Happy Herbivore Blog

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Kymi!

Kymi was only a vegetarian for 2-3 months before switching to a vegan diet after watching "Vegucated".

Since ditching dairy, her life has changed for the better! Not only has she lost 45lbs, Kymi no longer suffers from headaches, stomach aches and has TONS of energy!

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

I should have been a vegetarian all my life but friends/family pressured me to at least eat ...

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Tired of hearing "what's for dinner"? Have your answer ready with this week's meal plan!

Get dinner on the table fast with Broccoli-Quinoa Tots (NEW!), Tikka Masala Nachos (NEW!), Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers (NEW!), Shepherd's Pie Soup and Vegetable Chow Mein (NEW!).!

Also new this week: Zucchini Burgers (NEW!), Santorini Pockets (NEW!) and Pecan Pie Oatmeal (NEW!).

Broccoli-Quinoa Tots

Individual Highlights

  • Broccoli-Quinoa Tots (NEW!)
  • Tikka Masala Bowl (NEW!)
  • Shepherd's Pie Soup
  • Zucchini Burgers (NEW!)
  • Tikka Masala ...
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Meet our Herbie of the Week: Marybeth!

Marybeth didn't always have a healthy and active lifestyle, but after marrying her super active husband, her lack of energy inspired her to switch to a low-fat, plant-based diet.

Not only did she lose 30lbs (which she's maintained for over 15 years now!), Marybeth is more active than ever (she recently became an Adirondack 46er!), feels cleaner and enjoys the taste of her food more!

I'll let Marybeth take it ...

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As you may know, my husband went to a military college.

What you may not know is that I worked at that same military college one summer, when the barracks housed a mix of boys and girls ages 10-15.

(If you’re wondering, Scott and I were ships passing in the night—we met years later).

Since I was a “camp counselor,” I had to report a week before the kids arrived for training, cutting all my hair off, getting ...

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So you've seen where we stayed... and where we hiked... but...

WHAT DID WE EAT?

One of the reasons we rented an RV was so I could cook our own food.

Most of the "easy" camping options (like canned beans, Clif Bars, PB&Js, and oatmeal) aren't an option for us due to allergies, and I loathe wasting money on food I could have made easily myself too...

(btw: for a full list of vegan and plant-based items that can used for camping and travel, please see the long list included in Travel chapter in the Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living. There's a camping section too!)

Creating our RV menu was a pleasant reminder of how many HH recipes use mainly pantry staples!

When sitting down with my cookbooks and past meal plans, I had way more options than I realized -- I started having trouble narrowing down what to select because there were so many good options and favorites!!!

My strategy: Select recipes and meals with similar ingredients so I could bring the least amount of spices AND to avoid ingredient waste.

I also relied heavily on recipes involving rice, potatoes, squash, and vegetables that do well without refrigeration (like zucchini and cherry tomatoes) since the fridge and freezer were so tiny.

I even planned our meals so we ate the freshest ingredients first, then moved on to recipes involving frozen and dry goods!

Just like at home, I was a batch cooking bad@$$ in the RV!

I found I preferred cooking in my pressure cooker (I use the "saute" and "simmer" features as a make-shift stove) more so than the camping burner, but both worked. The microwave got a workout with my potatoes!

(Pictured is Indian Spiced Potatoes (from Meal Mentor), brown rice, and a bunch of veggies seasoned with a Mrs. Dash)

Batch cooking ensured we would always have good food after a long hike.

There was no waiting an hour for a table at some crappy restaurant, OR me having to put in effort when I was already exhausted. Just reheat and eat!

Batch cooking is AMAZING guys, do it!! Seriously, use the meal plans or create your own system. This trip was a testament that if you don't plan, you plan to fail!

PLUS when I realized just how hot and stuffy it got in the RV when I cooked anything, I was SO GLAD I wasn't going to be doing that nightly or daily!

(Pictured is Aloo Gobi (from HHA), Quick Queso, Red-Red Stew (EHH), Mushroom Gravy (EHH), Vegetable Tagine (MM), and Sweet Potato Curry (also from MM) which was hiding under the kale.)

I also made a few really simple meals here and there like pepper fajitas:

Heat up a bag of frozen mixed bell peppers with sliced onion in a fajita seasoning and place in tortillas with hot sauce!

