COR(ona)RUPTION

I want to start by telling you that there is a chance that this article might be(come) censored, telling you that parts of my article aren’t true or even maybe deleted. This is happening a lot lately, with other people who are trying to spread awareness and the truth. If you do not know why this is, I promise you that the answer is in the article. I suggest copy/pasting this article and saving it somewhere on your phone or computer, just so you can always access it (for if you want to do your own research). I also want to write a disclaimer: I’m writing this article, fully believing in what I’m writing. If I’m not sure about something, I will always specify this. However, there might be people believing different things. I do stand behind what I write though and after months of research, I fully believe that this is the truth. Everything I write you can look up yourself. I tried as much as possible to not write too much from my own believes, but to just give information. My main goal is to give you something else than the one-sided story you’ve been hearing everywhere and for you to start researching and thinking for yourself. I also want to write a little disclaimer about my English. It is not my first language and I’m sure you will find mistakes. Let’s just ignore those, ok? Because spelling and grammar is one of the least concerning things at the moment.

For a while I’ve considered writing this article. I didn’t, because there is a lot that I want to say. It’s so much, that it’s even quite hard to wrap my head around it myself. Still, I felt the huge urge to write this. I feel it is my duty and I even feel that I’ve been put on this earth to make people aware. This doesn’t mean that I put myself on a pedestal. It’s the opposite. I feel so close to you that I do this out of love. I want people to become more aware of what is happening. There is such a big urge in me to spread what I know, that I started to take notes and gather information for months now. First just for myself, but 3 weeks ago I started to write it all down for you. Many people helped me with this, adding things, suggesting things, telling me I shouldn’t forget about this or that etc. I want to thank you all! Let’s do this together, as it should be. Let’s UNITE!

In the beginning of this year, we all heard about the corona virus. Many people became scared, because it was said to kill a lot of people. Everyone went into panic mode. In the whole beginning, I wasn’t too bothered though. I thought it was going to be something that we all forgot about in 1-2 months. Boy, was I very wrong. Just before lockdown I started to worry a bit though. I told people to stay at home and I told people off who didn’t. This didn’t last very long, because when they kept changing the rules, it started to be suspicious. I started to research, I asked other people what they thought and all together I found out that there is a lot that they are not telling us. All we hear is the mainstream media and the government. The corona virus story is a very one sided story, based on spreading fear. Look at history, look within yourself, with fear you can make people do a lot of things.

Now, I’ll answer a few questions that I’m sure you’re having right now: Do I believe that there is a virus? Yes! Do I believe that we are still in a pandemic? No! Do I believe that the measures that are given to prevent the spread are a good thing? No!

Many people think that when I talk about this, I deny the whole virus. This is not true. I do believe that there is a virus and that people were/are sick and that people have died/are dying. But I do not believe the amount of cases or the amount of deaths. I most certainly do not believe in the measures that are given to stop the spread. Let alone, having these measures, based on the current cases. Why I do not believe this and why I believe that the government is lying to us, is why I’m writing this article. Enough about what I think though, let’s just look at what is going on and then you can form your own opinion.

THE MEASURES
The measures are different in every country and they are changing in rapid speed. These basic measures are quite similar in every country:

  • HANDS – Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
  • FACE – Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.

Then there are different rules for every country, coming from these 3 measures. To read the official UK measures (at the time that I’m writing this) you can click HERE.

The measures are given, so it’s less likely for people to get ill and/or to die from the virus. But what I find odd, is that they are not talking about what you can do to become healthier. The healthier you are, the less likely that you will catch the virus, get ill from the virus and in some cases, eventually die from it. What is it that we do when we get the flu (which, just to confirm, is also coming from a virus) and/or when flu season is about to start? We look after our immune system. I believe we should do this all year around, but many people are giving it some extra attention when the R is in the month or when they feel a cold coming up. But there is absolutely nothing on the website, in the press conferences or in the mainstream media that is urging us to do that. Nobody is speaking about it, whilst it is so important! When someone on tv brings it up, they are shut up. When doctors try to spread the word, they are not heard, shut up or their messages get censored. If the 3 measures, are here to protect us from a virus, then I think looking after our immune system should be rule number 1. As a nutritionist, I think that it should be our priority, because the better your immune system, the more likely it is for your body to fight the virus. And if you did get the virus, recovering from it will be, in many cases, so much easier when your body is in top condition.

