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goal setting


Hey my veggie villagers!

It’s soon to be New Year’s Eve … and with a new year comes with a list of goals that we set and keep for exactly 4 minutes. How pathetic. Why are we never able to translate what we write on paper to wellness habits for our daily lives?

I think it begins with being more reflective, accountable and using the resources around us.

It all starts with goal setting.

So here’s how to IMPLEMENT your New Year’s resolutions to be the BEST version of YOU:

Use SMART Goals.

  •  SPECIFIC – define exactly what you want to accomplish! Your goal to be healthier should include HOW? Want to change your eating habits? – HOW do you plan on doing that? Exercise more? WHAT exercise, program, does this include a membership?
  • MEASURABLE – use quantitative measures to see your progress for encouragement and satisfaction when achieving goals – Maybe exercise for 30 minutes everyday, spend 10 minutes a day meditating … get creative!
  • ADJUSTABLE – you can choose to adjust your goals in order to not discourage you during your progress. Don’t let this be a free pass to keep pushing back your goals to a later date – procrastination won’t get you anywhere!
  • REALISTIC – okay …. if you haven’t exercised in the past year and want to run a marathon by the end of January … let’s be real. You need to work up to achieving a balance of your mind, body and soul in your daily life, including your daily exercise routine and training. Big goals like these need the right mindset and tools. It will probably take more than a month … just saying!
  • TIMELY – Set short-term and long-term goals within a specific time frame to make you accountable to reach your goal deadline! Even procrastinators crunch when they have a deadline they have to meet! This could be a month, 6 months, a year …. whatever is individual to you and your personal goals towards wellness!

Be positive and reflective.

While taking time to write down your SMART goals, also take time to pray and meditate in order to keep a positive and motivated mindset. Sit cross legged, close your eyes, and use VISUALIZATION to see yourself achieving your end goal – it’s a powerful tool that uses all of your senses! Taste, smell, hear, feel, and see your future rockin’ self!

Make sure you are also ACCOUNTABLE for your actions! I keep my positive mantras and goals on my wall so I see them everyday when I get ready as a reminder. You can also keep a food diary, exercise log, use your Fitbit, or a new app that was developed by Marni and Jesse called Habits!

By reminding yourself, you can become accountable in changing your habits and keeping them long-term! This app sends alerts to you on your phone to remind you of your healthy habits you want to implement, being custom or from a great list of them for the mind, body and soul. Their list also includes all of their podcasts that I absolutely LOVE listening to! Once you implement your healthy practice for 30 days – it truly becomes a habit!!

*Make sure you take time to reward yourself for achieving small steps to your end goal! You will see progressive change in your new body, mind and spirit – and this deserves CELEBRATION! The closer you are to your goals, the closer you are to daily wellness habits that become second nature. (It took about a year for me – I continue to develop on my own health and wellness journey – I will discuss my own journey below!)

Use your friends, family, and yourself as support!

The best way to keep your goals for the New Year is to tell those around you! Surround yourself with motivational people and use as many tools and resources as possible! Start a running group, go to Springz with your friends, take a walk or make dinner together – fill your daily life with  goodness, while being gratitude for the journey and progress! 

Stock your fridge with local, lively produce, dust off your running shoes, get a deal on a gym or yoga membership, put your weights and yoga mat out next to your exercising DVD (I don’t know about you … but going outside in the winter to exercise is a bit of a STRETCH for me – no pun intended), have your food diary next to the fridge …. anyway that YOU can support your goals and turn your INTENTION into ACTION*. REMEMBER – Be KIND to yourself and forgive yourself for setbacks and mistakes – continue to challenge yourself in order to reach your fullest potential!! 

While I have some time off from school, I will be studying to be a certified personal trainer, reading health books, meeting with knowledgeable friends – anyway that I can expand my knowledge and growth in the health field! Some of the new books I have started to read that fascinate me (Thanks to Mom and an Indigo gift card in my stocking!) are the Blue Zones by Dan Buettner and Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein.

Blue Zones are SO interesting – they are places in the world where people live the longest and have the best quality of life!! I plan on visiting each one of them – and possibly living there!!!

Also, Miracles Now gives you 108 Life-changing tools for less stress, more flow and finding your true purpose – and we ALL could use some of those!

I encourage each one of you to continue to have a growth mindset and expand your knowledge about food, exercise, how to develop your mind, and find your purpose in your work, relationships and in your daily routine.

