Vegans Indulge Too!

Vegan Cupcake

Hi Everyone!

I, like everyone else, over-indulged! Shocker I know 😉 but believe it or not, I’m human too! Today I want to share with you a few of the foods & drinks I splurge on. They are all 100% vegan of course, but they are not whole foods in that they are all processed to some degree. Some of you may think, “Those are not so bad!” and yes, in comparison to some of the junk food out there with highly refined sugars, corn syrups, GMO soy and other additives, these “aren’t so bad.” I’m here to tell you though, once you have some time under your belt eating a diet that is mostly comprised of whole plant foods, the foods I’m listing truly do feel like indulgences! So here are my confessions…

1. Vegan Snacks: Vegan “”Cheese” Popcorn, Lentil Chips









2. “Comfort Foods”: Organic Yellow Corn Grits (with Daiya Cheese), Gluten-Free Pizza (with Daiya Cheese), Sweet Potato Fries (I bake them!)









Amys gluten free pizza








3. Alcohol: Tequila drinks (mainly tequila with soda and fresh lemon and lime), Golden Monkey beer.










Stay tuned… I find new vegan “semi-junk” foods to splurge on all the time! Just remember, if you cut out all the really horrible processed foods (I’m talking Fritos, Pop Tarts, Snickers, you get the idea) ALL TOGETHER, you will lose the cravings for these types of terrible-for-you-foods, and Lentil Chips will become your new standard for an indulgence, at which point you can count on seeing major positive changes to your body, your energy level, your happiness, and your whole life in general! Stick with the program and you will see!

For more detailed information on nutrition, including meal plans, recipes, and workout routines check out the SFV Club!


Celebrating Independence Day

Vegan Independence Day

july4th01July 4th is all about celebrating the pride we have in our country and being thankful for our freedom. I want to share how incredibly grateful I am to live in a country in which I am able to speak my mind and do all I can to follow my passions. I am able to dedicate my life to improving the wellbeing of animals, humans, and the environment by educating, motivating, and inspiring people to eat a plant-based diet. In a world of so much turbulence, hatred, and destruction, at least I have the right to fight for what I believe in and make a difference! As cliche as it may sound, it’s true, and these quotes sum it up well:

“A real patriot doesn’t unconditionally stick up for his government—he stands up for freedom.
” ― Jarod Kintz

“What’s right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity – intellect and resources – to do some thing about them.” ― Henry Ford II

The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain. – George McGovern

And now let’s talk about celebrating July 4th, Sexy Fit Vegan Style!

Time for Another Barbecue!

A BBQ is a popular way to celebrate this holiday but don’t worry, a BBQ does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza! I look at them as opportunites to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!
So when I am invited to a BBQ, I get the details first because for me personally, a pig skewered over a fire pit is simply beyond the boundaries of what I am able to handle. Then, if I accept the invitation, I of course offer to bring some food, which is never turned down! The friend usually mentions at that point that they are also planning on cooking up some veggies anyway.
If you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving! There are tons of awesome recipes out there to try! Some of my favorite websites for healthy recipes are:
Oh She Glows
Happy. Healthy. Life.
Fat Free Vegan
I usually grab portobello mushroom caps, veggie burgers and occasionally vegan hot dogs to bring, as well as a veggie platter with cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, celery, cucumbers (I chop ahead of time) and hummus.
My top vegan picks in terms of store bought products to bring are:
Amy’s California & Bistro Burgers (Great tasting, satisfying to meat-eaters and vegans alike, plus the California one is gluten free!
Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle (love adding avocado to this one)
Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (Perfect hot dog sub and Gluten Free as well.)
Vegenaise, Low Fat or Grapeseed (Texture and taste are both fantastic.)
Daiya Cheese Slices (cheddar, provolone, and swiss options.)
Believe it or not both the vegan burgers and veggie platter are almost always a hit at the party!

