Fridgecurious #4

Today we take a look in the fridge of the Boer family and they will tell us a little bit about their eating habits. They are my best friends, Nienke, Jeroen and their 2 year old daughter Annemarie. Since about a year they became a lot more conscious of what they are eating and I hope it will inspire some people to do the same. They mainly eat vegetarian food, with some occasional fish. A lot of what they eat is vegan though and I love that! The reason they started to eat this way is because of the animal cruelty and they have a mini pig for almost 2 years now. This really helped a lot to make them think differently and to stop eating meat. Apart from all that, ‘Vegetarian options are delicious’ they say! Their milk and butter are always plant-based. Especially the chocolate milk is their daughters favourite, which I fully understand! At the moment there is organic yogurt in the fridge, but she often buys plant-based yogurt too.

Nienke doesn’t have certain days to get her groceries, because as a nurse her hours vary a lot. Most of the time she goes to the supermarket for het groceries and she buys little amounts at the same time. A lot of time she doesn’t know exactly what she has at home already, so she chose to have some products in stock. This way there is always something they can cook. She doesn’t go to only one certain supermarket, but she likes to go to different ones. For practical reasons (Annemarie is always coming) she mostly takes the car, but for some small things she also likes to go by bike or she takes the buggy. She doesn’t go a lot, but she sometimes also likes to go to the market: ‘Especially on a sunny Saturday it’s nice’. She loves the smell of all the different fruit, vegetables and nuts! In the summer she likes to get fruit which are in season, like strawberries and cherries!

On a day off Nienke and Annemarie like to take their time when it comes to breakfast. They drink tea and eat peanut butter sandwiches, with sliced banana or chocolate sprinkles on top and they always have a piece of fruit too, as there is always a full bowl of fruit to choose from. Jeroen takes advantage of that and often quickly grabs a banana before he rushes off to work. For lunch they have salads with toast or crackers, but sometimes as a treat they makes themselves some of their favourite banana pancakes! On working days Jeroen always eats at work and he can choose from a very wide range of foods from a buffet (lucky him!). Nienke is known for her fully loaded lunch bag she brings to work. She just wants to make sure she has a fresh lunch (or sometimes a delayed breakfast!). Very sometimes she also gets something at work, like a salad or a vegetarian soup for example. Dinner can be very diverse as they like to eat a lot of different vegetables and they combine that with pasta, quinoa, couscous or rice and then they have a meat substitute with it or the occasional fish. They prepare everything without salt, because any let overs will go to a very lucky piggy. Of course they snack some too in between their meals and this often is a yummy piece of dark chocolate, a piece of fruit and sometimes they also enjoy some biscuits and crisps.

I want to thank the Boer family to share their fridge and eating habits with us and to tell us how they try to live in a more conscious way. 

I hope this inspired you and if it did, please let me know in the comments! If you also like to show your fridge, please send me a message via CONTACT! Thank you! X

Vegan Advice #4

I got some more questions asked I would like to answer here. This way everybody can read it in case more people have these questions about veganism. I answer everything form my own perspective. I’m sure there are people with a different opinion. Last time I wrote a Vegan Advice I answered the questions: ‘Why is horse riding wrong?’, ‘Do you respect that some people are not vegan?’ and ‘Why is honey not vegan?’. Today I will answer these questions: ‘Why are you not going to the zoo?’, ‘Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?’ and ‘Do you take any supplements?. Here we go..

Why are you not going to the zoo?
I think everybody agrees with me that nobody should live in a prison for no reason. A zoo is like a prison for animals. They didn’t do anything wrong and till they are behind bars. They are used for entertainment. There are zoo’s who work with reproduce programs. You think this might be good for the animals who are nearly extinct. But why are they nearly extinct? Because of people killing them, because of people using their land to keep cows for beef and to grow their food. It’s people who are destroying these animals. Keeping them imprisoned is not fair to them, just as it’s unfair to kill them for something we don’t need (beef). Animals have no natural enemies in the zoo and are likely to become a lot older than in the wild. Though.. imagine this: if you had the choice to live in a tiny house with a tiny garden, with the promise you will become a 100 years old. Or.. you can go outside and risk your life, but you can go anywhere you want to. What would you choose? Exactly! I agree some animals are living a generally ok life in the zoo, but why make circumstance less bad if it’s something unnatural to them? They have instincts, which may be less whilst living at the zoo, but it has to stop somewhere. So I’m against reproducing in zoo’s. Zoo’s should be banned. If you want to desperately see a lion.. book a ticket to Africa!

Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?
Vegans don’t use anything what comes from animals. This also means fur, wool, leather and silk. Using animals in any way is just not necessary and very often cruel. Fur and leather are the most cruel industries there are. Animals for fur are kept in horrible circumstances and electrocuted. This happens with metal pins in their bottom and mouth or they are skinned alive. Only for people who think it’s fashion to wear a dead animal who suffered unimaginable. Many people think leather is just a product what is left over from the meat industry. What is true in a way (and wrong anyway, because we don’t need meat), but leather is a product with a lot of profit. So it’s not just something nobody wanted anymore. Then the sheep who are shaved these days are sheep who are bred with a lot of wool, so we can shave it off and use it. These sheep are not natural, because normally sheep don’t need to be shaved. And what about silk. Most silk is coming from the mulberry silkworm. They are kept to create silk, used for fashion, whilst we have so many other options to choose from. So again, not necessary.

