A Dog Adoption Story…. Meet Vegan Fiona

vegan dog Fiona

vegan dog loveJust over 6 months ago (on November 10, 2023) my fur baby, Shye (who was a vegan dog for over 15 years) crossed the rainbow bridge.

If you haven’t read the blog post I wrote about our story yet, I invite you to check it out HERE, as it’s quite entertaining and heartwarming. 

If you’ve lost a fur baby, I’m sure you can relate when I say that my heart still aches for Shye every single day. She is irreplaceable.

The hole in my heart will never be filled, but recently I could feel a beam of light shining through the hole… Light that was calling me to welcome another soul in need of a forever home into my life.

I went online looking at homeless dogs on pet adoption sites, and came across what felt like a familiar face and my gut said, “She’s the one.” 

There was zero description on her profile, so I had no idea what to expect, but was confident from my experience with Shye, a dog who took a year and a half to learn to trust me, that I am equipped with the patience and compassion to handle whatever the Universe handed me.

Adopting Fiona from Humane SocietyShe had been at the Humane Society for 6 weeks, and when I got there, it felt like she immediately adopted me.

A small but mighty being, the girl can RUN (and run, and run, and run)! Her athletic abilities inspired me so much that I decided to name her after one of the most extraordinary endurance athletes in the world… Fiona Oakes. 

Fiona Oakes is the most humble person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She has broken 5 marathon course records and is the fastest human to run a marathon on all 7 continents in the shortest amount of time, all without a knee cap (undergoing 17 surgeries as a teenager and being told she’d never walk properly again). 

And what’s even more remarkable is that she doesn’t run because she loves to run. She runs because it gives her a platform to be a voice for animals and raise money for her sanctuary that gives home to over 400 rescued farmed animals. 

It brought me such joy to interview Fiona Oakes on the Rise & Thrive Podcast, episode 4, and if you haven’t yet, listen HERE! It’s one of my favorite interviews to date and you’ll understand why I feel called to honor her. 

I also rewatched the documentary Keegan Kuhn produced about her called, Running for Good… It blew my mind (again!), and I have no doubt you’ll find it incredibly inspiring.

Back to my dog Fiona…

I was told she was an owner-surrender, and that’s about all I know about Fiona’s past life. She is a bundle of energy and love. And although some of her behaviors show there are signs of trauma she’s working through, it’s apparent that she is an incredibly resilient being who is ready to learn to trust again.

Fiona is already thriving on a plant-based vegan diet.  She’s loving her Evolution wet dog food, Petaluma baked dog food, V-Dog jerky and V-Dog dental “bones”, and she’s enjoying broccoli (her favorite veggie so far), chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, and cucumbers regularly as well. 

Check out my Instagram reel about her adoption HERE, and stay tuned for more!

And if you’re ready to open your heart and home to a pet, PLEASE adopt from a shelter or nonprofit rescue organization. 

According to the Humane Society, approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters, and about 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized nationwide every year.

Not only that, the dog breeding industry is full of cruel practices (read THIS article to learn more).

That said, with the simple choice to adopt instead of shop we get to not only literally save a life, we but also take a stand against cruelty and an industry that contributes to the death of hundreds of thousands of fur legged friends each year.

The Evolution of Sexy Fit Vegan: 2024

Sexy Fit Vegan® exists to help vegan, vegan-curious, and vegan-friendly humans discover their blind spots, find freedom from unhealthy patterns, connect with their higher selves and become holistically healthy and fit, so they can create harmony and align their lifestyle with personal and planetary peace. 

The BIRTH OF SEXY FIT VEGAN®

The year was 2013, and it was the year my inner light, which had become dim, began to shine again… It was the year Sexy Fit Vegan® was born.

Let’s rewind so I can share my vegan origin story in a nutshell…

I discovered my life’s purpose, to be a voice of compassion for animals (especially those that typically end up on plates), when I was seven years old and connected the meat on my plate with the animal it was.

My inner light shined brightly when I was a young kid despite being deeply connected to the suffering of animals, because I was full of hope that I could make a difference. 

By the time I turned 15 I was fully vegan and had become a passionate animal activist before I could drive a car. 

I feel the need to pause here and say… Bless my parents’ hearts for their willingness to drop their kid off to do things like sit in cages on the side of the road to demonstrate the devastating conditions of farmed and lab animals!

In my young mind I thought, “If only people knew what was going on behind the closed doors of factory farms, then they would go vegan too!” I felt empowered,  believing it was as simple as spreading awareness.

Discovering that most people didn’t want to be made aware was a bitter pill for me to swallow, and my bright inner light gradually began to dim during my teenage years.

Fast forward almost two decades…

I was living in Miami, and although I had earned my Master’s degree in Social Work, I was working as a personal trainer and fitness instructor, feeling a little lost and very unfulfilled.

I had taken notice that finally, when I asked for vegan options at restaurants, the servers were usually able to help me (or at least they no longer looked at me like I had two heads)! 

And then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks…

It was time to stop playing small. It was time to start a vegan blog so that I could reach people all over the globe and do my part to help bring veganism into the mainstream.

I was 33, and there were still so many stereotypes about what it meant to be vegan. Vegans were still thought to be weak, or hippies, or angry up on their soapbox. 

I wanted to show the world that being vegan… that compassion… is sexy, and that you could be fit in body, mind AND spirit, and have fun as a vegan… that it wasn’t a sacrifice at all! 

And so Sexy Fit Vegan® was born.

THE SEXY FIT VEGAN: THE EARLY YEARS

I created a website and blog without a real plan for making it into a business. I just knew it was time to reconnect with my purpose to be a powerful voice for veganism again. 

The Sexy Fit Vegan brand quickly took off and gained momentum.

What I came to realize however, is that in order to truly connect with my audience and be a powerful force for the vegan movement, I needed to find the courage to be vulnerable (thanks in part to Brene Brown’s TEDx talk).

So in 2017 I found the courage to share about my own healing journey with the world. I wrote a series of blog posts titled, “From Disordered Eating to Plant-Empowered Living.”

Before long I had a book published, launched The Vegan Life Coach Podcast, and developed a coaching program to help people make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle and develop a healthy relationship with food, and their bodies. These resources have helped thousands of people uplevel their health holistically over the years.

A GROWING CONNECTION TO CONSCIOUSNESS CREATES A DISCONNECTION WITH THE BRAND

Meanwhile, my personal journey toward wholeness had taken me down an intensely spiritual path, exploring quantum mechanics (which I consider the intersection of science and spirituality), and experimenting with methods of expanding my own consciousness.

As my deep-dive into consciousness intensified, I started feeling less connected to the Sexy Fit Vegan® brand. 

My network expanded and I began working on new projects, some of which involved incredible new partners and branding that was largely disconnected from the Sexy Fit Vegan® brand. 

The thinking was in part that creating a “hook” that was less “in your face” with the word, “vegan” would make it more inclusive and attract a wider audience.

Then, in 2022, my world became intensely complicated, a story I share about in my Rise & Thrive Manifesto.

Long story short, I experienced extreme burn-out and ended up in Peru for a 12-day ayahuasca retreat at The Temple of the Way of Light. Upon returning home, my beloved cat, Bob, fell off the balcony in front of me and died in my arms on the way to the ER. 

The pain of Bob’s death felt unbearable, and yet, thanks to the discoveries I’d made with the guidance of plant, human, and animal teachers, I was able to work with the pain and allow myself to fully mourn and grieve.

I felt like I was on a fast-track of inner-evolution, living with intention and in gratitude most of the time, whether experiencing joy or sadness, pleasure or pain, which I believe are all necessary if we’re to have the full human experience.

It was from this new state of being that the Rise and Thrive podcast was born.

Months later, I connected with my amazing boyfriend, Quinn (also vegan and committed to inner-evolution), after being single for several years. 

This leads us to November 10th, 2023, when the light of my life, Shye (my senior “ride or die” rescue chihuahua), suddenly crossed the rainbow bridge. I invite you to read  THIS blog post celebrating Shye’s extraordinary story and sharing about my grieving process.

In the months following Shye’s death, in the midst of the intense grief, I committed to connecting deeply with my sense of trust in the Universe.

The Universe responded. It delivered me Elayna Fernandez, brand strategist, “student of pain,” and founder of the wildly popular brand, The Positive Mom.

