Happy Herbivore Blog

My Vegan Husband

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

This question bubbled up in my inbox this week and it's one I get frequently:

Is Scott vegan? How did you get your husband on board with eating only vegan?

The short answer is: yes. Scott is a vegan.

But he wasn't always. 

Scott is one of those great success stories of how switching to a plant-based diet can change your life. Before he was vegan he wasn't at a healthy weight, even with regular exercise. Scott also struggled with tummy problems --- namely, IBS, which went away once he was vegan. 

Scott...before he was vegan (or vegetarian).

So how did it happen? Did I make Scott go vegan? Not quite.

When I first went vegetarian, Scott was resistant. I made him watch all those awful PETA videos in hopes to convert him but nada. He refused. He loved his meat. Eventually, we came to the agreement that we would only eat vegetarian in our home. Scott was free to eat however he pleased outside of the home, but our home was vegetarian. It seemed like a fair compromise. 

Then when I went vegan, things changed. While Scott could deal with my vegetarianism, he thought vegan was just too extreme. He couldn't understand why someone would willingly give up his favorite food: cheese. 

I told him how important going vegan was to me, that it really mattered to me, and if he truly loved me, he would support me. He stood firm that he wouldn't change his diet but if this is what I really wanted, he wouldn't try to talk me out of it... but I would have to make our meals. 

Scott had no idea what to cook a vegan. Up until that point, he had been the cook in our relationship (I was a terrible cook). So, meals were on me. (I realize now, had my hand never been forced, I'd wouldn't have become the Happy Herbivore! Crazy!)

A few months later (about a year from when I went vegetarian initially), Scott went vegetarian on his own accord. One day he said to me in passing: "Hey! I've been a vegetarian for a month." I nearly choked. Scott explained to me that he'd been reading up on the environmental consequences of eating meat and it had really motivated him to be a vegetarian. "Eating vegetarian is more green" he said and that was it. Scott was a vegetarian.

Although I hadn't really pushed my veganism or vegetarianism on him bu that point, once he was a vegetarian, all bets were off. I had a foot in the door and I was going for it. I would casually drop in to conversation about how unhealthy all animal products were. Anytime he complained of his tummy troubles, I'd lightly mention how all my digestive issues cleared when I cut out dairy. I started stocking the fridge with an array of vegan substitutes.... 

Somewhere along the way, Scott finally dumped dairy. I'd encouraged it, true, but it was still his ultimate choice. Pizza was what had held him back and once we found a decent vegan pizza in LA, he made the switch. You see, Scott loves pizza more than life itself. I sometimes wonder if daiya had existed back then, if he would have made the switch even sooner. 

That was a few years ago. 

I sometimes can't remember our lives before we were vegan. Scott is a huge, HUGE proponent of the vegan diet now to the point where he talks about it with strangers. Sometimes I think he's a bigger activist than me. It's amazing how changing our diet really changed our life. 

Scott...40 lbs lighter thanks to a vegan diet. 

Scott also runs marathons now--something he never thought he'd be able to do! and climbs mountains:

If you ask Scott... if something happened to me, would he still be vegan? His response: "I could never go back to eating animals. Ever."

So there you have it! The story of my vegan husband. 

In other news, Scott's going to start blogging on happyherbivore.com --about what it's like to be a vegan dude!

Have a question or comment for Scott?

Guest Post: How Happy Herbivore Got Me Out of A Pasta Rut

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Guests

Hi Herbies! Today we are featuring a guest post from Megan, the Holistic Health Coach. Enjoy!

Happy Herbivore has taken me out of my pasta rut. I used to automatically make a pasta dish when I was pressed for time but wanted a meal that would be easy to prepare and satisfying. Although I still adore pasta, it wasn't until I started cooking from the Happy Herbivore Cookbook that my creativity kicked in.

The first recipe I ever made was the Black Bean Brownies. I was so intrigued by the idea that I rushed the soaking process and convinced myself there was plenty of time for the beans to soften in the oven. This taught me two things; black beans can make an awesome brownie and it pays to be patient. My brownies were a little dry but I was blown away by the flavor. I automatically bought canned black beans and made another batch that I took to work with me the next day playing a little game I like to call, "Guess what's in this!" The brownies were such a hit and I made them for everyone in my family for Christmas. I baked them, arranged them in festive tins, and drove them 6 hours to New Jersey to make sure every member of my family would be able to try them. No one could believe it was possible to enjoy a dessert that wasn't going to put them in a mini coma from the sugar highs and lows.

