Homemade Mother of the Week: Victoria Slone, owner of EnviroFit

This post is the seventh in the series “Homemade Mother of the Week.” If you know a woman who is thoughtfully sharing her passion for the planet,  families or the well-being of others, please nominate her for this special recognition.  Send an email with all the details to maureen@homemademothering.com

This week I am so happy to introduce Victoria Slone.  Victoria was nominated for this award by fellow Homemade Mother Kathleen because, as Kathleen says, Victoria is “a thoughtful, environmentally conscious, supportive woman who beams positivity.”  As soon as I heard this, I knew Victoria was someone I wanted to learn more about!

As a mother and business owner with a very green philosophy on life, Victoria seems to be going a million miles an hour – and burning calories and eating healthy along the way.

Homemade Mothering: Welcome, Victoria! Thanks for taking the time to tell us a little bit about yourself.  To start off, can you can you share some basic background info – where are you from, etc.?

Victoria Slone: I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and moved to the city in 1997 to go to school at UIC.  I’ve been here ever since!!  I met my partner in 2001 and we have been married for 7 years now. We have two children, Lily (5) and Toby (will be 3 in November) and live on the north side in Lincoln Square.

HM: Can you tell me a little bit about your philosophy on life and the planet?

VS: Wow – a loaded question!!  We must realize that we are not only responsible for making a better world for ourselves, but for our children, and for future generations. Thus, it is my intention to help preserve our planet, and all it’s beauty, by helping people increase their quality of life through health, beauty and fitness in a eco-friendly, sustainable, all natural way.  I’m truly a firm believer in paying it forward.

HM: Why did you decide to start Envirofit?

VS: After the birth of my son in November of 2008, I knew something had to change.  I had 150lbs to lose and knew I had to do it not only for myself but for my kids.  After losing 140 lbs on my own (the all natural way- learning how to eat right & exercise!) I wanted to pass on all the info I learned along the way to people who want to get in shape or maintain their current fitness level.  I wanted to BE THE trainer I always wanted when I was working towards my goal.  I can relate to people whether they have 10 lbs to lose or 100+.

That being said, it’s a big world out there and if you just wanted to lift barbells or run on a treadmill, there are plenty of places that fit the bill. But I believe that fitness is something much more. That is why I started EnviroFit.  When it comes down to it, there’s nothing as transformative as getting into shape. I’m not just talking about releasing a few endorphins or toning your biceps. I’m talking about how it feels when your heart is beating fast and blood is pumping through your veins, when your own body surprises you with its performance, and when you’re connected to the earth.

Call me crazy, but I believe that if you can change your body and enlighten your mind, you can change the world…

HM: What has been the best part about starting your own business? The worst part??

VS: Oh my goodness.  The best by far are the connections I’ve been able to make to people I train!!  What a reward!!  Seeing the results and the impact they have on every facet of their lives.  Making people see and understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle without having to preach or trick them but by inspiring & motivating them.  It’s truly an honor to watch the transformations right before my eyes.

The worst part??  Not being able to duplicate myself!

HM: What are you doing to teach your kids about the environment?

VS: Good question!! I love being able to garden with them and give them the opportunity to be hands on with the food we eat and the chance to see where it comes from. On another note, being a vegetarian myself, I also want to teach our kids that animals are living, breathing, sentient beings. Teach compassion and respect.  They don’t need to know about mistreatment, etc at this age nor do we want them to judge others for eating meat. Trying to reiterate that it’s a personal decision and steering from saying things like, “eating meat is mean,” or “we don’t eat animals because it’s not nice or because it hurts them”  isn’t a message I want to send as many loved ones in our lives (including my spouse) DO eat meat.  At this point in their lives, they choose not to eat meat because they think it’s “gross” as my 5 year old says.  I just want them to be informed on where their food comes from.

I also explain garbage. More specifically, when the garbage truck comes to pick up the trash it doesn’t just disappear, it stays around for a long, long time. I tell them that it is important to recycle to reduce waste and that not all waste is bad, some materials compost and turn back into earth. We compost what we can and then they get to see hands on the natural process.