Do you take any supplements?
As a vegan you have to take a lot of supplements to stay healthy. This is what a lot of people think anyway. I hear this all the time. I don’t take any supplements myself, apart from the ones who are necessary for everybody. I only take B12. Some vegans don’t take any supplements, but are relying on the foods fortified with B12 (plant-based milk, nutritional yeast, meat substitutes etc.). I eat that too, but I also take a supplement, just in case, to make sure I have more than enough. I don’t take it every day though, just 2 times a week, to top it up. This B12 thing, is often used as a thing for omnivores to prove that a plant-based diet isn’t the way and you need meat to stay healthy. Though, what a lot of people don’t know is that meat only contains B12 if the animals were given B12 themselves through their food. So why take B12 through killing and eating animals, whilst you can take it straight away? B12 is a bacteria that grows on sugar. B12 used to be in the dirt, this way it got into plants and into animals who ate gras. Nowadays though, the dirt is ruined by overuse and by the use of pesticides. This means everybody needs to make sure to take B12 in a way, because your body can’t make B12 by itself. For some people it’s also advised to take a vitD supplement, especially when you live in a country with not too much sun. I don’t take this myself though.

Did you already know about this or did you learn something? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Being Happy

There is a lot of power in being happy. That is why a lot of people these days try to find their happiness. But what is it what makes us happy? There are so many different ways to feel happy and some are very personal. I wrote about happiness before and I’m sure this will also not be the last time I write about it. It’s always a hot topic, because everyone wants to experience happiness. Some people spend a lifetime looking for it and for some it clicks within a few days. Happiness is not something you can buy or wait for. It’s the opposite of waiting actually, you need to do something to become happy. It’s something you experience in living your every day life, because happiness is now. No matter in what circumstances you are. I agree that there will be times you’re less happy, gong through something traumatic for example. You can’t be euphorically happy all the time. That is also not what I’m talking about. I’m more into a feeling of an overall happy feeling. Whatever you might go through sometimes, as soon as you master the trick of happiness, I’m sure you will be back on top soon. So what are those daily things that makes us feel happy?

From the way you wake up until you close your eyes going to sleep.. there are things you can actively do to make yourself feel good. Try to make room for several healthy habits throughout your day. This may include: waking up early, drinking enough water, exercise and practice meditation. Not long ago I wrote about my personal healthy habits and that might give you some ideas and inspiration. Healthy habits can also be creating a routine for yourself. Now, this is very personal, because there are people who get very unhappy from having a routine and there are people who get overly happy from routine (I’m definitely on that side). Though I do advice to always have some sort of routine. You can make it as detailed as you want it to be. You can keep it simple to at least try to wake up and go to bed at the same time and to try having regular healthy meals. Or you can create a morning routine a daytime routine and an evening routine. Like I said, this might make some people feel paranoid, but it can also function as something you can hold onto, so it will give you some calm and peace. You have to experiment with this yourself.

Something else I wrote about before, is about being kind. Being kind to others, but also to yourself will give you a sense of happiness. Doing something nice for somebody else, a family member, a colleague or your neighbour gives meaning. It doesn’t always matter how big the act of kindness is, because it will give you a feeling of joy. Looking after others make you feel satisfied. So don’t hesitate if there is something you can do for somebody else, because it will not only make that person feel good, but it’s instant karma too. Also don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself in a nice calm voice and give yourself a compliment now and then. Reward yourself when you accomplished something and smile at yourself when seeing yourself in the mirror.

I think we all heard about the powder of endorphins. Our bodies own drug which is released by a number of things. We all know our body releases it when doing physical exercise, the well known ‘runner’s high’. And I definitely recommend exercise as one of the things you can do to treat yourself to some daily endorphins. But did you know that there are other ways too? Like laughing, listening to your favourite music, meditation, have sex (ok, this might fall under physical exercise too), eat dark chocolate and smell lavender? So let those endorphins go free and discover which of these give you peaks of happiness!

We all know the feeling (some more than others) of not really want to go out. It’s just so much easier and relaxing to stay at home and watch your favourite show with a steamy cup of tea in your hand. Isn’t it? Does it sounds familiar, telling yourself you’re feeling too tired to go out after a long day (or week) at work? We’re very good at making excuses. Though going out actually isn’t such a bad idea. Especially when you are feeling a little down. Breathing in the fresh air, the exercise of a little walk (exercise for body and mind) or going out with a friend, can all actually give you loads of energy. So even though you already switched on your kettle, you can always change your mind and put on your shoes to go out! It doesn’t have to be long, even a 10 min walk will make you feel refreshed. Or go out for dinner with a friend one evening, you will see that chatting and laughing with somebody you care about, will do you good.

It’s important to feel happy. Because being happy makes everything else work. Feeling good makes you an attractive person, you will be better at your job, it will make you study go easier and it will make your life more enjoyable. If you’re not happy, you don’t have the right energy around you to attract success. You want to go into the circle of happiness. So push yourself to do things that will make you happy. Don’t sit and wait for it, because it’s not going to be dropped on your doorstep any time soon (read: never). Life is now. So even when you’re very busy with whatever you’re doing at the moment, thinking you do not have time for all these things, make time to live in the now, because your life is now. In the end it will make things go better and faster anyway. Experience life to the fullest!

