Red Autumn

I’m sure everybody noticed the change of weather. Although this week we had some lovely sunny days, the temperature dropped, there is more wind and the nights are a lot colder (trust me, I’ve noticed since living in a van). The lovely warm summer is coming to and end and even though I love the summer, I don’t mind swapping it for autumn. I quite like the season where we can harvest beautiful food, where the trees are changing colour and you can curl up on the sofa with a book all day, without feeling you’re being unproductive. And something else I like about this season is the lovely dishes you make this time of the year. It’s time for heavy stews, hot chocolate and porridge! Yum! The recipe I will share with you today is definitely an autumn recipe. It’s perfect with a warm bowl of porridge!

RED AUTUMN

500 gr cranberries
1 cup apple juice
2 medium apples
1/4 cup agave nectar (5 tbs)
1/2 ts cinnamon
1/2 ts vanilla extract
3 tbs chia seed (for jam)

-Use only 1/2 cup of apple juice when you makes jam.
-Take the skin off the apples and cut them into big chunks.
-Put everything in a pan and bring to boil.
-When the cranberries all popped (after about 3-5 min) you can lower the heat.
-Let it simmer for about 30 min.
-For jam: add 3 tbs of chia seed.
-Put it in a container or in a nice glass jar and let it cool down before you pop it into the fridge.
-You can keep it in the fridge for 4-6 days.

Are you an autumn person? Do you get excited by recipes like this and are you going to make it? Please let me know! You can do this in a comment below or tag me on Instagram. You can also use the hashtag #planetmanel is you like, so I can find your picture and comment! Thank you! X

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Rescue Hens

A bit before the summer, my work registered with the British Hen Welfare Trust to get some ex battery hens. We had this idea already for a while, but now the chicken run was ready. They let us know that there would be a pick up day on the 10th of June (2018). So that day I drove towards Reading, where I was going to pick up some hens. I was so excited! Giving these beautiful animals a second chance in life, after living in such unfair circumstances, was giving me goosebumps! It’s aways a surprise in what condition they are. Some hens still have quite some feathers, but some are all bold. The pick up place was at a beautiful university and it was nice to see that too actually. As the place was quite big, there were a lot of signs telling me where to go. Eventually that lead to some stables in the back. I parked my car and got out, armed with a big, straw filled box.

Before getting the hens, you have to register and tell them how many hens you’d like to take home. I was going to take 4. Then I made a donation. They suggest £5 per hen, but it’s totally up to you. I think it’s nice to give them some extra, because they’re doing such good work and it’s all going towards another rescue. Once that is all done, you can go to one of the stables. I was second in the queue, so I didn’t have to wait very long. The stable was full of chickens. The stables weren’t very big, but I’m sure that they never had so much space in their life ever before. They were all in the corner, being scared obviously. Being in the light, with so much people around them. It was all new to them. The people in the stables caught 4 chickens and put them in the box and that’s that. Time to go home!

At home I put the box in the chicken run and opened it slowly, not to scare them too much. They were all a bit stressed, on their tummy, with their beaks open. Poor babies! I didn’t force them, but let them get used to their surroundings. They stood up and looked around and after a while I picked them up carefully and.. there was the moment.. for the first time in their life they felt dirt and grass. They walked very funny, stretching their paws and lifting them up very high. They were looking at the ground, walking around and it was just so lovely to see. It was a beautiful day and the sun came out. When they felt sunshine for the first time it was like they couldn’t believe it. They dropped on the ground, spreading their wings, putting all their feathers up, closing their eyes. My heart was smiling so much!

The next day they started to lay eggs (that I’m obviously not going to eat). Most of them looked alright, but one of the chickens has really big eggs. You can see on the picture how huge! Her eggs are still not very normal nowadays. A lot of times they’re still very big, the shell is very thick and chalky and yesterday she laid a wind egg. I really hope that her eggs will get better though, because it can be a bit dangerous. They became friends with the 4 chickens we already had too. In the beginning they didn’t hang out together at all. Now they still like to hang out in 2 groups sometimes, but they definitely became friends.

Because they are used to living in a small cage, they do not get into the chicken coop or on the perch by themselves. So the first few days I had to put them into the coop, onto the perch. They instead just randomly chose a place to sit when it was getting darker. After 3 days of doing this they got it though. So clever! Now 1-2 sometimes still sit on the bottom of the coop though, but at least they’re safe in there. They’re doing so much better now and they look so much better too. Their feathers look better (not perfect yet though) and their faces and comb are all red now. It makes a huge difference. If you look at the picture, you can see them on their first day and the way they look now. Their faces and comb were as good as white and now they have such a nice colour. They roam free every day now and they love it! It makes me so happy to see them so happy every day!

