Hey there! Happy 2014!

Who’s making new year’s resolutions? I’m not one for new years resolutions, myself, as I try to accept myself as I am at all times, but I’m all for adapting new habits throughout the year that make your life healthier, more efficient, or more fun. Today, I’m sharing with you the top 5 habits I picked up in 2013 that changed my life for the better.

1. I stopped washing my face with soap.

I realize that this may sound like I stopped washing my face altogether but that is not the case. A little post about oil cleansing by Gabby at the Veggie Nook pretty much changed my life. Seriously. I have less breakouts and my skin is softer than ever… and I rarely use moisturizer anymore! Plus, I make the oil concoction myself and it’s so much more economical than buying vegan, cruelty-free cleanser with no harsh additives or chemicals. Gabby, my skin and I cannot thank you enough!

2. I started scrubbing my face with sugar.

Yeah, it’s another skin habit, but I swear- the best thing I did for my skin (and my wallet) last year was to start making my own facial products. I adapted a recipe for a lemon sugar scrub from Angela at Oh She Glows and began scrubbing my face with it every day before I get in the shower. My skin has never been smoother and it actually glows when I get out of the shower.

Who wants smoothy, glowy skin? Combine 1/2 cup sunflower oil with 1 cup of unrefined sugar and the zest and juice from one lemon. The lemon juice actually helps reduce acne scars or blemishes while the sugar scrubs away dead skin and the oil hydrates. Hello, beautiful!

3. I started drinking warm lemon water every morning.

Warm Lemon Water

I’d always heard that this was a good way to start your day, but it wasn’t until a google search for “How to cure chronic hiccups” led me to an article about drinking warm water with fresh lemon juice every morning that I decided to give it a try. Oh yeah- I have chronic hiccups. I get a severe bout of hiccups almost daily for no reason at all. Sometimes it’s just one or two and sometimes it goes on and on. There is no sound that scares my dog more than the sound of one of my hiccups. But I digress…

Warm Lemon Water

I started drinking warm lemon water every morning while I take Samantha for her morning walk and everything you hear about it is true. It’s very detoxifying, hydrating, does wonders for my skin, my digestion, and my general sense of well-being. I’ve also taken to adding some cayenne pepper to get my metabolism going before my morning workout. It hasn’t helped my hiccups, but it seems to help everything else!

Warm Lemon Water

4. I started drinking a recovery drink after my morning workout.

It used to be that I would come home from the gym, shower, and then eat breakfast. After a pretty strenuous workout, I’m pretty hungry but I used to ignore that hunger and shower first because I hate eating my breakfast in sweaty clothes. What resulted was me having super low blood sugar, having no concentration or focus, and staring off into space for far too long while in the shower.

Chocolate Milk

So I started drinking a glass of vegan chocolate milk when I got home from the gym. I started off with So Delicious Chocolate Milk because Damn. That stuff is amazing. Every morning, I was taken back to 1985 and the era of the powdered Nestle chocolate milk. As delicious as it was, though, it is not very cost-effective and it does have a little more sugar that I should be drinking every day. When Vega sent me some of their Chocolate Performance Protein Recovery PowderΒ to try, my eyes zeroed in on the word “recovery” and I knew where my next chocolate milk was coming from. Now I drink this little concoction after every workout and I feel super healthy, take shorter showers, and feel full after my later breakfast.

Chocolate Milk

It’s so good that I actually look forward to it throughout my workout. It’s like my little reward. My delicious little reward.

Chocolate Milk

Post-Workout Recovery Chocolate Milk

Yield: serves 1



  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until combined. Drink immediately and enjoy!

5. I stopped killing myself at the gym.

This was a big one for me. I have a tendency to push myself as hard as I possibly can when I workout. It’s not cardio unless I feel like I’m going to die if I do one more minute. They’re not lunges if I can still walk afterwards. See where I’m going with this?

All of this “pushing myself” was not getting me anywhere, though. I wasn’t seeing any improvements in my physique or my performance. I was tired all day and I was beginning to dread going to the gym. After we returned from Europe, where I hadn’t worked out for nearly three weeks, I was in better shape than when we had left and all I had done was walked. No, I wasn’t going to start walking 8 to 10 miles a day, but I decided to stop pushing myself so dang hard at the gym. I still get a healthy sweat going but I’m not trying to ruin my life every morning at the gym anymore. I feel good when I leave and I don’t mind getting up in the morning and going back. I also saw a huge improvement in my weekly runs. Since I’m not so fatigued all the time, I’ve increased my average from a 9:45-50 minute mile to a 9:18 minute mile.

This attitude has spread to other areas of my life as well. If I’m working so hard at something that I’m beginning to not like doing it, I know now that I need to step back. If recipe testing is beginning to make my brain hurt, I get out of the kitchen. If I’ve stared at my computer screen for so long my eyes feel numb, I shut my laptop for awhile. It’s good to be efficient and get as much work done as possible, but if you begin to hate life while you’re doing it, it’s time to do something else.

What healthy habits do you have? Have you made any changes for the new year?

Disclaimer: Vega gave me this product to try but the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photography by Chris Miller