Hope is Not a Strategy

Hope is a beautiful thing. 
I’m all for it. 
As a long time Pollyanna, I am not going to hurl any shade at Hope or Hopefulness.  
But if you have a goal, Hope is not a strategy.

Hope is not what moves you toward a Vegan or Whole Food Plant Based practice.  
You know what does? Practice.
No matter what your goal is, Practice is the Strategy.

The New Year is less than a week old, and many of us are already feeling a little dip in our energy.
If you have “hopes” or dreams for 2022, I want you to realize ALL of them because I think it would be so much fun for YOU!.

And I think it would be so great for your family, 
your friends,
your community, 
your co-workers,
and our world 
for you to be an example of what’s possible.

But Hope is NOT the strategy I recommend.  
Instead – of “I hope I can…”

Try on “I can always add…”

Instead of, “I HOPE I can eat better.”
Try on…. “I can always ADD one small thing right now.”

Instead of, “I HOPE I can stop eating animal products…”
Try on, “I can always SUBTRACT one small thing right now.”


That’s how we develop a practice that supports our long term goals.
Hope is fine. 
But for a strategy, I prefer Math.

Need some ideas?

Add one fruit or vegetable.
Subtract one impulsive snack or sweet.
Add one minute of movement.
Subtract one minute of sitting.
Add one minute of reading about your goal.
Subtract one minute of scrolling or TV.
Add one thing to beautify your home or community.
Subtract one thing to beautify your home or community.
Add one hug.
Subtract one criticism.
Add one new Vegan podcast.
Subtract one old meat-centered Cookbook.
Add one serving of Veggies.
Subtract one serving of cheese.
Add one thank you note or email.
Subtract one complaint.
Add one compliment to yourself.
Subtract one self-judgment.
Add one glass of water.
Subtract one glass of soda.
Add one deep breath.
Subtract one clenched jaw.

It doesn’t matter how small the Adds or how small the Subtracts.  This is how you build a PRACTICE.

I help my Coaching Clients build their Custom lists of ADDS and SUBTRACTS that support their goals with Strategy.  

You can start here and now by reminding yourself that in any moment of the day, you can ALWAYS add something and you can ALWAYS subtract something.
That’s how you build a Strategic Practice.
It’s just Math.

Quitting IS an Option

I have been tempted to quit most everything I have ever started, but the sore subject recently has been writing my book.  

The process – the plan for the book seemed very manageable and straightforward and I was just letting it go the way it was going and then I took another look at it a few days back and my reaction was – YIKES!


Not excited.
At all.

I just wanted to quit.

You can hear more about it on Podcast 65 – Quitting IS an Option (But it Won’t Speed Things Up).  

Sometimes we judge ourselves VERY HARSHLY for wanting to quit.  

If you have chosen any challenge or goal worthy of your precious time here on planet Earth, you are going to want to quit.  
Periodically if not frequently. 

What if instead of thinking that wanting to quit is a problem, you were actually a little bit proud of it?

“Look at me!  It’s Thursday and I want to QUIT !”

NOTHING has gone wrong here.

Because when we think that wanting to quit is a problem – a sign that something is wrong with our dream, or our goal, or our brain or our character…  that is an express route to shutdown, avoidance, and losing trust in ourselves.  

What if wanting to quit was not only NOT a problem, what if it was a sign from the Universe that you’re on the right track?


Reminds me of a passage from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: 

If your dream is starting to seem impossible and you’re thinking about quitting, Congratulations!
Quitting is ONE option, but there are probably hundreds more available to you. Curious?

Coaching is the most effective way I know to support your goals, whether it is limiting the consumption of animal products, starting a business, getting fit, or writing YOUR book.  Book yourself into my my calendar to get started and have fun along the way.

Oh, and before I sign off, on this week’s podcast I refer to one of my favorite poems, ITHAKA by C P Cavafy.  Here is the link to the late great Sean Connery reading it. Sublime.

Ready for Re-entry?

We made it through Labor Day no thanks to Tropical Storm Henry and Hurricane Ida. 

Hope you were spared any significant flooding or power interruptions where you are.  

Vedge Your Best Podcast sound engineer Charlie Weinshank had some high water in the metropolitan New York area and here in coastal Rhode Island we had some road issues, internet interruptions and power outages. 

