The Sweet Fit Vegan

My adventure's in transforming me from top to bottom, inside and out.

Relaxing Vacation is Stressful to Plan


Planning a vacation can be a relaxing and even a fun event.  Where should we go?  What should we do? Where do we stay? How long do we stay? Do we ever come back? (Ok, so we all end up coming back) But what many people don’t need to do is plan where they eat! This is the part of of planning a vacation that is stressful for many food allergy parents (my daughter has peanut and tree nut allergies for those who weren’t aware) and vegan alike.  Vegans, I like to believe, have it a little easier.  There are a few smart phone apps that can tell you based on your location where a veg-friendly restaurant is.  (Happy Cow is GREAT!) Sadly, they haven’t made one for Food Allergies yes (would someone get on that please!)


So, planning a vacation for our family requires a few months work.  Obviously, start with where we’re going and what we’ll do.  After we’ve got a list of the place we wish to visit, we find a hotel in relatively close vicinity to the attractions (we like to be able to walk to our destinations!).  After that, we figure out food.  Why is food last?  Because no matter what we do or where we stay, if we don’t find somewhere to eat, we can still always bring our own food.  Not exactly ideal on a relaxing vacation, but we’re not going to starve, now are we? So, we visit Facebook groups related to our dietary restrictions – and trust me there are food allergy and vegan groups for all major cities out there.  I trust a persons review and recommendation over a website quote any day!

So our vacation we’re planning, I’ve managed to find  a few vegan/ veg friendly restaurants within a few miles of our “Fun Zone”, now comes the process of emailing or calling the restaurant and discussing both vegan options and peanut cross contamination!


Unfortunatly, many vegans rely on the protein from peanuts and nuts in their diet, so this can be a troublesome task.  Luckily, we’ve found a few spots to try, and again, if there is some doubt, we always have food for our daughter with us!  We’ve always got a loaf of bread and grape jelly on hand, along with some crackers and fruit!


If you are a new food allergy parent or a new vegan, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to research and talk to people.  Get on a local group and find out if someone has traveled to where you’re headed and if they can recommend!  Go on Google and search for reviews.  The internet is a magical thing that can make our life easy.  Would it be great if we could just up and go- sure it would.  But an easy life doesn’t teach us how to be stronger for what we need to be!  Since being a food allergy parent requires you to know a lot more than you ever thought you would (did you ever think you’d be able to diagnose hives vs. eczema before?), be strong not only for you  but you’re little one also, and be able to switch out some of your favorite foods?  Bet you didn’t- but we are all stronger for it!  You’re children rely on you everyday, but your FA one just a little extra- so know where to look and what to ask!

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Hi My Name is Janelle, and I’m an Addict…


I’m pretty sure a number of times over the past few weeks, I looked like I just climbed out of a spaceship returned to Earth from the outer reaches of the Universe by the way I was walking.  I must say though I LOVE LEG DAY!  Seriously I have never had so much strength and control before in my ENTIRE life!  As a teenager, I was always super skinny from head to toe and never had any strength.  Then I popped out Baby # 2 and I had the weight, but no energy to develop the strength.  Now I’ve realized how ridiculous I’ve spent the last 31 years and am finally doing something for myself.  (Notice, I said FOR myself…and not WITH myself?!!!)

HA- who remember's Richard Simmons?!

HA- who remember’s Richard Simmons?!

Not only am I addicted to leg day, but arm day too.  So addicted, if it’s a “Lower” day I always do some arm exercises after, and vice verse.  Crazy- I know!  I never thought I would be THAT person… that actually ENJOYS exercising!  I always thought those crazy gym members had some weird mental problem (ahem hubs!) but I get it now.  Working out makes me feel GOOD!  About my health (I’ve lost so much weight thus far!), my family (every time I work out my kids join in, PLUS my husband has his own program now too…on top of his gym membership!), and my body.  I know that if I keep up on this for the next few months, I will actually be comfortable enough to purchase a swimsuit AND wear it!  I haven’t worn a swimsuit in 10 years, purchased one in almost 15!

But exercising and knowing that you’re eating food that’s good for you gives you a certain kind of self-confidence that i never knew was out there!  I am so comfortable with my progress so far that I have actually posted arm pictures!  (Then my mother showed them all over work…wth?!)  and my husband actually asked what “creepers” did he need to watch for!  Haha… but the fact is I’m comfortable enough to do that and I wasn’t before.  So go me! Lol

Arms in progress... Loving them!

Arms in progress… Loving them!

Live Healthy, and Be Happy… it’s as easy as that!

