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

Vegan Partying

You are vegan? That must mean you can never have a good time at parties.. you can’t go to barbecues, events, dinner parties.. This is what you get a lot as a vegan! People think you can only have a good time if you can eat dead animals or animal products. This is so not true! People associate having a good time with good food. I agree that good food makes things enjoyable, but apart from that eating a carcass of an animal is for me the opposite of having a good time, I also think that it’s more about the fun you have in general. The conversations you have and the people you meet. Or are you only going to the party to eat the food? If that is your main reason, you might have fun wrong.. haha! I do admit, that going to parties, eating out and all things around food was the last thing what kept me from being 100% vegan. Then I got over that, because I realised that it’s my body, my life and so it’s my choice. Then there was also the aspect of having vegan food available in situations as at other peoples parties. How do you handle that?

If I go to a birthday party and I’m not sure if there will be some plant-based food there, I bring some snacks myself and often I bring a lot more, so I can share. If I go to a wedding, a restaurant or even on a long flight, I always check if there is a possibility to have a vegan meal. If not, I bring my own. But in my experience it never happened that I had to bring my own, because there was always something. A good chef will always provide you with a suitable meal. It isn’t that hard, despite what people think. A little tricker is when you’re invited to a dinner party. In this case I offer to make something too and I bring it. Think of a fancy salad, sushi rolls, pastries, cakes, chocolate mousse.. things which are easy to bring and everybody will enjoy. This way you provide food for yourself and show others that it isn’t that hard to have good food. Try not too make too much different things as in some cases you might offend the host(ess). Depends a bit on who you go to though.

But what about a barbecue? Warmer days are coming and people get excited to throw barbecue parties. I used to really enjoy that, let’s say.. before I woke up! Now I can’t imagine how I ever enjoyed that, but you still get invited sometimes. It’s up to you though, but I do not enjoy barbecues at all!! I can not stand the smell, being around all these dead animals and worst: people who are being happy about it. It makes me sad, cross and very upset. So I don’t go. Though, if you are going you can always bring your own things and ask to cook your things first, before the meat touches the barbecue. A better idea is to throw your own barbecue party. Make sure you have lots of nice goodies, to show people it’s not necessary to kill animals to have a lovely time on long summer evenings. So what can you get for a good barbecue?

*Burgers/Hotdogs/Sausages or other good substitutes.
*Perfect bbq veggies: portobello mushrooms, bell pepper, corn on the cob, onion, fennel, courgette, aubergine, asparagus.
*Perfect bbq fruits: pineapple, peaches/nectarines, mango.
*Vegetable kebabs: bell pepper, onion, courgette.
*Cauliflower wings.
*Potatoes covered in a little oil and salt, wrapped in some foil.
*Pasta salads, potato salads, leafy salads.
*To make hotdogs and hamburgers: bread rolls, gherkins, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce.
*Baguettes, garlic butter, houmous, guacamole, tortilla’s.
*Make sure you have some yummy dessert too: marshmallows, cake, nicecream, fruit salad, frozen grapes/blueberries/cherries on a skewer.
*To drink: lemonade, juices, smoothies with umbrella’s. Wine/Cocktails (if you’re into that).

Say again?! Yes exactly.. this (and I’m sure you can think of so much more) is how you enjoy a cruelty free bbq party! Put on some suitable music, decorate the garden with lanterns, little lights, candles, open fires, blankets, cushions, napkins, nice table cloths and make people ask you to do this more often. Maybe you could make it a tradition. If I had a garden, I would have! You can ask people to bring a vegan dish, to encourage them to think of a barbecue in a different way. I hope this will become a real thing instead of smelling the flesh of roasted animals everywhere on a hot summer day.

Were you always a bit anxious of how you get through parties? Did you ever have difficulties? Please share your experiences! Also, are you excited to throw a cruelty free bbq now? I am! In case you know other very good vegan bbq ideas, please comment below and share or show me by tagging me on Instagram! Thank you! X

Low Budget Vegan

13405509_1164889170221851_1759293727_o‘I wish I could be vegan too, but I’m on a budget’. Well.. good news, you can be vegan from today! A lot of people think that being vegan is very expensive. Personally I think that is because there are so much so called ‘superfoods’ at the moment and people seem to think that if you’re vegan, you need those, otherwise you die. Though I sometimes do get these ‘superfoods’, I see it as a luxury product. You can totally survive without chia seed and you also won’t die if spirulina isn’t a standard product in your cupboard. Also, you don’t need to eat meat substitutes every day, just make sure you eat enough beans/pulses. Of course you can treat yourself to it, once in a while. You will actually see, that being vegan is a lot cheaper than being an omni. Especially with some good tips:

img_8343Make a meal plan. Once a week, take the time to sit down and make a meal plan. Make sure that 2-4 times a week, you make a little more of something, so you’ll have a quick meal for the next day. This is not only time saving, but also money saving.
Make a grocery list. By making a meal plan, you know exactly what you need. Make a list and only get that.
Buy in bulk. Make sure you always have things like rice, pasta, beans/pulses and grains in the cupboard. This way you only have to top of with fresh produce and only once in a while you top this up. At the Whole Foods Market for example, you can fill a bag yourself with rice, grains, beans, dried fruits etc. It’s a lot cheaper than if you get a pack from the shelf.
Buy in sale. Always buy (especially the more expensive things) when things are on sale. Like coconut oil for example, but also less expensive things like a nice pasta or soup.
Buy in discount. In the end of the day a lot of supermarkets have a lot of fruit/veggies and bread for a super low price. A bread for just 40 p or a bag of potatoes for 20 p! Most of the time they’re totally fine, but just because supermarkets can’t sell stuff what is out of date, it has to go and it goes away for cheap. Buying like this you’re also helping to reduce food waste.
Use coupons. In a lot of supermarkets and health stores you get coupons. Direct discounts or product coupons. A lot of times the coupons are for things you got earlier. So they will be things you most likely use anyway. Make sure you plan a meal where you will use this product, so you use them. Put them in a file and write down the dates somewhere, so you know when to use them.
fm2Go to the Farmers Market. At the farmers market you have really good fruit and veggies and mostly it’s a lot cheaper than if you get it in the supermarket. A lot of things at the Farmers Market are also organic, so win win!
Make things yourself. You can buy expensive lentil burgers, but with just a few ingredients you can make a whole lot yourself. Freeze them and you’re good for a while. Same way with making a yummy banana bread. Slice it up, pack them separately and put them in the freezer. This way you will have a nice cheap snack for at least 8-10 days.

In the beginning this might feel like a hassle. Making things yourself, looking for discounts all the time. But believe me, it will get easier, you’ll get the hang of it and eventually it will feel all natural. You might even start to really enjoy it. Make it a challenge to get your weekly groceries and keep the total as low as possible. This, whilst you make super nice meals of course. Good luck!

Did this help you to reduce the total amount you spend on groceries each month? Do you have a question or do you need more help? Please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can do this by leaving a comment below or by sending me a message via CONTACT. Thank you! X

Banana Island

So as some of you know, I’ve been on Banana Island for a week, from 20-26 of March. For the people who don’t know what Banana Island is, it’s not a real island. Being on Banana Islands means that you only eat bananas for a certain amount of days. I chose to do 7 days. This way your body can make real changes and it’s still very doable. You can eat bananas unlimited. Though, you have to try to at least eat about 20-25 bananas a day. To have some variety and extra vitamins and minerals, you can also eat a little bit of greens (spinach, celery, cucumber). I will first tell you about bananas and about the Banana Island, before I tell you how I experienced being on Banana Island. I will also tell you what I experienced and if anything changed. So here it goes.. 7 days, 140 bananas!

BANANAS:
Bananas have esseital vitamins and minerals. Let me explain why they are so important:
vitamin B6 – About 4 bananas give you the recommended amount of B6. So you’re good!
manganese – This helps with healing wounds (read: clear skin), healthy bones, activates enzymes (read: great metabolism).
vitamin C – It’s known to boosts your immunity to colds, but it also reduces inflammation and slows the aging of skin (read: clear glowing skin).
copper – It pairs with iron to help stimulate more red blood cells. Red bloods cells carry oxygen through the body (read: lots of energy).
fiber – It prevents heart disease and it’s especially great for a healthy bowel movement.
potassium – A very important one! It helps your muscles and nerves to work properly, it’s great for your metabolism and a healthy balance of fluids in your body. 

REASONS TO GO ON BANANA ISLAND: 
Healing – You’re giving your digestive system a break. As it only has to digest bananas, your system has an easy job to do. This way it uses less energy for digesting. The extra energy can go to other parts of your body.
Energy – For the same reason as described above, you will also experience more overall energy during the day.
Skin – You’re only eating raw and your body gets loaded with lots of important vitamins and minerals. Your skin will benefit a lot. You might notice your skin calms down (in case you have a troubled skin) and/or has an extra nice glow.
Hunger – You will learn the difference between emotional eating and hunger. If you just want to eat because of eating something and the only thing you can eat is bananas, you will less likely eat something. But if you’re really hungry, a banana will do.
Mind – Is quite similar to what I just described. You will be more mindful, because you will feel lighter (thanks to digesting faster), but also very important is that you will fight cravings. You will learns how to handle cravings: You admit you have a craving, you acknowledge it and then hopefully you can move on. This might be a struggle at first.
Weight – It’s very likely that you will loose weight. This will be mostly water weight. If you struggle with water retention, Banana Island will help you. Just note that if you will start eating lots of bad food again after you finished, you will easily gain weight again. To stay on the same weight or even lose more, keep eating healthy and exercise.
Senses – Your taste and smell senses can increase. You can experience better smell and taste. Especially your tastebuds will likely heal/improve.
Sleep – It improves sleep, because your body is able to make the right amount of sleep-hormones: melatonin and serotonin. These hormones are needed for our sleep/wake cycles. They often get disturbed by the things we eat or we do not eat.