Please let me know what your goals are for the New Year and how YOU plan to keep them!! Stay optimistic, enthusiastic, accountable and motivate and support yourself in order to achieve the BEST NEW YOU!!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx




Hey everyone!

Happy 2018! We all know the importance of setting goals, but you are probably tried of setting goals for the New Year that you will probably keep for about 20 minutes. So here is a refreshing take on setting and actually achieving goals by manifesting the right opportunities in your life.

I’m proud to say that I did accomplish most of my goals for last year; however, some are always an ongoing process.  I was intentional about setting SMART goals that were consistent with my 2017 timeline and the new opportunities in my life!


Recently for 2018, I have been actively searching for a yoga teacher training that not only fit my own criteria, but that was abroad and that I could do a work exchange. I did my research and applied online for many different opportunities and jobs in order to keep my options open and also to have a plan post-graduation.

I was so excited when I found The Kula Collective as their values and passion aligned with mine and they had many different teacher trainings throughout the world that I could work in exchange for. I applied to work as a website manager and sent in my resume and continued to pray about my future year. In the meantime, I also applied for many wilderness therapy jobs but felt a little uneasy by the beginning of December, as I still didn’t know what my future would hold.

I was in yoga class one day and created an intention of surrendering to God and letting Him decide my next steps for my yoga teacher training, as I was exploring other local options. I got home that night and found an email in my mailbox. It was the intern manager from Kula! He said he was reading my resume and was so excited that I went to Hawaiian Sanctuary and did a yoga internship there … as he had also been there and loved his experience! I felt such peace and knew that this was the answer from God that I was searching for.

Even though I won’t be leaving until August and wanted to leave earlier, I believe I need to be patient and prepare myself for my journey ahead. I plan on continuing to travel as I graduate and after my training for 2018. I want to teach and travel for a while to learn from other cultures and meet those in other like-minded communities.

My other quick story about manifesting is achieving my goal of getting my mom’s poetry book published. I typed up a book for her birthday of all her poems, and I knew that it was good enough to get published. So we called a local bookstore that publishes, and they directed us to another publisher that specifically does poetry books. I emailed them and they told us to send them a sample of her poems.

I sent them the sample and within 3-4 days, they said they loved her work and will get back to us in the New Year. The power of being vulnerable and sharing your soul with others can get you places.

I feel I have had such a deep connection to God and His plans for my life and have learned a few things about asking, seeking, knocking …. the door will be WIDE open if you choose to enter!


So, with all this excitement for the New Year and learning how to set your goals using a SMART format, here are my FIVE tips for manifesting your reality:

1. Pray.

Make your list of goals then pray about it. Ask the universe if these goals are in alignment with your passion, your purpose, your skills, your ambitions, and how you can best serve the world. If you don’t know your goals, pray about it and listen in stillness. Spend time listening to your soul and what is on your heart.

If you aren’t happy, what changes and opportunities do you want to see?

How do you want to grow and stretch yourself?

2. Seek. 

Now that you know what is on your heart, do your research. Opportunities aren’t handed to you … you have to work for it. I researched for months looking for the right opportunities that aligned with my values and my vision. Take the time to figure out what your next steps are to making your dreams a reality.

If it’s travelling, research different places, where you can stay, or what work exchanges are available in the area.

If it’s changing your career, what schooling or certifications do you need to be one of the best in your new field? Who can you learn from that has experience in the field?

And if it’s healing from a divorce or chronic illness, who can you reach out for help in order to move forward and change your old habits and ways of thinking?

3. Be patient.

Everything will happen, not in your timing but in God’s timing. I wanted to leave sooner, but I know that God will give me the time I need to prepare myself for travelling through working, taking time to be creative and work on new projects, learning new skills like Spanish in order to communicate while abroad, and allowing me to connect with those I love here before I leave.

Everything is a process. Be patient with healing, with growing, and with new opportunities coming your way

4. Trust.

Trust in all that the universe has to offer and stay connected daily. Trust in the journey and all that is awaiting you, and don’t be afraid. Have no fear and know that God has got this. When you know that all the decision-making and plans aren’t on your shoulders, you feel a sense of peace and joy. Be confident and do you. 

5. Send out positive vibes.

Have a positive and opened attitude to new opportunities and those around you. A little good Karma can’t hurt anyone. Love on others and you will find love comes back to you! Also, when you are confident in yourself and your skills and abilities, others will recognize that and give you the opportunities you need to thrive.