Hands
Now, that I mentioned this critical missing measure, let’s talk about the three measures that are in place. Starting, with washing your hands. I think washing your hands regularly is a good idea, especially when it’s flu season, but I think washing your hands is something everyone should do anyway. I personally always wash my hands after going to the toilet or when I come home. When you have a cold you wash your hands a bit more often and that, I think, is common sense. They also recommend using hand sanitisers. Using a hand sanitiser, when there is no other option is super handy. Once in a while. But many people are using it several times a day now and are washing their hands a crazy amount as well. Every shop you enter is providing a bottle of hand sanitiser and many people (incl. children!) are using it. They recommend you to use some before entering the shop and when leaving the shop. Every shop again. Resulting in people having dry and painful hands. Apart from that I understand that having dry and painful hands is not nice, I see a bigger problem.
By washing our hands and using gels so many times, we are also killing the good bacteria. The human body is thriving on good bacteria. I am very passionate about the gut, because your gut is where it is all happening. Your gut even has its own nerve system and this is why it’s sometimes referred to as your second brain. Basically, when your gut is in poor health, you are in poor health (both physically and mentally). Your gut health has a huge role in absorbing nutrients and releasing hormones. One of the very interesting parts, especially now, is that over 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Your body relies on bacteria. On gut microbiota and on the bacteria that live on our skin, it fights inflammation. I’m not going to explain that whole process here, as this is not an article about gut health and microbiomes (I do recommend you to research this though as it’s super interesting). Some doctors even linked over using hand sanitisers to antibiotic resistance, which is a serious problem. The point I’m trying to make here though, is that we are weakening our immune system by over washing and overusing hand sanitisers.

Face
Face masks are recommended and in some places, mandatory. Here in the UK there is now someone standing at most (shop) entrances, making sure you are wearing a mask. You are not allowed to get your groceries or to look for a new winter coat, when you are not wearing a mask. Then there is a lot of confusion about what kind of mask you should wear or not wear. In the whole beginning, we didn’t have to wear a mask at all and children under 11 years old also didn’t have to wear a mask. In the end of July I flew to France for work, with the 3 children from work. I had to wear a mask, but as the kids are all under 11, they didn’t have to wear one. Resulting in me wearing a mask, sitting next to the children whom I cuddle and kiss all day long. In public transport, there are parents wearing a mask, sitting next to their children who are not wearing a mask. There is no logic in this at all, especially when they tell us that children are less likely to get it and when they do get it, they are not likely to show any symptoms. But (!), they can spread it. 

Then I also want to talk about how harmful wearing a mask is for your health. It effects your mental health as all we see is masks. Body language/Facial expressions is very important, more important than you might realise. We do not see smiles anymore, but often have to guess intentions now or hope for the best. This affects you consciously and unconsciously.
We need oxygen, everyone knows this. Wearing a mask is providing you with some, luckily, because otherwise we would die on the spot. What also happens though, is that you’re breathing in a huge amount of CO2 (you basically inhale oxygen and exhale CO2). When you are wearing a mask the following can happen, because of elevated levels of CO2: shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, hyperventilation, seizures and in extreme cases a possible death. These or not things to be taken lightly.
But what if there is a killer virus and the mask is preventing you from getting it or spreading it? People will choose to wear it, because this is what we are seeing all around us. Even when it wasn’t recommended or mandatory yet, people were already wearing it. Although, I think many did it without knowing the risks. I think people who are wearing one now, are mostly just scared, even though many are saying that they are not scared. They say that they are doing it because it’s the rule and they want to just be careful and do the right thing. I totally understand this, but what if I told you that the masks do not work? It happens that a virus is so small, that it can easily go through the fabric of your mask. Masks are made to prevent big drops of saliva to spill. But a virus can easily just pass through the mask (see picture below).



What you often do (or at least, what you should do) when you’ve caught the flu, is opening a window or when you are capable, go for a little walk in nature. Why? Because everyone knows how beneficial fresh air is. It’s common sense really. It’s not a coincidence that the majority of people who live in the countryside, are healthier than people who live in big cities. Air quality has a huge influence on our bodies. Not only the quality, but also breathing itself. When you are feeling stressed or anxious, taking a nice, big, deep breath can be so healing already. Breathing is the essence of life! It’s most important in yoga, meditation and many other (spiritual) practices. The breath is in direct connection with our inner self.
Looking at all this, you must understand and probably conclude yourself already, how this also effects your immune system. You can literally boost your immune system by (deep) breathing techniques. Instead, we are obligated to wear masks, everywhere we go. In some countries even outside.