SEXY FIT VEGAN IS REBORN

I shared with Elayna that I felt like I was “outgrowing” the Sexy Fit Vegan® brand, and was considering ditching it altogether. 

With her guidance, and a lot of soul-searching, I’ve instead begun the process of rebranding in a way that reconnects me with Sexy Fit Vegan and aligns the brand with my purpose and mission in life

I’m now super excited about the direction the brand is headed!

The way I see it, “sexy” has nothing to do with our age, gender, or appearance. Sexy is an authentic way of being, and an empowering way of moving through the world. I came up with an acronym for the word sexy.

S.E.X.Y. stands for:

      Soul-aligned

      Embracing your body

    eXploring life playfully

      You being you

I also gained clarity about the Sexy Fit Vegan mission moving forward.

Sexy Fit Vegan exists to help vegan, vegan-curious, and vegan-friendly humans discover their blind spots, find freedom from unhealthy patterns, connect with their higher selves and become holistically healthy and fit, so they can create harmony and align their lifestyle with personal and planetary peace. 

Boom – I am ALL IN!

SHARING THE REBRANDING PROCESS

It’s now been over three months since Shye passed, and thanks in large part to the love and support from my compassionate community, along with the help of a recent psilocybin journey, I feel inspired to create again.

And here’s the thing… 

I don’t want to go through the creation process behind closed doors. 

I’m much more interested in SHARING as I go, and having you be involved, because, even as an introvert, I have come to understand that connection and community really is EVERYTHING!

For that reason I have started sending out a weekly Sexy Fit Vegan “Soul-Aligned Sunday” newsletter (sign up to receive these intimate updates HERE). I am also working on creating an online community where we can gather to share, support, and raise our vibrations collectively.

I’ve received hundreds of responses from the community connection questionnaire I sent out, and I love reading your submissions!

A FOCUS ON HELPING PEOPLE OVERCOME EMOTIONAL EATING FOR SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS

One of the common themes I noticed when reading your answers in the community questionnaire, is that emotional eating is a major barrier to weight loss and holistic health for so many of you. 

Given my passion for this pervasive challenge, my formal education (Master’s Degree in Social Work and Certification for working with people who experience disordered eating) and eight years experience coaching clients who struggle with emotional eating (hear from them directly HERE), I’ve decided to launch my most powerful program to date this spring. 

The program is designed to help people who are tired of feeling powerless over cravings and are ready to find freedom with food so they can release excess body fat for good and create a meaningful life they love.

There is SO much nutrition information out there these days that it can be overwhelming. It’s often not a lack of knowledge, but the difficulty people have to apply the knowledge to their lives, consistently, that trips them up and keeps them stuck in unhealthy patterns and habits. 

In the meantime, I’m also continuing to work with a select number of clients individually.

One of my recent clients, Jen Whorton, shared her incredible, inspirational story on an episode of Rise & Thrive (listen HERE).

If you’d like to explore the possibility of working with me 1:1, you can simply send an email to [email protected].

A NOTE OF GRATITUDE

I believe that we’re all here to dance through life together with loving awareness, and to raise our vibrations collectively for the benefit of humanity, animals, and the Planet. 

I wake up every morning full of gratitude for the opportunity to live my purpose and share my message of compassion through the platform I’ve created, which wouldn’t be possible without YOU.

I thank you. I appreciate you. I love you!

Magic Mushroom Diaries: Celebrating 2 Years Antidepressant Medication-Free

ayahuasca shaman peru

Since this is my first Magic Mushroom Diaries Entry (in the form of a public blog post that is), I’ll give you a little background…

On February 5th, 2024 I’ll be celebrating my 2 year anniversary for getting off antidepressant meds.

In 1996, at the age of 16, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I was put on antidepressant medications, and with the exception of a few failed attempts to get off of them, I remained medicated all the way up until 2022.

Then, in January of 2022, after already having been on a healing and spiritual journey for many years, I decided that I was ready to navigate life without anti-depressants and weaned myself off. 

Once off the meds, I did a DMT trip, which was an extraordinary experience, but did not seem to have any lasting positive effects.

I found myself spiraling into severe burn-out (something that I’d felt coming for years, but kept at bay with band-aids) and depression, which I had felt confident I would be able to handle with the countless tools I’d gained over the last decade. I shared all about this in real time with a very real and raw blog post I titled, Burn-Out, Insomnia, Psychedelics & More [An Intimate Share💖].

I subsequently traveled to Peru to work with Ayahuasca in June 2022 at an incredible center called the Temple of the Way of Light, where I participated in 6 Ayahuasca ceremonies over 11 nights with 20 others in the Amazon jungle with 5 indigenous shaman and 2 incredible facilitators.

It was a psychedelic experience I have yet to blog about because it was so complex, and so out of this world, that I’m simply not sure I can express it using words! 

Just two weeks after returning from my trip to Peru however, my grandmother died, and a week later my beloved cat, Bob, fell off the balcony in front of me and died in my arms on the way to the emergency room. I share more about that in the Rise & Thrive Manifesto HERE.

A few months later I considered returning to antidepressants to take the edge off, as I just felt so heavy and uninspired… As if I was experiencing the world in greyscale despite living in bright, sunny Miami.

Instead, I decided to macrodose magic mushrooms, knowing that there is evidence to suggest that psilocybin can be effective at helping people suffering from clinical depression and anxiety.

I kayaked with a friend to a small island in Biscayne Bay (near my apartment), created a ceremonial space complete with everything needed to facilitate a transformational experience, and off we went on a trip that would change the trajectory of my life!

I walked (or paddled rather) away from that experience feeling deeply connected to not only my own spirit, but the universal consciousness that includes the energy of all creation.

The world around me presented in living color once again, and I knew in my heart of hearts that nature could provide everything I needed to navigate life without returning to prescription antidepressants.

I’ve been working with psilocybin regularly ever since, using it as-needed (usually every couple months) for a “reset,” with amazing results.

Thanks for reading this, and I look forward to continue sharing my experiences with you!


IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Psychedelics are NOT for everyone and I recommend guidance from a professional if you’re considering the possibility of working with any kind of plant-medicine.

Veganuary Special Recipe! Purple Sweet Potato: Loaded with Love

When Veganuary’s communications coordinator, Michelle Valoz, reached out to ask if I’d like to collaborate on an Instagram reel in January…

I was thrilled for the opportunity to encourage thousands of people to adopt a plant-based diet and embrace a vegan lifestyle through their non-profit platform!

She let me know that Veganuary gathered a panel of experts to determine 2024’s official Vegetable of the Year. The panel determined that the purple sweet potato was the winner, and was hoping I’d be up for sharing a plant-based recipe.

The purple sweet potato is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. I often talk about “eating the rainbow” and the vibrant purple color of this potato comes from disease-fighting antioxidants called anthocyanins. According to a 2021 study in Antioxidants, the high antioxidant content in purple sweet potatoes fights inflammation and helps reduce our risk for heart disease and cancer. These root tubers are packed with fiber, vitamin C and potassium. As part of a whole foods plant-based diet, eating sweet potatoes can contribute to weight loss, improved immunity and heart health.

Below you’ll find the plant-based recipe I created specifically for this Veganuary collaboration. Make sure you check out the reel on Instagram too!

If you know me, you know that I’m all about helping people build a healthy RELATIONSHIP with food and their bodies. This means that I put a huge emphasis on HOW and WHY we eat (not just WHAT we eat), which makes sense considering 80-90% of people who lose weight through dieting gain it all back. For that reason I added a few tips on eating consciously and mindfully at the end of the recipe!


Purple Sweet Potato: Loaded with Love (a Veganuary Special Recipe!)

Makes 2 meals (with the possibility of leftovers)

INGREDIENTS*

*use organic whenever possible!

