Happy Herbivore Blog

Herbie of the Week: Erik B (He's Lost 75lbs & Lowered His Cholesterol!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Erik B!

Erik was nominated as Herbie of the Week by his wife, Kristen, who emailed me earlier this year telling me how he lost 75lbs since going plant-based after Father's Day of last year.

As soon as I read her touching email, I knew he was the perfect candidate!

Read on for Erik's story (in his wife's words)...

Erik's journey began only one year ago (in June 2013) after I (his wife, a 15 year vegetarian) decided to watch Forks over Knives per the suggestion of a good friend and fellow Happy Herbivore fan, Monique Burghart. Erik happened to watch it with me with no intention of changing his diet. He was currently losing weight and exercising using a popular weight loss plan which included a diet high in animal based proteins. However, he still felt sluggish and was at a plateau with his weight loss.

After watching the film, I was surprised when he wanted to try a vegan diet. The next day we emptied our pantry and refrigerator of all of those non vegan foods that we would be tempted to eat, and we ordered our first Happy Herbivore cookbook. It was meant to be a 30 day trial, and here we are a year later!

Erik's starting weight was about 240 and he has lost and maintained a weight loss of 75 lbs over the past year. He has also lowered his cholesterol and has so much more energy!

He is a wonderful father who always has time and energy to play with our three children, Oshen (5), Zoey (3) and Leland (4 months) despite his hectic work schedule and exercise routine. In the past 13 months, he has also completed two 100+ mile bicycle races raising funds for the American Diabetes Association, one marathon and one half ironman. To prepare for and recover from his races he eats "Gorilla salads" - huge mixing bowls full of raw vegetables. Its because of this that his recovery time has been virtually non-existent since going plant-based. After his first marathon, he was fully functional, energized even, and kept "going" - making dinner for the family hours after running and waking up with his newborn throughout the night - never complaining about soreness - even running 2 days later!

Erik is also in the US Navy, currently on shore duty but serves aboard submarines, and he faces a lot of temptation at work. Co-workers bring in many tempting foods. One week they ordered pizza from Papa Johns, he made it work by using the pepperoncinis to add flavor to his salad! At home he faces even more temptation, with our children's "junk" foods being around (our children are incredibly picky eaters, who are for the most part vegetarian, and we are gradually reducing the animal products that they eat). However, he has "learned" that eating dairy products after not having them for so long, leaves him with severe digestive issues - so severe that it makes the "cheating" not worthwhile!

One suggestion he has for Herbies like him is to PLAN PLAN PLAN. At breakfast, know what your lunch will be, at lunch, know what your dinner will be and so on. Lindsay's meal plans are great for this. If you do not have a plan, with groceries ready and maybe even prepared, you may be tempted to order pizza, go through a drive thru, get quick food whatever that may be! That is why we love Lindsay's recipes. So quick and easy, we make several portions in advance for use throughout the week. Erik's co-workers who are eating fast food are always jealous of what healthy, colorful meals has for lunch!

Thank you so much Kristen for nominating and sharing Erik's story with us!

A Vegan Taste of Paris + A Sneak Peek at My Vegan Europe Travel Book!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

I'm home (I think I mentioned that?) from my summer in France :)

I'm also finishing up my vegan Europe travel book!!! It should be here in the next week :) :) I'm really excited about this book! (You can read more about it below)

To say good-bye to my summer blog travel series (and whet your appetite for the new book!) I give you today's post!

I spent the bulk of my summer in the French countryside and South of France. It's not that I don't like Paris (I do, though not as much as most Americans) but I also knew I couldn't do Paris all day, every day for a month. It's a bustling city, which is exciting, but my retreat to France was to get away from my city life in America :)

I need quiet. I needed sleep. I needed to read and eat baguettes!

But still no trip to France is complete without a rendezvous in Paris...

Scott was hungry for "American" food, so we went to Hank, an all-vegan burger joint. I'm not usually one for faux meat, or burgers, but I have to say Hank delivered!

I was also delighted to see our hotel had a vegetarian menu at their bistro.

There's a chef's vegetarian special each day from whatever seasonal veggies happen to be in the kitchen (this is common in French cuisine -- daily menus or luck of the draw-type options). The chef explained he could prepare it vegan if I ordered the green beans without butter. He also accommodated my oil-free request for the veggies and did a steam and dry-saute.

P.S. That's polenta fries in the back. Basically polenta cut into strips and pan-fried. Since it was fried I didn't give it a go, but everyone else in the restaurant seemed to really love them.

The house-made burger was also vegan, which Scott ordered. The bun they normally served contained cheese, so the chef created some kind of chickpea flour-based pancake for Scott to use in lieu of a bun. It wasn't exactly a crepe, but I think it was some distant relative to socca. He liked it!

Here's a menu I saw posted outside a restaurant near the Eiffel Tour. We didn't eat there, but I wanted to share the menu as sort of proof that Paris does understand vegan and vegetarian.

I saw a lot of menus with this icon, both in and outside the tourist bubble.

Paris does cater to vegetarian and vegan diets -- if you know where to look.

Here's a short paragraph from my Vegan in Europe book that applies to all of Europe, but most especially Paris:

[...] I’m delighted to say my first month-long trip across 13 countries was a breeze and places where people swore I would starve (like Germany and Ireland) were, and still are, some of the most vegan-friendly places I’ve ever visited...

