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

Positive Thinking My A** (EP 56: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

The idea for the theme of this week’s episode came in the wake of Shye’s emergency spinal surgery.

LISTEN/WATCH

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


It was one of the toughest, most emotionally exhausting weeks of my life, and I wasn’t sure I had the energy to record… Until the title, “Positive Thinking My A**” popped into my brain. And I knew Stephanie would have plenty of powerful insights on the topic of positive thinking culture she’d love to share.

We dive deep into the complexity of the term, “positive thinking,” and give strategies for not only making your own life-altering mindset shifts but also the best ways to help people you care about deal with sadness and grief.

Buckle up for this empowering episode of The Vegan Life Coach Podcast!

 


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Inquire about the 6-Week Intuitive Food & Fitness Coaching Program [[email protected]]

Episode 24: Going Vegan: When Your Family Is Not on Board

 


CONNECT WITH US!

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

Intuitive Eating Model (EP 55: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

If you’re over dieting, and “INTUITIVE EATING” sounds appealing, yet daunting, you’re not alone!

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


In this episode of The Vegan Life Coach Podcast (following some fun storytelling involving skinny margaritas😉) we dive into our simple, 6-Step process for eating intuitively.

The “Intuitive Eating Model” has been a complete game-changer for our coaching clients. It allows you to feel confident about every food choice you make because you make those decisions CONSCIOUSLY (not based on your subconscious programming which runs on autopilot).

Steps for Making Conscious Food Choices

 Next time you have a craving, utilize the “Power Pause” (as taught in episode 7), approach yourself with curiosity and compassion, go through the following steps, and record your thoughts and experiences

Step #1: Ask yourself WHAT specific food are you craving right now? Describe in detail including the quantity.

Step #2: Ask yourself WHY do you want to eat right now? Does your craving seem PHYSIOLOGICAL (true hunger/your body’s need for nutrients)? Is it being caused by a craving due to food addictions? Or is the craving PSYCHOLOGICAL (trigger related to a mental/emotional state (“self-medicating”, avoiding or numbing feelings)?

Step #3: Pause to reflect about how you will FEEL AFTER you indulge? Take yourself through the imagined experience and notice how you’ll feel immediately after you finish eating, 5 minutes after that, a few hours later, and the following day. Consider the positive/negative consequences.

Step #4: Use the Self-Empowered Coaching Model to introduce new thoughts that are in line with your values. Walkthrough the steps of the Self-Empowerment Coaching System and describe.

Step#5: Try an ALTERNATIVE PLAN to address your true needs and take actions that are in line with your values. For a physiological craving, is there a healthier food substitute that will be more in line with your values? For a psychological craving, refer to what you discovered using the Self-Empowerment Coaching System and explore alternative actions that will serve you better (eg taking a walk, calling a friend, putting on a guided meditation, etc.)

Step #6: Whatever decision you make, decide it consciously and eat mindfully with pleasure!

 

 


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Episode 7 (Self-Empowerment Coaching System)

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Empowered Vegan Life Facebook Group

 


CONNECT WITH US!

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

Aging (EP 54: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

Aging… A touchy topic that we unravel, layer by layer, in this important episode of The Vegan Life Coach Podcast.

LISTEN/WATCH

Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

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


We break it down into two categories… Physical and Emotional. 

We first talk about the physical effects of aging, and how you can use a healthy vegan lifestyle to slow the aging process. We then dive into the complexities involved with the emotional effects of aging, society’s role, and the tools that help people foster unconditional self-love, step into their power, and reinvent themselves at any age!

 


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Seaspiracy

The Last Pig documentary

The Self-Empowerment Coaching System

 


CONNECT WITH US!

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

Dr. Elsa Spencer: A Fascinating Story of Passion & Resilience (EP 51: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

Throughout my conversation with Dr. Elsa Spencer, we bounced from how she became a vegan and her activism, to how she overcame childhood trauma and an eating disorder, to her favorite healthy brownie recipe.

LISTEN/WATCH

Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

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


It isn’t often that I get a chance to talk with someone who’s been vegan for longer than I have. Elsa’s expertise and authenticity is refreshing, and much of her story will resonate with our listeners (as it did for me) in powerful ways! Elsa reminds us of just how challenging life can be, and the beauty that can bloom from facing adversity.

Dr. Elsa Spencer, Nutritionist, Professor, Biologist (and So Much More!) 

Dr. Elsa Spencer earned her Ph.D. in nutrition in 2003. She trained as a researcher and teacher in various topics from cell biology to food chemistry and clinical trials throughout her education. Elsa understands what food can do at a molecular level, and she can break the information into bite-sized pieces. 

