How to Instantly Become a Sexy Fit Vegan

There it was… A comment on my Facebook post.  An unsolicited, petty cut on my generally upbeat, self-deprecating Facebook page.

“You aren’t my perception of a Sexy Fit Vegan…”

My first thought?


And this is where I earned my crown as a Sexy Fit Vegan.  Now, I know that vulgarities generally don’t inspire regal images.  But, here I am, nonetheless, A Sexy Fit Vegan Bad Ass Queen.

The struggle to earn this has not been easy.  I have lived much of my adult life avoiding all criticism, insult, and slights.  Just a short time ago, my inner response wouldn’t have been nearly so bold. I would have found myself locked in self-doubt and punishment for days upon days because that comment would have only served to validate my own beliefs about myself.  I believed I wasn’t good enough to be sexy, fit, or vegan. Frankly, my daily life was an exercise in how invisible I could be.

And then, it all changed.

I was watching my daughter look at herself in the mirror, pulling at her clothes, tears in her eyes because she hated her new body and the curves that were springing in places that had been flat just months before.  She had previously been filled with self-confidence…more than self-confidence…a fearlessness that is uncommon in most humans I have known. At her core , that is just who she is: Brave and bold is the way she was born.

Now I watched her and realized I was watching myself.  She had learned this from me. She was putting aside her natural courage and confidence to play small, just like me.

No, I had never verbally criticized my body in front of her, but I didn’t have to. My years of striving to be invisible had spoken for me. And here it was…my legacy landed on my beautiful, fearless, bold daughter.  And the younger one was watching too.

And so, that day, I decided to love my body.

And, here’s how I did it:

  1. I acted.  I didn’t think.  I didn’t feel. I acted.  I invested in myself. I connected with Ella and the Plant Empowered Coaching Program.  I threw away all that I thought I knew about meal plans and exercise and micros and calories.  I trusted the process. I let it take me where I needed to go.
  2. I became relentless with the thoughts that weren’t serving me.  I chipped away at that belief that I wasn’t enough with evidence that I am MORE than enough and never too much.  I dug into the powerful self-coaching that Ella has so masterfully honed. I stepped back with curiosity and compassion to view these beliefs from a new perspective, and then I went to work becoming the master of my thoughts.
  3. I fully engaged in a vegan life.  These are my values. I could no longer put junk and suffering in my body.  I could no longer live in a way that didn’t fit with what I knew to be true for the sake of others’ comfort.  I had to live my values in the ultimate act of self-love.
  4. I began treating my body as I would treat anyone I love.  I made decisions about nutrition and movement out of a place of love.  I wouldn’t feed my children Mountain Dew and Doritos for supper, so why would I do this to myself?  I wouldn’t let my children miss a sports practice for a game that they love, so why would I miss a workout?  I wouldn’t allow anyone to speak unkindly to my children, so why would I allow me to do that to myself?

Somewhere along the way, I began to realize that I wasn’t just acting or deciding. I was believing. I no longer wanted to hide. My butt is still big. I have a mommy tummy.  My arms still jiggle. And I am fierce and loved. Not beautiful for a big girl. Not just a pretty face.  I am fully alive and engaged and independent and strong with all my curves and every imperfection. I am a Sexy Fit Vegan who makes decisions based in love of the body I have TODAY, not the one I might have tomorrow.

When I decided to love my body, my girls decided to love theirs.  Not long ago, the three of us decided to go shopping for new jeans.  We were in the checkout line, and a woman approached me. She said something every mother longs to hear, “You’re doing it right.” She went on, “ You and your girls are laughing and admiring your butts in the mirror.  Mine is still in the dressing room crying. You’re doing it right.”

