Blogger Spotlight: Lindsay Nixon from Happy Herbivore

by in Blogger Spotlight, October 5, 2012
Lindsay is passionate about her plant-based, low-fat diet. Along with the Happy Herbivore blog, Lindsay has authored two successful cookbooks and offers meal planning services for both individuals and families. Most of her recipes come together in twenty minutes, making them accessible for busy home cooks. She uses mostly whole, unprocessed foods, and refrains from adding fat to the meals she prepares.

Why did you and your husband choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle?

Initially I was motivated by the plight of farm animals and the amazing health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. My husband, on the other hand, was more drawn to it from an environmental aspect and we’ve since rubbed off on each other. Now we’re both motivated by our health, the animals and the environment. Eating a plant-based (vegan) diet has truly changed our lives.

Is it difficult to cook without using oils and butter?  Which ingredients do you use as substitutes?

It’s very easy. Instead of oil I saute in vegetable broth or water and I bake or broil instead of frying. With baked goods I replace butter and oil with applesauce or pumpkin most of the time, but have also used shredded zucchini and beans (Yes! Beans! It’s amazing how well they work). I find cooking this way also allows for a greater depth of subtle flavors. Oils and butters tend to coat the tongue, so it’s a little like tasting food with a glove on. Once you take them away, the components in the dish really shine.

How do you resist temptation for junk food?

Part of my motivation for eating a plant-based (vegan) diet is focused around my health. I know what animal products how bad they leave me feeling. I also had a serious health scare in my early 20’s before I was plant-based and I like to keep that in focus. “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels,” I always say. It also helps to know that I can make a healthier, vegan version of a junk food (i.e. cinnamon bun or meatball sub) at home that’ll taste just as good but without any downside.

Aside from eating well, how do you stay in shape?

I’ve found that as long as I eat a low-fat (no oil) whole foods, plant-based diet, I can maintain my weight (and a slender figure) even during periods of total inactivity. Prior to eating a plant-based (vegan) diet I was a bit of a couch potato. Walking around the mall was tiring. Changing my diet, however, improved my energy and health in life-altering ways. 10 months after adopting a vegan diet, I ran a marathon. I’ve also become an avid snowboarder and hiker. I guess you could say I keep a fairly active lifestyle now. Anytime I’m sweating from physical exertion, I stop to marvel at how much I’ve changed!

What is your go-to weeknight meal?

When I’m not in the mood to cook, I make either bean burgers (just 6-ingredients!), tofu scramble (adding in whatever veggies and beans I have on hand) or cooked greens (i.e. kale) with a cooked grain (i.e. brown rice), beans (i.e. black beans) and a flavorful sauce such as homemade mushroom gravy or a fun salsa (i.e. pineapple salsa).

Do you have any tips for people looking to start a vegan diet on a budget?

Staples like beans and lentils, whole grains, seasonal fruits and vegetables are a bargain. For your health and wallet, try to stick to those ingredients rather than splurging on the expensive (and not-so-healthy) vegan substitutes like fake meats, fake cheeses and other gourmet or specialty ingredients. Those items can be helpful during transition, but they’re not health foods (or cheap). Also remember that meals don’t have to be complicated. A bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables with brown rice and a splash of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce is a fast and delicious meal. I also like to make pepper fajitas: bag of frozen peppers, a fajita seasoning packet and tortillas. Of course you can totally have fancy and gourmet fare as a vegan, but if you’re trying to cut cost, go back to the basics. Also try to buy in bulk (i.e. from the bulk bin), buy local and buy seasonal. Frozen items also tend to be a bargain. At my supermarket you can get 10 bags of veggies for $10!

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Comments (355)

  1. Candy Guerra says:

    Thank you for featuring this amazing author! I have both of her cookbooks and am anxiously awaiting her third book which is coming out in December, Happy Herbivore Abroad. Her recipes are SO easy and quick to prepare and taste fantastic! She is a seasoning genius because you're thinking really…is this going to work and your are joyously surprised with YES…this totally works and is SO good!
    Lindsay also stays connected to her "Herbies" (fans) via Facebook and email answering questions and giving encouragement in groups and even individually. If you get a chance to meet her by attending an event or demo, you won't be disappointed and she will change your perspective about food and healthy cooking. When it's this easy and delicious, why not!

  2. I am so happy that the Food Network is showcasing this FABULOUS vegan chef!!! I have been a vegetarian over 7 years and have never felt better!! My husband went vegan this year for health reasons and we are so happy to report that his lab values are all excellent now. He also looks and feels great. We follow Lindsay on FB and love her recipes. She is awesome!

  3. Julie says:

    I have been following Happy Herbivore for about a year. I have been vegetarian for almost two years now and I finally made the jump to vegan using Lindsay's weekly meal plan and I love it!! It is so easy to use and she really sets everything out for you, a daily meal plan, shopping list and recipes. Bonus-everything for your day only takes about 15-20 minutes to prep (yes all three meals take only about 15-20 minutes total! Take that Rachel Ray and your 30 minute meals.)

    But the best this is that I have never felt better!

  4. Tracy says:

    Yahoo! Lindsay & Scott do amazing things for the world with their cookbooks and meal planning. The Happy Herbivore has completely changed my life, and I am sure many others’ as well! We love you, Nixons! :)

  5. Linda says:

    I am SO EXCITED that you have finally brought vegan to the Foodnetwork table! I am a foodnetwork junky and when I decided to adopt a plant-based diet, and discovered The Happy Herbivore, I thought there was a huge vacuum that needed to be filled. I would love to see a Vegan contestant on the Next Foodnetwork Star or Chopped Vegan. Lindsay does a great job bringing Vegan to everyday people and I probably would have given up my quest for a plant-based diet if I hadn’t found her and her blog. You need her!

  6. Madonna Malik says:

    She would make a great hostess for a new FN show! New vegan cooks have a real need for some strong help learning new preparation methods. We have a real need. That makes quite a difference. She’s a well educated, high energy, strongly motivated woman. Please think about it.

  7. Christina U. says:

    So, so, so glad to see my favorite herbie featured here! Her meal plans and cookbooks have really helped make my transition from vegetarian to vegan very smooth. Her recipes are out of this world and even my fiancé, who does eat meat, loves them! thanks!!!

  8. Elizabeth B says:

    I am so glad to see you feature LIndsay on here. I love her cookbooks and how easy she makes eating a plant based diet. I agree with others that posted here, I love the Food Network and watch alot of the shows, but it would be SO nice to have a vegan chef that had a show on national TV. I have suggested this before but since more and more people are opting for plant based diets now, I really believe that it is time for Food Network to get on board and produce a show that will help people live longer, healthier lives.

  9. CLC0930 says:

    I agree – a vegan / plant based show is much needed on national TV! Everyone of every diet preference needs more veggies/fruits in their life – why not feature a show that allows for those kinds of recipes that would not only improve the health of their viewers, but would also make people WANT to eat the foods that are good for them!?

  10. Terri says:

    We need a vegan show for sure. Thanks for featuring Lindsay. I follow her blog and use her cookbooks.

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