Loaded Potato

  • 2 large Purple sweet potatoes (or sweet potato variety of choice)
  • 1 15-oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups raw Broccoli florets, rinsed
  • A few sprays of Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable broth
  • Slap Ya Mama seasoning (or seasoning of choice, like the spice mix in this recipe from Rabbit & Wolves)

Kale Bed (adopted from my Noochylicious Kale Salad Recipe)

  • 1 bunch of Kale, destemmed, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Noochylicious nutritional yeast (by far the BEST tasting nooch I’ve ever had!)
  • Slap Ya Mama seasoning (or seasoning of choice)

Tahini Dressing*

  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 Tbsp water
  • A pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees
  2. Line 1 small and 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper

Potato

  1. Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork.
  2. Place them on small baking sheet and roast for 35-50 minutes (depending on the size of the potato) until the skin has puffed slightly and it’s easy to pierce with a fork

Broccoli & Chickpeas

  1. Toss broccoli florets with a few sprays of extra virgin olive oil or vegetable broth
  2. Spread broccoli onto one half of the large baking sheet
  3. Spread the rinsed chickpeas on a kitchen towel, pat dry, and remove loose skins
  4. Toss the rinsed chickpeas in a bowl with a few sprays of extra virgin olive oil or vegetable broth, and a few dashes of Slap Ya Mama seasoning or seasoning of choice
  5. Spread seasoned chickpeas onto the other half of the large baking sheet
  6. Place in oven and roast 15-25 minutes

Tahini Dressing

  1. Combine tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and water in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended (if you double the recipe, you have the option of using a blender)

Kale

  1. In a large bowl, add chopped kale
  2. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and massage the kale with your hands until it becomes soft
  3. Add the nutritional yeast and seasoning and mix thoroughly

Serve

  1. Distribute the kale so that it’s covering the bottom of the plate.
  2. Place one of the potatoes onto the middle of the plate, cut it in half, and score it with a fork
  3. Place some broccoli on top of the potato halves.
  4. Drizzle tahini dressing over the broccoli.
  5. Add some chickpeas on top.

Enjoy (Mindfully!)

  1. Pause before you eat to consciously connect with the extraordinary plants on your plate that have the power to heal, nourish, and fuel our bodies, and the fabulous feeling that comes when we choose compassion.
  2. Eat mindfully, chewing each bite to a paste before swallowing, paying attention to all your senses, and listening to your body so you’ll know when you’ve had enough (stopping when you’re about 80% full and saving the rest as leftovers).

I also want to invite you to take advantage of the following fabulous resources to help you on your plant-based/vegan journey…

Take on the 22Reboot Challenge – The ultimate 22-day transformation system… The simplest, most effective path to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle you can be proud of.

Listen to The Rise & Thrive Podcast

Listen to The Vegan Life Coach Podcast

Interested in working with me (group or 1:1 coaching)? Email me directly: [email protected]

2023 Year’s End: Connection, Reflection, and Gratitude

Can you believe we’re halfway through December and counting down the days to the new year already?!

I want to wish you, from the bottom of my heart, an abundance of peace, love, and joy as we move through the holidays and wrap up another orbit around the sun.

The holidays are all about connection, reflection, and gratitude for me, and I’m incredibly grateful that we are connected.

The brand I created, Sexy Fit Vegan, turned 10 years old this year🥳, but the mission on which it was founded dates back to 1987 when I was just seven years old and discovered my life’s purpose… to be a voice for animals and an advocate for compassionate, plant-powered living.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some reflections about 2023, share about what’s ahead, how you can be involved, and ways you can show support so that we can work together to make a positive impact on this world!

Reflection: Professional

We launched the Rise and Thrive Podcast on February 14th, 2023 with the fabulous Olympic Medalist Dotsie Bausch kicking off the first episode with me… A powerful force for good whom I admire SO much, and whom I am now fortunate enough to call a friend. We published 41 incredible episodes this year and I am bat-shit passionate about hosting the show! I love being able to provide this free resource for the vegan-curious and the curious vegan on their path to holistic health.

I had the pleasure of doing lots of volunteering in 2023, including speaking at a PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) Let’s Beat Breast Cancer rally, helping out at several SoFlo Vegan events, volunteering at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, and in addition to the regular board member duties, I got to spend quite a bit of time at Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary in Virginia, helping out and loving on the beautiful souls whom make up our fur family there.

In addition to being interviewed on many podcasts (including Switch4Good and Real Men Eat Plants), and appearing on Chef AJ’s YouTube show multiple time, I had the honor of speaking at two large-scale in-person events. I was on a game-changing panel for a session titled, Powered by Plants: How World-Class Athletes Are Changing the Way We Eat at the Organic Produce Summit in Monterey, California. I also gave a 50-minute talk to an audience of over 500 at the Healthy for a Lifetime Conference in Omaha.

My 22Reboot challenge​ changed the lives of hundreds of people this year. 22Reboot is a 22-day total lifestyle transformation system that helps you disrupt harmful patterns, adopt healthy habits, and create a healthy, plant-based lifestyle for maximum performance, embodying inner peace, compassion, and freedom. (It’s a PERFECT way to kick off the new year too!)

I had the pleasure of re-launching the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program and seeing many amazing souls through the body/mind/life-transforming process. I also took on a handful of 1:1 clients which felt truly magical to be able to work so intimately with people on an individual level, helping them build a healthy relationship with food, their bodies, and themselves so that they can move through life healthfully and with more joy, love, and freedom.

I also participated in several plant-based bundles, which I see as one of the best ways to collaborate with other plant-based and vegan leaders to provide a huge number of resources to people at a very affordable price.

Reflection: Personal

2023 was marked by both an extraordinary birth (of a relationship) and a devastating death.

In July, I connected with the human who has become “my person” (aka significant other, partner), Quinn!

It honestly still feels surreal that I found someone who is so secure in his masculinity that he can move through the world with the philosophy, “love wins.”

We share the intriguing “how we met” story on THIS episode​ of the podcast.

Then, on November 10th, the light of my life, my 17 year old rescue (vegan) chihuahua, Shye, fell suddenly ill, and after rushing her to the vet, then the neurologist, and finally the ER, I had to say goodbye that same night.

My whole world revolved around her extraordinary, spunky self. She was my significant other for 15 years. She was the light of my life. She was my +1. She was my teacher, my coach, and my best friend who gave me so much love and brought me so much comfort.

And now I am figuring out how to navigate life without her… To bear the unbearable pain of loss that hits us when we have the courage to love as deeply as I loved Shye.  

I feel incredibly grateful for my amazing friends, my incredible family, my partner Quinn (who was right there with me at the end), and my compassionate community for all the kindness and support you’ve shown me through this challenging time.

I take solace in my belief that Shye and I are quantumly entangled forever, that her soul lives on, and that I will be with her again one day. 

I wrote all about Shye in THIS blog post, which I’ve dedicated to everyone who has dared to love an animal with their full, open heart, knowing the inevitable pain that we experience when they pass.

In addition to traveling for speaking appearances, to Hogs & Kisses, and to visit Quinn in his hometown of Austin, by the time you read this, Quinn and I will be in Guatemala. We will spend 6 days hiking volcanoes, exploring sacred Mayan sites, swimming, doing yoga, experiencing culture, while staying true to my values and eating exclusively plants… That’s right… A true vacation. Yay!

The other things I put a lot of my energy into this year were improving my mobility through functional, primal, and animal-inspired movements, as well as getting stronger with calisthenics, using boxing as a moving meditation and way to move energy through my body, and hot yoga to improve my flexibility, connect with present moment awareness, and detoxify my body.

When it comes to food, I’ve enjoyed eating mindfully and consciously from a place of compassion for myself, animals, and the planet. Embracing the healthy relationship I’ve built with food, my body, and myself is something I celebrate every day.

What’s Ahead in 2024

Podcast

I’m committed to providing you with free inspiration by continuing to deliver weekly episodes of the Rise and Thrive Podcast. We have some EPIC episodes for you starting in January! We plan to add sponsorships to the show to cover costs, and you can support the show by subscribing, leaving a rating and review, and taking advantage of the offers we share. I promise that I will only accept sponsors from companies whose values align with my own (compassionate, healthy, and sustainable)!

22Reboot

If you haven’t taken on the 22Reboot challenge yet, I encourage you to take the leap. Although I created it with entrepreneurs and professionals in mind, if you need a jump start to kick unhealthy habits and adopt a healthy LIFESTYLE that includes whole foods plant-based eating, quality sleep, consistent exercise, and mindfulness, then you can count on 22Reboot to provide you with a proven system to get you there, all for only $197. Plus, you can book an execution call with me, personally, when you purchase, to help set yourself up for success.

