Reach the Beach 2013!


Photo credit: EF Education First


“Unless it’s crazy, ambitious, and delusional it’s not worth our time.” –Anonymous



What could possibly be crazier than cramming 12 co-workers into TWO vans, for 24 hours, on ZERO sleep? How about cramming 12 sweaty co-workers into TWO vans, for 24 hours, on ZERO sleep– all while running 200 miles in between?!


I know what you’re thinking…

“That’s insanity! It’s pure MADNESS! It can’t be real!”


First of all, yes, it is real. And second of all you’re 100% right–it actually is just as insane as it sounds. But you know what? (And here’s the craziest part of all)…IT’S FUN! And that’s pretty much EF Education First (“EF” for short) in a nutshell…


Crazy, ambitious, & FUN.


Just another day in the EF Boston office (Photo Credit: Facebook- Say Hello to the World)


It’s easy to be all three of these things when you consider what EF does. The Swedish-born company is the world leader in international education– and it specializes in educational travel, language training, academic degree programs and cultural exchange. And seriously, what’s more fun and exciting than TRAVEL?



(Judging by my reaction to the Duomo in Florence… not much :) )


Now, for those of you who haven’t heard of EF, don’t worry– you’re going to be seeing a WHOLE lot more of us (and our signature color,“disruptive pink”) around the Boston area soon enough–the new Cambridge office (which will serve as the North American headquarters) is set to open in May of 2014. It’s located right along North Point Park on the Charles River where Boston, Cambridge, and Charlestown come to meet. Just check out the stunning design below…


Opening May 2014


You see, EF has a knack for taking things to the next level–whether we’re building a striking new office (do you SEE that glass waterfall!), killing it in sales, or planning an extravagant summer party…maintaining a level of normalcy is one of the only things that EF doesn’t do well.  So, when a slew of fabulous and fit EF staff showed an interest in running, organizing a simple 5K just wouldn’t cut it for this young, hip, n’ happening (not to mention quite competitive) company. Instead, the EF Running Club was created! And it wasn’t long before EF staff started putting together running teams and competing with each other to see who could log the most miles during the work week. (In addition to bragging rights, the team that racked up the most mileage won some pretty sweet new running digs, compliments of EF;)).


It should come as no surprise, then, that EF jumped at the opportunity to participate in Reach the Beach– a New Balance sponsored relay race that takes running to a whole new level of extreme.


The RTB Relay is a 200-mile relay race that starts in Princeton, MA at the Mount Wachusett Ski Area and finishes at Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Westport, MA. The relay consists of 12 person teams that rotate through 36 transition areas as they cover the full 200 miles. This means that each relay team member runs three legs of varying lengths and difficulty. For the super competitive runners out there, there’s also an Ultra Distance division which has a team limit of six members. The runners in this “elite” group rotate in a set order once the race begins and are obligated to follow this rotation until the final runner Reaches the Beach. For instance, I ran a total of 19.33 miles split into three legs– 6.71 miles, 5.97 miles, and 6.65 miles respectively.


Last year a few brave souls from the EF Boston office ran the relay race and absolutely LOVED it– in fact, some staff loved it so much that they even signed up for the New Hampshire relay a few months later. So this year, because our office is full of  crazy, athletic, and all-around awesome individuals (and a pretty cool CEO who also happens to be quite the athlete himself), EF decided to sponsor seven teams of our own and run the race as a company…



EF Boston RTB Group Shot! Sorry for the fuzzy image quality (Photo Credit: Norbert Lorscheider)




And so the EF staff banded together, split into seven teams (by office floor), came up with silly team names, and decorated 13 vans (each floor had two vans, but the Elite team only had one since they’d be running all 36 legs of the race themselves–those crazies!). My team, the ninth floor, came up with the team name “Amigos Rapidos.” We decked out our van with sombreros, maracas, blow-up burros and cacti and hit the road (literally).  Thanks to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, all of the EF runners were able to document our journey for the full 200 miles. I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos from the race below :)

Cool kicks. Cooler kids. #EFRUNS! (Instagram: jbarbato34)

Don't worry guys...I made plenty of peanut butter sandwich fuel for everybody--vegan and non-vegan (note the honey and Nutella)! (Instagram: prettyfitlife)

Just the EF Ultra Elite team mascot in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall at big deal--totally normal. (Instagram: onefoodguy)

Oh you know...just noticing how much EF is owning the roster ;) (Instagram: onefoodguy)

RTB starting line-- Ready to RACE! (Instagram: Alex Digregorio)

EF is ready to go! (Instagram: prettyfitlife)

EF Elite team ready to kick off RTB. (Instagram: prettyfitlife)

Just chillin' on the chairlift at Wachusett Mountain (starting line). (Instagram: prettyfitlife)

Aaaand we're OFF! (Instagram: prettyfitlife)

Amigos Rapidos-- My awesome team van! (Instagram: prettyfitlife).

Amigos Rapidos' silly van decor. (Photo Credit: Katie Sullivan)

Just hanging out with the amigos (Photo Credit: Reach the Beach)

Ready for my first handoff! (Instagram: dwardlet)

Finishing strong! (Please disregard my ugly race face. K thx!) (Instagram: rhauck)

Van ride sing-a-longs (Instagram: iamdianabanana)

Ready to GLOW for our night runs! (Instagram: meaghanmurray)

EF staffers are hardcore. And epic. (Instagram: jbarbato34)

Getting ready for my (scary!) night run... (Instagram: iamdianabanana)

My awesome team (The Amigos Rapidos!) waiting for me to finish my final leg. (Instagram: dwardlet)

Both of our vans running across the finish line together :) (Instagram: meaghanmurray)

Time to celebrate! (Instagram: prettyfitlife)

The "Amigos Rapidos" at an EF happy hour reunion (Instagram: dwardlet)


Running Reach the Beach reminded me how much I love to race. I guess years of competitive running (and the perfectionist-induced stress that accompanied it) made me a little wary to get back into racing once I hit my 20′s…but something about this race resonated differently. Sure, I’ll always have that competitive edge to me, and I’ll sure as heck be shooting for that next PR, but I also realized that running isn’t always just about getting to the finish–it’s about believing in yourself, believing in others, and having some fun making friends while you’re at it. Running is a community and I’m realizing it’s an awesome one to be a part of again :) . In fact…I’ve already signed up for two more races just this summer! (The City Sports Back in the Day 10k 80′s themed run & The Falmouth Road Race ).


What do you think? Maybe I can rack up a few more of these babies (and find a few new running buddies too!) before summer ends… :)



Reach the Beach Medals :) (Photo Credit: Reach the Beach)


“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” — John Bingham


He certainly says it best.