Anyway, you did not get a Happy September newsletter from me last week but with Charlie’s help the podcast has made it out on time every week for almost a year.

The French refer to La Rentrée, the big “return” to school after summer holidays. Even if back-to-school is not part of your current life, there is something about September that really feels like a Re-Entry and a new start.

The weather feels different.  The stores feel different.  And judging by my curly hair the humidity IS different.  It may not quite be astronomical fall but here in New England early September is meteorological fall.  

What does the big Re-Entry mean in YOUR life?  
How will you spend your time differently now that the days are getting a bit shorter?
What choices are you making as we go into the home stretch of 2021? 

For many of us, September entices us to make some changes and take on some new ideas.  One of my clients calls September the “Friendly New Year.”

Podcast Episode 52 Guest, Howard Jacobson has a new book ready to pre-order: You Can Change Other People: The Four Steps to Help Your Colleagues, Employees – Even Family – Up Their Game and we are doing a give-away of the book over on the Vedge Your Best Instagram feed.

If you haven’t listened to Howard discussing it yet, I think you will get a lot out of it.  
Step One is to show up as an Ally rather than a Critic.  Even if that’s the only part you (and I) remember to implement, you (and I) will have so much greater influence on others.  

Howard’s book, written with Executive Coach Peter Bregman, contains sample scripts and specific ways of speaking to family, colleagues and employees that open up communication rather than shutting it down.

If there is something important that you want to accomplish this fall, let’s jump on a call and create a strategy together:

  • Ready to limit or eliminate meat, dairy, eggs or fish?  
  • Vegan but struggling with un-supportive family and friends?
  • Struggling with new Vegan choices while traveling, at school or at the office?
  • Looking to choose healthier Whole Foods or climb back on the Vegan “wagon?”
  • Dreaming of a new Vegan business or initiative?
  • Wondering what opting out of Industrial Animal Agriculture could mean for you?

That’s what Vegan Life Coaching is all about and there’s no better time to start than right now.

I help folks move toward a Vegan/Plant Based lifestyle and I help Vegans take on their next big challenge.

I never thought I could be a practicing Vegan until I stopped thinking that thought. 

Leap of Faith

August may be winding down but here at Vedge Your Best I am winding up for the one year anniversary of the Podcast in September.

We recently drop Episode 50 “Leap of Faith.” Anyone remember the Leap of Faith scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?

Episode 50 just seems like a very cool milestone in a ‘Base 10′ culture.

My whole journey here as a Vegan Life Coach and Podcaster has been informed by a “one day at time” message and it’s how I help my clients limit and eliminate animal products from their lives.

Bit by bit.

A big change in the way you show up at every meal and with every choice after a lifetime of conditioning?
The kinder you are to yourself, the better those new choices will stick.
Give yourself permission to be terrible at it.
That’s the Vedge Your Best coaching methodology in a nutshell.

Starting any big new challenge – a quote by Rumi says it all for me:

As you start to walk on the way,

the way appears.


Any big goal worthy of your time and focus has to start before you can actually do it.
Not knowing how? Not a problem.

If you follow Vedge Your Best on Instagram I am doing 30 Instagram Lives in the run up to the one year anniversary of the podcast. Very far out of my comfort zone. You can find them here.

You can find them because I posted them to IGTV instead of letting them mercifully fade away at the end of the Live.

Why? ( I wonder myself ) But it’s my hope that seeing me do something so – well – inartfully – may be the permission slip YOU need to start something before YOU are ready. Make a game of it. Be proud for showing up as a beginner.
I would love it if you would share with me where you are ready to start something before you’re ready.
It is a very liberating experience.

Especially if you have gotten to that certain age where people expect you to be generally poised, competent and capable….
So as we head towards September’s anniversary keep checking in. I am planning a book giveaway of an upcoming podcast guest.. Very hush hush. And there will be some prizes over on Instagram where we have almost 5000 followers. At the beginning of 2021 I didn’t even have 500.

Please share this newsletter with anyone you think might want a little regular plant based or Vegan inspiration or someone who might be interested in a free 45 minute coaching session to see how that process can help you take a Leap of Faith.