Hogs & Kisses

At Hogs & Kisses, we are beyond excited to be preparing to welcome three TURKEYS to the sanctuary where they’ll get to live out their lives feeling loved, safe, and free to be themselves. This was made possible thanks to all the donations we received throughout the year, and particularly during our Giving Tuesday fundraiser. THANK YOU to everyone who donated. Every little bit helps. And keep in mind we have a Bed and Breakfast on the property! Learn more on our website.

Public Speaking

I’ll be doing quite a bit of public speaking in 2024, the first two appearances being in Toronto and Seattle (March and April), at the Planted Expo. I hope you can join me for one of those, as these are incredible events!

Bundles

I’m participating in several more bundles, which I encourage you to invest in. The price is insanely low for the incredible number of resources you receive.

Coaching

I plan to work with just a few 1:1 clients in 2024. If you’re interested in individual coaching, you can email me directly ([email protected]).

I am considering launching a brand new group coaching program, challenge/support groups, and/or a holistic wellness-forward compassionate community. I will keep you posted through my email newsletter, so make sure you’re on my email list HERE!

Stay Connected/Follow Me

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel HERE

Subscribe to THE WAY WEDNESDAY Monthly Newsletter HERE

Follow me on Instagram HERE

Follow me on Facebook HERE

Connect with  me on LinkedIn HERE

Check out my new(ish) Website HERE

Check out  The Vegan Life Coach Podcast, HERE

 

With So Much Love and Gratitude,

Ella

My Shye

This is the true story of Shye, my rescued vegan chihuahua. I’m dedicating this post to everyone who has been courageous enough to adopt an animal and to love them as deeply and unconditionally as I loved Shye, because it means that the pain of losing them feels unbearable, and the grief sticks with us forever.

Shye was my ride or die, and she rode with me everywhere up until the day she couldn’t anymore, and on that same day, she died. 

I remember with total clarity the precise moment I saw Shye for the first time. 

I was walking slowly by the stacked kennels of stray and abandoned dogs at Miami Dade Animal Services, my heart aching knowing that I was only going to be saving one life that day. 

Most of the dogs were sitting or standing toward the front of their cages, looking at me as I passed by, some with eyes full of hope and longing, others with the sad eyes of despair. 

When I reached Shye however, her back was to me. She was sitting at the far end of her small kennel staring at the bare metal cage backing. I called out to her, “Hi sweetie.”  She arduously turned her head. Her intensely beautiful golden brown eyes locked mine for a moment, and in that instant I knew I was her person and she was coming home with me.

On the way home, my boyfriend at the time, Dan, drove, and I sat in the passenger seat holding Shye up so she could see out the window, which is what she wanted. Her senses were on high alert, ready to fight or flee if need be. The sunlight hit her expressive face and illuminated her gorgeous eyes in a way that I will never forget. 

I was curious, too. The shelter claimed her to be a 2 and ½ year old stray brown chihuahua with white markings. She presented herself as untrusting and shy (hence the name I gave her), and I was determined to give her the very best life I could no matter what. 

Shortly after arriving home and meeting Valentino Rossi (aka ChiChi), Dan’s chihuahua, she got very sick with pneumonia. Her first week with me was spent doing nebulizer treatments, and nursing her back to health. 

Our first year together was eventful. Dan and I broke up and Shye and I moved to a tiny little apartment in the heart of South Beach… the first of seemingly countless moves and numerous break-ups we would experience together throughout her life. Shye didn’t seem to mind moving at all however… As long as we were together, we both felt right at home.

It took Shye about a year and a half to fully trust me. It was obvious she hadn’t known unconditional love by a human being before. I showered her with it until the protective shell around her heart began cracking, chipping away, and eventually was gone completely… at least when it came to me. She had a clear policy: Trust is earned. And it was earned in HER time frame (if at all).

This meant that the reward was MASSIVE for the people who were patient and persistent… who showed her unconditional love even when she was prickly at first. When someone finally earned her trust and experienced her love it was something to be celebrated. To be in Shye’s inner circle of trust was an honor to be cherished.

During those first few years, this little chihuahua was motivated to run. She would run alongside me for over a mile, sometimes over two. And fast. It was unbelievable given her size of only about 9 pounds! 

Shye came with me everywhere, including Sobekick Gym where I trained and taught classes. She became the mascot of sorts and boy did she represent! She was feisty as hell. She would walk right through the middle of 30 people punching and kicking the shit out of the heavy bags, music blasting and sit herself down in the middle of the mat. 

Johnny, the owner of the gym, became a close friend and I was so grateful that he gave her free reign to be herself, even when he got the occasional complaint from a member or trainer. Johnny became Uncle Johnny before long.

After classes, as members stretched, she would find the sweatiest human and intently lick the salty sweat off their body. The members learned quickly that it was best to just let her do her thing and not try to pet her.

She wanted it to be known that although she was small, she was one tough bitch!

Shye despised being spoken to in a high “baby voice.” If someone tried to pet her while talking to her like a baby, she would give them a warning bite.  She gave a lot of warning bites, often following a warning snarl, showing off her canines.

Shye was a badass. She never whimpered. She made her needs known with an intense stare first, and then a sharp bark if she was ignored. 

Shye was full of life and brilliantly aware of her surroundings at all times. She was on guard, ready to protect me, herself, and her territory at all times. She was not going to be a victim. She was a powerful force, bundled into an adorable little body.

Shye was popular… I’d even call her famous around town and online. In fact, during the year I spent a lot of time with Alex Rodriquez, the paparazzi not only followed me around… they also stole shots of Shye and wrote about her in the tabloids.

She was with me through many relationships, and although the relationships weren’t always healthy, the one non-negotiable was that Shye was my #1. The men in my life respected that and a beautiful bond was formed between her and each of them. And when the relationship ended, Shye was happy to return to a routine that was focused on just me and her. 

When I first moved to South Beach from North Carolina in 2002, I had never seen a dog in a stroller, and when I did, all sorts of judgments pop into my head. Then, when Shye injured her ACL, it occurred to me just how well a stroller could fit our active lifestyle and enhance our lives, so I purchased Shye’s first stroller, which I nicknamed her “rover” so she wouldn’t feel babied.

The first rover was cheap and chintzy, and I was a bit self-conscious using it. As time went on, Shye’s rovers got progressively more luxurious and I became more and more confident, even proud. They came in handy for long walks, eating out at restaurants, and for our Sunday Fundays at the Yard House. They also doubled as a grocery cart, since living in South Beach I was able to walk to do most of our shopping and errands. 

Besides Sobekick Gym as a home-away-from-home for us both, for many years we spent every Sunday at the Yard House with a group of friends. We walked there with the rover, but once Shye saw that we were heading toward the Yard House, she would insist emphatically on walking, intently leading the way, and as we got within 3 blocks she’d start running and wouldn’t stop until we arrived.

She loved the Yard House and was happy to sport a jersey and be passed around to the people at our table who she trusted, particularly Dawn, Christian, and Johnny. She was very much a part of the gang, and sometimes Holly and Danny would bring their dog(s) in a stroller too, who she would ignore.

Speaking of Christian (my boyfriend for a couple years)… Shye quickly won him over. He never thought he’d have a relationship with a chihuahua, but it didn’t take long before they became buddies and Christian insisted on being called “Daddy.” 

It was like Shye knew that he needed a cuddle-buddy. You see, I like my space when I sleep. And so she took on that role for me! And in return, Christian not only happily pushed her in her rover, he also proudly wore her in her bjorn-like front carrier on our longer walks, much to the delight of people passing by who would giggle and sometimes take pictures.

Shye wasn’t much for playing with other dogs. Besides Chichi, there were only a few dogs that she was happy to hang out with. And by happy, I mean it was more of a co-existing situation as opposed to an interactive experience. One of those dogs was my cousin, Lauren’s dog, Lucy, a Pitbull mix, and the other was Dawn’s dog, Delilah. In their later years, we nicknamed them the Golden Girls.

Shye was always up for adventure… As long as the adventure was with me. Shye didn’t love the water, but when I got on a paddle board, she was ready to hop on too… No matter how choppy the water (we fell in many times and yet she wouldn’t hesitate to hop right back on the board the next time I went out). Same with kayaking, and boating. We even took a ride on a client’s cigarette boat, reaching speeds of 90 mph, as she sat on my lap, facing the wind, her saliva spattering me in the face. 