Would you like to rescue some hens too? Then go to the British Hen Welfare Trust and register now! They rescue 50.000 chickens per year and seeing them enjoying life is so worth it. Do you already have some rescue hens? I would LOVE to see them. Please show them to me! You can do this by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Comptoir V

Saturday the 25th of August was the Official Animal Rights March in London. Last year I couldn’t go, but this year I did! It was an amazing march. So much people, all united. Lovely! I went to London with my van and so when the march was over, I went back to my van and drove it to Kensal Rise. This is because I saw there was a new vegan restaurant in my old neighbourhood, just around the corner from where I used to live. I walked past it many times when they were building it. When they put the name ‘Comptoir V’ on the front, I was suspecting (and really hoping) it to be vegan. I never saw the opening as I already moved out of London by then. They opened about half a year ago. I was so excited to find out it is vegan and so I had to go an try it. I went for dinner.

First of all when you approach it, it looks super super nice. They chose lovely green colours, wood and amazing tiles on the floor. Inside it looks amazing too. Everything comes together and it looks very different from other restaurants. Their lamps and tables are so unique and really give a Middle Eastern look. The benches, the seats and just the whole lay out is made with so much eye for detail. I often think that restaurants that are creating a Middle Eastern style, look a bit dark, dated and dusty. Comptoir V proves the opposite. It looks light, fresh and super cosy. Whoever did the styling, did a really good job. It isn’t a huge restaurant, so it might be a good idea to make a reservation on busy days.

Their menu is very good. It has a lot of Middle Eastern influences. I went for the ribs and pasta though. This meant I got a portobello mushroom covered in bbq sauce on top of in garlic covered kale and mac and cheese on the side. The flavours were all very rich and strong, so it was very filling. Next time (because I definitely want to go again) I’m sure to go for a curry and some bread with (houmous) dips. I wasn’t hungry enough for that this time. I also ordered a fresh mint tea, what came in a lovely traditional tea pot and glass. It all looked so nice. I was very full after this lovely dinner, but as I was so curious about the cheesecake I got that take away. I had it the next day and I’m so happy that I did! Every day they have a different flavour and the flavour of the day was strawberry. It was so good. I can’t remember having better cheesecake in my life. The base definitely made the cake. It was so delicious in combination with the very firm top. There were fresh strawberries and mint on top and all the flavours together made me wish I had 2 pieces.

An extra compliment for the staff, that were all super easy going and friendly and really added to the atmosphere. This place is definitely a place to come back to!

WHO? Comptoir V.
WHERE? 12 Station Terrace, London NW10 5RU.
CUISINE? Middle Eastern.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing food, great staff and very lovely ex/interior).

Did you know about Comptoir V already? What was your experience? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Vivera Veggie Steak

It’s real.. a vegan steak! Vivera launched the first vegan steak in the world. Steak was always my favourite meat when I used to eat meat. When I think about the time I did, I can’t actually believe I used to do something so horrible. Anyway, when I heard the news of Vivera launching the steak, I was very excited. Not only because I was curious of the taste, but also for this development itself. The day it was launched I jumped into my car as soon as I was off work and I drove to the biggest Tesco, with my fingers crossed. I was rewarded, because there was a whole box of Veggie Steaks. I took 3! Just because I know Vivera and I know they do good products, so I was confident enough it was going to be tasty. I love that Vivera is a Dutch company and I love it even more that they launch more and more products here in the UK. I love EVEN more, that they’re transitioning from being a vegetarian/vegan company, to an all vegan company. I love it! If you want to know more about Vivera and their products, you can read this article (+ lots of nice recipes!) I wrote before.

So about the Veggie Steak. To have a good idea of the taste, I served it with corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, chunky guacamole and ketchup. All separately served. To start from the beginning, the steaks look very real. The size is just right, the inside is red and they even ‘bleed’ a little. Then the taste. I think they taste very real. They’re soft, juicy and have a realistic structure (esp when you fry them on a high fire, so the outside will be a little more firm). I do like the taste, but in general it didn’t have to be that realistic for me. But to be fair, as far as I can remember a meat steak, I like these Veggie Steaks better. The taste and structure are just very good or maybe it’s just tastier because you can enjoy it with a clear conscious!

If you want to serve them just like I did:

VIVERA VEGGIE STEAK

Serves: 2

2 Vivera Veggie Steaks
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp olive oil
a pinch of garlic granules.
2 corns on the cob
1 small avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic (minced)
salt/pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
2 tbs ketchup

-Preheat the oven to 200C.
-Cut the sweet potato in long big chunks and drizzle some olive oil on top.
-Add the garlic granules + a little salt (to taste) and mix it well.
-Put the sweet potato on in the oven for about 20 min.
-In the meantime:
-Prepare the Vivera Veggie Steaks as describes on the pack.
-Grill the corn on the cob until little black marks appear.
-Smash the avocado and add the lemon juice, garlic, salt and chilli flakes.
-Serve everything in separate bowls.

