Happy Herbivore Blog

Herbies of the Week: Where Are They Now? Pragati, Lisa P, Aaron, Jeannine & Jenn E - A Year (or Two!) Later

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

I think my crowning achievement on this blog has been the Herbies of the Week series, which I look forward to every Thursday!

This series started three years ago (back in 2011) and I'm always in awe, inspired, and touched, when I think about all the different people and their amazing stories, that have been shared here every week.

I've decided to start reaching out to our past Herbies of the Week to see where they are today, a year (or two!) later.

What's new? Are they still rockin' and rollin'?

I hate to spoil the surprise, but the short answer: YES.

Former Herbie of the Week: Pragati (Mar. 2012)

Pragati (our first international Herbie of the Week) switched to a plant-based diet after the birth of her son. In just 21 days Pragati saw the many benefits of eliminating dairy and meat from her diet -- including an 8lb weight loss! "I feel lighter, less sluggish and have more energy. I don't feel bloated after meals and the best part - I don't have to control how much I eat." (Read Pragati's full story)

Update: "I lost 27lbs in the first 10 months and haven't lost any since. I think my body (I'm hypothyroid) has reached it's equilibrium and I'm happy with that. I've been plant-strong for 2 yrs and 1 month. I haven't been sick since I started (I used to get the most horrible sinus and lung infections), & no migraines. I have a ton of energy which I need to keep up with my full time job and a 4y old. My cholesterol is down to 139, trigly to 102, HDL 44 and LDL 75 (yay!). I actually use my elliptical for exercise and not as a clothes hanger anymore. I'm slowly working on converting my husband (he's still not there after 2ys). My MIL is a convert though - her doc of 30yrs told her she hasn't had blood work this good since she was in her 20s. This year my goal is to move towards a more minimalist lifestyle." - Pragati

Former Herbie of the Week: Lisa P (Mar. 2012)

Lisa P was inspired to try a plant-based diet after seeing a segment on Dr. Oz's show. Almost a year after that episode aired, Lisa went from a size 16 to a size 4 and lost a total of 65lbs! On top of the incredible physical transformation, she no longer craved processed junk food, and had a lot more energy. "I honestly feel like I know a secret and want to share it with all. So many people can't believe that you can live (and thrive) on plants!" (Read Lisa P's full story)

Update: "Hello and many Happy Herbie wishes to all in this New Year! March 30th was my 3-year "veganversary" and in February I turned 48 and I couldn't be happier! I love this way of life and will NEVER go back! For the past 3 years, I have felt "normal". Until my new, vegan life, I never understood why I was so addicted to food. The answer came to me about two months into my journey. It was... I was so addicted to processed food, including fats and sugar, my body couldn't get satisfied. I found the secret....eat real, plant-based foods and nothing else. It has worked. Those nasty 65 pounds are still gone and I am so grateful that I stayed on the journey. To those just start starting out, hang in there! Let your body go through the withdrawals. Things get better...then fantastic...and real, whole plant foods become amazing and so, so delicious!" -Lisa P

Former Herbie of the Week: Aaron (May 2012)

Despite taking medication for high blood pressure, firefighter Aaron considered himself to be in OK health, that is until he was put on statins to lower his cholesterol. With a little encouragement from his wife, Aaron hung up his Ambassador of Bacon hat andmade the switch to a plant-based diet, which resulted in him shedding 22lbs and no longer needing his meds. (Read Aaron's full story)

Update: "It has been just over two and half years since going plant-based. I am still only 90-95%, as work and traveling may require otherwise. At home I am 100%. I have moved to a new station and we are making more plant-based meals. Many nights we have no meat or dairy on the table at all. (Remember in my first interview that meat was the base for most meals in the firehouse.) However, my crew recently sent me a picture of their steak dinner while I was on vacation. Firehouse humor.

My health continues to get better. I recently had a physical, and the PA I saw said, “Come back when you have something wrong with you.” That was very encouraging, as it was another doctor within that practice whose poor advice caused me to seek out a plant-based lifestyle.

