How Yoga Prepared Me to Run a Business

I recently commented to a fellow yogi/communications professional that I loved how she flowed her business and her yoga philosophy together so seamlessly. After journaling and reflecting on interviewing Necole Kane at Boss Women Who Brunch, I realized that I too blend my yoga practice into my business, but in different ways.

I have practiced yoga for more than six years, and I still consider myself a student of the practice. Much like I am learning every day as a business owner, from creating processes to client relations and building partnerships, I am learning more about my mental and physical capabilities on and off the mat, to be present in the room and continue growing as a teacher.

Be present

In your practice, if there one thing you’ll hear from a teacher, it’s to stay present. Our monkey minds often want to think about what happened before class and/or what is going to happen after class, instead of the moment we’re in currently. Physical and mental discomfort brought about from your practice can make you separate from the moment.

Stand in it.

I felt the same way about starting my business. It was challenging to say what I do at networking events and among friends who only knew me as an employee. So I didn’t. I checked out, and I’m sure I missed opportunities by not speaking up.

I had to give myself a reality check: you’re not serving anyone by remaining small.

Photo credit: TONL

Say that again, out loud, to yourself. I’ve never been a shy person, and if you know me IRL, you’re nodding in agreement. (Don’t nod too hard!) I had to learn how to be present in this new situation, smile, and say who I was. No hesitation, no pause, no downsizing. Whew, that made my heart race the first few times. But much like the feeling of peace that settles over you once you accept where you are in your yoga practice, good or bad, I began to find calm in saying my new normal. And it was reflected in the level of engagement I received from my conversations.

Practice and all is coming

I love this phrase, because it speaks to the need to remain consistent. Do the work, and all is coming. What is “all”? Well, that’s for you to decide. When I first began as a yoga student, consistency wasn’t so much of a challenge. I had a set work schedule and I looked at what I was paying for membership and said that I had to attend at least four classes a week to make it worthwhile. More often than not, I was able to hit that goal.

As life has gotten busier, it is harder to stick to a consistent practice. However, I know that when I regularly attend class, I’m a happier, more clear-minded woman. Plus, my skin looks great with a regular sweat session!

Now, as a business owner, I am tapping into the idea to inspire consistency in my business marketing and outreach, sharing my thought leadership through writing and networking, and learning. In  business, the “all” that I want to come is a stream of opportunities to do dope work, help others, and live the life that is for me, not pre-written by what is expected of me. That means by practicing  making genuine connections, seeking to help others, and writing, I become a better professional and have more to offer to clients, friends, mentors and mentees, and my industry.

Ahisma- Kindness to Self and Others

Yoga goes beyond the asana, or physical postures. The principles of behavior and attitudes laid out by Patanjali in the “Yoga Sutra” are life lessons we can all use to live better. If you want to learn more, start here with the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga: yamas (ethical restraints or abstentions) niyamas (lifestyle observances), asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (bliss or enlightenment).

The first of the yamas is ahisma, or the principle of doing no harm in thought, speech, or action to all living things. Another interpretation of ahisma is kindness.

Flickr – Caro Wallis

I think many women will nod with me when I say that it is hard to be kind to ourselves. On the mat, I practice ahisma by not comparing myself to others in the room and, as a yoga teacher, I encourage people to work to their level and remind them that there is no perfection in yoga.

As a business owner, and as the executive director of the ColorComm Dallas, kindness is important to give to myself, my clients, my fellow volunteer leaders, and the women we are connecting with throughout the city. Kindness means that I don’t have to be “on” all the time, at every event. I can, and should, take time to be alone, or with friends, or with my husband. Kindness means that even though I’m in charge as executive director, I don’t have to be a “boss” of ColorComm Dallas; I get to listen and allow others to lead and shine for the work they do for the organization. Mostly, kindness means taking a breath and a break when I need to, and not beat myself up for it.

I’d love to hear from my fellow fitness folks out here doing it for themselves:

How has your fitness practice informed your business, and vice versa?

Drop a comment in this post!