I hope I made you curious. I’m very curious if you like them too. Please let me know! You can do this in a comment below or tag me on Instagram. You can also use the hashtag #planetmanel is you like, so I can find your picture and comment! Thank you! X

Sweet Reminder

Did you know that blueberries are great for your memory? So do you have a lot of studying to do for a test? This recipe will be a great breakfast or snack on the days you need it most. The dates and banana give you extra energy and the hemp seeds give you some protein. You can use frozen blueberries from the supermarket, but I prefer to freeze fresh blueberries myself. I personally think that it’s tastier this way. Make sure you use nice soft dates though. With the right ingredients, this is a super healthy smoothie + it’s super quick to make. It’s also very delicious and easy to take with you. Remember to drink this smoothie to remember!

SWEET REMINDER

Serves: 1

300 ml water
1 tbsp hemp powder
1 ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1-3 dates

-Blend the water with the hempseed until it’s milk.
-Add the rest of the ingredients until smooth.

Are you going to try to make this recipe? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Eliane

As some of you know, 7 months ago, I moved from London to the countryside. I now live close to Newbury. Very close to me is a little town called Hungerford. Hungerford is a lovely  town with lots of little shops and boutiques. My employers told me there is a very nice cafe too, where there is lots of vegan food. So I was meaning to check it out, but then so much happened. I had my pig Oliver and my van etc etc. So I never really took the time to go and check it out. Until last week. I was getting some things for my van and a new bag of food for Oliver in Newbury and very randomly I thought, lets check out that place. So I drove to Hungerford, parked the car and stepped into Eliane.

When you walk in you can straight away see all the food on you left. It’s all right in front of you, where you can properly see it. There are little signs in front of it, so you can see what it is and if it’s vegan. Almost everything is vegan, even though they’re an omnivore cafe. The food looks very good, colourful and full of nutrients. There was a lovely French lady helping me. She knew a lot, was super helpful and I think she really is doing the cafe good. You can choose 4 things for £12,95. There are also a number of treats available,with at least 3 vegan options. I’ve got them all: Mango cake, raw chocolate cake and a vegan snicker bar. I kindly got a little (paper!) take away box, as I was sure I couldn’t eat everything in one time, haha! I also ordered an organic golden milk, which is one of their specials. Another lovely girl walked with me to my table, what was super helpful. I picked a table outside, because it was lovely weather and I had my dog Nola with me. The food was AMAZING! I can truly say that this was one of the tastiest meals I’ve had. So many flavours and you can just taste that it’s healthy and good for you. I loved it! The golden milk was also the best I’ve had and I can understand why it’s one of their specials. The meal was so good and filling, that I decided to take all my treats home and eat them later. I normally do not like fruit cake too much, so I was least excited about the mango cake. Funny enough, I loved it. It was super fresh, and moist and not too sweet. The other 2 were so good too, it’s hard to choose which one I liked best, but the vegan snicker bar was heavenly though! I definitely recommend all of this food.

The outside of Eliane is very lovely and you just want to go in to take a look inside. I’m sure that’s why they put the food right at the entrance, because as soon as you see that, you want to eat it. Very clever! There are quite a few tables inside (it’s bigger then you expect) and walking all the way to the back, you can sit outside. They also do a vegan breakfast, that includes a vegetable patty, a variety of vegetables (like mushrooms, spinach etc) on heritage grain toast. I’ll make sure to try this the next time. They offer a lot of different drinks. You can choose from organic smoothies, juices, chai and matcha lattes, coffee and teas. Everything is free from refined sugar and they use organic where possible. I really love this place! It’s a shame they’re not all vegan. Maybe one day they will be.

**I want to thank Eliane for their food and many the treats they gave me!**

WHO? Eliane.
WHERE? The Courtyard, 24 High St, Hungerford RG17 0NF.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (Amazing healthy food and great staff. I would have given them a 9 if they were all vegan.)

Did you visit Hungerford before and did you know about Eliane already? What was your experience? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Wulf & Lamb

Yay, finally another London hotspot and not just a hotspot, but Wulf & Lamb! I spend my bank holiday weekend in London with my dog Nola and I was staying at a lovely AirBnB in Battersea. I had a very relaxing weekend and didn’t want to force myself to go hotspot hunting as I was having a little break from blogging. Only on the last day I decided to just have a look on Happy Cow to see what is around. That’s where Wulf & Lamb popped up and the pictures made me want to go there. So just before I took the train home I crossed the Battersea Bridge to check out their brunch options. My lovely AirBnB host Isabel, who is a vegetarian (but eats mostly vegan though!), came with me, so double fun.