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Real Food is the Best Kind of Food!

eat-clean I want you to go to your cupboard, open it up, grab your FAVORITE snack and read the ingredients.  How many are there? Are there some you can’t pronounce, or never heard of?  If so- chances are you don’t need it.  Chances are it isn’t “Clean”! Chances are, you could (and probably should) throw it away, never eat it again and feel FANTASTIC!  So do that- just chuck it in the trash!  Don’t worry about the price- you’ll probably make up for it in medications and doctors bills! We’ve all heard the term “Clean Eating”, but do we really know what it is?  I thought I did.  Pre-vegan, I always thought my meals were super healthy (with the occasional Oreo binge).  But chances are pretty high you’re not eating as clean as you think you are!  Take breakfast- what’s your go to?  Cereal?  Waffles with syrup?  Oatmeal even?  How about lunch?  Jelly sandwich and potato chips is a tasty go-to. Even a lunch meat sandwich.  Dinner should be easy, right?  Shake ‘n Bake chicken, some Rice a Roni or spaghetti with sauce? Wanna know a secret?  NONE of those meals are clean!  Scary, huh?  All of those are somewhat filling, they taste good, and should make up the balanced part of your diet! clean-eating-guidelines Clean eating focuses on a number of things, but over a 3 day period, you can clean it up more than you know!  Start, with water!  LOTS of water!  It’s recommended that you drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water EACH DAY!  Are you drinking what you should?  If you’re 140 lbs, you should be drinking 70 ounces over the course of your day  I suggest drinking an 8 ounce glass first thing in the morning.  If your a coffee drinker, chug that bad boy while your coffee is brewing, or your tea is steeping. I don’t generally keep track of how many ounces I drink, I just drink water all day from a very handy water bottle I picked up on sale for $3.99 at Wegmans. You can pick up a very basic water bottle at your local Dollar General/ Dollar Store.  Or you can go high end and pick up a $15 glass one at a department store- whatever your choice, grab something!  At LEAST 20 ounces… and drink 3 of those a day!  That should pretty much cover your requirements! Not much into that plain water taste?  Throw in some lemon, orange, lime or strawberry slices.  It’s not for me- but hey, whatever gets you to drink that water! fb-uhr-infographics-morningwater Next stop on the Clean Eating train is Sugar!  Oooooh- that mouth watering sweetness that makes everything taste better!  I’m  not going to say you have to cut it out completely, though it is suggested, I am guilty of a teaspoon of sugar in my morning coffee.  Some things you just have to have- but cut the rest!  You don’t need sugar on your cereal, or poured over that bowl of strawberries!  Just go without!  You’re body will thank you! And if you think sugar replacements are an easy fix- think again.  They are so much worse than regular sugar!  On top of that- they’re mostly chemicals your body doesn’t really need!  You’ll also want to make sure when grocery shopping that you’re not getting foods with added sugar- especially High Fructose Corn Syrup!  How I hate that stuff!  I recently saw a news clip that announced HFCS contains levels of mercury.  (See video Here ) Yup- that stuff in fish your doctors always warned you about, is in that fake sugar that’s packed into all those yummy foods we eat! Moving right along to processed foods… either give them to a neighbor or throw them out all together so you aren’t tempted to have a quick and easy go to meal.  My greatest example is chicken patties.   My husband and son LOVE these!  They’re easy, ready in 20 minutes (already precooked too) and you can do A LOT with them.  Salads, chicken sandwiches, stir fry, you name it!  Anything you can do with breaded chicken breast, you can do with a chicken patty!  But they’re processed!  When foods are processed, they are done so at high heat that takes away all the health benefits, vitamins and minerals that your body needs!  If you’re making chicken breast for dinner, make two- store one in the fridge for lunch later in the week.  Along the same lines, lets talk about dinner sides. Rice A Roni for instance- just don’t!  Throw it away.  Chances are it cost less than $1.49 and you can handle letting it go.  Aim for plain brown rice (not white…that stuff is bleached!).  Need flavor?  Create one of your own- crush up some herbs that are sitting in your pantry.  You would be AMAZED at the flavors you can create!  The other day, I melted butter with minced garlic, crushed rosemary and thyme, and a little bit of parsley.  Doesn’t sound like much- but the flavor was PERFECT for that meal!  And I didn’t have any leftovers to store either! Let’s talk bread- it’s a touchy subject.  There are “Anti Gluten” campaigns out there, “Carb-Free” diets that promise you’ll lose weight.  I have to say this:  Unless you suffer from Celiac or severe gluten intolerance, there is no reason to stay away from grains, carbohydrates, etc.  (Make sure you’re not getting the sugar laden bagels!) However, you do want to 1. Limit how much your eating and 2. Making sure they aren’t refined grains.  Refined grains are like processed food- there’s little to know health benefits in them.  Whole grains or Multi grain is what you should be eating. Grains The next part may be hard for some of you- it was definitely hard for me.  Instead of eating what people call “3 Square Meals a Day”, you want to eat 5-6 small meals, about 2-3 hours apart.  This way, you’re getting all the foods you need, but you’re not filling up at one time!  Trust me- it’s so much better doing it that way!  You might find it difficult to do with your job, but the only thing I ask is that you TRY!  Pre pack your meals in small tupperware containers.  Baggy up those snacks and hide in a closet to eat if you have to.  Do what you must to get those smaller meals in! Foods-Clean-Eating-Shopping-List Most of all- you want to make sure you’re getting MORE (yes, more than what you already eat) fruits and vegetables!  If you need to, double up on that broccoli and cut that chicken breast in half.  (Forget about the dinner roll… unless you made them from scratch!) We all know the deal- eat your fruits and vegetables.  But those are the 2 groups that are MOST CLEAN!  Get them from your produce department.  If this means you have to make a 2nd trip to the grocery store half way through your week, then do it!  Aim for fresh over frozen! clean4 I’m sharing this now so that you can prepare a number of things before the challenge starts next Monday (Lotus’ 3 Day Clean Eating Challenge Group that starts 1/26/15 for those of you interested).  First your shopping list- replace those processed foods for clean.  Second yourself.  You may read this and think “Seriously?  I can’t do that!”  Trust me when I say- you CAN!  Most of all you SHOULD!  Doubt is the reason we don’t accomplish our goals.  Please don’t doubt yourself, your abilities to control what you put in your body!  After 3 days of not eating the stuff you have been for years, if not decades, you’re body will thank you.  You should have more energy, joints and muscles should feel better, less headaches if you’ve suffered from them.  Getting rid of the garbage that dominates the food in our kitchen is key! 125-Whole-Foods1 Keep your head up, stay strong and determined!  Thanks for tuning in… look for more later this week, and I look forward to see and hearing about your results! Live Healthy, Be Happy!