Can you call yourself a happy person? Are you in the circle of happiness? Do you have something to add to this, something to say about this or do you have questions? Please let me know! You can do this in the comments below or you can send me a message via CONTACT. Thank you! X

20 Healthy Habits

Sometimes it’s easy to lose (some of) your routine and to develop some habits you wish you didn’t have. Try to get into healthy habits instead. What are your healthy habits? I wrote down 20 of my healthy habits and I hope to inspire you to do them too. I promise you that it will add to your health and your overall happiness.

1- Wake Up Early.
I love to wake up early. Ok, I actually hate to wake up early. Or to be fair, I hate it the first 20 seconds I’m awake. After that I love it! In the morning you can get so much done and you can actually start your day properly. Starting your day (with yoga, meditation and mindfulness) in a good and relaxed way is so beneficial for how the rest of your day is going. The time you create in the morning, is time only for you. To help you with this, I recommend you reading the book The Miracle Morning. It’s full of helpful tips and I’m sure you will feel very inspired.

2- Drink Lemon/ACV water.
The second I wake up I drink about 400-500 ml warm water (1/2 cold and 1/2 boiled) with the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This really helps you waking up, wake up your metabolism and it boosts your immune system. It also supports weight loss.

3- Yoga.
Everybody should practice yoga. Yoga is for all ages and you really benefit from it. I always do some yoga in the morning. It doesn’t have to be an hour, just a few yoga poses and some good stretches, already helps you to have a good start of the day. You can of course also go to yoga classes, which are very fun.

4- Mindfulness.
This is something what is also good to do in the morning before you go out of the house, before things get hectic. Practice some mindfulness. Meditate + think of some empowering affirmations, visualise your goals and think of something you are grateful for.

5- Fasting.
Eat breakfast! Breakfast is very important yes, but it really doesn’t have to be right after opening your eyes. In the night, until you eat breakfast, your body is clearing up your  body. To help your body with this process, it’s beneficial to wait with your breakfast. Start your day with drinking water or lemon/ACV water and let your body do the rest. Eating breakfast a few hours after waking up is really not a crime. You can also fast longer if you like, for a whole day or even a few days. I do advise to have coaching from somebody who is experienced in this. Fasting doesn’t have to be not eating at all. You can also fast from a particular food or habit. No crisps for a month for example or to not use your phone a certain amount a day. It’s also about being more conscious.

6- Eat healthy.
We all know we have to eat healthy. Healthy foods are plant-based whole foods. So eat lots of fruit, fresh (raw) veggies, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Try to cook from scratch so you know exactly what it is what you put in your body. Avoid eating processed foods.

7- No alcohol or coffee.
Coffee and alcohol are not good for your body. The caffeine in coffee is not a good source of energy and it can cause restlessness and even insomnia. Just 1 cup of coffee a day isn’t gong to cause that, but if it’s not good, then why drink it at all? Alcohol is totally unnecessary and can harm your body. You don’t need that glass of wine and you don’t need to get drunk to have fun. Just stay away from it.

8- Drink water.
Drink lots of water. Water helps you to stay hydrated and to cleanse your body. You should always drink 2-3 liter of water a day. Make sure you always have a bottle filled with water to drink at any time during the day.

9- Exercise.
We all know that exercise is good for us. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hour at the gym though. Just 30-60 minutes a day of something that is making your heart and your breathing go faster, is sufficient. So go for a firm walk, or cycle and do some crunches. This will keep you energised and healthy.

10- Be positive.
A positive attitude will get you so much further than a negative one. Try to always see the positive side of everything. And don’t forget to smile.. a lot!

11- Relax.
After all we do in 1 day, it’s important to also relax. To take our mind of things. Did you know that whilst you’re relaxed you sometimes think of the best ideas? So have some down time. It doesn’t matter when you do it and if you find it hard, then literally plan to have down time. I have some time in the morning and I tend to take some time after lunch. Do something you like and feel like benefitting from.. meditate, watch a movie, read or go for a walk.. or even surf the internet. Whatever you like!

12- Go outside.
It’s good to spend some time outside. It’s great if you have a dog who you have to regularly have to walk. But if you don’t (like me.. poor me!) then go to the park or around the block. Get some fresh air!

13- Declutter.
At the moment I’m totally addicted to this. Getting rid of thing I don’t need or use. I’m somebody who gets attached to things, because of memories I have. This is totally fine if it is something with real emotional value, but if it’s something you really do not use then you better donate it. It is SUCH a liberating feeling! This also mean that you don’t buy things too fast. Don’t just get things for the sake of it (I admit, I was guilty of this), but first think about it and ask yourself the question: ‘Do I really need this?’ I also have the rule that I never leave the house or go to sleep whilst my house is messy. My desk needs to be tidy and clear, the dishes done and the bed made. It so much nicer to wake up or come home like this. Would anybody like to know a bit more about this subject? Let me know in the comments!

14- Read.
Reading is a great way to gain more knowledge or to relax. I like to read educational books, that motivates and inspires me. But I also read books with humour, just to relax. It’s up to you.. So, pick up a book!

15- Goals.
A lot of people set goals for a year (the popular new years resolutions) or even have a 5 year plan. This is great! Though how many of you are still working on it by February or March? There are only a few exceptions and I believe that those exceptions have more than just some end goals. To succeed and achieve your goals, you need to make a plan. Write down your end goals and then make smaller steps. Like an action plan. What do you need to do every month to achieve those goals? What do you need to do every week to achieve those month goals? And what do you need to do every day to achieve that week goal? You get what I mean? This works really well for me and I’m sure it will help you too.

