Happy Herbivore Blog

Guest Blogger: Sam QuantumVegan

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Guests

It wouldn't be Thursday on Happy Herbivore without a guest blogger! Today's guest blog post is by one of my twitter friends (tweeps?) Sam a.k.a. Quantum Vegan

Sam is always tweeting delicious pictures of food and today's blog post is no exception! Take it away, Sam!

Sam: I've been a big fan of HH chickpea "tuna" for ages, so when I heard there was a whole cookbook full of HH stuff coming out, of course I had to have it!  It's so hard to choose which recipes are the "best," but these are some of my favorites so far.

I must confess that, before going vegan, I ate and enjoyed a certain dubiously orange boxed mac & cheese.  My mom also made a cheese sauce of her own that we would pour over elbow noodles on a weekly basis and enjoy as a side to other non-vegan things. But vegan mac & cheese is better by far, even more so when it's as easy and delicious as this stuff!

Baked Shells and Cheese (p. 156)

I found some whole wheat pasta shells at the store and topped the whole thing with pretzel crumbs, which are from a recipe in The 30-Minute Vegan and are a great way to use up the sad broken bits that always lurk at the bottom of a pretzel bag.  They're a bit more crunchy than bread crumbs and added an extra dimension of flavor to the dish.

Mushroom Burgers & Balsamic Braised Asparagus(p. 89 and p. 171)

I will try pretty much any veggie burger recipe I come across, but the ones with easily-accessible ingredients are the best. Any excuse to use a food processor is also welcome, because I am a big food nerd and like to watch things get chopped into little bits. These come together fast, plus you get to stick your hands in the mix. What could be better? To make them "my own" I like to serve veggie burgers on toasted English muffins with some sliced tomato, Iceberg lettuce, and whatever condiment sounds good at the time.

As for the balsamic asparagus...why didn't I think of this?? Nothing about it needs to be changed.  It's perfect in its simplicity and results in brightly-colored asparagus with a slight crunch and an irresistible roasted flavor.

Cinnamon Buns (p.36)

Is it cheating to include these since my mom was the one who made them?  Because it would be wrong to leave them out.  When I was a kid, we made a ton--perhaps a literal ton!--of cinnamon rolls, usually as a side to dinner.  These are just as amazing and tasty without all the butter and refined sugar of the ones from my childhood.  Another reason I wanted to include them here is because we brought them to Easter brunch at my church, a brunch largely populated by quiche and non-vegan bread products.  People loved them!  Nobody guessed they were low fat, whole wheat, and vegan.  Though my mom made the recipe as written in the book, she's a big fan of cinnamon and said she would put even more on in the future.

I am a Real Person A lot Like You

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: AdviceMisc

For me, this video really sums up my earlier post on dealing with negativity. I think a lot of people sometimes forget that authors or bloggers are real people.

I’m guilty of this myself. My tree was shaken a few years ago when I left a poor review for a book and the author contacted me. I was shocked. It had never even occurred to me that the author might read the reviews for his book. 

I stood by my review but the experience stayed with me. I was suddenly aware that what I said wasn’t always just going out into space -- that my words might actually be read. and they might be read by the very person I’m talking about. 

We’ve all had the experience -- maybe with a friend or more likely, a stranger, where someone said something online they probably wouldn’t say on the phone, let alone to your face. 

Point is, I came across this video over the weekend and I love love LOVE it. It’s so true and I could really identify with Sarah. I’ve been there, Sarah. 

What did you think of the video?

The Secret to Handling Confrontation and Dealing with Negativity

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: AdviceFAQMinimalist

When I went vegan I had all these assumptions about how my friends would react to my new lifestyle. I figured there would be some teasing, some peer pressure trying to get me to “cheat” and all the annoying questions like “where do you get your protein?” but what I never expected was the open hostility.

Now, I have to interrupt and say that most of my friends were pretty awesome about it. Some were curious and the rest had a “whatever floats your boat” mentality but (and this is a big but!) some people were down right angry. It went well beyond simply being negative, or not supportive. It was as if my new lifestyle insulted them at their very core; that I had deeply, deeply offended them by putting plants on my plate. 

One particular “friend” said, “well I guess we can’t hang out anymore.” For the others, my veganism just became a source of tension between us. One "friend," for example, cancelled our dinner plans several times in a row. Finally, I asked if she was mad at me for something and she became angry instantly. She complained about how much I changed and couldn’t I just go back to the old Lindsay? When I asked her what that meant she said “the one who ate real food!”

Another “friend” just stopped inviting me to her parties and my lack of invitation was causing awkwardness among our mutual friends. For the better of the group I opted to talk to her about it. She said “Oh well I’m not vegan. There’s nothing for you to eat so I didn’t invite you.” Is that all a party is? Eating? There is no socializing?! I told her she didn’t have to cater to me; let me worry about what I’m going to eat. But of course, I was never invited again. As a result, I stopped trying to socialize with her (I know when I’m not welcome) and the pinnacle end of our friendship was when she sent me a heated email saying she was going to buy and throw away meat just to make up for what I’m not eating. 

I couldn’t understand why my vegan diet bothered her so much and why someone would waste their own money and “food” because of what someone else is doing? 

It was hard for me back then. I couldn’t see beyond those painful moments of rejection but now I have perspective. It’s been (almost) five years. I’ve had far more positive experiences than negative ones and I’m coming from a different place. I finally understand why my vegan diet bothered these “friends” so much and having this understanding is the secret to handling confrontation and outward negativity, even when that negativity isn’t about what is on your plate.

When people act this way towards you, it’s because your mere existence makes them reflect back on themselves and they don’t like what they see. They then attack you to make themselves feel better.

It also reminds me of peer pressure and the driving force behind it -- the comfort in conformity. 

Back in college, a friend of mine wasn’t much of a drinker and it was remarkable how often people (myself included) tried to get her to drink. “Just try this drink you’ll like it!” the question isn’t why wasn’t she drinking, but why was it so important to me (and others) that she have a drink? Was her abstention making me feel guilty about my own consumption? Would I have felt better about my choices if she drank too? If so, I guess I had some inner conflicts I needed to resolve... 

Which brings me to my grand point:

I like that saying, the worst thing someone can say about you, reveals a little truth about them.

I've looked back at the times I’ve been negative towards others and realized, even when my points were factual, or valid, there was always that tiny, lingering stench of jealousy or whatever I was being negative about revealed a hole deep within me. It brought light to one of my fears or something I lacked confidence about. My negativity had always unmasked me. 

I hope by sharing this that the next time you're confronted with negativity you will be able to see through it a little. 

I’m a long ways from taking negativity as a compliment, but it seems to sting less now that I have this perspective. 

Thoughts? Any similar experiences or realizations?