Space
The third and last measure is ‘space’; keeping a distance. Personally, this one is the one in particular that I have a huge problem with. I understand, that when someone is ill, we definitely shouldn’t start hugging and we need to keep a distance. When you have the flu, you stay at home, because you’re not feeling well, but also because you do not want to infect anyone else. Again, it’s common sense.
Because of this measure, people on the streets and in public areas are staying away from each other. They take steps back when you come too close and are getting out of your way (funny enough, in the UK this is one of the things that is less noticeable, because everyone was doing that already: it’s polite. Haha!). Not only strangers are doing this, because this measure is also meant for your family and your friends. Hugging loved ones is most valuable though. Humans are made for touching. It’s deeply rooted in our system. Whilst hugging someone, the bonding hormone oxytocin is released. Hugging improves your mood, can lower your blood pressure and slows your heart rate. When you are feeling stressed, a hug is very helpful. I think we don’t even need scientific proof for this (it is out there for if you want to make sure), because I think we’ve all experienced this at some point in our life. This is why hugging your baby is so important as well, it even promotes growth and development. Hugging is important! Personally, I love hugging and touching people. It creates and strengthens a bond and it just makes you feel good.

Now, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but there are studies that prove how hugging improves and strengthens your immune system. I urge you to research ‘hugging’ (it’s a nice subject to research!). You will find how hugging benefits the nerve system, how your body will release serotonin (also known as the happiness hormone), how it stimulates the Thymus Gland (it regulates/balances the production of white blood cells, which is a direct link to strengthening your immune system). You will find that it will decrease loneliness, fear, anxiety, self-esteem issues and overall stress and tension. But again, I don’t think we need scientific prove for this, because we just know this.

RESULTS OF THE MEASURES
There is still no real proof that these 3 measures stopped a massive spread. There was no peak after protests against the measures or around the BLM protests. Maybe a very small group of people didn’t get the virus because of the measures, but let’s look at what the measures itself did so far and what they will cause in the future. 
These 3 extreme measures together are strengthening each other. A vicious circle is created. Because all these measures are taken to the extreme, they create constant fear, stress and many people are very lonely. Wherever you are going, you see people with masks on, you see posters and stickers on the floor and the wall telling you to wash your hands, to wear a mask and to keep a distance, you see tape marking a 1-2 meters distance and there are messages and markings sprayed onto the pavement and the road. When you post anything on social media (Instagram) that includes words like ‘Covid19, corona, virus or pandemic’, there are automatic articles about the latest Covid19 news linked to your post, without you giving permission. When you turn on your tv or the radio you are told all these measures over and over again. They tell you how important it is, because the number of cases went up (later more about this). Wherever you are, you are constantly confronted and reminded of the measures and the consequences. Which makes that you are constantly confronted and reminded of the virus. The result is raised levels of fear and stress, even when you are not fully aware of this. Constantly! With raised levels of fear and stress, the frequency of your vibrations is very low. When the frequency of your vibration is low you attract negativity and it weakens your immune system.

I would like to talk about the third measure, keeping a distance, a bit more. This measure is causing a lot of loneliness. It’s one of the reasons why I said that this one is the one I have a big problem with. There are so many people who are extremely lonely. In all ages, but specifically older people who are living alone or in care homes. I’ve heard many stories and I have watched many videos of crying and desperate (older) people. The stories and videos are totally heart breaking. People who suffer from Alzheimer, who are even more confused now and who are desperate for a visit and a hug, but who are not getting it. Not for just a week, not for 2 weeks, but for months in a row now. I find this pure torture. Many (older) people’s health issues are also rapidly getting worse. Loneliness is one of the reasons why people are dying (faster) and loneliness is a direct link to the ‘space’ measure. There are people dying alone, somewhere in a (hospital/care home) room. Just imagine that you are about to die and you are all by yourself. Many older people also already said that they rather risk the virus, than living their last time on earth under these circumstances.
This also brings me to the people who are diagnosed too late and/or are receiving treatment too late. People are told not to go to the doctor or the hospital. You can now have digital appointments and many people think ‘I will go to the doctor when this is all over’. There are people dying because of this and there will be many more people dying from that in the future. Which means, that people are not only dying from the Covid19 virus, but also, very clearly, from the measures that supposed to protect us. These deaths, are predicted to be much higher than the (real) Covid19 deaths.

Let us look at the conclusion. Because you do not have to be a doctor to conclude that these 3 measures are weakening our immune system (especially combined). Or at least we can agree that they definitely won’t strengthen our immune system. This, in combination with that ‘strengthen your immune system’, is not even one of the measures to begin with. Not only that, they aren’t even mentioning it at all! If these 3 measures are highly necessary to stop the virus from spreading, like the government/WHO say they do, why are they not also urging us that because we have to take these extreme measures, we should definitely take EXTRA care of our immune system?!

