Luminous Wellness with Jennifer

Over the past several months, I’ve gotten notifications from WordPress that I’ve had many new followers to this blog.  I’ve also received several nice comments on various blog posts that I wrote over the year that I managed this blog.  I wanted to say thank you, I really appreciate it!!  

However, I’m not posting on this blog anymore, because I finally chose a business name to go with my health coaching business, and created a brand new website where I’m also blogging as well!  

ImageI’m still blogging about my healing journey and fun wellness inspired things that I love to do, like health conferences.  Be sure to go to to check it out!  

Thanks so much for following me!  <3  


Normal – What Does That Feel Like Anyway?

It’s been a very long time since I wrote anything on this blog.  I’ve allowed myself to slip away from it, partially because I was stressing myself out with feeling that I had to write in it every single day, and partially because I put pressure on myself to always appear perfect, which is quite an impossible standard.

I’ve been working on teaching full-time, finishing up my health coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and figuring out how to get myself 100% healthy and on the right track again.  I started a new blog to chronicle my journey, partially because I’m no longer following a strictly vegan diet.  It turns out that one of my many health issues is having adrenal fatigue.  I’ve been reading up on it and several people that were formerly vegan all agree that eating small amounts of animal protein helps the adrenals get stronger, and I need that more than anything right now.

To find out more about my health issues and what’s been going on with me, check out


Veganlicious Day

Yesterday my mom and I had what I’ll call a “Veganlicious Day.”  It started with my acupuncture session.  Let me just say that acupuncture is helping me to remove a great deal of stuck, stagnant energy that’s in my body.  I know because I start shaking like crazy as soon as those needles are in me.  My acupuncturist says that it’s very rare to see someone moving energy that rapidly, but it’s definitely a great sign.  Even though my headaches aren’t gone, I’m excited that I’m finally making some sort of progress on that front!  No wonder I’ve been in so much pain.

After acupuncture, my mom and I headed to Great Sage, an amazing all vegan restaurant located in Maryland.  I blogged about going to brunch there a few weeks ago and every time I’ve been, the food’s been absolutely amazing.

I started with a refreshing cucumber celery green drink.

Then for my main course I had the pumpkin enchiladas over quinoa, which happened to be gluten-free as well.  They tasted out of this world.  Definitely a recipe I want to try to replicate, though I’m sure it won’t turn out half as good!

And even though I had more than enough to eat with these, I couldn’t resist ordering dessert, and I settled on a gluten free cherry chocolate cheesecake.  So delicious!

Who was it that said that vegans don’t eat well and we only eat grass?  ;)

After lunch, my mom and I decided to head to the eco-friendly store next door, Nest, and I got this adorable pottery mug for my chai tea, as well as these cute little bags that I can carry snacks around in.

Then we headed to Roots, an organic market that’s right next to Great Sage.  It was there that we came across the owner of Zendulgence, Asher Radkowsky, offering free samples of his Hemp Gelato.  My eyes literally popped when I tried the flavors – chocolate raspberry, chocolate hazelnut, and chocolate.  So super delicious and the best part is that the ingredients are pure and the base is Hemp Milk, one of my favorites!  Zendulgence has been written about in the Washington Post, and I really hope that the flavors are available in more stores soon!

The chocolate hazelnut flavor is so amazing that it was sold out, so I settled on the chocolate raspberry flavor instead.

I couldn’t leave Roots without purchasing one of my favorite drinks, coconut water, and it was the perfect way to end the afternoon before heading home.  I swear, every kid in America should be carrying around cartons of coconut water instead of sodas, juice, and milk!

What have you been up to this weekend?

What Do Vegans Eat?!

I love it when I get asked this question, mainly because I’m shocked when people tell me they don’t eat that many vegetables.  My very first thought is, “what do YOU eat if you don’t eat vegetables?!”  Here’s what I’ve been eating the past several days.

Sweet potatoes, rainbow chard, mushrooms, and asparagus over brown rice

Almond milk Greek yogurt with protein powder, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and fruit

Artichoke salad, inspired by a wrap I had in Las Vegas

Peach pie smoothie, which only looks green because of the spinach I added at the very end

Grilled tempeh with kale

Peanut butter fruit toast

Carrot apple juice

Strawberry salad

Fresh fruit

Veggie lo mein

Quinoa mango black bean salad

Quinoa breakfast porridge

What are some of your favorite things to eat?













Guest Post: Jillian McKee and The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

I am so thrilled to be featuring my very first guest post on my blog today!  Jillian McKee of The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog contacted me a few days ago to see if it would be a possibility to have her write an article for this blog and I welcomed the idea immediately.  