Throughout her career, Elsa has performed nutritional research, written papers on nutrition, gotten these papers published in medical journals, coached individuals in plant-based nutrition, and teaches at her local community college. She continues her passion for nutrition by coordinating food for a local plant-based children’s camp during the summer months.

One item that is critical to Elsa is making sure she gives back to the vegan community. She owes (and discusses in our podcast) her copious physical and mental energy to living her last 28 years as a vegan. She volunteers for the Vegetarian Resource Group, is a former intern for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and is a regular contributor at Anonymous for the Voiceless Actions. 

When she’s not running around spreading the word about good nutrition, she can be found bicycling to work, challenging herself with yoga, and running (or walking) around Charlottesville, VA. 

The Discussion of Veganism

Elsa’s vegan story started about 28 years ago. During her freshman year of college, Elsa began toying around with the idea that she wanted to become vegan. While already a vegetarian, she and her high school friends decided that they wanted to do something about the environment and know more about animal cruelty. They believed they would be able to slow carbon emissions by omitting meat products from their daily diet. She realized that carbon emissions were still being released not only from cows killed for meat but also from dairy cows. It was the light bulb moment that turned her vegan.

As with every first-year student (Elsa kindly points out), the first year of college can be quite jarring. She had moved out of her home at 17, started going to college, lost her first serious boyfriend, and met her father for the first time. 

On top of those life-changing events, Elsa started to remember events from her childhood. Her eighteen-year-old brain decided that she was finally ready to old enough to remember the incidences of sexual abuse that had occurred when she was a child.

Feeling out of control, Elsa turned to food as something she had the power to control, which led to anorexia.

As she began to come to terms with everything, Elsa sought out a therapist who helped her through her eating disorder. The therapist also helped her realize she might have underlying OCD. 

Even now, at 46, Elsa still sees a therapist to help her work through her thoughts and emotions. While her eating disorder is well under control, she admits to it taking over a decade to get it truly sorted out. 

Life after College but Still a Full-Time Vegan

Elsa described how excited her in-laws were when they came to her with a quiche they made, incorrectly thinking it was vegan-friendly. She was touched that they tried, and when she asked what was in the meal, they responded, “no cheese, broccoli, and eggs . . . “ They had removed the dairy component but forgot about (or were unaware) that the eggs were not vegan. 

While she never compromised her veganism, even to appease her in-laws, Elsa saw that others around her did. She felt driven to spread awareness to everyone who wanted it, and this is where her spunk for activism stems from. 

She wants to make sure that everyone who wants information about veganism and plant-exclusive nutrition can find it easily. 

Three-Question Speed-Round (in Elsa’s words)

If you were a non-human animal, what kind of animal would you be? 

I go back and forth between a dolphin and a bird, but right now, I’m a bird. I love flying dreams. I’ve had very lucid dreams since I was about 12 years old. I could always just tell myself I’m going to fly, and I’d be flying, and then, of course, I’d wake up and realize that I couldn’t fly and I was so disappointed. 

But, it would be a bird, like a big soaring bird—like an eagle or a falcon or a hawk.

If you could choose a time or place that you could be reincarnated, what year and location would you choose? 

I have to say that I don’t know if I would ever go back in time. I was born still-born. My heart stopped when I was inside of my mother, and I was born blue and unmovable. While the doctors and nurses did give me CPR and extra oxygen, they told my mom that I would never walk, talk, and probably be quadriplegic because of the experience. 

I didn’t end up talking until I was three. However, I saved up all my words and built sentences, and I’ve barely stopped using them since. 

I’m very grateful for the life that I do have. Living in the century I do live in, in the Western world as a woman. I don’t know that I would have internalized all the classically-American values, but I would possibly choose France or Denmark (a properly socialist country). 

What is your favorite Dark Leafy Green? Your favorite nut? Bean? Sweet treats you can make or buy . . . 

Kale, pistachios, chickpeas, brownies (black bean, no salt, oil, or sugar, but used with date paste). You could do so many great things with them; you can add stuff (like nuts or dried fruits, or add peanut butter to the top).


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Elsa’s LinkedIn

 


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Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary Website

Our Single Most Life-Transforming Tool: A Client Favorite! (EP 50: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

After having some fun with topics like being an introvert during the Pandemic and getting high off of Wim Hof’s breathing techniques, we dive into a discussion on Our Single Most Life-Transforming Tool (a client favorite).

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


The “Power Pause” is a game-changer (just ask any of our coaching clients)!