Weodmonath was the medieval Anglo Saxon name for August – and it means “weed month.”  Which may explain your lawn or garden if you’re anything like me.  Or maybe you have another association with weed…

August, comes from the title of the Roman Emperor. In Latin, Augustus means ‘the great one.” The Roman Senate decided in 8 BCE to rename the month Sextillius in honor of the Emperor.

Can you tell that I like to read about ancient and medieval history?
I like to think that being Vegan is one of the least “interesting” things about me.  

This is what I want my clients to understand.  
This is what I would like anyone who is having trouble with a Plant Based or Vegan diet to understand.  
There is SO much to eat.  There is so much variety and diversity available to a thoughtful Vegan.  This does not have to be a big preoccupation for you. It doesn’t have to take over your life.

Once you get the hang of it you really CAN stop thinking very much about it.  
I just eat.  
So for this August Newsletter I want to encourage you NOT to overthink things.

Eat your local seasonal veggies, fruits, legumes, grains, seeds and fungi. 
(Some of you have asked me to stop saying fungi… I hear you.)

Fungi, Fungi, Fungi

Mushrooms are a fabulous addition to a plant based diet.  If you do not think you like them, I encourage you to use them in very very small amounts to slowly acquire a taste.  I did this with a number of foods I now really enjoy, including olives, kale, mustard greens and yes, tofu.  (If you are allergic or very sensitive to any foods obviously do what you know is right for your body)

I put together a FREE VEGAN AND PLANT BASED RESOURCE LISTthat new Vedge Your Besties can download with a short list of the people and information I think highly of and share most often with my new clients.  (link on the image)


We get inundated with Vegan books, social media, websites and videos when we are starting out.  It can be overwhelming if you think you need to know 
the perfect menu, 
the perfect recipe, 
the perfect macros 
and micronutrients.

Start with what you know and enjoy. 
The information you learn along the way will be infinitely more helpful to you once you have started limiting and crowding out all the animal products with veggies, fruits, seeds, grains, legumes and FUNGI. 

And that’s good advice with almost any new undertaking.  
Start now.  
Don’t wait until you’ve done all the research and watched all the documentaries. It’s not information that is keeping you from a Vegan Practice.  

Stay tuned – the one year anniversary of Vedge Your Best is coming up, and I am planning some giveaways and some free coaching.  I might even finally tackle a Facebook Live or an Instagram Reel!

Remember you can book yourself directly into my calendar below or email me at info@micheleolendercoaching.com to set up a Free Coaching Session. 

It’s Half Time 2021!

What do you think?  
Is the year Half Over?
Or is it Half Started?

From my point of view, 2021 is just getting going.

I feel SO energized because a few projects that were in the planning stages during the last couple of months including our youngest daughter’s wedding are in the rear view mirror. 

Three weddings in three years – we are now out of unmarried children and replete with in-laws!

Our daughter’s wedding was not really that much work for me, but it was taking up a lot of my inner bandwidth.  I was walking around with all sorts of thoughts about how to be helpful and available and responsive to the bride and groom as well as to the in-laws, guests and friends.  I wanted to make sure that I was hitting my marks, showing up on time, wearing the right clothes and with my frizzy hair in check.

Our thoughts can be an energy drain.  

I spoke to Miles Rote this morning from Scribe.com. Scribe is where I downloaded their free non-fiction book template that I have been using to organize the book I am writing for my 90 day goal (listen to Vedge Your Best Podcast 43 for more on that).

Miles shared a great expression, “Stewing is harder than Doing.” I love that.

“Stewing” – deliberating/ruminating/wondering – can seem to be thoughtful, careful, and responsible.   But most of the time, it’s just very draining.  For my daughter’s wedding in June, I had not decided on what I was going to wear either to the rehearsal dinner OR the wedding.  Until the very day.  In a way, I was thinking that I was going to be loose and chill and “in the moment.”  But it really was much more tiring than having made a clear decision.  So I was “stewing” for quite a while rather than “doing” the work of deciding and making sure the dresses were all set to go.

it’s Half Time 2021 and I am feeling like July is a bit of a fresh start.  
Would you like to join me in making some decisions?  

