Happy Herbivore Blog

Herbie of the Week: Heidi (She's Off Her Blood Pressure Meds & In The Best Shape of Her Life!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Heidi!

Heidi was only 25-years-old when she was put on medication to regulate her heart rate and blood pressure. Knowing that wasn't healthy, a friend introduced her to whole, plant-based foods, and within 3 months Heidi was off her medications!

A year later, Heidi "fell off the wagon" when she was deployed to Iraq and let meat and cheese back into her diet. It wasn't until after the birth of her first child (and finding out her daughter was lactose intolerant), that Heidi recommitted to a plant-based diet -- and the results are amazing!

Here's Heidi's story in her own words!

When I was 22 I found out I had high blood pressure, especially my diastolic number -- always in the upper 90s. The doctors told me to cut back on salt, and that was it. I was in the military, so I exercised regularly and thought I was in "very good" health. Then at age 25 (nearly 5 years ago), I started having an irregular heart rate. After several weeks of monitoring and tests, the doctors decided to put me on a Beta-blocker to regulate my heart and blood pressure.

In talking with my best friend one day, I revealed my new meds, and she (thankfully!) did not hold back her feelings. "Heidi, I am so worried about you. You're 25. You should not be on this kind of medication. I'm going to tell you what you need to change, and I don't care if you don't want to hear it. I love you too much to keep quiet." She proceeded to tell me about the healing powers of whole, plant-based foods. I knew she was right, so the next day I cleaned out my pantry and fridge and started over. Within three months I was safely off the Beta-blocker, my blood pressure was normal, and my heart rate was regular.

About a year later I was deployed to Iraq, and I fell off the wagon a bit. I still stayed away from most processed foods, but I allowed meat and cheese back into my diet about once a week or so. Eating plant-based in the desert pretty much meant having salad w/salsa, steamed broccoli, fruit, beans, and rice every day. I allowed this backslide to take over my willpower more often than I cared to admit for the next two years.

In 2012, at age 28, I gave birth to my first child. After the initial weight came off, I staggered at 127 lbs for weeks (I'm only 5'0" with a petite frame, so that's heavy for me). After about two months we learned that my daughter, who was exclusively breastfed, was lactose intolerant. What a wake-up call for me! I knew dairy was bad for me, but I'd allowed my selfish desire for the taste of cheese to cause her gut pain. And that was it -- I was back on the WFPB diet for good. It was then I learned about Happy Herbivore, the benefits of omitting oil, and just how delicious plant-based cooking can be! Within 5 weeks I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans, and down to my "naturally healthy weight" (as I call it) of 110 lbs, which I have effortlessly maintained for almost a year now...and my *new* pre-pregnancy jean size is TWO sizes smaller than before!

Last June I ran my first official 5k (5 mins faster than my goal time!), and now I'm training for my first half marathon. I turn 30 this month (the 28th!), and I'm not at all nervous or depressed about it. I'm in the best shape and health of my life. Even after having gone through pregnancy, I look and feel better than I did in high school! I couldn't have done any of this without the continual support of the HH Facebook groups and delicious HH recipes!

Thank you a million times over for what you do. You are changing and saving lives!

Thank you for sharing your story, Heidi!

"Steak" Tacos with Mango Chimichurri, Peanutty Collard Greens, Sonoma Salad Sandwiches & More!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

Get ready for another 7 days of delicious, fuss-free eats with this week's meal plan!

Brand new recipes like the Mango Mint Smoothie (NEW!), Peanutty Collard Greens (NEW!), Coconut Milk & Citrus White Bean Dip (NEW!, indi.), Sonoma Salad Sandwiches (NEW!, fam.), and "Steak" Tacos with Mango Chimichurri (NEW!) are all waiting to leave you feeling full and satisfied!

Let's eat!

"Steak" Tacos with Mango Chimichurri

Individual Highlights

  • Mango Mint Smoothie (NEW!)
  • BBQ Chickpea Wrap
  • Orange Quinoa Salad
  • Peanutty Collard Greens (NEW!)
  • Sweet Potato & Pea Curry
  • Coconut Milk & Citrus White Bean Dip (NEW!)
  • Chocolate Shake
  • "Steak" Tacos with Mango Chimichurri (NEW!)
  • Easy Spinach Wraps
  • 1-Minute French Toast

Get this meal plan now.

Peanutty Collard Greens

Family Highlights

  • Sonoma Salad Sandwiches (NEW!)
  • Refried Bean Burritos
  • Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry
  • Mango Mint Smoothie (NEW!)
  • Creole Beans & Rice
  • "Steak" Tacos with Mango Chimichurri (NEW!)
  • Peanutty Collard Greens (NEW!)
  • Sweet Potato & Pea Curry
  • Slow Cooker Peach & Blueberry Oats
  • Garlic & Kale Soup

Get this meal plan now.

Mango Mint Smoothie

Testimonials

"I love that when I find out my week is going to be crazy busy it can take as little as 3 hours to prep a week's worth a food without jeopardizing nutritional value...and on less than $75" - Mandy G

"My husband and I are each down 7 pounds since starting the meal plans at the beginning of February!" - Jill W

Get the current meal plan now.

Teaching Tuesday: Quinoa (Fun Facts, The Different Types & Recipe Ideas!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Cooking101

This week's Teaching Tuesday is about a certain pseudo-cereal with a very unique spelling: quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah").

Sure, the seed may be small, but there's actually a lot you may not know about it!

Fun Facts

As I mentioned above, quinoa isn't a grain! It's actually classified as a "pseudo-cereal" because we eat it like other cereal grasses (i.e. oats and barley). It's also gluten-free!

Quinoa belongs to the same family as spinach and beets.

Quinoa has a nutty taste, cooks fast (making it a perfect alternative to brown rice when you’re in a hurry) and it’s a complete protein, meaning it has all those important amino acids. (It’s also a good source of calcium, iron and magnesium -- what a superhero!)

This is what a quinoa plant actually looks like:

(Source)

The part you eat is actually the seed. And the "tail"? That's the germ of the seed!

Quinoa is available in different colors/varieties:

  • White: the most common quinoa available in stores.
  • Red: there's no real taste difference between red and white quinoa. Some say red is able to hold its shape and works better in cold salads.
  • Black: has an earthier taste than white quinoa. It also keeps its black color when cooked.

You should rinse your quinoa before cooking it. The seeds are covered with a natural bitter coating of saponins, which dissolves after being rinsed. Some brands of quinoa will say pre-rinsed on the package, but don't assume it's already been done.

Now that you know the basics, here are some ideas on how to incorporate quinoa into your life:

From the blog:

HHC

  • Mexican Chorizo
  • Veggie, Bean & Quinoa Croquettes

EHH

  • Cherry Quinoa Salad
  • Ginger-Miso Quinoa Stir-Fry
  • Kidney Quinoa Burgers

HHA

  • Stuffed Acorn Squash
  • Tabbouleh

HHLL

  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
  • Quinoa Curry Cakes
  • Quinoa Taco Meat

We also feature quinoa dishes frequently on the meal plans!

What's your favorite way to eat quinoa?