And, you know what? I am. Now, I talk about how a banana and spinach make me feel alive in the morning. Now, I discuss what a badass I am after my kickboxing workout. Now, I look in the mirror and say out loud, “Damn, Girl!”  I am the example for my girls, not just the voice that tells them they’re beautiful. I’m the example that their own voices are the most important, truly, the only ones that matter

I watched this play out in another way just after that Facebook comment.  You see, I’ve taught my daughter something else through my actions. I’ve taught her to love herself enough to not engage in self-doubt because of someone else.  She had her first, young love break up this week. And when this little boy decided to dump her through text without explanation, her response was to say, “Grow some balls.”  Not, “What is wrong with me?” Not, “Why am i not good enough?” It was, “Grow some balls.” That’s my fearless, beautiful, bold girl!

So, forgive my sailor’s mouth when I say that one of my proudest accomplishments of this decade has been to respond to outside critics with “Fuck off”.  I am a Sexy Fit Vegan. I say that without apology or caveats.

My body continues to respond to my love, and if I never lose another pound I am still a Sexy Fit Vegan. I am fit and sexy and plus size and vegan. And another’s perception of what a Sexy Fit Vegan is simply makes no difference.  The fact is, no one gets to decide if I am a Sexy Fit Vegan but me.

Forgiveness: Your Ticket to Freedom in 2019

“Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” This famous quote, often attributed to Buddha, is one of the most accurate analogies that exists.

Think about one person who you harbor resentment toward. Let yourself experience that resentment for a moment. How does it feel? Pretty shitty right?! Now think about that other person. Do you think they’re suffering right now due to your continued anger? Probably not, proving that the consequence of your resentment is self-inflicted suffering.

The question then becomes, “Why are you inflicting pain on yourself?” I don’t expect you to have an answer now, but my goal for writing this article is to help you begin to find the answer while introducing you to some powerful shifts you can make to forgive, let go, and find your freedom.

The Plant-Empowered Coaching Program is all about achieving a total mind-body transformation. Most people do not have the tools to deal with negative emotions in a healthy way. We consider negative emotions “toxic” when we are so fearful of them that we stuff them away or numb them with food, alcohol, drugs, or even exercise.

Toxic emotions can in turn manifest in our bodies as pain, high blood pressure, stiffness, belly fat, fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and even tumor growth, to name a few. When you hear the saying, “he died from a broken heart,” it’s not just a figure of speech. People actually die from extreme grief. In the days following the loss of a loved one people are much more likely to die of a heart attack.

Getting back to anger and resentment, when we hear “forgiveness,” we often think “apology.” Really though, the apology has nothing to do with true forgiveness. The dictionary definition of forgiveness is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone after an offense or mistake, or to cancel a debt. As you can see, forgiveness is all about internally changing how you feel, and has nothing to do with outward actions like an apology.

Let’s consider four options when it comes to forgiving someone else. These are “options” because you always have a choice about how you perceive and react to a situation. You are NOT a victim to your circumstances. You DO have the power to write your own life story. These are concepts we focus on in the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program.

The first option is to protect or lie to yourself and say that you’ve forgive someone, and act as if you’ve forgiven, but then continue to harbor anger. Living in denial is the most self-destructive of all the options.

The second option is to choose NOT to forgive. Letting go takes a lot of work, and you have to be ready and willing to do the work. It may take a while for you to get to that place. In the meantime, give yourself some grace and approach yourself with curiosity and compassion (another concept we highlight in the Program).

The third option is to choose to truly forgive and cut the other person out of your life. When you determine that someone’s presence in your life is detrimental to your own growth it is not serving anyone to keep them in your life. Forgive and let them go. Forgiving does not mean you have to welcome someone back into your life. You are not under any obligation to tell them you’ve forgiven them either. Remember, forgiveness is about how YOU feel. It has nothing to do with their feelings.

The last option is to truly forgive, and choose to continue to have a relationship with the other person. This is the option that requires the most effort, in large part because you may have to keep forgiving them every time you interact with them and you feel the anger returning. To truly forgive takes a ton of mental and emotional work, and when you see the person, you’re likely to be triggered and have to do that work over and over again until it finally sticks.