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I’m Sorry… You Think I Can do WHAT?!

Sooooo… about a month after VegFest 2014 in Buffalo, Ny, I got this random Facebook message from a girl, who I assume was at the event, asking me if I wanted to take part in this Beachbody Challenge, that “I could pick the workout” and “They work miracles” and yada yada yada…. I explained that I was a stay at home mom and starting to really get lift off with my baking business (I mean like space shuttle lift off!!) and really didn’t think I had the time.  She told me that it was only a half hour each day, and if I didn’t like it I could get a refund.  “Yeah… okay.  Let me try …. PIYO!” It sounded fun. all about stretching, some strength workouts, but nothing too crazy for me.


It took about a week to get to me- cool!  Quick shipping!  I read through what seemed like a gazillion booklets “What to Measure”, “Your before and after”, “Here’s what you should eat”, “Drink this stuff too”… so much stuff.  So, my husband helped me measure- 145 lbs and a total of 169 inches.  (Determined by measure your arms, chest, waist, hips, and thighs, then added together.)  Not too bad… I was down close to 30 lbs, feeling good.  So, I did was any first time exerciser would do:  I popped in the first dvd with the first workout, sat down with my bag of chips and watched first.  (Crazy I know, but I didn’t want to have to stop with EVERY move to find out how to do it… chips were just a bonus!)  The next day I put it back in and threw on my big bottom capris and started doing the moves.  Before I know it, my kids wanted to join in.  “Hey mom, that looks fun.  Can I do it too?” <enter confused look>  “Of course you can guys!”  Before you know it, my son was telling me not to do Piyo until he got home from school.  Even went to school telling his new teacher that his mom is a vegan, and bakes cupcakes, and does Piyo.  Not that she would know what the heck that was by the sound of it!  But he was uber excited.


My kids LOVING Piyo!

Two weeks later, both of us had completely forgotten was Piyo even was, the box set was shoved on the bottom shelf to the back of the TV Stand and I started filling more baking orders!  Go figure…. Have to make the money first, right?!

So a few months go by, a few events, many cupcakes and birthday cake orders, and here comes the holiday season.  I know this holiday season will be both difficult and easy for me.  Easy, because I know that I will not be indulging in a giant Thanksgiving meal that would leave me sitting on the coach in my fat pants!  Also difficult, because this would be my first holiday- the only vegan- and everyone looking at me like “Eww.. what IS that!?”  So, I had prepared myself for questions and stares.  However, holiday season also means tight budge season.  Christmas shopping gets down to the wire, and I always make sure the kids’ mouths have food in them before mine.  So, over the holiday season I shed another couple pounds- nothing drastic.

My very first Vegan Thanksgiving!!!

My very first Vegan Thanksgiving!!!

My husband works in retail, which, if you’ve ever done it, can be very stressful for someone no matter what the position they work.  He’s been in retail since his first job, and it doesn’t get any easier.  So he had been voicing that he wanted to get a degree/certification to become a personal trainer. (He goes to the gym ‘religiously’ it makes me sick!) So I hooked him up with an acquaintance of mine, that I happened to meet at VegFest, and who also happened to be a Fitness Coach through Beachbody.  He asked a few questions, watched a few videos, but sadly didn’t feel it was for him.  He’s more of a pumping iron in front of a big mirror type of guy!  But then one day, he says to me, “I think you should be a Beachbody Coach.  You know all the right people, and you’ve lose a lot of weight since cleaning up your diet.  I think you’d be good at it.”