Why Dieting Is a Waste of Your Time

Last week, I got my daily Quartz Obsession email and the topic was “diets.” With Weight Watchers recently hiring DJ Khaled as its social media ambassador – for the culture – and January being the month that everyone and their mother going “new year, new me,” it isn’t surprising that dieting is a hot topic.

I’m going to share a potentially unpopular opinion here – dieting is a scam.

Now, let me clean that up a bit. Shifting your perspective and making wise food choices is always the move. But diets as a larger cultural movement of restricting calories, eating Frankenfoods, and judging foods as “good” or “bad” has never made sense to me.

I grew up in a house where dieting – Atkins, low-fat, low-calorie – helped my mother lose weight and keep it off. Thankfully, she never assigned labels to the foods my sister and I loved to consume, which were sugary, salty, savory and generally not good for your health long-term.

As a 30-something wife, stepmother, and aunt, I recognize that my attitudes about food influence the young minds around me. Rather than say a food is “bad,” I let my behavior show that my choices fuel a healthy lifestyle and help me move, sleep and feel better.

Image via TONL

Diet companies that promote their branded foods that you have to nuke before eating, along with proprietary cookbooks, scales, clothing and more, leave a nasty taste in my mouth. I find it hard to believe the programs are set up for success, since success for their clients means a loss of future money for them. Once I lose the weight, what good is your point system and associated prepared meals to me?

I’m not alone in this sentiment; 77 percent of Americans said they’re trying to eat healthier, but only 19 percent said they’re on a diet in a 2015 survey conducted by Fortune magazine and the percentage of women who claim to be on a diet has decreased by 11 percentage points between 1992 and 2012 according to NPD Group, a research firm.

I will not pretend that making healthy options is something I do every day, all day. When I read about people who say they haven’t had sugar in a year, I shake my head and go have a bowl of cereal for them. I just know that I’ve had my best gains in pounds lost and muscle gained by upping my weights, low-impact cardio, and mindfully eating more whole foods and less processed foods. Surprisingly, I’ve lost weight over the past couple of months, even after I slacked on my workouts due to travel and general year-end ennui.

A post shared by Leisa (@veleisapburrell) on

Bottom line: there are no “good” or “bad” foods, only better decisions to make about what you eat and drink. Consider ditching a “diet” and focusing on eating what makes you feel good long-term, not just in that moment (hello, donuts), and you may find the results you’re looking for.

Image via TONL


All Plantbased Everything: Review of The Honey Pot Company

In my plantbased life, I’ve been attuned to the importance of consuming whole foods, products with ingredients of I can recognize and pronounce, and beauty products that contain fewer chemicals. While on a Target run with my hilarious friend, Jerica of Jerica Says, we happened down the feminine care aisle and came across the “specialty” brand section. I put specialty in quotations because upon closer inspection, I saw that what these brands clued into is that consumers today want to know what’s in their product, and that I was woefully ignorant.

The brand that caught my eye was The Honey Pot Company, with their great tagline: Made by humans with vaginas for humans with vaginas. How can you ignore that line?! I picked up the package and soon began to question everything. As a woman, how could I be so ill-informed of the processing of the care products I’d come to know? With my interest piqued, I reached out to The Honey Pot to learn more. It turns out their team was putting together a brand ambassador program and I was invited to join.

Help promote a female-owned, vegan feminine care company? It wasn’t even a question for me!

What I love about the Honey Pot Company is that it is a subscription service. What’s more monthly than your monthly, amiright? Once I agreed to be an ambassador, I received my introductory package containing the Sensitive Bundle and the Regular Herbal Pads to familiarize myself with their products.

My Review: The Honey Pot Company

The Sensitive Bundle

I’m a sucker for great packaging, and The Honey Pot Company does a great job with their design. The baby-blue Sensitive Bundle box has adorable illustrations and quotes. Inside I found the Sensitive Wash and Sensitive Wipes, both which are prominently described as the alternative to “toxic, chemical-laden, fragrance-filled feminine washes and wipes.”

(photo courtesy of The Honey Pot Company)

The wash has little to no scent, which I can tell you is quite unlike most feminine products on the market. I’ve actually avoided most scented soaps and lotions of all kinds because I tend to sneeze at the overwhelming aroma. The wipes, which can be used on your entire body, were my quick solution for post-yoga sweat so I was presentable enough on the drive home to take a full shower.