As Jillian described, her article demonstrates the “benefits of eating healthy during and after a diagnosis of any kind of cancer. Each different cancer has its limitations, but if one can keep a healthy body, they can have a better chance to overcome this awful disease.”  

I am sure that her article can benefit each of you as well, as I could definitely relate to Jillian’s suggestions and how they can help women with PCOS!  

Fighting Cancer: Foods to Avoid, Foods to Include

If you were just diagnosed with mesothelioma or another form of cancer, it is important to start making changes to your diet. Making minor changes can help improve your overall health, strength, and increase your longevity.

Foods to Avoid

Now more than ever, you want to increase your health. Begin by giving your cabinets and refrigerator a makeover. Foods that zap away your energy or increase the risk of developing health problems in other areas of your body should be avoided.

  • Saturated Fat, Trans-Fat, and Cholesterol. Your heart needs a healthy start!  Minimize     your intake of these fats as recommended by the American Heart Association. Avoid the intake of cholesterol and trans-fat as much as possible and only eat less than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake in saturated fats. Eating too much of these fats, can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol, which causes your heart to work harder and decreases your blood flow.  Foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans-fat are:  junk foods, fast food, processed meats, full-fat dairy, red meat, and poultry with the skin on.
  • Sugary drinks and snacks. People who have cancer or are taking treatment or cancer usually feel fatigued throughout the day. This may come from a high white blood cell count, or side effects from aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy. Sugar may give you a quick energy boost, but it is often followed by a swift energy crash. This is because sugar increases your blood glucose level. Glucose is the body’s fuel source. Once glucose rapidly declines, it leaves you feeling down in the dumps and hungry. This glucose rollercoaster can increase the risk of your developing type-2 diabetes.  Foods and beverages that are high in sugar are: soda, juice, candy, frosted cereal, baked goods, ice cream.

Foods to Include

Now that we’ve gotten rid of the unhealthy food, lets add some good food to the empty space we’ve created in the fridge and cabinets.

  • Fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are a really good source of vitamins and minerals. In fact, they don’t just carry vitamins and minerals, they also contain antioxidants used to fight cell oxidation, which if left damaged causes cancer.
  • Oats. Oats are a good source of fiber. Fiber helps to control your  weight, boost your energy, increase your heart health, reduce your blood sugar levels, and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Fiber has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Fatty fish. Fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon are full of the healthy fats omega 3 and 6. These fats are known to boost brain health, eyesight, and help reduce the risk of developing several diseases including cancer.
  • Fresh citrus juice. Fruit juice contains the water-soluble vitamin C. Vitamin C not only boosts your immune system, which is vital when trying to fight cancer, but it also raises your good cholesterol (HDL), which improves your heart’s health. If you get tired of drinking fruit juice, try a vegetable juice blend.


Vegan Finds

Today I want to write about some awesome vegan things I’ve discovered lately.  First of all, did you know that they’ve invented Almond Milk Greek yogurt?!  I was beyond excited when I discovered these at Whole Foods the other day!  Of course, I went back today for more and all they had was plain flavor, but I bought a few more, because I can add a little Chocolate Shakeology and coconut flakes to it (snack idea thanks to another Beachbody coach!) and I’m good to go.

As for plant based milks, my absolute favorite is the Almond Coconut Milk blend by Blue Diamond.  Surprisingly, I can’t find this at Whole Foods at all, and need to go to the regular grocery store to get it.

Next up?  These vegan bars that I saw at Whole Foods today.  Overall, I like to stay away from bars, because they can be a little high calorie and you can eat something like an apple as a snack instead, which is higher in nutrients and contains less calories.  However, they’re nice to have on hand if I’m running from one place to another and get hungry.

Let’s not even talk about the next thing.  So I used to actually not like peanut butter at all, up until a month ago at the Beachbody Coach Summit, when my coach bought some for us to put into our oatmeal in the mornings.  Now I’m seriously addicted to it and can’t get enough!  I also picked up a few Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars, which the fabulous Kris Britton over at i heart wellness happened to post about on her Facebook page the other day.

Last, but not least, I got my pilot issue of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine in the mail yesterday.

So what are some of your favorite vegan finds?  I’m sure there are many more things that I have yet to discover and I love trying out new stuff!


Latin American Fiesta

What a busy day it’s been!  I’ve accomplished so much and amazingly I’m not tired as I normally would be.  Perhaps it’s the lasting effects of the acupuncture?

