Alcohol: A Sticky Topic? (EP 34: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

During a recent Q&A at Vegan Life Coach Academy, we got the following question… “This may be a sticky topic, so I understand if you don’t want to address it, but what are your thoughts on alcohol?”


Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

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

Can you guess the response from Stephanie and me?  

“There are no sticky topics we don’t tackle!” 

If you’re a regular listener of our podcast you know that we are far from afraid to talk about taboo topics, from sex to poop, and everything in between.😆 

In this episode, we touch on many questions people have about alcohol like…

  • How do I stop myself from over-drinking?
  • Is red wine really healthy?
  • Can I be healthy and still enjoy alcohol in moderation?
  • What are some tips to reduce weight gain if you don’t want to give up drinking all together?

We have fun on this episode, as well as weighing in on the serious side of alcohol. In fact, Stephanie’s field of expertise is addiction counseling, so she is able to weigh in professionally on the topic of addiction.

We also announce the launch of our new, 6-Week Sexy Fit Vegan Bootcamp! You can take our new quiz HERE and learn if the upcoming Bootcamp may help you get the results (short AND long-term)  you’re looking for, whether that be weight loss, long-term health, feeling energized and vibrant, gaining self-confidence, or any of the other countless benefits of a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet and active lifestyle.

The 6-Week Sexy Fit Vegan Bootcamp is by invitation only, so if you’re serious about the possibility of joining us, you’re invited to book a Diet Discovery Call HERE. I am doing these consultations personally, 100% FREE OF CHARGE, for a short time so don’t wait… Book your session now while you’re thinking about it!

– Ella


Hogs & Kisses ThanksLiving Package:

Take Our New Going Vegan Quiz! 

Book a Consultation with Me (6-Week SFV Bootcamp):

Vegan Alcohol Finder: 


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.

Emmy Award Winner Alison Argo (EP 33: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

In this powerful ThanksLiving special episode of The Vegan Life Coach Podcast, I interview six-time Emmy Award-winner Allison Argo.


Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

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

Allison Argo is a producer, director, editor, and writer whose films have won six national Emmys, duPont Columbia, and over 80 awards internationally, including Genesis, Jackson Hole, NY, Banff, and dozens of awards from New Zealand to Japan.

Allison is known for her emotionally-charged and deeply personal films – in particular her intimate portraits of abused and endangered animals. 

The nearly two dozen films she’s produced, directed and written have all been broadcast by PBS and/or National Geographic and have reached audiences worldwide. 

The Last Pig continues Allison’s mission to provide a voice for those who are not heard– and to deepen understanding and respect for all beings.  

We had an intriguing discussion, starting with Allison’s path to film-making, which involved the incredible story of Ivan the Gorilla (which has a very happy ending)!

We talk about social conditioning, why we treat some animals as pets and others as food, and about the disconnects society programs into us from an early age (why are dogs accepted as pets, while pigs are considered food and sentenced to death), and so much more.

 I had the privilege of viewing Allison’s latest documentary, The Last Pig, prior to our interview. Allison’s mission for this remarkable film is to provide a voice for those who are not heard– and to deepen understanding and respect for all beings. 

The Last Pig was one of the most extraordinary films I’ve ever seen… Absolutely beautiful, and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Here is the film’s description:

In the rolling hills of Upstate New York, a farmer is in crisis: after years of raising pigs, he can no longer bear the ultimate act of betrayal. 

This award-winning film chronicles his final year on the farm, capturing in intimate detail the farmer’s personal upheaval as he questions his beliefs and the value of life.

The Last Pig is an immersive snapshot, a tale of choice, grit, and the changing landscape of animal agriculture.

The farmer’s inner reflections share his struggle to align life with values, and through the story’s simple intimacy, the farmer’s moral quandary quietly becomes our own.

I am not only blown away with Allison’s talent as a producer, but also by her authenticity, generosity, and unwavering passion for making a positive impact on the lives of all animals and the Planet.

I’m excited to now share an opportunity for you to see the streaming of The Last Pig and get access to a special, live Q&A with Allison and the Directors of the 4 animal sanctuaries who are benefiting from the ticket sales!

Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary (if you haven’t yet, you’ll definitely want to check out episode 30 with founder Anne Molina) has put together a package as part of it’s “soft launch” this week. 

The package includes a ticket to see The Last Pig as well as my latest Ebook, “Plant-Empowered: Reshape Your Body by Reconditioning Your Mind” for a minimum donation of just $10! 

