Happy Herbivore Blog

Blender Week! Falafel Dinner, Fettuccine Alfredo, Tortilla Soup & More!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

It's all about super fast and easy prep with this week's blender-themed meal plan!

The Falafel Dinner (NEW!), Thai Corn Soup (NEW!), Fettuccine Alfredo (NEW!), Tortilla Soup (NEW!) and MOREwill make you feel like a whiz in the kitchen since they all come together with the help of a blender or food processor!

Also making a return to this week's plan: "Steak" Tacos with Mango Chimichurri (indi), Almond Broccoli Noodles (fam) and Black Bean Soup (both plans)!

Fettuccine Alfredo

Individual Highlights

  • Falafel Dinner (NEW!)
  • Tortilla Soup (NEW!)
  • "Steak" Tacos with Mango Chimichurri
  • Blueberry Muffin Smoothie (NEW!)
  • Quick Black Bean Soup
  • Fettuccine Alfredo (NEW!)
  • Thai Corn Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Falafel Dinner

Family Highlights

  • Fettuccine Alfredo (NEW!)
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Falafel Dinner (NEW!)
  • Almond Broccoli Noodles
  • Tortilla Soup (NEW!)
  • Pineapple & Teriyaki Chickpeas
  • Thai Corn Soup (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Thai Corn Soup


"I can't be more pleased with the meal plans. In the first 6 weeks I lost 24lbs, and here into the start of week 8, I've lost another 3.5lbs! Woo-Hoo! Of course, I still have another 70+ lbs to lose, but the meal plans have given me a great start toward that goal."- Brad S

"My hubby and I have been on the meal plan for 1 day and it's a total HIT! Even my picky 7 year old liked it! I am SO glad I finally grabbed the plan - this makes things so easy!"- Amanda B

Get the current meal plan now.

Herbie of the Week: Joanne (She's Lost 20lbs & Committing to Do the Best She Can!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Joanne!

I received a beautiful email from Joanne before the start of the "Spring Into Health" 28-day Challenge.

In it, she explained how she embarked on a journey toward better health by adopting a plant-based diet.

I thought her story was amazing and inspirational, which is why I asked her to share it for the Herbie of the Week series!

Here's Joanne's story in her own words...

April 2014 was a milestone for me in more ways than one. Not only was it my 40th birthday in April, but it also marked almost exactly 1 year since I started this journey of health.

In April of 2013 I had the opportunity to spend a week at a health retreat. This started my plant-based diet journey. It's not as if I didn't know a lot of this stuff already, but about 18 months earlier I lost my father suddenly and unexpectedly. He was what I would consider extremely health conscious and even though he was 79, he had the health of a 50 year old! When he died I figured, "What's the point of trying to live right? We all end up the same anyway." Within 18 months I had gained 15 lbs and I felt disgusting. After a week at the health retreat I determined to do whatever I could to live better. I managed to lose about 6lbs, but then I just couldn't seem to get past that point.

Then in November of 2013 I had a hunch that even though I was now vegan, I was still eating way too many "good" fats. Often when you look at vegan recipes, they rely on nuts and seeds to replace the taste of all the old foods you're giving up. I was finally ready for another change. I put myself on a 4 day cleanse where I removed all of those things, but also any processed stuff. After the four days I lost some weight and felt really good, but I didn't know what else to eat going forward. Then, not by coincidence I'm sure, I happened to be looking at one of my friend's Facebook pages and it had a link to something called The Happy Herbivore. What on earth is that?? Well, that started a revolution for me. I hate trying new things, especially food because I had a lot of food sensitivities growing up, but all of Lindsay’s recipes looked really simple and didn't use weird or hard to find ingredients.

Since November I've managed to lose the rest of my weight and I'm still losing. Right now I've lost a total of 20lbs! That's the same as two 10lb bags of potatoes! I'm starting to get out and walk more, not in a desperate attempt to lose a pound or two, but just because it feels great and it's good and healthy for me. What a relief to know that it's the food I eat that's the key, not the hours and hours and hours of exercise that some say I need to put in.

