I am so thrilled you’re here and ready to be inspired to eat well, live well, and build the foundation for an amazing life. When we fuel ourselves with nourishing food, move our bodies in ways that feel good, surround ourselves with positive people, and make decisions that empower and serve us, we develop the strength, confidence, and attitude to live our dream lives. It is all within reach—I promise.
So here we are … blog post number one! Healthy Vegan was born out of my own transformation from a work-obsessed, sugar-loving, sleep-deprived, anxiety-ridden magazine publisher (check out my story here) to someone who now prioritizes health and happiness in every aspect of my life. Don’t get me wrong—I still run my company, dine out frequently, and have very little personal time, but because I’ve made my physical, mental, and emotional health the foundation of my existence, I am finally living my best life. So what does that mean exactly?
I’ve developed what I call my non-negotiables. These are things in my life that I’ve learned are essential to me becoming the best version of myself. Just a few years ago, I would have easily put any of these on the backburner to avoid discomfort, conflict, guilt, or vulnerability. But what I’ve found is that prioritizing your personal health is the key to an exceptional life, whether it’s being energized from nourishing food, feeling strong from a fitness routine you love, being empowered by communicating your needs in a relationship, or finding your voice in your career. Once you emerge with these building blocks, anything is possible.
So what are my non-negotiables? The following five areas of my life make up my personal blueprint for living every day to the fullest:
Colleen's 5 Non-Negotiables:
- Healthy Food. Before becoming a healthy vegan, I had the mindset that if it was vegan, it was acceptable to eat. Whether it was a kale salad, veggie burger, Buffalo wings, cookie milkshake, or chocolate mousse torte, I placed very little restriction on what I ate and have never believed in dieting or deprivation. Through my journey, I’ve discovered the power of fresh, whole foods and what a difference they can make in the way I feel and live my life each day. I’ve swapped out the sugar and vegan comfort food for ultra-nourishing smoothies, salads with oil-free dressings, homemade soups, warm grain bowls, an abundance of fresh fruit, and raw nuts. And since I dine out frequently for my business, I’ve learned to do so responsibly without sacrificing flavor or experience. Stay tuned for all my healthy dining-out secrets!.
- Daily Yoga Practice. Although I’ve been doing yoga for almost two decades, I’ve taken my practice to a new level in recent years. It’s given me tremendous mental and physical strength (especially when times get tough), and has had an immense positive impact on my health. Regardless of what my life and business demand of me, my regular yoga practice has become a non-negotiable.
- Healthy Relationships. We’ve all been there: A bad relationship that drags on and on. With my newfound strength and confidence, I now have zero tolerance for a relationship that is dysfunctional and holds me back from becoming my best self. Life is too short to waste precious time on a partnership that can’t be saved, and I’ve finally learned what I deserve and when to move on.
- Quality Time with Family & Friends. For years, my work was the number one priority in my life. I lived and breathed my business, and, in several ways, I still do. But what’s changed is my commitment to the people around me. I have a wonderful family and friends who got used to taking a back seat to my business—I’d often cancel plans or hesitate to even make them in the first place given the demands of my work. I now realize how important deep, meaningful connections with others are in life; in fact, there may be nothing more vital and rewarding. Investing in relationships and being present with the people around us is what helps us grow, gives us perspective, and creates balance so we can live a rich, fulfilling life. And guess what? It feels good to connect with others, give love and support, have fun, and let off steam, all of which can actually help us be the best we can be in all areas of our life. I have decided that I am more than the work I do or my company’s brand name. Life is passing me by, and I want to be a whole person and live as fully as I possibly can. Spending more time with friends and family has given me much joy and strength, and has only enriched other parts of my life.
- Great Sleep. Sleep is one of the most undervalued contributors to achieving great health (and a great life, for that matter). Now more than ever, it’s easy to stay up late checking your Facebook feed, watching YouTube videos, or posting Instagram photos. But I’ve found that getting a solid seven or eight hours of sleep each night can do wonders—from helping us get off sugar and caffeine (which is often needed because we’re so sleep-deprived) to being more productive to simply being a kinder person.
From healthy food to regular yoga to quality time with family and friends, these are my new non-negotiables in life. Whether I’m traveling, dating someone who doesn’t have the same lifestyle values, or under stress due to an upcoming deadline, I’ve learned that these non-negotiables are what I need to do each day to be the best person I can be. They do not get relegated to the backburner, and I no longer apologize for needing to take care of myself. And guess what? Making my health and wellness the foundation of my life helps me be the best partner, friend, boss, business owner, and woman that I can be.
What are your non-negotiables? Think about what will help you be the person you want to be, and either write them down in a journal or post a list where you can see it. Reading my own list again and again helped make them a reality, and now I don’t even think about it—they’ve just become a part of who I am. I’d love to hear your non-negotiables and be inspired by your healthy blueprint, so feel free to share if you’re comfortable doing so!
Before I sign off from my first-ever Healthy Vegan blog post, I want to give you a little tour of the website. I hope you enjoy what’s already here, as well as what’s to come. It’s going to be good, I promise!
Healthy Vegan Newsletter
If you haven’t signed up yet for my Healthy Vegan Newsletter, I’d love to connect with you there! Each month, you’ll receive my top five favorite foods, products, and revelations that help me live my ideal life. And when you sign up, you’ll receive a free copy of my Healthy Vegan Lifestyle Guide, filled with 25 tips to jumpstart your healthy lifestyle. Get it all here ...
Healthy Vegan Recipes
Hungry? Me, too! Start nourishing your body today with delicious, fresh food that helps lay the foundation for everything you want to achieve in life. To get us started, I’ve shared recipes for my Creamy Greens Soup, Kale Colada, Healthy Vegan Bowl, Easy Peanut Dressing, and Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream. All of my recipes are healthy, easy-to-make, and full of flavor (if I may say so myself)—I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Healthy Vegan Community
We all need daily doses of wisdom to keep us happy, healthy, and inspired, especially when life is far from perfect. Check out the Healthy Vegan community over on Facebook (daily posts), Instagram (mouthwatering food and fun moments), and Pinterest (healthy recipes from around the web).
My Favorite Things
After more than two decades of plant-based living and 20 years of running a magazine, I’ve got a pretty tried-and-true list of favorite things. Here are my top 10 must-haves that help me live an amazing vegan life.
Once again, welcome to Healthy Vegan. I hope to inspire you to achieve your dreams and live a rich, rewarding, joyful life.
Make today your best day ever!