There is one alternative to forgiving that I want to throw out there next. When I discovered this course of action it actually blew my mind. What if you could get to a place where you did not give someone else the power to hurt your feelings or piss you off? “That’s impossible!” you might be thinking right now. But is it? No one can upset or anger you without your permission. Empowerment comes from truly believing that only you have complete control over how you think and feel. As our clients will tell you, taking full responsibility for your thoughts, emotions, and actions will put you on the path to freedom.

A final consideration is that sometimes, when we think we feel angry at others, we are really angry at ourselves. Most of our clients have experienced a great deal of shame in their lives. Where there’s shame, there’s a lack of self-acceptance and self-love, and a need to forgive yourself.

After living in shame for over a decade, the path to forgiving myself was daunting. Escaping the prison of perfectionism and people-pleasing took years of hard work. When I finally did overcome the shame and forgive myself, letting go of the anger and resentment for others was a piece of vegan cake!

I want to encourage you to give yourself the gift of forgiveness as you glide into 2019. In the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program our clients learn how to “play life like a game.” This makes the intense work they’re doing on themselves, after some practice over time, seem, in a sense, fun! It’s like finding that proverbial light at the end of a long dark tunnel… Pure freedom!

5 Quick Power Packed Breakfasts


We’ve all heard it hundreds of times….breakfast is important!  

I think the reason a lot of us skip it is because we are pressed for time, bored with the usual options or have failed to plan ahead.  Here are five recipes that will hopefully not only have you eating breakfast everyday, but loving it too. It’s my favourite meal of the day!

You will notice that these are all of the sweet/fruity category, as I tend to gravitate to towards fruit in the morning and generally I have found savoury breakfasts to be more time consuming.  The first three are quick and easy to make in the morning, and the last two you need to make the night before.  Also I would strongly encourage investing in a high speed blender…I use mine multiple times daily and it really makes getting all those fruits and vegetable into your diet a breeze.


Mixed Berry Nice Cream

The simplest of them all!  Nice Cream is literally frozen bananas (they must be ripe!) blended with a splash or two of non-dairy milk and the add ins of your choosing.  Here I  have used 1 banana with 1/2 C of frozen mixed berries and topped with sliced almonds. But you can add whatever you want….cocoa powder, peanut butter, different mixed fruit…the possibilities are endless. Just throw it in the blender and you have breakfast in seconds.


Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie Bowl

A variation on nice cream is the smoothie bowl.  Same concept, different texture, and you can get a bit fancier 🙂  Again you can play around with it but this is one of my favourite versions:

  • 1 1/2 ripe frozen bananas
  • 1/2 C canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 C non dairy milk ( I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla or unflavoured vegan protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Top with raw pumpkin seeds. granola and unsweetened coconut.  Recipe adapted from Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl.


Chocolate Protein Pudding

  • 1 package of soft tofu
  • 2 ripe bananas (not frozen)
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Fresh fruit

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and voila… chocolate, high protein deliciousness. Top with fresh fruit. This makes a couple of  servings and the pudding keeps well in the fridge.


Chia Pudding

The basic ratio for chia pudding is 3 Tbsp of chia seeds to 1 C of non dairy milk.  After that you can add what you want.  Here I have combined the chia seeds with 2 tsp of maple syrup and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla.  Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate over night.  I find that if you can whisk again a couple of hours into the cooling process it helps to get the consistency really smooth and lump free.  In the morning layer with whatever fruits and nuts you like.  Here I have added raspberries and granola.


Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

I love oatmeal and baked oatmeal was a revelation for me.  I can now make a big batch and just throw a serving in the microwave in the morning. This recipe is from Oh She Glows and is amazing…I could eat in for breakfast, lunch and dinner with this meal on hand!  It does contain maple syrup but I have made it both with and without it and it tastes good both ways so if you are looking to reduce sugar in your diet try it without.



Choose the Right Vegan Running Shoe


If running is a part of your exercise routine and you care about animals and supporting cruelty companies, this blog post on vegan running shoes is for you!