[...] Having traveled extensively over my home continent as well (46 states and counting!) I can say I find Europe only slightly more challenging (because I don’t always speak the language) but (and this is a big but!) I have also found an array of “vegan things” (like vegan yogurt) at even the tiniest stores, in the tiniest of European towns, when I can’t same the same for America (though it IS getting better).

Point is, like in America, some places are more veg-friendly (or veg-aware) than others, and patience is always key. And also like in America, there are some Europeans who can’t be bothered to help you out (and think vegans are just plain lame—or whatever cool, trendy word there is for “lame” in European lingo) but there are oodles more that are respectful if not inspired by your gumption!

Likewise, while there are thousands of restaurants you’d never want to eat at, there are thousands more that you would (and will!) [...]

[...] To avoid frustration, you need some semblance of a plan. Otherwise you’ll walk around the city mad and frustrated that all the places you pop into don’t appear have a vegan option. (This is where I think the reputation for Europe being veg-unfriendly comes in, even though American restaurants are no different in this respect. You can walk around New York City or Chicago and have this same experience). [...]

MORE PROOF: Grill Courtepaille is a French "steakhouse" chain. Just like in America, steakhouses are often surprisingly veg-friendly. Grill Courtepaille has two vegan dishes on their regular menu (woot!) -- see below! AND unlimited baked potato refills!!

YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. UNLIMITED baked potatoes! (They also have 20+ locations in France, many right off their highways).

I stopped at 3...the shame! I am not a petite eater :P

Speaking of potatoes, I also found this baked potato stand at Versailles. I sort of want to bring that to America. Can't you just see me standing on a street corner in Midtown Manhattan selling potatoes instead of hotdogs?!

I also ate 37 baguettes in France and lost 0.5lb. Scott lost 3lbs. I guess this is our anecdotal evidence that carbs don't make you fat :)

Now for another glimpse into my upcoming book!

About this Book (Vegan in Europe)

This book contains all the information you’ll need to eat, drink, and live la dolce vida as a vegan in Europe.

I’ve included specific restaurant recommendations (including "locals best" restaurants that aren't listed on HappyCow), plus general information about what to expect food-wise in each country (or city), including “accidentally vegan” traditional fare you should try whenever possible. You’ll also find suggestions for what to eat at any restaurant in any city or country, plus what to pack for your trip and what to buy.

Lists of local vegan brands for soy milk, almond milk, vegan ice cream, vegan yogurt, snacks, and other specialty vegan foods (plus where to find them in the grocery store) are also included, along with language tips (including phrases), and cautionary warnings for the all the hidden foods and cultural quirks you need to look out for.

Many chapters also have additional resources such as links to vegan societies, lists of all-vegan stores, or vegan-friendly accommodations.

By the end of this book you’ll be one well-educated traveling Herbie! (And very full, too!)


I love living and traveling in Europe and can't wait to help you make your travels easy as kale pie. (Wait... is that a real thing?)

One of the big features to the book is showing vegan food in supermarkets since I know most travelers (and especially backpackers) can't afford to "eat out" three times a day AND considering most French dining experiences take 3 hours ;) I can't muster up the patience to do them daily even if I had the cash!

Almost every item in these pics is vegan. (French grocery stores put even the biggest WFM to shame when it comes to vegan-friendly stuffs).

p.s. I'll be selling this book directly via the blog for a week at a discount before it publishes on Amazon and iBooks at a higher price.

To make sure you don't miss out (and to get a free sample!) make sure you're signed up for the FREE Happy Herbivore Insiders newsletter.

(Note: This is not the same as the meal plan newsletter)

Philly Cheeze "Steak" Bowl, Rainbow Noodle Bowl, Quinoa Taco Bowl & More of Our Best Bowls!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

This week's meal plan is all about quick and easy assembly with our "Best Bowls"!

Not only will you find fan favorite one dish wonders like the Supreme Sweet Potato Bowl (indi) and 5-Spice Harmony Bowl (family), but brand new recipes like the Philly Cheeze "Steak" Bowl (NEW!), Quinoa Taco Bowl (NEW!), Rainbow Noodle Bowl (NEW!), and Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti (NEW!)!

Philly Cheeze "Steak" Bowl

Individual Highlights

  • Rainbow Noodle Bowl (NEW!)
  • Fiesta Burrito Bowl
  • Philly Cheeze "Steak" Bowl (NEW!)
  • Quinoa Taco Bowl (NEW!)
  • Loaded Potato Bowl
  • Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti (NEW!)
  • Spicy Bean Dip & Chips

Get this meal plan now.

Quinoa Taco Bowl

Family Highlights

  • Philly Cheeze "Steak" Bowl (NEW!)
  • 5-Spice Harmony Bowl
  • Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti (NEW!)
  • Quinoa Taco Bowl (NEW!)
  • Caribbean Black Bean Bowl
  • Rainbow Noodle Bowl (NEW!)
  • Skyline Spaghetti Squash

Get this meal plan now.

Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti


"Three days in and I'm sold. I'm signing up for a month! I worried about the individual plan because I'm a big guy and I eat a lot of food. I honestly thought I'd have to double the recipes, but no. It's so much food. I like that the lunches are easy to pack and can mostly be eaten cold. That's convenient for work." - Selom C

"Thank you for creating these meal plans! I lost 5.5 lbs my first week following your plan! I'm excited to see more lbs come off as I keep using them!" - Lindsay R

Get the current meal plan now.