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Via Amber Brooks

Vegan chef brings healthy, inexpensive meals to Athens

Students dining without a meal plan may prefer an empty stomach to an empty wallet, but a local non-profit is bringing a new chef to Athens to show how to avoid both hunger and high grocery bills with a plant-based diet.

Health food blogger and cookbook author Lindsay S. Nixon will prepare a variety of plant-based dishes to be sampled at this Saturday’s “Herbivore in the Hills” presentation.

Those attending Saturday’s demonstration will try food found on Nixon’s award-winning blog, “Happy Herbivore,” and in her cookbooks. The chef will also give a 30-minute lecture on Sunday titled, “Living Plant-Based in a Non Plant-Based World.”

The event is hosted by Live Healthy Appalachia, a local group that works to “improve the health and wellbeing of individuals in the Appalachian area,” according to the group’s website. The group is paying to fly Nixon, whose blog was voted as one of three “Best Blogs” by VegNews last year, to Athens from California.

Copies of Nixon’s cookbooks, including Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore will be sold at the event by Little Professor Book Center. Nixon’s next edition to her series of cookbooks, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean, will be released Dec. 3.

Curt Holsapple, manager of Little Professor, said the store has worked to carry copies of books recommended by Live Healthy Appalachia in the past, and was approached to do so for Nixon’s series, which can currently be found in the store’s front window.

While Nixon may live in one of the nation’s most populous areas, she said her approach to cooking, which stresses the ease of eating healthy on a budget, is applicable to smaller areas like Athens County.

“When people think of healthy, they think they have to go to an expensive health food store when what they have in their pantry can make for a healthy meal,” Nixon said. “You don’t have to live in a big city like New York to eat well.”

But an affordable, plant-based diet is nothing new to some locals, with stores like The Farmacy providing natural and organic groceries to the Athens area. 

Ashley Eastman, manager of The Farmacy, said maintaining such a diet is much easier and cheaper than most may realize.

“Of course, the prepackaged healthy things are expensive,” Eastman said. “But making cooking a daily habit and making food from scratch instead is really inexpensive and not hard.”

What: Herbivore in the Hills

When: 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Athens Community Center, 701 E. State St.

Admission: $30

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