Keep running people :) .



Healthfully Yours,


Ashley Michelle



Hot for Healthworks! (Plus a FREE 5-Day Trial Pass!)



Roses are red,


Violets are blue.


Jewelry is nice…


But Healthworks is too! ;)




Sure Valentine’s Day is all about loving your hunni, but that doesn’t mean all the single ladies have to suffer through this sparkly, chocolate-covered, heart-filled holiday alone. Heck…even us hitched chicks need a place to unwind and relax and get away from the dudes in our lives for a hot second.


Thankfully Healthworks Fitness Center has the Boston girls covered!


First of all, anyone who knows me knows I am absolutely OBSESSED with Healthworks, so please allow me to apologize in advance for this full on love fest that’s about to ensue. You see, Healthworks isn’t just my gym. It’s my sanctuary (I’m not even being dramatic. It’s just THAT amazing). Obviously if it’s that incredible it’d be a crime to keep this jewel of a place all to myself, so when I heard Healthworks was having an Open House week from February 11th- February 17th…I knew I just had to share this little secret with my loyal readers ;) .


It all began when I stumbled into Healthworks for the first time around a year and a half ago. I had been living in the city for about six months when a couple of ladies from the Cambridge location (Danielle and Lisa :) ) popped by my office on a rainy September afternoon to hand out some free-trial passes to our employees. At the time, I was going to a $10-a-month gym right across the street from Healthworks and I was pretty much hating life (sweaty, smelly men and limited and/or broken equipment in a stuffy, steamy  basement-level gym doesn’t exactly sound like fitness bliss to me). I was trying to budget and save money wherever I could, but this whole discount-gym-thing just wasn’t cutting it. I could feel myself getting softer, weaker, and less motivated by the day. Working out at that place just wasn’t giving me that mental and physical boost I needed. Something needed to change…


Enter Healthworks.


















The moment I stepped into this women’s fitness center, I felt like I had entered a dream. The sweet smell of eucalyptus filled the air, a fresh selection of natural granola bars, drinks and other healthy snacks greeted me at the front desk, and a smiling staff member handed me a fluffy towel as I walked into the cozy, clean and inviting locker room– eyes wide, mouth gaping (did I mention classical music was playing? Angels might as freaking well have been singing from the heavens at this point). And by the time I made my way upstairs to the fitness center, I was instantly hooked. The gym had more cardio machines, weights, and fitness equipment than a fitness fanatic like me would even know what to do with (kettlebells, bosu balls, and TRX? Hello?!). But don’t let the huge variety of equipment intimidate you. The incredible team of Healthworks trainers are more than willing you show you the ropes (you even get a free personal training evaluation and a free training session when you sign on to become a member.)


But the real kicker?

I knew I’d never have to wait 30 minutes or more for a darn stair climber, treadmill or elliptical ever again.


There’s plenty of equipment to go around.




Perhaps the only thing better than the copious amount of fitness machines are the wide array of group fitness classes the gym has to offer (have you read about my obsession with Bosu training?) And when I say wide array, I’m talking OVER 100 group fitness classes a week FREE with your membership!





From cycling, yoga, and pilates to tabata, cardio strike, and boxing…there’s truly something for everyone no matter what your age. And after a grueling workout or a killer class, what better way to relax than by treating yourself to an assortment of spa-like amenities.



You read that right.





Healthworks offers a selection of spa services including massages (Lymph detox and hot stone treatments? Yes please!), acupuncture (stress relief? Okay!), a eucalyptus steam room (cold? What cold?), a whirlpool (sore muscles? Not here!), and a sauna (rough day? Sweat it out!). Oh yea. You also get a complimentary 25-minute massage when you sign up. BAM.


And last but not least, the most refreshing part of all?

The staff at Healthworks are FABULOUS.


Every single time I walk into that club, I’m greeted with a smiley “Hey Ash!” and sent off with a cheery “See ya tomorrow!” Whether a staff member is working at the front desk, training a client, or teaching a group fitness class, they truly make you feel more like their “BFF” rather than “just another client at the gym.” I can tell you…after a long day at work this simple kindness is much appreciated :) .


So, clearly you know how I feel about Healthworks Fitness Center for Women, but don’t just take my word for it… test it out for yourself!  I promise– after just one visit to this fitness paradise, you’ll be hooked. It won’t be long before you start to get excited to go to the gym and  you start to look forward to your next workout (you can call me crazy now…but just you wait!). When your gym is pleasant and fun and you’re surrounded by motivating people who push your limits and believe in you… that’s when fitness becomes FUN. And when fitness is fun, healthy changes set in and that’s when true miracles happen.














And isn’t that what we all want in the end?

Positive, healthy, growth and change?

I sure think so!


The Healthworks Mission:

“At Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women we empower women to be strong, both physically and mentally. Our mission is to be the leader in women’s health and wellness by providing exceptional experiences through fitness, service and support throughout our clubs and the community.”


What Sets Healthworks Apart:

  • More than a 100 Group Fitness Classes a Week
  • Rated “Best Personal Trainers” by the Boston A List
  • Spacious cardiovascular area featuring televisions and movies
  • Free weight & stretching area
  • Group exercise studio
  • Exclusive Cycling studio
  • Complimentary fitness & equipment orientations
  • Spa-like locker rooms with full service vanities
  • Childcare
  • Massage
  • Complimentary towel service


What YOU Get:

  • Initial evaluation with a Personal Trainer and one Personal Training session
  • A free Small Group Training session of your choice, including BURN, drop10, various bootcamps, and more!
  • A relaxing 25-minute massage
  • Full access to all group fitness classes
  • Complimentary strength, cardio and stretching orientations
  • Use of wet areas, including eucalyptus steam room and dry sauna, to relax and rejuvenate
  • Complimentary gym and bath towel service
  • Access to spa-esque locker rooms, equipped with amenities to make getting ready a breeze
  • AND, if you desire, we also offer childcare, personal training, massage, skin care, acupuncture, health coaching and nutrition consulting.



So are you DYING to try Healthworks yet?


Well, you’re in luck!


In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Healthworks is spreading the love and holding an Open House all this week from February 11th- February 17th. Each of the four Healthworks locations (Back Bay, Cambridge, Chestnut Hill, and Coolidge Corner) will offer specialty Group Fitness Classes, complimentary Small Group Training for you and a friend, complimentary acupuncture, shopping, pampering, food, and live music all week-long. Click here to get access to a 5-day guest pass and click here to check out the schedules for each fitness center.
Already a member?  No sweat! Your friend can also use the complimentary guest pass (above) during Open House week or for any 5-day duration in February, and if they join during Open House week, they’ll receive a $0 enrollment fee and you’ll get a referral ($5 off your monthly membership dues!). Sounds like a win/win, huh?