SIDE EFFECTS*
Changing your diet and lifestyle can create a situation of temporary withdrawal. As Banana Island is a detox, you might experience side effects, like:
Headaches – A headache is one of the most common side effects of detoxing. It’s mostly a dull and prolonged feeling, but it is because your body is busy removing the buildup of toxins.
Fatigue – As your body is very busy cleansing, a lot of energy is used for only that. The more toxins in your body, the longer this takes. Though, if you eat enough bananas, you shouldn’t feel tired after day 3.
Feeling cold – Also very common, as your body is focusing on getting rid of toxins.
Shaky – Your body wants the bad things you consumed before. By not getting this your blood sugar drops and that is what making you shaky. Just make sure you eat a few extra bananas.
Trouble sleeping – Your body is disturbed by all the changes going on in your body. This might wake you up in the night more often.
Gas/Bloated –You body is getting rid of symptoms in all ways possible. Passing gas is a good sign, it means your intestines are busy clearing everything up. Don’t think it’s not effective if you don’t have this, as long as you have 1 (or more) good bowel movement a day it’s going well.
Cravings – Especially when you were a huge consumer of specific things like: sugar (!), coffee, alcohol and bad fats. You body will ask for there, because it was used to getting this. This side effect is probably the most difficult one. Stay strong!

*You are likely to experience this in the first 1-3 days. Some of the side effects are conflict with improvements. Don’t get discouraged, keep going! Of course if it’s getting really bad (fainting for example), you might want to consider eating a proper meal and maybe even stop all together. It’s very important that you make sure that you eat enough bananas. 

PPREPARATONS
To prepare  myself for Banana Island I did a few things. First, I (obviously) bought a lot of bananas. As I started on a Monday, I got my first batch of bananas on Friday. I got myself 50 bananas, to be sure I had enough for at least 2 days. On Sunday I got my second batch. I did it this way, so they have time to ripe, but not be too ripe.
Something else I did, is having a fruit day the day before (Sunday). This is not necessary, but I did it for 2 reasons. First, I had a lot of fruit I was not able to eat in the 7 coming and I didn’t want it to go bad. Second, I wanted to clear the way, so the effect of the bananas would work faster.

EXPECTATIONS
The reason I wanted to do Banana Island, is because this detox (as many other) is like a reset for your body. A lot of detox programs make you feel hungry, what is ok, but I liked this one because you will not be hungry at all. I especially like this detox because of the mental aspect. The difference you will experience between hunger and emotional eating. I’ve been eating a lot of junk food lately and it didn’t do my body any good. I was looking for ways to get out of that junk food circle, but every time I found myself back in that circle. So this is one of the reasons what made me go to Banana Island. I expect to learn a lot about myself and my body. I also really hope it will clear up my skin a bit. I’ve always had a bad skin since puberty and though it was way worse (before I went vegan), it can improve a lot! Though, my main reason for doing this, is because I’m more and more interested in raw food. This might be a step towards more raw food. I don’t think I will ever go fully raw and I always ate a decent amount of raws anyway, but I think I can do a lot better. I want to be a more healthy vegan. I expect to eat more than 20 bananas and I’m even slightly anxious I will eat an abnormal amount and double that or something.


BANANA JOURNAL

DAY 1 / Bananas: 20
I woke up feeling tired. I had about 7 hours of sleep, but I always have a lot of trouble waking up and getting out of bed. I had my first banana at 7:00 and I ate 7 bananas in total over the morning. At 12:30 I had another 2 bananas, but then I didn’t have any for a while. I had to go out around 15:00 for just a bit and when I came back at 15:30 I was all shaky. Just my arms and hands. I should have eaten a bit more by now I think and it also might be part of the detox effect. I had some more bananas and after an hour I was all back to normal. Still I didn’t seem to eat enough bananas and my stomach started to rumble at 18:00. I did eat 14 bananas by then. In the evening I had a whole organic cucumber, what was so refreshing and tasty. Love how something so simple was so delicious and it’s only day one. I also had 3 bananas with some spinach and water, blended into a smoothie. Was very yummy and a nice change after eating only bananas on its own. I didn’t have any real cravings today, I guess the fist day was quite easy.
Over the whole day I drunk 4 cups of tea and I drunk 2 litres of water.