Sexy Fit Vegan Cocktail Tips

limeMintSkipping the juice & refined sugar is the best way to cut down on the bad drink calories. Alcohol calories are basically empty calories, meaning no nutrients… Not helpful when sculpting a sexy fit body! But maybe you are like me and like to play hard (and train HARDER!) and yes, that involves having a few cocktails on special occasions. BUT there is no need to double the drink calories, especially by adding sugar calories that lead to weight gain and inflammation in the body. This means NO soda, NO juice (unless you juice the fruit right then and there and use just a splash), definitely NO sugar (mojitos for example, as delicious as they may be, are crazy high in refined sugar… the worst!), NO simple syrup (which is just sugar water), NO sour mix (the best margaritas are made with only fresh ingredients). You can also sweeten your drink by adding the tiniest bit of raw, organic stevia which has no calories (a little bit goes a LONG way). Also, keep in mind that the more “less-sweet” cocktails you consume, the more you will become accustomed to the taste and eventually you will be totally turned off by a sugary drink. Make the decision and be consistent and I promise, if you give it some time, it will pay off!
At least with wine and beer you are aware of the number of calories you are consuming and there are no hidden ingredients. With cocktails you have to really watch your back to avoid those awful additives. For mixers stick with soda water, fresh herbs like mint and basil, lemons, limes, a little fresh muddled fruit.

Pre-Celebration WorkoutsSprint

In order to relax and enjoy your Independence Day barbecue or whatever celebration you embark on, the best strategy is to get in several extra-intense training sessions in the days leading up to the 4th. Simple concept, you just have to DO IT! Tack on a few miles to your runs if you are a runner. Do 100 burpees a day for 3 days that week. Get in an extra cross-training session. Extend your normal park workout by 20 minutes. Step in up a notch and then enjoy your holiday knowing you have earned it!

Wishing you the Happiest Independence Day!!!


Top 7 Nutrients You May Need to Supplement

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One of the most common questions I receive (after, “How do you get your protein?”) is, “Do you take supplements?” I have been vegan 18 years (vegetarian 26 years) and during that time I have heard so much conflicting information from different people and groups. Most of this information had very little, unbiased, conclusive research to back it up. Only recently has scientific data started to be published on the long-term health effects of a vegan diet. Upon learning about this new research, I went from taking only B-12, to adding 5 more nutrients to my supplement list.

My base reason for maintaing a vegan diet is, and always has been my strong belief that it is not okay to harm, kill, or exploit animals for any reason. I mention this now because personally, no matter what the scientific data tells us, I will remain vegan until the day I die because I want my actions to match my values.

That being said, my mission in life, in addition to changing the way our culture views and treats animals and the environment, includes helping humans live the healthiest, happiest lives possible. The awesome thing about this is that we can achieve all three components of my mission with one solution… a well-balanced, whole foods, plant-based diet!!!

I am writing this article to present the most up to date information I am aware of when it comes to getting all the nutrients we need, in the right amounts, to live long, quality lives. Here are the 6 nutrients people on a vegan diet need to pay closest attention to:

1. B-12 Vitamin B

Every single person on a vegan diet, no matter how balanced and healthy you eat, must supplement their diet to get the appropriate levels of B-12 in their system. For more information on why this is the case, click HERE. The simplest way to ensure you get enough is taking an oral supplement. There are many B12-fortified foods on the shelves, such as certain cereals and nut milks, but instead of trying to make sure you eat those specific foods every day, I recommend simply taking a supplement. The recommended amount is either a single dose of 2,500 mcg per week, or a daily dose of 250 mcg in the form of a chewable, sublingual, or liquid vitamin. You may not experience any symptoms of B12 deficiency until you have irreversible neurological damage.

2. DHA

There is research that shows one reason people, and for some reason vegans especially, can have health problems later in life is due to a consistently high omega 6:omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammation, and omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammation. For more on inflammation click HERE. We need both to survive, but in general, we are consuming way too much omega 6, and too little omega 3. We can get the short-chain omega 3 fatty acids from several plant-foods such as flax seeds and walnuts, however we usually cannot convert enough of this form, to the long-chain omega 3 fatty acid DHA.  It is therefore recommended for those on a plant-based diet to take a vegan, algae-based DHA supplement. In fact, I tell everyone taking a fish oil to switch to an algae-derived supplement (where do you think the fish get the omega 3s from? Why risk the heavy metal contamination and sea environmental destruction to get the fish oil, when we can easily grow the algae in a controlled environment without contaminants or sea devastation!)

3. Calciumkale

Despite the common myth that we need cow’s milk to get enough calcium, it’s certain green vegetables that have the highest absorption rate. You will actually absorb more calcium from broccoli, kale, and bok choy than cow’s milk, and  soybeans absorb calcium equally as well as cow’s milk. Higher oxilate-containing greens, such as spinach and beet greens however, have poor calcium absorption. Therefore, if you are eating enough of the calcium-containing foods with good absorption and/or eating enough calcium-fortified foods, you may very well be getting in your recommended daily value of calcium, which is (according to the National Institute of Health in 2013) 2,500 mg for adults age 19-50, 2,000 for ages 51+ (see HERE for more) . If this is not the case however, a calcium supplement is appropriate to prevent osteoporosis down the road.