16- Finish To-Do-list.
One thing that is very satisfying, is getting your chores done. Agree? I make a week plan every Sunday. I write down everything I need and want to do that week and then divide this over the week. Make sure you don’t put too much for one day, because that will end up in moving the chores to other days and that will all add up, until you’re not getting them done at all. This is super frustrating and not motivating at all. So make sure that in the end of the day you had enough time to get your chores done.

17- Natural products.
There are so many products for sale nowadays, that it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t. Because they all promise you exactly what you want. Do try to only use natural products (+ vegan and not tested on animals) though. Preferably products with only 1 or a few ingredients. It doesn’t matter if it’s about make up, cleanser or deodorant.. natural is the way! Using chemicals on your body is really no good. Did you know that chemicals already get absorbed by your skin within 26 seconds? So, go natural! I wrote an article with tips for Great Skin.

18- Sleep.
As much as exercising is good for you, sleeping is very important too. A good night sleep does you good. You don’t only feel better during the day, but it also improves your memory, helps with weight management, lowers your stress, fights anxiety + depression and it gives you an overal feeling of wellbeing. It depends a little bit per person, but the average human being needs about 7-8 hours of sleep a night, better not to sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9, because this sometimes results in getting the opposite effect. Do you sleep enough? (or too much?)

19- Be yourself.
Everybody feels the urge to experience the freedom of being him- or herself. To be able to express yourself and to feel happy because of who you are, is one of the main keys to happiness. Try to listen to your intuition and stay true to who you are, your values and your principles. Everybody is unique and has their own strengths. Show respect to one another and just be you! I also wrote an article about it, not long ago. It’s called Be Yourself. I hope it will help you to be or to find out who you are.

20- Spend time with people you love.
We love to hang out with the people we love, but sometimes it still happens that other things get in the way. We’re too busy.. Do try to set priorities and plan time for the ones you love. Most of my family and friends live in the Netherlands and I don’t get the chance to see them as much as I would like to. When I do see them, I love spending quality time with them and that makes me feel so good. So pick up the phone.. call your mum, plan a weekend away with your lover, send your grandma a card and text a friend to ask when he or she can hang out!

How much of these healthy habits do you already master? Do you have more healthy habit tips or are there things where you would like to see some personal improvement? Please let me know in the comments below, ask for my help or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. You can also tag me! Thank you and have a lovely day! X

Great Skin

I almost feel a little bit like a hypocrite writing this, because I do not have what you call ‘great skin’! Since I was about 12-13 years old I started to have spots. Like a lot of kids who start their puberty. Most of the time they will disappear within a few years or at least before your twenties. Not my skin.. my skin kept being red and blemished. I had lots of blackheads and almost every day there was a new proper spot coming up and often a lot more than one! Poor me! It made me feel very self-aware and sometimes even insecure. When I became a vegetarian it got a little bit better, but it was still far from normal. Only since I became vegan I could notice a difference. My skin is still blemished, but only has some outbreaks now and then. Nowadays I don’t care that much about what my skin looks like. I’m still aware, but it just doesn’t bother me as much as it did before. I do have some tips for people who are struggling with a not so great skin. Hopefully it will help you. It definitely helped me loads!

Plant Based Diet
Like I just said, a plant-based diet helped me the most. I do not have huge outbreaks all over my face anymore, but just a spot here and there. Sometimes I even have some days where my skin is actually quite smooth (from a distance.. hehe..). When I have 1 or a few spots I know it’s because I have been eating g too much junk food and bread. As soon as I start to eat healthy.. fresh (raw) vegetables and fruit there is a big difference. When I did Banana Island my skin looked a lot better too. So I know how I can make it better, just sometimes I enjoy a piece of cheese or a slice of bread. If you want to look after your skin the best way possible look at your diet. I’d recommend eating as much raw as you can, but simply switching to a plant-based diet and eating more fruit and vegetables will also make a difference for sure. Sometimes your skin gets worse after swapping your junk to health foods, but be patient. This is just your body’s way to get rid of it. It can take up to a few weeks sometimes before you see a difference. Keep going! Always make sure to also drink a lot of water.

Skin Care
There are 239873 products on the market for a blemished skin. Some products are even made in a way that if you stop using them, it will come back (worse), just so you will keep buying the product. A lot of these products are full of chemicals and your skin absorbs chemicals within 26 seconds. I recommend only using natural products. You can even make the products yourself, from proper natural ingredients. There are a lot of recipes online and I sometimes make my own scrub and face mask. This way you’re sure of using something without any bad stuff. If this is not for you, you can get a lot of naturel products in store though. My favourite natural products are from Lush. Take a look at their website (or go to one of their stores) to see if there is something you like. I’m a big fan of the facial cleanser ‘Herbalism’ for example, but there a few others I like too. At the moment I’m cleaning my face with the Lush ‘Olive Branch’ and I’m using a little machine with a gentle brush, what cleans and scrubs my face. This works for me. As a moisturizer (I only use moisturizer in the evening) I use either coconut oil or this new cream I discovered recently, called iUVO Body Butter Cream. There is not much more you need to clean and moisture your skin naturally.