So… what are you waiting for?


Go ahead.


Treat yourself something extra sweet this Valentine’s Day


(Or convince your special someone that a gym membership will get them wayyy more brownie points than a box of chocolates!)


After all, loving yourself is the sweetest kind of love of all :)



Healthfully Yours,

Ashley Michelle



Photo credits: Healthworks Fitness Center

Be a Workout Warrior!


“Motivation is what gets you started….









Habit is what keeps you going.” — Jim Ryun


Keeping in step with my “Fit for Life” series in these past few posts, I decided it was important for me to cover exercise and fitness. While a balanced diet is vital to you health, weight-loss/maintenance efforts, and over all well-being (as I covered in my last post)…physical activity is just as important. Why? Because if you’re looking to feel stronger, healthier, leaner, stress-free, beautiful, powerful and pretty much ahhh-mazing (and who wouldn’t want that?) you need a combination of good nutrition and good-quality exercise.

Now, I know sticking to an exercise regimen can be tough. We’re tired after a long day of work and taking care of the kids (or in some cases the boyfriend/fiancé/or husband!). Our weekly girl’s nights and happy hours are wayyy more tempting than a hot date with the treadmill. It’s so gosh darn cold outside you’d rather give up your Lululemon Wunder Under Leggings than walk to your car and drive to the gym (and no I won’t judge you for rocking Lulu even if the closest they’ve come to a gym is when you pass it on the way to the grocery store). But the reality is, with fitness…there is no secret potion, special pill, or magical fairy dust to create results for you.


The reality?


You need to wake up and you need to GET TOUGH.


So that’s exactly what I’m going to be.



Photo Credit:




It’s no secret that America is facing a serious health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 35.9% of adults over the age of 20 are obese and  33.% of adults over 20 are overweight. Even scarier? 18.4 % of adolescents age 12-19 are obese, 18% of children age 6-11 are obese, 12.5% of young children age 2-5 are obese. Also according to the CDC–one-third of all Americans are obese and not one city in the U.S. has an obesity rate of less than 20%. People sit in a car on their way to work, sit all day at work, hit up the vending machines when they need a boost, grab fast food on their way home, or get home so late they can’t eat a healthy meal at all (cue the nighttime snacking). Grocery stores are full of all sorts of sneaky, false-advertised, processed, refined, and sugary junk that clogs up our bodies and keep us craving more of  (and spending more on) that bad stuff.


And we can’t forget about stress.



Photo Credit:




According to the American Psychological Association, 44% of Americans say their stress level has increased over the past five years. And did you know that stress can actually lead to obesity? Of course, everyone deals with stress differently, but scientists have actually found evidence that supports the stress/obesity connection. The study shows that stress is linked to biochemical changes which then trigger the cravings that can lead to overeating, emotional eating, and obesity. Top that off with the addictive properties of unhealthy foods, and youve got yourself a killer combination (literally).

Now let’s play a game for  minute. I want you to think about the last time you were stressed at work. Would you rather have reached for a bag of carrot and celery sticks or that bowl of candy on your co-workers desk and the cake in the break room? My guess is that your first instinct is to reach for the sugary, carb-filled, fattening, processed comfort foods. You see, stress has the ability to trigger certain hormones in the body which then play a role in the whole “pass-me-the-chocolate-before-die” process. When these chemicals and hormones are thrown into overdrive during stressful times, that’s when unhealthy-eating is most tempting. Below, I cover 3 of these sneaky fat-storing and craving -inducing buggers…


1.)  Serotonin: Serotonin is one of these hormones and it could be the reason you’re grabbing for the fatty, processed, carb-filled foods when you’re stressed out. Serotonin acts as the body’s “feel good” or “happy” chemical, and when you eat carbohydrates your serotonin levels rise–so do those “happy” feelings. This makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over for the moment…but that’s it. Your problems are still going to be there after you finish that slice of cake!


2.)  Cortisol: Cortisol is another stress hormone that I’m sure you’ve heard about before. When you are stressed out, your cortisol levels rise. Chronic stress can cause your body to release extra cortisol, which increases your appetite and cravings and signals the body to store fat.


3.)  Neuropeptide-Y: Lastly, there is a less well-known molecule that has a hand in fat storage. Studies show that the body processes food differently when under stress. When you are stressed,  neuropeptide-Y is released from the nerve cells and encourages fat accumulation. Fatty, sugary, carb-filled diets further promote the release of this molecule.



So, in a nutshell, a common scenario goes something like this…



Photo Credit: Bing



Okay. This is a tadddd extreme, but still–the point is valid. You get super stressed/sad/angry so you crave something sweet and sugary and/or fried and fattening to make you feel happy (for a minute) because you think “I deserve it!” This quickly becomes an addictive cycle every time you’re stressed. This unhealthy eating habit then causes you to gain unwanted weight and pick up even more unhealthy habits (those addictive cravings will do it to ya!). This makes you more stressed and causes your body to activate all of those fat-storing hormones that (once again) cause you to continue eating poorly, gain unhealthy weight, and become even more stressed than before.




What a vicious cycle. All of this sounds pretty counterproductive, don’t you think? So… what does help with stress and the risk of obesity/weight gain?






Photo Credit: liftrunplay



I’m just going to come right out and say it– I believe exercise can cure almost anything (or at least many of) the health problems riddling our society today. If you don’t believe me…Google it. The studies are endless.  Check out some of the fabulous health benefits of regular exercise below.


Exercise can help you…


  1. Control your weight
  2. Improve your mood/reduce depression
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Increase energy
  5. Combat disease (heart disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, heart attack, stroke, metabolic syndrome, depression, type 2 diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and many others!)
  6. Sleep better
  7. Ignite your sex life <3
  8. Find a new hobby
  9. Think clearer
  10. Look amazing!
  11. Get stronger
  12. Make friends!
  13. Live a longer, more fulfilling life

The list goes on and on and on (check out this NY Times article here for a more in-depth report on the health benefits of exercise). All of these things sound pretty great huh? I mean really people. There’s no excuse not to exercise (it’s actually more harmful if you don’t. Just check out these  two articles).

Now, I do understand that not everyone can go to the gym or workout every single day (we do have a life to lead after all)  and let’s face it, life loves handing us responsibilities that are non-negotiable. However, there’s a difference between allowing outside forces to hold you back from exercising and getting healthy and allowing YOURSELF to hold YOU back from exercising and getting healthy. I want you to be honest. If the real person keeping you from achieving your dreams is in fact you…something needs to change.

