Happy Herbivore Blog

Fat-Free Rice Pudding (Vegan)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

The bagel shop by my apartment recently started carrying rice pudding. I'm social with the owner so I asked him about the new addition to their deli counter. He said "people love rice pudding when it's hot outside." Puzzled, and a bit surprised, I replied, "Really, creamy food in HOT weather? I'd peg rice pudding for more of a fall food..." The owner smiled and said, "Have you never eaten ice cream on a hot day?" Point taken.

Of course the rice pudding he was selling wasn't vegan -- so I scurried home to make my own recipe. And you know what? He's right. Rice pudding is a delicious treat on a hot summer day.

Recipe:Rice Pudding


Rich and creamy; this rice pudding is just as good for you as it is delicious!


  • ⅓ cup brown rice, uncooked

  • 2 cups plant-based milk

  • ⅓ cup raisins

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

  • a dash of cinnamon

  • a dash of pure maple syrup (optional)


Combine rice with 1 cup of non-dairy milk in a sauce pan, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling reduce to low and continue to cook until rice is cooked and all non-dairy milk has been absorbed. Meanwhile whisk remaining 1 cup of non-dairy milk with cornstarch until well combined. Once rice is cooked, stir in non-dairy milk/cornstarch mixture and raisins. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to medium once boiling. Allow the pudding to thicken up, stirring occasionally. Add sweetener here if desired (brown sugar, agave, pure maple syrup--I find the raisins make it sweet enough, esp. with sweetened non-dairy milk, but most traditional recipes call for sugar). If the pudding becomes too thick, thin out with non-dairy milk. If it's not thick enough, continue to cook. Once thick and creamy (takes 3-5 mins) stir in cinnamon as desired (I like 1/4 to 1/2 tsp). Allow pudding to completely cool then transfer to fridge in an air-tight container. Chill for several hours before serving. **If you find your pudding didn't turn out sweet enough, drizzle a little pure maple syrup over top.

Interview: HealthOC

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Today's inspirational interviewee is coming to us from sunny, California, only not so long ago Candice a.k.a. HealthOC was facing much darker days.

HH: Let's start with the million dollar question. How long have you been following a vegan diet and why did you go vegan?

I've been a vegan since August 2008. In October 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and after 10 months of hormone therapy I sought other alternatives which lead me to veganism.

HH: Was the hormone therapy not working?

The tumor was responding to the hormone treatments but it wasn't getting any smaller. At that point, my doctor said surgery was in my best interest but that I might also have to go through chemo or radiation. I resisted and turned to alternative medicine instead.

HH: How did a vegan diet become part of your alternative treatment plan?

After meeting a holistic practitioner I started researching the effects of nutrition on cancer. The strongest influence was Dr. T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study). The evidence that plant-based nutrition could heal cancer was compelling so I adopted a vegan diet.

HH: Was your transition to vegan gradual or overnight?

Overnight. My first week I was totally raw, which felt amazing. Then I started trying tempeh, faux meats and other vegan alternatives. I really like vegan food!

HH: What was the result?

After 1 month the tumor had decreased in size and after 3 months it was completely gone. [That's amaaazing!]

HH: You now follow a predominately raw vegan lifestyle. Tell us about that.

I've been 100% raw since June 1st. While I believe any consumption of vegetables is good, raw broccoli has greater healing powers than grilled broccoli. 

HH: Since your recovery you've been on a mission to educate others about healthy living. Tell us about your community involvement.

I work with personal trainers and healthy living advocates to educate the community about the effects nutrition has on health. I'm a strong advocate of healthy living practices to prevent or reverse chronic illness and disease. I truly believe Hippocrates' theory of "Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food." 

HH: A lot of people view veganism as a lifestyle and not just a diet. When you're working with others and promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet, what do you tell them about veganism?

I think people who try veganism and give up do so because of the lack of education and compassion. I always tell people while it was the health aspect that motivated me to become vegan the compassion is why I have stayed vegan. There is a deeper meaning behind veganism than just eschewing animal products. I encourage people to educate themselves about veganism, the food industry, nutrition, etc. so they can make an informed decision. 

