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. @eapoosmama says:

    The time has come for a hostess with a focus on such a lifestyle. Hoping FN takes this lead and runs with it. Thank you for opening the door for other people to see how beneficial real food will be to their health, energy, person!

  2. Jennifer says:

    It is so amazing to see you feature Lindsay from Happy Herbivore! My husband and I and our 3 children have been eating plant based since January. I have lost 32 pounds and my husband has lost 15 but even more important is the fact that we are making our family so much healthier and lowering our risk of cancer, heart disease and other health problems. We feel amazing and really enjoy trying all of Happy Herbivore's amazing recipes. We haven't found one yet that we don't like! Kudos for allowing Lindsay to share her passion with your readers!

  3. Madeline says:

    As a new vegan, I depend on Lindsay's books, her blog, and her Facebook groups to keep me motivated and inspired and give me new ideas. I would love to see a vegan/plant-based cooking show. More and more people are eating this way and are hungry (no pun intended) for recipes, information, and cooking techniques.

  4. Corey Kempton says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I am a new vegan and have been totally inspired by Lindsay and her amazing cookbooks!! I have both of her books and can't wait for the third. Would love to see more plant based cooking information and shows!

  5. tissigirl says:

    What I love about Lindsay's recipes and cookbooks is that they are not only for those who are following a vegan/plant based diet! I have heard several people who are meat eaters who want to eat healthier or get their kids to eat more vegetables comment on how great Lindsay's cookbooks are. And everyone knows how difficult it is to get kids to eat new vegetables. She has delicious recipes that everyone loves!

  6. Tina says:

    I love her and her cookbooks!

  7. Lindsay and her cookbooks are a great resource for people new to a plant-based diet. She always responds to emails and questions on her FB pages. I’ve been plant-based for 9 months and her recipes have been a staple for me. Have both her books and cannot wait for #3 :) She needs her own show … !! She does … !!!

  8. Stephanie Ariel says:

    Sooooo happy – yes, vegan/veg is truly a huge hole in FN programming…I'm a vegetarian and avid watcher – I love the creativity of cooking – but my viewing has waned lately as I've gotten more into HEALTHY veg eating (vegan, plant ingredients – not meat substitutes) so it can be truly disheartening to see the meat-focus on Chopped and Iron Chef, for example. PLEASE bring healthy, veg programming to your viewers – there are millions of us out here!

  9. ommyv says:

    Thank you for highlighting Lindsey! She has been my go-to after going plant-based 18 months ago. Great ideas and so easy. FN would do well to include more plant-based, healthy cooking information.

  10. Zawata says:

    I sure wish the FN would have a Vegan cooking show. Lindsay would be the right person to do it. Her cookbooks are Awesome and so easy to follow. I am Happy to be a Herbie and my new journey was made easier thanks to Lindsay and HH.
    Please Food Network, so some Vegan love on our channel!!!

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