So I challenge you to look within and set goals that challenge you, grow you, and that are also aligned with the universe and its timing. Comment below with your list of goals to hold yourself accountable and to have support along the way! Also, share your manifestation experience … I love to hear God working in others’ lives!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx



Hey villagers,

I don’t know about you, but for me, when someone I love begins to take their anger out on me and is highly anxious and stressed out, this can easily affect my energy and I can leave a conversation with them feeling down for the rest of my day.

This can be detrimental to our mental health, especially when someone’s negativity and pessimism begins to affect us chronically. But recently, I have detached myself from people who drain my positive energy, and have learned to build barriers and keep a healthy perspective, allowing my light to shine.

HOW did I learn to create barriers, you ask!?

One simple answer: Mindfulness. 

I have been on a yoga and rock-climbing kick and you know what both of these activities have in common?! A focus on breath and living in the moment.

I have learned to control my emotions by realizing that my emotions are not ME, just a state that I am feeling.

My thoughts don’t need to be dictated by the ebb and flow of my emotions and the people around me who can affect them negatively. My thoughts start with what my intentions are for the day and how I want others to feel when they connect with me.

I have struggled in setting boundaries with my father as we are very different people in our philosophies and ways of life, and I have learned some of these life lessons the hard way.

But here are just FIVE ways that you can manage your emotions when around negative people and keep your values in mind when interacting with others:

1. Your tormentor can be your mentor. Ask yourself why someone’s energy affects you so much. Learn to take a breath before responding, and be PROACTIVE and positive in your words, not REACTIVE. Conflict can be resolved simply with being more mindful of the lessons others can teach you about yourself and your reactions to their negativity.


2. It’s them, not you. Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you did nothing wrong, and that people’s moods are simply a result of their perspective that is dependent on the amount of stress they are experiencing or problems they are facing. Try to bring hope to them in your words and actions, and use your positivity and inner joy to brighten their day and leave them with a smile and a sparkle in their eye.


3. Set boundaries. Surround yourself with friends that make you laugh and are great listeners that support and encourage you to reach your goals. Spend the MOST time with your lifters, and the LEAST time with your downers as possible. Sometimes, you may feel that completely eliminating that negative person from your life all together would be the best for your own health, although, sometimes, this is not possible if you can’t control your situation, such as if they are family or if you see them freqeuntly at work or school, so limit your time as much as possible to keep your spirits high.


4. Draw strength from your Creator. Light comes from within, and positivity starts with where you draw your strength from. By talking to God in the morning, journalling and listening to His will for your life, you can have a grateful and full heart to be able to pour out on others. Let your values be emulated in your words and actions, even when you are around those who are in a dark place.


5. There’s a reason for a season. Sometimes you won’t feel positive, and your emotions won’t match your thoughts. Be patient with yourself and the season you are in, and accept that you may need more time to release your habits of reactivity. Take more time for self-care in order to enhance your mindfulness and let go of stress and your need for control. Enjoy a massage, a movie night, a warm bath, or a good book and observe your thoughts and emotions while being fully present during these times of self-care.


So I encourage you to be gentle with yourself, and with those who are hurting in your life. Set boundaries for yourself in order to preserve your light and be aware of the difference between your thoughts and your emotions. By surrounding yourself with loving and positive people, you can enhance your health and your longevity.

Listen more, laugh more, love more and react less. 


Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey villagers!

Happy New Year!! I hope you were able to implement what I talked about in my goal setting post and create SMART goals that will create healthy habits for your future year. To help support these healthy habits, I created a few recipes that are full of protein from seeds, lentils and veggies that will keep you full during this time of hibernation (snow has finally decided to arrive!) and domination!

Plant-based protein sources are full of nutrients and protein to keep you full and lean! Hemp seeds are a source of complete protein – containing all of the essential amino acids our bodies need to thrive – just 3 tablespoons contain 10 grams of protein! Also, I use lentils a lot in my soups – they don’t need to be pre-soaked like other types of legumes and in just one cup, has around 18 grams of protein!

Being plant-based, I like to create meals and snacks that will keep me full after exercising but are also delicious and satisfying. I must say, it was my first time cooking fresh Jerusalem artichokes …. but apparently they are similar to potatoes. I bought some gorgeous local and organic ones from Bradner Farms, and was dying to eat them – I guess it’s artichoke season!

