Happy Herbivore Blog

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.



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! 

New 1200+ Calorie Meal Plan (Lots of New Meals & Recipes!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

Last week, a meal plan subscriber said she wanted to see more new recipes and meals, to spice things up, so this week I took care to create 8 new meals!

Fall Parfait
Chips & Chili Bowl
Instant Vegetable Soup
Spicy Bean Dip
Loaded Sweet Potatoes
Pasta w/ Veggies & "Ricotta"
Tofu Stir-Fry
French Toast

and so much more!

Donate & Download Now

(1-minute vegetable soup! - but not a pretty picture)


"In the last month, using your meal plans, I've lost 17 lbs and my wife has lost 10. Thank you." - Becca C.

"There is really no though required - just buy the food, make it, and go. Thank you for the concise guide." - Matt

"3 weeks in and I have lost 5 lbs already. Thank you so much!" - K.J. 

"Just for giggles, I weight myself. 7 lbs down since using your meal plan but energy through the roof!" - @HVSoap

"The plan pays for itself. Saving, on average, $30 a month on groceries!" - David K.

Join us!Donate & Download Now.

Food Combining

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

There’s a lot of questions going around about food combining, so I thought I would give you some information and tips, if you want to try it and see if it works for you!

Food combining sounds complicated, but must of us already do a little on our own without knowing it! 

Anyway, "Food combining" is exactly what it sounds like- pairing certain foods together in a meal for better digestion and getting the most nutrients and minerals out of your meal. These are basic food rules that are supposed to help your stomach with digestion, which is why these practices can offer relief from people who have sensitive systems or tummy troubles. If all else has failed, and you don't have an allergy, give food combining a try! 

Food combining basics (rules): 

1. Eat fruits alone, and at least thirty minutes before your meal. If you want to eat fruit as dessert, you should wait until your body has already started digesting your dinner.

2. Foods that are starchy should be eaten with non-starches or protein, but you should be eating twice as much starch as protein. You also want to keep your starches to a minimum, don’t eat several starches in one meal (think potatoes and rice in one meal).

3. Protein should be eaten first, so your body can properly digest the protein and you can absorb it.

4. High fat or high protein is hard on your stomach and both of these should be eaten moderately.

5. You shouldn’t have more than two types of starch and one type of protein on your plate.

The take away? Always make sure you’re getting every component on your plate- you want a protein, a non-starchy vegetable, maybe a starch or carb, and some naturally occurring fat (though, remember, all foods have fats naturally, so your protein, veggie or starch/carb might be be delivering fat, too -- soy, for example, his high in protein and fat).

I also like that food combining encourages simple foods. While I love cooking, sometimes basic beans and rice and vegetables are the easiest and healthiest option available. Food doesn’t have to be fancy; you can get everything your body needs in simple, cheap foods.

A word of warning: Try not to get too caught up in the micro-nutrient ideas of food combining, the idea is to make eating healthier simpler, not more confusing or difficult, etc. Look at food combining on a grander scale and focus on having a varied diet with balanced options.