Since embarking on this journey, I’ve been exploring the blogosphere for inspiration and recipes. One such blog I’ve recently discovered is the Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon. She features yummy recipes, inspiration, and practical advice for those looking to make a healthier lifestyle change and make a positive impact on our environment (and be friendly to our animal friends).
Lindsay has recently released a new cookbook that you can purchase on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Borders, or IndieBound.org. She was so kind as to include Fish Taco Fanatic on her blogger book tour. Below is my interview with the Happy Herbivore (I’m like a regular Barbara Walters!):
Quick background for those who aren’t familiar with Happy Herbivore. How long have you been vegan, and what made you make the change?
I’ve been vegan for 4+ years. I was initially vegetarian after a health scare (I thought being veg would help me make better food choices) and then I went veganism as an experiment a year later. The positive changes and benefits were so substantial that I stuck with it. I was also persuaded to stay vegan based on the health benefits, the plight of farm animals, the environmental-eco aspect and to help fight world hunger.
I’m new to the plant strong/nutritarian/vegan diet. What advice would you give to make the switch to vegan eating?
Focus on what you can eat rather than everything you gave up. Use this as an opportunity to explore new ingredients and cuisines. I each a much wider diet now than I did as an omnivore.
I’d really call myself plant strong vs. vegan, since I’ve only changed the way I eat, and haven’t totally switched over yet. I have vegan friends who are 100% vegan in everything they do, from food to hair products to makeup to dog food. Did you find it difficult to change your everyday behaviors? Was it a gradual journey?
I’m moved by the plight of animals, which has helped me incorporate vegan into all aspects of my life – beyond my plate. It’s been a changing journey though, as I’m much more militant now than I was in the past. For example, I don’t own or wear leather, but when I was first eating vegan, I could not afford to replace all my shoes, so I sort of stopped buying leather and eventually switched them out as I could. I’ve always avoided products that were tested on animals, so that was nothing new for me.
I changed my eating habits two weeks ago, and I’m already feeling healthier (and lost a few pounds too) – Do you remember what immediate benefits you experience when you went vegetarian and then vegan?
I lost some weight as a vegetarian but was amazed at how quickly and easily it slipped off as a vegan. What was most shocking was how well my face cleared (it’s still not perfect, but what a difference!) and the fact that I basically eliminated all my digestive issues
overnight. I had a huge surge in energy as well; which led me to run my first marathon 10 mos after going vegan without having so much as ran a 5k before. The important thing, though is like you say to be “plant strong” — keep veg in vegan. A lot of people switch to vegan but then eat a lot of fake meats, fake cheese, and are disappointed they don’t have the same immediate benefits.
I’m a big documentary fan, and Food, Inc. was really a catalyst for me, thinking about the way I eat, where my food comes from, and then making this change in my life. Do you have any must-see movie or book recommendations that you found helpful on your journey to becoming vegan?
I keep hearing great things about Forks Over Knives! A documentary that is not necessarily “go vegan” but quite eye-opening is King Corn and I think it’s free on Hulu.
I love your website and your cookbook is on my wedding registry! I read you have another in the works. What can we expect from your second cookbook that is different, and when is it due out?
The new book — so far it has a lot of world influence, a lot of ethnic recipes; I had some ethiopian and indian in the last book, but I’m really trying to include other tastes here. So far there is a lot of Indian, Cajun, Italian and Mexican.
What is your favorite recipe from your cookbook?
I seem to switch between the queso, nacho cheese and cornbread. I’m equally obsessed with all three, but right now I’m hungry for nachos.
Final question. As you can tell from my blog, I’m a fish taco lover, which isn’t a part of the new plan. Any suggestions on taco recipes I should try?
HH’s chickpea tacos — or you can use my tofu fish filet to make your tacos again!
Lindsay was also kind enough to share a recipe with us. I’ve registered for a cuisinart for the wedding, so I’m looking forward to being able to make this recipe with ease. I hope you enjoy too:
Black Bean Burgers (makes 3) – I love a good and quick meal, and this burger fits the bill perfectly.
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
whole-wheat breadcrumbs or instant oats
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. Pulse beans in a food processor until mashed well or alternatively, mash with a fork. Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with cilantro and spices. Add breadcrumbs or oats as necessary until the mixture can be handled and isn’t terribly sticky, about 1/4 c. If after 1/4 c. it’s still too sticky, refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes. Shape mixture into 3 patties. Lightly spray with cooking spray (optional) and bake 7 minutes. Flip and re-spray (optional) and bake another 7 to 10 minutes until thoroughly warm and crisp on the outside. Serve immediately. Because there is no oil, these patties dry out if you let them sit.
Thanks again Lindsay!