DAY 2 / Bananas: 20
The second day and I woke up before my alarm (6:15), feeling very well rested. That doesn’t happen a lot. Walking to work I felt very energetic and light, what was a lovely feeling. When I got to work my employer gave me a compliment, that I looked well and energised.. ‘The bananas are doing you good’! It’s only the second day and even people around me see a difference already. Again I ate 7 bananas over the morning. In the afternoon I had a little nap. I didn’t feel tired, but to help my body detoxing and because I had a mild headache. It helped me to have less headache. Being shaky for an hour yesterday and the mild headaches are the only bad side effects I’m having now. Weird enough, having the side effects is kind of exciting, because it means my body is getting rid of toxins. Though, in the end of the afternoon, starting from about 16:00ish, I had a very dry mouth. When I got home around 19:00 I ate an organic cucumber and then the dry mouth was gone. To have the last 5 bananas, I made 2 smoothies with spinach and 1 with celery (I really liked this one). Also had a celery stalk on its own. Very yummy and refreshing. Normally I won’t eat them that often on its own. I like celery, but mostly I put them in my salad. I enjoyed eating it by itself a lot. I really like that about this detox, the appreciation for food. I also drunk almost 2L of water and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 3 / Bananas: 20
I felt less energy than yesterday morning, event hough I did sleep for 7 hours. It might be a side effect, but it could also be because I have to eat a few more bananas a day. I ate 7 bananas over the morning again and around lunchtime my stomach started to rumble. So this is also a sign I should actually eat more. The thing is that I’m not hungry. I eat bananas, but most of the time it’s because I have to at least eat 20 bananas in order to do this detox. What is very positive I think, because normally I’m always ‘hungry’. My body is learning about when I’m really hungry or when I just want to eat for the sake of eating. One of the main reasons I started this detox is because of this mental aspect. I felt very cold today too, overall, but especially my hands.. As this is day 3, the side effect must come to an end by tomorrow. What means I’m very excited about what is going to come next. When I left work (18:00) I only had 13 bananas, what meant I had to at least eat another 7. I decided to blend them, to make it easier. I blend them with some celery and made 1 big glass with a little bit of raw cacao powder too. It was very tasty and felt like such a treat. I divided it over the evening, but I was still very full in the end. I didn’t want to screw up though and make sure my digestive system kept working properly. I also made my boyfriend a burger for dinner, what is my favourite food. Surprisingly, though it was a little hard, I managed doing it and it actually went really well. I didn’t even have huge cravings. I also did really well drinking 3 litres of water, next to my 3 cups of tea. Hydration is very important in a detox!

DAY 4 / Banana: 20
My sleep was very deep, even though I only had 6,5 hours. I felt good in the morning, not highly energised good, but I felt good and content. I can feel I lost some weight, but the best thing is that I feel so happy and light. From around 14:00 today was the first time I was really thinking about having something else than bananas. I wouldn’t say it was a huge craving, but it was different from the other times I thought about different foods. I ate 2 stalks of celery, drunk a cup of tea and I felt better. I think day 4 as the middle day and with the side effects gone (headache free!), your body is changing the focus. I’m surprised I still didn’t have huge cravings, especially because I will have my period next week. Normally in this week (so the week before my period) I’m craving a lot of different things 24/7. I basically alway overeat this week, but thriving on bananas this week, makes me feel a thousand times better. When I got home after work (18:45), I had to eat 5 more bananas to reach 20, so I blended them with a little spinach and 1/4 of iceberg lettuce (I’m quite a fan of blending iceberg lettuce, it gives this little zing to a smoothie). I’m thinking about food quite a lot still. Not in a very annoying, can’t pull myself together kind of way. It’s not a craving for 1 specific thing though. Just I notice that I think about salads a lot. I only think about healthy food though, I have no interest in bad food at all. Again I drunk 3 litres of water today and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 5 / Bananas: 20
As it’s Friday today, I always sleep in a bit. What also means I started to eat later. It was ok though, because for breakfast I put 7 bananas in the blender, with a handful of spinach and water. Drinking this over the morning is a lot easier than eating the bananas on its own. Though my skin still had some breakouts in the last few days, I can see that it’s getting a little better. To be honest, this week (the week before my period) is always a good week for my skin, so I’m not sure if it’s just that or that it’s also thanks to the bananas. I think I have to be more patient to find out. Around 15:00 I thought about other food quite a lot again. To solve this I grabbed half an iceberg lettuce from the fridge and ate it like an apple (what level of vegan is this?!). It really helped and it was so delicious. In the evening I went to watch the movie Beauty&TheBeast (aHmazing btw.. best movie I’ve ever watched in the cinemas!!) and I always get popcorn.. I love popcorn! Today that obviously wasn’t possible, so I prepared a chocolate milkshake what contained 3 bananas and 1 tbs of raw cacao powder and I brought a banana on its own. My boyfriend didn’t easy dinner yet, so before we went to the cinema he quickly ate a pizza. He sat in front of me, eating one of my favourite foods. He wasn’t being mean btw, I told him to just eat. Nobody should change around me just because I decided I only want to eat bananas. As there was dairy cheese on the pizza I didn’t crave it at all. Though I think, even though the pizza smelled delicious, if it was vegan, I would still be ok. I feel very satisfied eating bananas. I’m very surprised I’m so ok with all this delicious food around me. Today, after the movie was finished I ate banana number 100! Was kind of a funny thought, knowing I ate 100 bananas in 5 days. I also drunk 2,5 litres of water and only 2 cups of tea.

