Happy Herbivore Blog

Inspirational Interview: Beth

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

The Inspirational Interviews series is back this week with a sassy business woman who (get ready for it!) used happy herbivore recipes to meet her health, weight and fitness goals!

Six weeks ago Beth emailed me saying she wanted to lose a little bit of weight and she was only going to eat recipes from happyherbivore.com to do it!

I was so flattered and honored I didn't know what to say other than "hey! if it works, you, like, need to let me interview you!"

HH: So Beth, what spawned this idea of yours--to lose weight with happy herbivore recipes?

Beth: I reached a point where I physically was not matching how I felt mentally or spiritually. I found myself eating the same boring things or skipping meals entirely because I had lost interest in food as fuel, and nutrition as a vehicle for feeling optimally.

HH: Before your... happy herbivore diet (shall we say) what was your diet like?

Beth: I was a convenience food vegan. I ate a lot of vegan pre-packed foods from the local co-op (which were sneaky vegan calorie bombs smothered in rich sauces or infused with a hefty amount of oil to keep it from drying out when reheated). I also skipped meals a lot. 

HH: You've been eating a la happy herbivore for six weeks now. Mind us asking how much weight you've lost?

Beth: I have currently lost 34 pounds eating happy herbivore recipes in conjunction with yoga and an intense weight training routine at the gym.

HH: Like many of us, you've attempted weight loss before--was this time (with happy herbivore recipes) easier, harder about the same?

Beth: I've attempted weight loss many times before but my focus on the dietary aspect changed this time around as did my need to become more intense and diverse in my workouts since I passed the age-30 barrier. A vegan diet alone isn't a guarantee of weight-loss, as one look down the dairy-free "ice cream" aisle can attest, but with a common sense method of the carb-protein-fat combination as well as a reasonable portion size, I have been able to create a workweek meal plan that is easy to follow, satisfying and nutritionally complete using only happy herbivore recipes. Even my non-vegan trainer can't complain! 

HH: In addition to weight loss, have you noticed any other benefits from eating happy herbivore recipes (and thus, adopting a low fat plant-based diet)?

Beth: In making these happy herbivore recipes I have found that I am sustained for longer periods of time without the need to binge or eat something that is empty on the go (like potato chips). Even though the recipes seem to be more nutrient dense, they have not left me feeling heavy or bloated as some other recipes I've made do (primarily due to the heavy "cream" or sauce base). 

HH: A lot of people don't think they have the time to prepare fresh meals from scratch everyday--but even as a busy career woman (Beth owns her own business!), you've made the time... care to tell us about that?

Beth: Unlike so many others, happy herbivore recipes are simple and satisfying enough to incorporate into anyone's busiest work week, which can be a major hurdle or reluctance. In fact it is easy to initially doubt that the simplicity of the recipes could actually be fulfilling enough to tame a voracious vegan eater like my husband, but they do! I have been able to vastly increase my physical workload, maintain my career and home obligations, and become more mentally present while losing these unneeded (unwanted) pounds and integrating a majority of happy herbivore recipes into my daily dietary repertoire.

HH: All this food talk is making me hungry! What are some of your favorite and go-to happy herbivore recipes?

Chickpea Noodle Soup, Celery Root Soup, Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie and Kale Chips are some of my favorites. My husband also makes the Chickpea Tacos at least twice a week! He is a glutton for them!

HH: Thanks so much for sharing you story with us Beth--and I'm so glad happy herbivore recipes have helped you become your healthiest self yet! Keep up the great work! You've certainly inspired me with your amazing "can do" attitude! 

Eat to Live vs. Live to Eat

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

Earlier this week I was catching up with my friend Stephanie online when she asked me how I was adjusting to the island. I told her while there are some things that annoy or frustrate me such as "island time" (we'll save that for another post) and the fact that most places close at noon on Sundays (a vast change from 24-hour New York City) I have generally found the culture here agreeable, if not refreshing.

This island, if you are unaware, is French and Dutch (it is quite literally split down the middle):

(Just past the airport to the left you'll see "cupecoy" thats where I live, smack on the border. I joke that in my frontyard, I'm on the Dutch side, and in my backyard, the French. This is not really an exaggeration!)

Although I've only been out of the U.S. for three weeks---I've gleaned a lot of perspective in that time. For example, I always knew that Americans were obsessed with BIG everything -- big cars, big houses and big portions -- but I never realized how much that spilled over into other faucets of life.

Let me back up. St. Martin carries a reputation for being a culinary mecca and you'd think that everyone here would be food obsessed as a result... you'd expect dining out to be integrated into the culture the way it is New York City and other culinary hot spots in America --but it's not. People that live here seem generally...disinterested. 

During my converstaion with Stephanie, it all came together for me. The difference is, Eat to Live vs. Live to Eat. and perhaps that is why the French are so slender as a people. They aren't living to eat, but eating to live---it's something they do because they have to, not something they do for the sake of pleasure. --but that's not to say that eating isn't pleasureful for them... 

