Happy Herbivore Blog

How to Talk About Veganism

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

There were so many great comments on my post about dealing with confrontation and negativity, that I thought I'd follow-up and do a quick post about how and when to tell someone you’re vegan (or plant-strong), and how to talk about your lifestyle or diet in a way that won’t scare people off or cause them to power down and get defensive. 

The Big Announcement: When to tell someone about your new diet and lifestyle depends on you, your comfort level and the relationship you have with the person you’re telling. Each situation is different and unique. Perhaps you’ll tell your best friend right away because you’re really excited about your newlifestyle, but you’ll wait a while to tell your parents because you sense they might be confused or disapproving. 

It is also important to remember how “strange” your decision might sound to someone. While vegans and vegetarians are becoming more mainstream and commonplace (Bill Clinton, anyone?) it’s still shockingly foreign to many. 

Also, be conscious of who you are talking to. The more you know about the listener, the better you’ll be able to tailor your explanation in a way that they will understand. For example, I know that my uncle, a hunter, would tune out anything I said if I started off on animal rights issues right away. He is very health conscious; however, so if I explained my choice to be vegan from a health perspective, he’d be more apt to listen to what I have to say and with a lot less judgment and preconceived notions. 

Before you speak, take a moment to think about what your listener will empathize with, and begin with that issue.  

Never feel pressured to explain or justify your choices. If someone can’t accept or respect your choices up-front, you probably won’t change their mind that day. No sense in getting worked up and frustrated trying...come back to it later. 

If you do respond, give a clear, simple and concise statement. Try saying something like “I believe this is the healthiest choice for me and my family” or “I’m moved by the plight of farm animals. I don’t want to suffer or cause another living being to suffer.” 

Don’t engage in debate if you don’t want to or you’re not comfortable. If someone tries to force it, simply say that you prefer not to discuss it at this time, but you’re happy to tell the listener where he or she can learn more.

Social Activism: Advocating your beliefs is noble, but there is a time and place in social situations. In my experience, I had zero converts when I tried to push my lifestyle on others. However, by being compassionately quiet and leading by example, friends and coworkers started asking me about it. 

Then, by engaging in casual, non-judgmental conversation about my diet and lifestyle, I was able to plant a seed — a seed that later led many of these people to adopt plant-based (vegan) or semi-vegan diet. I really do believe in the power of leading by example and being a smiling, positive and gentle influence. Tread softly.

I’ve also given a lot of talks and speeches (I’ve even spoken at Google!) and the one compliment I get over and over again is how much people appreciate that I’m upbeat and encouraging--- not pushy or judgmental. 

My “closing” statement is always “Anytime you can eat a vegan meal, do it. Your body will thank you.” 

See how I accomplish this with my video via The Huffington Post:

The Happy Herbivore makes Veggie Biscuit Pot Pie from Andrea Chalupa.

Whole Wheat Fat-Free Vegan Rosemary Olive Bread Recipe

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

Hi Herbies! Andrea again :] I think I've mentioned before, I'm much more of a baker than a cook. For awhile I stuck with cookies and cupcakes, but when I wanted a challenge..I turned to working with yeast. Yeast was intimidating. The first few times I baked yeast bread that actually rose I would do a little dance in my kitchen.

Baking bread is inexpensive and healthy, and there is nothing better than bread right out of your warm oven. This week, I made a no-oil olive rosemary bread. I don't usually bake without oil, but I've been adapting my recipes and I was so happy with how this turned out, just as soft as "full fat" olive bread!

Let's talk about yeast first. Yeast is a leavener, it's what will make your bread soft and fluffy. It feeds off of sugar and releases gases that makes it grow and rise. There's many kinds of yeast but to keep this simple we'll cover the two types of yeast you'll find in a normal-non-fancy grocery store;

There's dry, activated, yeast packets. These come in three packets (sometimes a jar!) and are usually in the baking aisle. This yeast should be kept in a room temperature environment. This is the type of yeast I use, it requires proofing but is definitely worth the wait. Proofing is the rest period where fermentation happens. If you've ever read a bread recipe, this is the part of the process where you just wait out your starter or your dough so it will rise.

