I had an extraordinary opportunity to interview (and offer a great giveaway – more about that at the end of this post!) the Happy Herbivore herself, Lindsay S. Nixon. You may know her from her blog, www.happyherbivore.com, or her cookbooks The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and Everyday Happy Herbivore. Her work has been praised and endorsed by notable leaders in the plant-based movement such as Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, and Dr. John McDougall.
She has just come out with her 3rd cookbook, Happy Herbivore Abroad, A Travelogue & Over 135 Fat-Free & Low-Fat Vegan Recipes From Around the World. Recipes Made with Everyday Ingredients. She has lived in eight states, visited 46, spent a year as an expat on a Caribbean island, and traveled to more than 35 places abroad.
I really love this cookbook for so many reasons. A big thing is that I didn’t need to buy 15 different ingredients for each recipe. Remember, the cover promises everyday ingredients. I found that I only needed to get 1 or 2 for each. The ingredient lists are short and the recipes easy. I really loved reading the little stories about each recipe, where she was, who she met. I sat down and read this book cover-to-cover. Great color photos of her travels are included as well.
Laura Arnold: Let me introduce myself. I’m Laura Arnold, and I write the health/nutrition blog www.itsadecision.com. My Twitter account is @Plantcentric. I’ve lost about 100 lbs and follow Dr. Esselstyn’s no added oil, vegan, clean whole foods diet. I also follow Dr. Robert Lustig’s The Bitter Truth of Sugar, so I don’t add sugar. I believe that food is medicine. My followers are health conscious vegans, health institutes, and animal lovers. My hope is to build an entire community of bloggers and health experts that I highlight, sharing content and elevating each of our respective causes and readership together. I view my blog to be like Huffington Post or Drudge Report of health and nutrition, where the reader comes to read lots of different ideas from different bloggers and then can go to that blog to follow-up and learn more about the blogger. Please feel free to read my story in the About section on my blog.
Here are my questions for you:
1.Like so many, you became vegan due to a health scare,and now when you go for your check-ups, the doctor and staff can’t believe what your numbers are and want to show everyone! I ask my readers, “Why wait? Why wait until you’re sick to change your lifestyle?” How do you get that message out? Do you think it’s working?
Lindsay Nixon: I’m a big believer in leading by example.
Laura: 2. I love that your parents have gone vegan. Reading about them and their adventures is so much fun. They are so cute! I give them so much credit. That’s my favorite part of your blog. You are blessed to have your family change right along with you. Whenever I go to my family’s, I have to bring all my own food. There is very rarely anything, other than maybe a veggie plate, that I can have. How did that change happen for your family?
Lindsay: My husband sort of found his own way to a plant-based diet. My sister, she had severe allergies and no medications were working. I convinced her to try being plant-based for a few weeks “just to see” and it worked. She was an insta-convert after that. As for my parents, my Dad had a heart attack. The next day he went plant-based and my mom did too.
Laura: 3. How did you go from being a lawyer to cooking? Did your parents think you’d lost your marbles?
Lindsay: I started blogging in 2007, when I was still in law school. It was a creative outlet for me. Even after I’d graduated and taken the bar exam, blogging continued to be my hobby. As time wore on I realized I liked blogging and cooking way more than I liked being a lawyer, but my hands were tied… until I had the opportunity to write my first cookbook.
I knew there was no way I could work as a lawyer AND write a cookbook, so it was one or the other. I decided to take a big chance, quit being a lawyer and work on my cookbook while also doing various freelance assignments to pay the bills. My husband and I also had to do some major downsizing to make it happen — selling our cars, moving from a large apartment to a teeny, tiny studio, etc. (I’m so glad he was up for it!)
In the end, it all worked out — with an insane amount of hard work 🙂
Laura: 4. So many times when I read a vegan cookbook, the recipes liberally use oil. You don’t use any added oil. Your cookbook is sorely needed. Do you find that you are constantly having to explain why no oil even more than why no animal products?
Lindsay: I explain why I don’t use oil or animal products in the front of all my cookbooks, so if anyone was curious why, they have the information right there. Most of my fans and supporters like that I don’t use animal products or oil, so it’s not an issue.
Laura: 5. Your new book, Happy Herbivore Abroad, is coming out December 4. Congratulations! You may find this surprising, but I had never tried Indian food until last year, and I’m 50! I wanted to go out to a nice dinner for my birthday, and Indian restaurants were the only ones that I could find that had a vegetarian section on their menu! I can’t be the only one that this has happened to, so you could say that a whole new group of people are going to be open to making international, no oil, vegan recipes that never were before. Are these recipes using easy to find ingredients and easy to follow? What countries are represented?
Lindsay: Yes. I focus on easy, no fuss recipes with everyday ingredients.
So many countries are included, I couldn’t list them all 🙂
Thank you so much, Lindsay. Now to the GIVEAWAY: In the comment section below, tell me which post on www.itsadecision.com has helped you the most. The winner will receive a copy of Lindsay’s brand new cookbook Happy Herbivore Abroad!