It was a lovely sunny weekend and the bank holiday Monday wasn’t any different, so we sat outside. Wulf & Lamb is just behind Sloan Square in a lovely little, but spacious, street. I got us 2 menus whilst Isabel stayed outside with Nola. It was hard to choose as it’s an amazing menu! Isabel went for The Full Wulf Breakfast and a coffee and I went for the Fluffy American Pancakes (I secretly hoped that they had waffles, but pancakes are fine too) and a turmeric latte. At the till there are lots of baked treats, including apricot and apple croissants. I bought them for later and I can now tell you that they were so yum! Especially the one with apple. We didn’t have to wait very long before there were 2 plates in front of us with amazing looking food. They then asked me if Nola would like a whole organic vegan dog treat.. uhh yes please! How amazing is that?! Just as the food.. my goodness, the pancakes were so tasty. I especially liked it that the pancakes were on top of the syrup and not covered in syrup. It came with fresh berries and some delicious cream on the side. Boy, how I enjoyed it all. Isabel’s breakfast looked amazing too. There was something that looked like scrambled eggs, but we couldn’t quite figure out what it actually was. It looked a bit like jackfruit, but it turned out it was made of an ackee fruit. I’ve never heard of it, but it’s nice when restaurants use uncommon things that turn out te be so good. I definitely recommend these 2 options.. but I saw they also have a Wulf burger made of seitan and as a true burger lover, I need to try this. I’ll be back for sure!

Wulf & Lamb is only a minute walk from Sloan Square. It’s away from all the busy traffic, in a lovely street. You can sit inside, but with lovely weather like on the day I went, you can sit outside too. In the morning you’ll sit in the shade, but if you like to sit in the sunshine instead, you should go for a late lunch. The building and interior are simple, but classy and beautiful. I like it. I really liked to see that there was a water bowl for dogs at the entrance. As a dog mummy I really appreciate things like this and you feel more welcome to be there with your dog. Wulf&Lamb did top that up with offering the (vegan!) dog treat to Nola. It really was the cherry on top! The staff is super friendly and I definitely recommend this place.

WHO? Wulf & Lamb.
WHERE? 243 Pavilion Rd, London, SW1X 0BP.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing food, great staff and very dog friendly.)

Did you know about Wulf&Lamb already? What was your experience? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Why Dairy is Scary

I already briefly gave some attention on this subject in one of my Vegan Advice posts and last February against the #februdairy campaign.  But as there is still so much ignorance when it comes to dairy I decided to write a whole, more detailed, article about only dairy. There is so much information available nowadays, but still there are people who truly don’t know the truth about the dairy industry. I really hope to also reach those people. 

I want to tell you about the 3 most important things when it comes to dairy: Morality, Health and Environment. For me personally, the moral side is most important. Though you might find the health facts really interesting or you care more about the environment. It doesn’t really matter, because I think all 3 of them are very important. If you don’t believe me (and you shouldn’t, because there is so much false information on the internet), please do your own research. Let this article be a stepping stone to more knowledge about what it is really like. I always encourage people to think for themselves and to do their own research. Don’t instantly believe what you hear and what you read. You are the only one who can make a decision for yourself. Believing the dairy industry by what they say about needing milk for strong bones etc. is the whole problem to begin with. These are lies to make you buy dairy, so they can earn money, your money! So please think for yourself and decide if you still want to support the dairy industry after knowing this all.

THE MORAL SIDE
Let’s start from the whole beginning: Why do cows give milk? For the same reason humans give milk. To feed their baby. If a woman gives birth to her baby she starts producing milk to make her baby grow. This is the same for mammal animals, so also for cows. This is why the farmer artificially inseminate the cows ever year to make her pregnant. So every year the cow gives birth to a baby. In order for us to get the milk, the calf can’t stay with his/her mother, because it would drink the milk. The milk the farmers earn money with, so that means that as much milk as possible needs to be sold. This is why the farmer takes the baby calf away from his/her mum and feeds it a milk substitute. If you are a mother yourself, imagine your baby taken away from you within hours (up to 72 hours) after birth? Because this is the time a baby calf gets to spend with his/her mother. The mother licks her baby clean, she cares for her baby, feeds her baby, bonds with her baby and then her baby is taken away from her. They call for their baby and the baby cries out for his/her mother, but there is nothing they can do. The mother goes back into the herd and they all get milked twice a day by machines.

Then what happens to the baby calf? This depends. If the baby is a female she will end up living the same life as her mum. She is impregnated every year and every year a baby is taken away from her and the same will happen over and over again. When the cow is about 5-7 years old they will start to give less milk, what means they won’t be profitable enough. By this time they’ve given birth to 3-5 babies. Because they aren’t profitable  anymore for milk  they go to slaughter. Their tired bodies will be sold for meat. If the baby calf is a male there are 2 options: instant death or their bodies will be sold and called: veal. Male calves are not going to produce milk and so they are useless for the dairy industry. This is why a lot of male calves get killed right after birth. They’ve spent 283 days growing in their mother’s womb and as soon as they come out their life is over. Veal is meat from a baby cow. They can be as young as 4 weeks old and as ‘old’ as 26 weeks old. There are different kinds of veal for different kinds of meat textures/colours. Some get fed only milk to make their meat pinkish and some are weened quickly to make their meat look more red. There are even calves that are fed a diet very low in iron so they get anaemic, just so their meat is more pink.