<enter confused face>

So I pondered it for a while (more like a day or two) and asked a friend some questions.  I decided I would give it a shot, and if I didn’t like it, would just give it up.  So, two days before New Years, I signed up to be a Team Beachbody Coach.  I quickly learned that it wasn’t just about selling fitness product to people who wanted to be active or clean up their eating.  It stretched way deeper than that, and I feel like I’m learning more and more every day.  I can’t wait to sit down with my first client and help them change their lives for the better!

Until Tomorrow… Live Healthy, Be Happy!

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A Me I Never Know I’d Need To Meet

It was January 22, 2014 and I knew few things for certain: My oldest had just turned 9.  My youngest would be 3 in just a few months.  I was at the heaviest non pregnant weight I had ever been: 171 pounds!  I had given birth almost THREE years before, and I still hadn’t lost any of the weight.  I guess I was beyond calling it “baby weight”, wasn’t I?  I was also certain that I was about to change my life for good.  Having just seen my 11th PETA video in a row, I had thrown my hands in the air and sworn off eating meat ever again!  (The video had been pigs in a slaughterhouse that turned my stomach!)

The next few days were pretty easy.  I would make a big meal for my family that consisted of either chicken or turkey (never really were big into beef or pork), with vegetables, some potatoes or rice, and some rolls.  I would simply eat the sides.  It may not seem like it was much, but it satisfied my hunger.  In the first week, I had 1 serious urge to eat meat (when I cooked garlic crusted tilapia), which I quickly regretted.   I quickly found meat alternatives (thank you Tofurkey, Gardein, and Wegmans for having those delicious options!) to eat with my meals.

A short 5 months later, we took a day trip to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, Ny and had the utmost privilege of meeting, petting, feed, and simply being with animals that were saved from Factory Farms.  There, we got to be in the presence of and pet cows that were happily grazing in field, chickens that strolled the same lanes we did, pigs that cared less if you curled up in the hay beside them, goats that were content to be in your company, and turkey’s with attitudes that portrayed that of the Stooges!  It was that afternoon that I had my awakening- Why?!  Why do we use them?  They are beings with souls.  They are babies, and mothers.  They are, of all things, survivors!  I could not bare the thought of using another animal for a product that didn’t belong to me.


Farm Sanctuary 2014

Farm Sanctuary 2014


Having given up meat, now dairy, eggs, honey and all other animal products, I found myself watching even MORE documentaries, rewatching others.  Food, Inc, Supersize Me, Farmeggedon, Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, and Vegucated being some of the most influential.  Not only that, but reading EVERY food label.  I used to walk through a grocery store and have my “go to” foods- I knew what we ate, knew where to find it, knew how much it would cost!  Not now!  Now, I looked at ingredients, and if I didn’t know what it was, I would look it up.  If I didn’t like the way it sounded, I started weening off of it and eating something better and healthier.  Over the months I would start to look at protein and sugar content as well.

Wny VegFest 2014

I was incredibly lucky to find a local Vegan Facebook Group that helped answer what I’m sure was an overload of “Newbie Questions”, but they were all super helpful and supportive!  I was honored to be a part of WNY’s Inaugural VegFest in Buffalo, Ny (bringing some delicious Vegans sweets).  These milestones had opened an amazing door for me, introducing me to some awesome people who would further change my life – I just didn’t know it yet!  The months after that, I learned even more- some food coloring actually stemmed from animals, as did confectioner’s sugar which is used in cookie decorations and rainbow sprinkles!  I started looking at all my personal care products too, which was a lot harder than I thought since you really can’t pronounce most of the ingredients on the labels.  (I’m still learning about these all!)

I quickly learned that eating and living healthier doesn’t have to be difficult.  It’s about knowing what you’re eating, where it comes from, and how it’s made!  Just from giving up eating meat I lost about 30 lbs.  I never thought I would say that: “I’ve lost 30 lbs this year” .  I say it out loud sometimes and it still doesn’t seem right.  But I know it is- I can feel it.  I feel lighter, I have more energy and sleep better.  I have less headaches (and I suffered from many!) and that feels GREAT!  I feel like I’ve cleansed my body of 30 lbs of nothing but “Yuck” ! I know I could never go back to eating milk and all those nasty hard to pronounce chemicals.  Don’t get me wrong, I still crave chocolate (I’m human!) and cookies about EVERY day of my life, but that’s where being a vegan baker comes in handy!

To a new year, improved health and happier life…. I invite you back!

Live Heatlhy, Be Happy

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