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 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.


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.


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.


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:


      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!


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!


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].


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!

Why I Chose “Sexy Fit Vegan®”

I’ve been getting some push-back on the name of my brand recently. With comments on my Facebook posts like, “Why sexy?” and “Your a fraud, just trying to use sex to make money!”

I’d like to take a moment to address this criticism…

Many of you already aware that I knew from the age of 7 that my purpose in life is to save animals by spreading awareness about the cruelty that takes place behind the closed doors of factory farms. As a child, I thought, “If only people knew, they would surely quit eating animals!” I soon realized that it was, unfortunately, a bit more complicated than that.

I started to understand that people have been conditioned from birth to believe dogs are worthy of our love, while pigs are meant to be tortured, killed and consumed. Cats are worthy of sleeping in bed with us, while cows deserve to have their throats slit so we can eat their flesh. Dolphins are beautiful, to be ooh-ed and ah-ed at, while tuna are meant to be captured, canned, and consumed.

I also came to understand that many people do not WANT to know. Why? “Ignorance is bliss” right? Once you know you can’t not know. You no longer have the “excuse” of ignorance and must take responsibility for your choices. 

I created my brand, Sexy Fit Vegan®, in 2013, when the truth about animal agriculture (both the ethical and health aspects) started being covered in the mainstream media. The information I had been sharing with people for years, was finally being exposed in ways that could not be ignored.

The mission of my brand was clear. Bring veganism into the mainstream. So yes, my thought was, “What can I name my brand that will get people’s attention?”

The word “sexy” catches people’s eye. It does draw people’s attention, probably more than any other word in the English language. Given that catching people’s attention was my goal… Sexy Fit Vegan® it was! I was beyond excited to start building my life and work around what I’m most passionate about… veganism.

I did think about what the word “sexy” meant to me before choosing it. I’ve always considered myself a feminist. I had a mom who taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. I’m grateful that my parents gave me the space and support I needed to figure out what was important to me.

When choosing my brand name, I thought, “What happens when I’m older? Will I no longer be a sexy fit vegan?” I quickly answered myself, “Hell yeah, I’ll be a sexy fit vegan until the day I die!” Here’s why…

True sexiness is a matter of how you feel in your own skin. It has nothing to do with other people’s opinions about your appearance. Feeling sexy starts from within.

I thought about how amazing it feels to align your actions with your true values. I considered how powerful it feels to move through the world fight for what you believe in. For me, that was a fight for the end of animal exploitation. Now THAT feels sexy to me!

Not to mention the fact that we’re human beings, and sex is a part of life. It’s part of our identity. Sex is not something to feel shameful about. So why is the word “sexy” sexist? It’s not! There is nothing wrong with striving to feel sexy!

I love what my friend and Plant-Empowered Coach, Stephanie said as we were discussing this topic. “I think it’s time that women embrace that their sexual energy is a part of their wholeness. It’s time to own the fact that being an empowered female is inherently sexual.” Males are certainly proud of their sexual energy… Why should females not be proud of theirs?

Feeling sexy is not only okay, it’s liberating!

That being said (full disclosure here), my immediate reaction to those who criticized me for using the word “sexy” in my brand, without bothering to get to know me and what I’m all about, was “F**k you!  I’ve been vegan for 24 years and have worked my whole life to make a positive impact in this world.

I use a tool I teach in the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program we call “the power of the pause” to take a step back, observe that F-You thought, and recognize that it will not contribute to my cause in any positive or productive way. Hence why I’m writing and sharing this instead!

I’ve learned that part of being a leader is having critics (a.k.a haters), and part of being a good leader is accepting that some people simply aren’t going to “get it,” and that’s okay!

My entire life is focused on empowering women with the tools they need to love themselves, overcome shame, live according to their values, and build a meaningful life, through my 6-Month Plant-Empowered Coaching Program.

A meaningful life involves using your strengths and skills to make a positive impact in this world, and there is nothing sexier than that!

Should we take probiotics?


Probiotics always seem to be a topic of interest among health-conscious individuals.

Most of us have at least heard of probiotics, and maybe we have even tried a few products containing them when we have gotten some type of cold or other sickness (because that’s what your neighbor told you to do, or your friend’s friend has suggested it, or because you googled probiotic and the first website you read claimed probiotics are the ‘real-deal’). But I often wonder if we really understand what a probiotic is. What’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? And should we really trust either one? I’ve learned about these two forms of bacteria in some of my classes, I’ve done some information gathering, and I hope to clear some things up.

First things first. Let’s talk bacteria. Our gastrointestinal tract is made up of hundreds of different species of “good” bacteria, also known as our body’s microflora. This bacteria helps our body metabolize nutrients, vitamins, drugs, hormones, and carcinogens; fight against intruders; prevents pathogens from colonizing; protects us against allergies and immune disorders; and regulates our immune system (1,2). These functions of the gut flora help our body’s to function properly and prevent disease-causing bacteria (AKA the “bad” bacteria) from taking hold. Our diet and lifestyle affects the types of bacteria that live in our gut. A healthy, nutrient-dense diet helps promote the growth of the good bacteria; an unhealthy diet consisting of refined sugar and animal fat, low fiber, and antibiotic use promotes the bad bacteria. This is where probiotics and prebiotics come into play. People frequently believe their diet can be “fixed” with supplementation, including probiotics.