By buying any kind of dairy (organic or non organic) you support this cruelty. For one bite of cheese or one sip of milk a cow died, a baby called out for his/her mother and a mother cried out for her baby.

HEALTHWISE
We need to drink milk every day for strong bones. Especially children! But.. do we? This is what we hear all our lives, over and over again. When you hear something over and over again from since you can remember, you start to believe it and most of us never question it. That is what you are taught, that is what everybody does, that is what your family has been doing and so that is what you know. Only it turns out milk isn’t as good for you as they say it is. It’s actually the opposite. Milk is not good for you at all and it’s actually bad for your bones. It makes your bones weaker instead of stronger. The reason they say it’s good for your bones is because your bones need calcium and there is a lot of calcium in milk. The problem is, this calcium can’t get absorbed by your body as well and even extracts existing calcium from your bones. Also, dairy cows don’t drink milk after about 9 weeks old and they don’t suffer from weak bones. Why is that? They get their calcium from plants! So can we. In fact, the calcium in plants can actually be absorbed by our bodies. You have probably heard about osteoporosis. If not.. this is a disease that weakens your bones. They get more fragile and break faster. A lot of people think they need to drink more milk to prevent this, whilst in fact you can develop osteoporosis by drinking milk. This means milk is doing the opposite from what they advertise. Osteoporosis isn’t the only disease you can get from drinking milk. Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer are all linked to dairy too.

Then there are hormones, antibiotics, blood and puss. For example, to make a baby calf grow into a big adult cow there are hormones in milk, just like there were hormones in your mother’s milk. All these hormones come into your body too. Dairy cows also get antibiotics, this is to prevent them from getting ill. A lot of dairy cows are kept inside all year around or only get to go outside for a few months a year. That makes it easy for diseases to spread. Antibiotics are the solution and even though most cows are not allowed to be milked for a short period of time after getting antibiotics, there is always some left behind and that all ends up in the milk they produce. Because of the milking machines and the massive amount of milk that is taken from the cows every day, their udders are often infected, what means that not only is there milk going into the milking machine, but also blood and puss. This isn’t an exception, but there is actually a legal amount of puss and blood cells in every carton of milk. Just gross if you ask me.

So why do doctors and health experts recommend dairy for strong bones and an overall healthy lifestyle? Because that is what they’re taught. Doctors that recommend dairy aren’t evil doctors, but they just don’t know any better, just like a lot of people. In their study doctors only get 1 hour of nutrition a week and often it’s very dated. You probably wonder why this is dated and why they aren’t taught the right information anyway?! Because, and this might be very shocking to you, this is how the government makes money. The medical industry is one of the largest there is and there is a lot of money going around. If people will live healthier lifestyles they won’t get ill as much, they won’t need as much medicine and so the medical industry won’t make as much money. Yes, this is how it works. I  know part of you maybe doesn’t want to believe this, but do your research and also.. just think!

ENVIRONMENT
Why is milk bad for the environment? Because of alllll the dairy cows. There are over 264 million dairy cows in the world. That is a lot of animals and they’re not just any animal, they’re cows. Big and heavy animals that eat a lot, drink a lot and poop and urinate a lot. Only 1 dairy cow produces about 50 kg’s of poo and urine every day. That is 264.000.000 x 50 KG every day.. do the maths. All this produces a lot of CO2 and it all goes into the earth. It goes into the ground, into the water ad right into the oceans, polluting our world. The world where we and so many other animals live on. This is the world where our children are growing up, where their children will grow up.. think about the damage we are doing to these amazing animals, our own health and our world!

ALTERNATIVES (where do you get your protein/calcium?)
Lucky there are so many alternatives that are actually good for you. You can find protein/calcium in a lot of plants. A few examples: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Collards (!), Beans (esp: Soy beans, Black turtle beans, Navy beans, White beans), Oranges and Dried figs. There are also a lot of plant-based milks and often they are calcium-fortified, what means that they contain a lot of extra calcium. A few examples of plant-based milks: soy, rice, almond, oat, hazelnut, hemp. You can also find a lot of protein/calcium in tofu and tempeh.

I used to drink a lot of milk (it was my favourite and I would easily drink a liter a day) and I loved cheese, yogurt and anything that had something to do with dairy. I still like milk, cheese and yogurt, but now I choose for plant-based options. They’re delicious and they’re even more delicious now I know that there weren’t any calves taken from their mother or cows killed. I can fully enjoy it because I know that it’s good for me and the world.

If you can choose between doing harm or not doing harm? Why would you choose to do harm? Please consider a vegan lifestyle!

Did you know all this about dairy? Were you surprised and do you look at dairy in a different way now? Do you have any more questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask me! you can do this in the comments below or you can also send me a private message if you like. Thank you for reading and I really hope that you consider going dairy free, X.

 

STOP taking the birth control pill

In this article I want to talk about the birth control pill and why you shouldn’t take it. I will tell you about my own experiences and I hope this will make you think about your choice of contraceptives. At first I will tell you about my journey taking the pill and in the second half of this article I will tell you about my journey without taking the pill. You can read everything or just the part you’re most interested in.