I was up at 5:30 am to get in my workout.  I knew it was going to be a busy day and I’ve found that once I do my workout in the morning, I feel so great that it’s done for the day and that I’m helping to rev up my metabolism.  Not to mention that I can’t come up with any excuses as I might later on in the day for not doing it.  On top of that, I’m actually feeling muscle in my arms and calves.  So exciting!  I can’t wait to see the final results.

Today was my first day working back at the Montessori preschool where I used to work before I began working for the county.  It was great seeing all my former co-workers and all the kids that I’ve known since they were 3 years old.  I couldn’t believe how much some of them had grown up and it was nice to receive their hugs and cries of “Miss Jennifer!” when they saw me.

I also managed to go to the dentist for my final Invisalign set, go to the chiropractor, get a manicure and pedicure while reading 50 Shades Freed (the 3rd book in the 50 Shades of Grey series), come home and cook dinner, and various other odds and ends that needed to be accomplished.  My point?!  There should be no excuses for what you want to achieve.  If you want something badly enough, you will find the time to do it (and I live in chronic pain and with normally low energy — no excuses from me!!🙂 )

My fuel for today included some amazing food, thanks to inspiration that I received from the PCOS Diva.  She’s a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (which is where I’m currently going to school) and has put together a fantastic Summer Meal Plan to help women with PCOS plan and make amazing meals.  The best part is that the recipes are vegan friendly!  I did make a few changes to what she had on the menu for today, but overall I followed the plan and I was excited to be back in the kitchen cooking amazing food!

Overnight oats with chia seeds, PB2, almond coconut milk, slivered almonds, and blueberries for breakfast!

I also couldn’t resist this snack at Montessori, mainly because I wanted to try the salsa.  I have the recipe and will have to make it sometime for myself, because it was super delicious!

Lunch was a GF wrap with veggies and hummus.  I was actually so excited to make my own hummus, until I got home and realized that I’d completely forgotten to buy tahini so I could make it!  Thankfully I had some hummus in the fridge, but it wasn’t the same.

I was trying to avoid eating an afternoon snack, especially after I listened to one of my IIN lectures about Ayurveda and just eating 3 main meals a day, but I got pretty hungry in the afternoon, so I had an apple while I was at the nail salon, and then a Chocolate Shakeology when I got home.  Seriously, that stuff is so addictive.  It was calling my name and it’s well worth it!  Tastes like a chocolate shake, but it’s filled with so many ingredients that are great for you.  Shakeology is the reason I don’t really drink green smoothies, even though I want to start increasing my intake of green smoothies as well!

My liquid gold!  :)

And my dinner?!  I made amazing black bean burgers, with homemade guacamole and homemade pico de gallo (all thanks to the PCOS Diva’s recipes), over salad greens.  My burgers didn’t turn out quite the way I anticipated, probably because of the recipe for egg replacer that I used, but I figured that I can always experiment with other egg replacer recipes and that it doesn’t matter if the burgers didn’t turn out perfectly.  At least I was experimenting!

I have tons of leftovers of the black bean burgers too and I’ve already thought of a few different ways to use them up — as fajitas with onions and peppers, in a breakfast scramble with sweet potatoes, or with some quinoa.

All right, it’s been a long day and I’m getting sleepy!  About to get on my Beachbody team call and then I’m going to bed so I can get up early again to do my workout!  Have a great night!

Focus On: Acupuncture

So those of you that have been following me for a while know that I live with chronic daily headaches and that I’ve tried all manner of treatments to see what will help to heal me.  I won’t go through the entire list of what I’ve tried, but suffice it to say that I’ve been pretty exhaustive in my search for a cure.

A few weeks ago, my chiropractor recommended trying a sublingual Vitamin B12 supplement.  Well actually, the conversation stemmed from trying B12 shots, but those are ridiculously expensive and I don’t even have a doctor to go to that would help to administer those on me (in case you didn’t know, I pretty much hate doctors).  Did the B12 help?  No, but I’m still taking it.

Usually I can deal with the pain, because it’s become such a regular part of my existence. Any other person would probably be whining and complaining about having to take a Tylenol and lay down to sleep with the pain I normally deal with.   So when the pain magnifies, I tend to forget how truly bad my pain can get until it gets there.

Yes, that’s what it feels like when it gets really bad, but I just deal with it.

I can’t stand living the rest of my life with constant headache pain though.  As a result, I’ve decided to try acupuncture once again.  Several months ago, my chiropractor tried it on me, but it was only for 2 days and each session was 10 minutes each.