Regular Herbal Pads

Where the Sensitive bundle eschewed scents, the pads are infused with herbs, lending them a fresh scent. The pad is also “manufactured with chlorine and pesticide free cotton.” Of the herbs, which include rose, lavender, aloe and mint, it was the mint that gave me a bit of a surprise. The brand tells customers that mint is supposed to help alleviate menstrual cramps, but if you have sensitivities to mint on your skin, you may want to skip these and stick to your regular, non-herbal products.

(photo courtesy of The Honey Pot Company)

HoneyBeNatural Magazine Event sponsored by The Honey Pot Company

As an ambassador, I had the chance to attend an event The Honey Pot Company sponsored here in Dallas. Eat for Your Yoni was presented by HoneyBeNatural magazine and featured a vegan chef who showed attendees how to make plantbased smoothie, snacks and a light meal. I loved being a room with other healthy-minded women; check out the recap on HoneyBeNatural magazine’s website.



Excited and ready to try The Honey Pot Company?

As a reader of my blog, and for those who are looking to incorporate plantbased living to your care products, I invite you to try out The Honey Pot Company. Order as a monthly subscriber or try out a single product; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in anything you receive from the company. Not sure if you should start with Normal, Sensitive or Mommy-to-be? Start with their quiz.

PLUS: The Honey Pot Company launched an Indiegogo campaign in order to crowd fund the next stage of plantbased feminine care: organic cotton tampons. Support their cause today at the level you can.

As a Honey Pot Wellness ambassador, I receive a small commission on your order if you purchase. I would SO appreciate you using my affiliate link if you do buy.

Plantbased Product Review: 22 Days Nutrition + Giveaway

Earlier this summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend BlogFest at IDEA World in Las Vegas. Not only did I meet some of the best fitness bloggers in the country and hang out with some of my Dallas Fitness Ambassador family, I also got schooled on the latest in plantbased protein at the Expo.

Walking the aisles of the exhibition floor, I saw everything from sweet potato-based noodles to Daiya’s yummy desserts. The company that caught my eye was 22 Days Nutrition.

Their premise is that it takes 21 days to create a habit and they want to help everyone get to the 22nd day and achieve a major breakthrough. Founder Marco Borges is a vegan and an exercise physiologist who was constantly searching for a solution for optimum wellness so he formulated the perfect vegan options for folks trying to “transform their lives, bodies and habits.” Plus, Marco was the trainer that helped Beyoncé and Jay-Z when they went on their 22-day vegan journey a couple of years ago.

I thought to myself “If he can help the Queen B, how much of a glow up could I achieve?” I reached out to the 22 Days Nutrition team, eager to try more products after tasting the sample of their protein bar at IDEA World, and they obliged by sending me their vanilla protein powder and several flavors of their protein bar: Chunky Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel, and Fudge Brownie. Below is my review of the powder and bars, which are my own opinion and not influenced by 22 Days Nutrition.

What I Loved

I enjoyed the variety of flavors from the bars, with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip being my favorite and probably Salted Caramel as my least liked. The PBCC had the perfect balance of salty peanut flavor to the sweet of chocolate. I ended up grabbing bars when I was on the go, running from teaching a class to making a proposal for clients, and it kept me full and energized.

The 22 Days Nutrition Plant Power vanilla powder was one of the tastiest I’ve had. I tried it in a simple form by shaking it into 8 ounces of almond milk and I blended it with a fruit smoothie. Either way, it’s excellent. The powder gave my drinks a nice protein boost and was easy to blend and take with me on the go.

For those who are concerned with getting “enough” protein from plantbased foods, rest assured that 22 Days Nutrition has you covered. The powder has 20 grams of protein per serving from pea protein, and the bars are 15 grams a piece.

What I Didn’t Like

The texture of the Fudge Brownie protein bar didn’t sit well with me at all: chalky and chewy. Interestingly, this didn’t translate to the other flavors.

Tip: don’t leave the caramel bar in a hot vehicle! I learned the hard way (insert sad face).

