Happy Herbivore Blog

Kitchen Essentials

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

Top 10 Tuesday: Kitchen Essentials

Perhaps you've heard the news: We're moving to St. Maarten. Since it's only a year tour, the majority of our belongings will be staying in a storage unit and consequently, we're only taking what we can manage to fit into six jumbo suitcases.

As I packed my all my tank tops into our Vita-Mix last night, I started thinking about what tools and gadgets were absolutely essential -- what could I not live without? What is so important it's worth prime storage space in the luggage? What tools did I need so desperately that I was willing to hold back clothes, shoes and other things to fit it?

The answer was not my Vita-Mix. I'm only taking that sucker because it can moonlight as my beloved food processor and make peanut butter (a little FYI: peanut butter is not always easy to come by outside of America. This presents a problem for us, as Scott practically bathes in peanut butter). Basically, the Vita-Mix is getting picked for winning the utility award. 

The first "essential" items I grabbed were measuring cups and spoons. Since St. Maarten is owned by the French and Dutch, I assume everything is metric, and, well, I'm not going to go there. :-)

Next, I went for my knives. A good, sharp knife makes all the difference in the kitchen. Packing them proved troubling, and ultimately, Scott made me take them out -- convinced you can't take knives on a plane, even if they are stowed in the belly. Bummer. (I'm actually calling the airline today to confirm this--I really love my knives!).

Other, obvious, tools include mixing bowls, cutting boards, whisks, spatulas, pots and pans -- but these items are already in our furnished condo

I was scratching my head and saying "ugh! what else?!" for minutes until I thought of my cheesecloths. Although not used terribly often, when I need it.... I need it! I use my cheesecloth to make homemade rice milk (a recipe in my cookbook) -- which we surely won't find on the island.

Next was a metal vegetable steamer basket. Although I prefer my electric Oster steamer (a bargain at just $20!) it was far too bulky. 

In short:

  1. measuring cups
  2. measuring spoons
  3. mixing bowls
  4. pots and pans
  5. cutting boards
  6. whisks, spatulas, etc.
  7. blender/food processor
  8. a good, sharp knife
  9. vegetable steamer
  10. cheesecloth

What tools and gadgets are essential to your kitchen?

Inspiration Interview: Philip

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

If you've scoped out HH's new e-courses, you may have seen Philip's testimony for the Balanced Nutrition e-course.

"I lost 20 more pounds, for a total of 60, since I took your course 2 months ago. Your diet plan rocks!!" - Philip C.

Today, Philip is talking with us about his weight-loss and motivations for adopting a plant-based (vegan) diet.

HH: So Philip, what made you take HH's Balanced Nutrition e-course and go plant-based?

Philip: Well, your plan was pretty much the last stage in a doctor assisted plan in which I plateaued on. 

HH: Your doctor had you on a diet plan? Tell us about that.

I noticed, about a year ago, that my weight just started ballooning. I've always been the type to eat whatever it was I wanted and not see any consequences, (I'm a good Italian boy so I ate ALOT of pasta, chicken parm, meat balls, sausage... etc.) so this worried me.

When I went to the doctor, I was diagnosed with diabetes and opted to get it under control with nutrition before I tried medication.

HH: Was your doctor supportive of a holistic approach?

Yes. Dr. Hugo Rodier placed me on a 6 week nutrition plan. Weeks 1-2, I could only eat chicken, fish, nuts and vegetables, and could only drink green tea and water. Weeks 2-4 I could start adding fruit to my diet. Weeks 4-6 I added legumes and after week 6 I could add whole grain breads.

HH: Did this plan help improve your health?

At 10 weeks I was down about 35 lbs, but I had plateaued. 

HH: So what brought you to HH and the Balanced Nutrition e-course?

One night, while I was watching Whale Wars (Paul Watson is a hero of mine) I came across your Happy Herbivore website through your facebook page, and decided to take your course. I basically substituted my chicken and fish intake with tofu. (The course promotes a wholesome plant-based diet).

HH: Had you ever considered going vegan or vegetarian before?

I always wanted to stop eating meat, but as weird as it sounds, I truly believe that I was addicted to it. 

HH: Did you find it easy to swap tofu for chicken and fish? Did you eat other meats previously?

I ate beef and pork prior to being diagnosed with diabetes, and switched to solely chicken and fish through a recomendation from my doctor. The first few days when anyone changes their diet... I think is going to be rough. Sticking with it is the best thing you can do because the long term benifits vastly outweigh the lack of immediate gratification you crave for the first week or two. 

There are times when I miss sushi; however, I know that will pass because I don't even crave beef or pork anymore. I can honestly say that the thought of eating beef or pork disgusts me. 

HH: Did you have any other motivations for going plant-based?

I figured that: (A). Since I already made a drastic change in my diet, and (B). Since I work for Adobe, a company that really cares about the environment to the point where it's corporate office is entirely powered off of green energy; it only made sense for me to kick the meat habit. 

HH: What was your experience on the plan? Did the weight come right off?

In about a month and half I dropped an additional 25 lbs. It was like my body was saying "thank you" for kicking the habit of eating animals.

HH: Are you still following the plan?

Yes. It really has been a complete lifestyle change and I have no intention of going back. As Ari Gold once said - "I WANT TO LIIIIIVE!!!!"

HH: So your diet is 100% plant-based now?

Entirely. In addition to that I'll only eat organic. 

HH: In addition to shedding a total of 60lbs, have you noticed any other benefits? 

YES! The biggest thing I've noticed is a change in my overall well being... meaning... I'm a lot happier. Some people will try to attribute that to being vain, but it's more than that. When you have more energy you actually start to appreciate the things in life alot more, instead of just shrugging off opportunities due to the fact that you don't "feel like doing anything."

HH: What role has your environmental activism played in all of this?

I think a more accurate statement would be that I've always been a fair weather environmentalist. I wasn't really hard core about it until I was diagnosed with diabetes and saw first hand how the collective attitude of not caring about the environment manifests itself into creating poisonous consequenses such as the creation of refined sugars and the callous disregard in which we treat the fellow inhabitants of this planet. 

HH: Anything else you'd like to share? 

I just wanted to personally thank you for assembeling all the information that you did. It really did help me and I hope that you can use this interview to help more people!

Aww.. Thanks Philip! And Thank you for such a great, inspiring interview!

Blog Action Day 2010

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Normally I try to keep Happy Herbivore neutral; leaving politics and activism for other, more appropriate places, than a humble food blog. However, today I'm breaking that rule to participate in Blog Action Day 2010 -- an iniative to help spread awareness about the worldwide water crisis.

Nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water.

To put that number in perspective, there are only 307 million people living in the United States and only 6.7 billion people living on the entire planet! 

Worse still, nearly 42,000 people die EACH WEEK from unsafe water. Many of these deaths are children under the age of 5 who die from drinking unsafe water or from unhygienic living conditions.

What can you do to help?

Leave animal products off your plate as much as possible. It takes 66 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of wheat and 6,604 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of meat.

Use your iPhone less. iPhone's require half a liter of water to charge. Considering there are over 80 million active iPhone users, that's a lot of water!

Say No to Plastic Bottles: The average American drinks 200 bottles of water each year. It takes over 17 million barrels of oil to manufacture those bottles -- 86% of which will never be recycled. 

Shop less: That cotton T-shirt you're wearing took 1,514 liters of water to produce. Jean require an extra 6,813 liters. 

Conserve. The average person uses 465 liters of water per day. 

My individual water use was 463.94 gallons per day (compared to 1,190.5 gallons per day the average American uses)... figure out your water footprint & make small changes to use less water.