Happy Herbivore Blog

A Vegan Taste of Portugal

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

Although I'm loving my summer in France, I can't help but escape to other countries some weekends (there's just so much to see and do in Europe!).

pluuus I need to research... 'cuz I'm writing a Vegan in Europe book!

I'll spill deets on that later, but for TODAY I'm sharing some of my finds and discoveries in Portugal. (Lisbon may be one of the most veg-friendly place ever).

and it's not exactly hard to look at either...

When strolling around Portugal (p.s. aren't the sidewalks really cool??)

What was I saying? Oh right. When strolling around Lisbon, Scott spotted a hot dog truck. It's a funny thing, really. I don't remember Scott liking hot dogs when he was an omnivore, but since becoming vegan several years ago he flocks to any hot dog stand looking for a vegan option.

I was sure a vegan hot dog stand in Lisbon wouldn't have anything even kind of in the realm of vegetarian...but I was WRONG.

5th down reads... VEGETARIANO. After a few inquiries we learned the dog and bun were both vegan but some of the toppings for the vegetariano were not... BUT we could order it "simples" holding one of the sauces and the whole thing would be vegan. I've never seen Scott so happy.

This is what it looked like:

The crispy little potato things on top are very popular in Portugal.

I also snapped this menu from a restaurant by my hotel -- though pretty much every place I looked into had something for vegetarianos.

I found this lovely salad on the bar menu at my hotel's pool -- tomato and tofu! I'm not normally the biggest tofu fan, but after a month without it... I was ready to partake. It was such a nice, light meal.

The best, though, was yet to come. After seeing the salad on a bar menu, I inquired if there was anything vegetarian on the restaurant's dinner menu. There was one entree, and it was vegan already, but the waiter said if we wanted something else, he could talk to the chef.

I guess the chef felt very inspired because he ended up preparing a total of 7 different things for us to eat -- all plant-based and without oil.

In all my life I've never had a truly fine dining experience. Before I was plant-based I could never afford it (okay, I still can't! lol!) but after I went plant-based, I figured the only amuse-bouche I'd ever have is one I created myself!

It was one of those epically memorable experiences.

And a real testament to the chef, he pretty much used the same 20 or so ingredients, but was able to make each dish taste and feel completely different from everything else. Now THAT is talent!

He's also a man after my own heart.... his signature? A little piece of popcorn!

THE STARTERS (a.k.a. my trio of amuse-bouche)

Microgreens, shaved carrot, herbed tofu, a rich beet puree, pickled mushrooms, and a popcorn ;)

Vegetables in a pumpkin sauce with dehydrated vegetable sticks and radish.

Squash puree, microgreens, radish and popcorn.

BIGGER TASTES

Raw vegetables and tofu in a beet puree (served with homemade chips)

THIS WAS MY FAVORITE. Not only was it exceptional but it had all these ingredients I'd have NEVER put together and they were magical!

Mashed potatoes on the bottom, raw vegetables, tofu, oranges!! and even rolled oats! Plus fennel, microgreens, and orange marmalade.

My second favorite: seitan with legumes and vegetables in a sort-of curry sauce (but not really curry. I love thick gravies!) This was Scott's favorite.

And finally, dessert -- a wine poached pear with berries, orange, and fresh fennel. Hiding behind the pear is a little chocolate he made us from pure cocoa butter.

Yeah, I kinda dug the food in Lisboa!

THEN we went on to Cascais where we stumbled on House of Wonders.

It's an all vegetarian restaurant with many vegan choices.

I sampled the cold buffet which had many oil-free choices. Here's my colorful plate:

P.S. If you're looking for travel tips see my Guide -- there's a huge chapter! ...And if you're looking for international recipes see HH Abroad.

Zucchini Noodles, Chopped Thai Kale Salad, Curried Chickpea Wraps & More No Cook Recipes!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

Beat the summer heat with our no cook meal plan! You read that right -- no cooking, just fast assembly!

Stay cool all week long with recipes like the Strawberry Pina Colada (NEW!), Black Bean & Mango Wraps (NEW!), Zucchini Noodles (NEW!), Curried Chickpea Wraps (NEW!), and Chopped Thai Kale Salad (NEW!).