As with most protein powders, when you’re shaking it together with a liquid – as opposed to blending – a shaker ball is recommended. I do not have one of those so I had to make do with the coil from my tofu press. Bootleg but it worked; three cheers for ingenuity.

Final Thoughts

I would recommend the bars and powder to someone who is struggling with finding enough meals throughout the day or someone who isn’t a big meal planner (raises hand). Flavors were on point and with the advancements in non-soy plantbased protein sources, 22 Days Nutrition is right up there in delivering the goods for those with soy sensitivities/allergies or if you want to keep your soy intake low.


22 Days Nutrition is giving one of my excellent readers a 4-pack box of protein bars in my favorite flavor, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Enter below for your chance to receive yummy protein bars courtesy of the 22 Days Nutrition team.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must reside within continental United States to qualify. Must be at least 18 years of age to enter. Winners will be selected and verified.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook.

Don’t want to wait on your chance to win? You can find 22 Days Nutrition products at your local Target! I know you already had your next #TargetRun planned, so be sure to put a box of protein bars or a canister of powder in your cart.

I’d love to hear from you about your experience with plantbased protein bars and powder. Have you had 22 Days Nutrition before? Talk to me in the comments!

Is Vegan Protein That Looks, Smells and Tastes Like Meat Unethical?

The other day, I watched a video from Wired about the Impossible Burger, the plantbased protein patty that looks, smells, cooks and “bleeds” like a beef burger. The science behind the creation of the Impossible Burger is fascinating by itself (you should read the article and watch the video), and we should know as much as possible about the provenance of our food. What got me thinking and raised an eyebrow for me was the intentionality of marketing the Impossible Burger as the “burger that bleeds” even though it’s not made with animal flesh.

To establish some background about my life’s journey to plantbased eating, I grew up eating most meats -beef, chicken, turkey, etc. – and to this day, I will freely admit that bacon is delicious and Popeye’s spicy two-piece would be my last meal if I was on death row. However, one of the reasons I no longer am able to eat meat (with some exceptions) is that I don’t like the look and mouthfeel of meat. I tend to find it greasy/oily and the texture of flesh bothers me. While not all people who eschew meat do so because of animal welfare concerns, I have mixed feelings about such true-to-life formulations of plantbased proteins. Sure, I’ll eat a “nugget” or a black bean patty, but I’ve yet to find a strip, steak or crumble made from plants that authentically presents itself like animal meat. And I prefer that!

Ethics in Vegetarianism

As the Impossible Burger has earned success, raising more than $250 million from investors, and distribution throughout the country at restaurants and grocery stores, questions have been raised both about the ingredients and the ethicality of life-like meat substitutes. Impossible Foods, the maker of the Impossible Burger, bases the meat-like nature of the Burger on heme, which gives ground beef its color and metallic iron taste. The ingredient soy leghemglobin, derived from the root of soybeans, does this for the Impossible Burger. However, the FDA has not approved the compounds as safe or unsafe for consumption, which concerns some food safety advocates.

In addition to the ingredient safety concern, some strict vegans question the need for plantbased protein that recreates the smell, taste and texture of the very animals they’re trying to save from slaughter. For advocates of the Impossible Burger, this is a ploy to get more carnivores to consider the products as an alternative to their usual beef or turkey burger. Others cite a need for a diversity of protein sources, which, with the advent of technology and genetic modification of plants, is becoming much easier than in years past.

My Experience with “Bleeding” Burgers

Over the Labor Day weekend, I got the chance to try another “bleeding” plantbased burger: The Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat. I missed the chance to have it straight off the grill at the cookout so I had to pan-sear it a skillet at home. To my surprise, the Beyond Burger was the single best veggie burger I’ve had, and I’ve tried a lot of cardboard, bean-filled veggie patties. Seriously, I am bringing these to every cookout I’m invited to from here on out.

Make room on the grill!

While the faux bleeding of the burger didn’t initially register with me – Beyond Burgers use beet juice to replicate the effect – it wasn’t until I listened to the description of the complex science behind the Impossible Burger that I began to question my desire to eat burgers that look like meat.