The only problem though is that I'm having to buy a lot of new clothes! Even my "skinny me" jeans are too loose and most of my tops look way too baggy! I don't usually like shopping, but I have to admit it's been fun to see people's reactions when they see me in new clothes and realize how much I've lost. And my hubby keeps saying how proud he is of me. I kinda feel like I'm cheating though because it's not like I'm "working hard" or anything. I'm just eating right.

You were a definite answer to prayer for me Lindsay. Thanks for doing what you're doing.

Update: June 2014

It’s been a while since I was asked by Lindsay to share my story as a Herbie of the Week. Life sure gets busy and that’s one of the reasons I put it off for so long. I felt like I needed to give an update because I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds themselves in this problem—namely letting the busy-ness of life get in the way of their health.

In the last 2 months I have to admit that I’ve fallen off the bandwagon as the saying goes. Not completely and not to the point where I gained all my weight back. But I have allowed people in my life to convince me that "just this little bit" or "once in a while" is OK, as if my choices have been just a short term diet instead of a commitment to health by changing my lifestyle for good. I’ve been really beating myself up about what I’ve seen as my failures until just the other day when I remembered one of Lindsay’s sayings: It’s about progress, not perfection! Wow, I sure needed to hear that.

Yes, I haven’t always made the best choices over the last little while, but each day I’ve also made great choices and it’s up to me to make it a priority to keep making those great choices more than the not so great ones. I don’t have to give in to the "Well, I’ve already made this bad choice, I might as well completely give in," mentality. Instead, I’m committing to choosing to do the best I can, one step at a time.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Joanne!

Every Life Matters (Guest Post by Jules)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Guest

Earlier this summer I wrote a blog post asking if my "progress not perfection" mantra was wrong (you can read it here).

A day later, a friend of mine sent me a thread from a vegan forum that bashed the post, with one commenter saying: "I have to disagree about 2% being 'great.' No, it's not. Doesn't really save any animals or improve health."

I wanted to sort of publicly respond and ask other Herbies' thoughts, so I posted on HH's Facebook page:

"Why doesn't it matter that we save one chicken? Does it have to be all the chickens? 20 chickens or none? Science also tells us that a single Big Mac can be the difference between having a heart attack or not... I believe even 1% change matters."

One of the comments I received was from Jules, who wrote: "Saving one chicken matters to that chicken."

I couldn't have agreed more! That was EXACTLY my point. I soon found out that Jules is a wildlife rehab volunteer and asked if she would guest post to discuss her amazing work.

I'll let Jules take it away!

So, as the Happy Herbivore has said about the farm animals, every life saved is worth it!

For me, it is the same with the wild animals I encounter as a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.

I don't see the (wild, domestic, or farm) animals as percentiles or as numbers, I see each individual animal, with a spirit, a desire (and right) to live, and as a unique and sentient being. It isn't all or nothing; it is one life (saved) at a time. This is our (animal lovers) "revolution," and it isn't glamorous or dramatic; it is often tedious, and it is hard work. As a Vegan, my volunteer work with wildlife is my passion, and is extremely important to me.

Nationwide, many of the licensed wildlife rehabilitators (rehabbers) are volunteers, who "rehab" at home, and receive no salary or compensation. Most who rehab, buy their own supplies (For example, the raccoon kits (babies) are often fed a commercial-grade raccoon milk-replacement formula). Some rehabbers network to start their own wildlife rescue (non-profit, 501c3), so they can save more animals, educate the public on co-existing with wildlife, and educate people about humane solutions to human-wildlife issues. I am lucky to be able to volunteer for the Hope 4 Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (H4WRC)!

Every wild animal has its own history, its own story. Some stories start as heart-breaking, but end happily as the animal is released back to the wild. Although, as a volunteer, I have worked with many species of wild animals, my favorite species is the raccoon!