Coconut Seed Protein-Punch Balls

(No Bake, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free …. we could go on)



  • 1/2 cup quick oats (any would probably work)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup chia seed – I used ground
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seed
  • 3 tablespoons psyllium husk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder – I used Sunwarrior Vanilla plant-based protein – stevia made them sweet! (optional)


  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 4-5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • You could also add 1 tsp of maple syrup for extra sweetness


Step 1 – In a food processor, combine all ingredients. If it is cold out, your coconut oil is properly hard. You will want to melt it over the stove for a few minutes, then add to your mixture.

Step 2 – Blend it up! If it is not creating a dough-like texture, adjust your water and psyllium husk amounts.

Step 3 – Form balls with your hands and place them in a parchment-lined pan into the freezer. You can dust with cinnamon and coconut before placing them in the pan. They only need to freeze for 5-10 min, but if you want to save them and let them thaw later you can. Take them out and enjoy!

Quick, Warm and Hearty Breakfast Cereal with Apples

Recently, I have been making this recipe for my morning and it is so comforting and filling! You can add berries or pear instead of apple, keeping it low-glycemic and delicious!


  • 1 apple, chopped into pieces
  • 1/3 cup quick or rolled oats (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup chia seed – I prefer ground
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seed
  • Handful of walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 – 1/2 cup water or nut milk

Combine all ingredients except nuts into a pot and heat on the stove for 5-10 minutes until warm and thick. More water or flax may be needed to ensure the consistency you like. Sprinkle walnuts on top or whatever nut you like! Enjoy!

Luscious Lentil Artichoke Stew with Spinach

(Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, but not taste-free!)

Adaptation of Oh She Glows Red Lentil Stew – I just used what I had in my kitchen and amped it up a bit 😉 I also made her Eat Your Greens detox soup – SOOO good – Asian inspired with ginger and protein-infused nourishing nori!


  • 1 tsp coconut or olive oil – I used olive
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 fresh Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and diced (optional, could use sweet potato, but was delicious!)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika, to taste
  • 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth, more if desired
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained – I used green
  • fine grain sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 handfuls torn kale leaves or spinach – I used spinach


Step 1 – In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in oil for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add in the celery, artichokes and carrots and sauté for a few minutes more.

Step 2 – Stir in the bay leaf and the spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper). You can add half the spices and add more later if you prefer. Let that cook for another 5 minutes.

Step 3 – Stir in the can of tomatoes (including juice), broth, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes, until lentils are tender and fluffy.

Step 4 – Stir in kale or spinach when finished cooking and season to taste adding more spices if you wish.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have – continue making veggies the stars of your meals and you will thrive!!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey my villagers!

Do you ever have a hard time saying no to people because you don’t want to let them down? Have you been presented with an opportunity and find yourself weighing the pros and cons and not getting anywhere? How do you know you have made the right decision?

We all make hundreds of decisions in a day, most small, but some can change the course of our lives for the better or worse. Through my own experience, I have had to learn to say no to opportunities and yes to others, while always trying to keep a sense of balance and peace.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice volunteer commitments or jobs that no longer serve YOU or your higher purpose in order to make room for you to let your creativity wild, your spirit free and ultimately, become more joyful and productive in the long run. Once you serve yourself better, you can pour yourself into others!

Decisions begin with knowing WHO you are and WHERE you want to go.

Decisions are the key ingredient to improving your health, especially in terms of how you are allocating your time, talents and treasures.

life web
There is always time for juice 😉

So how do you learn to make the right decisions? Here are some steps you should go through when making a decision that can affect your health:

1. Ask. Begin by asking yourself and God. How do I feel about this opportunity? Where will this lead me? How does this opportunity fit into God’s plan for me? Is He taking me to unexpected places and on a new and exciting journey? Spend time in prayer and reflection and simply put it out there and let your Spirit respond.

life web
Journal and take time to reflect.

2. Be still. Take time to meditate. Be still in God’s presence and in your thoughts and ideas. Listen or create some music, read some poetry, walk in nature, and spend time in reflection and stillness. Recognize your feelings and emotions concerning your decision.

life web
Or roll down some hills to get some inspiration.

3. Draw your Life Web. Forget the pros and cons list. Here’s what I use to balance out my life and make sure I know my big commitments when reflecting at night. This Life Web helps you to know your limits and figure out what you actually have said YES to. Try creating a present and future web to see how the decision fits in and what needs to be eliminated from your life.