$5 will be going to the other 4 sanctuaries and to help fund The Last Pig on PBS. The other $5+ will go to helping Hogs & Kisses, a 501c3 nonprofit that has been sponsoring farm pigs who are waiting for them to build what will be their forever home!

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback and answer your questions! Please share inside our Empowered Life Group on Facebook.

**And if you’re not a Vegan Life Coach Academy member yet, make sure you’re on the wait list so that you’ll be the first to know when we open our doors to new members again!



The Last Pig: Website   

Hogs & Kisses Launch Package, Including The Last Pig Tickets and Ella’s Latest Plant-Empowered Ebook!

Ticket to The Last Pig Only (No Package)

The Last Pig Streaming Event Flyer

The Last Pig Trailer



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.

Letting Go as You Grow (EP 32: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

After some fun talk about random topics, from vegan hot chocolate, to doggie dental care, to Fireball (which took me back to college years), Stephanie and I dive into the focus of today’s podcast… Letting go.


Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

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

We have #MantraMonday to start each week with intention at Vegan Life Coach Academy, and last week the mantra was all about letting go. 

Stephanie wrote…

Today, take some time to think about what you have been carrying that has simply become too heavy. It is time to let go.  Let go of expectations, self judgement, anxiety, and loneliness.  It’s time to take a deep breath and enter into this week with the intention of letting go so that there is room for your growth and the new that your efforts and the universe are bringing to you! 

There are so many different areas of our lives where there is cause to let go, so we’re breaking the subject down.

On today’s episode we focus on relationships.

Check out the thread that occurred in the comments of our VLCA #MantraMonday post (we’ve changed the names to protect our members’ privacy…  

Maria: Thank you, I’m letting go of friendships that don’t serve my best self

Lilly: Ohhhh, I’ve been here. I’ve found this to be so hard when going through it and utterly liberating afterwards! Sending you strength!

Vickie: I’ve been there too, it’s such a painful place to be and it has taken me a very long time, especially to accept how such a deep affection could be transformed into something else, comprehension, jealousy and hatred at times. I am not sure I have reached a place of forgiveness yet, but at least I don’t feel so sad anymore.

Stephanie and I dive deep into the complexities of letting go of the people in our lives who are not lifting us up. 

I share my personal experience with my own energy and perspectives shifting, and how this sparked the realization that I was no longer willing to allow other people’s negative energy bring me down.

We discuss what people can do to be empowered to let go of relationships that aren’t facilitating growth.

We’d love to hear your feedback and questions! Please share inside our Empowered Life Group on Facebook.

**And if you’re not a Vegan Life Coach Academy member yet, make sure you’re on the wait list so that you’ll be the first to know when we open our doors to new members again!



Vegan Life Coach Academy



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.

Miami Girls on a Mission – Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary Update (EP 31: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

In Episode #31 of the Vegan Life Coach Podcast, Ella checks in with Anne Molina from Hogs & Kisses Sanctuary for an update.


Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

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

If you haven’t yet listened to Episode #3 The Path to Opening Hogs & Kisses Animal Sanctuary with Anne Molina. You’ll want to listen to Anne’s fascinating story in order to get some background information that this episode builds upon.

The conversation starts out with some fun catching up and reminiscing between Ella and Anne. Then Ella shares her new ultimate addiction with us. They talk briefly about the mercury retrograde and the coronavirus before jumping into the update. 

They begin with the piece of land Anne and her husband decided to purchase. Anne shares she had her eye on it for a while. She and her husband looked at other properties but in the end came back to this one because they fell in love with it. 

One of the topics Ella and Anne discuss in this episode is all the amazing people and stories that have converged to make this project possible, including the previous owner of the property, and the special way Anne’s family is honoring the past owner’s family. 

Anne and Ella describe the amazing property and some possibilities for its use, a few of which may surprise and delight you. Plus, Anne tells listeners some fun, surprising facts about pigs. (I bet you didn’t know these!)

Then Anne updates listeners on the pigs, what they’ll need to keep the animals safe on the property, and some of the other animals they plan to give a forever home to. 

Before they can put any animals on the land however, they will need someone there, on the land at all time to ensure the animal’s safety. This is where Ella shares her incredible idea (that may change) with listeners: A tiny house, on the property where she would go and stay to help out with the animals.

What’s especially cool, is that when Ella started talking to people about the idea, she could not believe the response she received from people who wanted to help and also stay and take care of the animals. 