TAKING THE PILL
When I was 17 I started to take the birth control pill. I did this for 2 reasons. My main reason was to not get pregnant. I was in a serious relationship and not the biggest                      condom fan. Buying condoms cost money too and the birth control pill I could get for free. So it seemed to be a good choice. My mum was on it, from since I can remember and many other people I knew were too. I didn’t see any harm in it, but almost saw it as a next step in life. My hope was to also have better skin. I struggle with my skin since the start of my puberty and don’t we all want smooth skin? So that was my second reason and the main reason I went for the Diane-35. I heard good things about it, in terms of skin clearing up. I think I took the Diane-35 for about 1-2 years, but my breasts were so sensitive and painful 1-2 weeks every time before I’d get my period and that wasn’t ideal. Also my skin didn’t clear up. It maybe got a little better, but I could hardly tell the difference. So I went to the doctors to discuss a different brand. I then swapped the Diane-35 for the Yasmin. The Yasmin is a lighter pill, but apparently would still be beneficial for my skin. After a few months my breast were less painful, but my skin still looked the same. I did feel better being on this pill though and so I sticked with it. For many years..

But then more and more articles popped up, saying how bad it is. Of course in the back of my head I knew this, but I also loved the pill as it gave me security and I liked the fact that I knew exactly what day my period would start and that I could control it in that way. But when I was 27 I stopped taking it, what means I took it for 10 years straight. That is fairly long and this, together with being curious of what would happen, is why I thought it was time to stop. I wasn’t in a relationship at that time and didn’t have any interest being in one ant time soon, so perfect timing. Only you can’t plan love and half a year later I met a guy I really liked and so I started thinking about taking it again. It actually was just in the end of all the side effect symptoms going away, but being in love and really seeing a future with this guy, I thought I could just take it temporarily. I still had some pill strips left and so I started taking it again. This time I really had a proper love-hate relationship with the pill though. I loved the security, but every time I put it in my mouth I actually didn’t want to swallow it. It didn’t feel right to take hormones that will change something in my body. I like being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. Taking the birth control pill felt like doing the opposite from where I stand for. Also, the birth control pill isn’t vegan and that really bothered me too.

It was 7 months later when my mum send me some articles about how dangerous the birth control pill can be. My mum stopped taking them a few years ago as she had horrible migraines and it turned out it was because of the pill. I actually tried to avoid the articles she send me and I consciously closed my eyes for it, but the articles my mum was talking about were about people dying from it. I know the people who died didn’t only die because of taking the pill, but it did play a big part in their death. This woke me up. Back to condoms it was, but I also started to do some research about natural birth control. About keeping track of what your body is telling you. This way you can find out on what days you’re fertile and on what days you’re not. I mostly learned this from the book: ‘Taking Charge of you Fertility’, written by Toni Weschler, MPH. I love this book, because even tough I knew quite a lot about my cycles, it really helped understanding my body even more. I recommend every woman to read it, even if you’re not interested in birth control, it still teaches you a lot about how it all works. This book is not only for preventing pregnancy btw, it is also helpful for couples who are trying to get pregnant instead. A must read for woman!

Researching natural birth control, obviously led me to the Lady Comp too. This little machine really intrigues me. In the book ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility’ you learn how to chart manually, but the Lady Comp does this for you, digitally. The only thing you need to do is put the thermometer in your mouth, every single morning at the same time. This Lady Comp does the rest and will tell you exactly what days you’re good to go and what days you need to use a condom. I would love to try this, because it seems like a great solution for all woman who do not want to put hormones in their bodies any longer. I never got really into charting my cycles properly, because unfortunately my relationship ended and not getting pregnant wasn’t a priority any more. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested anymore, because even not being intimate with somebody, I love the fact that you can learn about your cycles, learn why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and how your body works. I think this is basic knowledge every woman should know.


STOPPING THE PILL
The last day I took the birth control pill was the 9th of July 2017. The day I decided I was not going to take them any longer, I was on my period (that started the 13th of July), so I simply didn’t start a new strip (but in case you want to stop, you can stop at any time you want). I knew from the last time that there will be side effects. I just hoped that they wouldn’t be as obvious this time. I only took them for about half a year this time. I decided to keep a little journal until I get my first pill-free period, so I can keep track of the side effects I noticed. I did this for myself, but I thought it might help you to get an idea of what can happen if you’d stop too. Just remember that everybody is different and that your body might react in a different way.

26-07
Today I experienced some heatwaves. It happens in the days before and around my ovulation and I  clearly remember this from the last time I stopped taking the pill. It used to be quite bad at times, even up to the point I felt dizzy.