  • How big is your web and how busy do you want to be?
  • Does your extra commitment fit into that web?
  • Does your life web reflect progress towards your goals for the week, month and year?
  • Do you have a balance of play, work, personal growth, health and fitness, and volunteering?
  • How are you incorporating your mind, body and spiritual health into your web?
life web
What does your web look like?

4. Yes or No. Finally, make the best decision that serves you and God, and follow through. Once you feel a sense of peace and contentment, you will know you are on the right track! Using your life web as an outline, you can make commitments that you can actually stick to and put your full heart and soul into everything you do! The quality of your work will increase along with the clarity of your mind as you take ownership of your life and where it’s going.

life web
How are you setting yourself up for success?

So, I challenge you to create your life web and reflect on your opportunities before making a commitment that you can’t actually stick to. To hold yourself accountable, feel free to share your web with others and me!! Tag me in your picture of your web at @veggievillager with #lifeweb!

life web
Take time to play.

Create limits for yourself, but know that you have endless potential to reach your goals simply by getting organized and letting your creativity flow!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey my villagers!

I realized I have a problem: I am an extremist. Although it may not seem like a problem, it can hinder my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being when I become obsessed and focused on giving my all in the many areas of my life: my grades, research, diet, work, rock climbing, yoga practice, harp and volunteering.

When you are busy trying to do everything, balance is a hard thing, especially when your self-care and relationships begin to suffer. I have slowly learned to understand how to keep balance and create boundaries when I am prone to going to the extreme and being so self-disciplined that I miss out on the fun and carefree life we are meant to be living.

So how can we stay focused and optimize our performance in all areas of life without becoming obsessed with perfection?

It all starts with how deeply involved and engaged we are with ourselves and others.

We need to be conscious of our impact on others and how sustainable we are in the choices we make. And this starts with the QUALITY of our choices.

When I decided to let go of my unrealistic and perfectionist expectations: expectations of being a strict vegan, expectations of having the most knowledge in the health world, expectations of giving the best service, having lots of friends and expectations of being the most fit version of myself – I accepted that my best is enough and became healthier mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. 


So, here are some guiding principles to focusing on the QUALITY of your life without being perfect:

1. Quality food. I am all about my local and organic produce, and even incorporating some free range eggs, wild BC salmon, organic bone broth and organic goat cheese on occasion. So no, I’m not a strict vegan, but I try to eat sustainably and listen to what my body is craving. If I have to put a label to how I eat, I would say I am primarily pegan. Be conscious of where your food COMES from in order for it to fully nourish your body and forget about your expectations of an ideal diet.

Yes, my body craves banana bread. Xx

2. Quality time. I have a few close friends, and am invested in connecting with others on a deeper level, no matter their age or gender. I love having open discussions with others and learning about what they know and their experiences. Spending quality time (with no phones present) in wholehearted and rich discussion is how we can find fulfillment and happiness (your positive vibe attracts your tribe!)

Life begins and ends with people.

3. Quality things. I have embraced the idea of minimalism, and believe that less is truly more. Spend your money on things that you value and bring joy to your life is so satisfying. Aim for quality, sustainable products that will last you. I love thrift stores and having clothing swaps! Give up the world’s expectations of having the next best thing!

4. Quality breath. Stress usually results in shallow breaths between cluttered thoughts in an anxious mind. I have learned through my daily practices of yoga and meditation that taking quality breaths when feeling anxious can bring such a sense of calm and relaxation in the beginning, middle or end of your day. Focusing on not only how our mind responds, but how our bodies respond to stress is so important for us to remain peace and grace filled throughout our days.

Breathe in beauty.

5. Quality experiences. Use your money not only on things you value, but on building memories. Travelling to work or volunteer for a cause you care about and that is making a difference in this world is so rewarding! My experience travelling to Greece to work for the Center of Social Welfare was not only satisfying because I worked with children, but I also discovered my next steps in life. This summer, I will be going to Hawaii to volunteer at the Hawaiian Sanctuary for a yoga internship to expand my personal growth and learn from the healthy traditions of the Hawaiian people! Explore and let your creative mind soar! 

So I challenge you to focus on the quality of your meals, breath, relationships, possessions, and experiences and take time to reflect on what you can change to enhance your well-being. What expectations are affecting you mentally? Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually? Please share your thoughts with me below!

Be present in each and every moment of this beautiful life and remember that less is truly more.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

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