Like I said…there’s no secret potion or a magical unicorn ready to fly you to the gym. If you want change…you have to make it happen yourself. You have to wake, up, get to that fitness class, drive to the gym, go for a run, practice yoga or whatever you choose to do.  It takes motivation and it takes hard work but I promise it’s worth it. But you already know that don’t you? Chances are, if you’re still reading this post, it’s because you want to make a change…


You want to be a workout warrior.

You care about your health.


I have faith in you! 


And while I’m not going to sugarcoat it and tell you it will be easy right away, I can tell you there are plenty of ways to motivate yourself and ease yourself into a fitness regimen that will make working out both easier and fun over time. The list below includes some tips and tricks that have helped pump me up and keep me on the path to health.  Hopefully they will pump you up and keep you in check as well :)


Photo Credit: Healthworks



Tips and tricks to get you to “Workout Warrior” status!

  1. Schedule weekly workouts ahead of time! This way, you don’t have to make the “to gym or not to gym”decision on the fly (C’mon, you know the answer will be “not to gym”). Going out with friends after work? Then get up an hour earlier and workout in the morning.
  2. Treat workouts as appointments…NO EXCUSES! Would you cancel your hair appointment or that mani/pedi? Didn’t think so. Want to really look and feel fabulous? Working out is the best kind of makeover– both physically and mentally.
  3. Lay out your workout clothes night before: This is little tip makes getting yourself out of bed for a morning workout that much easier. If your clothes are all good to go and ready to throw on…it’s harder to say no (heck, sleep in them if you have to!)
  4. Pack your gym bag before you go to bed: If you work out during the day or after work, it’s hard to say “forget it” when your bag is already packed and ready to hit the gym. Heck, change at the office before you leave so you really have no excuses for hitting the gym after work.
  5. Try something new and fun! Tabata? Zumba? Spin? Pilates? Aerobic pole dancing? Whatever! Just get moving :) . If you keep yourself from getting bored, you’ll keep it up.
  6. Buy cute new workout clothes: If you buy em’…you’ve gotta find a time to wear em’ right?? So go on. Treat yourself to something nice.
  7. Get fitted for the right sneaker: This is SO important. Wearing the right sneaker can prevent injury and make all the difference in your workouts. So please don’t just buy those neon yellow sneakers because they’re super cute. Buy them because they FIT. If they also happen to be adorable too? Bonus!
  8. Hire a personal trainer: When you’re paying someone to help you workout, believe me…you’ll show up. Those guys are NOT cheap.
  9. Take advantage of deals/coupons/specials: Groupon, LivingSocial, RueLaLa…you can find some great deals here if you want to test out fitness classes, boot camps and gyms before committing yourself to something full-time.
  10. Find a workout buddy! If someone else is counting on you, you most likely won’t want to flake out and skip a gym sesh. Plus, having a workout buddy is a great way to keep yourself in check and keep each other motivated.
  11. Set an alarm: Set an alarm on your phone to workout and set a couple other alarms throughout the day as reminders to remember your goals.
  12. Buy a trashy magazine: Hey, if that’s what it takes to get you on that stairclimber…go for it girlfriend!
  13. Make a new playlist: Sometimes a brand new mix of music is all you need to get amped up and ready to sweat. Another fun idea? Have your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband make a playlist for you! It adds a fun element of surprise to your workout.
  14. Split your workouts up: This is probably my most helpful trick of all– I choose to split my workouts up so that I do half before work and half after work (or on my lunch break when the weather allows for a nice run). I find I am able to get in harder, intenser, more effective workouts or get in an extra fitness class this way because it makes each separate workout seem short and sweet. In reality, both workouts are anything but.
  15. Invest in simple at-home gym equipment: Oh, it’s raining/snowy/windy/too cold/too hot outside? Good thing you have weights, a jump rope, resistance bands, and a yoga ball at home! Check out some easy at home fitness routines here and here (without equipment)or  here and here (with equipment).
  16. Log your activity: Channel your inner elementary school self and make a sticker chart or a “money jar”. Give yourself a gold star every time to sweat it out or add a buck to the money jar. Spend on something nice ;) .
  17. Reward yourself:  Did you run a 5k or workout everyday for a week? Finally nail that yoga pose or hold a plank for one minute straight? Woo hoo! Reward yourself with clothes, a mani/pedi a massage (etc…) or anything that makes you feel fabulous! Just remember– you are not a dog–don’t reward yourself with food. A healthy snack is fine…but just because you ran five miles doesn’t mean you get to chow down on a plate of sweet potato fries (They’re still fries. Don’t pretend they’re calorie-free). Believe me, you won’t feel good about it after.
  18. Exercise even if you’re tired: NOTE: This does NOT mean exercise if you’re rundown. This means exercise if your feeling lazy or if you’re hungover. I promise…it will wake you up, give you a healthy glow and put a pep in your step in no time.
  19. Most importantly…CHALLENGE YOURSELF! Exercise isn’t supposed to be easy. And it sure isn’t supposed to be comfortable. So… get comfortable with being UNCOMFORTABLE! that’s the only way you’ll see results and get all the health benefits you possibly can.



I’m SO excited for you to begin your journey to a healthier, happier, fitter you. I believe in you, and I hope YOU believe in yourself too!


If you can make a promise to commit to a new, healthy, positive routine and if you’re honest with yourself and you DO YOUR BEST… there is no such thing as failure.


Don’t forget to remind yourself every day how amazing you really are, and as hard as it may be…try not to get discouraged. Remember, NO ONE IS PERFECT. You’ll find your way there. I KNOW it!


For now, here are some inspirational quotes to get you motivated :)


Photo Credit: Coeur Blonde


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Photo Credit: Healthworks


Photo Credit: Healthworks


Photo Credit: Women's Health


Photo Credit: Healthworks


Photo Credit: Healthworks


Photo Credit: Pinterest



Photo Credit: Pinterest


Photo Credit: Pinterest



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Photo Credit: Pinterest


Photo Credit: Healthworks


















Healthfully Yours,


Ashley Michelle





Mayo Clinic: Health and Exercise

CDC Fast Stats: Obesity and Overweight

CDC Obesity Data

APA Key Findings: Stress

Everyday Health: Food, Mood, Stress & Dieting

Livestrong: Your Body on Exercise

Long Beach Business Journal: Obesity Epidemic

Fit for Life: Clean & Lean

Photo Credit:


“Fit is not a destination…


 it’s a way of life.”