We talk about the 3 R’s.  To reduce, we make reusable snack bags and the kids get to pick out their own fabric – which they love!  To explain reuse, we take simple things like toilet paper tubes, egg shells or old pieces of paper/fabric and make art work out of them.  And to recycle, we have a special bag in our kitchen that the kids can reach to throw out any recyclables.  We make a game out of it and whoever gets all things that can be recycled in the right bag at the end of the day, gets a ticket.  7 tickets in a week = a prize!

We try to put an eco-spin on whatever they choose. Our kids love art so we’ll make our own modeling clay, paint and other art supplies with them with simple ingredients like flour, salt, water and vegetable dyes. They also love to play and listen to music. So we’ll make fun instruments with recycled and found objects.

HM: Do you think living in a big city makes it easier or harder to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle?

VS: I think it’s easier.  We have so many things at our disposal – so many more options.  For example, my parents live in Northwest Indiana and they don’t have access to the organic goods and eco-friendly options that we have here in the city.  Luckily, they are able to stock up when they come and visit.

HM: Can you tell me a little bit about your homemade lotions and beauty products? Where are they sold?

VS: Ahhh – my “first born.”  LOL! Being so frustrated with trying to find perfect body products, I created Lotions & Potions in 2003. I was/am militantly opposed to the use of such nasties as mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrances, and it led me on a lifelong search for the ever elusive Holy Grails of natural skincare. After lots of research and education, I feel well versed on the subjects of herbalism, aromatherapy and homeopathy. Seeing that skin is our largest organ, I’m a firm believer in the fact that whatever you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. That is how Lo-Po was born.

In addition to all of the products being vegan and organic, they’re handmade in small batches as well! I’m constantly trying to produce the most effective products we can without the use of harsh irritating chemicals. You will never find toxic chemicals in our products and all of the products are made to order. Instead of filling up our products with unnecessary fillers, I add only healing ingredients found in nature.

Lo-Po products contain organic or wildcrafted herbs, butters, hydrosols and plant oils. This is not only good for your skin but also for the environment. We only use recyclable packaging and offer incentives on the return of empty containers. All of our products are made with 70-100% certified organic ingredients.

In Chicago, Lotions & Potions can be found at Green Grocer Chicago.  Otherwise, at craft shows around Chicago (next one coming up – DIY Trunkshow in November) or online at http://www.lotsnpots.com

HM: Anything else you’d like to add?? Feel free to share!!

VS: Registration for EnviroFit Camp is now open!  Fall session begins October 1st and info on our classes can be found at http://envirofitchicago.com/FitCamp—Bootcamp-for-Fitness.html

I also have a blog called, “Life in the Veggie Lane” where I talk about all things having to do with vegetarianism, food info and recipes!!  It can be found at http://www.lifeintheveggielane.blogspot.com

HM: Please share a favorite family recipe – my readers love trying out new dishes 🙂

VS: Oooh!!  One of our faves is my Sweet Potato and Black Bean burritos.  Super delicious and even the most hardcore meat-eater will LOVE! We’ve been making these for a long time and they’re absolutely delicious!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

5 cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons canola or other vegetable oil
3-1/2 cups diced onions
4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tablespoon minced fresh green chile (I left this out)
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
4-1/2 cups cooked black beans (three 15-ounce cans, drained)
2/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
8 eight-inch flour tortillas
Fresh tomato salsa or jarred (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with the salt and water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan and add the onions, garlic & chiles. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth. (You can also mash the ingredients in a large bowl by hand using a potato masher. The result will be a less smooth but nicely textured filling.) Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooked onions and spices.

Lightly oil a large baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on top, roll it up, and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until piping hot. Serve topped with salsa &/or sour cream.

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1 Comment for this entry

  1. I am SO impressed! Looking forward to trying the burrito recipe and the lip balm.

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