Make Up
I use make up almost every day. Not much, but I like to look groomed a little bit. Also I don’t like it when people stare at my spots and that tend to happen more often than you think. I do also like myself without make up though, but if I go outside I do mostly wear make up. I never wear more than mascara and a little bit of foundation. Sometimes only mascara or only foundation. It just gives my skin a bit of a glow and smooth outlook. And as I’m blonde, mascara gives my eyes a little bit more expression. When I’m at home or on some holidays too, I do not wear make up at all. It’s nice for your skin to have a bit of a breather.

No Touching
Now, this is a very important tip. One I personally struggle with the most, because I find it very hard not to touch my skin. Often I scratch, squeeze and generally touch my face. I’m trying to be strict with myself and I do try to keep my hands away from my face. What works for me is, every time I find myself touching my skin I tell myself ‘Stop it’! Easy like that. I literally tell myself! Sounds a little silly maybe, but it works for me. When I don’t touch my skin for a while it always looks so much better. The problem with touching your skin is that there is a chance to rub bacteria onto your skin, what results into spots. Also there is a lot of dirt on your skin from every day life, by touching your skin you spread the oils, together with make up and dirt, what will clog your pores. What also results in spots. Just stop touching it! That also means leaning your head into your hand. Try to make a rule for yourself to not touch your skin.

Do you (sometimes) have a bit of a troubled skin? What do you use for your face? Please comment below your favourite methods, products and tips! You can also show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Be Yourself

You know the feeling when you were 6 and your teacher told you, you’ve made a very nice drawing? Or when you were 14 and, out of everybody else, you had the highest score on a test? That feeling when somebody gives you a meaningful hug or when your lover only has eyes for you? It gives you a special feeling. This I’m-on-top-of-the-world-feeling.
We all want to feel special. There is this desire in us to be known, to be the best and to be liked by everybody. This is a lovely feeling, you should enjoy it for sure, but what if these are the only things that make you feel you’re worthy? And are you known, the best and liked because of who you really are or because of who you pretend to be because of other peoples expectations? We shouldn’t need others to make us happy. You can be happy with others, but you can not be happy only because of others. Who are you? If you know who you are and you can be yourself, then you will find true happiness.

If I ask you: ‘Do you want to be unique or would you like to be like somebody else?’. What will be your answer? I assume that your answer is that you want to be unique (that special feeling). That would be a healthy answer. If we all have the desire to be unique, then why do we still do things because others do it too? Or because it’s expected of you? Or why do we keep ourselves from doing things because it’s not the norm? Because we want to be known and be liked. Do we need to be liked by everybody though? Simply, no. This is your life and you have to live with you 24/7. The people you might look up to also have their own life’s. Everybody has the right to be themselves. In order to be yourself, you have to know who you are though. So how do we know who we really are?

First of all.. Stop worrying about what other might think of you. How can you live your life if you constantly thinking about what others expect form you? This is your life. Where are you afraid of? To loose your friends and the people around you? If they don’t want to be around you anymore, they don’t respect you for who you are and it might be time to look for new friends. You don’t need people who only like you for doing things their way or when they expect you to behave a certain way. You want people around you who love you and respect you for who you really are. The right people for your energy.
Second.. Are you afraid to take a next step in life? Do you want to grow, but are you just to anxious to fail? If you let fear lead you, then how are you suppose to know who you are and what you can do? Feeling scared about something you actually really want, is holding yourself back. You are capable of things, amazing things! Have confidence in yourself, prepare and set an ultimatum. You have to follow your intuition. What maybe means you have to step out of you comfort zone, but nobody ever grew from staying in there. You are a person, with hopes and dreams.. make them come true. Take small steps if necessary, but take them!
Third.. Does it happen sometimes that you’ve had a lovely day, but a week (or maybe even a day) later it didn’t feel like you were really there? It feels like the character from a book you read had a lovely day, but it wasn’t you?! You probably forgot to live in the moment. It’s easy to forget with the busy life’s we’re living nowadays. I sometimes forget to do it myself as well. Then I’m so focused on taking the perfect pictures, I forget everything around me. What is a good thing in a way, I’m in the zone, but often I stay there and forget to look around me. Later I see the pictures and I realise that it feels like I wasn’t there. I have the pictures to prove it, but what about my mind? What about the joy in the moment? That is much more important than a picture! So how do we live in the moment? You just have to take a moment. Stand still and just realise where you are, what you’re doing, how it makes you feel. Notice all the things around you, breathe to focus on your presence and smile. Do this any many times as you can and try to hold on to it. By practising this, it will soon go automatically. Live in the moment!

So feeling unique and special, should first of all, always come from within. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t true happiness when somebody else is making you feel like that, but it should be more like a confirmation from where you are already comfortable with. Because receiving a compliment or people wanting to be your friend because they like the true you, means so much more than people who want to be your friend because they like something what isn’t truly you. Some people might even take advantage of you if you let that last thing happen. It’s so important to know who you are, to act like it and to be yourself. Be happy with who you are and take pride in the person you are and becoming (there is always room for self-improvement). Be yourself and love yourself!

Do you know who you are? Are you happy with who you are? Do you have something you would like to add to this or do you have something to say about it? Please let me know in the comments below! Thank you! X

Vegan Advice #3

It has been a while since I posted a Vegan Advice article. Lately I have been asked a few questions again and I thought it might be helpful to write about it. For more understanding. I write from my own point of view and so my answers are coming from the way I look at things. The last time I posted a Vegan Advice, it was about ‘Where do I get my protein from?’, ‘Can I eat the eggs from my own chickens?’ and ‘Do cows have to be milked?’. This time I’d like to talk about ‘Why is horse riding wrong?’, ‘Do you respect that some people are not vegan?’ and ‘Why is honey not vegan?’. If you get these questions too, just send the link to the people who do. It’ll save you a lot of repeating!

