Happy Herbivore Blog

Updated Happy Herbivore Cookbooks Master Table Of Contents (Now with Holidays & Gatherings!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Now that my latest cookbook Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings is out, we've updated the "master" table of contents of Happy Herbivore cookbook recipes!

The latest version includes recipes from all five Happy Herbivore cookbooks (The Happy Herbivore Cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore, Happy Herbivore Abroad, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean, and Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings), which are listed in alphabetical order with their page numbers.

It's great for when you're looking for a recipe, but don't want to go on a "search safari" through every book ;)

Here's the link to download the PDF: HH Master Table of Contents

Download and save as a PDF file on your computer or device, or print a copy for your kitchen, whatever makes finding your favorite HH recipes easiest for you!


Herbie of the Week: Tara (She No Longer Suffers From GI Issues or Depression + 45lbs GONE!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Tara!

Tara once suffered from a laundry list of health issues including headaches, depression, chronic constipation, fatigue, ulcers, sinus infections, and severe PMS symptoms as well as high cholesterol and blood pressure. The most debilitating, however, was her gastrointestinal problem.

Hoping to find an alternate solution to fix her ailments, Tara visited a gastroenterologist, who recommended a diet with little to no animal products and high in unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

She immediately adopted a vegetarian diet, but unfortunately her GI issues didn't go away. That's when a co-worker told Tara about "Forks Over Knives", which led her to adopting a plant-based diet -- and the results are AMAZING!

Since making the switch, Tara has lost 45lbs, no longer suffers from depression, fatigue, severe PMS symptoms or GI problems!

Get ready to be inspired by reading Tara's story!

I grew up on a typical southern diet of extensive meat quantities served with fried and starchy sides. I was always able to maintain a healthy weight despite my poor diet thanks in large part to my gymnastics and cheering routines throughout my middle and high school years. It wasn’t until after the birth of my daughter 6 years ago that I struggled to with my weight as well as my overall health.

Like many others, I was astonished when the weight crept on as I was eating the same way I had my whole life. I began to try the same fad diets many of my coworkers and friends were doing. I’d get excited as soon as I dropped 20 pounds, only to find myself discouraged at my inability to keep the weight off.

My most successful attempt was utilizing the Weight Watchers program, which helped me to learn to monitor the nutrition of the foods I was consuming. I was able lose a total of 30 pounds with this program in 2009. That was also the year I began taking college courses to become a teacher. The stressful load of my courses combined with my job and family caused me to lose sight of my health goals and the weight quickly came back on. By the beginning of Summer 2010, I had hit an all time high of nearly 200 pounds on my small 5’3” frame. Sadly, I carried this weight around for an extensive period of time manipulating myself into thinking that I was genuinely happier being heavier.

Had my weight been my only concern, I’m not certain that I would have been motivated to seek medical help. However, I had a plethora of ailments causing me a great deal of dissatisfaction in my life. I had begun suffering from daily headaches, depression, fatigue, ulcers, frequent sinus infections, and severe PMS symptoms. The most debilitating of my health issues was my debilitating gastrointestinal problem. Chronic constipation was impacting my work, school, and home life. I was constantly running to the drug store for a quick fix only to find myself in pain a short time later.

My PCP ran my blood work and found that my cholesterol and blood pressure were high but that I had no thyroid problems. She recommended an expensive shake diet (for which I’m sure she got a kick back) as well as an antidepressant. Discouraged with the thought of taking more pills, I began to do some research of my own in hopes of finding an alternative solution to my health problems. I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist. I anticipated he would likely run extensive and expensive tests to find the cause of my digestive issues. To my surprise, after reviewing my health history and blood work, he simply recommended a diet with little to no animal products and high in unprocessed fruits and vegetables (he didn’t use the specific term plant-based diet). "That’s it?", I thought. "Well, changing my diet is certainly less expensive than medicinal route my PCP recommended, why not give it a try?"