Let’s talk about picking the right running shoe for your individual needs first. Here are 5 things that need to be taken into consideration when choosing the best shoe for you.

1. Pronation

Pronation has to do with how your foot rolls in or out, or stays straight. The following illustrations from BuzzFeed do a great job showing you what this looks like. There are different types of shoes that work best for each type.

Normal Pronation for a vegan runner

Overpronation for Vegan Runners

Underpronation for Vegan Runners

Images Credit: Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

2. Foot Strike

Foot strike refers to what part of your foot hits the ground first when running. There is the forefront strike, midfoot strike, and heel strike. There seems to be some inconsistencies among experts when it comes to which is the “best.” A midfoot strike may cause the least impact on your joints, but it seems to also depend on your own body mechanics and the shoe you choose. Changing your shoe to one with a lower heel can be helpful if you tend to heel strike and are having joint pain.

3. Cushion

How much cushion do you want between your foot and the ground? This infographic from RoadRunnerSports illustrates the different levels of cushion. The best one for you will depend on what feels most comfortable and works best with your body mechanics.

Cushion Level for vegan runners



4. How many miles you run per week

The more miles you run, the more durable your shoe needs to be. 

5. Shoe Size

Generally speaking, your running shoe should be at least 1/2 a size larger then your “normal” shoe size. This is because your feet swell and spread during your run. For some people, including myself, a full size larger end up being the most comfortable when running more than a couple miles. 

I recommend finding a specialized running store where the staff will help you figure out the best running shoe for your needs. Find a store that has a treadmill so your gate can be examined to determine the answers to all the questions I mentioned. 

Now for making sure you buy a cruelty free/vegan running shoe. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! A ton of companies use synthetic materials instead of leather, and some quality companies are completely vegan-friendly. PETA created a great infographic to help us be informed about running shoe companies vegan status: 


vegan-running-shoe-guideI hope this helps you on your quest to find the right vegan running shoe. Any runners out there that have other tips please share!


Top 5 Stability Ball Core Exercises


It’s Vegan Fitness Friday and today I’m sharing the top five effective stability ball exercises I recommend for strengthening your core!

1.  High Plank Hip Extension: Start in a high plank position with your hands on the floor and the top of your feet on the ball. Make sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. Engage your core so stabilize your body, and using your right glute muscles, raise your right leg off the ball about 6 inches. Hold the position for a few seconds before gently placing it back down and performing the same movement with your left leg. Make sure to keep your leg straight (do not bend at the knee). Repeat until you reach failure.


2.  Plank to Pike: Start in a high plank position with your hands on the floor and your shins on the ball. Make sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. Engage your core and stabilize your shoulders. Pull your bellybutton in and up toward your spine in order to lift your hips up into the air above your shoulders and only your toes are in contact with the ball. With control, allow your hips to lower back to the start position. Repeat for 10-20 reps or until failure.

Swiss Ball Pike

3. Supermans: Position the ball under your hips and stomach, with your legs stretched out straight behind you, toes on the ground. It helps to also have your feet against a wall. Stretch your arms straight out, elbows by your ears. Lower your upper body until your hands touch the ground. Using your back muscles, raise your upper body, as far as up as you can, arms staying as straight and close to your ears as possible. Lower with control and repeat 15 reps or until failure.

Supermans on Stabilty Ball

4.  Full Range of Motion Sit-Up: Sit on top of the ball, securing your feet under a stable object. The further back on the ball your butt is, the more challenging this exercise will be. Bend your arms positioning your hands by your ears. Engage your core, and slowly roll your back down the ball one vertebrae at a time. Starting with your chin moving toward your chest, use your abdominal muscles to roll back up one vertebrae at a time pulling your bellybutton in toward your spine throughout the entire movement. If you feel any pain in your lower back stop and position the ball further up on your back so you have more support. If it’s too easy on the other hand, stop and move the ball further down under your butt to make it more difficult. Repeat 15-20 times or until failure.