Why is horse riding wrong?
When I was a child, I was definitely part of the crazy-about-horses-club. I was really crazy about horses. Collected everything what was horse related and I took riding lessons too. Since my first lesson when I was around 10/11, I ride horses for years. I still love horses a lot. I think they’re incredible animals. But the love I feel has sightly changed since I became vegan. I don’t only love them, I respect them too. Respect means that you let them live their life and look after them in a way they are most happy. Though, riding horses means you need to train them. In a lot of cases it means you have to train them to be wearing a saddle and a bridle, with a metal bit in their delicate mouth. It’s forcing them to get used to something unnatural. And for what? For people’s pleasure. Without thinking it through, I can actually say that it’s lovely to ride horses. The idea of being on top of such a majestic animal, going fast, the wind in your hair, it feel amazing.. But now, realising what we’re actually doing to them it’s not that enjoyable for me anymore. It’s weird I didn’t think of this before. It’s cuz we grow up with it being ‘normal’. Now what is the real reason for riding a horse? Because if you really really love horses, you wouldn’t do this to them. You would just take care of them and love them. I think it’s the feeling of controlling an animal like a horse. Making it do things you want it to do. Making it walk and run with weird unnatural movements, just because you can. Making it jump whilst you’re on it (or not on it). You are in control. What is naturally a nice feeling. Because not being in control you can feel lost. What makes it logic that being in control makes you feel good. Simple. I think admitting this to yourself is hard if it comes to horse riding. Because you want to justify the riding. What I understand as a former horse rider. I do not actually have something against sitting on a horse’s back and then make it walk or anything. But it has to be with nothing but your body (no saddles, no bridals, nothing..) and mutual respect. If you create a bond and the horse lets you sit on him/her, because it trusts you, I think it’s a beautiful thing. I think if you start training it to do things it actually doesn’t want to and/or to win prices, you’re loving the horse for the wrong reasons. Just because a horse is capable of doing things, doesn’t mean it should. I say this out of my own experiences. I dare to admit that I loved horse riding because of the feeling it gave me. It was selfish of me. I wasn’t always thinking about the horse itself. Though I love horses and I always have (and I always will), I just wasn’t thinking about the horse’s feelings.

Do you respect that some people are not vegan?
A lot of times omnivores (mostly the ones who are close to me) have told me that I should respect their eating choices. ‘I respect you’re vegan, so I expect you to respect me eating meat or drinking a glass of milk’. For me it’s very simple: I don’t. This doesn’t mean I don’t respect the person itself. I can have respect for a lot of other good things this person does. I simply do not respect what some people choose to eat. Because their choice has victims. This is why I can’t respect it. People are often rather flabbergasted that I can’t respect this. ‘It’s my own choice of what to eat and what not to eat’. True. And omnivores are choosing to involve cruelty on their plate. It’s a choice I can not respect. Because the cow or the pig on their plate did not have a choice. Does this mean that I can’t be close to people who eat meat? No it doesn’t. I do find it very hard though, I have to admit that. I’d be lying if I said I don’t. I find it especially hard when I truly love those people. Seeing or knowing that the people I love so deeply eat or use innocent animals, is something what literally makes my chest hurt. Them then asking to respect that, is beyond hurt. It makes me very sad.

Why is honey not vegan?
‘You also don’t eat honey?’ How many vegans had this questions before? I figure a lot are raising their hands now. Because a bee is just an insect. Doesn’t it go a little far? A lot of people think it’s extreme to also not use honey. I have to admit that honey is also the last thing for me to give up. Not that I was a big consumer, but it’s used as an ingredient quite a lot. I just wasn’t aware of why it wasn’t exactly vegan, until I did a little research. So then why is honey not vegan? First of all, very simple, because it comes from an animal. I didn’t realise at first, but taking honey isn’t only cruel, it’s also very stupid. Without bees we will die. How? Bees are the reason we can grow food. They are responsible for pollination, what fertilises the plants, so it will grow new plants. Without pollination nothing will grow. With 7 billion people and a lottttttt more animals on this planet, it’s quite necessary to grow food. There are a lot of mouths to feed. This for me is the very clear and super important reason not to use honey. Taking the honey from the bees can be very stressful for bees. Bees are very intelligent insects and are getting stressed very quickly. Also, bees don’t make honey so people can enjoy it. Bees make honey for themselves. Though, instead of having it for themselves, humans came up with the idea to give them sugar water. They are mostly allowed to keep some of the honey, just enough for them not to die. This to me sounds totally unfair. Honey is for bees, not for humans. This is all apart from that there are actual bee farms, what involves a lot of cruelty and death. Honey is very easy to replace. Use any syrup: agave, date, rice, golden.. Because I think instead of taking honey from bees, we should respect and honour them. They are the reason you’re able to have a yummy salad for lunch!