31-07
I did not experience any side effects so far anymore. I did have some heatwaves, but as I’m in Mallorca this week and it’s 35 degrees every day, it’s trickier to notice. I will have my ovulation around now, so the next time I might experience something different, will probably be just before or whilst I’m on my period. I’m planning my detox now, because this will help to get rid of those nasty hormones in my body. I’m super excited for this.

08-08
In a few days or maybe the end of this week I will probably have my period. This is the first period after I stopped taking the pill. I can notice I’m near, because I was very tired yesterday and today (I always have this a few days before my period). I’m also getting lots of spots, more than I had being on the pill. When being on the pill, the week before my period my skin was actually always at its best. So this must be a reaction too. I’m confident that it will be better later on.

13-08
I still didn’t get my period, what is odd as I did experience the symptoms I normally have before my period starts. My body might just be a little confused. The last time I stopped I got my period on the exact day I’d normally het my period. This time it’s later and here are some possible reasons why: because around my ovulation I was traveling + I was more stressed because of ending my relationship and because it’s the first period without taking pills.

14-08
Today I’m super tired. I feel like staying in my bed and sleeping all day long. Also a few times I had some very painful stitches in my tummy. I have a lot of water retention, my ankles are swollen and my tummy feels tensed. A lot more than on my pill-periods. Hopefully this will all go as soon as my period is here.

15-08
Today, in the late evening, I got my first period. This means my first pill-free cycle was 36 days.

18-08
My period was quite normal the first few days. I did have a slight tummy ache on the first day, but I was almost happy to feel this. I know for some girls it can be hell, but it’s also natural. Today I can already notice it’s a little less, what is normal for a 3rd day. I can’t notice that my periods are heavier, but then this is only the first one.

So that was my first period. I didn’t want to keep a journal longer than that, because it would just be repeating myself. I can tell you that the heatwaves were a lot less around my second ovulation and gone by the 3rd. I remember from the fist time I stopped the pill that I had heatwaves really badly for a few months, in the first month I couldn’t even go to work one day. So that is interesting, because it looks like it’s a little easier this time, I can’t say for sure why that is. Logically it could be that it’s because there are less hormones now, because I stopped before, but it could also be because my body knows what to do this time or maybe it’s the things I ate that had an effect too. I can’t tell, because I’m not a doctor. I’m just happy that it’s effecting me less this time.

The following months..

Skin
Something that did get worse, is my skin. I have more outbreaks and a lot of redness. I can now slowly start to see it’s getting a bit better again though. This is also because I’m trying new things, trying to make it better. I might do a separate article about skin if you like (let me know).

Fatigue & Cravings
When I was taking the pill I was always struggling with horrible fatigue for 1 day, exactly 2 days before my period (as this was mostly a Tuesday, I named it Tired-Tuesday). Even though it was awful, as I couldn’t put my foot in front of the other one and I just wanted to lay down all day long, it was such a good indicator. I still get tired, but it lasts a few days now instead of just one day, with some ups and downs. I know I can manage it a little bit if I watch my food intake (more raw and lighter meals), but we woman all know that watching your food intake before and during your period is as hard as running a marathon on your hands! I can’t say my cravings are better or worse now. I think it’s quite the same still.

Cramps
I never had really bad cramps before starting the pill, I basically didn’t have any during and I have a little bit of cramps only the first day of my period now I stopped taking the pil. I never take any medicine, but I just take it easy that day and sometimes use a hot water bottle (this really helps). The funny thing is that I’m almost happy to feel it, because it means that my body is going back to its natural state again. I’m sure every girl gets period cramps or at least knows how they feels. Some girls have it really badly and it’s complete hell. Many doctors actually recommend the pill, because the pill can definitely make it better. But before you do this, please try different methods first though. I  know it can get really bad in it can really effect your every day life, but cramps are natural. Try to make it better (don’t focus on it going away completely, because in many cases it won’t) with natural remedies.

Water Retention 
This is really bothering me and being on the pill definitely made it worse. The week before my period my ankles were always more swollen (they’re always a little swollen since I started the pill) and my tummy was so tensed because of it, that it was hurting and I was having trouble bending over. I can now see that my ankles are less swollen in general, but just before my period the water retention is actually worse than being on the pill. Luckily it goes away as soon as I’m on my period.

Cycles
Being on the pill makes your cycles very precise. I loved this about the pill. Now my cycles are always a little different, but because I know my  body a little better and I’m learning more every time, I can now recognise some symptoms and still kind of know when my period will be. It’s very normal to have longer and shorter cycles. The length of your cycle depends on when you ovulate. Your ovulation is a ‘funny thing’, because it will never be on the same day. It’s very sensitive. Whenever you’re stressed or when you’re traveling around the time you would normally ovulate, it will wait until you’re less stressed or when you finished traveling. So it can happen that your ovulation will be a whole week later. This means your cycle is longer, because the days between your ovulation and your period are alway the same. My cycles since I stopped taking the pill: 36 days, 28 days, 39 days (I was traveling before my ovulation), 36 days, 33 days, 36 days. As you can see my cycles are mostly over 30 days. This is totally normal. Many woman think they’re overtime after 28 days, but every woman has a different cycle and it’s completely normal. Normal natural cycles can be up to 40 days.

