A few months past my one-year veganniversary, I found myself stuck in a bit of a recipe rut. My newbie enthusiasm towards trying fresh recipes was beginning to wane, and so when I was offered a chance to try Lindsay Nixon’s Happy Herbivore Meal Plan for a week I jumped at the opportunity.
Lindsay is the author of two successful vegan cookbooks and the driving force behind Happy Herbivore. She has been mapping out nutritious vegan meals since 2011 and has thousands of people following her single and family meal plans. With the calories for each meal counted and all your nutrition accounted for, these weekly meal plans make it easy to adhere to a balanced vegan diet. The plans consist of a shopping list, a weekly plan and recipes; Lindsay testifies that what she loves most about the meal plans is “that [they] make eating healthy so easy – just print a shopping list, cook for 2-3 hours and you have healthy meals to eat for seven days!”
It almost sounded too good to be true. Save money, save time, learn new recipes, and eat healthful, balanced meals? I was on board. My week began with a trip to the grocery store – list in hand.
Shopping List and Preparations
As someone with an embarrassingly impoverished spice pantry I was somewhat intimidated by the volume of the spice list, but I persisted. It was, after all, about time I became versed in the language of spice – what I now see as an integral part of being a vegan who cooks.
Two-hundred dollars later I was home and, though discouraged at spending double my regular budget, had a fridge and pantry fuller than I’ve seen since moving away from home thirteen years ago.
Was this pricey? Yes. Namely because of the spices, but also due to my taste for organic veggies – but ultimately worth it. It eventually paid for itself through all the money I saved by not eating out. Moreover, if you’re someone who typically cooks, you’ll undoubtedly already have a lot of the required ingredients. If you’re like me, and make simple, often spice-less, meals, go out and add some spice to your life! You will thank me and Lindsay later.
Rewinding back to pre-plan preparation, after shopping I got cookedy-cooking. My plan was to make as many of the meals as I could so I could grab-and-go during the week, as Lindsay suggests. Word to the wise, when preparing meals for a week from new recipes, ix-nay on having friends over unless you put all those in attendance to work. Live and learn.
On my first day and most of the way through the second I was mildly disgruntled at how much “work” I was putting into my meals. I got up early to cut fruit or veggies and I was missing my simple cereal-flax-sunflower seed-almond milk breakies. And although I could take my lunches to school with me I still had to be home for dinner. Truthfully, I was feeling a bit tied down. But something curious happened on day two as I was preparing dinner.
I was chopping peppers for my fajitas and grumbling about how much time and effort I was putting into prepping this food that was only for me. “Only for me,” those words flickered in my mind. You see, I enjoy cooking but I only invest serious time into it when I’m preparing a meal for someone else. For myself, I’m content with a block of tofu and soy sauce, or plain quinoa and a sliced tomato as a meal. But when cooking for friends or trying to impress dates with my mad recipe following skills, I go all out.
Could it be that I have deemed myself unworthy of even the most basic of human needs – a decent home cooked meal? Well, that’s something I’ll be taking to my therapist, but for now this revelation has exposed my lack of self-care and has brought me to the conclusion, when it comes to cooking balanced, nutritious meals – I’m worth it. Duh.
With this new perspective under my belt, I continued on enthusiastically with my meal plan. I began to enjoy my veggie-chopping alone time and made a point of being mindful and grateful for the abundance of healthful foods before me. Most astoundingly of all, I actually felt healthier. These new feasts were supplying me with everything my body needed (comfort foods and “health” foods alike) and I have since reevaluated my usual eating habits.
The meals were all relatively simple to prepare and very drool-worthy. Some of my favorites include the mac and “cheese”, the portabella “burger”, and the “meat”balls. The breakfasts were so varied and yummy that I didn’t miss my ‘usual’ at all, and I’m still addicted to the ‘breakfast roll up.’
Grab as you go
Because I didn’t quite get to all of the recipes on the first day (too much wining and a bit of whining) I had to cook some of them during the week. The ones that I had prepared, however, kept well in my fridge and I appreciated the convenience of being able to nom without the prep.
Overall, Lindsay’s meal plan gets my stamp of approval. Anything that can enhance my state of well-being while at the same time reveal maladaptive thought patterns, curb my overspending on dining out and enlighten me to the world of spice has got to be good – my inner nutritionist, accountant and psychologist are all beaming. If you’re looking for some fresh, healthy recipes for your week that can be prepared easily and in several hours give this plan a shot. You might even learn something about yourself.
And thus, we are happy to award Lindsay Nixon’s Happy Herbivore Meal Plans The Vegan Woman’s recommendation label!
The Meal Plans can be found on Lindsay’s Happy Herbivore website. Enjoy!