In fact, one of our clients, Dawn, was so inspired she wrote an entire blog post on this tool for the Sexy Fit Vegan blog. 

The Power Pause is meant to allow you to explore your thoughts and emotions before you take action. It allows you to respond, with intention, rather than react and immediately fall into old unhealthy patterns (aka programs).  

With this tool, you have the power to become the designer of your destiny.

The Power Pause is the key step in our Self-Empowerment Coaching System, which you can learn about in Episode 7, and hear specific examples of by listening to this episode.

We often talk about being the observer, but we don’t realize how challenging it truly is… at first. Using the power pause is how we grasp the opportunity to become the observer of our thoughts and emotions. From there, we have the power to choose new thoughts that will serve us better. We then are able to CHOOSE our actions and can choose HEALTHY behaviors, like eating a nutrient-packed meal, rather than going for the junk out of habit. 

We had a client recently asked, “Am I denying myself of what I am truly feeling.”

Taking a power pause doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be seeing rainbows and unicorns. This technique is more of an opportunity to give yourself the chance to feel your feelings and then choose what you’re going to do about it. 

What we call “the human experience” includes both positive and negative emotions. When something sad happens, feeling sad is what needs to happen (NOT feeling sad is a symptom of a sociopath after all)!

Susan David puts it so eloquently in her extraordinary TED talk. She says, “Negative emotions are our contract with life. We cannot be fully human and experience negative emotions.” 

When Shye jumped off the bed last month, l felt guilty. If I had put her steps in the right place, maybe she wouldn’t have jumped. However, instead of getting lost in guilt and spiraling downward as I used to do, a took the Power Pause, and observed the guilty feelings, and the thoughts causing them. I chose new thoughts. “It’s not my fault. Accidents happen. It is what it is.”

I let myself be sad and scared that it was happening. I even gave myself a couple days to not be on my game (have a bit of a pity party), and after that, I figured it out. 

I didn’t overeat, under-eat, over-exercise, under-exercise; I just let myself sit in those emotions and was able to make healthy choices out of love for Shye and myself. 

Society tends to shame people, especially in this “positive” culture. It’s easy to get embarrassed when things are going wrong, which spirals into shame and then turns into dysfunctional patterns, even major emotional disorders including major depression, eating disorders, and destructive anger issues. 

So, your homework is to start practicing the Power Pause in your life every day. It takes practice, and you may not remember to take the pause in the moment. 

When you DO remember, you can use it to run back through the past situation. 

Think to yourself, how could the power pause have helped me at that moment? And then replay that information to you, approaching yourself with curiosity and compassion.  

With consistent practice, over time, the Power Pause will become part of your new “operating system” and will be the key to helping you build an empowered mindset and healthy habits for the rest of your life!


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Episode 7 (Self-Empowerment Coaching System)

From Bitch to BFF: The Power of the Pause in Everyday Life


CONNECT WITH US!

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

To Cheat or Not to Cheat (EP 48: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

How would you like to build a relationship with food you never need to cheat on?!

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


The idea of “cheat meals” and “cheat days” is one I became familiar with as a fitness professional and bodybuilding competitor. It’s a concept that goes hand-in-hand with diet culture. 

Most of our clients and Vegan Life Coach Academy members come to us wanting to remove the stress around food. They want to be free from obsessive thoughts about food and their bodies. They long for eating to simply be an enjoyable and easy part of life… A way to fuel and nourish their bodies without spending tons of time and energy thinking about what, when, where, or how much they need to eat every day to achieve the results they desire. 

In this episode we explore how using “cheating” as related to diet promotes disordered eating and self-sabotage. We share how our clients have been able to eliminate refined sugar from their diets permanently without feeling deprived. 

We discuss how to make the powerful mindset shifts necessary to create a balanced LIFESTYLE where there are no more wagons to get on or fall off… How refreshing is that?!

(All with the SIDE EFFECT of losing excess body fat FOR GOOD.)


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Telegram

EP 7: SECS

Empowered Vegan Life Facebook Group

Vegan Life Coach Academy 

Wim Hof on Goop

Wim Hof on Russel Brand’s Podcast

Wim Hof App

 


CONNECT WITH US!

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

Stop Working Out to Burn Calories… Start Seeing RESULTS! (EP 47: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

Can you guess how many burpees you’d have to do to burn off the calories of just 3 Oreo Cookies (1 serving)?

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


Check out episode  47 of The Vegan Life Coach Podcast to find out!

I use this phrase a lot: “You can’t outrun your fork,” meaning that no matter how insanely hard you work out if you’re eating unhealthy foods, you simply will not get results (which for most people means weight loss)… At least not for long.

