall Quinoa Bake (NEW!)
  • Pumpkin Lentil Tacos (NEW!)
  • Tomato Vegetable Soup
  • BBQ Ranch Sweet Potato Pizzas (NEW!)
  • Peanut Noodles

Get this meal plan now.

Pumpkin Lentil Tacos


"Just wanted to let you know I have been so happy with the recipes so far. I never would have thought there could be this much variety going WFPB. I am only into my 3rd week but I'm already down about 6 lbs." Bonnie K

"Since I've been doing the meal plans I've found I'm getting better grades in school because I spend less time cooking, my body is nourished, and I have less stress because I know my meal is waiting for me in the fridge with little preparation, only small amounts of assemblies. I never thought the meal plans would be possible but now I recommend them."- Rhanda P

Get the current meal plan now.

Herbie of the Week: Heather (She Reversed Her Diabetes, Is Off Her Meds and Lowered Her Cholesterol & Blood Pressure!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Heather!

Over the summer I received a short, but sweet email from Heather. She wrote:

"In February I changed to a 100% plant-based diet. So far I have lost almost 90 lbs. Reversed my diabetes, been able to cut my blood pressure & cholesterol meds in 1/2."

I was AMAZED! Knowing her plant-based journey would inspire so many, I immediately asked Heather to share her story today.

I'll let Heather take it away!

My name is Heather, and I would like to share my story with you of how I became a "Happy Herbie”. On January 1, 2014, I was 45 years old when a friend snapped this picture of me playing with her cat. (above, left)

I didn't know how much I weighed. I always kept in my mind, if I was under 300lbs I was doing ok. But I sure didn’t like the way I looked in that picture.

I have lived my life with a host of medical issues. For my 40th birthday I was diagnosed with diabetes and had to start wearing bifocals. I have had debilitating arthritis since my early adulthood. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

In January 2014, after getting insurance, I went to see my primary care physician. I already knew I was 5ft 5in tall, then I stepped on the scale and saw a life changing number...316lbs!!!!! How did that happen?? Well, it didn't take much to figure that out! I didn't eat well and I did not exercise.

That day I decided something needed to change. So, January 7th, 2014, I started making some changes by tracking my food/nutrition with an app. First, I had to begin my day by eating breakfast which I hadn’t done in years. Second, instead of eating a whole salami, cheese and mayo sandwich and a huge handful of chips for lunch, I would eat 1/2 a salami, cheese and mustard sandwich with a counted out serving of chips and a bunch of veggies for lunch. Dinner would be a small amount of meat and starch with a large serving of vegetables. Snacks would be nothing but fruit. One thing at a time, I would add exercise later.

About a week later, I had my first appointment with my new orthopedist about my knees and hips. That was the day that Rishi Gupta, MD said something that changed my life forever. He told me the things I expected. Both of my knees and both of my hips need to be replaced, but I was not in good enough shape to have surgery. I was too obese; the risk of failure in joint replacement at 316 lbs is much too high.

Then he said, "I really think you could benefit from some medical nutrition therapy". I've heard of nutritionists, dietitians and diets but never medical nutrition therapy. He gave me the name John Gobble, DrPH, RD, LD, MCHES, and told me that he has been helping people do some wonderful things.

A few days later I contacted Dr. John Gobble. That conversation was awesome. He was kind and encouraging. He sent forms to me to fill out and videos to watch about the classes he teaches. A new class session was starting in February.

In the meantime, at the end of January I decided to add exercise. I joined the closest gym with a pool. I started swimming laps 3-4 days a week starting at 30 minutes and working up to 60. I started walking more. With my joint issues, walking is painful without assistance. So I decided the best way to add walking was to do it in store; pushing a shopping cart was exactly the support I needed. I would walk for an hour a couple times a week in a big box store. I never had to worry about the weather and it was a great opportunity to figure out who had the best deals!

On February 11th, I started the CHIP classes recommended by Dr. Gobble. CHIP stands for Complete Health Improvement Program.

At the first CHIP class, I sat there with a healthy dose of skepticism. Honestly, one of the thoughts that went through my mind that night and in the days following..."These people are trying to get me to drink the Kool-Aid. They are trying to convert me to something!" But I listened, I read class materials and I kept going to class. I decided that if I heard anything that just didn't sound right, I would do the research on my own to see if it was true. However, the science behind plant-based eating was overwhelmingly positive for weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. On February 14, 2014, I decided to try 100% plant-based eating for 30 days.

As I started this adventure I have a friend that jumped in head first with me. She had eaten plant-based before and decided to try it again. Once a week we would go out to eat at a plant-based restaurant as a treat. We started cooking meals together on the weekend for the coming week.We didn't have to think about what we would eat. It was so easy, a simple grab and go situation.

I am very lucky to live in Portland, Oregon. Bob's Red Mill is based in Oregon with a large store just a few miles from my house. Right across the street from Bob's, is Dave's Killer Bread outlet store. Portland has many plant-based restaurants. These things have really made changing my lifestyle so much easier.

By the end of February/beginning of March, I had already lost 30 lbs and was able to discontinue my diabetes meds. My blood sugar remains stable and is now below pre-diabetic levels.

In March I also had my cholesterol rechecked. My cholesterol had dropped from 261 to 176. It is holding steady and I have been able to reduce my medication to half the dose. By July, my blood pressure had come down enough to reduce that medication to half the dose as well.

I am not sure what happened to my idea that I would try eating plant-based for 30 days, because I have no doubt that eating plant based has become a way of life for me. In April I graduated from my CHIP class. And in May I started helping with the next CHIP class.

On August 15, 2014, I reached an amazing goal! I got on the scale and it said 216 lbs. I had to reweigh myself three times before I believed it. In just over 7 months, I have lost 100 lbs!

I have gone from wearing a 4XL T-shirt to wearing and XL. I gave gone from a size 48 pants to wearing a 40. My orthopedist is ready to start joint replacement surgeries later this year.

I still have progress to make. My end goal is about 76 lbs away. I do not have a goal weight, I have a goal range. I want to be able to maintain between 140-145 lbs. I have drunk the Kool-Aid, I was converted and have become an evangelist for a plant-based diet. I am a Happy Herbie for life.

Thank you so much Heather for sharing your story with us!