Another direct consequence of the measures, is that people are losing their job and/or their business. There are many people who are at home jobless, because the company they used to work for had to let people go. There are people who see their (small) business crumble right in front of them, many of them to never return, like restaurants and cafes. Family and entertainment business are disappearing. I think it is obvious, but I do want to mention it just in case: When people are uncertain of the future and/or don’t have any (extra) money, they will also consume less. This effects all (small) business. The economic damage is immense!

Every death is sad and especially when it’s family, it’s horrible to miss someone. I do think that we have to be realistic though and look at the numbers. In the UK, the average age to die of Covid19 is 82.4. Many people in old age, every year, die from a virus. If we look at the bigger picture, I think that it’s very clear that there are more people suffering from the measures, than the virus itself.

I want to mention ‘stress’ one more time, before we go to testing. Everyone knows that stress is bad for you, or at least how unpleasant it is. Stress also kills your immune system. Long term stress can have many consequences. Stress increases your risk of developing other illnesses, from a cold to heart disease or any other chronic illness. Stress causes mental health conditions, or make them worse. And a very known and common one: stress causes poor sleep, difficulties to get to sleep or to stay asleep (which causes all these consequences extra). Now look at how many people are stressed.

TESTING
I have screenshots on my phone of countries ordering ‘Covid19 Tests’ in 2018, but I can’t prove that they are real, because if you now go to the WITS website, you can see that countries ordered millions of ‘Medical Test Kits’ and ‘Swab and Viral transport medium sets’ in 2019. It is still curious though, as the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January the 30th 2020, and a pandemic on March the 11th 2020. Did all these countries decide in December 2019 to spend millions on test kits just in case?

The most common test that is used to test if you have Covid19 or not, is the PCR Test. The PCR Test is invented by Kary B. Mullin. The test is known to be not accurate though. This is not a secret and you can look this up anywhere. It is thought to detect approximately 70% of Covid19 infections. The test is more accurate when you would only test people who actually have Covid19 symptoms, which was happening more in the beginning of this year. At the moment, they are testing a lot of people though. People who have 0 symptoms or who just have a blocked nose. They are recommending you to get tested as soon as you have the idea that you might have the virus, when you are going back to work for example or when you are just worried. In the UK the army is even going door to door to offer people tests. You can just get tested, no questions asked.. just a little bit of your DNA. You can even order tests online. The problem is that the test is less and less accurate this way. I will try to explain to you why this is.

The PCR Test can’t see the difference between dead and alive RNA. This means that the test can’t see the difference between if you are ill now or have been ill. This is why in the prescription of the PCR Test it is mentioned that whenever RNA is detected, it doesn’t have to be that this is also where your symptoms are coming from. It could be that it detects another virus or bacteria, even when this is injected via the flu jab. The PCR Test is not made to just detect Covid19.

Something that is very important is the prevalence. Prevalence says something about how many people in a certain group are actually ill. You have high prevalence and low prevalence. When there is a high prevalence, it means that there are a lot of people who are actually ill (who actually have symptoms) in a certain group. This is, what I mentioned earlier, when the test is more trustworthy. When testing in high prevalence, the margin of error is in between a 0-2%. 
Now let’s look at a low prevalence (what is happening lately, because everyone can get themselves tested, with or without symptoms). Low prevalence means that a small group of people, within the certain group, is actually ill (who actually have symptoms). The lower the prevalence, the higher the margin of error. But in the meantime, they are basing the whole second wave on this.

In the UK we went from 10,000 test a day in March to around 500,000 test a day (with plans to go beyond). This is clearly a low prevalence.

In the beginning, they were advising people to only get tested when it was very necessary. So, when someone actually experienced the symptoms, but when they still had to go somewhere or when someone was working in health care for example. With only 10,000 test a day, mostly used by people who were experiencing symptoms, you can imagine that there was a high prevalence.
Now that flu season has started, flu jabs are highly recommended (they say it’s more important than ever!) and the tests are available for everyone, there are suddenly a lot more cases. 

