Hot on the heels of her first cookbook release, blogger and healthy-living diva extraordinaire, Lindsay S. Nixon, is embarking on a virtual vegan blog tour. How very modern and environmentally conscious, no? Like me, Lindsay eschews processed oils and animal products in favour of whole and wholesome vegan food. If you have yet to discover the Happy Herbivore, please have a look at her inspirational blog and cookbook.
Check out Lindsay’s Official Biography..right under this sentence…go on…now!
Lindsay S. Nixon is a rising star in the culinary world, praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious. Lindsay’s recipes have been featured in Vegetarian Times, Women’s Health Magazine and on The Huffington Post. Lindsay is also a consulting chef at La Samanna, a luxury resort and four-star restaurant in the French West Indies. You can learn more about Lindsay and sample some of her recipes at happyherbivore.com
Now, check out my interview with Lindsay. It is located under these words, not unlike the way the other stuff was located under the previous words.
RYANN: I adopted a fat free, vegan diet in my teens. Now, three kids and 14 years later, I’m still going strong. How do you deal with the people who insist a diet like ours is inherently unhealthy?
LINDSAY: First off, that is AWESOME! and second I’ve come to accept that anyone who is really critical of my diet is most likely battling a food addiction (sometimes not even aware they have one). Any time someone has put me down, or insulted my way of life, it’s to make themselves feel better.
RYANN: Was it difficult to find a publisher, given the fact that this diet is still considered by many to be unorthodox?
LINDSAY: I like to think we found each other. I was just beginning to look into the possibility of writing my cookbook when my publisher came into my life haphazardly. As it turns out, they’d wanted to do a vegan cookbook that follows the dietary guidelines in another one of their books, The China Study, for a while but hadn’t found the right author… then they met me by happy accident and the rest is history.
It is really a story of being in the right place, at the right time.
RYANN: Where do you find inspiration for creating your recipes?
LINDSAY: It’s a mix of trying to recreate foods I used to eat that were either not vegan or maybe not so healthy, responding to requests and suggestions by fans and being moved by an ingredient. For example, I spent all day playing with chickpea flour because I think it’s a great flour that’s often overlooked… or with my last cookbook, I noticed I had no recipes for kidney beans so I set out to make one and ended up with Rajma Masala, one of my favorite recipes.
[EDITOR'S NOTE]: Chickpea flour is super awesome. Go buy some. We’ll talk later.
RYANN: I am just finishing a month long, 100% locally grown and produced food challenge. Where I live (on Vancouver Island, BC), locally grown vegan protein sources are almost impossible to find. Considering what has just happened in Japan, how do you feel about food security issues and the sustainability of a balanced vegan diet?
LINDSAY: [When you say] ”locally grown protein sources are almost impossible to find,” I find this unlikely — there are not locally grown greens like spinach? Protein is in every food we eat, and some vegetables have a surprising amount of protein. I have a friend who is allergic to all nuts, soy and has trouble digesting legumes. She’s vegan, and meets her daily requirements for protein by eating greens, grains, fruits. (She’s also an athlete!) It may require a little thinking outside of the box, and it may not be the most convenient, but it’s certainly possible. Eating a whole foods vegan diet is the most sustainable we can eat, adding in locally sourced foods, and you’re really doing the earth a favor.
I also think there are many facets to “sustainability” — it’s more than just thinking about the land, we have to think about nourishing people, too. We can yield more food per acre in terms of veggies vs.meat. So meat may be more local for some people, but the grains to feed that animal were brought in from somewhere not local, and that grain could have also been fed to a person… it’s a really interwoven system. I believe (and the numbers agree) we can feed the most people, and be the most eco-friendly, by eating vegan, and sourcing locally as much as possible.
I’m a huge proponent of growing your own food as well. I had a nice crop in my tiny NYC urban garden.
[EDITOR'S NOTE] If you are in the Victoria, BC area and concerned about Vancouver Island’s arable land-use, please consider attending “Food or Lawns” this Friday, March 25th, at UVic.
RYANN: Speaking of local food, can you tell us about some of the local goodies you get/got to experience while living in St. Maartin?
LINDSAY: St. Maarten is one of the few islands in the Caribbean that doesn’t grow anything (well except arrowroot, which I discount because its not really “food”). There is a neighboring island that does the bulk of growing for all the islands here in the Western Caribbean — and its brought over (a lot of stuff is also flown in from Miami or South America). Yucca, mangoes, coconuts, papayas, and some other fruits, do grow wild here, and in abundance. I can’t even begin to express how much tastier wild fruit is. We also have a different kind of sweet potato here in the Caribbean — its pinkish purple on the outside with a white interior (but tastes like a yam) and it’s delicious. I’ll really miss these potatoes when our time here is up. We also have real cinnamon (most cinnamon in the US is actually cassia) and I’ll be taking that back with me by the boatload!
RYANN: If you could only eat one meal, over and over again, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
LINDSAY: Mashed potatoes and gravy.
[EDITOR'S NOTE]: Mine would be rice and dahl, which is why I’m being a big baby about the whole lack of local vegan protein on Vancouver Island thing. Check out Lindsay’s recipe for my forever food at the end of this post!
RYANN: Is the idea of coming up with enough recipes to fill two more books daunting?
LINDSAY: Oh yes, absolutely! I’m going to travel extensively after the second book, to get ideas for the third. I’m really looking forward to it!
So, there you have it people. Thanks so much to Lindsay S. Nixon for her time and best of luck on your culinary travels. Can’t wait to see what’s next!
Happy Herbivore’s Red Lentil Dal
Dals are essentially thick stews made with lentils and traditional Indian spices. This dal is easy, delicious and cheap. Make it once and it will never leave your regular rotation, I promise.
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 c dried red lentils
2 c vegetable broth
1 tomato, chopped (save juices)
3 ounces tomato paste (5 tbsp)
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp garam masala
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
Line a medium pot with 1/4 cup of water and cook onions and garlic until translucent. Add turmeric, cumin, paprika, and ginger, and cook for another for another 2 minutes, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking and burning. Add lentils, broth, tomato, tomato paste, and coriander, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils are cooked and orange-ish. Add garam masala, stirring to combine, and let rest for 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.