Zucchini Noodles

Individual Highlights

  • Zucchini Noodles (NEW!)
  • Curried Chickpea Wraps (NEW!)
  • Black Bean Hummus
  • Chopped Thai Kale Salad (NEW!)
  • Chunky Tomato Fruit Gazpacho
  • Strawberry Pina Colada (NEW!)
  • Black Bean & Mango Wrap (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Chunky Tomato Fruit Gazpacho

Family Highlights

  • Fresh Nori Rolls
  • Black Bean & Mango Wraps (NEW!)
  • Orange Couscous Salad
  • Zucchini Noodles (NEW!)
  • Chunky Tomato Fruit Gazpacho
  • Chopped Thai Kale Salad (NEW!)
  • Curried Chickpea Wraps (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Chopped Thai Kale Salad

Testimonials

"I love how your meal plans add a ton of variety to our dinner table."- Emily K

"My husband and I are loving the meal plan recipes. We were already vegan, but we fell in a rut. I’m feeling very good and have lost a couple pounds!"- Michelle S

Get the current meal plan now.

*Note: you will need to cook potatoes this week, but nothing else — we recommend the microwave or a steamer to keep cool (and do 'em all at once!)

Herbie of the Week: Kathy (Plant-Based & Pregnant with Twins!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Kathy!

After Jesse shared her pregnancy experience as our Herbie of the Week, Kathy left a comment on Facebook about how she too was plant-based while pregnant. The only difference? She was pregnant with TWINS!

I immediately asked if she would be interested in sharing her plant-based pregnancy and I was so happy that she said yes!

Read on for Kathy's story!

My husband and I began trying to create our family in 2000. It took nine years, many invasive tests, several doctors in both Canada and the United States, and a mega-load of tenaciousness from us to achieve our dreams. In August of 2009, our twin miracles were born, happy and healthy. We were thrilled.

When I found out I was pregnant, happiness was superseded by a strong sense of anxiety over the health of the babies and whether or not they would thrive. I so desperately wanted a family and wanted to do anything and everything I could to bring these babies into the world. Naturally, my diet would be incredibly important.

I had been plant-based for just over 10 years when I found out I was pregnant and was confident that my diet was fairly balanced (but could use a little more work). I ordered some books on expecting multiples and began to read about the traditional dietary requirements for a healthy twin pregnancy. Honestly, I was overwhelmed by how much the authors recommended I consume and felt pressure to up my protein intake and *gasp* perhaps eat meat to achieve the appropriate levels. Very early on in my pregnancy, I made the mistake of ordering a chicken wrap at a local restaurant thinking I was doing the “right thing” for my babies. Boy, was I wrong. I took one bite and nearly lost it. I decided then and there that I wouldn’t compromise my healthy diet in the face of pressure from others.

I experienced nausea for the first 13 weeks or so and relied heavily on my cravings to get me through the worst of it. I gave myself permission to eat what my body wanted during the time I was most nauseous. Luckily, what my body wanted was veggie burgers. I ate a TON of them and wanted little else for those first few months. Blueberry bagels were also high on my list of go-tos when it came to satisfying hunger without compromising my fragile tummy.

Once I hit that glorious second trimester and my nausea and headaches were gone, a world of food opened up, once again. For the rest of my pregnancy I became a grazer and ate many small meals throughout a typical day. I was conscious to increase my caloric intake without negating my health in the process. Oatmeal, fresh fruit, raw veggies and dip, quinoa (in many different recipes), peanut butter, pasta, and so many delicious soups were all on my favourites lists. I never went hungry and my babies got everything they needed.

At my twelve week visit to my OB/GYN, he advised that I would gain 50 pounds with my pregnancy. I began my pregnancy weighing 147 pounds and on the day I delivered the twins, I weighed 198 pounds (a 51 pound gain). My doctor wasn’t at all concerned with my diet. He asked, in the beginning, if I felt it was balanced and was content with knowing that it was. Also, at each check up, the numbers and ultrasounds spoke for themselves. All results from every test I was given (from the blood-glucose test, to the nuchal fold test, to blood pressure tests, to urine tests) were always normal. My doctor, a widely known and respected infertility specialist, commented, on several occasions, that I was “textbook” for how a multiple pregnancy should be.

When I was 37 weeks and 1 day along, my water broke. The very next day, I delivered my twins and finally had the family of my dreams. Griffin was born at 7:35am weighing in at 6lbs and Kaia was born at 8:12am weighing 6lbs and 8oz. I did not need a c-section and was thrilled that my body could recover quickly.

If I could give anyone contemplating a plant-based pregnancy advice, I would tell her to trust herself. Many doctors aren’t well read on the topic of plant-based diets and may try to scare you into believing that a plant-based diet will not provide all the nutrients you require. Furthermore, they may insinuate that a plant-based diet will compromise your health and that of your unborn child. Neither is true. Listen to your body, enjoy whole, plant-based foods, and allow yourself to provide the first life-lesson to your children in plant-based wisdom.

Kaia and Griffin are plant-based to this day and are happy, smart, healthy, and vibrant kids. I hope that they will always choose to be plant-based and I know that I have set up their bodies for a lifetime of health.

Thank you so much Kathy for sharing with us!