Shye came with me on every trip to Hogs and Kisses Farm Sanctuary, including when Anne, Mike and I  drove the trailer up to pick up Rubia, Grace, and Dolly, our first pig rescues. Back on the sanctuary, she appreciated simply being a part of the daily chores, riding in the gator, and exploring the pasture. She wasn’t afraid of the 700 pound piggies, but she was aware of their massive size and didn’t want them too close. 

One winter, the power went out while we were there and we went a couple days without heat in freezing temperatures. Shye didn’t complain. She let me wrap her in blankets, so that only her eyes and nose were exposed. She’d always take one for the team if it meant we got to be together. 

Our mode of transportation in Miami was mainly my scooter the last many years. She sat in a front carrier, doggles on, attracting looks from tourists who would often point, smile or laugh, and sometimes take pictures from their cars.

Shye was vegan and a voracious eater most of her life. I’d love to say she was food-assertive, but in truth she was food-aggressive. If there was another dog around when her food was presented, even if that dog was 100 pounds, she was prepared to fight for it. She ate plant-based dog food and chowed on veggies and legumes. She especially enjoyed  cucumbers, chickpeas, edamame, peas, and broccoli. 

In her midlife Shye packed on an extra pound or two (like I said, she was a voracious eater). She was strong and healthy with a sturdy frame. It would piss me off when someone would comment on her weight, which happened quite frequently. Talk about rude! I would mostly bite my tongue, and instead of voicing my real thoughts and flipping them the bird, I would say… She has the whole crossfit powerlifting thing going on. 

In her later years, her appetite decreased a bit, and she often wasn’t ready for her first meal until later in the day. So I started offering her a few pieces of Sweet Earth’s vegan Mindful Chicken when she first got up in the morning, which she absolutely loved. She would wake up and walk over to the kitchen and wait with a wagging tail for her daily dose of plant-based chicken, that came along with it her medication, Metacam, for the joint aches and pains that had developed in her older age.

Shye and I were so fortunate to have my mom move down to Miami, and to have my amazing sister living close by. On the infrequent occasions when I took a trip that wasn’t Shye-friendly, Shye would always have the best care, usually thanks to my mom. 

For most of her life, Shye slept on the bed with me. We would snuggle for a little bit before taking our places and falling asleep each night. One morning, I woke up to a yelp as Shye had jumped off the bed and lay paralyzed on the floor. My heart felt like it had been stabbed and my stomach dropped as I did my best to comfort her while calling the vet. Even in her pain, Shye was calm and I knew she trusted me to take care of her… To get her the help she needed. 

We rushed her to the clinic. She was in pain and could not stand up. I was both terrified and sure that she would, eventually, be okay. The next stop was an emergency visit to Southeast Veterinary Neurology. Shye had injured her neck spine. The options were surgery, or to give her a chance to heal on her own with bed rest. We opted for the latter, and within a few months, Shye was walking, albeit her mobility was limited.

Only a few months after regaining her ability to walk, a freak accident happened. We were walking on the sidewalk to yoga and I bent down to scoop her up and loss my grip and dropped her. My guttural scream echoed the neighborhood. She lay motionless on the concrete. 

My mom was nearby and we rushed her back to the neurologist. This time there was only one option if we were to fight for her life…. Surgery. She had 3 discs that would need to be fixed if she was to live, and it was unclear if she would regain use of her limbs. It was risky, especially given her age (she was around 14 at the time), but Shye had so much fight left in her and I knew intuitively, without question, that we had to try. 

Sure enough, Shye came through the surgery with flying colors and we began the long, grueling, healing journey. Despite being paralyzed, unable to use her legs at all those first few weeks, her spirits stayed high. Before long she was ordering me around from her luxurious rover, letting me know when she was hungry. I would spend hours a day just holding her and loving on her. And after a few weeks, there was movement in her legs! 

Week after week she got stronger and in time, Shye not only began walking again on her own, she began running! Thanks to the surgery and her relentless determination, Shye gained more mobility than she ever would have if it weren’t for that terrifying accident. The massive scar that ran from her chin to her chest was hidden as her hair grew back and we were able to joke that Shye must have been gifted the 9 lives usually only given to cats.

Shye’s last few years on earth were fabulous. She slowed down a bit, but happily continued to join me for outings, particularly hanging while I trained boxing at the park with Josh and JoJo, trips to South Pointe Park, UFC gym, the beach, out to eat, kayaking, camping, and visits to Hogs & Kisses.

During her last few months, I met, and fell in love with a human soulmate, Quinn. And I have to wonder if she knew that I had found a being who was so capable of loving me, that she could feel okay about leaving this realm and ascending to the next, because one Friday morning, only a few months after meeting Quinn, Shye suddenly fell very ill. After rushing her to the vet, then the neurologist, and finally the ER, Shye left her body with me by her side, stroking her beautiful little head, looking in her soulful eyes.

Shye was my everything. My whole world revolved around her extraordinary, spunky self. She was my significant other for 15 years. She was the light of my life. She was my +1. She was my teacher, my coach, and my best friend who gave me so much love and brought me so much comfort.

Shye was my ride or die. She rode with me everywhere up until the day she couldn’t anymore… and on that same day, she died.

And now I am figuring out how to navigate life without her… To bear the unbearable pain of loss that hits us when we have the courage to love as deeply as I loved Shye. 

In speaking with Teresa Whalen, animal communicator and pet loss grief expert, following Shye’s death, Shye let me know that she would be hanging around me from the other side of the rainbow bridge, that she had no interest in reincarnating to be someone else’s pet because I was her one and only human, and that she would be the first to greet me when it’s my time.

She also said that she’d mess with the lights to help her presence be felt. I didn’t know what she meant, but sure enough, in the following days, the lights in the hallway started flickering, and I woke up at 3AM to the light in my room having been turned on.

I feel incredibly grateful for my amazing friends, my incredible family, my partner Quinn (who was right there with me at the end), and my compassionate community for all the kindness and support you’ve shown me through this challenging time.

I take solace in my belief that Shye and I are quantumly entangled forever, that her soul lives on, and that I will be with her again one day. 

Dear Introverts…

I wrote the following article on June 18th, 2022, four days after I returned home from my trip to the Temple of the Way of Light in Peru…


I’m coming to understand why it was necessary for our extraordinary facilitators to take the time and energy to prepare us for what they call the “integration process,” upon returning home after our 12-day Ayahuasca retreat.

As I understand it, explained by our shaman at the Temple, the healing power of “the medicine” (Ayahuasca) is activated during the ceremonies (we had six of these over 11 nights), and then continues to work over the weeks and months to follow in various ways. 

In addition to following certain guidelines, like avoiding alcohol, cannabis, psilocybin, spicy and ice-cold foods, it’s vital that we take time, and give ourselves space to process the inner-knowledge and discover information that will continue to unfold.

My overall intention for my trip was to recover from burn-out and my addiction to “doing,” release the blockages that were fueling my depression and restlessness, and embody inner-peace and freedom. 

Part of my “doing” addiction included being in a constant state of learning from people I idolize as top thought leaders, changemakers, and solutionaries, through books, talks/lectures, and podcasts. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking knowledge from gurus who have devoted their lives to attaining, embodying, and sharing their truth in ways that positively impact the world!

The problem was that I hadn’t given myself the time and space to embody what I was learning.

Determined to break my destructive patterns, during the 12 days at the Temple of the Way of Light, I devoted myself to giving top priority to simply BEING. No phone. No laptop. No internet. No messages. No media. No contact with the outside world. No digital anything. 

We had ceremonies. We had group meetings. We had individual check-ins. We shared. We were silent. We spent time reflecting. We ate food void of salt, oil, sugar, and spices. We read. We wrote. We sat with ourselves. We sat with nature. And that was it.

Today I decided to go to a group movement session at my Budokon sensei’s backyard studio, which was to be followed by a potluck.

I realized about halfway through that I wasn’t ready to be surrounded by people, much less share my experiences.

So when the movement portion ended, and the potluck began, I quietly excused myself.

On the scooter ride home I felt a wave of emotion take over me. Tears started streaming down my face, and the thought, “What is wrong with me?” came into my mind.

It’s a thought I’ve had a lot throughout my life, only this time, it was immediately countered with my true Self saying,

There’s nothing wrong with you!