4. Iron

Most of us were raised believing we need to eat cows (red meat) to get iron in our diets. This is not at all true. Many plant foods are high in iron like chick peas and pumpkin seeds, and the iron is absorbed particularly well when we eat these with foods high in vitamin C like broccoli and citrus. We have to be careful though… if we don’t absorb enough, we risk anemia, but if we absorb too much, our bodies can become overloaded, causing oxidative stress, a boost of free radicals, all greatly increasing our risk for cancer. Our intestines are able to help regulate our iron levels by absorbing more from plant foods if we are low, and absorbing less if we are levels are “in the sweet spot.” BUT this is only true for plant foods. Interestingly, intestines cannot play this same role for iron in blood from animal foods non-vegans consume. It is recommended, that before deciding to take an iron supplement, you have your iron levels checked and only begin a careful iron supplement regiment if your level is low.

5. D

vitamin-d-sun Vitamin D is a tricky one. Recently it has been discovered that the majority of Americans (vegan and omnivores alike) are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D plays a more important role in preventing chronic disease than we once thought. With the right amount of sunlight, it is possible, but not probable to get the recommended amount. Knowing if you are getting the enough sun on enough of your skin is difficult and depends on your location in the world and time of year. Plus, it is thought that sunscreen negates our ability to make vitamin D from the sun, and without sunscreen we put our skin at great risk for harmful aging and cancer-causing UV rays thanks to ozone depletion. There are few foods that contain vitamin D in ideal amounts. Basically, I’m saying that there is a good chance you need to eat fortified foods and/or supplement. Many nut milks and cereals on the grocery shelves are fortified with vitamin D, but again, if you are not consuming enough consistently this way, a supplement may be a good idea.

6. Magnesium

The health benefits of magnesium was, for a long time, underestimated. Magnesium favorably affects our risks for insulin resistance, and many of our top killers like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Magnesium acts to help in the production of ATP (the energy molecules of your body), the action of your heart muscle, formation of bones and teeth, relaxation of blood vessels, regulation of bowel movements, and regulation of blood sugar levels. Important stuff! Magnesium is found in leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Some of the foods highest in magnesium include seaweed (agar), pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, cocoa, and almonds. Therefore, if you are eating a balanced, whole foods, plant-based vegan diet, you very well could be ok. Most vegans and vegetarians have higher magnesium levels than most meat-eaters for that reason. So why am I mentioning it? My hope is that working out is a large part of your life routine, and since we loose some magnesium through sweat, and magnesium has been found to aid in recovery, it is something to take note of! So if you are not getting at least the recommended amount (400 mg, see HERE for details) of magnesium daily, you may want to supplement. A magnesium-calcium-D combination supplement could be the best option because they all work synergistically and maintaining a proper ratio is also important.

7. Iodineseaweed-salad

It has recently come into the spotlight that many health-conscious vegans are deficient in iodine, something I had never heard before. If you are like me, and do not consume iodized salt regularly (I only keep non-iodized Himalayan and Celtic sea salt in my home), eating sea vegetables/seaweed on a regular basis can be the easiest way to ensure adequate levels. Kelp however, is so loaded with iodine that it can cause an iodine overdose which can adversely affect your thyroid, so be careful. On the other end of the spectrum, it was found that vegans that ate certain healthy foods, like flaxseeds and broccoli, that contain what’s called a goitrogenic compound which can interfere with thyroid function in those with inadequate iodine levels. The RDA recommends 150 mcg per day (with the upper limit set at 1,000 mcg by the World Health Organization), while some experts believe this is too low for many people.

I realize that all of this can seem overwhelming. It is important however, to do our best to soak in the information, take a look at our diets, and see if anything we are eating, or not eating, could be causing us imbalances with the potential for harm. This is important for EVERYONE to do, not just vegans by the way. Many times, signs and symptoms of deficiencies are not recognized or diagnosed until irreversible damage. If you take away one point from this article however, let it be that all vegans must consume a B12 supplement for optimal health!


Memorial Day BBQ… Sexy Fit Vegan Style!

Vegan BBQ-Stars_and_Stripes_by_DivineDesign-660x240

Memorial Day marks the pre-summer BBQ season… which to me, means a super fun times with my friends and loved ones!