Stability Ball Situps

5.  Russian Twists: Start with the stability ball positioned under your upper back. Adjust your feet and lift your hips so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Arms stretch straight toward the ceiling, hands together. Engage your abs and twist at your midsection, lowering your arms to one side. Alternate, doing a total of 20-30 reps or until failure. Make this exercise more challenging by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball.

Stability ball Russian twist


New member!

Sheila Shlegel Vegan Nutrition Student

Hello Sexy Fit Vegan community! This is my first blog post as a Sexy Fit Vegan member. I thought a quick introduction would be nice before I jumped right in! It’s very exciting to start this new journey and be a part of such a wonderful organization that Ella started.

Just like Ella, I am very passionate about the wonderful benefits of a plant-based diet and a fit lifestyle. There is no question that many women (and men!) are frustrated with their weight and health overall. There are way too many contradictions and advertisements floating around for that quick fix remedy or pill. One of the wonderful things about Sexy Fit Vegan is the consistency of information. There are no pills or magic potions or unrealistic promises, and there certainly is no starving yourself! A whole, plant-based diet with regular physical activity has consistently shown to improve your quality of life1,2.

Including a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes offers wonderful benefits, but a healthy body is also an active body. That is one of my favorite things about Sexy Fit Vegan: the belief that a plant-based diet is most beneficial but also that a physical lifestyle is just as important! They are the yin and yang to a healthy body.

I am currently in graduate school obtaining my Master’s in Dietetics and Nutrition and so far I have learned so many things that I am eager to share with you. Many of my blog posts will be sharing current information I am learning and I will do my best to provide any empirical research to back up most of my posts, and not just something I personally believe in!

Follow my board on pinterest for a ton of healthy and delicious plant-based recipes. Thanks again Ella for having me on your team! 🙂

Until next time!

Sheila Schlegel

<3 Sheila

  1. Tuso, MD, P., H Ismail, MD, M., Ha, MD, B., & Bartolotto, MA, RD, C. (2013). Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets. The Permanente Journal, 61-66. Retrieved April, 2015, from
  1. Frank W. Booth, Ph.D., Christian K. Roberts, Ph.D., and Matthew J. Laye, Ph.D. Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases. Compr Physiol. 2012 Apr; 2(2): 1143–1211. Retrieved April 2015, from doi: 10.1002/cphy.c110025

Adopting a Healthy Vegan Diet Plan: The Fruit vs. Sugar Confusion


We hear it all the time… “Sugar is bad!” But what does that mean when it comes to adopting a vegan diet plan that is both healthy and delicious?

There is no question that refined sugar is our enemy in so many ways. Eating refined sugar makes your body into an environment that supports illness and disease, and quite simply, it makes you fat! There are countless reasons to avoid refined sugar. Read 78 of those reasons HERE. There are also many names for refined sugars you may be unfamiliar with. These are important to know so you can recognize hidden sugar listed in the ingredients on nutrition labels. Familiarize yourself with THESE.

Where confusion comes in, is when the topic of fruit arises. Fruit contains sugar. Some people claim that eating fruit will have the same adverse effects on our health as eating sugar in other forms. NOT TRUE!!! Eating whole fruits is incredibly beneficial to our health! To explain, please watch this incredibly interesting short VIDEO by Dr. Michael Gregor. He is my most trusted source of unbiased, up-to-date nutritional information. He scours all the latest research and compiles short videos and articles that bring clarity to pertinent health issues.

In conclusion, EAT FRUIT! Organic whenever possible, especially when it comes to berries. Berries may be the most beneficial fruits that exist so add them to your shakes and cereal as often as you can. The fiber in whole fruit makes eating it whole the healthiest option, but drinking fresh juice does still deliver antioxidants and other nutrients to our bodies. Whole fruit makes a super snack on it’s own, especially  shortly before a workout to give you a burst of energy that digests quickly so you aren’t working out on a full stomach. 

Now you can enjoy fruit and know you are doing your body good with every bite. Enjoy!