Since my interview I have participated in the Tough Mudder twice, ran a couple half-marathons, a half-Ironman, and the California International Marathon in December. I am much more active than I was before changing my lifestyle. I am also talking with as many friends and family members about the changes going plant-based have made. It is great to see some of them making small changes towards better health. A few have even gone plant-based.

Here is a picture of Rip Esselstyn at I at a recent talk he gave. Now I just need to meet another author and plant-based guru who has helped me and my family towards a better way of living. Wink wink Lindsay." -Aaron

Former Herbie of the Week: Jeannine (June 2012)

Jeannine was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an auto-immune disease that causes severe hypothyroidism. After watching Forks Over Knives, she decided a plant-based diet was the best for her health and the changes she experienced were amazing! The former yo-yo dieter dropped 25lbs and lowered her cholesterol by 27 points! (Read Jeannine's full story)

Update: "I got a little off track between Jan 2013 and Jan 2014. We were eating store-bought veggie burgers, fake meats and snacking a little too often on chips and sweets. I eventually gained back 20lbs of the 80lbs I had lost. I wasn't getting in much exercise either.

I'm happy to report that since February I've cleaned up my diet, focusing more on whole foods. Very little processed foods. I no longer snack on chips and we only have one vegan convenience meal per week. I have found the time to do exercise videos in the mornings and now that my lower back doesn't hurt I also walk 50 minutes a day. Since then I've lost 24lbs that I had 'reclaimed' the year before.

I've also experienced a lot of personal & spiritual growth in the past two years. I've become very interested in meditation, yoga and the mind/body connection in general. The biggest change I've experienced is that I no longer allow myself to participate in self-defeating thoughts. It's true, you are what you eat, but you are also what you think. I've learned to replace negative thoughts about myself with loving and kind thoughts. A family friend shared a mantra with me that I've taken to saying daily while looking in the mirror: "I'm learning to love this person in the mirror. I'm learning to be proud of this person in the mirror. I'm learning to believe this person in the mirror is amazing". It felt silly at first, very silly – my throat would tighten up because I didn't believe in what I was saying. I had spent most of my life having self-defeating inner dialogue. After months of this daily mantra it has become so easy that I've now shortened it to "I love you, I'm proud of you, you are amazing". No matter what my mood is, I say it." -Jeannine

Former Herbie of the Week: Jenn E (Jan. 2013)

After being lectured by her chiropractor about the negative affects of dairy on the body, Jenn went plant-based as an experiment to prove him wrong. Two weeks later she stopped calling it an experiment and started calling it a lifestyle change. Not only did she end up losing 50 lbs, Jenn also experienced other incredible changes like career improvements and fitness goals. "As my body began to heal, other parts of my life started to heal, also." (Read Jenn E's full story.)

Update: "Life is good! In the past year and change I've completed three centuries (100 mile bike rides), lost another 20 pounds (for a total of about 70 pounds), and met my boyfriend, Alex. Alex changed his diet when we started dating and he's lost about 70 pounds, too. We love riding bikes, living active lives, and being healthy happy herbivores!" -Jenn E

Big hugs and thanks to all of our Herbies of the Week! We are so happy to see you're still chopping carrots and taking names a year (or two!) later!

Your lives are a testament to the power of plants and an inspiration to us all!

Catch up on Pam, Lisa R, Jason and Kay too -- Where are they now?

Herbie of the Week: Deb B (She's Lost 42lbs!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Deb B!

Back in March I asked Herbies on Facebook to share all the positive things about a plant-based diet. Deb commented:

As soon as I read Deb's comment, I immediately asked if she'd be interested in sharing her story for the Herbie of the Week series -- and I'm so glad she did!

Not only has she lost nearly 50lbs by going plant-based (and using the 7-Day meal plans), Deb no longer needs her pain management medication and reduced her acid reflux meds.

Read on for Deb's inspirational journey!

For 6+ years, I had suffered from nausea and vomiting, especially after the removal of my gall bladder. My doctors were stumped. My symptoms seemed to indicate that I was not able to properly digest the food I was eating and every few weeks, I would suffer from 24-hour bouts of vomiting. I introduced probiotics and had test after test. Medically speaking, there was no explanation. The testing showed that my digestive system was healthy and working the way it should. Yet, I continued to get sick.