Verdict: Live and Let Live

I say if approximating meat brings more people into the concept of going from #MeatlessMonday to meat-free every day, I’m here for it. As long as we can keep the needle moving downward for the number of animals killed annually for our consumption, I’m here for it. You may never see me in a PETA advertisement, slathered in fake blood, but I will support “radical” methods if that’s how someone wants to characterize The Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger.

Next up for me: trying the Impossible Burger at Hopdoddy Burger Bar!

Share with Me!

What do you think? Are you comfortable with such lifelike veggie burgers, or do you think that plantbased diets should not include meat-like substitutes? Also, have you tried the Impossible Burger or the Beyond Burger? If so, tell me about your experience.

Advice for the Initiated: Don’t Be THAT Vegan

Confessional time (cut to the closet that “Real World” cast members sat in back in the day): I’m not a good vegan.


In fact, I don’t even like calling myself vegan.

((double gasp))

It’s such a loaded word, and tends to push people away from the goal, which is eliminating animal products from your diet.

I would call my eating about 98 percent plant-based, 1 percent vegan and 1 percent “It’s summer in Texas and I’m going to eat BBQ.” I previously opened up about struggling with veganism, and I still go through that from time to time.

Recently, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of people who are interested in transitioning from eating meat and dairy to embracing a diet that consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes…basically all foods except for ones that used to breathe or came from a creature that breathes. It’s exciting to see people take a front seat in managing their health and moving beyond the “This is the way I was raised” trope that has so many people dying from preventable illness like heart disease and failure, diabetes and other ailments.

Even more thrilling is that I’ve had friends call on me to help them navigate being plant-based or to counsel a friend who is interested. To be considered as someone with any kind of knowledge in this arena is an honor, and I’m happy to share what I’ve found along my way.

However…and you knew there was a rebuttal coming…I have to call out my fellow vegan/vegetarian/plant-based eaters who think that bullying people who choose to eat meat is a path to getting more people to go meat-free.

You know who they’ve are. Maybe you’ve seen their posts online or, god help you, been stuck sitting next to them at a group dinner. Their level of snotiness and self-righteousness seems to rise in relation to the number of carnivores in the room. Quick to tell you how animal fat is rendering you into a gelatinous, unhealthy blob, the uber-vegan judges your well-being solely based on your inability to stop eating meat. They know all the stats, and will recite lines from Forks Over Knives and What the Health (vegans’ newest documentary obsession) whether you want to hear them or not.

Basically, they’re DRAINING.


My call to arms today is to not be that vegan. Whether your dietary beliefs are due to wanting to improve your health, cure a gut illness, animal welfare concerns or just trying something different because your sister-in-law’s baby cousin Tracy did it (props if you recognize where that line came from), the last thing someone wants when breaking bread with you is to hear a lecture.

Not only is this a kindness that can save you being on the receiving end of some words you may not have expected, it’s considerate for those who are trying to (respectfully) navigate your needs. I recently accepted an invitation to a friend’s private lunch, and boy did she and her team pull out the stops.

Multiple courses, wine pairings and great company; I couldn’t ask for more, especially considering the meal was prepared at no fee to the guests. As we departed, I had a moment to give my heartfelt thanks to the hostess, and she said “I was concerned when I saw you accepted because I saw that you don’t eat meat.” As I told her, I accepted knowing that I was going to be offered food that I don’t usually eat but I would never consider dictating the menu to the host or hostess and that I was grateful for the meal.

This may not be the experience some plantbased and vegan people would want to have, but I valued the experience over the cuisine. I wouldn’t go as far The Atlantic did recently when a writer recommended that vegetarians should bend their own rules as a way to persuade more people to eliminate meat. If a friend invites me to their house and serves me meat, I’d politely decline the plate rather than eat the meal as a way of pacifying the carnivores in my midst.

Bottom Line:

Find a balance between leading by example and being open to conversation when the right opportunity to share your philosophy with the curious opens.

What’s been your worst experience with someone who is WAY into their way of eating, from vegans to gluten-free to dairy-free to GMO haters?