Did you already know the answers to these questions or did you learn something? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Veganism and Christianity

I was raised as a Christian. I went to church (almost) every Sunday, went to church-group and I went to a christian primary school. As a child you believe in God, because your parents do. When I grew older I started to think and I started to ask questions. I didn’t go to church anymore from when I was about 18 years old. That was not becuase I didn’t believe in God anymore, but because I don’t like churches. In my opinion it’s a lot about the people and not so much about God. Also, I’m not a big fan of ‘living in a community’ and to be part of ‘a group’. It makes me feel obligated. Then (personal) things happened in my life and I started to lose my faith. I started to have questions nobody was able to answer. Nowadays I do not call  myself a christian anymore, but I do still have difficulties to say that I don’t believe in God. I do believe in a God. Just, what and who is God?! The way he is described in the bible? I always loved the bible as a child and I still do in many ways. I think it’s a beautiful book full of life lessons. I think a lot of things in the bible really happened, but I also think that a lot of stories are made up and used as an example for us to learn from. Either way, I’m happy I was raised with this knowledge, about the christian God and the bible.

Now I’m vegan, I get told a lot ‘but God gave us animals so we can eat them’. I do not believe that and that inspired me to write this article and tell you what I think about this subject. There are a lot of things that don’t make sense to me, looking at christianity and veganism. Christianity teaches us that God created the world and Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, where everything was perfect. Then Adam and Eve fell into sin and from that moment things changed. A lot of bad and painful things came into the world. Some things that humans couldn’t control, but a lot of things happened because of humans. Humans started to give in to hate and choosing the wrong path. They started to curse, hurt and kill each other. This is not what God intended and this is what humans did to themselves and each other. You can choose love and compassion and you can choose hate and selfishness. People have own responsibility. If I ask you which one you prefer I’m quite sure you will choose love over hate. Christianity teaches us that one day the people who truly believed in God, will go to heaven. Now this is the part where a lot of questions come to my mind. If you truly believe in God, but you still do bad things you could control, will you go to heaven? And when you are not sure if there is a God, but you are a good person and always try to do the right thing, will you go to heaven? According to the people I talked to from church, you have to believe in God and be a good person. So what makes you a good person? Coming from christianity, I believe, next to honouring God, we should look after the world, look after each other, in peace, the way God intended. God designed the world perfectly. Everything is working in the perfect way. Just take a look at your own body, the growth of plants and the animals we share the world with.

Nowadays there are a lot of problems in the world. We are destroying it.The opposite from what God asked humans to do. The biggest, direct threat to planet earth is CO2. A lot comes from cars, aeroplanes, factories etc. Everybody knows this, because we get encouraged by the government to not use the car if not necessary, for example. It’s a worldwide problem. Not all CO2 comes from this though. So then what is responsible for the other percentage? It’s agriculture. In simple words ‘it’s the animals we breed for consumption’. The world that God created is destroyed by your food choice. This is not everything. What about our bodies? We are a threat to our own bodies. People are dying from welfare. We now know diseases like cancer, diabetes and about 40% of people (worldwide) has hypertension, what causes heart disease (45%) and strokes (51%). We are killing ourselves. What is causing these diseases? Consumption of meat, dairy and eggs. So again, the human body God created, is destroyed with the choice of food. How does this work? Meat, dairy and eggs are full of bad fats for humans. Apart form that, the human body has a long digestive system. Perfect for plant based foods, but animals products will rot as they digest a lot slower. What makes your body sour, toxins spread and guess what cells feel very comfortable in that environment? Cancer cells! So this is what happens to humans directly.

And what about the animals? Humans think that they have the right to own them, use them and kill them. God created animals and humans are using them like they are not important. Or actually, some are not important. We love our pets, but if it comes to a cow or a pig you didn’t know and never met before, what does it matter, right?! I think we should be loving and compassionate towards animals. They give us so much in return. We can learn so much of them. Christianity teaches us that they are also God’s creation. So why be cruel to them if you can love them too? Isn’t this choosing hate and selfishness over love and compassion? All animals have their own ability of understanding, that we don’t always understand them, doesn’t mean we can rule over their life’s. All animals have the will to live. If God created animals for us to eat, why are they trying to safe their life’s if they are about to be murdered? He didn’t give them to us to eat, in the Garden of Eden he said, in Genesis 1:29 – ‘Behold, I have given you every plantyielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you’. After the fall of man into sin, the bible doesn’t say: Because you ruined it, you can now also kill animals for food. It definitely doesn’t say ‘build mega farms and make as much profit as you can, despite of suffering’. This all came into the world by humans! Because humans can be selfish. They want money, power and rule over others. Animals don’t have a voice, they can’t literally tell us that they don’t want to turn into food. But if you look into their eyes, if you look at their fear when they smell and hear death all around them, how can you support this? I know I can’t speak for God, but for me it’s logic that this is not ok! Even though I’m not a christian, if there is a loving God (and I truly hope there is, in any form), than how can we humans justify this?

*The art you see, is by the artist Limppu – Laura Witick. She’s also a Master of Theology.

Are you a christian and are you vegan? I would love to hear your view on this too. Also when you do not agree, I’m honestly interested in how you will justify this. (Let’s stay nice to each other though!) You can comment below or send me a message via CONTACT. I look forward to it! Thank you! X

 

How to be: Highly Attractive

You know these girls with a perfect body, a gorgeous smile, smooth skin and it seems like the wind is always in their favour, blowing gently through their hair. Or these guys with a tanned skin, a six pack, shiny hair and when they smile their super white teeth are glistering in the sunlight. From the outside they seem typically attractive. Is this real attraction though? Of course it’s nice when somebody looks good, everybody will admit that. Though, somebody can be incredibly beautiful from the outside, but if they then say the most dumb things or are super insecure, the outside doesn’t seem to matter anymore. If you look at it the other way around.. somebody who maybe isn’t typically beautiful at first sight, but does have a beautiful personality, can become insanely beautiful from the outside too. But what is it what makes people attractive? I wrote down the top 5 of what makes you highly attractive.

