Happy Herbivore Blog

Herbie of the Week: Rob (He's Lost 62lbs & 12 inches Off His Waist!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Rob!

I heard about Rob's amazing transformation when his wife April posted the following on HH's Facebook page:

"Yay! My hubby has finally crossed over into Herbieland! We were at a market where they hand out samples and they had a lentil English pea medley to try so I took one. He grabbed it from my hands and yelled no it has cheese on it...what he did not know is I asked for one without cheese...he has turned into the food police for our family and I am happy to hand over my torch to him. He also lost 50+ pounds without dieting by going plant-based. In addition his seasonal allergies and acid re-flux are 90% under control! Yay! for Plant Strong!"

I immediately asked if her hubby would share his story for the Herbie of the Week series, and luckily he said yes!

Most of my life I struggled with weight. I was labeled the “fat kid” in school. Coming from an Italian family we always ate, well, meat, meat and more meat at every meal. I grew up in the meat business. My grandfather & father were butchers. They started what is still a thriving meat processing business. Many years later my father opened up another meat market in Los Angeles, where for many years I worked alongside him…so yes, I was in the meat business. Little did I know my filleting skills would come in handy with a mango in the years to come.

I eventually left the family business and started my own automotive repair business. At 38 life was great! My auto repair business was thriving, I was very active, loved racing, working on motorcycles and race cars. Unfortunately, an auto accident caused my life to come to a screeching halt. I was left with broken bones and nerve damage in my neck; to say the least I was a mess. I was deemed partially disabled and told by doctors I would have to learn to manage my back pain through pain management, which meant here are some pills for the pain see me in a month. The pain medication caused a new ailment: acid-reflux. They also triggered very bad allergies and worst of all weight gain. For the first 2 years after the accident I was not active at all and the weight just piled on.

Because I could not be as active as I once was, losing the weight was a constant battle. I tried all kinds of fad diets, supplements, and miracle protein shakes. You name it, I tried it. But nothing worked and I would always go back to my normal diet of meat, dairy and some veggies.

During all of this I met my wife April. At the time she was vegetarian, and she wanted me to try her way of eating. After many, many food battles I agreed to give it a try. This was, however, a huge step. Remember my meat background? What would my family/friends think?

Little by little I was losing weight, but I backpedaled many times. I put on the weight again, still on pain meds, acid pills and allergy pills/shots. I had all kinds of symptoms ringing in my ears, could not focus, had trouble breathing, was always tired and still in a lot of pain.

Meanwhile Facebook was becoming popular and my wife was using it to do research. She found T. Colin Campbell, Jeff Novick, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., Rip Esselstyn from Engine2, which finally led her to Lindsay, The Happy Herbivore. Everything my wife read and passed on to me made complete sense and was really hard to argue with.

In addition to our health, our compassion for animals and not wanting another being to suffer so that we could live was a huge factor in deciding to go plant-based. We saw so many videos of how these poor animals suffer that we just had to stand up and do something different, which is a complete turn-around from where I was in my younger years.

I was also really tired of feeling unhealthy and being just plain fat. At one point I was up to 258 pounds with a 46 inch waist line! The yo-yo dieting was just not working for me.

So, one day about 2 years ago I decided enough was enough! My wife seized the opportunity and we jumped right into a plant-based lifestyle feet first. Since going plant-based, I have lost a total of 62 pounds, my waistline went from 46 inches is 34 inches. Not bad for a 51 year old man!

I am in less pain, I have more energy, my allergies and acid reflux are nearly non-existent, I rarely get sick with seasonal colds or the flu, I am more mentally focused and feel so much stronger. I will always have times where my back goes out and that is a fact I will always live with, but losing the extra weight for good has eased the pain immensely. I also learned there are so many foods that can ease inflammation, which of course causes pain, so I need less pain medication.

Even though I resisted a plant-based lifestyle in the beginning, I could not be happier because I feel great! I get to eat amazing food, including pastas, cookies, cakes and muffins! I do not miss eating meat at all and I will never go back to any other way of eating. I still have some weight to lose, but now I know what works and will reach my goal!

I would like to thank my wife April for not backing down when I was being a food bully and caring enough about me to be the self-appointed food police (her words). I can now look forward to a long healthy life thanks to her support and efforts to make me whole again. Also a big thank you to Lindsay Nixon and The Happy Herbivore team as well as the Herbie followers who gave my wife the support she needed when I was being a pain…oh! and my wife has now passed the food police title on to me!