There is also instant or fast acting yeast. This is self explanatory, the rising time is faster and doesn't require any sort of waiting. I've never used this type of yeast because I've always sort of felt like baking is worth the patience. I like the whole process of baking bread, it's fun for me, but you might not share that sentiment. A quick Google search will tell you have to replace dry yeast with instant yeast. (Via Google: To substitute instant or bread machine yeast for active dry yeast, use 25% less instant yeast than active dry.)

Now, let's get to the fun part! The recipe!

Whole Wheat Rosemary Olive Bread
Yields: 2 Loaves

1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons fresh yeast (1 packet if you're using them!)
1 cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup warm water
 3 tablespoons agave
 4 teaspoons fresh yeast (2 packets)
 1/3 cup apple sauce
 4 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cups black olives, pitted
 4 tablespoons rosemary

 For the starter: You want your water to be warm, but not so hot that you can't touch it without screeching. Water that is too hot will 'kill' the yeast and the fermenting process won't begin. I don't get technical enough to use a thermometer, but if you wanted to, the water would be between 95-105 degrees. Combine the water and fresh yeast in a bowl and stir until combined. Slowly add whole wheat flour to the mixture until combined. Cover your bowl with a towel and set aside for thirty minutes. Go do a dance while you wait and your yeast ferments :D

 When you come back, your mixture should have just about doubled. Now you can make your dough!

 For the dough: You can use a standmixer here if you have one, I don't and it's still just as possible to bake! Combine your water, agave and fresh yeast, stirring until combined. Add the apple sauce, salt, olives, starter, black olives and rosemary. Slowly add your flour to the wet mixture (one cup at a time). You want to be careful to not overmix or play with the dough too much, handling it too much disrupts the gluten. Once your dough has formed, divide into two sections. You can form the dough into two balls. Set your dough on a baking sheet and cover with a warm damp towel. Set your dough aside for thirty minutes, your dough will rise and double!

 After this second rising, you have two options. You can form the dough into loaves and let rise again, because you've handled it and touched it,it needs a resting period. Your other option is to transfer the dough right into dough pans (or bake in the shape of a round sphere, your preference) and bake! 

Make sure the pan or baking sheet you are baking your bread on is sprayed with oil. Cut the top of your bread with a sharp knife (this is called scoring), spray with water, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees. 

Technically, you should let breads cool for 30 minutes before you cut into them. Or, you can cut it while piping hot and indulge, your choice ;)

We enjoyed our olive bread with Veggie, Bean, & Quinoa Croquettes (pg. 153 in The Happy Herbivore Cookbook) and steamed kale.

Pantry List (Pantry Food & Shopping List)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

Here is my basic shopping list (complete with pantry staples). As long as you have all these items on hand you can make pretty much any recipe on happyherbivore.com or in my cookbook! 

Pantry List!

Canned Goods:beans, tomatoes, pumpkin, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and corn.

Dry Goods & Grains:brown rice, split peas, oats, lentils, quinoa, and dry beans. 

Baking: baking soda, baking powder, raw sugar, brown sugar,  agave nectar, pure maple syrup, corn meal, white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, gluten-free flour (optional), chickpea flouer, unsweetened applesauce, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla extract, and vital wheat gluten. 

Condiments: balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, marinara sauce, ketchup, Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, salsa, peanut butter, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce (or tamari), steak sauce, and miso

Spices: chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, oregano, cinnamon, onion powder (granulated), garlic powder (granulated), thyme, fennel seeds, garam masala, nutmeg, Italian seasoning, kelp, curry powder, paprika, pumpkin pie spice, red pepper flakes (or cayenne), rubbed sage, turmeric, and nutritional yeast

Produce & Herbs: garlic, onion, potatoes, ginger, carrots, celery, spinach, lettuce, greens, tomatoes, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, bananas, lemons, limes, apples, and out-of-season frozen fruits and frozen vegetables.

Other:tofu, vegetable broth, non-dairy milk such as soy milk or almond milk, and vegan substitutes (optional). 

Check out this video--where I discuss and show each item!

What's on your shopping list every week?