DAY 6 / Bananas: 20
I was sleeping in until around 9:30 and didn’t start breakfast until 11:00. What wasn’t very clever as that means I have less time to eat 20 bananas. So I blended up 5 bananas with a handful of spinach and a glass of water and drunk it straight. Me and my boyfriend went to Portobello Road Market, but before we left I ate 3 bananas so I’ll not get hungry and tempted but all the yummy food there. We normally get a falafel wrap and eat it at Starbucks, but this time I didn’t get one, but only had a green tea. I was ok with it, though it’s a lot nicer if you can eat together. Eating 20 bananas while starting so late was easier than I thought. Because I was very hungry coming back from Portobello Market, so I blended 6 bananas with some celery and really enjoyed that. In the evening I was kind of craving a meal, so I ate quite a lot of celery and cucumber. Especially the combination of them both was very enjoyable. I can feel how my tastebuds are more sensitive as I could taste how salty the celery was in comparison with the fresh cucumber. Later in the evening I had serious cravings, to something savoury and saucy, like a proper meal. This is the first time I have cravings, maybe because I know it’s only 1 more day. I acknowledge that it was just a craving and created a healthy raw recipe I’ll enjoy on Monday. I also drunk a cup of tea and went to bed a little earlier than I planned to. I had only 2 cups of tea again today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.

DAY 7 / Bananas: 20
I woke up at 9:00 today, what meant that it was already 10:00, as last night the clock moved forward one hour. I slept very long and deep, 9 hours. I only woke up once at 6:00. So I started to eat my bananas a little later again. I guess that is what happens in the weekend. I made myself a banana/spinach smoothie and I got ready for the farmers market. It was lovely to see all the yummy colourful vegetables, it always makes me happy. Though I knew I had to wait for a salad until tomorrow. Later on in the Sainsbury’s, to get the rest of my groceries, it was also a little hard. I love grocery shopping, but everything what I bought was for the following week. I didn’t have huge cravings though, I’m just looking forward to a proper meal again. I made myself another big smoothie with bananas and celery (the one I bought at the farmers market), after eating 3 bananas on its own.
Though I did have bowel movements every day, today was the first time I had big bowel movements. I’m not sure why, but it’s a good sign. Tomorrow my body will be all ready to receive lovely fresh salads. I turned the last few bananas into a raw cacao soft serve. It was delicious. And swallowing that last bite, meant I ate 140 bananas in 7 days. Yesterday and today I was a bit bloated. My intestines must be working really hard to get a lot of toxins and waste out of my body. I’m wondering how it goes when I start to eat other things from tomorrow. I only had 1 cup of tea today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.


DAY 8
So this morning on the scale, it turned out I lost 1,5 kg this week. Quite good isn’t it? I could already feel it during the week, but what means a lot more to me is that I feel so light and have so much energy. I started the day with a big glass of luke warm water, with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This is how I start my day every morning, also when I was on Banana Island. I did some yoga and it went really well, it made me feel so good. Then I made myself a green smoothie with, guess what.. bananas! This shows you how much I love bananas. I did make the smoothie like I normally make it though, so not only with spinach and water. Yesterday I bought myself a little ripe papaya, to eat as the first thing after all these bananas. It was delicious. I love papayas! Then I also ate a very juicy and sweet tangerine. So enjoyable. At work I had some strawberries and then waited all the way until lunchtime. The moment I’ve been waiting for. I had a huge raw salad with spinach, chard, radish greens, radishes, baby corns, sugar snaps, avocado, ground coriander, smoked paprika and a little sesame seed oil. It was soo nice! I really love salads. Very satisfying after 7 days. Then in the afternoon I snacked on some blueberries, 1 apple and 2 pears. At dinner time I was really hungry and made myself some courgetti. I used a whole big courgette and I made very yummy raw sauce from: fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms, fresh basil, celery, salt, thyme and a little ground coriander. It was very delicious! There was some sauce left, so in the evening, whilst watching my favourite show ‘The Big Bang Theory’, I cut up a cucumber and started dipping. Yumm! Going to make this more often. I also drunk over 2 litres of water again and 3 cups of tea. What a successful day! In the next few days I will keep eating more raw foods, but I will also introduce my body again to some cooked foods, like: beans, sweet potatoes and porridge. 