And Scott loved my pineapple rice so much he started taking it on hikes!

Rice, canned pineapple, soy sauce or teriyaki or hoison--glad I started saving all those take-out packets! plus cilantro and green onion if you have it.

AND because this was a vacation, we also had some really simple meals like potatoes and green beans (I discovered I like salsa on green beans!)

or kabocha squash (which I love and is ridiculously cheap at Trader Joe's right now!) with an apple and carrots.

I also made this "end of the road stew" (it's basically a misfit version of the Minestrone from EHH) which used the last of everything:

And discovered this amazing new breakfast courtesy of my PC!

Sliced apples and pears with cinnamon and as much water as your PC requires. High 1 minute, natural release. I put it over rice and Scott said it was the best substitute for oatmeal he's ever had :-P

Finally, here's an example of what we packed for long hikes when we knew we had to carry a full meal and would be gone too long in the sun to carry our rice and potatoes and other cooked fare:

I love a good banana or tomato sandwich! Yes I had my mustard packets!

So that's what we ate :)

I hope this post has given you some inspiration for YOUR camping adventures!

DO check out the list of portable foods in the Guide for more ideas! (and you can see even more pictures of what we were eating on Instagram!)

P.S. Meal Mentor members: There's a new ebook with my exact menu, plus all recipes, and a shopping list!! in our exclusive member library, along with the travel plan that's already there (plus don't miss the camping information in the forums).

RV Traveling {Review} Pros and Cons

PROS:

1) You can settle in and stay settled. There's no constant packing and unpacking. No carrying everything to and from the car every few days. No long process of setup or breakdown, or trying to fit everything in the car (again). No living out of a duffle bag and dealing with the... "is this dirty?" and "where the heck is?" You save a lot of time being able to roll in, roll out and be organized!

2) You can bring more. There's a lot of storage space in an RV, so you can bring more clothing (and avoid laundry), more dry foods (and avoid shopping), more gear or whatever (and be ultra prepared!) than you ever could in a car.

You also won't have to live on top of all your stuff. No crazy clown car!

3) You can cook. This was the biggest upside for us and I made great use of our little fridge, stove and microwave. Being able to cook make the entire trip so much more enjoyable (less stressful) and easy. Eating well also helped us recover faster and feel ultra energized!

4) POTTY! If you're a member of the Small Bladder Club, you get me.

5) Electricity. I was thankful to have tons of outlets and plenty of light.

6) Comfort. An RV takes you from camping to "Glamping" with a real mattress bed, AC, even a TV! No camping chairs and air mattresses!

7) Weather. Piggybacking on #6, it's about a million times better to be in an RV when it's raining, snowing, freezing cold, or really hot. Even though we had stayed in the same general geographic area, we experienced it all: below freezing temps, hail, down-pouring rain, crazy high winds, mud (and more mud), and scorching heat well over 100. I was really glad to be inside an RV and not in a tent or rustic cabin with the more extreme weather AND going back to #2, we also had the space to pack more blankets, winter-y clothes, rain boots, which would have been sacrificed if we were driving a car instead.

8) Pets! It's a lot easier to travel with pets if you have an RV, especially if you plan to hike or spend time walking around. Dogs aren't allowed in most parks or on the trails, and you can't leave them in your car, cabin, or in a motel room unattended, but you can leave them in an RV if you run the generator!

CONS:

1) Expensive. In addition to renting the RV, you also have to pay to camp each night (about $60 per night average) and you'll use a lot more gas.

2) SLOW. You can't drive an RV very fast (both for safety and lack of horsepower). If the distance is a 3-hour drive in the car, it's at least 4 hours in the RV without stops. There's also a lot of roads you can't take RVs on because of height or weight restrictions, so you often have to go around your elbow to get to your bottom, making the journey even longer.

3) You can't stay IN the park. Most campsites inside our National Parks are for tent camping only. RV campsites are typically outside the parks, usually 1-3 miles away, though sometimes longer. Most campsites do not offer shuttle service to the park, or even have bike rentals, and there's no public transportation or uber, so getting TO the park becomes a challenge. We had to hitchhike a few times, especially when we wanted to stay for sunsets.

4) You can't "drive." Most of the parks aren't just car-friendly, they are car mandatory. You need a car to be able to drive around the park to get to ...

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