Anne rounds out the conversation with the overall vision of the property and the hope that they can open their barn doors to their four-legged friends this Spring. 

If you’re interested in being a part of Hogs & Kisses Sanctuary and donating to bring the pigs home please contact Ella or Anne. 

[email protected]


Episode #3: Hogs & Kisses Farm Animal Sanctuary

Hogs & Kisses You Tube Channel

Hogs & Kisses Website


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.

The Extraordinary Gifts of Loneliness & a GIFT!

If you caught me on the summit, click HERE for your gifts…

And then check out this incredible article by our head mindset coach Stephanie Aguilar!

I’d been wanting to crawl out of my own skin for weeks.  

My generally humorous approach to life had left me shivering in my own unbidden sadness. My normal focused and analytical head was traded for a mush-mind that I did not recognize. I felt as if I were simply walking through my days in a misty disconnect from myself and everyone around me. In the middle of my chest was an ache, one that radiated at times to my throat, arms, and belly. Tears entered my eyes with every sad song, heartfelt gesture, and beautiful quote turned into an internet meme.

One Saturday evening, I was alone in the kitchen, and I was struck, almost to the floor, with a realization.  I was lonely. I was profoundly lonely. In my bones, I was lonely. In my eyes, I was lonely. In my heart, I was lonely. Through my entire body, I was lonely. Instead of pushing this loneliness away with a bag of Doritos and a Netflix binge of House of Cards, I decided to dig into the loneliness and see what was there for me.  And here’s where my lonely-heart story gets interesting.

Giving My Loneliness a Wink

Loneliness is an emotion that we humans avoid and deflect with everything we have.  It’s an emotion that we rarely HAVE to face, though it is as common a human experience as any. Yes, we feel it, but do we really have to face it? I didn’t. With endless ways to distract myself and make superficial connections within seconds that would put it off, actually looking my loneliness in the face seemed not only terrifying but completely foreign. Yet, I was compelled to dive in to see what was there.

I wasn’t interested in the WHY… that was simple enough… but I wanted to know what was in the loneliness for me. David Gandelman, founder of, says in his meditation on loneliness, “The more we try to avoid loneliness the more we feed it… but what happens if we walk deep into our own hearts and meet that loneliness?” And with that terrifying inspiration, I walked deep into my heart and gave my loneliness a wink.

I found in my loneliness that I was ashamed. I was embarrassed to be lonely. I have love in my life.  I have friends and family and colleagues and clients that I am connected to and love deeply. And, still, my chest ached with feelings of isolation and being misunderstood and alone.

In my curiosity, I uncovered something really unexpected. I am ashamed of my loneliness not because I believe I have no reason to be lonely but because I am afraid my loneliness diminishes my independence. It is my most cherished quality and yet, my irrational shame was centered on this thought that if I am lonely, I must be weak. If I am lonely, I must not be able to stand alone. If I am lonely, I must be unlovable.

Whoa! That wink had just turned into a full-on, in-your-face, slap-your-mamma-to-Tuesday kind of moment. And just as unexpectedly, my loneliness gave me some gifts.

The Big Reveal

First, my loneliness gave me the gift of vulnerability. I am an open book when it comes to my past shame. I will tell you about my failed relationships. I will talk for hours about my eating disorder. I will even tell you all about my early false starts at motherhood. But, sharing my in-the-moment, private thoughts and inner-most shame is another matter entirely.

Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat. It’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.” And so, in this loneliness and shame, I was all in. I bared my present shame to three people in one day… my two best friends and a complete stranger on Instagram. I said these exact words, “I am profoundly lonely” not knowing if I could trust myself to actually say the shameful words or the people I chose to tell and doing it anyway. And the remarkable thing was this: With the shame exposed, the loneliness lost its power.

My chest still ached. I still felt incredibly alone and misunderstood. But, I was in the light of vulnerability, and the loneliness lost its power. No longer did I feel the need to hide and run away from this emotion. I no longer felt like I needed to hide in a sleeve of oreos or scroll Facebook for hours.  Instead, I was ready to “say hello to my loneliness” as David Gandelman further invites in his meditation.

After exposing my shame, I found that I have the strength to be lonely. I am capable of being lonely while still being me. I did not fall apart. I was not a mess. I found I can sit with my loneliness and carry it around until I am done with it and it is done with me.  

Susan David, author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, says, “We still don’t like the things we don’t like—we just cease to be at war with them.  And once the war is over, change can begin.” I don’t like being lonely, but I am now willing to lay down my ineffective weapons against loneliness because I found that the battle was not one that could be won.  And when I did that, I stepped into the realization that the loneliness was bringing me to the warrior heart I had completely dismissed.