I absolutely, positively love this quote.


It perfectly encompasses my philosophy on health and fitness. Health is not something I, nor you, should take lightly, and it’s certainly not something you can put a timeline on. That’s because when you commit to making a change and beginning a journey to a fitter, healthier, happier you…there is no finish line. Your health isn’t a race with a final destination–it’s a movement. It’s an awakening.  And the changes that bring you the most success are the ones that become so natural, so intrinsic and habitual, that they become a part of your very being.


Don’t get me wrong… getting to that point in your health is hard. Just like breaking a bad habit takes time, forming a new one takes practice and time–especially when you are working to change something that you’ve been used to doing every day. But that’s why you need to start small. Choose a side salad over a side of mashed potatoes. Cucumber slices and hummus over french fries or chips. A cup of chia pudding or fruit salad over a sundae or candy. A bowl of oatmeal or a smoothie over a doughnut (or even worse) no breakfast at all.


But whatever you do, please remember. Don’t beat yourself up. After all, (and I’ll say it again and again until you believe it) no one is perfect! You did read my last two posts, right ;) ? Now that doesn’t mean you get a free pass or shouldn’t push yourself too hard, however. After all, part of change means being comfortable with being uncomfortable, pushing your body to the limit, sometime saying “no,” sometimes saying “yes,”  feeling the pain, and acknowledging, yeah…change is tough! But I want it.


 Isn’t the fact that’s it’s tough exactly what makes change so darn rewarding?


I guarantee once you begin to make healthy lifestyle changes and you see how happy and amazing you look and feel on the inside and out…that’s the only proof you’ll need. You’ll forget all about the race to the finish and instead, you’ll never want the journey to end :) .






















Now, I know that these past few days I’ve talked a lot about detoxing your body, eating clean, powerful foods, committing to make healthy lifestyle changes, and holding yourself accountable for those changes. I can only hope that you’ve found my posts insightful and motivating and most importantly, I hope you feel you are ready to tackle your health head on! I obviously think doing a detox is a great way to kickstart your committment to change, (namely because it forces you to battle those ever-addicting and hard-to-beat food cravings all at once for a short period of time), but I do acknowledge that not everyone can afford to, nor do they want to, spend the money on an expensive detox program. If you’re one of these people and you’ve been thinking about doing a detox, or if you’re just finishing up a cleanse/detox and you’re looking to continue eating clean–I’m here to tell you there are other options.Thankfully by choosing organic, clean, detox-worthy foods, you can gently clean up and “detox” your body day-to-day without purchasing a hardcore cleanse.  But before I get into the food, let’s start off with a list of reasons about why it’s so beneficial to detox in the first place…


Photo Credit: Fashion Salade




Benefits of a Detoxing:

  1. Gain more energy!
  2. Improve digestion/give it a rest
  3. Lose stubborn bloat
  4. Return body to an alkaline state (read more about the health benefits of a low-acid/high alkaline diet here and here or in the Beauty Detox Solution–one of my favorite books!)
  5. Improve immune function
  6. Generate new cells
  7. Kick that sweet tooth (I have a secret…when you start eating healthy foods, you won’t crave sugary, processed junk anymore! Pinky swear.)
  8. Develop a taste for fresh, healthy foods (that’s what happen when you cut out sugar!)
  9. Fight cancer cells
  10. Get clearer skin, brighter eyes,  & healthier hair
  11. Improve function of your body’s organs (namely your liver, which works  to metabolize fat and proteins, filter the blood, remove toxins, regulate glucose levels, and store vitamins, iron and glycogen)
  12. Purify your blood
  13. Increase mental clarity
  14. Reduce inflammation
  15. Feel  light, glowing, & amazing!
  16. Fall in LOVE with your body! (Because you feel and look so darn great :) )


The following foods perfect detox-worthy choices. They are full of vitamins and antioxidants, rid the body of toxins, cleanse the colon/liver, boost digestion, are great sources of fiber, act as diuretics, reduce inflammation and boost your metabolism.


While this list is not 100% exclusive, these are some of the top detox-foods (and are some of my personal favorites!). Feel free to do some extra research on your own if you’re looking to extend this list.


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Foods to Choose:

  1. Acai berries
  2. Apples
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Artichokes
  5. Asparagus
  6. Basil
  7. Beets
  8. Blueberries
  9. Broccoli
  10. Brown Rice (in moderation)
  11. Brussel Sprouts
  12. Cabbage
  13. Carrots
  14. Cayenne Pepper
  15. Chia Seeds
  16. Cilantro
  17. Cinnamon
  18. Collard Greens
  19. Cucumbers
  20. Dandelion Greens
  21. Fennel
  22. Garlic
  23. Ginger
  24. Grapefruits
  25. Kale
  26. Legumes
  27. Lemon/Warm Lemon Water
  28. Lemongrass
  29. Nuts
  30. Papaya
  31. Onion
  32. Oranges
  33. Parsley
  34. Pineapple
  35. Probiotics*
  36. Seeds
  37. Sprouts
  38. Strawberries
  39. Sunchokes
  40. Tea (caffeine free!)
  41. Quinoa (in moderation)
  42. Vegan Protein Powder**
  43. WATER!!!
  44. Watercress
  45. Wheatgrass


*Technically not a food…but GREAT for your gut!

**Look for an organic, natural, rice, hemp, chia, pea, & seed blend (my favorites are Garden of Life- RAW Protein and VEGA Protein

(Read more about detox foods here)



The following foods should be avoided/limited if you are looking to kindly detox your body.


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Foods to Limit:

  1. Alcohol*
  2. Artificial Sweeteners
  3. Bananas*
  4. Caffeine (coffee &tea)
  5. Carbonated Beverages (bloat)*
  6. Corn**
  7. Dairy Products (if not vegan)*
  8. Dried Fruits
  9. Edamame
  10. Eggs (if not vegan)
  11. Gluten (wheat, barley, rye)*
  12. Fast Foods
  13. Fried Foods (unhealthy fats and oils)
  14. Non-organic fruits/veggies/protein***
  15. Processed Foods (anything flavored or chemical based)
  16. Juices (if not fresh squeezed/juiced)
  17. Processed Soy Products
  18. Carbonated Beverages (bloat)*
  19. Salt
  20. Sugars (especially those including high fructose corn syrup)
  21. Tobacco (duh!)
  22. Balsamic Vinegar*
  23. White Rice


* These should be eliminated if doing a strict detox, otherwise they can be enjoyed in limited quantities.

**Corn and Edamame have risk of being GMOs. Corn is hard to digest and is also high in sugar (like bananas). If eating edamame, be sure it is organic.