I quickly and easily dropped 25 pounds just from switching to a vegetarian diet alone. I was inspired with the surprising ease of being able to maintain this lifestyle and that I was able to provide foods my entire family could enjoy. Unfortunately, I was still suffering from the same GI issues. A coworker recommended that I check out a video that changed her life, "Forks Over Knives". Wow! It was like someone had flipped a switch in terms of how I viewed health! I was determined to learn more about the plant-based lifestyle. I immersed myself in readings like Dr. Fuhrman’s "Eat to Live" and "The China Study". I also joined several online groups for best practices and support.

I initially decided to follow Dr. Fuhrman’s "Eat to Live" plan. Following an intense plant-based plan, I was able to drop 15 more pounds. Though my weight loss plateaued, I continued to follow a plant-based lifestyle, allowing myself the occasional cheats (bean and cheese tacos are my guilty pleasure). I find that having the online support, such as the Happy Herbivore Facebook page, and continuing to try to new recipes from plant-based cookbooks has been a critical part of my success.

Since going plant-based I have dropped a total of 45 pounds! I do still struggle if there are weeks where I haven’t planned my meals appropriately or packed quick and easy snacks. Going to the farmer’s market is now one of my favorite weekly activities and I’m ecstatic about the mobile produce truck San Antonio has now, called Truckin’ Tomato, making local organic produce more accessible. I also joined a gym and am enjoying toning muscles that haven’t been used in quite a while! My husband, the devout omni, is actually coming around after seeing the long-term benefits a plant-based lifestyle offers.

I now haven’t had a sinus infection in two years and no longer suffer from depression or fatigue. The severe PMS symptoms are long gone as well as the gastrointestinal issues! I love that Lindsay always talks about progress instead of perfection. There are definitely hectic weeks where I have set backs, but I am always reassured that I can get back in the saddle. It has taken a few years of practice, but I think I am beginning to find a balanced routine of incorporating being plant-based into my crazy life.

I love wowing friends and family with delicious WFPB recipes and telling people of the obstacles this lifestyle has helped me overcome. One of my proudest moments was when my 6 year old daughter declared herself an herbivore on her “All About Me” poster for school! It inspires me that my family and I are creating new familial customs and leading both a more nutritious and ethical lifestyle. I would like to genuinely thank Lindsay and all the other herbies for continuing to be a source of valuable information and beacons of support and reassurance in my life.

Thank you so much for sharing your incredible story with us, Tara!

A Vegan Taste of Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you know I've spent the last few weeks in Asia :)

After writing Vegan in Europe, I decided I needed to explore a new continent :)

(I suppose I technically went to Asia when I stayed in Istanbul, but that doesn't really count, right?!)

Although there are so many places we want to see in Asia (The Great Wall is on my bucket list!! As well as the elephant sanctuary in Thailand--next! Plus INDIA!), I knew we had to start somewhere and opted to do a little... sampling.

We also did something out of character for us: We went on a cruise!

From the moment I started HH, I didn't know how I'd ever take a day off (the internet is 24/7!) let alone go somewhere without internet. (I've blogged before about how being unplugged for 24 hours was terrifying and one of the hardest things I ever did).

Going on this cruise was a huge victory lap. Not just a celebration that I'd finished writing books (My new cookbook Holidays & Gatherings has just arrived! and the enhanced print version of the Guide will be here in May!) but that I (finally!) have a firm grip on my OCD + overcame my paralyzing fear, anxiety, and depression. Woo!

The biggest lesson for me has been the power in small steps. (Yaknow, progress not perfection!) That 24-hour challenge changed my destiny. It seems so insignificant, but it put me on the road to recovery. (Of course I had no idea it would be so monumental at the time.) I built on that, brick by brick. I took more days off. I put more trust and faith in my amazing team (Carly & Jamee, you are the BEST EVER! I mean it!!), I took more days off and started letting go.

A little internet challenge did what thousands of dollars in therapy could not!

It was not about talking about it, thinking about it, or wanting it anymore. It was about DOING it. Doing whatever I can, right now, and building on that.


But enough about me :) Let's talk about the FOOD in ASIA!

Although I took and studied a good bit of Japanese before our trip and have fun speaking it, I'm totally illiterate. I can't read Japanese... AND I'm totally clueless when it comes to Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.

This little issue, plus the fact there isn't a bus/train system in Asia (like Eurorail in Europe) and flying around between places can be quirky (if not expensive) we thought traveling by boat seemed easiest.