This is another difference I observed, and it's best told in a story: I stopped at a local store, only to find it closed in the middle of the day. I peered through the window and saw a man sitting at the counter, eating a sandwich joyfully. I knocked on the door. He ignored me. I knocked again. Eventually he shouted something, which I translated to mean along the lines of "Closed for lunch." Okay, fine. The man has to eat. But he ate that sandwich for a good 25 minutes. Then he sat there, for a few more minutes (savoring my guess) until he finally opened up his shop again. I thought the whole thing was strange until a French friend explained it to me. "He had a sandwich. You don't rush through a sandwich." It was as though my expectation---my American expectation--- of a quick and dirty lunch was a totally alien idea to him. "But he almost lost my business" I squealed. "You'd have come back, no?" Apparently, the idea of interrupting lunch to make a sale was equally as absurd.

So, there it is, a primal lesson: you should stop, savor and enjoy every bit of your sandwich.

This part of the culture I'm really digging. They don't just Eat to Live, they live their eating. No dashboard dining, no desktop lunches, no shoveling it into the mouth to get back to whatever they need to do. When they do eat, they glean pleasure from every bite. and they eat with purpose. When we do go out to a restaurant, or even a bar here, the service is "slow" by American standards--I see now that this allows me to savor the entire experience of dining out, rather than Eat.Check please! and we're out the door...

So, now I open the discussion---What do YOU think of the "eat to live" vs. "live to eat" mentality?

Fat-Free Whole-Wheat Vegan Raisin Biscuits (Hardees Copycat)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

Does anyone remember those California Raisins commercials? The California Raisins were at their heyday when I was a child, so naturally, I was completely obsessed with them. I had all sorts of California Raisins swag--from a beloved sleeping bag to some 30 different figurines... (bless my mom's heart, she still has all of them in a box in her attic). 

But perhaps what I loved most about the California Raisins is that every weekend I was able to drag my parents to Hardees for their Raisin Biscuits (You see, kids got a California Raisins figurine back then, if their parents bought biscuits).

Really, I couldn't have been happier. I loved those biscuits. and I got a free toy!

Anyway, I'd forgotten all about those biscuits until a recent visit with my parents. My mom was kindly reminding me that she had all this stuff from my childhood in her attic (I'm telling you, Lindsay, you should sell that stuff on ebay!) when my Dad butted in to ask me if I remembered the California Raisins... and because parents always like to go that extra step to make sure you do remember, he starts singing "I heard it through the grapevine" (my Dad is really cute). Then, mid-chorus he stops himself and says "Do you remember those raisin biscuits at Hardees? Gosh, I really loved those. They're probably not healthy... Hey! You should try to make those vegan!"

I love my Dad.

So the task was upon me to make these biscuits---and I have to say, I'm overwhelmed with pure joy at how well they came out. 

They're whole wheat but still so light and fluffy... I mean, just look at them:

And even though they're "drop biscuits" (forgive me, I'm too lazy to roll out dough) they still manage to bake into a nice, circular, biscuit shape.

The icing, however, has created quite a stir in our household! I like to add a little lemon or orange juice to the icing (that's how I remember the biscuits tasting--with a hint of citrus) but Scott swears almond extract is where it's at. I tried it both ways (and also with vanilla extract, and just plain soymilk) and really, you can't go wrong. It's all really delicious.

I also found (& tried--I'm obsessed, clearly!) with Susan FFVK's pumpkin-raisin muffins. I got the idea from her to use white whole wheat flour instead of pastry here -- and I think that's the trick. Her biscuits are more traditional and need kneading and cutting, but I really love the idea of pumpkin being added in.

Recipe:Raisin Biscuits

Description

A copycat of Hardee's famous biscuits only vegan, fat-free and whole-wheat...though you would never be able to tell! 

Ingredients

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon (feel free to use more or less) and sugar, and whisk to combine. Add raisins, stirring a few times to ensure even distribution. Add applesauce (10 tbsp) and stir until the batter is lumpy with chunks of dough. A light flour dusting is okay but make sure there are no pockets of flour on the bottom or sides of the mixing bowl. Also be careful not to over stir--those lumps are important. Next add 1/2 cup nondairy milk, stirring until a wet, thick doughy-batter forms. It should be somewhat dry, so add remaining nondairy milk (some flours are not as thirsty as others, so if yours is plenty moist, do not add extra nondairy). Drop spoonfuls on your cookie sheet, leaving a few centimeters room between each so they can spread. For round biscuits, use clean fingers to shape and smooth out each drop into a circular fashion. (Yield 13-15 biscuits). Bake 9-12 minutes until firm to the touch, and golden around the edges.

For the icing, mix powdered sugar with 1 tsp liquid such as nondairy milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (the best!), fresh lemon juice or fresh orange juice. For a thinner icing, add more liquid. For a thicker icing, add more sugar.