I then took a mental step back with my conscious mind, to explore the thoughts continuing to stream from my subconscious programming…

Why can’t you just relax and have a good time like everyone else? You’re insecure. You have so much to work on still! You made such a huge investment in time, energy, and money to go on that trip and now you’re back and haven’t changed a bit! What the hell?!

My conscious mind stepped right back in, and this time, with total confidence she declared…

You are who you are, and who you are is perfect. You are enough. So what if you don’t want to hang out with a group of people. YOU DO YOU! Let peace be your north star. You make decisions about what you choose to DO based on what aligns with you BEING PEACE. Fuck the “shoulds”. Fuck the thoughts that judge what you need to do to be at peace. Remember when you found peace during that 2nd ceremony? It was when you finally let go of what you thought you SHOULD be experiencing… when you let go of needing to be in control. LET GO. LET GO. LET GO!

And with that, I let go, and I smiled from my soul. I found peace at that very moment… The peace that I am, that got buried under the “shoulds”. 

I love spending time alone with animals and in nature. I love connecting with my spirituality through movement, music, books, and talks. I value spending time with one, or a few close friends. And I often get great pleasure being out, in settings where there’s great energy and many people involved, especially when we’re all focused on energy-based practices such as yoga, meditation, and dancing.

I don’t need rules or restrictions. I simply need to connect with, and follow, my heart. I need to value myself and love the human being that I am, unconditionally, and make the choices that allow me to access my inner peace.

Simple?

Yes!

Easy?

No way!

It WILL get easier though.

Learning to let go is a practice, and practice I shall.

And now, for a letter to myself, and introverts everywhere…


Dear Introverts,

There is nothing wrong with you.

Who you are is perfect.

You are enough, exactly as you are.

We live in a society that venerates extroverts, and programs us to believe that introverts are less lovable, less valuable, and have less to offer the world. 

Fuck that!

Bull shit.

Let go. Let go. Let go.

You are lovable.

You are valuable.

You are powerful.

The world needs you.

 

With Compassion for All Living Beings,

Ella

Burn-Out, Insomnia, Psychedelics & More [An Intimate Share💖]

This will be the last time you hear from me in a while, and so I’ve taken some time to share a very intimate account of why I’m putting everything on the line!

INTRODUCTION

Before I share the letter I’ve written to myself, which serves as a real and raw account of my current state of being and the journey I’m on, I want to express my deepest gratitude to you, my dear friends, family, colleagues, clients, and audience/followers/supporters, who continue to love and support me as I navigate this extraordinary phase of my life.

I realize that my choices affect all of you.

I want you to know that I have dug deep, and believe strongly enough that the decisions I’m making are for the greater good… Not only for my own health and wellbeing, but also for the benefit of all the people in my life, and ultimately all beings on Earth and the Planet itself. 

In the forward of the book, Letting Go: The Pathway to Surrender, by David R. Hawkins, Fran Grace, PhD, states in the forward,

We learn that the answer to the problems we face is within us. By letting go of the inner blocks to it the truth of our inner self shines forth and the path to peace is revealed.

Other spiritual teachers have emphasized the cultivation of inner peace as the only real solution to personal difficulties as well as collective conflicts. “Inner disarmament first, then outer discernment,” the Dalai Lama. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” Gandhi. The implication is clear because we are all part of the whole. 

When we heal something in ourselves, we heal it for the world. Each individual consciousness is connected to the collective consciousness at the energetic level. Therefore personal healing emerges collective healing…. 

The crucial point is, by changing ourselves we change the world. As we become more loving on the inside, healing occurs on the outside, much like the rising of the sea level lifts all ships, so the radiance of unconditional love within a human heart lifts all of life. 

It is with this philosophy in mind and heart that I am taking what I’m calling a soul-full sabbatical over the next 7 weeks… A personal journey, detox, and adventure that may be both the most challenging, and the most enlightening experience of my entire life. 

I wrote the following letter to myself after having a session with internationally recognized Spiritual Channel, Laura Mirante, who channeled my higher self. 

I have decided to share this letter with you because it is an exercise I recommend to everyone who is ready to explore what it means to live in the light of unconditional love (which includes self-love). 

The letter is largely quoted wisdom imparted by my higher self (yes, you read that right!), which came through Laura during the channeling session. 

As I told my friend, Anne, after a text conversation in which she wrote, “Well you have gone wise on me💖,” to which I responded, “My higher self got channeled, and it turns out my higher self is quite wise😜 (for real – I bawled and bawled listening, and transcribed it and am reading it over and over – it’s insane).” 

If I’ve, “lost you,” by sharing what most people would coin “woo-woo,” I get it! It was not long ago I would have poo-pooed such a seemingly crazy concept (channeling).

The past couple years however, my focus, in regards to spiritual growth, has been on discovering the things I don’t know I don’t know. And the only way to open the doors to such knowledge is to release the notion that the reality we’ve always assumed to be the truth is nothing but an illusion. 

Our perceived reality is made up of programs that were installed when we were young. These subconscious programs create a certain lens through which we view this 3D world that we live in. We truly are living in a matrix, and the coolest part is that with the right tools, we can change our programming, and in turn write a new story for our lives.

Quantum physics (the science behind the Law of Attraction) is so profound because it proves that everything and everyone is made up of pure energy, and we have the power to consciously co-create our lives through our beliefs, thoughts, and emotions (aka vibrations).

It wasn’t until after spending a great deal of time studying the field of quantum physics that I was able to scrap the whole “woo-woo” judgment. When I did, it became clear that I had only begun to scrape the surface of self-discovery and true healing

I was suddenly able to tap into what’s possible when one’s consciousness expands in the absence of the need to be right, and the battle to be in control (or rather one’s perception of control, which actually keeps us in a state of anxiety and overwhelm… the opposite of in control)!

BACKSTORY

For those unfamiliar with my story, I invite you to read the blog series I released in 2015 HERE.

SETTING THE STAGE IN 2022

At the onset of 2022, in many ways I felt like I was in flow.

Physically, I was having a blast challenging my body in new ways, working toward advanced calisthenics moves (like press handstands, muscle-ups, and levers) while improving my mobility and advancing my boxing skills. 

At 41 years old, I was in the best shape of my life. 

And the best part was that the coaches and communities I was training with were in alignment with the energetic and spiritual path I was on (which is no surprise given the laws of quantum mechanics).

Career-wise, the Universe had aligned and connected me with Icons Incorporated, the founder of whom is an avid animal-lover. Kathryn saw in me the potential to make waves around the world with my passion and my voice. We partnered, built my new website, ellamagers.com, and began co-creating ground-breaking programming that will be launching this summer.

I had built a fabulous team at Sexy Fit Vegan, and although it was a time of transition, moving away from previous business models, I was proud of the content we were putting out and our audience was quickly growing. Plus, I had the fortune of realigning with my animal advocacy roots by co-creating the Solutionary Vegan LEVEL-UP Podcast (you can follow us on Instagram)! 

Spiritually, I was on a path of exponential learning and growth. I engulfed myself in education on quantum physics. My favorite show was “Interviews with Extra-Dimensionals” on GaiaTV. 

I watched documentary after documentary, and listened to podcasts and lectures, learning from iconic spiritual and thought leaders like Nassim Haramein, Thich Nhat Hanh, Theresa Bullard, Terence McKenna, Ram Dass, Matias De Stefano, David Icke, Gregg Braden, Lynne McTaggart, Bruce Lipton, and Joe Dispenza, to name a few.

I began practicing breathwork and meditation, and experimenting with micro and macro-dosing of psilocybin as a tool for expanding my consciousness. My alcohol consumption dropped to almost none. 

It was at this time that I reconnected with a friend who had been on a similar spiritual path for much longer than me. There weren’t many people in my life at that time with whom I could have deep conversations about all of the things I was exploring, so it was invigorating for me to spend time with someone who “got it.”

We talked about all things self-discovery, as well as the ways of the Universe, quantum physics, and psychedelics. I shared with him that part of the work I was doing on myself was removing my emotional “walls”… walls that have made it difficult for me to make deep connections and achieve intimate relationships with other humans for most of my life… walls that I have been chipping away at for years. 