Depending on the age, a raccoon kit (baby) needs to be fed three to eight times a day, or every 2.5 to 4.5 hours, around the clock. And, because a baby wild raccoon cannot eliminate (pee or poop) on its own, it needs to be stimulated (gently rubbed in the genital and anal areas). It cannot thermoregulate (maintain its own body temperature), it needs to be kept warm. Eventually, it will need to be taught all the skills it needs to survive in the wild; forage for food, climb, seek a den, avoid predators, avoid humans. Although the raccoons are handled a lot when they are young, they "wild up" quickly as they grow. When the raccoon is ready (and old enough), it is released to the wild. Its destiny is to be wild and free.

When a homeowner calls a commercial "wildlife removal" or "nuisance wildlife" service, often a trapper responds, and then kills the "nuisance" wildlife (many of whom are mothers), which leaves orphans. Without us, these babies die. (One exception to trappers is Urban Wildlife Rescue Inc. in Denver, Colorado.)

Humane wildlife removal services use non-violent, sustainable, and compassionate solutions to resolve human-wildlife issues. Using these methods, animals are not killed, and there are no orphans left behind. Mother Nature is much better at raising her babies than we are. If more people would live peacefully with wildlife, there would be less wild orphans.

Much of the work rehabbers (and humane wildlife removal services) do is to educate the public about how to peacefully co-exist with wildlife. "Co-existing with wildlife" means resolving conflicts with wildlife, like raccoons, by not trapping and killing the mother raccoon, which means no orphans. Whenever possible, if babies are found, we try to reunite them with the mother, if there is a chance she is still alive.

We give each individual, sentient, precious being a second chance to live. When they are old enough, they are released to the wild. Home-based rehabbers can help only so many animals, and often local wildlife rehab centers are full (at capacity) early in the year.

They typically stay with the rehabber until they are five to six months old. At that time, they can climb, forage for food, and find shelter on their own; however they tend to stay close together if the litter is released together. Where and how they are released depends on the state where they reside.

The raccoon kits (babies) have painted nails to tell them apart. (The nail polish is non-toxic and Vegan.)

People who work with Rabies Vector Species (RVS) typically have had prophylactic rabies shots. (I have had mine. They are expensive!) It is important to note that although raccoons are an RVS, they do not "carry rabies." (No animal can "carry rabies; either it has it and is infected [and soon dies], or it does not have it.) An animal that has been exposed to rabies is infectious after the virus has traveled to its brain. At that time, the animal will show symptoms. The baby raccoons are extremely unlikely to have rabies, as they are in the den for the first few months of their life, and thus not exposed to rabies. With bats, less than one-half of one percent of bats have rabies. RVS animals (raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats) have gotten a bad rap, and are unnecessarily killed because of ignorance and fear about rabies.

Anyone who finds a baby raccoon should contact a trained wildlife rehabilitor. The baby should be kept warm. Do not ever feed a wild baby! Feeding a raccoon kit the wrong kind of milk (human formula or other) can kill it. In addition, baby mammals can aspirate (take liquid into their lungs, instead of their stomach) very easily, and die. Calling a wildlife rehabilitator immediately ensures that the baby will live. If the mother is still around, an attempt will be made to reunite the baby with its mother. There is no such thing as "smelling like a human" so touching it will not cause the mother to reject it. That is a myth. To find a rehabilitator in your area, see this website.

One final note...Raccoons make terrible pets! Not only could it be illegal in your state, but pet raccoons that "don't work out," are typically euthanized by the local animal control or other wildlife agency. Wildlife rehabbers receive many calls from the public who have kept a raccoon as a pet, but can no longer manage it. Most people don't realize that by trying to keep a raccoon as a pet, they are unintentionally dooming that animal. A habituated raccoon is NOT domesticated or "tame," it is just habituated for as long as it wants to be.

As I write this blog, I have been think, “I am Vegan and a Wildlife Rehabber, but shouldn’t I do more?”

As Vegans we often get down on ourselves for “not doing enough,” but remember, to that one animal you saved, by being Vegan, be volunteering, by writing letters or signing petitions, you have made a HUGE difference. To that one animal you saved, it is very grateful for its life.

(Thank you to Claws, Inc. and Roo’s Corner for helping me put together a list about why raccoons make terrible pets.)