Strong Fitness & Performance Center Review: An Essential Workout

The Dallas Fitness Ambassadors rolled into Strong Fitness & Performance Center recently for a group workout in their newly designed Fitness area. The North Dallas gym, which is massive and well-designed, is divided into four Core Programs: Fitness, which we tried out, 24/7 Olympic, Crossfit, and Strength training.

strong fitness dallas review veleisa burrell

Once the DFA team took our time to Instagram and Snapchat the posted workouts – because what is a workout if your followers can’t follow along – the fun began! We split between two groups and handled a low-impact warm-up which had me thinking “Okay, I can do this.”

The lovely trainer, Coach Lizzie, took us to the next level as one group jumped on the spin bikes for intervals of sprints, standing resistance and recovery while the other half worked on lunges, rows, burpees (the worsssttttt) and mountain climbers (the other worsssttttt). Mind you, at this point, I am hungry and trying to work through it, but I was making eyes at the vibrant green selection of juices that Substance Juice had lined up for post-sweat session recovery.

substance juicery dallasEight minutes finished on the first half and it’s time to switch to treadmills and TRX for squat jumps rows, chest press, and knee tucks. I’m a huge fan of TRX so I was actually excited to finish the session on these straps. The self-propelled treadmills…will one day be the death of me.

veleisa burrell strong fitness dallas review

Workout finished and it’s time to jump on the healthy snacks provided by Strong Fitness and the yummy green juice mimosas courtesy of Substance Juice. I recommend coming to this Fitness workout fully satiated, since my hunger slightly sapped me of energy that could have gone into lifting heavier or pushing harder. If you get to work with Coach Lizzie, you’re in luck. She managed to be both motivational and funny, which you don’t always get in a trainer.

strong fitness dallas trx workout

strong fitness dallas treadmills

Thank you, Strong Fitness & Performance Center, for a hard workout that hit all the high points of what I need to stay in shape: conditioning, cardio and weighted exercises. Plus I won a beautiful “Millennial pink” Lululemon yoga mat that is already a constant companion in my CorePower classes!

strong fitness review veleisa burrellStrong Fitness & Performance Center provided my workout at no cost. The opinions expressed about the facility and employees are my own and have not been influenced by Strong Fitness & Performance Center. 

Photos provided by Dallas Fitness Ambassadors.

What to Do Once You’ve Watched “What The Health?”

what the health vegan advice

If you’re like the 15-eleven million folks who have watched the “What the Health?” documentary on Netflix, you’re considering becoming a vegetarian or at least making changes to your diet to reduce your meat and dairy consumption.

Congratulations, you’re on the right path!

what the health advice
What your actual diet will resemble, I promise 🙂

As you saw in the movie (or read in The China Study or heard from that one friend that always smells like patchouli), reducing your intake of meat and dairy can have substantial effects on your health. Though I’ve documented that I’m not a perfect vegan, and I struggle regularly because cheese is good and I refuse to lie about that, I’m dedicated to eating fewer animal and animal byproduct.

Here are some simple steps to take to start your vegan journey, because we know the elephant can only be eaten one bite at a time:

Plan your diet (meal prep, research)

I cannot tell you enough about how meal prep can change your life. When you’re hungry and you have to make a meal from scratch, you’re far more likely to go with tried and true, i.e. meat. Having your staples created ahead of time, from chopped and sliced raw veggies that you can snack on or sauté with rice to marinating your cubed tofu to infuse flavor rather than baking that same chicken breast, will help you stay on the right track and sidestep the backslide to relying on meat as your main meal.

Make small changes (swap out meat for vegetarian options, add green veggies in place of carbs)

Many new vegetarians and vegans swear by veggie non-meats like chick’n nuggets, soy crumbles that resemble ground beef or turkey and other replacements. Mixing these easy to prepare substitutes into your diet could help make your transition from Meatloaf Monday to Meatless Monday even easier. (Recommendations: Boca,Gardein crispy tenders, Beyond Meat Beyond Beef crumbles, Beyond Meat Beyond Chicken grilled strips. PETA has a good list here.)