CONCLUSION
Thinking I would eat more than 20 bananas and even feeling anxious about eating double that amount, was quite an hilarious expectation, looking at the fact that I struggled to even eat 20 in the end of every day.
Now one of the questions I was asked most during this week on Banana Island was definitely: ‘Do/Will you still like bananas?’. Yes I do! I love bananas! I enjoyed eating bananas a lot and I’m still enjoying them now. I think bananas are just perfect food. They have so much goodness inside of them, they’re so tasty and you can make amazing food combinations with them. They’re really my personal Super Food!
So overall I found it a very nice experience and it helped me a lot with looking at food in a more healthy way. For all these reasons, I would definitely do it again. Maybe in the summer.. I hope more people will join me then!

DAY 14 / Back to normal
So last week I ate very healthy, apart from a little chocolate here and there (sorry, I’m allowed when on my period, hehe..). This morning I was the same weight as I was after Banana Island. I think if I wasn’t on my period, I would have lost a little weight maybe. It’s still a good sign, because it means that the weight I lost on Banana Island is still off. I can also see that my skin is better. It’s smoother and I have less break outs. Even though I was on my period, I didn’t have huge cravings. Normally I have cravings 24/7 and I can eat a lot, especially the week before and I’m hungry the whole time, but I felt so much better.
The day after Banana Island I had a raw day as you can read in DAY 8. I did this to slowly introduce my body to different food again. The day after that I introduced beans and the day after that, I had some porridge for breakfast. Though from about that day, my stomach was getting really upset. I was very bloated and my tummy (from my stomach to my lower intestines) was painful all day. I think that I ate something (maybe a vegetable) that was bad and I didn’t notice. Or maybe it was becuase introducing all these foods again, but I don’t this was the reason. I kept eating healthy and normal, but only from today I actually feel better. I don’t want you to be discouraged from trying Banana Island, because I think it was because I ate something wrong. I still have a lot of energy and overall I feel very good. I feel so much better than before I started Banana Island. It really helped me to get back on track. This week I will exercise more and get properly fit again. The lovely sun coming out more often, is really helping me with that!

Would you like to go to Banana Island too after reading this? You should! It was a very nice experience and I would (and will) do it again! If you have questions or you need some encouragement, don’t hesitate to CONTACT me! You can also do that in a comment below or via Instgram! Thank you! X

Act With Kindness

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-21-22-33A simple act of kindness can mean so much. That’s why it’s so important to always be kind. Even when you don’t get kind back, you should never lower your level by being rude, just because somebody else is acting rude. Always act with kindness. A person who’s being rude, might learn how they can react the next time when they feel like shouting and cursing. Shouting and cursing back might make you feel good in the moment itself, but in the end of the day it isn’t rewarding at all. Don’t try to end hate with hate. Always show love and kindness. Spread it around and the people around you will feel inspired and hopefully in this way, all together, we can make the world a better place. Of course you’ll be in situations you can’t be only loving. But at least always be polite, be firm if needed and stay honest, but never give in to this angriness inside of you. It’s never worth it. You’ll gain nothing from it and nobody ever will.

hugIn general, spreading kindness is making you feel happy yourself too. It’s very rewarding and it adds to your own happiness. Giving a random person a smile, having a little chat with the person next to you whilst picking the tastiest apples at the supermarket, giving your seat in the bus to a pregnant lady, giving your best friend a hug, spreading compliments and sending your mum a message to tell her she’s appreciated and thought of. All acts of kindness. These things will somebody else feel special, appreciated and loved. Feeling special gives you a good feeling. A reason why a child (and adults.. hehe..) loves its birthday. This special feeling is such a strong feeling, that it will always accomplish a lot more than being angry and going mad. Again.. choose kindness, always.

Because all we can do is being kind, but it’s important to keep your own boundaries in mind. (That rhymes.. yay!) You can be yourself, be your unique self. Stay kind, polite and always show that you’re grateful for the acts of kindness coming from somebody else. You will be liked by the people who can appreciate that and you don’t need more. Give kindness, make people feel special, let people feel known and appreciated. This will give you a good feeling in the moment, but karma will also make sure it will all come back to you. Let’s keep that flowing!

Do you always try to be kind? Do you find it hard or does it come very natural to you? 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

ART: Elise Klinkert

If you read my travel posts about Holland, I’m sure you know that my mum works at hotel-restaurant Rikus. I always mention RIkus as I always go to my mum when she’s working. Do you also remember that in my first post about ‘Holland Groningen/Drenthe‘ I mentioned the artist Elise Klinkert? She makes beautiful paintings, from animals (mainly horses) and also people. Her work is some sort of dreamy and magical. I especially like the paintings with the horses, but there are also some people-portraits I really like. Always when I go, I hope there are new paintings I like and I’ve never been disappointed.This is why I like to tell you about her and her work. 