Thanks to another Beachbody coach on my team, I found out about Community Acupuncture.  Instead of paying regular prices for an acupuncture session (which can run from $60 to $85 or more, as far as I know), at the place I go to, there’s a sliding scale of $15 to $40 per session.  You pay what you feel is best, no questions asked.

I had my first session last week and for once, I actually had results!!!  Super exciting.  My pain did not completely dissipate, but it did almost get broken into clusters (normally I feel pain all over), with pain levels almost dulling down in other parts of my head.  It’s hard to explain, but for me, it was like a miracle.  And then I actually had energy!  Me having energy like a normal person is very rare.  If you ever met me, you’d never know I always feel tired, because I play it off well.

I’ve been twice this week and haven’t noticed anything too significant, but every time I go, I get freezing cold, to the point where I feel like there’s a blanket of cold air surrounding me. The acupuncturist told me that that’s a great sign, because my chi (energy) is moving around my body.  He recommended that I go at least 3x a week for the next 4 weeks, then re-assess from there.  Praying that this is finally my answer!!!

Have a great night everyone!  Enjoy the Olympics if you’re watching the Opening Ceremony.

Protein for PCOS

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about plant based ways to incorporate more protein into my diet.  Before I get any further, we all know that the number one question that vegans get asked is where they get their protein from.

I do honestly believe that vegans get more than enough protein from adequate plant based sources. Just look at the picture above and you’ll see that the gorilla has no problems getting his protein. Nor does the elephant or the ox (ever heard of the expression “strong as an ox?”) The truth is, the human body does not require as much protein as we have been led to believe. Did you know that there’s an actual term for protein deficiency called kwashiorkor?  If people are so worried about being protein deficient, then how come they’ve never heard of this term before?  It’s almost like people get into a panic about not getting enough protein, but it never becomes a concern until you become vegan.

Isn’t this the truth?!

However, having said all that, I’m wondering if for myself, I’m taking in adequate protein, especially since I have PCOS.  I wasn’t even that concerned until I had a talk with my health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition the other night and she kept asking me about my protein.  The next day she sent me this article about signs of protein deficiency, and I seem to fall under a whole lot of them.  I do have PCOS and fibromyalgia though, so I’m sure that has something to do with it.  And I refuse to follow the article’s recommendation of adding a little red meat into each meal.

For now, I want to experiment with maybe hemp powder or another form of protein powder in addition to my Shakeology, and also see if I can try to get in more of a variety in my diet. I’m looking to two of my favorite authors, Kimberly Snyder and Kris Carr, to help me on my journey.

Since I’m getting amazing results doing the ChaLEAN Extreme and Brazil Butt Lift Hybrid, it’s time I really kick it into gear with super natural, clean plant based sources.  I can’t wait to see what my body will look like with the combination of the two and with modifying my protein intake.

If you have PCOS, how do you feel about your protein intake?  Do you feel you’re getting enough, especially if you’re vegan?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Sunday!

Hey everyone!  Happy Sunday!  How’s your weekend been going?  This weekend it was very cool & rainy in the DC area.  I actually had to wear a light sweatshirt outside yesterday, which was odd considering the 100 degree temperatures that we’ve been having this summer!

Today’s been a great day, especially because I finally had the opportunity to go to brunch at Great Sage, an all vegan restaurant out in Maryland.  I was there back in October for a benefit dinner and the food was outstanding.  Today was no different.

I’m friends on Facebook with one of the staff members at Compassion Over Killing and when she posted that she and some of her co-workers were going to be going there and asked if anyone else wanted to join, I decided to go along and check it out!

My meal started with sweet potato carrot ginger soup.  It sounded too good to resist when I heard it being read off as one of the soups of the day.

My main meal was a gluten-free wrap with roasted veggies and a side of tempeh bacon.  The wrap looked much nicer when it arrived and this is already half eaten, but the picture I took with all the veggies inside didn’t show much🙂

After brunch, I headed out to see Katy for a few hours.  It was nice to catch up, especially since I don’t see her everyday anymore (we both taught at the same school) and since she’s moving back to Ohio soon.  We decided to grab a salad at Sweetgreen, one of my favorite places to go in the DC area for an awesome healthy meal.  This was their awesome Chic-P vegan salad!

While I was out by Great Sage, I bought some coconut water at the organic market by the restaurant.  The funny this is that the first time I ever tasted coconut water I hated it, and then today when I was at Sweetgreen I was wishing that they sold it there so that I could have some with my meal!

Now I have to get ready for a coaching call with my health coach from IIN.  Enjoy your evenings!