Happy Herbivore Blog

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

Testimonials

"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.

Herbie of the Week: Rebecca B (She Finally Listened to Her Body & Is Happier Than Ever)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Rebecca B!

Rebecca's story is a very unique one. After years of being unhappy and struggling with her weight she adopted a plant-based lifestyle -- but didn't get the results she expected.

Refusing to give up, one day it finally clicked for Rebecca: she had been focusing on material happiness and not happiness for herself. Once she started to listen to her body, everything else started to fall into place.

Get inspired by reading Rebecca's story!

This isn’t your average Herbie of the Week story and to be honest, it took me quite a while to write it. But as many of us well know, being honest with yourself can sometimes be the hardest thing to do.

My story started in college where my freshman fifteen ended up becoming a freshman fifty by the time I graduated. I was tired and stressed. But that’s college, right? I focused on watching what I ate and exercising and somehow managed to gain weight. That little voice in my head perked up. “Wrong, wrong, wrong!” Who was I to argue? I was probably doing it wrong. It wasn’t the right time for me, I told myself.

Years went by and I tried again and again to focus on diet and exercise. I was tired, moody, irritable, and unhappy. Really unhappy. I made an appointment with my doctor who quickly diagnosed me with depression and gave me a prescription. I was out of his office in 15 minutes. But I took my pills like a good little patient. I was on the road to recovery! So why did I feel worse? I stopped taking the prescription and I didn’t go back to that doctor. My inner voice apparently didn’t know when to zip it, but again, I had to agree. I was probably doing something wrong this time too.

Shortly after, I focused on following a vegetarian diet. Those folks were healthy and happy so there was no reason it wouldn’t work for me, right? I was wrong. But I stuck with it because I did feel better not eating animals. Even if my body wasn’t reaping the rewards, my conscience was.

I tried several diet programs without much success. If I lost two pounds one week, I’d gain three pounds the following week. I even joined a gym and went religiously. But I didn’t feel invigorated by a workout. Whatever I did at the gym only wore me down more. I had to be doing something wrong. Maybe I was taking the wrong classes or doing the wrong exercises.

I was fat, depressed, and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t go out. I didn’t date. I’d lost my spark. My parents noticed and suggested I see a new doctor, so I did. I asked for a blood test to confirm that nothing was wrong. I explained my symptoms and my inability to lose weight. The doctor told me while writing in my file, “Losing weight is hard. If it were easy, everybody would be fit and trim.” She didn’t even look at me.

But I got my test and the results were in and...they were completely normal. What the heck was I doing wrong? I was so bummed. I went home and started searching for something, anything that might help. That searching was what led me to Happy Herbivore and Forks Over Knives. I was instantly sold on following a plant-based lifestyle.

As soon as I could, I went to my library and checked out as many Happy Herbivore cookbooks that I could get my hands on. I made HH recipes that whole week and when I stepped on the scale I was totally disappointed. I’d gained weight yet again. So I turned to Happy Herbivore’s meal plans and after a week I’d lost a couple pounds. Success! Well, that success was short-lived. The next week of following the meal plan left me with a weight gain. I cried. I was so tired of fighting for so long. I was tired of living in a body that constantly betrayed me. I was ready to give up.

I searched through Happy Herbivore’s blog. I firmly believed in the lifestyle and I didn’t want to give it up before trying one more time. There must be one vital piece that I was missing. That’s when I found articles on minimalism and read up on the story behind Happy Herbivore. I was in awe of how Lindsay stuck to her guns and believed in herself. I also realized how I’d been focusing on material happiness and not me happiness. It was nice to focus on something other than my weight and exhaustion. And the more I read, the more confident I became in myself. I started to change the way I thought about me. I had been devaluing myself for years. And then it all clicked.

I’d been my own worst enemy. I hadn’t actually tuned into my inner voice. Yes, it had been telling me something was wrong, but I’d misinterpreted the message. I researched a new doctor, a generalist, and made an appointment. I showed up, confident that I wasn’t crazy. I came with a list of symptoms and a food diary. I may not have gone to medical school, but I’d been living in my body my whole life. And I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me that I was just imagining things.

This time my voice was heard. The doctor listened to my concerns, my symptoms, and we talked about food and exercise. She agreed that based on what I was doing I should’ve been a much smaller and much happier person. I went for some in-depth tests and the results showed I’d been suffering from a severe vitamin deficiency, most likely for years, that had led to my unbelievable mood swings, exhaustion, depression, aches, and brain fog. Additional tests showed an enlarged thyroid and some nodules that will need to be biopsied to rule out cancer.

I am so grateful for my parents who held me up along this journey and continue to stand by me. I’m also grateful to Lindsay and the Happy Herbivore community. I was so convinced that I was doing something wrong and now I see that I was. I wasn’t listening to my body!

Today I’m on a hefty dose of vitamins and I’ve got more tests on the calendar for my thyroid. I’m still following Happy Herbivore meal plans and I’ve started cleaning out my closets too. I’m doing things that make me happy and these days I laugh more than I cry. My story is a bit long and it’s far from over but if there’s anything I hope those reading this will take away is this: Always believe in yourself and listen to your gut.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Rebecca!