CURE
There is a cure for Covid19, which is already tested and suggested by many doctors all over the world. It is normally used to treat malaria. It’s a triple drug combo: hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc. Even though it is safe to use and there have been quick and positive results for people with Covid19, it is not recognised as a cure. I’ve heard several doctors who are positive about this and who successfully tried it with their patients. Instead, the doctors who did this, are now not allowed to give this to people any longer.
Hydroxychloroquine is known to be safe and is even used by pregnant and breastfeeding woman. However, it only makes a difference for Covid19 patients who are not in the IC yet and in long term use (with Lupus for example) it is connected to heart disease later on in life. I’m not a doctor of course (so, correct me if I’m wrong), but I assume that using this combination of medicine for Covid19 is not considered long term. Also, there are so many (long term) medicines prescribed every day, with so many side effects, but people still take that. So, why are we not using this medicine, maybe only for the most vulnerable (?), to prevent the immense suffering that the measures are now creating for everyone? Many doctors are saying this, but they are being shut up.
Why is this not in the mainstream media? Could it be that, if this is the cure, the (already purchased) vaccines won’t be necessary anymore?

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
The ‘World Health Organisation’ was set up on April the 7th, in 1948. They are now with more than 7000 people, from more than 150 countries and their headquarters in in Geneva, Switzerland. They claim to ‘promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable’. This is what they do in health emergencies: 

-Prepare for emergencies by identifying, mitigating and managing risks.
-Prevent emergencies and support development of tools necessary during outbreaks.
-Detect and respond to acute health emergencies.
-Support delivery of essential health services in fragile settings.

All these measures and advices we are getting around de Covid19, comes from the WHO. At first sight, it seems to be a great organisation and I’m sure they do a lot of good things too and a lot of good people are working there, trying to make an actual difference. Let’s look into a few things (mentioned throughout the article).

Starting with their CEO, called Tedros Adhanom. He started his 5 year term on July the 1st, in 2017. In Ethiopia, Adhanom served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016 and also as Minister of Health from 2005–2012. Adhanom turns out to have a close relationship with China’s President Xi Jinping. And when he ran to become the CEO of the WHO, he was backed by Chinese diplomats. Adhanom is the first CEO of the WHO without a medical background, but with a political background.

To me it is very strange that Adhanom became the CEO of the WHO. There is a whole list of crimes he is involved with, during his time as a minister. To give you some examples: during his time as health minister he refused to declare a suspected outbreak of cholera an epidemic. He discouraged journalists from reporting on Cholera in the country and they were pressured by government employees not to reveal the number of infected. This resulted in many deaths and infected people in Ethiopia and surrounding countries. And in the beginning of 2020 he has been accused of ignoring the Chinese government’s lack of transparency over the coronavirus. It seems that they found their image a lot more important than helping other countries to prepare for the virus. 

Despite his crimes, he did receive the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award for his contributions of public health in 2011. It is a true mystery how a man like Adhanom receives awards, whilst he is responsible for so many deaths and so much suffering. I encourage you to look into Tedros Adhanom.

BILL GATES
Every time you research something about vaccines, funding or public health, Bill Gates is popping up and this is why I want to make sure that this man is not missed in this article, because he clearly plays a role. Let’s look at who he is.

Bill Gates was born into wealth. His great grandfather and grandfather were bankers and his father Bill Gates senior was a lawyer and political lobbyist. Bill Gates dropped out of college to start Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. He got credit for inventing the operating system that became Windows, but he actually didn’t invent it. He bought an existing operating system from Seattle Computer Products, had it modified and then licensed it to IBM. 
Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen says in his book ‘Idea Man’, that Bill tried to buy his share for a bargain and that he cheated him out of the company, using Steve Ballmer. This happened whilst Paul was treated for cancer. Paul left Microsoft in 1983. Steve Ballmer who is one of Bill’s best friends (he was even his best man at Bill and Melinda’s wedding), later became CEO of Microsoft in January 2000.

Antitrust Lawsuit 
In May 1998, Microsoft was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of twenty U.S. states (and the District of Columbia), because of illegally thwarting competition, to protect and extend their software monopoly. In October 1998 they were also sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating a 1994 consent decree, by forcing computer makers to include its Internet browser as a part of the installation of Windows software. I personally found the video tapes during Bill Gates’s deposition, cringing. Hard to watch! I also have to admit that the questions were a bit weird or the same (but I admit that I don’t have enough knowledge about questioning), but Bill argues a lot over simple words or simply says ‘I don’t recall’. I think, when there isn’t anything to hide, you can answer with the truth, explaining what you mean.
I doubted about if I should explain the whole case here, but I decided against it, because the information is easily found. That is why I want to encourage you to watch the deposition video tapes and read up about this case. I find it awkward, cringing and very curious from beginning to end, but you might have a different opinion.