Have you ever experienced something like this? As you are being invited to a BBQ, the invitation ends with an uncomfortable, “Oh yeah, but you don’t eat meat!” Sometimes it even seems like the person feels badly about having even asked! But here’s the deal… A BBQ does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza! I look at BBQs as an opportunity to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!

So when I am invited to a BBQ, I get the details first because for me, a pig skewered over a fire pit is simply beyond the boundaries of what I am able to handle! (But for some of you who are vegan strictly for the health benefits, this might not be a problem!) Then, if I accept the invitation, I of course offer to bring some food, which is never turned down. And the friend usually realizes at that point that they are also planning on cooking up some veggies anyway!

black-bean-burgers-grillIf you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving! There are tons of awesome recipes out there to try!

Since I am not much of a cook however, I usually grab veggie burgers and vegan hot dogs to bring, as well as baby carrots, celery (I chop ahead of time) and hummus. My top vegan picks to bring  are:

– Amy’s California & Bistro Burgers (Great tasting, satisfying to meat-eaters and vegans alike, plus the California one is gluten free!
– Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle (love adding avocado to this one)
– Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (Perfect hot dog sub and Gluten Free as well!)
– Vegenaise, Low Fat or Grapeseed (Texture and taste are both fantastic.)
– Daiya Cheese Slices (cheddar, provolone, and swiss options.)

Believe it or not both the vegan burgers and the veggies and hummus are almost always a hit at the party!

Now relax & have a blast!!!

And if anyone has links to recipes you have tried and love, feel free to post a comment to share!

*Header art by MitchellLazear

Favorite Nut Milk Recipe

Vegan nut-milk-2-660x240

Header Photo Credit: CAN CAN Nut Milk

After much experimentation, I want to share with you my favorite nut milk recipe to date. It’s made from acombination 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.

milky smoothie

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.



Considering a Juice Cleanse? Top 5 Tips for Success.

Vegan Juice Cleanse1-660x240

A juice cleanse is fantastic way to pack your body full of disease-fighting nutrients, give your digestive system a break from processing heavy proteins, fats, and other foods that are taxing on your organs to digestive, clean your colon, and flush out toxins from your body. Many people believe that if they manage to get through a juice cleanse for a few days, losing weight will automatically be an additional benefit. In fact, it may be the most motivating perceived benefit of them all! There are many things to take into consideration when it comes to doing a juice cleanse however. Here are my top 5 tips for success when it comes to detoxifying your body, losing both water weight & body fat, & improving your health:

1. Ease your way into juicing.

Does your current diet contains animal products and/or processed foods? If so, it is important to take steps to eliminate those foods, replacing them with plant based whole foods. As you do this, start to incorporate more and more raw foods, decreasing the amount of cooked foods, so in the days prior to beginning juicing you are eating as close to a vegan raw food diet as possible. Following your juicing period (for newbies, a 3 day cleanse may be best, although a 5 day cleanse is more effective for longer-term benefits), you will want to ease out of it, starting with the raw food diet, then incorporating some plant-based whole cooked foods. If you don’t go back to animal products and processed foods, all the health benefits will continue for a lifetime! It is the perfect time to make this choice, because you have managed to have fought off your addiction to harmful foods, so you can use the opportunity to break old habits and keep from returning to your former state of health!

2. Know what to expect.

Everybody experiences different “side effects” during a juice cleanse, especially during the first few days. Some common ones are headache, fatigue, minor skin blemishes, hunger, & irritability. These are caused by the detoxification process your body is going through. Depending on what your diet was like before, some symptoms could even be described as withdrawal from addictive food/drink products. Being prepared for this is important. During the first few days of the juice cleanse, create your schedule with these potential effects in mind. Don’t plan important work meetings or social events for example.

3. Keep your eye on the prize.

Keep telling yourself… “The results are worth it!” The results often being clear skin, positive mood, improved digestion, feeling clear-headed, losing water weight, losing body fat, improved digestion, increased energy levels, and an overall sense of well-being. (Remember though, following tip #1 is essential for gaining these benefits!)

4. Choose a juice cleanse provider wisely.onjuice1

If juicing is new to you, chances are you will be choosing a cleanse from a company that sells juice cleanse packages (as opposed to making your own). There are a few things you want to look for when making your decision. First, choose a company that makes juice using a cold-press, as it has been found to transfer more of the nutrients from plant to juice. Second, make sure the juices are 100% certified organic. If not, all those fruits and veggies they use (and it takes pounds of them to make a single juice) may contain pesticides and could be genetically modified (some GMO foods are actually technically a pesticide themselves because they are created with the ability to kill insects that try to eat them!) Third, make sure the juices contain a wide variety of vegetable and fruits so you will be getting as many of the different nutrients your body need as possible. There should be plenty of green vegetables in the juices! And last, find a company that is supportive throughout your cleanse, gives you information on the ingredients and why they are combined as they are, have a knowledgable, friendly staff and someone who will be available to give you answers if you have any questions throughout the cleanse.

5. Get support.

If you can find a “cleanse-buddy” (a reliable one) it is probably the most effective way to be successful… someone to share in your experience, to hold each other accountable, bitch and moan with when it gets tough, and someone to celebrate with when you have completed it (and I don’t mean with a candy bar;)). You CAN do it on your own, but you still need to establish a support system. As I mentioned in tip 4, make sure to choose a juice provider that can be a resource to you throughout the process. Otherwise, whether it be a friend you ask to be there for you, or a group you find on a forum or social media site… whatever works best for you, but you need to have them prepped and ready to help!

So there you go! You are ready to get off to a great start on your juice cleanse venture! If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you watch this documentary before you begin!


*Juice cleansing is not recommended for everyone. It is not recommended for pregnant women & people with certain medical conditions. Seek professional advice if you are not sure if juicing is right for you.




Fighting Chronic Inflammation


Chronic inflammation can be one of the main underlying causes of illness and disease. It can also cause premature aging and weight gain. The truth of the matter is, reducing inflammation in your body can literally save your life.

The good news is that there are some simple ways to prevent and treat inflammation. In a nutshell, eating a whole-foods, fiber rich, nutrient-dense vegan diet is synonymous with an anti-inflammatory diet!

cartoon pigeons

Let’s first look at the top inflammation-causing foods that we need to eliminate from our diets. Chicken and eggs are the top sources of arachidonic acid in the diet, an omega 6 fatty acid involved in our body’s inflammatory response. Trans and Saturated fats, found in meats, especially deli meats, highly processed oils such as canola, safflower,  and corn oils, some margarines are among the top culprits of inflammation. Dairy products cause an inflammatory response in the body, as do processed sugars and grains, table salt, and alcohol.

Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits is the best way to fight inflammation in our bodies. Here is a list of some of the foods that have been found to have particularly strong anti-inflammatory effects:

    • Chia seeds (crushed to make them more bioavailable (easier for your body to use))
    • Avocado
    • Walnuts
    • Cooked white mushrooms
    • Kelp
    • Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower)
    • Blueberries
    • Turmeric
    • Green Tea
    • Garlic
    • Ginger
    • Sweet potatoes

It is also important to avoid allergens in order to reduce inflammation. Gluten, dairy, and peanuts are a few common allergen examples.

Finally, regular exercise is important to ward off inflammation.

Check out the Sexy Fit Vegan Guidelines and download your free copy of the Sexy Fit Vegan Sample Meal Plan to help you get started on your anti-inflammatory diet today!

Straight Talk About Soy


In the last few years we have all heard a ton of conflicting recommendations on consuming soy. So what’s the real deal with soy?

Well first of all, there is good soy and bad soy. Consider soy that is genetically modified, moderately/highly processed, and/or not organic, to be “bad soy.” The effects of these types of soy products are unclear, but we do know that they do not offer the same benefits as good soy. “Good soy” is that which is organic and unprocessed (whole soy beans) or minimally processed (tempeh and tofu). Also, keep in mind that we are discussing a moderate intake of soy (3-4 servings/day). A healthy vegan diet involves consuming a wide variety of legumes, vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. More than 3 servings of soy per day, for most people, means that you will not be getting enough of a variety of other foods with important nutrients our bodies need to be healthy. Another tip is that I recommend using non-soy milks such as almond or coconut to “save” your soy servings for edamame, tofu, and tempeh so you are getting unprocessed soy with all the fiber and protein in tact!

That being said, let’s address the common concerns in regards to GOOD soy, based on the latest, most conclusive findings.

One question that’s simple to answer is, “Are soybeans really a quality protein source?” The answer is YES! Soybeans contain a tofu-tempehlarge amount of high quality protein. They are also a complete protein, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids we need to build muscle. The great thing about soybeans is that you can consume the protein without the cholesterol that you get with meat.