So many people are stuck in a self-sabotaging cycle, using exercise to try to burn off the calories they feel guilty about consuming, which is not only unsustainable but flat out makes you miserable and can lead to injuries.

In this episode, we talk about the powerful mindset shifts that have helped our clients see permanent results, including weight loss and a strong, fit body for life. 

Make sure you’re a member of our Empowered Vegan Life tribe to join us for tons of FREE opportunities to help you build healthy habits and adopt an empowered vegan lifestyle that brings you joy, freedom, and abundance!


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE


CONNECT WITH US!

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

Vegan Life Coaching 101: Coaching vs. Therapy (EP 46: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

Since you’re listening to The Vegan Life Coach Podcast, it’s more than likely you’re actively seeking the tools you need to adapt, or at least move in the direction of a healthy vegan lifestyle.

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Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

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


You’re probably invested in exploring the best ways to become empowered, tackle the limiting beliefs and obstacles standing in the way of becoming the best version of yourself. 

In this important episode, Stephanie & I discuss the differences between coaching, therapy, and counseling. With a better understanding, you can get clarity about the direction you may want to go when seeking professional guidance.

In a nutshell…

Therapy: Focused on taking care of underlying issues that drive dysfunction.

Counseling: Often a part of therapy, counseling focuses on specific life issues that arise. Therapy is more of an umbrella under which counseling can be a part.

Coaching: Future-oriented. Coaching can involve acknowledging the past in order to address unresolved issues that keep popping up, but it’s focused on mastering the tools you need to move forward powerfully in your life. It’s about helping you go from just functioning to thriving… An ordinary life, to an extraordinary life!

At the Vegan Life Coach Academy, we come from the perspective that, while it may be helpful to acknowledge your past, it is not helpful to focus on it. Understanding your core beliefs about who you are, what you are capable of can help you understand dysfunctional behavior, and from there, begin the “reprogramming” process. 

Check out the email I received from one of our 6-Week Intuitive Food & Fitness Coaching Program Clients:

I’m listening to the abundance part of the training and I just have to tell you how moved I am with your story. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am that you took that leap to do what you are doing to transform people’s lives! When I joined this program, I never imagined that my life would be transforming in the way it is. I  kind of realized but didn’t fully realize what an impact all the past hurts and resentments were doing on my life and spiraling me out of control to not take care of myself. I didn’t feel worthy. I could not get a hold of this crazy eating, binging, restricting, beating upcycle. 

I know there is a long way to go and a lot of work to be done, but you are so right, this was an investment of a lifetime and really made me put in the work and dedication that I wasn’t giving it before. I feel empowered beyond belief and owe it all to you ( and Stephanie too!) And it is spilling over into other aspects of my life, thinking about a future Reiki business with my sister, decluttering the house that I haven’t been able to do for years….You are so insightful,  inspiring, and knowledgeable, and should be so proud of the tremendous work you do! 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me into this program and I look forward to a long friendship from here!


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Vegan Life Coach Academy

 


CONNECT WITH US!

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

What’s Love Got to Do With It (EP 44: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

Let me share exactly how we came to decide the topic of “What’s Love Got to Do With It” for our latest The Vegan Life Coach Podcast episode (this is my text conversation with Stephanie)…

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


Ella: The episode will be 5 days from Valentine’s Day… in case anything comes to mind related to Vday…

Stephanie: V-day is a made up holiday designed by Hallmark and Russell Stovers to make us spend money and eat candy?

E: Totally😆- so should we ignore it or challenge it?

S: Well, will we seem like the valentine equivalent of grinches or Scrooges if we challenge?

E: If we aren’t organized with our thoughts probably!

S: Maybe we could share alternative ways to celebrate…

Whether you think “Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday designed by Hallmark and Russell Stovers to make us spend money and eat candy,” or not, most of us can agree that love is something we all want and need in our lives.

The holiday can be a source of joy or a source of stress and grief for different people at different points in their lives. If you’re single and don’t want to be, or you’ve recently had a tough break-up for example. 

The holiday can also cause strife between partners when they have different expectations for each other in terms of how it should be celebrated.

In this episode, we encourage you to try an alternative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day that could spread love to yourself and the world in more meaningful ways that bring you a deeper sense of fulfillment. Things like…

  • Donate/volunteer (e.g. Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary)
  • Make a list of 10 things you love about yourself (or write a love letter to yourself)
  • Random acts of kindness

Sending you all lots of love!


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Episode on the Self-Empowerment Coaching System

Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary Website

Take Our New Going Vegan Quiz HERE!  


CONNECT WITH US!

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.