Favorite Nut Milk Recipe


After much experimentation, I want to share with you my favorite nut milk recipe to date!

It’s made from a combination raw brazil nuts and almonds. I actually love the taste of the milk I make with brazil nuts alone, but the problem is I love it a little too much! Why? Brazil nuts contain a large amount of selenium, an important mineral that gives us antioxidant protection and support for proper thyroid and immune function. We need only a small amount, however, and too much of it in our system can lead to adverse health effects. This is why I decided to do a 50/50 split of brazil nuts and almonds, which I consider a super food due to their LDL cholesterol-lowering effects and high nutrient content including vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.

The only equipment you need is a high speed blender (I’m partial to the Vitamix) and a nut milk bag, which you can find online or at your local health food store. I also like to order the almonds online to ensure they are truly raw. (almonds grown in the U.S. are required by law to be pasteurized, which typically involves high heat, yet the company is still permitted to label them “raw”.) Find almonds grown outside the U.S. that specifically say they are raw AND unpasteurized. For more information on this topic click HERE.


  • 1/2 cup raw brazil nuts
  • 1/2 cup truly raw almonds
  • 3.5-4 cups water
  • 3 medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • cinnamon to taste

Soak the nuts in water for a minimum of 12 hours, preferably 24 hours. Rinse thoroughly and place in Vitamix or other high speed blender. Add the rest of the ingredients (less water means creamier and thicker milk). Blend thoroughly. Pour into a nut milk bag that you have placed in a large bowl. Slowly, strain the liquid through the bag by twisting and squeezing it until no more liquid comes out. Pour into container that seal as tightly as possible and store in refrigerator. Best if consumed within 48 hours, but will usually be ok for 72 hours.


Header Photo Credit: CAN CAN Nut Milk

Detox Carrot Soup


Did you, like many of us, over indulge a bit over the holidays? Feel the need for a reboot with a clean eating detox?

I know that sometimes the temptation in January is to go the extreme with a juice cleanse or a super strict diet plan, and while those can have their time and place, they can also be incredibly hard to stick with and therefore many people get frustrated and go back to lousy eating habits again.  In my opinion the best, and most sustainable, reset you can do is pack your diet with fresh vegetables and cut out the things that are triggers for you. For me it is sugar and wine, for someone else it might be bread and and potato chips.

This soup is great for this time of year because it is easy, healthy, warming and satisfying.  The recipe itself is incredibly simple, but you could definitley punch it up with different spices if you like e.g., cumin, fresh ginger or a pinch of cayenne would be a good combo. Also if you want to up your greens intake feel free to throw in a couple of handfuls  of spinach at the end.

Detox Carrot Soup


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 4 C vegetable stock
  • 1/2-1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium low heat.  Add carrots, garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the potatoes, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Pour in broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat , cover, and allow soup to simmer for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Allow soup to cool a bit and then puree in batches in a blender.  Reheat, season with salt and pepper (depending on the vegetable broth you use you may need a little, or a lot, of salt) and serve.  Top with vegan sour cream and green onions if desired.


– Kirsten


Robin Quivers Fights Off Cancer Going Vegan

Robin Quivers Adopts Vegan Diet to Fight Cancer

Robin Quivers Adopts Vegan Diet to Fight CancernRobin, long time sidekick to Howard Stern, is back in the studio after taking a year off to fight endometrial cancer by going vegan.

She attributes the strength she possessed during her stent of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to her vegan diet plan.

In her book “The Vegucation of Robin,” Quivers wrote “My plant-based diet was helping my body heal. I couldn’t believe the difference I saw. I’d never had such a dramatic shift in my health – not when I was taking medication, not when I was wearing a neck brace, and certainly not when I was eating whatever I wanted. I no longer had to rearrange my entire life around being sick.”

It’s just so great to hear another story about the healing powers of a whole foods, plant based diet. Go Robin!!!

If you are interested in more details, see the articles from the following:
NY Daily News
Dr. Oz
Today Show via YouTube