Happy Herbivore Blog

Public Life (I Refuse to be Vanilla)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Advice

Lately I've been saying "I will no longer apologize for who I am or who I am not."

It all started with coming to a realization that I needed to stop trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, and instead, go find a square hole. But now it's extending to my entire life. I am who I am. Let me explain.

If you've ever tried to friend request me on Facebook, chances are you got a message (that I personally send to everyone) saying while I appreciate the friend request (it means a lot to me!) I don't accept requests from people I don't know in real life so as to protect the privacy of my friends and family.

While I have happily leaped into the public light -- my family and friends have not. I often struggle and grapple with this. My sister has gone to places and been instantly recognized as "The Happy Herbivores Sister" and while she likes it, it sometimes bothers me because my sister will never be a ghost again. True, I jumped in to the public light and gave up my privacy -- but she didn't. It just happened to her.

But none of this is really my point with this blog post, I'm just explaining why I don't accept friend requests on Facebook -- Facebook changes its privacy settings with the tide and since the default is to overshare rather than privatize, I'm trying to be proactive and allow those around me to have as much privacy as they can.

That said, I am an open book and always have been. 

I refuse to be one person behind closed doors and then a second person in front of the camera or in front of my fans. 

I refuse to be "Lindsay Nixon" and "Happy Herbivore" because Lindsay Nixon IS Happy Herbivore.

It's exhausting being one person, I can't imagine trying to be two people. Plus I have real moral issues with people who do that.

As such, I've always been open about how I vote, what religious philosophy I subscribe to, and so on. And while I don't accept friend requests, I do allow my entire profile to be visible, including my status updates.

I've been told to hide it -- to stay mellow yellow and vanilla so I appeal to everyone -- but that just seems wrong to me. 

So I tweet, share, "like" and post about anything -- no topic is off limits. I'm completely unfiltered and uncensored on my personal page and twitter account. I've always seen my both place as a space where I'm free express myself and I do. 

Anyway, over the past few weeks I've said things or shared things that were met with comments or replies along the lines of "and to think... I liked your cookbook but I'm not following you anymore."

My initial response was -- what do my recipes have to do with how I feel about Obama?

I guess I see it -- I just rattled on how I am Lindsay Nixon AND the Happy Herbivore, after all -- but then again I own books and CDs by artists who have different opinions than me (unfortunately, ALL of my favorite authors do not follow a plant-based diet and I'm pretty sure that's true of all my favorite musicians as well). I also have certain actors and actresses I really like and a lot of them eat, pray and vote differently than me. 

I know that not everyone is going to agree with me on everything but I don't want to stop being me just so I please everyone. I don't want to be a public figure that's not herself.

I have always been opinionated, political, outspoken and open. I can't change that about me - I won't. 

It's taken a lot of years to truly love myself, and accept myself for who I am. I spent a lot of years trying to be someone I wasn't and trying to get people to like me or be the kind of person I thought they would like and all that did was make ME unhappy. I was unhappy because I wasn't myself. 

If I've learned anything in life its that you have to be yourself. All I can be is me. All you can be is you. and we're all beautiful and perfect in our own way.

If the way I vote or pray or think offends you, I'm sorry. If it means you're not going to support me or follow me or buy my books anymore, okay (though I'm kind of sad because you'll miss out on some really great recipes!) Isn't variety of the spice of life?

I know I'm taking a huge HUGE risk writing this blog post on the cusp of my new book coming out -- but that's just it. I'm not in it to win it. I don't do what I do for the fame, glory or money. I do it because I'm passionate and I want to show how easy it is to eat healthy -- how delicious, approachable and affordable this way of life can be. 

So maybe that's why I'm comfortable being strawberry instead of vanilla. It's not a popularity contest for me. I'm totally humbled by my success -- and while I attribute my success to you Herbies, I have to remind myself that it was being myself that got me here.

I can't change one thing about me because it's the sum of all my parts that make me who I am. If I lose one part of myself, I lose myself. I have to be me. 

I have to be me.

Fat-Free Refried Beans Recipe (Vegetarian Refried Beans Recipe)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

In a little more than two weeks my second cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore, will be hitting shelves.

To get you excited for her arrival, I'm sharing a few recipes here on the blog. First up was my Sweet Potato Dal and now -- Skillet Refried Beans!

Sure canned refried beans are easy, but you just can't top the taste of homemade. The little effort required here is so worth it -- these beans are fantastic! 

1 small onion, diced
15 oz can pinto beans (undrained)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Line a skillet with a thin layer of water and saute onion over high heat until translucent and most of the water has cooked off. Add cumin, chili powder and a few dashes of paprika, stirring to coat the onions. Add beans with their juices and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and mash beans well using a fork or potato masher. It will look very soupy, don't be alarmed. Crank the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes. If the beans start popping and splashing, cover for a few minutes, then uncover. Stir every minute or so, scraping along the bottom to lift the beans. After 10 minutes the liquid should have significantly reduced. It may still be a little soupy, that is alright, it will thicken as it cools. However, if its really soupy, cook longer. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Per serving (serves 2) 216 calories, 0.4g fat, 41.7g carbohydrates, 15.7g fiber, 4.8g sugar, 13.7g protein

What is a Plant-Based Diet

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

Since posting about my journey to a plant based diet, I’ve receiving a few questions about what a plant based diet is so I thought it deserved its own post!

In short, a plant-based diet is a diet that centers around plants: vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains and seeds and nuts. 

Why plants? Plants are good sources of protein, carbohydrates, naturally occurring fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, water... and they're good for you! Plant foods also don't have dietary cholesterol (which is great news for your heart).

If you look at the standard American plate of food, you usually have half of it covered in some kind of animal protein, and maybe a portion filled with a starch (like potatoes) and maybe -- maybe! a tiny portion of vegetables. (I read somewhere that the 'vegetable' most Americans eat is potatoes and that it comes in the form of a French fry or potato chip! Eek!)

Now check out my plant-based plate! 

black beans, kale, brown rice 

tofu, more kale, brown rice

What I love about my plant-based diet is I can can fill my entire plate with wholesome plant foods for less calories than I would be eating if my plate was filled with animal products or processed foods. 

A lot of people assume something is healthy because it is "vegan" -- but there are a lot of unhealthy foods that are vegan -- like French fries, and potato chips and white bread and Oreos. (Yes, Oreos are vegan I apologize profusely to anyone who goes and buys some after finding this out).

That's why I like making a distinction in saying I eat a plant-based diet, as opposed to saying I eat a vegan diet. Because you can eat a vegan diet and never eat plants -- or eat foods that were once plants but have been so processed they don't really look like those plants anymore. I always tell people, keep "veg" in vegan (or vegetarian).

Good News: A plant-based diet has been linked so reducing risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, and has even been found to help protect the body from cancer.

If you’re looking for more sources of information about eating a plant-based diet, you should visit my friends at Engine 2.  The Engine 2 Diet focuses on a plant-strong diet that can eliminate heart disease! (p.s Rip is most awesome!)

Plant-Based Diet books I Love: Eat to LiveThe McDougall ProgramThe China Study and the Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition.