Herbie of the Week: Deborah R

Herbie of the Week: Deborah R! (She lost 40 pounds, eliminated her chronic fatigue, and is off her lupus medication!)

She has reversed her symptoms from lupus and influenced healthier eating in her family.

Read Deborah’s story…

Hi, my name is Deborah, and my journey
to becoming plant-based started in January of 2012. I am a wife and
mom of two girls and I primarily have been a stay at home mom since
my oldest was born in 2007. In December 2011 I was exhausted all the
time. At first I thought it was because of the holidays and was super
busy. I wasn’t feeling myself; I started getting very fatigued at
various times of the day and I started to worry because it seemed to
others as if I was just being lazy. I am not a lazy person. As a stay
at home mom, there is always something to do.

My husband started noticing it more in
January 2012 and he refused to believe that I could be as tired as I
claimed to be. He was rightfully upset that his wife was sleeping
most of the day, while there he was working his rear off at work. He
did not understand and neither did I. So, I sucked it up and tried my
best to just get stuff done because I thought maybe he was right and
I am just crazy thinking I am really that tired. By February, my face
broke out into a really bad rash. My face was itchy, scaly, and red in
the T zone areas. It was like I had dry scalp on parts of my face. I
tried lotions, cortisone, Neosporin and nothing helped. I decided to
go see my Dermatologist because it was getting out of control.

My dermatologist was concerned because
she felt something else was going on with me. She kept asking how I
had been feeling, if I was in any pain. I thought it odd but I told
her that I felt fine but that I had been feeling very tired since
December. She told me that she has some concerns and would like to
get some blood work done just to be sure I was okay. I agreed because
I trust her opinion as she has helped me and my husband for several
years. She did give me a prescription lotion for my face and we
planned on scheduling an appointment to check on how my skin was
doing. A week later, she personally called me up and told me that she
was concerned about my blood work. I went to see her the next day and
we talked. She recommended a Rheumatologist that she knew personally
and trusted with her own family. She felt that I needed to get more
specific blood work done to be certain but she thinks that what I had
going on with my face was auto immune and it was a sign that I needed
to get seen right away so that I can get some relief and answers.
After I left her office I made an appointment with the Rheumatologist
she recommended.

My Rheumatologist visit was good, we
got to know each other and why I was sent to her, discussed my
previous blood work from my dermatologist, and she also asked me how I
was feeling, if I was in any pain and took a good look at my face
rash that I still had but was significantly better. She then decided
what specific blood work needed to be done so that she could help me.
When my blood work came back we discussed it. I was unsure how to
feel at the moment. Until she told me, according to your labs, you
have an autoimmune disorder, Lupus to be exact. My body was basically
attacking itself, which in turn was causing me to feel so exhausted.
My body was out of whack. At that moment, I cried. Not because she
told me I had an autoimmune disease that was scary in itself, but
because I finally had an answer to why I was so terribly exhausted
all the time. I told her that it was a huge relief to know what was
causing my body to feel so weak and tired. I told her how much I was
struggling to suck it up because my husband couldn’t understand
that I could be so tired from being a stay at home mom and napping a
lot recently. I finally could feel like I wasn’t crazy, that I
wasn’t just being lazy or that I wasn’t lying about my extreme
exhaustion.

Then I came to the realization about
having Lupus. That thought
scared me. I was told by my doctor that lupus in males tend to have
worse symptoms but since my issues were mainly exhaustion and rashes
that my lupus is mild. She prescribed Plaquenil for my lupus and I
would need to see an Ophthalmologist every 6 months to check on my
vision while taking it. I asked if there was a possibility that I
would ever be able to get off Plaquenil in the future and she
basically said most patients take it for the rest of their lives but
can be taken off it in 3 years but it’s rare.

During our discussion about lupus, all
I could think about was my family. My husband and my 2 girls who were
only 4 and 5 yrs old and it brought tears to my eyes because I did
not want to become a burden to them. My eyes welled up with tears
again thinking about how my life with lupus was going to affect them.
My rheumatologist saw my face and told me that if I wanted a chance
at a good healthy life, I would need to go plant-based. I had never
heard of plant-based before so I was curious. She told me I needed to
change the way I eat, autoimmune disorders stem from our dietary
consumption. She told me to watch the documentary Forks over Knives on Netflix and that if I wanted to live a better life for
myself and my family I should follow their guidelines. I told her
that I would watch it and go from there. I did not know what I was
getting myself into, but I was willing to give it a try in order to
give my family what they deserve, a healthy mom and wife.

I watched the documentary Forks over
Knives
when I got home, and I was convinced that this was what I
needed to do. I didn’t know exactly how to start. All I knew was
that I had to start somewhere and I knew after watching the
documentary that I needed to avoid these main things: meat, dairy, eggs and oil. I decided that day to become plant-based. I knew I
wasn’t going to be perfect at it at first but I had to at least
give it my best. My husband was very unsure about what I was getting
myself into at first but was willing to watch the documentary with me
when he got home and he told me that he would be super supportive of
it, but he was not going to change what he ate. I was okay with that
because I did not expect him to turn his life around because of my
illness. Remember, I did not want to be a burden on my family.

I started off just eating simple things
that I knew where plant-based such as, chalupas or tostadas and rice,
peanut butter sandwiches and veggies. I felt very alone starting out
on this journey. I started to struggle with not knowing what I was
doing when I went grocery shopping, what items were plant-based and
where to find simple items with no oil. I started to look for more
answers online on the Forks over Knives website.

The Engine 2 and Forks Over Knives
website lead me to happyherbivore.com. I was so excited to learn
there was a cookbook for sale and when I found Lindsay’s cookbook
Everyday Happy Herbivore I was so excited and happy. Do you
know what else happened? My husband started to see what I was eating
and wanted some! Yes, my omnivore husband thought my meals looked and
smelled amazing! So, I shared my meals. He had his usual food but
kept trying what I was eating more and more. I felt like I must being
doing something right. I started to feel less and less tired as the
weeks passed. I started to lose weight with just the diet change. I
started to feel more like myself and my husband took notice. He
decided that he wanted to eat like me most of the time and only eat
meat if and when we are not home. I still do not discourage his way
of eating; I want it to be all his doing if he wanted to change his
diet.

After a year of being plant-based, I
stopped buying meat and dairy products for the family. My husband and
I felt such great results from eating plant-based that we decided
that our kids should try to follow along because with what we know
now, we wanted to give them the best opportunity to live a healthier
life than we did growing up. They were very hesitant at first and
still now 3 years later I still struggle with one picky eater but
they understand why we eat this way after many discussions about why
meat, dairy, and eggs are not good for our bodies. They are not
perfect though, we allow them to choose what they want to eat when we
are out and at school. I did not want them to feel forced to eat
plant-based, especially since my husband also eats whatever he wants
when we are not home. I tell them all the time that life is about
choices so make good ones.

I lost a good 40 lbs. my first year of
becoming plant-based, and I have kept the weight off. People always
tell me that I look amazing and they think I am younger than I
actually am; I am 40! I don’t feel 40, I feel like I’m still 25
which is an awesome feeling! I also started cooking for my dad and
step-mom a year ago, I joke with them and tell them I am like a vegan
meals on wheels because I cook it and deliver it to them. My husband
thanks me all the time for cooking this way. He has seen and felt a
significant difference in both of us.

I became a Meal Mentor subscriber last
year around April 2015. I convinced my husband to get the annual plan
because I started struggling to figure out what to make for dinner. I
kept feeling like I was making the same meals every week and I needed
more variety. Meal Mentor has changed my life! It has allowed me to
pick and choose, create a grocery list, prep like a boss and get
everything cooked in just hours. I have more time now to complete all
my other tasks, and it’s amazing! The only downside to it at my
house is that my dear husband thinks that my cooking day is a vegan
buffet day! He will try and eat and taste everything if I don’t
stop him.

Now for the most exciting news, As of
January 5, 2016, I am officially off my Lupus Medication!! YAY! I
have been in remission for about a year and my new Rheumatologist (I
had to switch because of my insurance) has just been incredibly
amazed by my ability to heal myself with my diet. It still amazes me
that still today, 3 years later, being plant-based is still bringing
me joy and a deeper appreciation for all things vegan. I am proud to
be plant-based, it saved me from Lupus. I am now living my best life.
If there is anyone that needs food inspiration, I am on Twitter
@plantstrongdeb and on Instagram @Deborah.ramos. I enjoy sharing
photos of the plant-based meals I make, most of them being from the
Meal Mentor plans, plus making new Herbie friends is also awesome! I
am very grateful for the support Lindsay gives to us on her website, Facebook page, Annual Members page, and other social media outlets like YouTube
videos and podcasts! I wish I had all these things available when I
first started out but so happy to have them now when you just need
that little extra advice, motivation and friendship!

Thank you so much Deborah for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

Don’t miss our next Herbie of the Week story. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

Herbie of the Week: Deborah R! (She lost 40 pounds, eliminated her chronic fatigue, and is off her lupus medication!)

She has reversed her symptoms from lupus and influenced healthier eating in her family.

Read Deborah’s story…

Hi, my name is Deborah, and my journey
to becoming plant-based started in January of 2012. I am a wife and
mom of two girls and I primarily have been a stay at home mom since
my oldest was born in 2007. In December 2011 I was exhausted all the
time. At first I thought it was because of the holidays and was super
busy. I wasn’t feeling myself; I started getting very fatigued at
various times of the day and I started to worry because it seemed to
others as if I was just being lazy. I am not a lazy person. As a stay
at home mom, there is always something to do.

My husband started noticing it more in
January 2012 and he refused to believe that I could be as tired as I
claimed to be. He was rightfully upset that his wife was sleeping
most of the day, while there he was working his rear off at work. He
did not understand and neither did I. So, I sucked it up and tried my
best to just get stuff done because I thought maybe he was right and
I am just crazy thinking I am really that tired. By February, my face
broke out into a really bad rash. My face was itchy, scaly, and red in
the T zone areas. It was like I had dry scalp on parts of my face. I
tried lotions, cortisone, Neosporin and nothing helped. I decided to
go see my Dermatologist because it was getting out of control.

My dermatologist was concerned because
she felt something else was going on with me. She kept asking how I
had been feeling, if I was in any pain. I thought it odd but I told
her that I felt fine but that I had been feeling very tired since
December. She told me that she has some concerns and would like to
get some blood work done just to be sure I was okay. I agreed because
I trust her opinion as she has helped me and my husband for several
years. She did give me a prescription lotion for my face and we
planned on scheduling an appointment to check on how my skin was
doing. A week later, she personally called me up and told me that she
was concerned about my blood work. I went to see her the next day and
we talked. She recommended a Rheumatologist that she knew personally
and trusted with her own family. She felt that I needed to get more
specific blood work done to be certain but she thinks that what I had
going on with my face was auto immune and it was a sign that I needed
to get seen right away so that I can get some relief and answers.
After I left her office I made an appointment with the Rheumatologist
she recommended.

My Rheumatologist visit was good, we
got to know each other and why I was sent to her, discussed my
previous blood work from my dermatologist, and she also asked me how I
was feeling, if I was in any pain and took a good look at my face
rash that I still had but was significantly better. She then decided
what specific blood work needed to be done so that she could help me.
When my blood work came back we discussed it. I was unsure how to
feel at the moment. Until she told me, according to your labs, you
have an autoimmune disorder, Lupus to be exact. My body was basically
attacking itself, which in turn was causing me to feel so exhausted.
My body was out of whack. At that moment, I cried. Not because she
told me I had an autoimmune disease that was scary in itself, but
because I finally had an answer to why I was so terribly exhausted
all the time. I told her that it was a huge relief to know what was
causing my body to feel so weak and tired. I told her how much I was
struggling to suck it up because my husband couldn’t understand
that I could be so tired from being a stay at home mom and napping a
lot recently. I finally could feel like I wasn’t crazy, that I
wasn’t just being lazy or that I wasn’t lying about my extreme
exhaustion.

Then I came to the realization about
having Lupus. That thought
scared me. I was told by my doctor that lupus in males tend to have
worse symptoms but since my issues were mainly exhaustion and rashes
that my lupus is mild. She prescribed Plaquenil for my lupus and I
would need to see an Ophthalmologist every 6 months to check on my
vision while taking it. I asked if there was a possibility that I
would ever be able to get off Plaquenil in the future and she
basically said most patients take it for the rest of their lives but
can be taken off it in 3 years but it’s rare.

During our discussion about lupus, all
I could think about was my family. My husband and my 2 girls who were
only 4 and 5 yrs old and it brought tears to my eyes because I did
not want to become a burden to them. My eyes welled up with tears
again thinking about how my life with lupus was going to affect them.
My rheumatologist saw my face and told me that if I wanted a chance
at a good healthy life, I would need to go plant-based. I had never
heard of plant-based before so I was curious. She told me I needed to
change the way I eat, autoimmune disorders stem from our dietary
consumption. She told me to watch the documentary Forks over Knives on Netflix and that if I wanted to live a better life for
myself and my family I should follow their guidelines. I told her
that I would watch it and go from there. I did not know what I was
getting myself into, but I was willing to give it a try in order to
give my family what they deserve, a healthy mom and wife.

I watched the documentary Forks over
Knives
when I got home, and I was convinced that this was what I
needed to do. I didn’t know exactly how to start. All I knew was
that I had to start somewhere and I knew after watching the
documentary that I needed to avoid these main things: meat, dairy, eggs and oil. I decided that day to become plant-based. I knew I
wasn’t going to be perfect at it at first but I had to at least
give it my best. My husband was very unsure about what I was getting
myself into at first but was willing to watch the documentary with me
when he got home and he told me that he would be super supportive of
it, but he was not going to change what he ate. I was okay with that
because I did not expect him to turn his life around because of my
illness. Remember, I did not want to be a burden on my family.

I started off just eating simple things
that I knew where plant-based such as, chalupas or tostadas and rice,
peanut butter sandwiches and veggies. I felt very alone starting out
on this journey. I started to struggle with not knowing what I was
doing when I went grocery shopping, what items were plant-based and
where to find simple items with no oil. I started to look for more
answers online on the Forks over Knives website.

The Engine 2 and Forks Over Knives
website lead me to happyherbivore.com. I was so excited to learn
there was a cookbook for sale and when I found Lindsay’s cookbook
Everyday Happy Herbivore I was so excited and happy. Do you
know what else happened? My husband started to see what I was eating
and wanted some! Yes, my omnivore husband thought my meals looked and
smelled amazing! So, I shared my meals. He had his usual food but
kept trying what I was eating more and more. I felt like I must being
doing something right. I started to feel less and less tired as the
weeks passed. I started to lose weight with just the diet change. I
started to feel more like myself and my husband took notice. He
decided that he wanted to eat like me most of the time and only eat
meat if and when we are not home. I still do not discourage his way
of eating; I want it to be all his doing if he wanted to change his
diet.

After a year of being plant-based, I
stopped buying meat and dairy products for the family. My husband and
I felt such great results from eating plant-based that we decided
that our kids should try to follow along because with what we know
now, we wanted to give them the best opportunity to live a healthier
life than we did growing up. They were very hesitant at first and
still now 3 years later I still struggle with one picky eater but
they understand why we eat this way after many discussions about why
meat, dairy, and eggs are not good for our bodies. They are not
perfect though, we allow them to choose what they want to eat when we
are out and at school. I did not want them to feel forced to eat
plant-based, especially since my husband also eats whatever he wants
when we are not home. I tell them all the time that life is about
choices so make good ones.

I lost a good 40 lbs. my first year of
becoming plant-based, and I have kept the weight off. People always
tell me that I look amazing and they think I am younger than I
actually am; I am 40! I don’t feel 40, I feel like I’m still 25
which is an awesome feeling! I also started cooking for my dad and
step-mom a year ago, I joke with them and tell them I am like a vegan
meals on wheels because I cook it and deliver it to them. My husband
thanks me all the time for cooking this way. He has seen and felt a
significant difference in both of us.

I became a Meal Mentor subscriber last
year around April 2015. I convinced my husband to get the annual plan
because I started struggling to figure out what to make for dinner. I
kept feeling like I was making the same meals every week and I needed
more variety. Meal Mentor has changed my life! It has allowed me to
pick and choose, create a grocery list, prep like a boss and get
everything cooked in just hours. I have more time now to complete all
my other tasks, and it’s amazing! The only downside to it at my
house is that my dear husband thinks that my cooking day is a vegan
buffet day! He will try and eat and taste everything if I don’t
stop him.

Now for the most exciting news, As of
January 5, 2016, I am officially off my Lupus Medication!! YAY! I
have been in remission for about a year and my new Rheumatologist (I
had to switch because of my insurance) has just been incredibly
amazed by my ability to heal myself with my diet. It still amazes me
that still today, 3 years later, being plant-based is still bringing
me joy and a deeper appreciation for all things vegan. I am proud to
be plant-based, it saved me from Lupus. I am now living my best life.
If there is anyone that needs food inspiration, I am on Twitter
@plantstrongdeb and on Instagram @Deborah.ramos. I enjoy sharing
photos of the plant-based meals I make, most of them being from the
Meal Mentor plans, plus making new Herbie friends is also awesome! I
am very grateful for the support Lindsay gives to us on her website, Facebook page, Annual Members page, and other social media outlets like YouTube
videos and podcasts! I wish I had all these things available when I
first started out but so happy to have them now when you just need
that little extra advice, motivation and friendship!

Thank you so much Deborah for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

Don’t miss our next Herbie of the Week story. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

Tico Taco Pie, Baby Churros, Pasta-roni, Dragon Wraps & more!

Are you ready to spice up dinnertime?? This week’s meal plan is a flavor EXPLOSION with meals that are ready in 30 minutes OR less!

Replace your boring routine with new & exciting meals like Pasta-roni (NEW!), Dragon Wraps (NEW!), Pizza Chili, Mediterranean Rice (NEW!), Thai Taquitos & more!

PLUS we’ve got cantina classics for Cinco de Mayo including BABY CHURROS, Tico Taco Pie (NEW!), Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding (NEW!), Tijuana Tortas (NEW!) and Mexican Caesar Salad (NEW!).

Tico Taco Pie

Individual Highlights

  • Mexican Caesar Salad (NEW!)
  • Smashed White Bean & Avo Crostinis (NEW!)
  • Tijuana Tortas (NEW!)
  • “Bacon” Kale Wrap (NEW!)
  • Mediterranean Rice (NEW!)
  • Sweet Pea Curry Noodles (NEW!)
  • Pasta-roni (NEW!)
  • Thai Taquitos
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding (NEW!)

Signup for the meal plans today and get the party started!

Mexican Caesar Salad

Family Highlights

  • Tijuana Tortas (NEW!)
  • Thai Taquitos
  • Tico Taco Pie (NEW!)
  • Mediterranean Rice (NEW!)
  • Spicy Chocolate Shakes
  • Dragon Wraps (NEW!)
  • Pizza Chili
  • Sweet Pea Curry Noodles (NEW!)
  • Pasta-roni (NEW!)

Spice up dinnertime with endless variety with this week’s meal plan!

Thai Taquitos

Testimonials

I am loving this meal plan experience. It’s really widened our variety of meals AND I’m getting my kids eating plant-based with me and my husband… that’s HUGE.“- Denise G

The meal plan is a godsend. I don’t have to get stressed when I come home from work and my husband asks what’s for dinner because it’s already made and labeled in the fridge. Meals had become a burden and now they are new, exciting, delicious, and ready to go.”- Emily M

Get these recipes delivered to your inbox RIGHT NOW!

Are you ready to spice up dinnertime?? This week’s meal plan is a flavor EXPLOSION with meals that are ready in 30 minutes OR less!

Replace your boring routine with new & exciting meals like Pasta-roni (NEW!), Dragon Wraps (NEW!), Pizza Chili, Mediterranean Rice (NEW!), Thai Taquitos & more!

PLUS we’ve got cantina classics for Cinco de Mayo including BABY CHURROS, Tico Taco Pie (NEW!), Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding (NEW!), Tijuana Tortas (NEW!) and Mexican Caesar Salad (NEW!).

Tico Taco Pie

Individual Highlights

  • Mexican Caesar Salad (NEW!)
  • Smashed White Bean & Avo Crostinis (NEW!)
  • Tijuana Tortas (NEW!)
  • “Bacon” Kale Wrap (NEW!)
  • Mediterranean Rice (NEW!)
  • Sweet Pea Curry Noodles (NEW!)
  • Pasta-roni (NEW!)
  • Thai Taquitos
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding (NEW!)

Signup for the meal plans today and get the party started!

Mexican Caesar Salad

Family Highlights

  • Tijuana Tortas (NEW!)
  • Thai Taquitos
  • Tico Taco Pie (NEW!)
  • Mediterranean Rice (NEW!)
  • Spicy Chocolate Shakes
  • Dragon Wraps (NEW!)
  • Pizza Chili
  • Sweet Pea Curry Noodles (NEW!)
  • Pasta-roni (NEW!)

Spice up dinnertime with endless variety with this week’s meal plan!

Thai Taquitos

Testimonials

I am loving this meal plan experience. It’s really widened our variety of meals AND I’m getting my kids eating plant-based with me and my husband… that’s HUGE.“- Denise G

The meal plan is a godsend. I don’t have to get stressed when I come home from work and my husband asks what’s for dinner because it’s already made and labeled in the fridge. Meals had become a burden and now they are new, exciting, delicious, and ready to go.”- Emily M

Get these recipes delivered to your inbox RIGHT NOW!

Plant-Based in India (Guest Post by Siri!)

I am always being asked about how to stay plant-based while traveling.

It can definitely be done, and plant-based options are becoming easier to find. I have an entire section on travel in the Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living.

I’ve also written a post about traveling across Asia.

When Meal Mentor member Siri told me about her recent trip to India I asked if she would share her experience as a blog post. (Siri is also my co-pilot in Today’s episode of the Meal Mentor Co-Pilot Podcast. Listen Here.)

I’ll let Siri take it away!

First off, I want to share that I was born and brought up in the southern part of India. My parents and extended family members live there. I have been vegetarian since birth. I turned to a WFPB lifestyle just 2 years ago with a
Meal Mentor subscription in 2014.

I have been (and still am a little bit) overweight and started my fat loss journey in 2010. Making changes to diet has been the most important in my lifestyle and made all the difference.

Going out, being social, and planning trips are some things we cannot avoid. I had to find a way to make it work. Earlier, I was clueless and I have to admit – did not want it badly enough to “make it work.” I found excuses and used food as a reward. I used to have a mentality of “I am on vacay, who cares? – let me treat myself to ice cream and more food!”

I traveled back home to India three times since I made changes to my diet. Every time, I gave in to treats. But, I quickly realized my weakness is food. I have to learn to control sooner or later. Otherwise, it just proves to me that I am not serious, and my goal without a game plan & action will just remain a goal.

I was determined that my next trip would be different. I decided that this time, I was going to just be willing to recognize and accept the result of my choices.

One month before I planned my trip, I got myself to practice and simulate conditions I may face during my vacation and try to handle it. Lindsay’s
meal plans already help learn to create balanced meals and to get creative. So mentally, I knew to include veggies, chickpeas, and use whatever spices I could get ahold of. Some things that I was already aware of were:

1. The places where I was going to travel (In this case – cities in India)

2. Kind of people who would surround me.

3. Kind of places I would visit to eat or drink.

4. Where I could purchase ingredients for WFPB meals.

5. My mother would make my meals without oil / dairy and pack my meals for outdoors.

Knowing these, helped me create a game plan. I planned in advance ‘where’ I would eat ‘what’.

One thing I would highlight is, India is probably the most vegetarian friendly country and if planned well, it will be a cake walk. Sure, most Indians consume dairy, some do not eat root vegetables (Jain food). But, most foods can be prepared without oil or butter or dairy. It is natural to find good and filling vegan food – very easily, virtually everywhere in India.

The only difficulty will be to request for no oil or dairy!

I want to jump right in and share what I did and give some tips. It is important to know that I only visited South India. North India will be more or less similar, overall.

Some must-have experiences in food, that are not found outside of India:

1. Eat a meal in a
banana leaf.

2. Indians use
curry leaf as a garnish. Not a single recipe goes by without addition of this medicinal plant. This plant is native to India.

3. Try
Asafoetida spice. Again, we use this medicinal herb in most dishes. It is bitter, but bitterness disappears during cooking. It has a faint scent too!

4. Definitely try street food with vendors who sell
Chickpeas & other beans as snacks. (More on that below.)

5. Avocado is called ”
Butterfruit“. They are huge in size. They make a smoothie out of these. If your calories permit, do-not-miss.

6.
Gulkhand: This is a jelly made with pink rose petals. Very unique jam from India. You can order it online in Amazon.

7. Try Indian vegetables and be pleasantly surprised by how differently they taste. For example – tomatoes are sour, not sweet, colors and sizes vary. Try gourds that grow in India like Ridge gourd, snake gourd, and bitter gourd.

8. Neem tree leaves. Not found outside of India. Bitter in taste – but very, very good.

9. Tamarind. Native to south Asian countries. Indians use this to super sour up their meals.

10. Last, but not the least –
Betel leaves. This is usually had as a mouth freshener. Side note: Paan or stuffed Betel leaves with sweet sauces & spicy fillings is a roll up, to be eaten after dinner. But do be careful when you order one and carefully see what has been stuffed inside. Warning: extra strong spices can cause stomach upset and you may faint.

Breakfasts

Easily, the most vegan friendly and fresh meal you will get in abundance within minutes. Typical south Indian breakfasts is made up of rice and lentils with vegetables.

Some of my favorite meals that I had are:

Idli (steamed rice cake) with Sambar (lentil soup with veggies) and Coconut chutney. Ask for no butter (Ghee).

Masala Dosa (A rice based crepe stuffed with mild spicy mashed potato. Ask for no butter)

and Ven Pongal (rice and lentils steamed with peppercorns)

For lunches and dinner – so many choices!

Indian Roti (tortilla made with whole wheat flour) is quite popular. usually eaten with vegetable curry and dal (lentils), rice with vegetable curry, chutneys, dry powders made of roasted seeds & chillies and soups!

Some meals are stand alone – made with vegetables and rice together with spices as a 1-pot meal. This is called Pulao or Biryani or Bath. (Make sure to ask to be made without oil and ghee that are added before serving)

These are the foods I actually ate and took pictures of. Cups of cut fruits, roasted and unroasted varieties of beans and chickpeas (usually sold mixed with potato, onions, spices, and lemon juice).

Special shout out to sandwiches (ask with no butter; usually have no cheese, but ask for no cheese, just in case). These are very easy to access, especially near fruit vendors and juice shops. Also available in restaurants everywhere. They toast bread, and layer with boiled potato, beets, cucumber and optionally carrots, bell peppers. They apply mint paste on one side of the bread, tamarind paste on the other side. Sprinkled with
Chaat Masala. It is lip-smackingly good. You can eat on the spot of take it for to-go.

Cheap food and snacks!

One thing that might surprise you in India is how easy and cheap it is to eat fruits directly cut fresh for like 20 cents! On certain days, I literally lived on the tasty bowls and bowls of fruits and chickpea snacks from street vendors. I do not think I ate that many fruits ever! Not just because it is cheap, there was nothing else the vendor could add except a few spices and garnishes. I was totally hooked!

Apart from authentic Indian foods, you will find McDonalds, Subways, Papa Johns pizza, Pizza hut, Dominos, Starbucks, Hard Rock Cafe and other American fast food restaurants.
I do not want to recommend them. But, I want to highlight that they all have wide vegetarian options (and some Indianized versions for burgers, pizzas, etc.) for those who do not eat meat. Some of them also have a vegetarian station on a different side too – they physically separate the utensils and serving area.

The following have been in India since last 20 years, but worth mentioning :

1. Soy milk is available in all supermarkets / grocery stores. Both plain and a chocolate version.

2. Nut butters, cut veggies, and spices are easy to access for cheap.

3. No vegan ice creams or desserts. Very hard to find them. It is easier to eat fruits instead. Try new fruits like coconut meat, fruits of
sugar palm (you find this only in South Asia countries) or cookies (called as biscuits in India)!

Definitely buy water bottles which are sealed.

Almost all Indian meals are centered around vegetables. There will be a lot of food to sample and eat that is fresh and vegan. It is easy to commute (Thanks to Uber, Ola apps) and use apps like Zomato to find good places to eat. But, most vegan, oil free food will be right around a corner, waiting for you!

When you visit India, check out out so many foods that are more than curries and samosas. Strangely, most US restaurants get foreign Authentic food somewhat wrong. Indian food is not spicy with red gravies. Chinese food is likely not as oily and sweet. There is no such a thing as a Burrito in Mexico. There is no Pad Thai in Thailand.

(Behind me is the famous Mysore Palace of a Maharaja. This is the second most visited tourist attraction after the Taj Mahal in India.)

I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate my mother and mother-in-law, who played important roles in this trip. Every time I visit India, my mom (she was a teacher and now a meditation teacher) always arranges for a yoga teacher to teach me new poses and makes all meals according to my choices. My mother-in-law always cooks homemade food for me when I visit her and arranges field trips to agricultural lands (she was a teacher too and now an agriculturist teaching new farming practices). Overall, my family helped a lot to help me avoid outside food as much as possible.

I highly recommend you to visit India and an advance Welcome to you all!

Thank you so much Siri for sharing your plant-based traveling experience with us!

Don’t miss our next blog post about our Herbie of the Week. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

I am always being asked about how to stay plant-based while traveling.

It can definitely be done, and plant-based options are becoming easier to find. I have an entire section on travel in the Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living.

I’ve also written a post about traveling across Asia.

When Meal Mentor member Siri told me about her recent trip to India I asked if she would share her experience as a blog post. (Siri is also my co-pilot in Today’s episode of the Meal Mentor Co-Pilot Podcast. Listen Here.)

I’ll let Siri take it away!

First off, I want to share that I was born and brought up in the southern part of India. My parents and extended family members live there. I have been vegetarian since birth. I turned to a WFPB lifestyle just 2 years ago with a
Meal Mentor subscription in 2014.

I have been (and still am a little bit) overweight and started my fat loss journey in 2010. Making changes to diet has been the most important in my lifestyle and made all the difference.

Going out, being social, and planning trips are some things we cannot avoid. I had to find a way to make it work. Earlier, I was clueless and I have to admit – did not want it badly enough to “make it work.” I found excuses and used food as a reward. I used to have a mentality of “I am on vacay, who cares? – let me treat myself to ice cream and more food!”

I traveled back home to India three times since I made changes to my diet. Every time, I gave in to treats. But, I quickly realized my weakness is food. I have to learn to control sooner or later. Otherwise, it just proves to me that I am not serious, and my goal without a game plan & action will just remain a goal.

I was determined that my next trip would be different. I decided that this time, I was going to just be willing to recognize and accept the result of my choices.

One month before I planned my trip, I got myself to practice and simulate conditions I may face during my vacation and try to handle it. Lindsay’s
meal plans already help learn to create balanced meals and to get creative. So mentally, I knew to include veggies, chickpeas, and use whatever spices I could get ahold of. Some things that I was already aware of were:

1. The places where I was going to travel (In this case – cities in India)

2. Kind of people who would surround me.

3. Kind of places I would visit to eat or drink.

4. Where I could purchase ingredients for WFPB meals.

5. My mother would make my meals without oil / dairy and pack my meals for outdoors.

Knowing these, helped me create a game plan. I planned in advance ‘where’ I would eat ‘what’.

One thing I would highlight is, India is probably the most vegetarian friendly country and if planned well, it will be a cake walk. Sure, most Indians consume dairy, some do not eat root vegetables (Jain food). But, most foods can be prepared without oil or butter or dairy. It is natural to find good and filling vegan food – very easily, virtually everywhere in India.

The only difficulty will be to request for no oil or dairy!

I want to jump right in and share what I did and give some tips. It is important to know that I only visited South India. North India will be more or less similar, overall.

Some must-have experiences in food, that are not found outside of India:

1. Eat a meal in a
banana leaf.

2. Indians use
curry leaf as a garnish. Not a single recipe goes by without addition of this medicinal plant. This plant is native to India.

3. Try
Asafoetida spice. Again, we use this medicinal herb in most dishes. It is bitter, but bitterness disappears during cooking. It has a faint scent too!

4. Definitely try street food with vendors who sell
Chickpeas & other beans as snacks. (More on that below.)

5. Avocado is called ”
Butterfruit“. They are huge in size. They make a smoothie out of these. If your calories permit, do-not-miss.

6.
Gulkhand: This is a jelly made with pink rose petals. Very unique jam from India. You can order it online in Amazon.

7. Try Indian vegetables and be pleasantly surprised by how differently they taste. For example – tomatoes are sour, not sweet, colors and sizes vary. Try gourds that grow in India like Ridge gourd, snake gourd, and bitter gourd.

8. Neem tree leaves. Not found outside of India. Bitter in taste – but very, very good.

9. Tamarind. Native to south Asian countries. Indians use this to super sour up their meals.

10. Last, but not the least –
Betel leaves. This is usually had as a mouth freshener. Side note: Paan or stuffed Betel leaves with sweet sauces & spicy fillings is a roll up, to be eaten after dinner. But do be careful when you order one and carefully see what has been stuffed inside. Warning: extra strong spices can cause stomach upset and you may faint.

Breakfasts

Easily, the most vegan friendly and fresh meal you will get in abundance within minutes. Typical south Indian breakfasts is made up of rice and lentils with vegetables.

Some of my favorite meals that I had are:

Idli (steamed rice cake) with Sambar (lentil soup with veggies) and Coconut chutney. Ask for no butter (Ghee).

Masala Dosa (A rice based crepe stuffed with mild spicy mashed potato. Ask for no butter)

and Ven Pongal (rice and lentils steamed with peppercorns)

For lunches and dinner – so many choices!

Indian Roti (tortilla made with whole wheat flour) is quite popular. usually eaten with vegetable curry and dal (lentils), rice with vegetable curry, chutneys, dry powders made of roasted seeds & chillies and soups!

Some meals are stand alone – made with vegetables and rice together with spices as a 1-pot meal. This is called Pulao or Biryani or Bath. (Make sure to ask to be made without oil and ghee that are added before serving)

These are the foods I actually ate and took pictures of. Cups of cut fruits, roasted and unroasted varieties of beans and chickpeas (usually sold mixed with potato, onions, spices, and lemon juice).

Special shout out to sandwiches (ask with no butter; usually have no cheese, but ask for no cheese, just in case). These are very easy to access, especially near fruit vendors and juice shops. Also available in restaurants everywhere. They toast bread, and layer with boiled potato, beets, cucumber and optionally carrots, bell peppers. They apply mint paste on one side of the bread, tamarind paste on the other side. Sprinkled with
Chaat Masala. It is lip-smackingly good. You can eat on the spot of take it for to-go.

Cheap food and snacks!

One thing that might surprise you in India is how easy and cheap it is to eat fruits directly cut fresh for like 20 cents! On certain days, I literally lived on the tasty bowls and bowls of fruits and chickpea snacks from street vendors. I do not think I ate that many fruits ever! Not just because it is cheap, there was nothing else the vendor could add except a few spices and garnishes. I was totally hooked!

Apart from authentic Indian foods, you will find McDonalds, Subways, Papa Johns pizza, Pizza hut, Dominos, Starbucks, Hard Rock Cafe and other American fast food restaurants.
I do not want to recommend them. But, I want to highlight that they all have wide vegetarian options (and some Indianized versions for burgers, pizzas, etc.) for those who do not eat meat. Some of them also have a vegetarian station on a different side too – they physically separate the utensils and serving area.

The following have been in India since last 20 years, but worth mentioning :

1. Soy milk is available in all supermarkets / grocery stores. Both plain and a chocolate version.

2. Nut butters, cut veggies, and spices are easy to access for cheap.

3. No vegan ice creams or desserts. Very hard to find them. It is easier to eat fruits instead. Try new fruits like coconut meat, fruits of
sugar palm (you find this only in South Asia countries) or cookies (called as biscuits in India)!

Definitely buy water bottles which are sealed.

Almost all Indian meals are centered around vegetables. There will be a lot of food to sample and eat that is fresh and vegan. It is easy to commute (Thanks to Uber, Ola apps) and use apps like Zomato to find good places to eat. But, most vegan, oil free food will be right around a corner, waiting for you!

When you visit India, check out out so many foods that are more than curries and samosas. Strangely, most US restaurants get foreign Authentic food somewhat wrong. Indian food is not spicy with red gravies. Chinese food is likely not as oily and sweet. There is no such a thing as a Burrito in Mexico. There is no Pad Thai in Thailand.

(Behind me is the famous Mysore Palace of a Maharaja. This is the second most visited tourist attraction after the Taj Mahal in India.)

I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate my mother and mother-in-law, who played important roles in this trip. Every time I visit India, my mom (she was a teacher and now a meditation teacher) always arranges for a yoga teacher to teach me new poses and makes all meals according to my choices. My mother-in-law always cooks homemade food for me when I visit her and arranges field trips to agricultural lands (she was a teacher too and now an agriculturist teaching new farming practices). Overall, my family helped a lot to help me avoid outside food as much as possible.

I highly recommend you to visit India and an advance Welcome to you all!

Thank you so much Siri for sharing your plant-based traveling experience with us!

Don’t miss our next blog post about our Herbie of the Week. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe

So this is super crazy, you guys, but it’s just over three months until my wedding! I cannot get over how close we’re getting, not to mention how much stuff the two of us still need to do before the big day. I am beside myself with giddiness, glee, and excitement. This weekend will be all about the food. Yes, I’m a crazy whackjob and am trying to devise a way to cater the thing myself. It’s not that unrealistic, okay? For starters, we’re expecting less than 30 people. It’s also going to take place midday. I’m also going to have lots of help from my family setting up, if push comes to shove. I’m all about getting my hands dirty in order to get things done. That’s actually how I have fun. But anyway! Fun times this weekend.
It’s been almost two months since Chris and I headed to Santa Fe to scope out our venue, catering options, and hotel. Of course, we were also excited to go on a mini-vacation. Vegans are no different about travel than anyone else, you know? I absolutely needed to visit the vegetarian restaurants there. The two of us had dinner at Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe that Friday night. The ayurvedic vegetarian eatery boasts an extensive menu with daily specials and an ever-changing bakery case. A lot of the items are not only vegetarian but are also vegan, can be made vegan, or are also gluten-free.
For dinner, I ordered the lentil-based Veggie Burger. 
I expected something spicy but the lentil patty ended up being 100% palatable and not frightening to someone with a low heat tolerance like myself. I particularly enjoyed the bun! Light and fluffy. I may have tasted a bit of potato starch or flour in there. It had a sweetness to it I found to be quite pleasurable.

Chris, meanwhile, ordered the South Indian Sampler.

The combo plate featured a savory pancake stuffed with vegetables, a soup with dumplings, and a savory doughnut.

Of course, she loved everything.

I adored my masala fries. They were the spiciest portion of my meal and even though I had difficulty fitting all of this food in my belly I made sure that I finished them. And yeah, I ordered dessert.
The last time I had pecan pie it had been made by my grandfather. I wasn’t really fond of it, but I wanted to give it another chance. After all, vegan and gluten-free pecan pie had to be different, right? Well, it was most definitely different than my grandfather’s but I can’t say my mind has been changed about this type of dessert. I enjoyed it, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. It’s a texture thing. The flavor was great; delicate cinnamon and spice filling covered the chewy pecans while the doughy gluten-free crusty supported everything without getting mushy. I ended up eating mostly just the pecans and the crust. Gooey filling just isn’t up my alley, I guess.
Chris indulged in a giant biscotti covered in chocolate. Now THAT was good. Also gluten-free. Soft and flavorful, definitely delicious.
I enjoyed the atmosphere the most. I mean, look at the light coming in through the window! The decor is exotic and inviting. Very soft music can be heard overhead. Outdoor seating is available, too. The deli style ordering is a bit of a challenge, especially if you want to add something on to your order. My advice is to make sure you order everything you may want when you get there so you won’t have to wait in line again for dessert, or for another drink.
We had originally wanted Annapurna’s to cater our wedding, but if all goes to plan I’m going to save a lot of money while being able to offer all of my guests food they’re more familiar with. We’ll see this weekend. At any rate, interested persons wishing to dine at Annapurna’s can do so at any of their three locations; two in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe. For hours and directions, visit www.chaishoppe.com.
If you’d like to read more about our weekend in Santa Fe scoping things our for our October wedding, take a look at this post here. You’ll get to see photos from our venue! If you’re interested in more vegan options in Santa Fe, you can also take a look at my Thai Vegan write-up

So this is super crazy, you guys, but it’s just over three months until my wedding! I cannot get over how close we’re getting, not to mention how much stuff the two of us still need to do before the big day. I am beside myself with giddiness, glee, and excitement. This weekend will be all about the food. Yes, I’m a crazy whackjob and am trying to devise a way to cater the thing myself. It’s not that unrealistic, okay? For starters, we’re expecting less than 30 people. It’s also going to take place midday. I’m also going to have lots of help from my family setting up, if push comes to shove. I’m all about getting my hands dirty in order to get things done. That’s actually how I have fun. But anyway! Fun times this weekend.
It’s been almost two months since Chris and I headed to Santa Fe to scope out our venue, catering options, and hotel. Of course, we were also excited to go on a mini-vacation. Vegans are no different about travel than anyone else, you know? I absolutely needed to visit the vegetarian restaurants there. The two of us had dinner at Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe that Friday night. The ayurvedic vegetarian eatery boasts an extensive menu with daily specials and an ever-changing bakery case. A lot of the items are not only vegetarian but are also vegan, can be made vegan, or are also gluten-free.
For dinner, I ordered the lentil-based Veggie Burger. 
I expected something spicy but the lentil patty ended up being 100% palatable and not frightening to someone with a low heat tolerance like myself. I particularly enjoyed the bun! Light and fluffy. I may have tasted a bit of potato starch or flour in there. It had a sweetness to it I found to be quite pleasurable.

Chris, meanwhile, ordered the South Indian Sampler.

The combo plate featured a savory pancake stuffed with vegetables, a soup with dumplings, and a savory doughnut.

Of course, she loved everything.

I adored my masala fries. They were the spiciest portion of my meal and even though I had difficulty fitting all of this food in my belly I made sure that I finished them. And yeah, I ordered dessert.
The last time I had pecan pie it had been made by my grandfather. I wasn’t really fond of it, but I wanted to give it another chance. After all, vegan and gluten-free pecan pie had to be different, right? Well, it was most definitely different than my grandfather’s but I can’t say my mind has been changed about this type of dessert. I enjoyed it, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. It’s a texture thing. The flavor was great; delicate cinnamon and spice filling covered the chewy pecans while the doughy gluten-free crusty supported everything without getting mushy. I ended up eating mostly just the pecans and the crust. Gooey filling just isn’t up my alley, I guess.
Chris indulged in a giant biscotti covered in chocolate. Now THAT was good. Also gluten-free. Soft and flavorful, definitely delicious.
I enjoyed the atmosphere the most. I mean, look at the light coming in through the window! The decor is exotic and inviting. Very soft music can be heard overhead. Outdoor seating is available, too. The deli style ordering is a bit of a challenge, especially if you want to add something on to your order. My advice is to make sure you order everything you may want when you get there so you won’t have to wait in line again for dessert, or for another drink.
We had originally wanted Annapurna’s to cater our wedding, but if all goes to plan I’m going to save a lot of money while being able to offer all of my guests food they’re more familiar with. We’ll see this weekend. At any rate, interested persons wishing to dine at Annapurna’s can do so at any of their three locations; two in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe. For hours and directions, visit www.chaishoppe.com.
If you’d like to read more about our weekend in Santa Fe scoping things our for our October wedding, take a look at this post here. You’ll get to see photos from our venue! If you’re interested in more vegan options in Santa Fe, you can also take a look at my Thai Vegan write-up

Oh, My! Tomato Pie!

When I first moved to Austin, Kerbey Lane Cafe was my favorite place to eat. I tried nearly every vegetarian thing on the menu. Then I went vegan, limiting my options a bit. Vegan pancakes and the breakfast platter became my usual picks. I have always been intrigued by their seasonal menus, which unfortunately don’t usually have vegan options. The highlight of the summer menu is their Tomato Pie. I have never tried it but have always been intrigued.

So I decided to make tomato pie at home.

For starters, I used the all-knowing master of knowledge, Google, to see if any copycat recipes had been shared for Kerbey Lane Tomato Pie. Surprise! The KLC blog posted a recipe themselves. How about that?

I have made two versions of this pie since discovering the recipe online. The photos are from the first attempt, which I felt worked the best.

I’m not really good with pie crust… I made a traditional pie crust from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook with regular flour and vegetable shortening. It was quite flaky and pleasant but it didn’t roll very well at all and barely came to the edge of my pie plate. But it looks pretty darned good, eh?

Of course I was pleased to discover how incredibly tasty tomato pie is. In fact, I loved it. And it didn’t really take that long to make, either. I typically shy away from dishes that require a lot of prep, but this baby was absolutely worth it. We were having seconds by 7:30.

The only challenge I really had was interpreting the instructions provided by the KLC blog. I’m not sure they’re accurate… Maybe it’s more like user error. Who’s to say? The original recipe called for four tomatoes. It didn’t specify which kind. It didn’t indicate what size pie crust or pan to use, either. So, perhaps my pie plate was a bit too small for the original recipe, though I don’t know how you could have fit that many tomatoes in a deep dish sized pie plate, either! Anyway, I used their recipe to inspire mine and I hope my version inspires you!

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe hothouse or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Salt, divided
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 20 minutes and liquid drained off
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1-2 tablespoons plain Vegenaise
Pre-made vegan 9-inch pie crust or your favorite recipe (see note)
Vegan Parmesan, optional
Kalamata olives and fresh basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
Note, the second time I made this dish I tried my hand at a whole grain crust. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/8 cup refined coconut oil, and 1/4 cup water. I mixed it in a food processor until crumbly, then added an additional 1/8 cup water until the dough became soft and stretchy. I rolled it out on a well-floured surface and then transferred to the pie plate. I poked the bottom with a fork a few times and then baked it at 400 degrees for 11 minutes, until it started to look golden. It was crisp on top and had an excellent flavor! Anyway, moving on.

Place your sliced tomatoes on a wire rack over the sink. Sprinkle them with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, then flip and repeat. You’re trying to drain out as much liquid from the tomatoes as possible! Don’t go too crazy with the salt, but sprinkle them evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the fresh basil and onions. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly squish the tofu with your hands until it resembles ricotta cheese. Add the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Vegenaise, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well with a fork or a wooden spoon.

When the tomatoes have sat long enough, press them each between two paper towels to remove additional liquid. Press firmly but don’t mutilate them! Then dice the tomatoes into small pieces.

If your pie crust isn’t pre-baked, bake it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. It should be light brown.

To assemble the pie, layer half of the onion and basil mixture on the bottom. Then add the diced tomatoes. Top with the remaining onion and basil mixture. Pour the tofu mixture (effectively, the tofu cheese) over it. Push down with your fingers or a fork to ensure the tofu is pressed well into every nook and cranny. If you’re using a smaller pie dish, like I did, you may have a little extra. If able, use a deep dish pan. If not, that’s okay. If you want to use the extra tofu in something else, go ahead. Be creative!

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with a nice layer of vegan Parmesan cheese. I used a homemade recipe from the Non-Dairy Formulary. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the Parmesan is nice and browned! If not using the Parmesan, bake for 45 minutes altogether.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with chopped olives and fresh basil. We ate ours with fresh green beans lightly sauteed in grapeseed oil and minced garlic!

Makes 4-6 servings. Depending on how much you love it. 😉

Dont’ forget to Pin It! Just click here to add it to your boards:
http://pinterest.com/pin/214624738467462343/

By the way, did you know that Tuesday is also known as Tofu Tuesday?? I have been sharing tofu recipes with readers via social networks where tofu is the main ingredient. If you’d like to join in on Twitter, click here to tweet about this recipe. Also be sure to check out some of my other tofu-centric dishes, like my Tofu Shawarma and Veganized Paula Deen Collard Greens (with tofu bacon bits).

When I first moved to Austin, Kerbey Lane Cafe was my favorite place to eat. I tried nearly every vegetarian thing on the menu. Then I went vegan, limiting my options a bit. Vegan pancakes and the breakfast platter became my usual picks. I have always been intrigued by their seasonal menus, which unfortunately don’t usually have vegan options. The highlight of the summer menu is their Tomato Pie. I have never tried it but have always been intrigued.

So I decided to make tomato pie at home.

For starters, I used the all-knowing master of knowledge, Google, to see if any copycat recipes had been shared for Kerbey Lane Tomato Pie. Surprise! The KLC blog posted a recipe themselves. How about that?

I have made two versions of this pie since discovering the recipe online. The photos are from the first attempt, which I felt worked the best.

I’m not really good with pie crust… I made a traditional pie crust from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook with regular flour and vegetable shortening. It was quite flaky and pleasant but it didn’t roll very well at all and barely came to the edge of my pie plate. But it looks pretty darned good, eh?

Of course I was pleased to discover how incredibly tasty tomato pie is. In fact, I loved it. And it didn’t really take that long to make, either. I typically shy away from dishes that require a lot of prep, but this baby was absolutely worth it. We were having seconds by 7:30.

The only challenge I really had was interpreting the instructions provided by the KLC blog. I’m not sure they’re accurate… Maybe it’s more like user error. Who’s to say? The original recipe called for four tomatoes. It didn’t specify which kind. It didn’t indicate what size pie crust or pan to use, either. So, perhaps my pie plate was a bit too small for the original recipe, though I don’t know how you could have fit that many tomatoes in a deep dish sized pie plate, either! Anyway, I used their recipe to inspire mine and I hope my version inspires you!

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe hothouse or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Salt, divided
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 20 minutes and liquid drained off
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1-2 tablespoons plain Vegenaise
Pre-made vegan 9-inch pie crust or your favorite recipe (see note)
Vegan Parmesan, optional
Kalamata olives and fresh basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
Note, the second time I made this dish I tried my hand at a whole grain crust. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/8 cup refined coconut oil, and 1/4 cup water. I mixed it in a food processor until crumbly, then added an additional 1/8 cup water until the dough became soft and stretchy. I rolled it out on a well-floured surface and then transferred to the pie plate. I poked the bottom with a fork a few times and then baked it at 400 degrees for 11 minutes, until it started to look golden. It was crisp on top and had an excellent flavor! Anyway, moving on.

Place your sliced tomatoes on a wire rack over the sink. Sprinkle them with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, then flip and repeat. You’re trying to drain out as much liquid from the tomatoes as possible! Don’t go too crazy with the salt, but sprinkle them evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the fresh basil and onions. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly squish the tofu with your hands until it resembles ricotta cheese. Add the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Vegenaise, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well with a fork or a wooden spoon.

When the tomatoes have sat long enough, press them each between two paper towels to remove additional liquid. Press firmly but don’t mutilate them! Then dice the tomatoes into small pieces.

If your pie crust isn’t pre-baked, bake it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. It should be light brown.

To assemble the pie, layer half of the onion and basil mixture on the bottom. Then add the diced tomatoes. Top with the remaining onion and basil mixture. Pour the tofu mixture (effectively, the tofu cheese) over it. Push down with your fingers or a fork to ensure the tofu is pressed well into every nook and cranny. If you’re using a smaller pie dish, like I did, you may have a little extra. If able, use a deep dish pan. If not, that’s okay. If you want to use the extra tofu in something else, go ahead. Be creative!

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with a nice layer of vegan Parmesan cheese. I used a homemade recipe from the Non-Dairy Formulary. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the Parmesan is nice and browned! If not using the Parmesan, bake for 45 minutes altogether.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with chopped olives and fresh basil. We ate ours with fresh green beans lightly sauteed in grapeseed oil and minced garlic!

Makes 4-6 servings. Depending on how much you love it. 😉

Dont’ forget to Pin It! Just click here to add it to your boards:
http://pinterest.com/pin/214624738467462343/

By the way, did you know that Tuesday is also known as Tofu Tuesday?? I have been sharing tofu recipes with readers via social networks where tofu is the main ingredient. If you’d like to join in on Twitter, click here to tweet about this recipe. Also be sure to check out some of my other tofu-centric dishes, like my Tofu Shawarma and Veganized Paula Deen Collard Greens (with tofu bacon bits).

Three Months Left…

Well, we passed the three month countdown until our wedding day. It really does not feel like October 12th will be here in about 2.5 months. Chris and I have been so busy with things here that it has been very difficult devoting time to wedding planning. She has been especially distracted by work. Life in Texas has gotten rather complicated for us recently. In fact, the two of us have spent a lot of trying to figure out if we could afford to purchase a foreclosure house in rural northern New Hampshire on our current budget. One of the reasons we moved to Texas instead of New Hampshire after leaving West Virginia was because the cost of living here was so much lower than it was up there. Now it seems to be the same, even the reverse in some cases. It may not end up being better for us and/or our finances, but we’ll take more comfort in knowing we have family very close by if we need help. The price on the home we were looking at went down by 16% recently. I am having my mother (a real estate agent!) take a look at it for us sometime this week.

My bridal ring set.

In the meantime, the crunch is really on now (for the wedding) and I’ve been trying to focus on all of the things we need to do. We’ve got most of the basics covered; the venue, officiant, hotel, my attire, and rings. We’re trying to accomplish a few things while we’re planning. While we want our wedding to be special we don’t want it to cost a fortune nor do we want it to be terrible for the environment. We’ve ordered custom printed napkins and paper plates and straws. We’ll be buying compostable plastic cups and bamboo cutlery to use while we’re there. We bought non-diamond rings from a southwestern artist/designer. And we’ll be having vegan food. The majority of it will be purchased from Whole Foods, mains, sides, salads, and potentially the cake. I’ll also be making sweet treats like cookies and puffed rice treats for a candy/dessert buffet. That is the thing I am most excited about! I am ready and rearin’ to order the candy from an online natural candy website but due to it being July I figured I should hold off for fear or the chocolate melting in the mail…

Because the two of us are quirky, Chris and I are coming up with some unique activities to make the day more memorable. She’s learning how to DJ and we’ll be having a dance contest for our guests. One of them will win a trophy. Also, I’ve printed “Wed Libs” to entertain everyone for at least a few minutes. And because we can’t afford a photographer I have made a photo scavenger hunt game, too. This will also help us make sure we have photos of everything, in case we’re too busy and forget to photograph something ourselves. And if that isn’t enough things for me to craft, I am going to erect a DIY photo booth with forest themed backdrop and masks for everyone to play with!

Yesterday we went over the venue layout and determined where everything would be positioned. We also planned out the order of the day and determined how the ceremony will go. Like many same-sex couples we have decided not to include anyone else in the actual ceremony. While I asked my brother to be my Best Man, Chris’s sister, her Best Man equivalent, is no longer coming and we were at a loss to come up with an alternative. So it’ll just be the two of us and the officiant for now.

Our wardrobes still need completion. We ordered a suit for Chris from an online retailer based in India. No word on the progress! Hopefully it won’t take too long. We both need shoes and accessories, though. But it seems like right now most of what needs to be done is to purchase things. Hooray! Oh, except for one very important thing.

I CANNOT DANCE TO SAVE MY LIFE.

In fact, I dance like a grandpa.

Any recommendations on good instructional videos would be appreciated!

Over the next two months I will be sharing with you all photos of my many various craft projects currently underway. Right now I am assembling a three tier dessert tray. I bought it at Hobby Lobby many months ago and am redecorating it to match our forest theme. That involves covering it in wood grain scrapbook paper and adorning it with artificial moss, flowers, critters, etc. This will be used for desserts. And I’ll have to create owl or fox or little deer cake toppers if Whole Foods can, in fact, provide us with a vegan cake.

At some point throughout this process I’ll try to remember to give you some recipes. Can’t make any promises, though 🙂

Thanks for reading! Y’all are the best!

Well, we passed the three month countdown until our wedding day. It really does not feel like October 12th will be here in about 2.5 months. Chris and I have been so busy with things here that it has been very difficult devoting time to wedding planning. She has been especially distracted by work. Life in Texas has gotten rather complicated for us recently. In fact, the two of us have spent a lot of trying to figure out if we could afford to purchase a foreclosure house in rural northern New Hampshire on our current budget. One of the reasons we moved to Texas instead of New Hampshire after leaving West Virginia was because the cost of living here was so much lower than it was up there. Now it seems to be the same, even the reverse in some cases. It may not end up being better for us and/or our finances, but we’ll take more comfort in knowing we have family very close by if we need help. The price on the home we were looking at went down by 16% recently. I am having my mother (a real estate agent!) take a look at it for us sometime this week.

My bridal ring set.

In the meantime, the crunch is really on now (for the wedding) and I’ve been trying to focus on all of the things we need to do. We’ve got most of the basics covered; the venue, officiant, hotel, my attire, and rings. We’re trying to accomplish a few things while we’re planning. While we want our wedding to be special we don’t want it to cost a fortune nor do we want it to be terrible for the environment. We’ve ordered custom printed napkins and paper plates and straws. We’ll be buying compostable plastic cups and bamboo cutlery to use while we’re there. We bought non-diamond rings from a southwestern artist/designer. And we’ll be having vegan food. The majority of it will be purchased from Whole Foods, mains, sides, salads, and potentially the cake. I’ll also be making sweet treats like cookies and puffed rice treats for a candy/dessert buffet. That is the thing I am most excited about! I am ready and rearin’ to order the candy from an online natural candy website but due to it being July I figured I should hold off for fear or the chocolate melting in the mail…

Because the two of us are quirky, Chris and I are coming up with some unique activities to make the day more memorable. She’s learning how to DJ and we’ll be having a dance contest for our guests. One of them will win a trophy. Also, I’ve printed “Wed Libs” to entertain everyone for at least a few minutes. And because we can’t afford a photographer I have made a photo scavenger hunt game, too. This will also help us make sure we have photos of everything, in case we’re too busy and forget to photograph something ourselves. And if that isn’t enough things for me to craft, I am going to erect a DIY photo booth with forest themed backdrop and masks for everyone to play with!

Yesterday we went over the venue layout and determined where everything would be positioned. We also planned out the order of the day and determined how the ceremony will go. Like many same-sex couples we have decided not to include anyone else in the actual ceremony. While I asked my brother to be my Best Man, Chris’s sister, her Best Man equivalent, is no longer coming and we were at a loss to come up with an alternative. So it’ll just be the two of us and the officiant for now.

Our wardrobes still need completion. We ordered a suit for Chris from an online retailer based in India. No word on the progress! Hopefully it won’t take too long. We both need shoes and accessories, though. But it seems like right now most of what needs to be done is to purchase things. Hooray! Oh, except for one very important thing.

I CANNOT DANCE TO SAVE MY LIFE.

In fact, I dance like a grandpa.

Any recommendations on good instructional videos would be appreciated!

Over the next two months I will be sharing with you all photos of my many various craft projects currently underway. Right now I am assembling a three tier dessert tray. I bought it at Hobby Lobby many months ago and am redecorating it to match our forest theme. That involves covering it in wood grain scrapbook paper and adorning it with artificial moss, flowers, critters, etc. This will be used for desserts. And I’ll have to create owl or fox or little deer cake toppers if Whole Foods can, in fact, provide us with a vegan cake.

At some point throughout this process I’ll try to remember to give you some recipes. Can’t make any promises, though 🙂

Thanks for reading! Y’all are the best!

Taking A Break (At Enchanted Rock)

Never before have I understood why there are such things as wedding planners.

The past couple of months have been absolutely full of wedding planning, shopping, and scheming. And we’re still not done with everything. It’s less than one month now, people, and we’re definitely feeling the pressure.

Which is why we packed up our bags Saturday morning and hit the road toward Fredericksburg.

Chris decided that all she wanted for her birthday was a tent. She’s a big astronomy nerd and she has about reached the maximum of what she can see in the city with her telescope. The light pollution is just so terrible in Austin. Our hope was to spend some time stargazing at Enchanted Rock this weekend, but as the clouds rolled in and the chance of rain increased we realized that would not be part of our trip.

We did, however, go anyway.

The two of us started our day by puttering her Volkswagen up to the dealership. Even though the car had been there a few days before, it had started making a rattling noise inside the engine and definitely needed to be looked at. Chris has been struggling with cars for the past couple of years. Her baby, a 1998 Mustang, finally reached a point beyond repair last year. We traded her in for the VW. The price was right. But apparently that was because there were a bunch of things wrong with it. We’ve got $1700 left to pay on it, but depending on how the car does at the dealership we may be about to part ways. Yes, it is that bad. We won’t know until Tuesday (hopefully). Until then we’ll be getting practise as a one car family.

We hit up HEB afterward in order to procure camping supplies and groceries for the rest of the week. Home was next. We loaded the car, grabbed the poodle, and headed to REI for a lantern. And then, we were off!

Just as the rain started coming down!

Like in most instances, the weatherman was off in his estimate of when the rain would cease. The two of us scrambled to assemble the tent between showers once we arrived. Rather difficult without any practise, you know! When finally in a tent-like shape, the three of us huddled inside waiting for the drops to subside. They finally did, around dinnertime.

The two of us grilled a couple of zucchini and a bunch of vegan hot dogs. We happily ate them while we grilled a pineapple for dessert. It was at this point that Rusty made it quite clear that he did not enjoy camping. He either sat or stood and watched us quizzically as if asking us what on Earth we were doing, eating outside, sitting outside, doing nothing outside?? Who were all these people he could hear and not see?? Why was it so cold? And so forth. Eventually, he wound up in Chris’s lap and fell asleep. Then, the two of us humans read until the sun began to set and then played an easier version of 20 questions in the dark.

Sleeping was troublesome. A large church group with many, many teenagers remained loud into the night. We also had neighbors close to us chopping wood very late and shouting swear words for no apparent reason. Oh, and the cement under the tent? Extremely uncomfortable. I awoke every few hours out of pain and had to turn over. Tent pad in our future? I think, yes.

We took turns eating granola and drinking cold brew coffee for breakfast. We loaded the car and drove to the Enchanted Rock trail.

I very much enjoyed photographing the local flora and fauna. Most visitors seemed to as well. There were, in fact, many, many visitors today. Enchanted Rock is so popular they sometimes have to close for a couple of hours to prevent there being too many people on the site itself.

It took us awhile to reach the top. Chris is still suffering from a foot injury she obtained while training for her 5k. She did a great, job, though, and so did our adventure poodle. Mr. Rusty enjoyed hiking a lot more than he enjoyed camping, that’s for sure.

Now that looks fun to climb, no?
Considering the time of year, the rain really was a good thing. Otherwise the heat would have been oppressive and neither of us would have wanted to climb the Rock at all. Even with it being cooler the humidity made for a challenge.

It’s almost like being on the top of Texas. Hahaha.

And at this hour in one month we will be wife and wife. Now that’s one adventure I’m really looking forward to!

Until next time!

Never before have I understood why there are such things as wedding planners.

The past couple of months have been absolutely full of wedding planning, shopping, and scheming. And we’re still not done with everything. It’s less than one month now, people, and we’re definitely feeling the pressure.

Which is why we packed up our bags Saturday morning and hit the road toward Fredericksburg.

Chris decided that all she wanted for her birthday was a tent. She’s a big astronomy nerd and she has about reached the maximum of what she can see in the city with her telescope. The light pollution is just so terrible in Austin. Our hope was to spend some time stargazing at Enchanted Rock this weekend, but as the clouds rolled in and the chance of rain increased we realized that would not be part of our trip.

We did, however, go anyway.

The two of us started our day by puttering her Volkswagen up to the dealership. Even though the car had been there a few days before, it had started making a rattling noise inside the engine and definitely needed to be looked at. Chris has been struggling with cars for the past couple of years. Her baby, a 1998 Mustang, finally reached a point beyond repair last year. We traded her in for the VW. The price was right. But apparently that was because there were a bunch of things wrong with it. We’ve got $1700 left to pay on it, but depending on how the car does at the dealership we may be about to part ways. Yes, it is that bad. We won’t know until Tuesday (hopefully). Until then we’ll be getting practise as a one car family.

We hit up HEB afterward in order to procure camping supplies and groceries for the rest of the week. Home was next. We loaded the car, grabbed the poodle, and headed to REI for a lantern. And then, we were off!

Just as the rain started coming down!

Like in most instances, the weatherman was off in his estimate of when the rain would cease. The two of us scrambled to assemble the tent between showers once we arrived. Rather difficult without any practise, you know! When finally in a tent-like shape, the three of us huddled inside waiting for the drops to subside. They finally did, around dinnertime.

The two of us grilled a couple of zucchini and a bunch of vegan hot dogs. We happily ate them while we grilled a pineapple for dessert. It was at this point that Rusty made it quite clear that he did not enjoy camping. He either sat or stood and watched us quizzically as if asking us what on Earth we were doing, eating outside, sitting outside, doing nothing outside?? Who were all these people he could hear and not see?? Why was it so cold? And so forth. Eventually, he wound up in Chris’s lap and fell asleep. Then, the two of us humans read until the sun began to set and then played an easier version of 20 questions in the dark.

Sleeping was troublesome. A large church group with many, many teenagers remained loud into the night. We also had neighbors close to us chopping wood very late and shouting swear words for no apparent reason. Oh, and the cement under the tent? Extremely uncomfortable. I awoke every few hours out of pain and had to turn over. Tent pad in our future? I think, yes.

We took turns eating granola and drinking cold brew coffee for breakfast. We loaded the car and drove to the Enchanted Rock trail.

I very much enjoyed photographing the local flora and fauna. Most visitors seemed to as well. There were, in fact, many, many visitors today. Enchanted Rock is so popular they sometimes have to close for a couple of hours to prevent there being too many people on the site itself.

It took us awhile to reach the top. Chris is still suffering from a foot injury she obtained while training for her 5k. She did a great, job, though, and so did our adventure poodle. Mr. Rusty enjoyed hiking a lot more than he enjoyed camping, that’s for sure.

Now that looks fun to climb, no?
Considering the time of year, the rain really was a good thing. Otherwise the heat would have been oppressive and neither of us would have wanted to climb the Rock at all. Even with it being cooler the humidity made for a challenge.

It’s almost like being on the top of Texas. Hahaha.

And at this hour in one month we will be wife and wife. Now that’s one adventure I’m really looking forward to!

Until next time!

Herbie of the Week: Lisa G (She no longer has eczema or acne and she finally got off the weight-loss rollercoaster!)

Herbie of the Week: Lisa G!

She suffered from acne and eczema for years, never making the connection to diet. After years of eating a vegetarian diet, she finally decided to go plant-based and got over her cheese addiction and fear of protein deficiency.

With the help of the Meal Mentor she has discovered amazing health benefits she never expected including clear skin, easy weight loss, and a more youthful appearance!

Here’s Lisa’s story in her own words…

I first decided to give up meat in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I committed to being vegan. It has been a journey and evolution for me!

Now that I live a totally plant-based lifestyle, I can’t believe I didn’t choose this earlier. I love the way I look and feel, and it has become one of my biggest passions. I also love the food and feel totally satisfied!

When I moved to San Francisco after graduate school in 2005, I finally decided it was time to try a vegetarian lifestyle. SF is such a “veggie-friendly” city and I had wanted to try it for years. I was always afraid that it would be too hard or I “wouldn’t get enough protein,” which is such a common fear when people start a plant-based diet.

Technically, back then I was an ovolactopescatarian, meaning that I ate fish, dairy and eggs, but no other meat. I quickly discovered that there were so many delicious plant-based protein sources that replaced the chicken I used to cook often. I didn’t miss beef at all, because I had always thought about the cow when eating a burger, even as a little girl. It was pretty easy for me to give up red meat.

Without meat in my diet I felt better, and I felt like I was honoring the animals. I still had to really work at it to maintain my figure, however, and inevitably over the winter months I’d gain 20 pounds or so just from eating more “comfort foods.” I was a big fan of cheese and anything including cheese: pizza, mac & cheese, parmesan on pasta, etc.

I struggled with some skin problems, including mild acne and eczema. I didn’t make the connection to my diet, and figured I was just cursed with bad skin genes! I wish I had known then how much my skin would clear up by giving up dairy – acne is not even an issue at all ever anymore!

I just accepted it that I had to work hard every spring to get myself back into shape for the summer. I figured it was that way for everyone!

Now, all these years later, going vegan has been a miracle. I flirted with it for many years, because my best friend was a vegan and an outstanding cook! We even ate an entirely raw vegan diet two years in a row for Lent!

But I would always tell myself that I “couldn’t be vegan” because of cheese. I was addicted to it, as many people are! Because it is addictive – although most people don’t realize that. I would always go back to eating dairy and eggs and sometimes fish.

For some reason in 2015 I finally decided that it was time. Once again I adopted a plant-based diet for Lent, but I was loving it so much and feeling so good that I decided just to keep eating a vegan diet!

I was lucky enough a few years ago to stumble onto the Happy Herbivore website, and Lindsay was a featured guest on a life coaching program that I conducted in 2012 called the 100-Day Extraordinary Woman Challenge. She was amazing! I loved her energy and inspirational story.

And of course I love the recipes! I am now a Meal Mentor member and am so thankful that Lindsay makes being vegan so easy. I still believed it was going to be incredibly hard, and that I might not get enough protein. The myth of “not enough protein” is so indoctrinated into us by society!

But the vegan meals I eat have plenty of protein, and I feel healthy, happy and energized. I’ve dropped the extra weight I had gained last winter just through eating vegan! I wouldn’t have thought just giving up dairy and eggs would make such a huge difference, but it really has.

I feel good every single day knowing that my diet is the best possible choice I can make for Mother Earth. I also know that it is of course the best thing I can do for the animals. AND I feel happier, healthier and sexier as a result!

I still get carded even though I am 44 years young, and I get asked out by men in their 20s. I swear that eating a plant-based diet has a lot to do with my youthful looks! I no longer suffer from acne at all. It’s totally a thing of the past! Instead my skin is clear. And it glows! Vegan people really do glow. 😉

Thank you so much Lisa for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

Don’t miss our next Herbie of the Week story. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

Herbie of the Week: Lisa G!

She suffered from acne and eczema for years, never making the connection to diet. After years of eating a vegetarian diet, she finally decided to go plant-based and got over her cheese addiction and fear of protein deficiency.

With the help of the Meal Mentor she has discovered amazing health benefits she never expected including clear skin, easy weight loss, and a more youthful appearance!

Here’s Lisa’s story in her own words…

I first decided to give up meat in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I committed to being vegan. It has been a journey and evolution for me!

Now that I live a totally plant-based lifestyle, I can’t believe I didn’t choose this earlier. I love the way I look and feel, and it has become one of my biggest passions. I also love the food and feel totally satisfied!

When I moved to San Francisco after graduate school in 2005, I finally decided it was time to try a vegetarian lifestyle. SF is such a “veggie-friendly” city and I had wanted to try it for years. I was always afraid that it would be too hard or I “wouldn’t get enough protein,” which is such a common fear when people start a plant-based diet.

Technically, back then I was an ovolactopescatarian, meaning that I ate fish, dairy and eggs, but no other meat. I quickly discovered that there were so many delicious plant-based protein sources that replaced the chicken I used to cook often. I didn’t miss beef at all, because I had always thought about the cow when eating a burger, even as a little girl. It was pretty easy for me to give up red meat.

Without meat in my diet I felt better, and I felt like I was honoring the animals. I still had to really work at it to maintain my figure, however, and inevitably over the winter months I’d gain 20 pounds or so just from eating more “comfort foods.” I was a big fan of cheese and anything including cheese: pizza, mac & cheese, parmesan on pasta, etc.

I struggled with some skin problems, including mild acne and eczema. I didn’t make the connection to my diet, and figured I was just cursed with bad skin genes! I wish I had known then how much my skin would clear up by giving up dairy – acne is not even an issue at all ever anymore!

I just accepted it that I had to work hard every spring to get myself back into shape for the summer. I figured it was that way for everyone!

Now, all these years later, going vegan has been a miracle. I flirted with it for many years, because my best friend was a vegan and an outstanding cook! We even ate an entirely raw vegan diet two years in a row for Lent!

But I would always tell myself that I “couldn’t be vegan” because of cheese. I was addicted to it, as many people are! Because it is addictive – although most people don’t realize that. I would always go back to eating dairy and eggs and sometimes fish.

For some reason in 2015 I finally decided that it was time. Once again I adopted a plant-based diet for Lent, but I was loving it so much and feeling so good that I decided just to keep eating a vegan diet!

I was lucky enough a few years ago to stumble onto the Happy Herbivore website, and Lindsay was a featured guest on a life coaching program that I conducted in 2012 called the 100-Day Extraordinary Woman Challenge. She was amazing! I loved her energy and inspirational story.

And of course I love the recipes! I am now a Meal Mentor member and am so thankful that Lindsay makes being vegan so easy. I still believed it was going to be incredibly hard, and that I might not get enough protein. The myth of “not enough protein” is so indoctrinated into us by society!

But the vegan meals I eat have plenty of protein, and I feel healthy, happy and energized. I’ve dropped the extra weight I had gained last winter just through eating vegan! I wouldn’t have thought just giving up dairy and eggs would make such a huge difference, but it really has.

I feel good every single day knowing that my diet is the best possible choice I can make for Mother Earth. I also know that it is of course the best thing I can do for the animals. AND I feel happier, healthier and sexier as a result!

I still get carded even though I am 44 years young, and I get asked out by men in their 20s. I swear that eating a plant-based diet has a lot to do with my youthful looks! I no longer suffer from acne at all. It’s totally a thing of the past! Instead my skin is clear. And it glows! Vegan people really do glow. 😉

Thank you so much Lisa for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

Don’t miss our next Herbie of the Week story. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

Oh, My, Wedding

Have I ever learned the value of hiring a wedding planner!

As our pending nuptials draw near, I am more and more grateful that I have found the love of my life and that we are only going to get married once. There are so many things still left to be done, even though my last two weekends have been spent almost entirely devoted to “the wedding.”

A couple of weeks ago, some coworkers and I celebrated my impending nuptials by going to Painting With A Twist. We fittingly painted sugar skulls wearing bridal ecoutremant. Take a looksie.

This is my finished painting. I smudged it at the top of the skull by accident. Oops! One of my coworkers was generous enough to paint hers to match and she gave it to me as her wedding gift. It’s not identical, but we did both paint the Star Trek symbol in the center of the skull. Not our idea, lol, the instructor threw it out there during the tutorial. We both gasped and got all over that.
Here’s hers.
The two of them are gazing fondly at one another above my entertainment center now. 
Everything for the wedding has officially been taken care of. Phew! Oh, except I’m being a major bridezilla regarding my apparel. I just can’t seem to get it the way I want it. Today I’m heading to the craft store after work to get some glass pearls for jewelry and will hopefully be making something heftier than the oak leaf and vintage brass jewelry I ordered from Etsy. I just don’t feel like it matches anymore.
I abandoned the handmade photo booth after failing at my attempts to create woodland creature masks. I ordered supplies from Oriental Trading again, which is where I ordered our plates and custom napkins.

Loading

Soon!

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I think it looks pretty stellar. 
We’ve ordered three dishes from Whole Foods; wraps, pasta salad, and quinoa salad. We’ll also be getting green salad ingredients, chips and salsa, and maybe bread and hummus. We also ordered a lemon raspberry cake from Treehouse Pastry Shop in Santa Fe. I am most excited about that, lol.
I placed my order for candy through Natural Candy Shop online and was pleased with everything that came. It will be the perfect amount of candy for our 23 guests. I’ll also be making peanut butter rice crispy treats which will be served on a 3-tier dessert tray I crafted from rough cut wood and glass candlesticks.
Our Honeyfund is still not 100% funded, but we’ve garnered enough support to have a perfectly wonderful honeymoon.
I’m excited to share photos from the “big day” and from the honeymoon! Next week! Bye!

Have I ever learned the value of hiring a wedding planner!

As our pending nuptials draw near, I am more and more grateful that I have found the love of my life and that we are only going to get married once. There are so many things still left to be done, even though my last two weekends have been spent almost entirely devoted to “the wedding.”

A couple of weeks ago, some coworkers and I celebrated my impending nuptials by going to Painting With A Twist. We fittingly painted sugar skulls wearing bridal ecoutremant. Take a looksie.

This is my finished painting. I smudged it at the top of the skull by accident. Oops! One of my coworkers was generous enough to paint hers to match and she gave it to me as her wedding gift. It’s not identical, but we did both paint the Star Trek symbol in the center of the skull. Not our idea, lol, the instructor threw it out there during the tutorial. We both gasped and got all over that.
Here’s hers.
The two of them are gazing fondly at one another above my entertainment center now. 
Everything for the wedding has officially been taken care of. Phew! Oh, except I’m being a major bridezilla regarding my apparel. I just can’t seem to get it the way I want it. Today I’m heading to the craft store after work to get some glass pearls for jewelry and will hopefully be making something heftier than the oak leaf and vintage brass jewelry I ordered from Etsy. I just don’t feel like it matches anymore.
I abandoned the handmade photo booth after failing at my attempts to create woodland creature masks. I ordered supplies from Oriental Trading again, which is where I ordered our plates and custom napkins.

Loading

Soon!

@-webkit-keyframes”dkaXkpbBxI”{ 0%{opacity:0.5;} 50%{opacity:1;} 100%{opacity:0.5;} } @keyframes”dkaXkpbBxI”{ 0%{opacity:0.5;} 50%{opacity:1;} 100%{opacity:0.5;} }

I think it looks pretty stellar. 
We’ve ordered three dishes from Whole Foods; wraps, pasta salad, and quinoa salad. We’ll also be getting green salad ingredients, chips and salsa, and maybe bread and hummus. We also ordered a lemon raspberry cake from Treehouse Pastry Shop in Santa Fe. I am most excited about that, lol.
I placed my order for candy through Natural Candy Shop online and was pleased with everything that came. It will be the perfect amount of candy for our 23 guests. I’ll also be making peanut butter rice crispy treats which will be served on a 3-tier dessert tray I crafted from rough cut wood and glass candlesticks.
Our Honeyfund is still not 100% funded, but we’ve garnered enough support to have a perfectly wonderful honeymoon.
I’m excited to share photos from the “big day” and from the honeymoon! Next week! Bye!

Thai Hummus Pizzas , Springtime Pasta Primavera, French Toast Nachos, Sloppy Srirachies & more!

Are you looking for LESS work in the kitchen…but don’t want to sacrifice nutrition?

This week’s meal plan is ULTRA Fast with MINIMAL prep work.

Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!), Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!), French Toast Nachos (NEW!), Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!) and 4 more recipes come together in 15 minute or LESS!

Thai Hummus Pizza

Individual Highlights

  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus (NEW!)
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Ultimate Strawberry Salad
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Brazilian (Mango & Lime) Rice
  • French Toast Nachos (NEW!)

Make it easy on yourself this summer and join Meal Mentor!

Sloppy Srirachies

Family Highlights

  • Caponata Polenta Stacks (NEW!)
  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Big Banana Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Springtime Pasta Primavera (NEW!)
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)

Enjoy more play and less cooking with the meal plans!

Caponata Polenta Stacks

Testimonials

I love the meal plans! Has really changed our spending, no extraneous grocery expenses, lots of savings, not wasting food the way we did previously. Well worth it! More time with my family.“- Ashley B

“The meal plans make cooking so easy so you have more time to enjoy life, plus knowing in the back of your mind you are being good to your body so life is more enjoyable!!”- Angela E

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Are you looking for LESS work in the kitchen…but don’t want to sacrifice nutrition?

This week’s meal plan is ULTRA Fast with MINIMAL prep work.

Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!), Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!), French Toast Nachos (NEW!), Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!) and 4 more recipes come together in 15 minute or LESS!

Thai Hummus Pizza

Individual Highlights

  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus (NEW!)
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Ultimate Strawberry Salad
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Brazilian (Mango & Lime) Rice
  • French Toast Nachos (NEW!)

Make it easy on yourself this summer and join Meal Mentor!

Sloppy Srirachies

Family Highlights

  • Caponata Polenta Stacks (NEW!)
  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Big Banana Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Springtime Pasta Primavera (NEW!)
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)

Enjoy more play and less cooking with the meal plans!

Caponata Polenta Stacks

Testimonials

I love the meal plans! Has really changed our spending, no extraneous grocery expenses, lots of savings, not wasting food the way we did previously. Well worth it! More time with my family.“- Ashley B

“The meal plans make cooking so easy so you have more time to enjoy life, plus knowing in the back of your mind you are being good to your body so life is more enjoyable!!”- Angela E

Get these recipes delivered to your inbox NOW!