Elise Klinkert was born in 1967 in the Netherlands. She now lives in the north of the Netherlands, with her husband and 2 children. As a child she actually never painted. She was good at drawing, but she never decided to do something with it. She has always been creative though and designed and made other things, like jumpers, cardigans, teddies, lamps and even a wedding dress. Now, since 20 years, she is a stylist for fashion and advertisement photography. For the last couple of years she’s also been active as a photographer herself. Only 3 years ago she started painting and she feels that this is her future. When she paints it feels like everything comes together and this is what she wants to do. She is completely autodidact when it comes to painting. In the back of her garden she created a little studio. It’s very quiet there and she can completely focus on her paintings, whilst looking at an old magnolia tree and the birds singing in the background.

As a vegan I was curious why she chose to paint a lot of animals. But she actually doesn’t have a clear explanation for that. She loves animals and if something touches me she wants to translate that into a painting. ‘It’s that simple’ she says. For me this is a very clear answer of why she chooses animals automatically. Animals touch you, they’re so pure, honest and majestic. Nature and emotion are her biggest sources of inspiration. Most of the time it’s just that one moment, that glance or that right atmosphere she tries to translate through her paintings. She finds it very important in her work. She doesn’t make some sort of plan of what she should paint. She paints what she feels. This means that sometimes she started something, but then she doesn’t touch it for months. Then later on she will work on it again. It also means that some paintings will never be finished and end up in the hearth. ‘That’s part of it’ she says.

She mainly works with acrylic paint, but sometimes also with oil paint (like the ‘White Goat’ here on the right.) She definitely prefers acrylic paint, as she has difficulty with the mediums you use with oil paint. She also likes to use acrylic paint better, because oil paint is bad for your health and for the environment. Depending on the painting and her mood, it can happen that she finishes a painting in a matter of days, but it also happens that it takes months and that she does other painting in the meantime. Elise also does commissions, depending on the clients wishes. If you’re interested in her work, I recommend taking a look at her beautiful website. Here you can see all her art work and all the other things she does. At the moment she is looking for a nice gallery what suits her, so all she has to do is paint.

New York
About a year ago she notices an art competition: The Equus Film Festival Art competition! Everybody who makes art, involving horses, was invited to send their work. As she likes to paint horses and she does it quite often, she decided to send some of her work. She made it into the competition and was invited to join. The first round was choses by the public. Everybody could vote via Facebook. After that, out of the winners, a jury of experts picked the winner. Elise Klinkert won!! She never even dared to dream about winning this. It felt all very surreal to her and it was totally unexpected.So last November she flew to New York, with her paintings, to exhibit her work at the Equus Film Festival! ‘You understand, this was an amazing experience!’ she says. The painting you see on the left, used to hang on the wall at Rikus and I saw it many times. She couldn’t bring this specific painting, as right after the news that she was going to New York, it was sold instantly. The painting on the right is one of my personal favourites. In my opinion she totally deserved to win as I’m a big fan of her work. So without any doubt: congratulations Elise!

I want to thank Elise very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Elise Klinkert her work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Elise) know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

The Way We Grow Up

As some of you might know, I’m a nanny. Recently I started to work 4 days instead of 5, so I can focus on Planet Manel more. Being a nanny, obviously means that you’re always in contact with children. It also means you’re always in contact with the things around children. You go to playgroups, music classes, libraries, parties, nurseries, schools, meet other nannies and parents, playgrounds, zoo’s.. I can keep going, but I think you have an idea of what I mean. I’m vegan now for a bit over 3 years, but only lately I keep noticing how we grow up in this society where killing and using animals is so normal. In fact, most of us are getting familiar with it since birth I would say.

img_6609A child is pure and honest. How can a baby choose what to eat? And though 2 year olds can be really controlling about what they eat, in the end, they can only eat what you give them. You can get a lot of critic raising your child vegan. People say that you’re forcing your child to be vegan. I see it the other way around. Feeding your child animal products is forcing them to eat animals and you’re teaching them not to respect them. I do believe that if a child is able to choose, it would not choose to use, kill or eat an animal. Children are naturally very compassionate towards animals. Animals are friends in their eyes, not food, not shoes and not an ingredient in their bath bubbles. Only a child doesn’t know most of the times that it’s eating pork or wearing a woollen jumper. There comes a point though that they find out that the mince meat in their bolognese is made of a cow and that the fish next to their chips is a fish who swam in the ocean not long before. For some children that comes when they’re 4 years old and another realises it when turning 9. Though, at that point, people tell them ‘it’s ok’. You’re literally telling them that it’s alright to make a difference between animals. To not care about their feelings or maybe to act like those animals have no feelings. Isn’t that unfair?

