The Sweet Fit Vegan

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

I’m not JUST about healthy food and fitness…

So, I’ve decided to add a little bit of content to my blog for you guys:  General wellness and taking care of yourself.  I know a lot of my topics focus on clean eating, and exercising (maybe I haven’t hit on that near as much as I should be), but there are other ways that we can take care of ourselves and not go completely broke!  So, I was in the shower today thinking about my daily “routine” and thought… “I wonder if other people have a routine they follow?” I’m not the overly vain type of person, but I can’t stand it when I have dry skin and acne I’m 31 years old for crying out loud, and sometimes I look like I’m still in middle school with the splotches that land across my forehead.  Lately, I’ve taken to using some regular products to help combat all of these issues, so I’ll share them with you.  All the while giving props to the companies who make the products I love and doing some product testing!

So, for starters I don’t shower everyday. If I were to exercise for an hour or more everyday then I would, but I don’t.  I do sit around my house all day not working up much sweat taking care of my kids, but I do shower every other day! I do wash my face and pits everyday so I’m not some nasty lady. If you think that’s gross I don’t really care! Moving on… 🙂

Let’s get started.  Below is a list of my suggested steps to making sure you have healthy skin:

1 Get Rid of Yesterday’s Dirt : This should be done everyday, either in the shower or standing at your bathroom sink.  I use a hypoallergenic, dye free, scent free  bar soap just to get rid of the previous day’s make up and dirt.

HypoAllergenic Soap

HypoAllergenic Soap

2. Wipe Away the Smudges: For women, getting off that leftover mascara and eye liner is important!  The good  news, is you don’t have to spend $10 on those fancy make up removers.  Just head down your store’s baby aisle and snag a package of baby wipes!  They work the same, and cost WAY less!

Easy Peasy Baby Wipes

Easy Peasy Baby Wipes

3. Exfoliate: Nothing irritates me more than dead skin flying off my body but especially my face!  I have been an avid exfoliater for about a decade, and I simply cannot imagine a routine that didn’t include this process!  I’ve used many products in the bath from St. Ive’s scrubs to loofah (serious gross if you have one! please throw it out!), and even making my own (Some brown sugar, honey, and olive oil mixed in a bowl! I keep some in my bathroom at ALL times, and it’s great for more than just your face.  Dry itchy legs, back scrub, and more!) But my latest Vegan Cuts Beauty Box included this product Bamboo Tapioca Beads.  Not only does it smell absolutely delicious, but it’s not fiercely invigorating to the point where you’re uncomfortable.

Tapioca Beads for Exfoliating

Tapioca Beads for Exfoliating

You also don’t need to use a ton.  First, I focus on the uber dry spots: my forehead and nose.  Usually I can get away with a pea sized amount and still have a little left to do my chin right under my mouth! Scrub it on for about 15-20 seconds, rinse with warm water and pat your face dry.  Try to avoid wiping your face with a towel! It’ll make you feel like you never used anything in the first place!

Use sparingly!

Use sparingly!

4. Deep Cleaning: I know, you’re thinking “But I already washed my face”.  And you did a great job doing that!  But, not that you’ve scrubbed the dead skin off, you’ll want to do a good deep cleaning with a good facial cleanser.  Currently, I’m using Fresh Mild Rice Cleanser- now, I know it is a small bottle and it won’t last me that long, but I’m one of those ladies who ALWAYS has a back up, so I also have an Arbonne Gentle Cleanser that I can use when this is gone.

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Fresh Rice Cleanser

Either product is gentle on your skin, has no harsh chemicals and leaves your face feeling wonderful.  Again, a little can go a long way, so use sparingly.  Then rinse with warm water, and PAT your face don’t wipe it with a towel!

Arbonne Cleanser

Arbonne Cleanser

5. Spa Yourself: There is nothing better than going to the spa and having some splatter mud all over your face while you sit with your head wrapped in a towel drinking mojitos…right?!  Honestly- I’ve never been to a spa for a facial, but I imagine that is what it’s like.  Luckily, some companies don’t force you to prance around in front of strangers in order to get that feeling, and they’ve put those mud masks and peels inside containers you can take home with you!  (Thank GOD for that!) I have use Que Bella masks before and love them.  You can snatch up one of these little packs for about $1.99 at your local Target and it gives you about 3-4 masks.  Way cheaper than the spa, isn’t it?  This one in particular is a Tea Tree and Witch Hazel- two fantastic ingredients for you!  Here’s the catcher with THIS product at the point in the game: because I’ve washed and scrubbed and washed again, my pores are WIIIIIDE open… and for the first 30 seconds or so, it stings a little bit!  But once it starts to dry, it’s totally alright! (Just throwing that little note out there in case someone reading this has a very low pain tolerance!) otherwise slap that sucker on and walk around the house forcing your husband to question why he married you, scare the hell out of your kids, and send your cats running for the closet! HA HA! (This happens every time I use it!)

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I also have a less intense mask that I use that doesn’t scare my family, and it smells a lot better.  It’s (vegan of course) by Juice Beauty and I got it in a FabFitFun box a few months ago.  It goes on clear so you’re not frightening children and washes right off with warm water (as opposed to peeling like some do). Again- pat your face dry and don’t wipe!

DSCN01086. Hide Your Lines: I recently turned 31 years old, and don’t want ANYONE to know it.  So, I’ve started using an Anti Aging Serum around my eyes.  I want to hide those little crows feet as long as possible!  This you REALLY can use sparingly!  Just one teensie tiny pump on your ring finger, and rub it right under your eyes and around your crows feet. You can also use it in the spot right above your nose in between your eye brows!
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Now, you’re probably wondering what kind of facial moisturizer I use.  Well- I don’t.  I used to EVERY day to stifle that dry skin that was on my forehead.  But, by using the above products on a daily basis, I don’t have the dry skin I used to, so I don’t use facial cremes.  That, and there’s so much “stuff” in them, and I’m too cheap to buy all natural expensive cremes, this process works wonders for me! Don’t get me wrong, if I see something all natural and vegan on sale or at a  good price, I grab it.  Otherwise I love my little process!