A post shared by Beyond Meat (@beyondmeat) on

Additionally, putting a green salad on your plate (minus ranch dressing, sorry to tell you!) where you usually load a cheesy, bacon bit covered baked potato is another small change that adds healthy greens to your diet. (Tip: Buying a head of lettuce to wash, chop and store is far more economical than packaged salads. Get creative and add in all the sliced and chopped vegetables you like.)

Get creative with recipes, cookbooks

Stop wracking your brain with the “where will get enough protein?” question and discover new flavors and cooking techniques for your meals!

(Answer: Protein is in everything you eat and, unless you’re an Olympic-level athlete, you will likely get enough on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Be easy, bro.)

Dive deep into the world of vegetarian and vegan cooking, from Pinterest posts to physical cookbooks. My recommendations include Minimalist Baker for easy recipes that are 10 ingredients or less and take about 30 minutes, Bryant Terry’s creative mix of African and Caribbean flavors, Sweet Potato Vegan  for soulful creations like vegan red beans and rice that was a favorite in my house.

Soon-to-be breakfast 🌶🥕🍠🥔 // P.S. check out my skincare routine over on @minimalistdana stories 💆🏻👏🏼😘

A post shared by MINIMALIST BAKER (@minimalistbaker) on


Other resources: Brown Vegan, By Any Greens Necessary, Tish Wonders

Make friends along the way (Dallas Vegan meet ups, try a new restaurant and talk with diners)

If you need accountability, do what you did as a kid to get people involved: triple-dog-dare someone to try veganism with you. If that’s not your style, or if you want a slightly less high-stakes entrée to plantbased eating, ask a friend to try something new with you. I’ve introduced many friends to delicious restaurants and new blogs by simply inviting them to join me for lunch or sending over a picture of my meal and a link to the recipe. Curiosity killed the cat but the satisfaction of a good meal is sure to bring it back.

If you’re friends are solidly in the meat and potatoes crew with little to no chance of trying something new, there are plenty of ways to make new friends who appreciate vegan diets. In Dallas, Vegan 101 meets on the second Tuesday of every month at DFW vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants.  Visit restaurants like Spiral Diner or V-Eats Modern Vegan, sit at the bar and make friends with the bartender or other solo diners.

There’s really nothing quite like a chili cheese dog with a side or broccoli slaw to celebrate #humpday. 🌭🥗💪🏼🌱

A post shared by V-Eats at Trinity Groves (@veatsdallas) on


Any change you make, big or small, requires dedication. Don’t let one indulgence derail your long-term goal of reducing meat and dairy in your diet. Focus instead on the improvements you want to make, and keep that the forefront of your mind.

What other tips would you give someone trying to introduce more veggies, legumes and beans, and other sources of protein into their diet?

How to Not Be an Absentee Friend When Life Gets Busy

When I was in my mid-20s, I recall reading a magazine article about women who had to schedule their catch-up meetings with friends. I thought to myself “Well maybe you don’t like your friends that much, madam.” Recently it hit me that I am now that friend, and so are my closest confidantes. We are the group that has to open Google Calendar and iCal to scroll through work meetings, appointments with clients and quality time with family and significant others to determine when we can sit down to break bread.

I now give a weak chuckle at my previous ignorance of how life can get busy enough to need to schedule time with friends. Knowing how busy life can get, I am insistent on not becoming the flake of the group. Nearly all of us have that associate or girlfriend that promises to meet up with you soon and never actually confirms a time, place or nail bar to catch up over mani-pedi time. Or, even worse, they agree to grab lunch or book a bike in spin and never show up, offering weak excuses only after being called out. Our time is precious and I have to value my friend’s resources as much as I want them to value mine.

So how do I stay connected?