I never want to go back taking the pill. In fact I’m so done with it, that I threw away the 4 strips that were left. I want to focus on new methods that are not harmful for your body, like the Lady Comp. Putting hormones in your body isn’t something you should consider if you’re looking for a contraceptive.

Are you taking birth control pills? Or any other form of hormone contraceptive? What is your experience? Are you thinking about stopping too? Share your experience, so we can help each other and create awareness! You can do this by leaving a comment below or via IG (tag me and I will tag your story). Thank you! X

Vegan Dating

It’s almost Valentine’s day! Did you check out my Valentine’s recipe Fair Share yet? Are you going to share this with your love or will you be, just like me, alone on the day of love? No worries, the smoothie bowl tastes great on your own too, haha! Just what if you wish you did have someone to share it with? Almost everybody likes to have a partner in life. A love partner. You can have a lot of close friends, but even then, for many there is still the urge to share every-day-life in a deeper way. Maybe just to share your happiness and pain, but a lot of people also like a partner to give new life. Having children is a primitive instinct. And even though nowadays there are ways to be a single parent, most of us like to share this with a partner. Anyway, if you would like to have children or not, finding a life partner often is desired. It’s not always easy and it can be a journey. It’s about getting to know yourself, what you want and very important too, what you do not want. Some people are lucky to find their partner early in life, but it can also be a struggle. Life can be very unfair when it comes to love. And like if it isn’t complicated enough, what if you’re vegan? Do you only date other vegans? How important is it for you to have a partner who is sharing the same lifestyle?

My first personal reaction would be, no way I will go out with a non vegan. But, looking back at the boyfriends I have had since being vegan, I can’t say that any of them was actually vegan. They weren’t even vegetarian. They were always respectful in a way that they wouldn’t eat meat when I was around and one of them even became a vegetarian whilst we were dating. He isn’t anymore, because doing something like that for somebody else, doesn’t work. I needs to click. You need to see and feel for yourself why veganism is the only way. I’m single now (so life is easy, haha!) and if I think about it now, I ‘m not sure how I managed dating non vegans. I think love does really make blind. Though, it’s also a process I think. The feeling of sharing life, whilst sharing the importance of the same life values, needed to grow. My last boyfriend, whom I loved so very much, was very interested in veganism and my hope was always that he’d become one. I was convinced he would one day actually (our break up had nothing to do with veganism). By that time I grew so much, that I knew I couldn’t deal with it if he would have said he’d never ever be a vegan. It would have meant that he experienced life in a very different way from how I did. In my opinion, even though you can be different in so many ways, seeing life in a similar way is key for a good relationship. If I now ask myself the question: would I date a non vegan. I’d say, ‘only if I can feel he has the compassion and love in his soul to become one’. Veganism is my biggest passion. It’s not only about not eating and not exploiting animals, but about everything around it. Veganism is love. The love you feel for the whole world, the small details and the way you see life.

Soulmates :recipe >>

Some couples are ok with living 2 different lifestyles. I mean, if you are ok with your partner supporting the exploitation of animals and you see it as their own personal choice, then good for you. But what if you don’t and what if you are dating a non vegan atm? Or what if you are already in a relationship for a long time, but you recently became a vegan and your partner doesn’t understand? I would find this really hard myself, because it means you’re growing as a person and your partner isn’t growing in the same direction. You can feel very alone and misunderstood. You have to ask yourself the question if you can live with this. I’m not saying to just break up right now. If you are in a long-term relationship, then you don’t just throw that away. Sometimes it needs time. Maybe your partner just feels very misunderstood too. You have to talk about this. Suggest watching a documentary together or reading the same book. Focus on education. If that doesn’t help or your partner doesn’t even want to, then I think you should question your relationship. When your partner loves and respects you, he or she should at least be open to your change of  lifestyle.

To make things more complicated, what if you have children and you and your partner have a very different view on veganism? This I think is one of the trickiest situations. There are so many aspects. If the children are too young to educate them and they can’t make their own choices yet, I think the best way is to compromise. For example: they don’t eat meat, but they do consume some dairy products. Talk about this and come up with a plan you both feel ok with. If the children are old enough you can educate them and they can make the choice themselves.

Now what if you’re single and you really are determined to meet the vegan-love-of-your-life? Well, personally I think faith is faith.. but that doesn’t mean faith can’t happen through a dating app.. right? I’m sure the majority of you knows about Tinder, but did you  know that there is a similar dating app for vegetarian and vegans? It’s called ‘Grazer’. It basically works the same way as Tinder. Go check it out.. and you might be just in time for Wednesday!

Do you recognise yourself in any of this? Are you single, but would you like to be in a relationship? Or are you in a relationship with a non vegan? Please share your views and help each other! You can do this in the comments below! Thank you! XX