Happy Herbivore turned 4 in October and looking back to the beginning I can't believe it's been four years. (In fact, I'm in such denial that it wasn't until I wrote this post that I realized HH was 4 and not 3!).
For those readers who've been with Happy Herbivore since the beginning (Hi Courtney!) and those who are finding Happy Herbivore for the very first time today---hello, welcome and thank you!
I can't begin to express how Happy Herbivore has changed my life or how grateful I am to everyone who has ever visited this website. A thousand thank you's is not nearly enough.
Now...for the story of how Happy Herbivore came to be:
It was October 2006. I had been a vegan for less than a year and was in my final year of law school. Shortly after I went vegan Scott came home with a copy of Vegan with a Vengeance, the only vegan cookbook at our local bookstore. We'd tried several recipes, and liked them, but with our schedule and budget, we found ourselves eating a lot of convenience vegan foods like boca burgers and pasta.
It had worked beautifully, but as I started learning more about food and nutrition (something that only became an interest of mine after I went vegan) I wanted healthier, fresher and low fat options. When the bookstore failed me, I turned to the Internet.
In my searching I came across VeganDad's blog. Back then he was posting what he and his family ate every night for dinner and I thought, I should do that! I figured it would be helpful to keep a log of our attempts at a wholesome low-fat vegan diet.
For the first few weeks I blogged about recipes we adapted and eventually recipes I started creating on the fly for dinner (for the record, some were total misses!) I also became friends with VeganDad (we are still good friends if you're wondering) and social with few other vegan bloggers (like Chocolate Covered Katie -- who is still a pal and Ricki of Diet, Dessert & Dogs who I met last week in person!!).
Slowly but surely people starting finding Happy Herbivore and I remember how cool and special I felt any time someone left a comment. (Okay so I still feel this way! Comments are like virtual hugs and I'm needy!)
A few months later I graduated from law school (May 2007) and a few months after that we moved to Los Angeles (January 2008). Happy Herbivore moved too, from happyherbivore.blogspot.com -- to happyherbivore.com. Moving to the .com also reshaped my blog. It was no-longer a blog of my culinary trists each day but a blog of my recipes with the occasional picture show of our life in LA.
Then when we left LA for New York City a year and a half later (July 2009), I decided to quit my "day job" as a lawyer and focus on Happy Herbivore. I decided I wanted to do what it was that I loved (cooking!) even if it meant a much smaller paycheck...
A few months later I realized I'd made the right decision when I landed a cookbook deal. Right around HH's third birthday (October 2009) I announced I'd be writing my first cookbook, The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and some of my recipes appeared in Vegetarian Times a few months later (Jan 2010). Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I thought my blog might one day turn into a cookbook or a career--but probably not. and I'm still shocked about my "success."
I'm frequently asked when Happy Herbivore was "discovered" how did I "make it" -- and the truth is I'm still in shocked to hell that anyone reads my blog at all, let alone tries my recipes! The best I can offer is that Happy Herbivore grew organically by word of mouth. This is why I am so emotional about my fans and supporters--because I literally would not be where I am today without them. I can't begin to convey how much I appreciate all of you. I've never lost sight of the fact that I would not be where I am today without the love, encouragement and support from HH's fans.
Finding a new career path, of course, is only part of the story. I have also made friends through HH...Friendships that have profoundly impacted my life. I never would have thought a blog, or the Internet, could have brought me so much love and joy---but it has and in ways I never imagined or thought possible. Some of my closest friends are people I met through Happy Herbivore---and I can't image my life without them (Gena, Carrie, Katherine, Mindy, Janessa, Nick, Jenni, Ashley, Gin, Helena & my NYC vegan ladies-- just to name a few).
My mission with Happy Herbivore has been to show that healthy eating is affordable and delicious--and I thank you for allowing me this opportunity--thank you for inviting me into your kitchen and thank you for enriching my life.