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. Canadian Momma says:

    Thank you! I love seeing Food Network featuring a vegan author/cook. My family has recently transitioned to a plant based lifestyle and we love Lindsay's cookbooks!! Bring on the vegan food!!

  2. lisa says:

    Lindsay has been an inspiration for me and has helped me tremendously with her recipes and stories. I've been plant-based for 15 months now. She helps so much when I'm stuck for a meal! Go Lindsay! :)

  3. Sandy says:

    I am so happy for you on Food Network and show the world how healthy we can prepare vegan meals and so easy to make. I have been vegan for 2 1/2 years from semi-vegetarian for 30 plus. I didn't miss any meat, eggs and dairy at all. I feel great energetic and enjoy my life. I have a copy of your HH book. Keep up your excellent recipes.

  4. jessicacorra says:

    I love Happy Herbivore! Lindsay is one of the biggest reasons I'm plant-based today; she's a champion of showing how EASY vegan eating can be: no complicated ingredient lists or complex cooking directions or special tools needed. I'm so glad to see FN featuring vegan cooks. :)

  5. Carolyn says:

    I have both of this author's cookbooks, too, and have been using them for several months now, as I transition to a plant based diet. I have lost 25 pounds and feel better than ever, as I near my 50th birthday. Please consider adding a vegan cooking show to your line up, particularily one featuring this author. You will impact a lot of lives if you do. With President Clinton now a vegan there is a surge of interest in this way of eating and I am sure it would receive high ratings. Thanks!

  6. desilou says:

    Wonderful blogger spotlight! I absolute Lindsey Nixon's recipes and community at her blog and facebook – it was wonderful to see her her at FN :D

    I have to completely agree with her comment, "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" – food tastes so much better now that I'm eating fresh, whole, unprocessed foods from the recipes of Happy Herbivore.

    The fact that my family is eating fresher & healthier for the same and sometimes less than my old grocery budget has been a lifesaver in both our physical health as well as our wallet. Looking forward to more Lindsey Nixon on FN :D

  7. Rona says:

    So glad the Food Network is highlighting a vegan cook. Thanks!

  8. Polly says:

    I am a new to eating plant based. I'd wanted to do it for some time, but recipes I found were always so complicated and called for unusual ingredients. Only when I found Happy Herbivore and Lindsey did I feel changing my eating would be possible. Her recipes are so user friendly and delicious as well. I'm so delighted with her blog (always helpful and motivating) and her support through FB. I hope you will add a vegan show, prefereably featuring Lindsey, because I feel there is a real demand for this way of eating. Her cookbooks, which I own, are great and she would be wonderful demonstrating for an audience.

    Thanks for featuring this author.

  9. Laura says:

    So glad to see an excellent, healthy author in the spotlight this time!

  10. Kathy says:

    Lindsay is the reason I've gone to a whole foods, low fat herbivore diet.. Before that, I was a junky vegan depending quite a bit on faux meats etc. Now I feel even that much better and wish everyone the same. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a vegan show to tune into everyday? More people would become aware of the benefits to themselves, to the animals and to the planet by eating vegan. And the best part? – you wonder why you ever ate meat with so many delicious ingredients and combinations out there to try!

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