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope this has been informative!  Below are links to some of the brands I use regularly.  Check out their sites and some of their products!  I look forward to reading some of your comments below!

Que Bella Beauty       Juice Beauty Organics       Kaia Naturals       Blisoma Skin Care       Passport 2 Beauty

Vegan Cuts                FabFitFun                 Arbonne

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The Sweet Sweetness of Sugar

sugarcube

Full disclosure: I’m a hound for a good documentary.  Especially if it’s about food.  So, the other evening I sat down and watched Fed Up, the recently released documentary about how sugar plays a roll in obesity.  Let me say: really scary!  I feel like the government’s (lack of) regulations, is out to kill it’s own citizens. I was actually angry by the time I was done watching it.  Since then, I’ve been looking at EVERY label I have and EVERY label at the grocery store.  Some things have actually shocked me!

Obviously today I’m going to preach how watching your sugar intake can help manage your weight.  I’m going to refer back to this documentary (that’s how informative it was).  It focused on obese children- huge target market for candy, cereal, and junk food candies.  “Put a cartoon character on it, they’ll beg their parents to buy it”.  So, I’m thinking, the more boring the box looks, the healthier it is. I’ll let you know if that tends to be true or not!  So, these parents had been informed by their children’s doctor that they were overweight or obese, and needed to start watching what they fed them.  Most of them went out and ended up buying the “healthier” version of the kids’ favorite snacks.  You know- the ‘low calorie’ or ‘fat free’ version of the cookies and crackers.  The ‘healthy’ sugar coated cereal because it was ‘packed with fiber’.  In the end- they aren’t healthier.  They may have lower fat, but they still have extra added sugar.  The sugar is what needs to be watched!

So, we’ve been on a mission to drastically reduce our sugar intake in our home.  We went to Target the other day for a few food items, one of them was crackers.  You know- good old, crackers you throw some cheese on as a snack or crumble up in chili or soup.  Personally, I had just purchased a new tub of hummus, and needed some yummy dippers!  So, I grabbed my usual box (Ritz Whole Wheat), and there it was: added sugar!  WAIT… in CRACKERS?  Salty crackers….had sugar?  Um… ok.  So, next I grabbed Wheat Thins.  Again- added sugar!  Geesh…. Ok, let’s try Triscuits.  Those are horribly full of fiber and wheat and (personally I think they taste horrible).  You guessed it!  Added sugar!  The only brand I found without sugar was a Premium brand Rounds whole wheat.  (They make the old fashioned, been around for 75 years Saltine crackers!)  In my opinion, they don’t really blend well with red pepper hummus!

So, last night we had to make a run to our local grocery store, Wegmans.  I decided that I couldn’t justify wasting my tub of hummus, so I decided to grab my regular Ritz crackers.  Even if it’s my last box EVER… I’ll burn it off in a workout later!  So I came to the conclusion, unless you eat nothing  but fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meats, you’re bound to run into a few Nutrition Labels.  So, knowing how to read them, knowing what to watch and track in your daily diet is important.

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To really abide by a nutrition label, you have to be counting EVERYTHING!  Calories, serving size, and daily percentages just to name a few things!  What I found interesting (learning in the Doc) was the companies are not required to put a Daily % for sugar.  According to the AHA (American Heart Association), men should have 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons daily, and women should have 25 grams or 6 teaspoons daily.  The only thing I can say, is if you look at the ingredients and sugar is one of the first 7 ingredients- don’t get it!  Items shouldn’t contain more sugar than most anything else.  The following is a great chart to check out to see how much of what you should be consuming from your food!
nutrition

Obviously, much like any other addiction (and trust me unless you are a 100% clean eater, you eat processed food and that food as sugar, and that food has you hooked!), it’s difficult to just quit it cold turkey.  ( I honestly don’t know how I quit smoking cold turkey, but I did!) So, if you’re going to decide to minimize your sugar, which I’ll suggest to everyone, start small.  Change a meal at a time and a day at a time.  Something else you should know, is what sugar is called.  Sugar comes in many forms and with many different names.  Below shows you just how many different forms sugar comes in!

namesforsugar

Live Healthy, Be Happy

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Why The Lotus

lotus-qoute

I’ve had a few people inquire as to why I’ve called my business Lotus Health and Fitness.  Some people know that the Lotus flower grows from the depths of muddy dark ponds.  Personally, I found myself at the bottom of my own murky pond when I realized I had to change my life.  I felt ugly and closed off from the world, and since then, feel as if I have emerged into the comfort of my own skin, to a point where I feel beautiful.

lotus-flower

Many of us find ourselves there, at a dark and depressing, murky and ugly place in our life.  To some of us, it’s the illness or death of a loved one due to health problems, that we quickly realize could be avoided or reversed.  Perhaps you have a wake up call when your child is running through the park and you can’t physically keep up with them.  Or you simply don’t feel comfortable enough to wear a swimsuit in the summer.  Whatever the reason, we all have the capability to blossom into something magical!

confidence

The lotus flower has many different meanings in history and culture.  For instance, the Ancient Egyptians associated the lotus with rebirth,  In Buddhism the lotus is known to be associated with purity, spiritual awakening and faithfulness.  Further more, each color of the lotus can represent something different.

Lotus-Flower (1)

In order to reach a level of self confidence and comfort in yourself, you have to take one tiny step at a time, educate yourself, try and try again, and grow from within.

Live Healthy,  Be Happy

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

quotes-about-exercise

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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