I then used Happy Herbivore as a reference to learn more about flavors and seasoning because I instinctively cook Mediterranean-type meals. I’m Italian and grew up with an unusual obsession with fresh basil and first learned to cook as an adult while spending a year in Greece. It wasn’t until the Happy Herbivore came along that I introduced new spices into my pantry. I bought Garam Masala for the first time after seeing the recipe for Red Lentil Dal. It hit me like a ton of bricks that my favorite ethnic foods are easy to make and the ingredients are ridiculously inexpensive. I just lacked the confidence and flavor guidelines which resulted in me overpaying for less healthful meals in restaurants. You won’t catch me paying $15 for a dish made from 89 cent chick peas or lentils anymore and my friends finally know that when they come over for dinner they have something other than spaghetti to look forward to.

I’m a little rebellious toward recipes. I almost never measure and am relaxed when it comes to substituting with whatever I have on hand. The Happy Herbivore recipes and the beautiful photos make it so easy to be inspired. I enjoy my kitchen so much more now that I look at the contents of my refrigerator with a new perspective.

This is probably a good time to mention that I’m not a vegan. I’m not even a vegetarian. I am, however, crazy about vegetables, sneaking them into absolutely everything I eat (including breakfast). I’ve never really had a taste for meat, but have no desire to commit to a label. I simply love food that is beautiful, makes you feel alive , tastes great, and doesn’t make you fat and tired.

I share my love of good food with practically everyone I meet. I teach cooking classes to show people that you can make a meal quickly without it coming from a box. My most recent class featured “Meatless Burgers that don’t suck.” We made Happy Herbivore spicy black bean burgers and mushroom burgers. I followed the black bean recipe, but used brown rice in the mushroom burgers rather than beans. Everyone was impressed that a vegan burger could be so satisfying and full of flavor.

Happy Herbivore has helped me set my refrigerator and pantry up in a way that making a healthy meal can be simple and faster than picking up takeout. My pantry now features more grains, beans, and legumes and a little less pasta. My husband and dinner guests are grateful for the variety and my waistline thanks you!

Thanks, Megan! I think we've all been in a pasta rut before. Herbies, have you ever been in a food rut before?

What is Tofu? (The Big Tofu Post)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

Hi. I'm Scott. (you know, "Mr. Happy Herbivore"). My wife makes fun of me for how much I like tofu. Tofu is stupendously awesome! Here is my post on why tofu rocks...with added videos from Lindsay.

5 Interesting Tofu Facts:

  1. The Chinese having been making Tofu for over 2000 years.
  2. The process for making Tofu is very similar to making cheese where soy milk is coagulated with vinegar, calcium sulfate or lemon juice.
  3. "Soybeans can product over 33 percent more protein from an acre of land than any other known crop."1
  4. Tofu is meant to be eaten within hours of being made; so you can imagine the quality difference from what we get in the supermarket.
  5. In Japan, there are Tofu restaurants were the entire menu focuses on incorporating Tofu into dishes. As an example, see Kyotofu's menu which is located in NYC.

What is Tofu?

How is it made? Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk into curds. These curds are then put into forms and pressed to create a large block of tofu. The large block is then cut into smaller blocks and packaged in filtered water.

Types of Tofu:

There are three types of tofu generally available in the United States: silken tofu, firm tofu, and extra firm tofu. Each of these types of tofu are general made they same way except the firmer the tofu the longer it is pressed.

There are three main varieties of soybeans; immature soybeans are green and typically sold precooked as Edamame, mature soybeans are white, and dried soybeans.

Nutrition: Soy is considered the only complete vegetable protein because it has all 8 of the essential amino acids that cannot be created from other compounds in the human body. Tofu is also very high in protein and low in calories.

What about GMO? Most Tofu and other soy products sold to humans are non-GMO. They feed all the GMO soybeans to animals so as long as you don't eat animals you're cool.

Hodo Soy Beanery Founder Minh Tsai has made this great video about Tofu and is part of the inspiration for putting together a great guide to Tofu.

The Re-education of Tofu: Hodo Soy Beanery from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.

The Best "Cheezy" Video on making Tofu.

The music is classic. If your gangsta like me there is also a Wu-Tang version.

Oh yeah, Japanese people are awesome: cooking with dog; not literally!

How to Press Tofu, How to Bake Tofu -- and other cooking tips:

1. The Book of Tofu (Reference for previous statement)

How do you tofu? Any tips? Fave ways to eat it?