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. jan says:

    Love Lindsays cookbooks! So glad to see Food Network showcase a plant based diet, keep them coming! We want more!

  2. Thank you for highlighting an amazing vegan blogger. We are a large and growing group of people. I would love to see a vegan cooking show on food network canada

  3. Pam says:

    I'm so excited to see the plant-based world finally getting the attention it deserves! Lindsay is amazing!

  4. Happy to see her featured.

  5. Peggy says:

    This is so awesome! LIndsay makes it so easy to eat healthy. I have found her recipes and ideas so easy to shop for and follow. Her choices make it very easy to share with family member not eating plant strong. They have loved everything I have prepared for them and could not believe it was oil/dairy/meat free. I just love it!!

  6. Jeff says:

    Love this, now you just need to have a show with Lindsay, right now there is not much on that is appealing to me but I would watch the Happy Herbivore for sure.

  7. Megan says:

    I am not vegan but I'd love to see a vegan show on FN. I do the opposite of meat-free Mondays. I have a 6 days of meat-free eating when I eat primarily for health (cholesterol down 100 pts) and one day off when I eat primarily for pleasure. I'd love to learn more plant-based cooking from a show that isn't preachy about animals, just shares ways to cook without relying on meat analogs or cheese.

  8. Becky S says:

    I love Happy Herbivore. I have both of her cookbooks and preordered her new one. I also have both her books in electronic format for my tablet. I love Lindsay. Her recipes are delicious. When I researched going Vegan-for health reasons. I came upon Lindsay and her cookbooks. I immediately fell in love with her and her recipes. I also subscribe to her meal plans which help you keep on track and know what you are eating. All the food is prepared on one day so you can have quick and tasty meals for the week. How much easier can it get? I would love to see Lindsay on a Vegan cooking show on Food Network. I think more people are looking into and going toward a plant based way of living. It sure is proof that you can feel and look better and live longer. With President Clinton now being Vegan it sure has brought about alot of positive thoughts to the plant based way of eating so people are now looking into wanting to be healthy and live longer.. It is a way of living…not a diet.

  9. Beth says:

    Lindsay's cookbooks make going plant based completely accessible and easy for anyone to do. They do not have complicated ingredients and best of all they taste fantastic. There is truly a plant based (vegan) option for any food you currently eat…and you might even like it better than the original!

  10. Jessica says:

    Yay!! Glad to see FN feature plant based eating!! It is so much healthier for you AND the environment. Doing my best to avoid cancer and heart disease which runs in my family by not eating animal proteins that contribute to those diseases. Also showing respect and compassion for animals. Win win.

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