Then in May of 2013, a friend told me to watch Forks Over Knives. It left me very curious. If eliminating animal products and processed foods could reverse heart disease and cancer, I thought it might be the key to solving my digestive problems and I figured it would also help me lose weight, and be able to stop taking the daily meds I needed for Acid Reflux/chronic heartburn, high blood pressure and chronic pain (fibromyalgia).

April 2013

I have been on diet after diet and have never been able to maintain any sort of weight loss for an extended period of time. I had always assumed that it would be too hard to give up meat and dairy and I hated to cook so I had been surviving on mostly processed foods. I started to have more energy within a week or two of eating a plant-based whole-food diet. I also noticed that I no longer had any food cravings and I lost 20 pounds. I am now down a total of 42 pounds and another 3.1 pounds will bring me to my first goal of being less than 200 pounds for the first time in 13 years. I’d probably be further along if I hadn’t lost focus on the “low-fat” and unprocessed side of things for a few months (which means being Vegan is not the same), but I am happy with the loss I have achieved and more importantly, I have kept the weight off for almost a year now.

Since I began this journey, I have been able to completely stop taking my pain management meds and have reduced the meds for acid reflux by 50%. I have had two bouts of vomiting since I started and both times I had decided to eat meat to see how it would affect me. I have also had dairy now and then and noticed each time that I was exhausted for days afterward. These experiments have shown me that including animal products in my diet is not worth the way it makes me feel.

March 2014

The health rewards and increased energy levels make it a very easy decision and my grocery bills are at least $200 less per month. The meal plans have helped me even more since I started using those this year. The plans have further reduced my grocery costs, and helped me lose 7 of the 42 pounds after a lull in weight-loss of about 5 months. Plus I only cook once a week now!

I am looking forward to ending the remaining medication soon and am actually looking forward to our beach vacation this summer and a cruise in October. I know, without a doubt, that I will be at least 1-2 sizes smaller by then. Like Lindsay says, “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels” and to be honest, none of that other “crap” I ate before holds any appeal and REAL foods tastes pretty darn good to me now that my taste buds are awake again!

Way to go, Deb! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Sweet & Sour Stuffed Bell Peppers, Ratatouille Sandwich, Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie & More!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

If you're tired of eating the same old thing, this week's meal plan will have you jumping for joy!

Sip on the Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie (NEW!) for breakfast, take a bite out of the Ratatouille Sandwich (NEW!) for lunch, and chow down on the Sweet & Sour Stuffed Bell Peppers (NEW!) for dinner!

And when you're not going to town on the new eats, you'll enjoy popular meal plan recipes like the "Tuna" Salad (both plans), Veggie Pot Pie (family), and Lasagna Rolls (family)!

Sweet & Sour Stuffed Bell Peppers

Individual Highlights

  • Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie (NEW!)
  • "Tuna" Salad
  • Beet & Walnut Salad (NEW!)
  • Peaches 'n Cream Oatmeal
  • Sweet & Sour Stuffed Bell Peppers (NEW!)
  • Shiitake & Bok Choy Noodles (NEW!)
  • Queso Bowl
  • Ratatouille Sandwich (NEW!)
  • Quick Burgers
  • Pineapple Crisp

Get this meal plan now.

Ratatouille Sandwich

Family Highlights

  • Ratatouille Sandwich (NEW!)
  • Veggie Pot Pie
  • Sweet & Sour Stuffed Bell Peppers (NEW!)
  • Lasagna Rolls
  • Shiitake & Bok Choy Noodles (NEW!)
  • "Tuna" Salad Sandwich
  • Beet & Walnut Salad (NEW!)
  • SoCal Tacos
  • Fantastic Fruit Salad
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Shiitake & Bok Choy Noodles


"We've only been using the meal plans for a few weeks and we already can't remember how we survived without them. When my husband got home tonight the first thing he said was 'Did you print our new meal plan?'" Nicole M

"I’ve been vegan for years, and I am finally losing weight - about 2lbs a week - thanks to the meal plans! You have turned my food life upside down and I’m never bored now!" - Nicci E

Get the current meal plan now.