Happy Herbivore Blog

What is Black Salt?

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

I was never a fan of eating eggs but I have many friends who would eat an egg white omelette every morning before they decided to ditch the animal products and go vegan. They often miss the distinct taste of eggs, whether it be in an omelette or as an egg sandwich, or even in a quiche.

For those friends, I recommend black salt. Specifically, I suggest Kala Namak, a pungent smelling purple-ish or pink-ish gray rock salt that is often used in India. This shouldn't be confused with black lava salt, which is just sea salt that is blended with activated charcoal. The kala namak variety has a 'sulfur' taste to it which is reminiscent of eggs.

You don't want to use black salt in place of sea salt for other dishes, and you definitely want to use it sparingly or the sulfur taste will be too strong. Sometimes, black salt comes in little clumps that needs to be broken down into a fine powder before you use it.

You can often find black salt in the ethnic section of grocery stores, or at health food stores. If you can't find it in your area, you can also purchase black salt online.

I use black salt in my tofu scramble and eggless salad recipes. You can also add a pinch to the Spinach and Artichoke Frittata (p. 32) in Everyday Happy Herbivore. They add an 'eggy' flavor that will remind you of omelettes and egg salad sandwiches of your pre-herbivore days!

Fat-Free Vegan Cranberry Pumpkin Cobbler

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

So I probably should have thought about this two weeks ago... but better late than never!

I had HH's cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving in my freezer and decided enough was enough -- I need to use it up.

I tried to think of a cleaver way to use it again. Sure it was a great side on Thanksgiving, and I smothered baked tofu with it the next day... but what else can I do?

That's when I decided to go all cobbler style on it. I poured my leftovers into a ramekin then whipped up HH's single-serving pumpkin muffin batter, adding a little extra liquid and then smearing it on top of the cranberries. 

I baked until the crust was formed (about 20 minutes at 375F) and voila! A dessert that pleases!

Herbie of the Week: Dr. Cat

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Last week we met Jim who lost an astonishing 50lbs by switching to a plant-based diet. This week we're talking with Dr. Cat who has lost 100lbs and recently started blogging in hopes she can educate other health care providers about the importance of diet as a tool for preventing and reversing disease.

HH: What brought you to a plant-based diet?

My husband, a nurse, and a complete meat-and-potatoes-guy actually introduced me to it! He has a heart condition, paroxysmal artrial fibrillation, and he wanted us to try Dr. Esselstyn's diet (from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease) to prevent further complications. We also watched Forks Over Knives and I was sold. Viva the power of plant-strong diets! 

HH: Do you prescribe a plant-based diet to your patients? 

I do! My speciality is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I treat patients with disabilities or those recovering from illness or injury such as a stroke or chronic pain. 

HH: Do your patients ever criticize you for pushing a plant-based diet?

Of course! No one wants to change their lifestyle. Taking a pill is much easier. Usually the reaction is "NO WAY DOC!" But then I pull out my pictures of me about 100lbs ago and they start to listen a bit more.

Before

After

My philosophy is that even if they don't do EXACTLY what I recommend, if they even do PART of it, that is better than nothing! 

HH: It's incredible to hear of your weight-loss -- nearly 100lbs! What type of obstacles have you encountered with your journey to health?

My biggest obstacle was being willing to get treatment for my food addiction. I believe that my compulsive overeating is as serious a disease as alcoholism or drug addiction. It was killing me and I could not stop on my own.

Then I found Overeater's Anonymous (OA), a 12-step program that saved my life.  Once I began treating my eating disorder I was able to focus more on the nutrients of food rather than my obsession with it. After OA, I discovered a new obstacle: I had a complete lack of education about nutrition and health.

As an M.D. I was "supposed" to be an expert in healthy lifestyles, but I never received any course in nutrition or exercise during medical school (A UNC study in 2006 found that only 32 of 106 medical schools offered a nutrition course - offered! not required!). Thanks to trailblazing physicians and scientists like Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell, Dr. McDougall and Dr. Fuhrman, I know more and have embraced a plant-strong diet with great enthusiasm. 

HH: You've recently started a blog, tell us a little bit about your mission:

I want other health care providers to read it. I want patients to read it. I want them to know how I lost nearly 100lbs. 

I want them to know there are dietary choices people can make to feel better and reverse disease. I want doctors to prescribe preventative care programs for patients and I want patients to know how to navigate the healthcare system. I hope by sharing my experiences I can achieve these goals.

HH: Finally, where does Happy Herbivore play into all of this? 

The Happy Herbivore online community have made my husband and I feel like we are not alone in this health journey! We are grateful in particular for discovering The Happy Herbivore Cookbook (which I have now started carrying with me to social events since so many of my friends and family have heard me raving about it!)

We have yet to try a HH recipe that we didn't like. Even my husband, who is not much of a cook, has made HH recipes without difficulty. I also recommend Happy Herbivore to my patients because let's face it -- yummy food that makes you feel good makes this journey possible! 

Thank you Dr. Cat for sharing your amazing personal story (you look incredible!!) -- and giving us a new perspective about the health care industry. We're so thankful for Drs like you!