*** See next list for more details about organic vs. non-organic foods



It’s important to choose certified organic foods during a detox because the whole point is to rid your body of toxins and chemicals. Unlike organic produce, non-organic foods are often grown using pesticides and other chemicals that could be harmful to our health and increase toxins in our bodies.


Even worse? Non-organic foods run the risk of being genetically modified. You can read all about GMOs and organic vs. non-organic foods in my earlier post. The following list of fruits and veggies, which are known as the “Dirty Dozen,” should be purchased organic as much as possible due to the risk of high pesticide levels:
















The “Dirty Dozen:”

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries
  12. Lettuce
  13. (Plus: Green Beans, Kale/Collard Greens)*
*These items have recently shown an increase in pesticide levels as compared to earlier years. While not officially in the dirty dozen, it’s worth keeping an eye out and buying organic when you can.


While buying organic is always a safer choice, we all know it’s not always financially possible! The following fruits & veggies are deemed the “Clean Fifteen” due to their low pesticide residues. I still am an advocate for all things organic, but if you can’t buy the organic versions of these guys all the time…it’s okay :) . Read more about the “Clean 15″ and “Dirty Dozen” here.

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The “Clean Fifteen:”

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn*
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  12. Sweet Potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

* GMO sweet corn does not need to be identified as such in stores. If you are concerned about GMOs…go organic!


I find it super helpful to print these lists out and stick them on my fridge or in my wallet, that way I’m constantly reminded about what foods I should be incorporating into my diet and what foods I should be limiting. Now you don’t have to go buying every single food on the “Foods to Choose” list tomorrow, however, if you make a concerted effort to add two or three of these foods into your diet and remove one or two of the unfriendly detox foods from your diet this week, you are well on your way to a healthier you! As you begin to feel more confident about changing your habits, you can feel free to incorporate more of the fresh, heathy, detox foods into your meal routines and eliminate the detox-sabatoging foods. It may be difficult not to cheat at first, but I promise–once you give your body a break from unhealthy foods, your cravings will diminish. All you need to do is commit to healthy change. After all, the power is in YOU! :)




Healthfully Yours,


Ashley Michelle






Taking the First Steps to a Healthier & Happier YOU!

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Plato was onto something.


Smart guy.


As mentioned in my earlier post about New Year’s Resolutions, when it comes to tackling your goals (whether it be a promotion, fitness regimen, healthy eating plan, or a home-decorating project) if you carefully (and willingly!) set the right framework from the very beginning, you are destined to achieve success. For example, how many times have you woken up and proclaimed “I’m going to eat healthy today!” only to crumble under the pressure of a fresh-baked cookie or those doughnuts at your morning meeting? Oh, and that extra glass (or two, or three?) of wine at happy hour? Yes. they count! (You drink. You crumble ;) ). If you make the decision to be healthy the moment you wake up (even before you get out of bed!)…you are that much more likely to stick to healthy choices all throughout the day.


Now you already know how I feel about being perfect–as in there’s NO such thing!–but if you’re looking to be the very best you can be in 2013 there are ways to set yourself up for success, boost your heath and immunity, help you make better decisions, and get yourself on that path to being fit and fabulous whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or somewhere in between. Over the next few days I’ll be posting healthy lifestyle tips and tricks (and a few fun and healthy baking swaps!) that will gently keep your resolutions on track through for the rest of this month and into the month of February.


Tips and Tricks for Healthy Eating


1. Make a grocery list before you go shopping.

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We’ve all been there. After the gym you run to the grocery store because you’re already out of the house, only to realize that after an hour of spinning and ab exercises, you’re ravenous and searching for the cookie aisle! Suddenly there’s a bar of chocolate, a bag of chips, and a pint of rocky road in your cart and you have no recollection as to how they got there. (So much for the fresh fruit, raw almonds, and quinoa on your list!) Let’s avoid this little snag, shall we? Now, if you just take a few minutes to sit down, write a grocery list, and plan out your meals for the week– you’re actually forced to be conscious of your food choices (again, like a journal, it’s the whole visual thing). Once you’ve made your list—DON’T STRAY unless you absolutely have to (like if Whole Foods is having a sale on raw kale chips. Then, that’s perfectly justified ;) ).


2. Plan out/pack your meals ahead of time

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I can’t stress enough how important this step is! Just like I mentioned above, planning out your meals ahead of time helps to keep you in check, but actually preparing your meals ahead of time is the real secret to success. I like to prepare the more difficult/time-consuming meals and wash/cut my produce on a Sunday night or immediately after I go grocery shopping so that I have healthy snacks and easy-to-put-together meals on hand at all times during the busy work week (my go-to’s are hearty soups, salads, veggie sticks, pineapple, cantaloupe, cucumber slices, quinoa,  brown rice, lemons, tofu etc…). Before work, I’ll slice up an apple for a healthy mid-day snack, make tea or hot lemon water in a travel mug (this also saves you Starbucks $$$!), and pack a handful of raw almonds for munching at my desk. The point is, if your fridge is full of good-for-you snacks and easy meal prep, you’ll feel more guilty picking an unhealthy option.

3. Load up on fruits, veggies, and other “clean” foods

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Think of your body like a car. If you filled it up with dirty, sticky, cheap gasoline and oil…it wouldn’t  run very well would it? In fact, if you neglect you car and don’t fill it up with the things it needs, the car will keep breaking down, cost more in repairs, and eventually die. Your body is just like a car or machine. When you fuel it with powerful, clean, fuel (like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein) as opposed to packaged, processed, refined, cheap, fat and sugar filled junk…you can expect your body to function a heck of a lot better (think more energy, less time spent at the doctor’s office, less weight, better skin/hair/nails, sharper mind and a happier disposition all around). When was the last time you ate an apple and thought “Man…I really wish I didn’t eat that apple. Now I feel so awful and tired!” Oh, you’ve never said that? My point exactly ;)


4. Eat “power foods”

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There’s been a lot of hype about “super foods” in the heath industry over the past few years. While some of the hype out there is true (super foods with antioxidants are great for fighting cancer!), the crazy weight loss claims of other super foods should have you second-guessing their promises (raspberry ketone craze anyone?). That’s why I prefer to call my version of healthy super foods “power foods,” because that’s exactly what they do because they have the richest amount of nutrients and phytochemicals, the least amount of calories, and the most health benefits. Check out my list of power foods below that will get you geared up and ready to go no matter what time of the day:


Power Foods

  • Acai Berries
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Beans
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blueberries
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brown Rice (in moderation)
  • Carrots
  • Chia Seeds
  • Coconut oil**
  • Dark Chocolate! (in moderation!)
  • Leeks
  • Pomegranates
  • Red Wine(ONE glass a day)
  • Seeds
  • Seaweed
  • Spirulina
  • Sweet potato
  • Tofu
  • Tomato
  • Turmeric
  • Quinoa (in moderation)
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Edamame
  • Flaxseed/Oil
  • Garlic
  • Goji Berries
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Onions
  • Shallots

** Coconut oil is criticized for being high in saturated fat, however, not all saturated fat is created equal. It’s not hydrogenated (like most sat. fats), is made up of MCFAs which are broken down & easily digested/metabolized by the liver for immediate energy. It’s also stable enough to withstand the heat of cooking (other oils oxidize), and is believed to boost metabolism (the body can readily use this fat for energy rather than storage).