Gates Foundation
Even though Bill Gates is mainly known as Microsoft’s co-founder (+ former chairman and CEO), he is also known through the ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’. The foundation is very popular in the mainstream media and Bill and Melinda Gates are very eager to show the world what ‘good’ things they are doing.

Because of the antitrust lawsuit, it’s no secret that Bill Gates lost his credibility and popularity. In 2000, during the lawsuit and the same year that Steve Ballmer became the CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates invested $100 million to set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates rebranded himself. He was in tv shows, on covers, did interviews etc. What happened is that he went from that sneaky tech monopoliser to a generous philanthropist hero, basically overnight. He then said that investing in vaccines was his best investment he had ever made. It made him the richest man in the world. The investment turned $10 billion into $200 billion worth of economic benefits.

Some curious facts about the Gates Foundation:
-They make money coming from over 60 companies that are causing many social and health problems, like: McDonalds, Shell, PepsiCo, Walmart, Coca Cola, KFC and Bayer/Monsanto (also all companies who own the whole food industry). 
-They are the biggest funder of the WHO and de CDC, which makes Bill Gates the biggest influencer of health and medical freedom.
-Some of the emergency response partners of the Gates Foundation are Oxfam, Save the Children and Unicef, all of them involved in sexual abuse/harassment scandals. (I do believe that there are lovely people working at these organisations though, who are doing it for all the right reasons and I’m sure that they are doing some good work too. But you also have to understand, that these are profitable organisations. They are profitable businesses, with their CEO’s earning 6 figures a year.)

In 1986 president Ronald Reagan signed a National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which gives total immunity to vaccine manufactures. 
In 2009 the HPV vaccine was given, by PATH (partner of Gates Foundation) to 24.000 girls. Lots of girls got very ill, but there was no insurance and no help. Dr. Colin Gonsalves (senior Counsel, Supreme Court of India) was surprised to see an American organisation operating in India. He wanted it to be investigated. He says that this is when the government officials said that they are sorry and they would not allow them again. In the meantime, Fact Checkers were quick to say that the Gates Foundation was never kicked out of India and every article that said differently, was false. Dr. Gonsalves also says that “now they are back it just shows that it’s manipulations of the media and by the media, manipulating public opinion, by leaders of all political parties who are all saying that they want the vaccine”. He thinks “it’s the worst that they are seen as philanthropists, whilst this is actually an accusation of political and financial power”.

One of the Gates Foundation’s core priorities is to eliminate polio. This is why, in 2011, they invested in Chinese biopharmaceutical company. The OPV production went from 80 million to 240 million doses. In 2018 a scientific study (by Rachana Dhiman, Sandeep C Prakash, V Sreenivas and Jacob Puliyel) in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said that 640,000 children developed NPAFP in the years 2000-2017, suggesting that there were an additional 491,000 paralysed children above their expected numbers for children with NPAFP. The response to the reduction in OPV rounds (de-challenging) adds credence to the assumption that OPV was responsible for the change in the NPAFP rate. Again, Fact Checkers were quick to say that this is false, but you can still look this up at PMC (NCBI).

The Gates Foundation also is giving the polio vaccine to children in Nigeria. Due to low cost, they are given an oral vaccine. The oral vaccine contains a little bit of the alive (weakened) virus (in Western countries an inactive virus injection is given, as a prevention) and it mutated, resulting children are now paralysed by the alive virus in the vaccine. 

Curiously, in 2016 Bill and Melinda Gates were given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. Freedom for who?

Event 201 
Bill Gates already talked about a pandemic and vaccines in his famous 2015 Ted Talk. He also said that he was excited for the year 2020 (nowadays, you’re one of the very few Bill!). On October 18 (2019!), a 3,5 hour event was held in New York, called Even 201; a Global Pandemic Exercise. The event was a simulation of a ‘possible pandemic’, only 2 months before Covid19 was found in Wuhan. The simulation included dramatic, scenario-based facilitated discussions, confronting difficult, true-to-life dilemmas. The event was by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (partner of and funded by the Gates Foundation), World Economic Forum (also a partner of the Gates Foundation) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Jeffrey Epstein
Many know Jeffrey Epstein by now, mostly through the documentary on Netflix. For anyone who doesn’t know him: Jeffrey Epstein was also a philanthropist, who set up the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation, giving millions of dollars to top universities, science institutes medical schools and international peace accords. He was also a convicted sex offender, (sexually) abusing many young girls. Having a foundation that donates large amounts of money, isn’t a guarantee for being a good person or having right intentions. For Jeffrey Epstein it was clearly something he was hiding behind. Pretending to be a good person, so nobody would suspect the horrible things he was doing as well.