I find that the definition of probiotics is often confusing, but Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains it best:

“The term probiotics is used both for the beneficial bacteria that are native to our intestinal tract and for supplemental live bacterial organisms that are thought to be beneficial when ingested. However, the (limited) bacteria in supplemental probiotics and fermented foods are not the same as the indigenous bacterial flora that live in the gut. Supplemental probiotics serve a beneficial role–but mostly when the normal native bacteria have been harmed or removed with antibiotic use or perverted with a diet of sweets and processed foods (1).”

He goes on to explain that it can take months to reestablish the good microflora and that a healthy diet needs to be maintained in order to do so. Probiotic bacteria that come from supplements drop within days when supplementation stops. This begins to explain why a healthy diet is the most important factor in promoting the right type of bacteria in our gut–not occasional probiotic supplementation.

There are many studies that have been done regarding probiotics, but the evidence is mixed when it comes to its effectiveness (1). For this reason more research needs to be done before we can proclaim that probiotics are the real deal. That being said, there are a few conditions that have been shown to benefit most from probiotics, including antibiotic associated diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (2). For more information regarding probiotics, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s article: What are probiotics?).

So, why is a healthy diet the most important factor in promoting the good bacteria? The good bacteria (and even probiotics themselves), feed off of non-digestible carbohydrate sources, resistant starch and fibers coming from vegetables, fruit, and legumes. These types of food act as prebiotics, which support the growth and activity of the good bacteria. They are found in foods like onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, artichokes, oats, and bananas (2,3). It is not necessary to eat fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir to have beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract (1). A whole-food diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes (AKA a high fiber, resistant starch and carbohydrate diet consisting of natural prebiotics) will provide enough of the favorable bacteria in our gut to keep us healthy and functioning at our best.

Probiotics may be helpful for some people under certain conditions, but I hope more research is completed in the future so we can determine their safety and effectiveness. As of right now, the evidence regarding the benefits of prebiotics from whole, plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables is our best bet when we want to keep our good bacteria in check. When you’re feeling sick, think about how your diet has been over the last few months or even the last few weeks. Are you fueling your microflora with healthy foods (prebiotics), or are you encouraging the growth of the “bad” bacteria?

This photo comes from


This is a really good video video from regarding probiotics and prebiotics.

  1. Furhman, Joel. Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free. Harper One. 2012. pp. 89; 151-153. Print.
  2. “Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits.” MDPI. Web.:
  3. “Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits.” MDPI. Web.:
  4. “Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits.” MDPI. Web.

Natalie Portman
Sexy Fit Vegan of the Month – June 2015

Natalie Portman Sexy Fit Vegan of the Month June 2015

Introducing the first Sexy Fit Vegan of the month, Natalie Portman!

Introducing our new feature, Sexy Fit Vegan of the Month! There are so many amazing women out there that deserve the recognition for being awesome and to kick things off, I instantly thought of one of my favorite celebrities. June’s Sexy Fit Vegan of the month goes to Natalie Portman, who just happens to be one of my favorite actresses of all time, and who’s birthday is June 9th, the same as Ella’s! Natalie became a vegetarian at 8 years old and fully vegan in 2009. My love of Natalie goes all the way back to a movie she made when she was only 10 years old called, The Professional and then of course the long list of awesome films she’s been in including The Black Swan which is one of my very favorites, which as you probably know she won an Oscar for along with every other award out there in 2010. Clearly she is an amazing actress but I’ve always had so much respect for her and the way she carries herself. She has managed to stay out of the Hollywood BS and lead a successful life. She has an Audrey Hepburn type of style and even though she may not be the most talked about on the red carpet, she ALWAYS nails it.

Here are the reasons why I chose Natalie:

1. She 100% vegan. She’s not only just eats a plant-based diet, she’s an animal activist and doesn’t wear anything “fur, feather or leather”. She has said that all of her shoes come from Target and Stella McCartney and in 2007 she even launched her own vegan footwear brand. 

2. She gives back. Natalie is involved with several different organizations focused on ending child hunger and for years she has traveled all over the world speaking to people and lending her support. She gets involved with the issues she is passionate about and uses her fame in a positive way to encourage our generation to make powerful changes and I love her for that! 

3. She’s incredibly intelligent. Unlike many Hollywood actresses, Natalie has always placed an emphasis on education. She graduated from Harvard in 2003 and continued to study in Israel following. She’s said many times that being smart is more important to her than being an actress, which is another reason she is such a great role model.  

4. She has substance. In interviews and on the red carpet, Natalie always comes across as having an appreciation for her life and a confidence in who she is. She’s carries herself like like a lady, is incredibly sexy and isn’t afraid to smile. While her beauty is undeniable, that’s not the only thing you notice about her. She is not just an actress, she is an inspiring, caring and intriguing human being who is one of the few who uses her celebrity to make a difference in this world. We need more like her out there!! 

natalie portman marie claire

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