5. Limit/avoid purchasing & eating  processed foods

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Do you feel like being productive or going out for a run after you gorge on fast-food, a slice of pizza, or a package of cookies? Probably not. You’d probably like nothing more than to fall asleep on your couch in the fetal position while watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians reruns. So what happens when you eat all that junk at work? Do you find yourself dozing off in your afternoon meeting? Like I said above, you body runs best on good-quality, clean, natural foods. And that means you brain does too! So skip that processed junk food at the office– you’ll be more way more productive with your days if you can think clearly.


6. Read nutrition labels!

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This little detail is SO vital, yet many people don’t do it! In fact, a recent study done by the Journal of American Dietetic Association showed that only 9% of people check nutrition labels, and only 1%  check the labels for all of their components.  So many products out there claim to be healthy on the outside…but turn over the package, read the label and you’ll realize even some of those healthy buzzwords on the  like  ”natural,” “vegan,” “gluten-free,” and “organic” can still be fooling you. You want to watch out for sodium content (daily recommended value is less than one teaspoon a day), sugar content (less than 10% of your daily calories–or none–unless from natural sources like fruit), fat content (watch out for that saturated fat–keep it to at most 7% of your total daily calories– and check those ingredients for  heart-healthy fats like omega-3s), and carbohydrate content (look for dietary fiber–shoot for 20 grams of fiber per day for women and 30 grams for men– and keep all carbs whole grain!). Check out step by step instructions on decoding nutrition labels here.


7. Watch out for sneaky sugar!

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This goes right along with the above recommendation to check those nutrition labels– but because it’s so important I wanted to address it on its own. Sugar is everywhere…and if you’re not careful it can crop up in some unexpected places (condiments, granola bars, cereal, bread,  juices etc…). And just because the sugar is natural or organic (like maple syrup, honey, molasses) sugar calories are sugar calories no matter how you swing it. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tablespoons–or 30 grams– of sugar per day for women, but I’d  actually aim for even lower.  In my last post I explain in greater detail why sugar is addictive .


8. Purchase a BPA-free water bottle

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DRINK WATER!!! Aside from the fact that your body needs water to efficiently burn fat,  flush out toxins, keep your digestive system regular, and keep your muscles primed for exercise– water is vital to your healthy eating efforts. Did you know that more times than not, when you think your hungry…you’re actually thirsty? So before you go grabbing for that jar of almond butter…grab a glass of water instead! If 15-20 minutes go by and you’re still hungry, go for a healthy snack with some protein and whole grains to fill you up.  Don’t love plain water? Toss a few slices of cucumber, lemons, oranges, or limes into your water bottle for a natural flavor boost!


9.) Know your “cheat” foods

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Okay, so it’s totally fine to have a treat every now and then IF that’s what it truly is—just every now and then. Dessert and treats are perfectly acceptable (I like it just as much as the next girl!) just as long as you know when to put the lid on your that tub of ice cream and save the rest for later. And (while I hate to put complete restrictions on any food) if you just can’t handle having something in the house without devouring the whole thing in one sitting, then maybe it’s time to limit the amount of times you purchase that particular food. For the beginning stages of your healthy-eating-habits-overhaul it may be a helpful choice. After a while, you can gradually introduce the item back into your diet. Another option? Purchase individual serving sizes of your “cheat” foods, or portion out your own snack packs of granola, trail mix or whatever you’d like. The individually packed treats tend to be a bit more expensive than the real deal, but if that’s what keep you from eating more than one serving, it’s well worth it.


And there you have it! You’re now on your way to being a healthier and happier you! :)


Please remember…no one  can (nor should they try to) overhaul their entire lifestyle in a day. It takes patience, energy, and time to form new habits. Sadly, there’ no magic number of days it takes to form a habit–the 21 day myth isn’t 100% accurate– but it certainly gets easier doing any new routine if you stick with it for a couple of weeks). Just trust me, and more importantly…TRUST YOU! And whatever you do, don’t forget…


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 Healthfully Yours,


Ashley Michelle




Let’s Chat!


When the going gets tough, and you’re ready to give up or give in (whether it be on healthy eating, an exercise regimen, a project, schoolwork etc…) what helps to keeps you motivated?



New Year’s Resolutions & a Cleanse Review: Aster Elliott Detox Programs



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Well, it’s hard to believe, but 2013 is finally here (take that silly Mayans!) and we all know what that means…It’s time to make those infamous New Year’s resolutions (good luck ladies. You won’t be able to score an open elliptical at the gym for the next three weeks, at least).


But wait, wait, wait. Hold up. Before you start sucking down a lemon-cayenne pepper-maple syrup concoction, swearing off all carbs, or promising yourself you’ll lose 10 pounds by Valentine’s day…stop and think for a second. Sure it’s great to make a New Year’s resolution, but what exactly are you looking to resolve? Are you looking for a quick fix? Are you trying to fix too many things at once? People tend to be all gung-ho about their resolutions for the first few days or weeks, but what happens once February hits? Will those positive changes go right down the drain…?


 Before you start throwing around resolutions…consider this:


1.) What are your goals?

2.) What do you wish?

3.) What steps can you take to be the best YOU you can be?

4.) And most importantly…how can you set yourself up to succeed?


Then, write the answers down.


I don’t know about you, but when I write something down and my goals become visual, that’s when they become real.  Only then can I be honest with myself and think about what would truly make me happy so I can then create a plan to help me to achieve those dreams–not just for a few weeks, but for years to come. I’d be willing to bet that most people don’t take the time to map out how to make their resolutions a reality. They like the idea of change, but then they get too busy to find a logical way to make change happen. Perhaps this is the reason why resolutions don’t always stick!