Discovering the Irony

I think that we often fight against our emotions not because we are strong but because we believe ourselves to be completely incapable of sitting with the difficult emotions. We go into battle with distraction and incomparable replacements and all of those other weapons that ultimately fail.  The truth is if I did not face my loneliness, I would not know my capabilities, and isn’t that the irony here? My avoidance of loneliness was due to my shame and perceived dependence on others, when in actuality, my loneliness brought me to a strength I had not yet realized I had.

Through this strength, I started to uncover the causes of my loneliness. I am lonely because I love easily and yet, accepting love is very hard for me.  I am lonely because I have spent the last decade and a half nurturing everyone around me and neglecting to cultivate the friendships that feed my soul. I am lonely because I have often chosen isolation over adventure. I am lonely because I am human.

“Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility,“ Susan David says in an unparalleled way. I am human and fragile, and that is part of my beauty. My aching loneliness is preparing me for a gorgeous dance, one in which I will feel that inherent beauty and one that only I can create. I am not empty;  I am raw.

Since I am now fully available to accept the penetrating awareness of my loneliness, I am finding that I am deepening in compassion for all. The startling fact is, the loneliness is creating more space for love and purpose and a fullness that I have not yet experienced because I was too busy keeping loneliness at bay.

As Peme Chödrö states in her work, The Places that Scare You, “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” Let me know my darkness. The world needs my compassion. It does not need another pretender.

My work, both as a client and as a coach in the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program, didn’t bring me to the superficial conclusion that I must be positive at any cost. Working through the process brought me to the belief that I am strong beyond the thoughts and emotions that fuel me as a human.

Only I am in charge of my happiness and meaning in this life. No one else has that contract with me but me. And despite my fragility and loneliness, I love all that I am enough to give every emotion a wink and say hello, then take it for a fantastic, terrifying ride. It isn’t enough to recognize the emotion, and through the Program I learned that I am powerful enough to take control of the thoughts that don’t serve me and view my emotions with compassion and curiosity rather than shoving them to the side to be dealt with at a later date.  This is the power of the process. This is the power of freedom. This is the power that is me.

What is the Body Neutrality Movement?

The past few years, the media has begun to tell women to love their bodies regardless of their size while at the same time hypocritically continuing to use the same models with the same “ideal” proportions. While those proposing all women shower themselves with body self-love meant well, the message nevertheless often felt hollow and phony to those with physiques that didn’t match the images we’re still seeing.

Additionally, some of those in the health care field felt that while teaching women to love their bodies no matter what reaped psychological benefits, it ignored the reality of the potential health risks associated with obesity.

A recent response to all things body-positive focuses instead on a neutral acceptance of ones’ physical appearance while still admitting room for improvement exists. The body neutrality movement offers a more authentic way for women to end negative self-talk while still focusing on achieving physical fitness to avoid future health woes.

Similarly, Ella’s Plant-Empowered Coaching Program is based on the philosophy that accepting, respecting, and loving yourself exactly as you are is a PRE-REQUISITE for changing your body. This is because when you make food and fitness choices out of love for yourself, and respect for you values (e.g. compassion for animals), you take discipline and will power out of the equation. Nutritious vegan food becomes a form of self-care, which becomes a priority when you develop true self-love. (If this resonates with you, be sure to attend Ella’s powerful master class on the 5 Steps to Ditch Diets and Adopt a Healthy Vegan Lifestyle you Love.)

Let’s now explore how the body neutrality movement came about, and what it can show us about the future of helping all people accept themselves regardless of size or weight.

What Does Body Neutrality Mean?

Body neutrality encourages women to practice true self-love by accepting their physical realities and making choices that promote good health. Body neutrality challenges women to objectively evaluate their bodies, not in a critical way, but rather by honestly assessing their strengths and challenges.

Unlike the body positivity movement that preached love of self regardless of ones’ diet and exercise habits, those embracing body neutrality not only accept their physical limitations but also take proactive steps to improve their diets and overall health.

Those practicing a body neutrality path take personal responsibility for engaging in behaviors that lead to poor health outcomes. This doesn’t equate to beating themselves up over an occasional (vegan) doughnut indulgence or skipping a single workout, but they do take note of these less-than-healthy behaviors to prevent them from turning into daily habits. In addition to accepting their physical realities, followers acknowledge the factors and influences that contributed to their excess body fat without allowing them to become excuses for poor health habits.