Jeffrey Epstein’s foundation gave money to establish the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (Harvard University), NEURO.tv and the Open Cog project:
-Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (Harvard University): evolution of cooperation, cancer, viruses, evolutionary game/graph/set theory, prelife, protocells, eusociality, evolution of construction, population structure, evolution of language, experimental games, and evolutionary economics.
-NEURO.tv: video series where experts discussing everything about the human brain.
-Open Cog project: an open-source software initiative for artificially intelligence, aka: robots. It’s an architecture for robot and virtual embodied cognition. Some of it is designed to give rise to human-equivalent artificial general intelligence.

You might not know this, because apparently, the mainstream media decided that this isn’t that important, but Bill Gates is a direct link to Jeffrey Epstein. They established their relationship, as far as I can find, after Jeffrey Epstein was convicted (2008). Although, there is a woman called Melanie Walker, who knew Jeffrey Epstein since 1992 and worked as Jeffrey’s science advisor from 1998. She also worked as the Senior Program Officer for the Gates Foundation from 2006-2013. Melanie apparently also lived in a building, owned by Jeffrey Epstein.

Bill Gates said that he didn’t have a business relationship or a friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, but that does make me wonder what they were doing and discussing on the numerous occasions that they met (including several times in Jeffrey Epstein’s place in Manhattan). There also have been several employers of the Gate’s Foundation visiting Jeffrey Epstein, several times, in his Manhattan mansion. Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein kept meeting up, at least from 2011-2017. In 2013, Bill Gates even flew from New Jersey to Palm Beach, in Epstein’s jet. Gates later said that he didn’t know that it was Epstein’s jet. 
The meet ups were said to be for funds for the Gates Foundation. Some of the employees from the Gates Foundation said that they didn’t know that Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted sex offender and that they were shocked to learn that the Gates Foundation was working with someone like Jeffrey Epstein.
Then there is Boris Nikolic, Gates’s science advisor, through the Gates Foundation. Jeffrey Epstein named Boris Nikolic in his will as a fallback executor after he killed himself.

This raises a lot of questions for me. 
-Why deny having a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein whilst they obviously had one?
-Bill Gates said that he regrets meeting with Jeffrey Epstein, but why did he meet with him so many times for at least 6 years? And why meet up and discuss funds with a convicted sex offender (for a foundation that stands for helping children!)?
-Bill said that he wanted to have new sources of money (setting up a charitable trust that was benefiting Jeffrey Epstein). But why would one of the richest man of the world choose to do this with the convicted Jeffrey Epstein?
-A spokesman for Bill Gates refused to say how many times he had met Jeffrey Epstein. Why is this a secret?
-Why did Jeffrey Epstein name Boris Nikolic in his will? No one, and I think especially not someone like Jeffrey Epstein, would do this when you just know each other briefly and have not that much to do with each other, right?

Vaccines
When there is a vaccine, COVAX (led by WHO, GAVI and CEPI) is going to make sure that the vaccines will go to each country. Now, guess what.. GAVI and CEPI are both funded by non-other than Bill Gates. The Gates Foundation pledged $750 million to set up GAVI and CEPI was co-founded and co-funded with $460 million from the Gates Foundation (among others). And that is not all, because if you remember from earlier: The WHO’s biggest contributor is also the Gates Foundation.
This means that when the leading vaccine organisations develop a vaccine against Covid19, they are directly linked to Bill Gates.
And if you payed attention, then you understand that the measures that are given to us, coming from the WHO, are coming from the very same source who is developing the vaccines.

About the vaccine itself. They say it normally takes about 10-15 years to develop a vaccine. It makes me wonder, because how are they going to know about the long-term consequences? Imagine a vaccine that is developed a lot quicker. They are not even being transparent about what is in the vaccines, but maybe that is still to come. There are a lot of different methods used, some of them haven’t even been used in a licensed vaccine before. Something definitely worth mentioning is, that the makers of the vaccine can’t be held accountable for the outcomes once it’s given to the public. A virus mutates as well, which means that if the vaccine would work, it might not work for the mutation.

Control
Talking about ‘conspiracy theories’, one of the most popular ones is that the vaccine is linked to 5G and a chip that will control us. I do not want to say too much about this, but just to let you know: Elon Musk already planted a chip in the brains of a pig to do tests. This is not a secret; you can easily look it up right now.

Bill Gates said that eventually we have to move to a system where we have digital proof of who is recovered and who is vaccinated. What, do you think, does this mean?