For example I decided to keep my Minimum Baselines the same for a couple more weeks:

1. Lift my 35 pound kettle bell one time every day
2. Open my Google document and write one sentence every day.

Most days I do more.  Much more. 
But on those days when it feels like a hassle or I don’t have time or I’m distracted or I’m already dressed to leave the house and don’t want to sweat…. I can just walk over to that 35 pound kettle bell and… pick it up.  
Done.  (OK I can do a couple of squats with it. If I want)

So that’s what’s up with me… keeping the Minimum Baselines and noticing the urge to complicate the protocol.

The urge to make my daily task bigger or more aggressive in an attempt to be more “productive.”  

And if you’re thinking a Minimum Baseline isn’t enough to change your trajectory and get you the results you want…

I am already noticeably stronger from the kettlebell.
I have written over 12,000 words towards my 90 day book goal.
I am showing up every day for my goals and so energized for the second half of 2021.

So, Vedge Heads and Vedge Your Besties, it’s Half Time 2021.
Get out there and enjoy.  Anything, I mean ANYTHING can still happen.

90 Day Goal?

Hello Vedge Heads and Vedge Your Besties,

Did you hear?
I went public this week on Vedge Your Best Podcast #42 with a 90 day goal.

Yes, I regretted saying it out loud almost instantly.

But so far so good.

In honor of my birthday, June 16, I set a Minimum Baseline to accomplish my goal.

You can learn all about Minimum Baselines on Vedge Your Best #41.

90 days will take me, more or less, to the one year anniversary of the Podcast and it is in line with my mission here:

To help people move toward a Vegan lifestyle
and help Vegans take on their next impossible goal.

You can get all the deets, including how you can follow along right with me.

Now YOU!

What goal have YOU been kicking around for months or years that you can barely even say out loud? I get it. If you’re like me, you thought you would have accomplished it by now.

Listen to this week’s episode and then let me know whether you want to go public with me on the podcast or whether you want to tell me privately – just between you and me.

Either way, I will arrange to offer you some regular coaching, absolutely free, to help you with your goal. Are you or someone you know ready for a Free Coaching Session?  It is so easy to just book yourself directly into my calendar. If none of the times work for you, just email me at info@micheleolendercoaching.com and we will work out a time.

April Newsletter

We haven’t had a newsletter lately because
March. Was. Madness.

I was under the weather a bit with the Pfizer vaccine in March and then flew to Florida to completely clean the condo we haven’t been in all winter for a new tenant. While there, I managed to get something in my thumb which then turned into a full fledged infection requiring a hospital stay and IV antibiotics over Easter weekend.

But I did get a couple of Vegan meals out of South County Hospital in Wakefield RI! It took some patient (get it?) insistence – but well done Team South County!

My amazing Virtual Assistant, Nancy, who runs ProAdminME.com herself suffered a March skiing accident, so I muddled on without her by making a few videos here and there while she healed.

But April is off to the races with our very first Vedge Your Best interview and what an interview! Sid Garza Hillman was my guest this week and we are doing a giveaway of his brand new third book SixTruths: Live By These Truths and Be Happy, Don’t and You Won’t.

Next week’s podcast will be another interview with the delightful Stephanie Dreyer from BatchCookingClub.com. If you ever think that learning to cook Plant Based/ Vegan for a mixed family is too taxing, Stephanie has got you covered. You will hear lots more about that next week.

Right now I am dividing my time between Western Massachusetts and coastal Rhode Island – so grateful for the additional freedom the vaccine has given us. With a more predictable schedule this spring, I have opened up a few more coaching slots for one-on-one clients.

Vegan Life Coaching is for anyone who wants support in moving toward a Plant based or Vegan lifestyle or has a specific goal they want coaching on.

Some of my current clients are working on:
financial goals,
weight loss and health goals,
career goals,
relationship goals,
and new business goals.
Coaching has changed my life.
I would love the opportunity to show you how it can change yours.

Please consider reviewing the podcast on iTunes if you haven’t – it helps SO much!

Resolutions in a busy News Cycle?

January 7 – Having a tough time keeping on track with your goals, resolutions and and Plant based eating in this busy news cycle? Yes there’s a lot going on and our human brains may want to use anxiety, worry and negative thoughts as an excuse to eat off plan, overeat or ignore what we have decided to do this year. It’s natural AND it’s completely irrational, right? So if you are feeling wobbly right now and feel like your willpower is waning, there is NOTHING wrong with you. Totally natural. Just notice. Just breathe. You’ve got this. Feel free to message me.