Which Approach Works Better — Body Positivity or Body Neutrality?

Both the body positivity movement and the more recent body neutrality movement offer benefits to many women. Even experts in fitness and nutrition disagree as to which approach works better for each individual.

Experts do agree that tying ones’ sense of self-worth to anything related to physical appearance wastes valuable emotional energy that could best be spent elsewhere. Tying ones’ sense of self-worth to physical appearance can lead to mental health issues such as depression and eating disorders. Taking either approach, body positivity or body neutrality, can benefit those whose body size interferes with achieving a sense of happiness and satisfaction in life.

Some women feel most comfortable practicing a combination of body positivity and body neutrality. It’s natural to feel elated after completing a vigorous run or tough fitness class. However, we all have certain days when we feel down or experience disappointments, such as gaining a pound due to normal female hormonal cycles. Part of body neutrality involves treating the self gently and refusing to let one setback completely derail progress toward improved health.

Some nutritionists and fitness experts consider body neutrality a stepping stone toward true self-love of our physical bodies. While this may hold true in some cases, women should take care to reward themselves simply for making healthier decisions overall, not just reaching their ideal weight or pants size.

In this sense, self-care isn’t just about weight. It’s also about things like preventive medicine, scheduling annual checkups, taking care of your bones and skin, staying properly hydrated and understanding the value of eating a wide variety of whole plant foods daily. Self-care is an ongoing project that doesn’t end just because you shed that extra 15 pounds from the holidays. When in doubt, practice this kind of self-care above all else.

Embracing Body Neutrality for a Healthier Life

Those wishing to adopt body neutrality in their own lives can begin by taking an honest and objective assessment of their physical selves. Which daily practices encourage good health, and which areas can be improved? For example, one woman may do an excellent job of attending regular fitness classes after work but may also overindulge in highly processed foods with little nutritional value. Another may consume more carrots than Bugs Bunny but resists breaking a sweat.

Focus on correcting one unhealthy habit at a time. Beginning a new fitness regimen while also attempting to stick to a diet can lead to feelings of disappointment. When the inevitable slip-ups occur, avoid letting one bad day evolve into a bad week or month. Practicing forgiveness and kindness toward oneself is an important part of developing a positive mental outlook.

The body neutrality movement can offer many women a more realistic alternative to expressions of self-love that often ring hollow. By focusing on improving health outcomes over developing the so-called “perfect” body, we can learn to love ourselves by making healthier choices one decision at a time. There’s no greater expression of self-love than keeping both mind and body healthy.

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

I was looking forward to my lunch break yoga today…

Right before I left for class though, I saw that my favorite instructor was subbed out for an instructor that I haven’t loved in the past. In addition to the fact that I didn’t love her style of teaching, she’s never been very friendly towards me.
My very first thought was, think of a reason why I can’t go, maybe blame my workload today.  I paused (the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program emphasizes the “power of the pause“), and instead of going with my immediate reaction, I chose new thoughts instead…
1.  I will be open to giving this instructor another try and maybe I will end up enjoying it
2.  This is my time for my self care so there’s no blaming work and there’s no other class I want to do during this time slot I have open.
I arrive at the yoga studio and the instructor that I’ve already said I don’t love is at the front desk. She was not present (looking down texting)  and as I walked by she tried to charge me for a mat even though I have it included in my membership.
I was super friendly about it, even though had she just looked up from her phone and at my profile as I checked in she would have seen the type of membership I have. Okay, so we are already off on the wrong foot, but I’m remaining positive. I keep telling myself how thankful I am for my membership and that I have the time to take the class.
Now I’m in class and I’m not crazy about the music that’s playing. It’s actually so loud that I’m having difficulty hearing her instruction. I decided to change those thoughts as well to how thankful I am for my strong healthy body that can do all the poses.
Then, something shifted. Just as the class is getting more difficult, she comes over and gives me a really helpful adjustment. My next thoughts are, I’m really thankful for both the time and energy she is giving me and the class itself, even though I am loathing the music and can’t hear her talk (I’m really not an old lady yet, I swear)!
I get through the class and lay in savasana, thankful and thinking loving thoughts of my body, mind, and just about everything I have to be grateful for which is so much!
As I’m leaving class, the instructor asks me how I feel in such a genuine caring way. All of a sudden she was super friendly and present. Completely opposite of how she has treated me in the past.

