Happy Herbivore Blog

Herbie of the Week: Sarah C (She's Lost Over 20lbs & Feels More Empowered Than Ever!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Sarah C!

Back when I had the 100,000 Herbies Giveaway, I received an email from Sarah that showed off her stunning transformation (which included a 24lb weight loss) thanks to a plant-based diet.

I knew right then she would be perfect for the Herbie of the Week series.

Here's Sarah's beautiful story in her own words...

Ever since college, I have struggled with my weight. I was obsessed with new fad diets such as calorie restriction, low-fat, low-carb, cabbage soup, Acai berry, the Zone, South Beach, and the Grapefruit, Lemonade, and Special K diets! I have fallen off the wagon and eaten pizza (many slices at one sitting) and ice cream. Whole tubs of it. Entire packages of pasta. And my personal weakness, Thai food. Lots of it. And I was a vegetarian, but I had no idea what I was doing... so I found myself eating white rice with butter when I got hungry. YUK!!!

A couple years into marriage, I experienced such hunger pangs during pregnancy that I ate on the hour, round the clock. After all, this was the proverbial time of life that one could simply eat and not be judged—a great excuse to enjoy food! Well, by the time my second child was born, I was the heaviest I'd ever been, but hey, I was a mom, right?

Nonetheless, I vowed to watch what I ate—that is, until the next hunger pang came along, and I didn't exactly feel like giving up the bagels and pasta! I thought about joining a gym, but already had an exercise bike at home, so why spend the money? So I got on it. But somehow, because I was “exercising,” I also allowed myself to eat more. So when the nice lady next door came over with some holiday treats, I had three pieces. Uh-oh... The next day, I hesitantly stepped on the scale. I knew then that I had a problem, a serious problem that wasn't getting better, but in fact was getting worse. Not only was I obsessed with losing weight and dieting, but I was failing, and gaining weight. This scared me!

I wanted to lose weight, but was constantly hungry. To put it bluntly, my body wasn't budging. My mother would say, "You have two young children, give yourself a break. That's how mommies look!" But I wasn’t sure that was the case entirely, as I would see other moms back to their skinny selves. I would wonder to myself if they were naturally thin, or if they were actually disciplined about their diet and exercise routines. Casually, I asked a few women how they did it. They'd tell me different things such as, "Just walk" or "Yeah, I just breast-fed, and I snapped right back!" Or it might be, "Well, I've always been thin, and I only gained 20 pounds when I was pregnant" or "If I want to lose a little weight, I just watch my carb intake for a few days and weight just falls off." I even went so far as to jokingly ask my super skinny, ribs-sticking-out, seven-year-old, gymnastics-loving daughter what her secrets were. She took my query quite seriously, and made a list that is displayed prominently on our refrigerator. It says, "How to Get Skinny, by Lara":

1. Don’t eat a lot of junk food.

2. Walk up and down the stairs lots of times.

3. Do exercise bike every day.

4. Run or walk or jog places.

5. Do grown-up gymnastics.

Very wise—diet and exercise! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?! No matter what answers I got and from whom, I knew in my heart that there was more to it than that. I was indeed missing some important pieces to the puzzle. My husband kept saying, "You're a vegetarian. Why are you overweight?" I would answer, "I DON'T REALLY KNOW!!!"

All those skinny women out there... it couldn't all be just genetics. I thought to myself, “Well, why not go ahead and just ask these women for their insider secrets, and not just a little piece of advice they could pass off while waiting for the kids after school.” I would ask a LOT of women a LOT of questions. I would find out the real deal. I desperately wanted to be thin again! I even had a cartoon drawn of myself at my ideal weight. Having someone sketch you thin is a lot easier than diet and exercise—LOL! But I wondered how exactly to lose weight, and keep it off, for good.

I wanted to know precisely what people ate, how much, when, were they always thin, and if not, what they did about it. Did they drink a lot of water, use supplementation? What were their fitness routines, and did they include weight training? What attitudes and philosophies did they embody? And anything and everything else I could think of, I would ask them. I wanted to find out if their skinniness was a force of nature, luck of the draw, or a matter of discipline at work!

What I came to realize was that although there are many woman who are and have always been thin, many rely on exercise and healthy eating habits to maintain their weight. Even the women who said things like, "I've been thin my entire life. I'm just lucky, I guess," upon further investigation, came to find that they eat small meals throughout the day, avoid processed foods and sugar like the plague, rarely drink soda or eat after 8 p.m., drink lots of water, take nutritional supplements, do yoga, go to the gym, and do weight-bearing exercises come hell or high water because having a healthy body is a priority to them. And whatever their disciplines or habits are, it has become a way of life.

During this time, I was introduced to the Happy Herbivore way of eating. I had found my people! These were other vegetarians out there that had made the transition to an oil-free vegan way of eating. This pretty immediately reset my blood sugar and insulin regulation. As a result, I was not as hungry, ate less, and made MUCH healthier choices. So between beating the formerly impossible cravings, having the energy for daily exercise, and eating from the Happy Herbivore meal plans, I decided to commit to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off for good! I prayed for the strength to remain disciplined. I prayed for health and for my body to change shape, and visualized success.

And I am more empowered and successful than the thought of weight loss itself, because I feel better than ever before, understand what mistakes I was making, and know what I am now doing correctly. I am exercising regularly as well as putting good things into my body at the throughout the day. As a result, my life and body have completely taken on a new shape.