My suggestion? Start off the year by buying a journal– something cute or pretty that you’ll want to write in (it may seem silly or juvenile to you at first, but it works! I just bought one today with lovely inspirational quotes on it). In my new journal, I’ll write down everything I want to see manifest throughout the year. Then throughout the year I can go back to that journal, track my progress, add new goals and see how far I’ve come. For me, this brings the Law of Attraction into the mix (if you haven’t read Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret,” I suggest you give it a shot!). You can read all about the Law of Attraction in my previous post here.


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Another suggestion for the new year? Be KIND with your resolutions! If you want to lose weight, and it’s healthy for you to do so… great! But instead of beating yourself up and thinking up all the negative ways you want to lose those pounds by cutting calories and depriving yourself… make a promise to hit the gym one extra day a week, or take another spin class, or relax in a bubble bath before bed instead of munching on late-night snacks, or if you want to munch on late night snacks…grab an apple! If you schedule your workouts, healthy meals, and “me” time into your week (mark your calendar!) and if you treat it like an appointment that you cannot break…you are more apt to stick with the new routine. This way, if you’re stuck deciding between happy hour or a yoga class…you can honestly say “Sorry! I can’t make it. I have a previous appointment!” (Namaste THAT ;) ). No matter what you do–most importantly–please remember….







If you do, I promise miracles will happen :) .


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As I mentioned in my last post, one way I like to kick off the New Year is by giving my diet a check-up. I’m a firm believer that when you feel healthy, you act healthy, and you make healthy choices throughout the day. Now I’ll admit it, overall I’m pretty darn good when it comes to my diet. I fill up on fruits, veggies, healthy fats and whole grains (while being sure to limit my gluten intake). I prefer fresh food to processed, packaged foods, I drink lots of water, and I try to limit sugar and buy organic as often as I can. However, the holidays mean sweets and goodies and fancy alcoholic drinks– and who doesn’t want to take part in some of the fun?? This is the one time of the year when it’s okay to indulge as long as you don’t go totally overboard. What I do find however, is that I go so long without needing or wanting any sweets and then as soon as I have a few around the holidays, it’s that much harder to kick those carb and sugar cravings. Sugar is a funny thing. It makes desserts taste delicious, but it makes YOU feel just awful! For example–after a few days of eating more sugar than normal, I begin to notice that I’m overly tired, I’m grouchy, my skin starts to break out, and I have to muster up the energy to do pretty much anything. Case in point–I feel pretty gross. So why do we keep on eating this stuff? Easy. The problem is this:




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As soon as you eat sugar–even a teeny, tiny amount–the brain gets activated and releases a burst of dopamine into the bloodstream. As soon as the dopamine levels lowers, and the sugar is out of your system, your body and brain crave more sugar to get that same “high” feeling. Consequently, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you’ll eventually need to get that same feel good “sugar high.” Sounds pretty similar to other drug addictions, huh? This also means that if your body gets used to ingesting sugar all the time, you can experience temporary withdrawal symptoms when you finally cut it out (I’m talking headaches, hunger, and fatigue). But just like other addictions, cutting it out is worth it in the long run. Long-term sugar consumption sugar is linked to a slew of health problems including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and dental problems.


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And this is exactly why a detox/cleansing program is so beneficial this time of year.


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Thankfully Aster Elliott has all of our unhealthy cravings and holiday slip-ups covered! Aster Elliott (created by Aster Amelia Elliott, a board-certified nutrition consultant who has worked in the health and wellness industry extensively for over 15 years and has used nutrition as part of her holistic approach), offers a variety of vegan-friendly, all-natural, cleansing/detox programs that are tailored to fit your individual needs.


One thing that is the same across the boards however is the Aster Elliot Mission: “Aster Elliott is dedicated to enhancing your health and longevity through natural detoxifying cleanse systems. Given the environment we live in today, cleansing & detoxification of your body should be a regular part of your life.”


Some Important Facts About Aster Elliott Products:


1.) They use only the finest ingredients, most are organic, some are raw, they are pure, powerful and unique.

2.) There is an enormous amount of nurturing and care that goes into every program.

3.) No two natural detoxifying cleanse programs are alike. Choose a total body detox or a targeted system.

4.) No animal testing only human testing.

5.) Aster Elliott is environmentally aware of the planet and maintains GREEN whenever possible.

6.) Aster Elliott detoxification systems combine many different therapies; ortho-molecular, ayurvedic, homeopathic, aromatherapy, herbal extracts and whole food all working together as a team.


The popular detox programs available right now are the Catwalk Cleanse, the Corset Cleanse, the Candi Cleanse, the Rock Your Body Cleanse, the Detox Blast, the Pulse Detox Cleanse for Men, the Aster Detox (new), and the Aster Detox Plus (new). I purchased the six-day Corset Cleanse off of Rue La La a few weeks ago and decided to give it a shot.


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 Long story short?




The focus of this cleanse is on digestion and Aster Elliott believes that “by allowing the digestive tract to cleanse and become more efficient, you are rebuilding and improving the way your body distributes energy which equates to a healthier you; glowing skin, shinier hair, sparkling clear eyes and a sharp mind.” I will say, was a bit skeptical at first. I was afraid I’d be hungry, give in to my gluten cravings, or even (gasp!) miss the sugar I’d grown accustomed to over the holidays. So you can imagine (to my pleasant surprise) that by the end of my cleanse, my eyes were truly brighter, my skin was clearer, my tummy was flatter/rid of bloat, and I FELT LIGHT AND AMAZING. Even better? I didn’t get crazy hungry, I didn’t miss gluten or sugar, and I was still able to eat real food on this cleanse!


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The Corset Cleanse comes with a protein shake (called CORE) that you mix with a fiber supplement (called LEAN) and a dietary supplement of medium chain triglycerides (called TRIM) found in coconut and palm kernel oil that work amazingly well to help detoxify the liver and speed up metabolism. You use the shake to replace two meals a day after eating a piece of organic fruit. The cleanse also comes with a variety of herbal supplements (called STIR, TONE, and SOOTHE) that you take throughout the day  to enhance regularity, and detoxification, and to maximize the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. And what’s most helpful is that the cleanse includes a healthy meal guide full of lunch and snack options you can choose from throughout the week along with a post-detox food guide so you can continue to eat clean after the six-day cleanse is over.


And the BEST part of all?? 


From now until 1/10/2013, the collection of Aster Elliott Cleanses are 30% off! 



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So, what are you waiting for?


Make a resolution to be happier, healthier, (and maybe just a little bit hotter) in 2013 ;)


This is YOUR year!


Healthfully Yours,


Ashley Michelle




Is Sugar Addictive? 

Time Magazine: Sugar 

Livestrong: Cutting down sugar