If I had to guess the reasons I built the walls, I’d guess there are two main reasons…

#1: I spent my whole childhood, in those years that are most crucial in the creation of our subconscious programs, being an outlier, seeing the world through a very different lens than just about everyone in my life. I saw animals as deserving of the same rights to life, happiness, and freedom as humans. 

It was like I could feel the extreme pain of the trillions of farmed animals who were suffering every second of every day, and it broke my heart (and still does). It was devastating to come to understand that few people were willing to open their hearts and minds enough to change their habits. 

#2: In college, I worked as an exotic dancer. At 18 years old, when most university-going girls were going to college parties, exploring their sexuality in teenage kind of ways, I was working nights as an entertainer. Walls were undoubtedly necessary to stay safe on every level. I dated drug dealers, one of whom ended up in jail, another who was murdered – stabbed to death. 

I found that, with this friend, who had his own colorful past, the walls quickly started dissolving the more time we spent together. I experienced my heart opening in ways I had never known. 

It was like I could feel the “oneness” after a lifetime of feeling mostly separateness when it came to other human beings. 

This feeling of oneness is something I have felt with nature and animals for my entire life. And now I got a taste of the feeling with another person.

In many ways however, my friend was a reflection of me. He (self-admittedly) had emotional walls up as well. Only his walls felt even stronger than mine. And his walls were not dissolving, at least not with me.

DMT EXPERIENCE

Following a lot of research on psychedelics, I found myself being called to experience the world’s strongest psychedelic, DMT. 

First, however, I needed to get off antidepressants, which I had been on since I was 16 years old.

In line with my proclivity to impatience, I weaned myself off the antidepressants in a much shorter timeline than recommended, and under no supervision (those who know me well won’t be surprised to learn this!).

And on a DMT trip I went.

For me, the DMT experience was remarkable in that it brought to life a lot of the spiritual concepts I’d been studying. It helped me see this world as the matrix it is, and helped me conceptualize the idea that we have the opportunity to play life like a game. 

Following the DMT, I began experiencing life both from an elevated level of consciousness AND without the chemical aid of antidepressants. I realized that I was navigating my thoughts and emotions from a totally unfamiliar place. 

At the same time, the relationship with my friend had shifted, and I was navigating this new terrain without the comfort of the connection with my friend. It was confusing, and in a lot of ways, I felt more alone than ever. 

PERFECT STORM

It was also around this time a few more circumstances transpired, creating a perfect storm.

First, I realized that the burn-out I’d been fighting for quite some time, was something I could no longer ignore. It had been many years since I had taken more than 1 day off from work, much less taken a real vacation. I was working 6-7 days a week, 10-14 hours a day.

My creativity dwindled. I got up at my typical 4:44 AM every morning, and when I got to my computer, the overwhelm set in. It got to the point where I found myself staring blankly at the screen, feeling paralyzed. 

And second, I injured my spine and could not continue the training I had been doing so intentionally and with so much inspiration and joy. My training was by far my antidepressant drug of choice.

It felt like the fabric that was my wellbeing was quickly unraveling. I’d managed to sew patch after patch onto the underside of the fabric, which held me together for some time. 

From the outside, the fabric continued to look strong and aesthetic. Underneath however, it was scrappy, messy… It was coming undone. 

In the last few weeks, it seemed like I began finally feeling the effects of the antidepressant prescription medications being totally out of my system. 

Things got dark.

I began to experience a whole hell of a lot of emotions bubbling to the surface. 

There have been countless tears, and many times when I’ve said to myself, “I know this is all a game (life)… I’m just not feeling up for playing the game anymore.”

I feel like I’ve been hanging on by a thread these last few weeks.

I am determined to get through this without the crutch of getting back on the antidepressants (despite gentle nudges from certain friends and family encouraging me to consider the possibility), which means I’m choosing the much more difficult path. 

Ha! SO like me!!

However, I truly believe that doing my best to navigate life antidepressant medication-free is the path that will remove whatever it is in my subconscious that is keeping me from taking myself, my life, and my influence/business to the next level. 

So, being the proactive person I am (and with the awareness that I’m staying in line with my ego’s inclination to take action toward my goals), I have decided that what I need is to take a sabbatical of sorts…

With the total support of my business partners, team, family, and friends, I will be taking 7 weeks off from work and life as I know it. 

PLANT-MEDICINE RETREAT & DETOX

I will be traveling to the jungles of Peru for a 12-day authentic ayahuasca retreat the first part of June. 

For those 12 days there will be ZERO communication with the outside world. No cell phone. No social media. No email. An opportunity to be fully present and focused on discovery, healing, and transcendence.

As challenging as 12 days in the Amazon without any contact with the outside world, including 6 plant-medicine ceremonies, will be, I believe the toughest part is what I’ll be doing (or rather what I WON’T be doing) leading up to the retreat.

Now, for the most challenging part of all… the part that only my closest family and friends will witness in real time (I’ll share about it with everyone else after the fact)… 

I’m talking about the detox that starts on May 2. 

In preparation for the Ayahuasca retreat, I will be halting all use of cannabis for the one month leading up to the trip. 

It was thanks to cannabis that I was able to remove prescription sleeping pills from my life many years ago. 

I’ve suffered from extreme insomnia for 20 years. Insomnia is the crux of my existence… my greatest barrier to becoming my healthiest self.

To try to “fix” my insomnia issue, as a “doer,” you name it, I’ve tried it… From meditation and breathwork, to yoga, acupuncture, and supplements of all kinds. 

I’ve read the books, and I practice good sleep hygiene, and yet my body hasn’t cooperated. I haven’t succeeded at finding the “off” switch… figuring out how to facilitate the shift from consciousness to unconsciousness, from awake to asleep, without the aid of a drug (cannabis being my sleeping aid of choice).

The last time I gave sleep a shot without medication was well over 10 years ago. I went 8 days with just about no sleep. I turned into a zombie. I could no longer function and gave up (SO unlike me) returned to medication.

So… Here I go again!

I am doing my best to stay positive and hopeful that this experience will be different. At the same time, I feel the need to prepare for dealing with sleep-deprivation, including warning my close family and friends about the challenges I’ll be facing (and by proxy, the challenges they’ll face as people who love and care about me).

One thing I know is that as terrible as it is to not be able to sleep, the idea of continuing to rely on anything outside myself to be well, without going on this new venture, is worse.

In the two weeks leading up to the retreat, there is more detoxing to do.

In addition to cannabis, I’ll also be avoiding alcohol, sexual activiy of all kind, pscilicybin, spicy foods, ice, ice cold drinks, refined sugars, processed foods, sweets, chocolate, oils, carbonated drinks, fermented foods, and caffeine. (Avoiding most animal products/by products is also part of the protocol which of course have not been part of my lifestyle for decades.)

The recommendation is to continue the same recommendations for at least 2 weeks following the retreat as well.

HOGS & KISSES FARM SANCTUARY

I’m thrilled that I will be traveling to Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary during the two weeks leading up to the retreat (follow us on Instagram if you’re not already)! 

I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to go help out with the animals and help celebrate the one year anniversary of when we opened our barn doors.

As you’ll read in more detail in my letter, my higher self made clear the fact that, 

The animals teach me how to be me… 

They teach me what it’s like to be intuitively inspired to be.
That’s why it feels so good, because they’re real. 

My fascination, my focus, my connection with nature is so much more than my mind has allowed me to know yet…

Saving the planet sounds like a worthy effort. 

Saving the animals feels like I’m saving a part of my soul.

So thanks to Anne Molina (founder), I get to have a more direct outlet and hands-on opportunity to nourish my soul. The timing couldn’t be better.

THANK YOU ALL

So there you have it!

Once again, I want to thank you in advance, for all your patience and understanding as I navigate through this time of extreme transformation and growth. 

For me, it all goes back to becoming the best version of myself so that I can ultimately make the biggest positive impact on the lives of animals who are suffering by the billions. 

My WHY keeps me going, and I’m so grateful for all of you, for believing in me and supporting me every step of the way.  

I can’t wait to share with you what transpires during my sabbatical.

See you at the end of June!


Dearest Ella,

I am super excited you’re here, at the precipice of major change, and you’re about to dive in deep because you know it’s worth it. 

You have what you need, even though you’re not even sure what you need, but be assured, the knowledge will unfold, and you will teach what you learn. 

You understand that you do not yet have the control of your mind that you know is possible.  