HH: Anything else you'd like to share? 

I can be found on twitter (@HealthOC) and Facebook. I welcome questions, comments and feedback -- I love being able to help in any way that I can. I'm thinking about starting my own website or blog, it would be to help others and answer their questions, so I'm open to suggestions!!

Also, thank you, Lindsay, for this opportunity to share my story!

HH: Thank you Candice -- and we wish you continued recovery and good health!



Review Palooza Part 2

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Reviews

Remember when I did that big Review Palooza? Here are the last of my cookbooks to review!

This wonderful cookbook opens up with a cliff's notes version of the philosophy's in books like Eat to Live, engine 2 and the McDougall Program: it explains nutrition and the science behind a low fat plant-based diet and how this diet can cure diseases like diabetes. It's also written with a very motivational "I can do it!" tone complete with examples of people who turned their life around.

The 125 recipes are what I consider classically vegetarian -- meaning they are dishes that are inherently vegetarian and are not a replacement/substitute for a traditionally non-vegetarian dish (think "mock tuna"). Most of the recipes are HH-approved, meaning they are fat-free and use wholesome ingredients. I did stumble upon a few that used all purpose (and that's disappointing) and a few that used coconut milk or soy creamer; but 99% of the recipes are wholesome & fat-free (no oil!) making it perfect for my diet and many of yours.

My favorite quality of the book, however, are the "did you know" tips on each page. For example, did you know you could cook quinoa in a rice cooker on the white rice setting? me either. Thx Dr. B!

Don't let the title fool you -- this isn't a cookbook for college students. It's for families looking to save money. The recipes generally serve 4+ and focus on using cheap ingredients like rice and canned goods. A dollar amount per serving is included but these calculations are based on the cost of the ingredient used, i.e. 1 tsp of cinnamon. If you don't have a well-stocked pantry already you'll quickly out spend the estimated cost since you can't just buy 1 tsp of cinnamon. Still, I think it's a great cookbook -- there is a lot of culinary variety and the recipes stick to inexpensive and everyday pantry staples. Robin does cook with oil, however, but there is rarely ever more than 1 tbsp in a non-dessert recipe and I've been able to omit it without compromising flavor.

I've been sitting on this book for far too long -- truth is, I've been waiting for summer. As a precursor, this book is not vegan -- it's vegetarian (several recipes use egg) but there a few vegan and even gluten-free vegan recipes at that! The vegan recipes aren't HH-approved, they use nuts and all-purpose flour, but I've been able to adapt several. What I do like is all the interesting flavor combinations like "beet and brown rice," "tofu and chard" and "quinoa, red bean and walnuts." The book also comes complete with recipes for buns, side dishes and toppings like pickled onions. 

This is an interesting little book -- it provides options if you run out of ingredients. It's not vegan or even vegetarian-minded but I definitely think it's helpful if you're always running out of ingredients or you don't keep much on hand. I did have some issues with the book. For instance, it suggested substituting kale or chard for amaranth and since amaranth is like quinoa, that's not a good substitution! However, the book does have several substitutions for eggs I'd never heard of before and are much more "everyday" than typical egg replacer suggestions like flaxseeds or ener-g-egg replacer. The book also has a number of spice recipes that are wonderful.

Ahh.... I saved the best for last. This book came to me from the author himself! and it should go to the top of you must-read list!! To say this book is changing my life page-by-page is not an understatement. Bart's quotes are pure pearls of wisdom. I've been posting them all over my apartment. Anytime I feel discouraged or upset I open his book and like magic one of his quotes hits the nail on the head. Embracing these...messages has really turned my attitude around. It's helped me sort of let go and stop worrying about things and embrace the life I'm living. "Since I can't always have the life I want, I enjoy the life I have." - Bart Potenza

and if YOU want to win some free HH e-cookbooks, see yesterday's post!