Live well everyone!

Thanks Rob for sharing your story with us!

Meatloaf Bites, Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry, Quick Thai Soup & More!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

Get ready to spend even less time cooking for the week because this week's meal plan has the shortest AND fastest prep time ever!

In addition to an easy, breezy prep, your tastebuds will be doing a happy dance after enjoying new recipes like the Meatloaf Bites (NEW!), Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry (NEW!), Quick Thai Soup (NEW!), and much MORE!

Chickpea Sweet Potato Curry

Individual Highlights

  • Vegetable Hash (NEW!)
  • 5-Ingredient Tacos
  • Meatloaf Sandwich (NEW!)
  • Veggie Split Pea Soup (NEW!)
  • Mexican Potato Rancheros Breakfast
  • Meatloaf Bites (NEW!)
  • Veggie Pot Pie
  • Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry (NEW!)
  • Quinoa Tabbouleh
  • Quick Thai Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Veggie Split Pea Soup

Family Highlights

  • Meatloaf Bites (NEW!)
  • Tex Mex Chickpea Salad
  • Vegetable White Bean Hash (NEW!)
  • Broccoli Chili Delight
  • Quick Thai Soup (NEW!)
  • Chipotle Cakes
  • Quick Black Bean Tacos with Lime Creme
  • Veggie Split Pea Soup (NEW!)
  • Teriyaki Noodles
  • Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Teriyaki Noodles

Testimonials

"I lost weight after switching to a plant based diet, but plateaued over the past 4 months or so. Happy to report, my first week on this plan and I have lost 5 more pounds (in 3 days!!!). Heading in the right direction again!" - Deb B

"Life just got soooo much easier for me and my family with the meal plans. The best part is my entire week of meals (except for a few breakfasts) are done! Did all my prep and cooking yesterday! My kids ate their entire dinner last night AND asked for seconds. That never happened before! Thank you! Nothing feels better than feeding my family WFPB meals and having them enjoy!" - Terrie A

Teaching Tuesday: Mushrooms (The Different Types & Recipe Ideas!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Cooking101

This week's Teaching Tuesday subject is one fun-gi. No, it's not Scott! I'm talking about mushrooms!

There are many varieties of mushrooms used in the culinary world, so to keep things simple, this post is dedicated to the ones found in HH recipes.

White: These are most common kind of mushrooms used in cooking. They have a mild, earthy flavor and can be consumed raw or cooked. Use white mushrooms when making Thanksgiving Gravy (HHC), Spicy Mushroom Stir-Fry (EHH), Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms (HHA), Cajun Stuffed Mushrooms (HHA), and Peppered Mushroom Gravy (HHA).

Brown: Also known as cremini mushrooms, brown mushrooms have a deeper flavor than their white counterpart. Enjoy them in Spinach & Mushroom Quiche, Chickpeas & Dumplings (HHC), Hippie Loaf (HHC), Mushroom Burgers (HHC), Everyday Mushroom Gravy (EHH, HHLL) (white mushrooms work too!), and Creamy Mushroom Barley (HHA).

Oyster: As the name suggests, these fungi are known for their oyster taste (not to mention shape and smell), which is why I use them in "Oyster" Po'Boys (EHH), "Crab" Cakes, and Oyster Mushroom Scampi.

Portobello: It may be hard to believe, but Portobellos are just mature cremini mushrooms (I guess that's why they call them baby bellas!). Portobellos are large in size and have a meaty texture as well as taste, which make them a popular substitute for meat. Belly up to the bellos with the Portobello Steaks (HHC), Island Portobello Burgers (EHH), Bella Tacos (EHH) & Irish Stew (HHLL).

Shiitake: Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia and have a rich smoky flavor. I don't use them too often, but when I do it's in the Shiitake Miso Soup (EHH).

One final note... I always get a lot of questions about substituting mushrooms, whether it be due to allergies or simply not liking them. Unfortunately, mushrooms are one of the few ingredients that have no alternative or culinary substitute (miso is another). If it's something with just a few mushrooms in a big mix of veggies, you could try adding another vegetable, but if the mushrooms are a main item, the center of the recipe or used specifically for flavor, you'll have to skip it. (Sorry!) FYI, I hated mushrooms until I was plant-based. Now I can't get enough :)

What are your thoughts on mushrooms? Yay or nay?