1 –CONFIDENCE
I think this is the most important one for sure. As you can have it all, but without confidence, it doesn’t look half that appealing. If you lok confident, people are automatically attracted to you. It’s hard to fake confidence, as most people will easily notice that you’re just pretending. But if you have self acceptance, laugh out loud, feel free to say what’s on your mind, all without thinking about what other people might think of you, you’re pretty confident! Being independent, knowing that you’re capable of doing many great things, having faith in yourself and your ability to make things work.. then you’re talking about the whole package! This all together works like a magnet. In general life, but also for the people around you. Your lover, your social group and the bond you have with your family. So work on your confidence and I promise you that doors will open.

2 –PASSIONS
What are your hobbies or passions? ‘I don’t really have hobbies’. This for me is one of the least attractive things people can say. How can you not have hobbies? It states that there is not a lot going on in your life, that you don’t really care and you think it’s alright to live a routine life and just live for existence. Isn’t it super attractive if somebody would respond like this: ‘Hobbies? I have a lot! I love drawing, going for hikes in the mountains, playing football, playing piano and I’m very passionate about veganism and cooking’. It shows that you care and you’re full of life. Very attractive!

3 –KINDNESS
Act with kindness. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about that. When you’re kind, people want to be around you. You give them a good feeling. If you know somebody who is kind, you probably experience that as well. It’s nice to be around people who are polite, have the best interest, listen, show respect and are trustworthy. If somebody is rude to you or to others, doesn’t listen and always has something negative to say about other people, if they talk behind your back and are selfish, it’s unpleasant to be around them and you will avoid this. It’s logic.

4 –HUMOUR
Humour does a lot of good. Now of course different people have a different sense of humour, but if you find somebody who can make you laugh, it’s super attractive. Laughing releases endorphins and that gives you a happy feeling. The more endorphins your body gets, the more it wants. So having a sense of humour if not only attractive, it’s addictive.

5 –OPEN MIND
This is quite an important one in my opinion, even though it’s the number 5. Being open minded: looking at different possibilities, taking risks, be easy going and accept the people around you, makes you attractive. People who only believe and do what they think is good (because they’ve alway done it like that), without looking at what else is out there feels a bit like suffocation. Being open minded also means you respect people who maybe look different, are from different cultures, are gay, transexual or whatever. People who can’t tolerate this are people who are highly unattractive in my eyes. People are people and you should treat everybody the same.

The law of attraction is this: You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are. – Dr. Wayne Dyer

This isn’t only about feeling attracted to people. It also means that with a positive attitude, positive things will come to you. In work, in health, life in general.. So stay positive, be happy and smile, you’ll be irresistible!

Did you like this article? Do you agree with me, do you disagree or do you have something to add to this? Please leave your comment below! Thank you! X

Animal Charity Shops

I really like that the second hand shops here in the UK are charity shops. We don’t have this in Holland. We do have second hand shops, big one most of the time, but it doesn’t go to charity. It such a good idea to have this, so you know that the stuff you donate and the money they get for that is going to a good cause. I like it even more that every shop has its own charity. This way you know where the money you spend there is going to. Now, the best thing is that there are also charity shops for animal organisations. I discovered that quite recently and I though it was so cool. I looked some up and I will tell you what they do. This way you can make a choice yourself of where you like to donate the stuff you don’t need or use anymore. Or maybe you want to take a look and make a purchase.

cpCATS PROTECTION
They rescue, rehabilitate and re-home cats. They also offering advice, give information and educate people who own cats or who are thinking about getting a cat. Cat Protection is run entirely by volunteers. If you want to know more about Cat Protection, if you have questions about your cat, want to adopt a cat or you want to know where their shop is, go to their website.

dtrustDOGS TRUST
Dogs Trust is the largest UK charity for the welfare of dogs. It already started in 1891! Today they’re active in 10 countries. Something great things they have been crucially involved in: the animal welfare act, breeding, dangerous dogs, greyhounds and currently microchipping. Dogs Trust is a huge organisation, doing lots of amazing things for dogs. If you want to know more about them or if you want to visit one of their many charity shops, go and check their website.

logo-rspcaRSPCA
Since 1824 the RSPCA is looking after the welfare of animals. They offer advice, microchipping, neutering and subsidised animal treatments. They also rehabilitate and re-home animals. You can report animal cruelty at the RSPCA. You can do this via their website or by calling (24-hour) of course. If you want to know what else they do, if you want to adopt an animal or check out their shops, go have a look on their website.

pdsaPDSA
This organisation provides animal care to the pets of people in need. They do this so they can prevent illness, suffering and death of pets. They treat sick and injured pets. They also educate people how to look after their pets. To find out more about what they do or to find out where to find their shops, check out their website.

These are only 4 organisations who have charity shops. Of course there are more, please check if there are animal charity shops near you!

Did you know there are charity shops for animal organisations? Are there any near you and do you donate your unwanted stuff here? Did you buy things in one of these shops before? I would love to hear about it! Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram to show me! Thank you! X