I know you believe you are open minded, but a truly open mind has no inclination to think it can completely understand any of it. It has no desire to set a plan. 

So where you thought you were open minded, you’ve actually been shutting the door with all of your ideas of what you should do, and what you should be. 

It’s time to listen to yourself… your inner you, not “idea you.” Idea you is full of it… full of ideas, full of insights and thoughts about what people need.

Yet, how could you possibly know what other people need when you’re still exploring who you are, how you work here in this reality, as a soul inhabiting a physical body, directed by a logical mind, programmed by fear-based generations, stuck in angry patterns of shame and guilt, remorse and regret.

You don’t embody all of those negative patterns, but you are a part of the collective psyche. You don’t shy away from the truth. And you’re feeling the need to address all of these energies in you. 

You are ready to embody the true healing process. 

There’s no standard outline for this. 

That’s what you’re gonna see at the retreat center… How important it is to honor how unique we all are. 

There’s no wrapping this up in a nice neat package. We’re more than that. 

Marketing has disempowered our unique expression of being. Our mental capacity to embody our divinity is negatively impacted by all of the compartmentalizing we do, by all of the categories we put people in. 

You’re a unique soul. Sometimes things that work for other people work for you. And sometimes they don’t. And you’re learning there’s not one stock answer for any of this. 

Your body is the vehicle for your soul. Your soul is pure energy – divine awareness. 

And the animals teach you how to be you.

They teach you what it’s like to be intuitively inspired to be. That’s why it feels so good, because they’re real. They’re not edited. They’re not distracted. They’re focused on being authentic, just simply perfectly what they are inspired to be in the moment. 

Animals don’t plan the next moment, the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year, the next decade, or the entire lifetime. They know better. 

Your fascination, your focus, your connection with nature is so much more than your mind has allowed you to know yet.

Saving the planet sounds like a worthy effort. Saving the animals feels like you’re saving a part of your soul.

But could there be more? Could it be that loving animals, having compassionate experiences on their behalf heals you? 

Of course it does. You already know that. 

So maybe, looking to save the animals is actually your soul’s way of healing you, which takes everything and shifts it. 

Because for a while, you thought you were doing something for someone outside of you. And it turns out that ultimately it all comes back to you. 

What does that mean? 

It means that there’s more going on here than you’ve figured out yet. And as you go through the healing process, you’re going to accumulate a lot of tools, a serious amount of awareness to process through, and realizations that will benefit everybody you work with going forward. 

This retreat will help you prepare to give yourself your fullest potential in a way that truly changes people and brings them into alignment with a completely authentic expression of their souls… And that’s your purpose of being. 

You’re here, now, confronting your ideas. You’re confronting your ego’s need to feel like you have a plan. 

You started the ball rolling. And now it’s rolling downhill and it’s building momentum, but you’ve lost control. 

This retreat is you stepping out of the way of it. This is your opportunity to learn, to breathe, and focus on nothing else but your breath.

Give yourself the grace you need to go forward. 

You are not alone in this effort. You are not alone in the resistance. When you fight your own efforts at attaining a state of mind, of calm, it’s not just you that you’re battling for.

It’s vital that you remember that. 

You don’t know them yet – the people I’ll be working with in the future – but you’re already taking up arms on their behalf.

Pay attention to the ego’s resistance to letting go. Because when you surrender into your soul, many will follow. That’s something you’ve always known deep down. It’s something your loved ones know. It’s something your team knows. It’s something your new business partner knows.

You’re excited to learn more about who you are. 

And be aware of the pattern, that in your times of self-doubt, when you see that when another person recognizes the power in you, you tend to give them authority over you.

Pause and release.

Know this… You have a brilliant potential, a brilliant energy of purpose that will affect many going forward when you are in alignment with the highest frequency expression of you. And only you can establish that in you,  and for you, to develop a state of being that serves humanity. 

So you’ll take this trip to Peru.

You’ll build your resource center and establish a state of mind of humility in service to your higher awareness. 

See every effort of your ego to control in thought the direction of your experience as an offense to your soul.

I invite you to stand in a state of neutrality until that offensive effort is diminished and dismissed.

Stand up for your soul. Fight the collective pattern in the human psyche that over-develops the material-oriented ego aspect of self. 

That’s you being the change. That’s what this is all about. If you can just understand that if you embody neutrality, you are the change necessary, and everything else will be available to you in neutrality of thought. You can get that. You can work with that. 

You can take the intensity out of each thought by knowing there’s something more… by knowing there’s a field of higher awareness available to you, beyond the limits of those thoughts. 

That practice will become your pattern. That patterning will create in you a consistent, intuitive, inspirational flow of purpose, direction, and intent to be. 

That’s you in a nutshell – a vehicle for the divine energy of purpose. 

And if you let go of thinking that you can think of what to do with that, you can be it. 

Love,

Your Higher Self

Time to Celebrate! (EP 100: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

Celebrating the closing of Season 1 with 100 episodes under our belts!

LISTEN/WATCH

Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

*Links mentioned in the episode are at the bottom of this page.


Celebrating the closing of Season 1 with 100 episodes under our belts!
Grateful to you, Empowered Vegan Lifers, for being a part of our lives through this podcast and our programming.
In this episode, Stephanie and I share the lessons of our podcasting journey, what inspired us to create 100 episodes, and intriguing answers to the questions: which episode is the MOST…
🎙️💫 Entertaining
🎙️💫 Valuable in terms of the self-coaching tools we teach
🎙️💫 Spiritually awakening
🎙️💫 Practical for the transitioning vegan
🎙️💫 Informative on the topic of nutrition
🎙️💫 Heartwarming for animal lovers
🎙️💫 Most inspiring for embodying every aspect of the vegan lifestyle
And there’s more! Stay tuned to the end for a special celebratory gift from us to you!
P.S. Make sure you’re on our email list and a part of our E.V.L. group on Facebook. So you get updates on things we’re doing like the Burpees & Greens Challenge we’re doing altogether, live, in April.
P.P.S. If you haven’t yet, please leave us a star rating and review… Even though we’re taking a break, the show remains published. Having positive reviews will continue to help us and help you to spread our message of empowerment, authenticity, and compassion. I know it feels like a pain in the booty, and it’s easy to say; I promise I’ll get to it later. And we all know that later often becomes never, right?

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE


CONNECT WITH US!

Interested in working with us? Email [email protected]

Check out our new FREE Master Class!

Take Our New Going Vegan Quiz HERE!  

Grab the valuable gift we have for you HERE.

Have a question you’d like us to answer, or feedback you’d like to give us (we love hearing from you!)? Leave us a voice (or written) message HERE.

Interested in receiving a free coaching session to air on an upcoming episode? Apply HERE.

Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary Website

Leveling Up to Solutionary Veganism (EP 99: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

To be truly solutionary, a solution must significantly and strategically address the underlying causes of the problem. It must do so without causing harm to people, animals, or the environment.

LISTEN/WATCH

Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

*Links mentioned in the episode are at the bottom of this page.


Solutionary vegans level up by:
↗️ questioning the “true price” of their actions by asking, “what are the impacts of my everyday choices on other humans, non-human animals, and the planet?”
↗️ diving deep for accurate information (truth)
↗️ (inclusive) building coalitions by supporting and amplifying the many important, beautiful, diverse voices for change.
↗️ Prioritizing high-impact strategies that revolutionize systems
…so that we can effectively advocate for ALL beings.
In this special episode, Jennifer and I dive deep into our soon-to-be-launched “Solutionary Vegan LEVEL-UP podcast.” Here we explore the inspiring range of strategies used by animal protectors, environmental activists, and social justice warriors to LEVEL-UP the playing field for all Earth’s inhabitants. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Find out how working with Stephanie and me, and the tools we teach in Vegan Life Coach Academy made a difference in Jennifer’s personal growth and ultimately led to Solutionary Vegan Project.
Listen, learn, and enjoy!

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE


CONNECT WITH US!

Interested in working with us? Email [email protected]

Check out our new FREE Master Class!

Take Our New Going Vegan Quiz HERE!  

Grab the valuable gift we have for you HERE.

Have a question you’d like us to answer, or feedback you’d like to give us (we love hearing from you!)? Leave us a voice (or written) message HERE.

Interested in receiving a free coaching session to air on an upcoming episode? Apply HERE.

Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary Website