I also had a lot of concerns about eating -- how would I communicate my needs!? Is there fish sauce in EVERYTHING!? I liked the idea of always knowing a salad bar was available and waiting for me :)

As such, we didn't eat out a lot, and I'll do another post next week on my cruise and what I ate on the ship, but I do think I was more worried than I should have been.

While there is a huge language barrier for the English-speaker in Asia, I've found vegetarian was widely understood, and it's understood as what we call "vegan" or "strict vegetarian."

Many Asians are Buddhists, and many Buddhists are strict vegetarians, which means there are both ample options and a wide understanding of this dietary restriction.

For example, Scott and I signed up for two day-long tour excursions, both that included lunch. We assumed lunch would be a wash for us, but both times the tour guide started by saying "are there vegetarians on the bus?" (We also weren't the only ones! yay!)

Fresh produce markets are everywhere and cultural. You can also find lots of people selling fresh fruits on the street.

You can rely on these for foods.

I also found "street potatoes" in many places. The supermarkets also had already cooked potatoes.

Asia is also the land of tofu. I'm usually a take-it-or-leave-it tofu eater, but the tofu in Asia was so good I would go at it with my chopsticks. No soy sauce, no nothing!

Scott is obsessed with tofu so we pilgrimaged to the best handmade tofu place in all of Japan: Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai. It was $16 (yep!) and worth every penny.

(It also didn't give me the toots... if you have that usual problem with soy! LOL)

As for fish sauce (or Oyster sauce), this seems more of an "American" dining problem. It's used in Asian cooking, yes, but all the local chefs I talked to said they didn't use it all that much.

The real problem with Asian food in Asia is that most of it, even what you think is vegetarian -- like noodles, is not even a little bit vegan. Most noodles are made with egg (soba is usually vegan, and gluten-free) but even if you find vegan noodles, the broth they are cooked in or served with, almost always uses all kinds of random animal parts.

That's not to say you'll starve! There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants everywhere (even in the smaller, less touristy cities. I counted four just walking around Keelung in Taiwan, for example) and restaurants in the bigger, urban cities (like Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, or Hong Kong) will even have little designations or icons indicating vegetarian dishes on their menus.

I always found or saw all-vegetarian restaurants walking around, but if you do some planning beforehand (say check Google and Happy Cow) you'll find a ton of listings. If you stick to those places and plan to go to them, you'll be fine. Otherwise you'll wander around feeling deprived or hungry.

There probably are a million amazing vegan options at any restaurant, but if you can't read or speak the language how can you make it work? Yaknow?

Or just go on a cruise. LOL.

This was the "vegan pancake special" at Ain Soph. Yes that's ice cream and cranberry sauce on the pancakes! How it came out! The pancakes tasted like crossiants! It was a totally new experience for me. Scott was obsessed.

Scott's lunch: Green curry with tofu and rice.

I also LOVE how they serve a salad. I ate it out of the glass with chop sticks and then dumped it on my plate.

They also gave us a complimentary slice of vegan cake. The portions in Asia are very small by American standards, but I loved it. This cake was maybe 2 inches. You can see the fig size for scale.

We also wanted to try authentic ramen. Ramen is not vegetarian in Asia, unless you look specially for vegetarian ramen. It took effort but we found T's, which is crazy popular with locals (there was a huge line!) This ramen was amazing and so different from any kind of noodle dish or "ramen" I've ever had before. I must find a way to recreate it!

These are the tiny noodle shots all over Tokyo. They sit 4-8 people and are hidden in dark corners in dark alleys:

I've always liked tea, but really got into it in Europe. High Tea is popular in a few places (especially Singapore) but they also have an interesting selection of teas you wouldn't normally find in America. Although I'm usually not a lemonade person, I couldn't pass up this Kumquat Green Tea Cooler in Taiwan, especially since it was SO HOT outside.

Perhaps my favorite "eat out" meal of the trip was at the Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong. It was strict vegetarian, served "family style" -- all these plates on a lazy susan to be passed among myself and 8 other diners (all strangers before the meal!). This is common in many restaurants in Asia. I really like it!