i-only-drink-human-milk-onesieYou are what you eat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much for breast-feeding, it’s totally vegan! Though, if the mum eats meat or drinks milk.. part of that is also going to the baby. Not only with breast-feeding, but already since the very beginning, starting in the womb. The body uses the food the mum eats to help the baby grow and to produce milk. This is the reason you can’t eat very spicy things for example, you risk the baby getting cramps. This is the very first thing what happens to a young innocent baby. Then after a few weeks or months a lot of mums have to stop breast-feeding for all sorts of reasons. So a lot of people will start giving their babies formula, based on cow’s milk. Milk what is made for a baby cow. From about 4 months, the weaning starts. First some fruit and veggies, but then also yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs and meat. This article is not about sugar and E-numbers, but with the weaning that also starts. A lot of children biscuits or cereals are full of crap.

img_5912That is all about food, but what about toys, books and education? How many toys are out there of happy elephants in the circus? Or the smily hippo’s in the zoo? Children are taught that elephants belong in the zoo, not in Africa. Worst of all, they’re being taught that the elephants like to be in the circus. But one of the biggest things that annoys me I think, is the farm books and toys. Children are being taught that chickens are here to give us eggs, cows exist so they can give us their milk, sheep are here to give us wool etc. Then I’m not even talking about the hypocritical way of pretending that the animals are happy farm animals. Then I’m thinking, how will the world ever change, if children are being taught lies? A few weeks ago I was at a playgroup and we img_6839had story time. The children were all excited and sat down, so the lady could read the story. It was about animals. Lovely! A lot of animals were mentioned, cows, cats, ducks, dogs and also a turkey. A beautiful gracious black turkey. Instead of mentioning what wonderful animals they are, she said: ‘we probably all had them at Christmas’! Everybody was laughing and some people started nodding. It made me furious and I almost wanted to say something about it, but I know that it’s not the way. People will only think of me being extreme and I would get the opposite result. It was a hard moment though. Nobody was thinking about what we were teaching the children here. Probably because these people grew up the same way. Where and when do we break this circle?! It was a very sad moment and it really got to me. One of the reasons I decided to start writing an article about this subject.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-20-12-56About pets. I’m very much for keeping pets, especially around children. There is no better way to teach children compassion and love for the beautiful animals in this world. Letting them close to them and care for them is great. You have to admit, that children love pets too. A lot of children get excited about seeing a dog or stroking a fluffy bunny rabbit. But shouldn’t we also teach them how to keep them? Most dogs and cats are fine, apart from being teased sometimes, without parents teaching the children how to approach them in a correct way. If the dog or cat bites or scratches, the animals gets blamed. Weird. A lot of parents like to get hamsters or fishes as a first pet. You get a cage, food and some other necessary supplies and the hamster can live there its whole life. Some cages are not bigger than an A3 paper. It’s like a prison. Also a lot of times they’re being kept alone. No social interaction with its own species what so ever. I don’t agree with this at all. I have to admit, I used to have a lot of hamster and bunny rabbits living like this when I was a child. It makes me sad thinking about it now, but at that time I didn’t now better, I didn’t think about it. Now I am and I fishythink it’s important to get it out there. Hamster like space, they like running around, exploring.. and not only in plastic tunnels. This is just as sad as a fish in a bowl or an aquarium. Fishes would normally have the ‘whole ocean’ to swim in and now they have a few litre of water. Just because we want to keep and own them. ‘My child love fishes, so I bought him a fish in a bowl’. Not thinking about, that if you really love fish, you wouldn’t do this to the fish. Same as fishing. Fathers taking their son on a fishing trip, sounds all very nice, being in the fresh air, near the water.. but it’s basically teaching them how to torture a fish. How can the world become a better world if we keep teaching the children to have selective compassion? You should not pull a cat’s tail, but it’s ok to catch a fish with a hook through its lip. You should not kick a dog, but it’s ok to take away a calf from its mum so we can drink the milk. You should not poke a bunny rabbits eyes, but it’s ok to kill a fly. Maybe a fly sounds extreme to you, but why can’t we teach them respect instead?

img_6610In London a lot of little children are chasing the pigeons in the streets. ‘So much fun’! I never liked it and I never allowed the children I looked after. It’s not like they’re harming the pigeons, but I always told them to be nice to the pigeons and not to scare them. I always tell them to say hi and wish them a good day. Just a little compassion for the living beings we share this earth with. Why can’t we teach them to do that with all animals? A spider isn’t scary and a rat isn’t disgusting. They’re animals with feelings and emotions. They can feel pain and all they want is to live, just like us. I’m sure if we all educate ourselves, we’ll educate our children better. Teach them to only eat plants, to choose compassion and to show love and respect for everything that lives. We have a choice nowadays. Children are not only the future, it is their future. And so far children are being taught to destroy the world they grow up in.

What do you think about this subject? Do you agree with me or do you have something you would like to add or do you have something to say about it? Please let me know in the comments below! Thank you! X