In this season of launching my own company, here are the ways that work for me to stay accountable to my schedule and keep in touch with friends:

  1. Finding Balance at City Surf FitnessSchedule a sweat session – It is a tried and true rule for me that if I put a workout in my calendar and if I know someone is expecting to meet me there, I won’t miss the class. My sorority sister and I have been known to prep for the week by texting each other on Sunday evening to set up our HIIT class schedule for the week. We may only get 10 words in between stations but it’s a great way to see her smiling face as the sun rises and I’ve completed my workout for the day: two birds, one stone!
  2. Try a new restaurant together – As a plant-based eater, I can be particular about where I meet up for meals. If I know that the group plans include a BBQ joint, I’m likely to flake and miss out on the latest updates. However, for my more open-minded acquaintances, I am quick to suggest a new eatery for a mid-morning coffee or smoothie or a healthy Instagram-worthy lunch. I’d been dying to try Flower Child, a new restaurant that listed delicious sounding salads and wraps on their menu. When a friend called in a raincheck after missing my birthday dinner, I leapt at the chance to catch up over a meal I knew I would love, and I wasn’t disappointed.
  3. Get outdoors – My birthday gift, a Samsung Gear 2, is a blessing and a curse in the way that it tells me I need to get off my booty. Combine inactivity with (often) working alone from home and it’s a recipe for weight gain and losing social skills. I counteract that by extending an invitation to circumnavigate White Rock Lake or people-watch along Katy Trail. It is easy to knock out a couple of miles while plotting a strategic work move, dissect the previous night’s date or simply shooting the breeze.

I’d love to know ways you other busy ladies (and gents!) prioritize your time with friends alongside running the office, your company or figuring out your next side hustle or entrepreneurial enterprise. Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@veleisap) or Insta (@veleisapburrell)!

Are You Sick of Yourself Yet?

After some weeks of waiting – shout out to the Dallas Public Library request system – I finally got my hands on Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass at Making Money.”  I’m reading it not only for elucidation on business but also because I have seen many people sing the praises of both the book and the author.

One way my consumption of books has changed in recent years is that I now read the introduction to the text. It’s a great way to find out what inspired the author, including additional works/reading recommendation. In discussing her change from an excuse-making, perpetually broke writer to an international bestseller, Sincero said she “suddenly couldn’t take listening to myself complain anymore.”

This brought to mind a question (and I paraphrase here) that hit home for me:

Are you sick of yourself yet?

If you’ve ever had an out-of-body experience in which you hear yourself complaining about the same topic you’ve harped on for weeks, months or even years, that question is for you. It is a question I’ve had to ask myself before, and it was truly an uncomfortable moment. I had a patient partner (now husband) and a supportive mother who would listen to me word-vomit at length about my “troubles.” However, I found that I was complaining to them about the same situations – not feeling valued, disrespectful managers – across multiple jobs.

Finally I began to realize, I was sick of myself. I was sick of acting as though I had no agency in my own life. I was sick of complaining about the small matters that had no impact on my output but my previous managers felt was life or death. Most importantly, I was sick of finding myself unhappy and not acting in my own best interests.

Once you determine that you are ready to change your behavior, ready to rid yourself of the excuses for inaction, there is very little that can stop you. Here are some recommendations for changing your mindset:

  1. Journal – whether you purchase a 99 cent spiral notebook or invest in a leather-bound notepad, the important part of this step is to capture the moments of achievement, outreach and frustration. When you go back and recall where you’ve won and lost, the journal will help you easily track how to improve.
  2. Communicate – I’ve previously talked about how much of a difference it made when I opened my mouth and asked for help/support from my network. When you have proven that you and your work are valuable, people want to help you grow. Tip: know before you reach out, whether in person or via email, what you ultimately would like from a person. If you are asking for an introduction, offer to provide them with the text for an email. If the goal is feedback on an idea, ask how much time your contact has to listen. Edit your presentation for their schedule and leave time for feedback. Show you respect someone’s resources – time and connections – and you’ll get far.
  3. Exercise – Entrepreneurs end up dropping the ball on some part of their life – wellness, relationships or sleep. As someone who slid off the wellness wagon, I encourage you to not let exercise be the victim of busyness. Exercise here refers not only to the bodily effort but also to training your curiosity. As mentioned earlier, I love the Dallas Public Library. Not only do I get access to physical books, but they also offer books on CD, e-books and audio books. Search for any topic you want to study and you can find a resource through your local library. Download the audio book and take a walk around your block twice a day. Travel in your car for work? Get the CDs and make use of the time commuting.

Moral of the story: You don’t have to stay sick of yourself. Make a change, large or small, today and let that be the beginning of your transformation to running your life instead of allowing others to steer your ship.