Getting a bit more complicated and controversial is the question, “Does soy contain estrogen that could cause breast cancer in women and have adverse side effects on men?” Simply put, soybeans contain isoflavones, a class of “phytoestrogen” that has been found to have some meaningful health benefits to humans. For a more detailed explanation of the physiological effects of phytoestrogen in the human body click HERE. A majority of studies have shown that phytoestrogen from soybeans act as a protective factor for breast cancer as well as increase one’s chance for survival from breast cancer. In addition, it appears that soy may reduce the risk of other cancers, particularly prostate and colon cancers.

Another common concern is the belief that soy will cause thyroid dysfunction. Based on the available research, this is not the case. The issue comes only with people who have an existing thyroid condition for which they take medication. Soy can alter how some thyroid medications are absorbed in the intestines and  it is therefore important to discuss your soy intake with the doctor upon being prescribed such medication.

Last, you may be wondering if soy is good for your heart. It seems that soy does have a positive effect on heart health. The isoflavones in soy have a dilating effect on our blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. Soy is also high in fiber, which is a protective factor for heart disease.

So there you have it… the simple, condensed answers to your common soy-related questions and concerns. The verdict, for most people, a moderate intake of organic, unprocessed soy is a healthful choice, although you certainly don’t NEED to consume soy in order to maintain a healthy, balanced plant-based diet.

I am providing a few solid resources that go into more detail on the latest research if you are interested in learning specifics.

Top 5 Tips for a Sexy Fit Midsection


Who doesn’t want a beautifully sculpted, sexy stomach?! I hear it from students and clients all the time. “How do I get rid of this?” they ask, as they grab and pinch belly fat. Well I have compiled a list of what it takes to achieve that toned tummy you are longing for. If it were easy, everyone would have a shot at the cover of Fitness Magazine! But it is do-able… And YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Jump-Rope-Crop 1. Cut “empty calories” from your diet.

Your first thought might be that you don’t want to “deprive” yourself of the soda and chips you love so much. But here’s the deal. You are actually depriving yourself by eating them! What I mean is that you are filling up on foods that are missing the nutrients your body needs to survive and thrive. Make this a habit and our body actually goes into starvation mode and holds onto your body fat because of it. By replacing the empty calories with nutrient-dense ones, your body gets what it wants and allows fat to be eliminated. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying never splurge, but even when you splurge, you can do it without filling yourself full of empty calories! For example, I make a killer popcorn with coconut oil on movie night. And when I get a sweet tooth, one of my favorite treats is coconut milk ice cream. Give it some time and you will never miss that chemical, fake buttered popcorn or Ben & Jerries!

2. Get in your cardio workouts.

Cardio workouts (workouts in which you have your heart rate elevated for over 30 minutes) are important in two ways. First, it’s the way to keep your heart beating strong, which keeps you alive. And second, it burns fat. Pretty simple.

TireFlip-Edited 3. Choose exercises that involve “core strength.”

Your core basically encompasses your body from your chest to your butt. Increasing your core strength means not only sculpting a sexy, toned midsection, but also strengthening your body in such a way that will improve your posture, give you stability, and prevent injuries. If focus only on your abs, you will set yourself up for bad posture, back problems, and injury. Most exercise machines take your core out of the exercise by acting as your stabilizer. This is neither functional nor efficient. Instead of doing the leg press machine for example, do squats. Instead of chest press, do push-ups (you can add weight to your back to make it more challenging! Get creative, have fun with it! Flip tires 😉 Do dumbbell rows from a plant position, so you work your back and core at the same time! For examples of exercises that utilize your core, click here.

4. Stay hydrated.

Water retention leaves us puffy and bloated. Not so helpful when your goal is a flat stomach! The most effective ways to prevent water retention are to stay hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day, keep your sodium intake low, especially iodized salt found in processed foods (I use either Celtic or Himalayan Sea Salt at home), stay away from junk food and eat whole foods with lots of fiber, and exercise.

5. Eat anti-inflammatory foods daily.

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Chronic inflammation can be one of the main underlying causes of illness and premature aging. It can also cause weight gain and swelling, which is why its included on this list. But the truth of the matter is, reducing inflammation in your body can literally save your life. The good news is that there are some simple ways to prevent and treat inflammation. Eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, while eliminating inflammation-causing foods is first and foremost. Eating a whole-foods, fiber rich, nutrient-dense vegan diet is synonymous to an anti-inflammatory diet. Processed food, refined sugar, and saturated and trans fats cause inflammation. Regular exercise is also helpful in reducing inflammation, as is avoiding allergens (such as dairy, gluten, and peanuts for some people), and managing your stress.