Thank you so much, Happy Herbivore!!!

Thank YOU Sarah for sharing your story with us!

Tamale Burgers, Kung Pao Chickpeas, American Chop Suey & More!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

With new and exciting flavors, this week's meal plan will have you saying "oh my veggies!".

Tamale Burgers (NEW!), American Chop Suey (NEW!), Quinoa Unfried Rice (NEW!), Kung Pao Chickpeas (NEW!, indi) and Kung Pao Chickpea Tacos (NEW!, fam) are just waiting to leave you feeling full and satisfied!

Tamale Burger

Individual Highlights

  • Italian Pasta Salad
  • Tamale Burgers (NEW!)
  • Easy Enchilada Bake
  • American Chop Suey (NEW!)
  • Quinoa Unfried Rice (NEW!)
  • Classic Veggie Wrap
  • Kung Pao Chickpeas (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

American Chop Suey

Family Highlights

  • Kung Pao Chickpea Tacos (NEW!)
  • Black Beans & Plantains
  • Quinoa Unfried Rice (NEW!)
  • American Chop Suey (NEW!)
  • Classic Veggie Wrap
  • Tamale Burgers (NEW!)
  • Roasted Chickpea Salad

Get this meal plan now.

Kung Pao Chickpeas


"Following the meal plans has been the cheapest shopping I have ever done for groceries. I can almost do it without a list now. And I know where everything is in the store. No impulse buys for me!" - Jeanie R

"I lost 6 pounds in 3 weeks by following the meal plans!" - Izabela W

Get the current meal plan now.

I'm Moving to France (and Other Changes)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: News

As you know, I've been on a bit of a soul safari these last few months and it's been sooo fun to choose my own adventure again.

Part of that adventure has been working on and writing a new book about my depression (and overcoming it) plus how YOU can live better.

Although I was never a cheerleader in High School, I find I flock to that cheerleader role now. I have that deep desire to help others succeed... which why I started Happy Herbivore, the meal plans... and now this new chapter :)

I'm almost finished with my upcoming book... you can pre-order and read some details here.

One of the lessons in my new book is about saying no and eliminating... It's about recognizing that sometimes you have to say no to make room for future yeses.

It's not a matter of finding more time, or even delegating, but eliminating.

As I was writing that chapter, and looking at my absurdly long to do list, I faced my own truth. I said to myself, "Lindsay you can't do it all" but more importantly, "You don't want to."

I thought about what mattered to me the most. What it was that I enjoyed the most... I thought about my ideal day (another chapter in the book) and it became so clear to me what had to be my "give" in "something's gotta give."

Otherwise, if I continued trying to do it all, the wrong thing would be my give. Something else would suffer... be it my health, my happiness, my relationships with others... or my work. (s a perfectionist I'd rather do one thing really well, than do five crappy jobs.)

It was so hard to make this decision but, after 7+ years of blogging, I'm going to retire. Well, not completely. I just won't be blogging every day.

I'll still blog, but less frequently.

The last few months it's been a struggle to find things to write about... and I think that's part of why this decision, while difficult, feels so right. Maybe I HAVE covered it all...

I don't want to turn out crappy content (I'm always preaching to my business students... quality trumps quantity!) and I don't want to recycle things over and over, either.

If you're looking for more minimalist ideas and projects, check out my minimalist books.

If you have a question about cooking or the plant-based lifestyle, I guarantee it's covered in my new Guide.

The search bar is also probably the most underutilized feature on this blog, too -- enjoy seven years of archives :)

OH! and I am completely redesigning this website and the meal plans website -- and those radically awesome changes will be here soon. (P.S. we also just upgraded and changed the meal plans!)


So what will the new blog look like? We'll still have a Herbie of the Week story each week, but they will appear on Monday, instead of Thursday.

The meal plans will still debut here on Wednesday, and we'll also have posts scattered throughout the week as the spirit moves me or guest posts come in from the community. I want solid, useful, helpful posts like the post about #MakingItWork.

As for France (!)

Most of you know that Scott and I live pretty nomadically. A few years ago we had a moment of honesty and realized that we would never be happy in one place long-term and made the world our home. We've lived in many wonderful places, met many wonderful people, and have had many wonderful experiences.

Our lifestyle isn't for everyone, but it's absolutely for us. A reminder that you can't shove a square peg in a round hole, and that no matter how bad you or someone else wants you to be round when you're square, you're still square... fly that freak flag! (Otherwise you'll just be miserable). You can never be happy when you're living your life for someone else.

Overall, I find the European lifestyle is very healthy for me. I slow the heck down when I'm there, which is helpful in my constant battle against OCD and depression.

But while I fancy the ex-pat lifestyle, my very American husband tires of it after a few weeks. He starts missing baseball, air conditioning, and speaking in English, so our middle ground involves living part of the year in America and part of the year in Europe. (You might recall we spent a good portion of our winter in Switzerland and Belgium).

So with a little luck that my husband's family is stationed in Germany, and two couples we are friends with are getting married *in* France, AND one of my cookbooks is also being translated into French, it was all too easy for me to convince my family to move to Europe for the summer.

While I'll be primarily living in France, I'm sure I'll hop on the train to visit some of my other favorite places, too... and I'll share my pictures and updates with all of my Herbies <3

AND to sort of come back from all my rambling... if I'm running off to go live the sweet life... no time like the present to E. eliminate.

Au revoir!