Okay here’s the best part…

As I’m almost out the door, she must have looked at my profile because she asked me if I could help her find a new apartment (I’m a realtor). I immediately said yes! Mid-discussion another person overhears us and asks me for the same help. I left the yoga studio with 2 new clients, and goose bumps about the power of my thoughts! It occurred to me that the entire experience, positive and negative, would not have even happened if I had not felt empowered enough to change my thoughts.
On a side note, 2018 was very stressful for me due to financial struggles, so gaining 2 new clients in a matter of an hour was evidence that 2019 is going to be a completely different year in so many ways. Thank Goodness!
Anyway, I’m now even more thankful for all that I’ve learned through the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program. As I tell people in our Breakthrough Calls, we teach “forever tools” in the program, and I love being a testimonial of how using those tools even in simple, every day life scenarios, is truly transformational!
Thanks for reading 🙂

You Do NOT Have to Go to Work Today!

I’m psyched to be delivering some fantastic news…

You do NOT have to go to work today!

Nor do you have to pick your kids up from school, prepare a healthy dinner, or get the oil changed in your car. In fact, you don’t have to do anything!

Okay okay, you’re probably thinking, “What the hell are you talking about Ella?”

Well in case you don’t already know, I am all about helping people get out of victim mode and step into their power.

The Power of Words

We’re big on vocabulary at Vegan Life Coach Academy, and how the language we use can dictate who we think we are, how we move through the world, and what we believe we’re capable of.

So one thing we work on with our members is empowering vocabulary changes… And WOW, let me just tell you that it never ceases to amaze me the difference replacing ONE word or phrase can make in our lives.

Think about how many times a week, heck, a day, that you say, “I have to…”

I have to get out of bed now. I have to go to work. I have to go to the gym. I have to make dinner. I have to go to my kid’s soccer game…

BUT, do you really HAVE TO? Are you being forced? Do you not have a choice? Are you really that powerLESS?


Consider this…

You DO have a choice! You DO have the power to choose what you do and don’t do with your precious time and energy.

Now you may be saying, “Ok yeah, but if I don’t go to work, I’ll lose my job,” or “If I don’t go to the gym I’ll never reach my goals.”

And that all may be true!

But here’s the deal… Are there consequences to your decisions? Of course! You choose not to go to work and you’ll probably get fired. You choose to grab fast food instead of making a healthy dinner, you’ll probably feel like crap. You get the idea?

So where are you right now… Are you a victim to your schedule, or are you empowered by what you choose to do with your time?

And you know, it’s not only about understanding these types of powerful mindset shifts, but also putting them into use every single day until they become second nature. And having a structured process with consistent individual and group coaching, accountability, and peer support is part of the formula that makes Vegan Life Coach Academy such a huge success for our Visionaries members.

So, I’m challenge you to own your schedule by replacing the phrase, “I have to,” with one of the following:

  • “I choose to”
  • “I get to”
  • “I’m grateful to be able to…”
  • “I’m fortunate I have the opportunity to….”

And why stop there?

The concept that we have control over our what we do with our time and energy can be applied to every aspect of our lives.

We all have the same number of hours in our day (I believe that number is “not enough”), so we have to constantly prioritize, which is often done without a second thought.

But by saying, “I choose to…” we are forcing ourselves to prioritize our time with intention. Pretty cool if you really think about it, huh?!

Most of the clients I work with are used to taking care of everyone else’s needs before their own. I call it “People-Pleasing Syndrome” and I am definitely a recovering people-pleaser myself! Are you?

But here’s the deal…

Putting our own needs last may seem unselfish, but it’s actually the opposite. You simply cannot serve others to the best of your ability if you’re not taking care of yourself… Not to mention the underlying resentment that undoubtedly forms when you’re exhausted and overwhelmed.

So it’s time to not only replace “I have to” with “I choose to,” but also start to prioritize self-care.

I know, I know, so much easier said than done (which just means that the time to start working on changing this pattern is NOW)!

What will you do, starting TODAY to consistently take better care of yourself? Start with just one activity to add to your routine, whether it be a dance class or just 30 minutes quiet time to read. Put it in your calendar and follow through with your commitment to yourself. (If you’re like our clients, your great at keeping your commitments to everyone but yourself.)

Want support?

Our Empowered Vegan Life Facebook group is a fantastic, free, space for connecting with other like-minded people, and getting and giving valuable support. So if you haven’t joined yet, get into action and join HERE now.

Looking forward to connecting with you there!

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!