I also want to tell you about something that is called a Cryptocurrency System Using Body Activity Data’. This is a system that they are working on (or maybe they already finished it). It simply means that a server will provide a task through a device. The device is then communicatively coupled (could possibly be through a chip) to the server and you are rewarded if you fulfil the task.

The reward could be money, but that is not mentioned though. What maybe is interesting to mention as well, is that due to more card/contactless use, cash will eventually disappear (also something that is pushed right now, to pay by card and not with cash). They estimate this to happen in 2026. If that happens, all your money is basically just numbers in a system. This way, everything you buy or all money you receive, is traceable. 

Why I find this all so interesting to mention, is that the ‘Cryptocurrency System Using Body Activity Data’, was patented on 26th of March 2020, by Microsoft. You can see this yourself if you like, over HERE.

One more interesting topic, whilst we talk about control, is Earth Now. Earth Now is a company who is working on sending around 500 satellites into low-earth orbit. The satellites will provide high-resolution, real-time, live-video coverage. It’s said to initially provide services to the government and large-enterprise customers. They will also use it for things like detecting natural disasters, illegal fishing, keeping an eye on war zones and crop health. How do you feel about, having 500 satellites recording everything that is happening on earth? Especially when we are so into facial recognition as well. And guess who was one of the first investors of the EarthNow project; Bill Gates invested $1 billion.

One More Question
Is Bill Gates just a misunderstood person?

POPULATION 
I personally do not dare to say if the world is overpopulated or not (I might leave that for another article), but I do know that it’s a hot topic for the government (and Bill Gates, as it’s one of his favourite subjects). One of the people who was very interested in this, is Henry Kissinger. The Kissinger Report might come across as a little random, but the reason that I bring it up is because I want to show you how far they will go to stay in control of population and that things aren’t always what they seem.

I urge you to look into The Kissinger Report. A report that was made in 1974, by the United States National Security Council, directed by Henry Kissinger. The report used to be a secret and could only be declassified by the White House. In 1990 it was made public. Since the report there have been a lot of policy papers, but the report is still the foundational document on U.S. government population control. 
The Kissinger Report describes completely unethical methods for population control and the reasons to control the population are for the USA to have access to mineral resources of less-developed countries. There are specific countries they focus on and who are mentioned in the report: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Columbia. To control the population, they have the following methods: 
-Legalization of abortion.
-Financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates.
-Indoctrination of children.
-Mandatory population control and coercion of other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless an LDC implements population control programs.

Two examples to show you what control can look like:
-HIV is a big problem in Africa. Uganda was one of the countries that successfully decreased HIV in 2004. They did this by changing the behaviour of people; encouragement of having one partner, to be faithful and funny enough to discourage condoms. There was a 70% decrease! This success was a threat for the USA, so, organisations like CARE international (Family Planning Partner from the Gates Foundation) encouraged condoms and medicine in Africa, against HIV. People lost their fear of HIV, became riskier and HIV in Uganda increased again. Even though it looks like they are doing an amazing job, it isn’t always what it seems. Luckily the rates in Uganda are down again.

Some of the Family Planning programmes in India include (forcibly) sterilising woman. If that is by choice, then go ahead, but the bizarre thing is that it is funded by the US, other Western governments and foundations. There was a huge scandal, where woman died, within horrible circumstances, due to poor hygiene and with no proper after care. Some woman in India were offered $10 if they would do a sterilisation. I know that it’s a choice to take the $10 and to then get the operation, but in what way was it free will? What were the circumstances?

TRUST
I assume you have a lot of unanswered questions by now. I have as well. I started to research this all, because I wanted answers. I got some answers, but I also have a lot more questions than I had before. It’s so hard to know who you can trust and who has conflicts of interest.

Our Health and Safety
We are told and we grew up, to trust what is said by the government (and the WHO). They tell us that the measures are put in place for our health and safety, but also for the health and safety of others. Covid19 seems to be the only important thing there is at the moment. Are they always this committed to our health though? What about consuming meat, dairy, fast food and smoking tobacco for example? All proven to be bad for our health and linked directly to obesity, heart and circulatory diseases and (lung) cancer. 
In the UK, around 460 people die due to heart and circulatory diseases and around 450 people die of cancer, each day (!). That is around 900 deaths a day! 
What would happen if the government and the mainstream media would act exactly the same way around heart and circulatory diseases and cancer as they do with Covid19? They don’t and they won’t. Instead, it is promoted! The supermarkets are full of food that is not good for us, doctors are taught how to prescribe a pill instead of a healthy lifestyle, they allow companies like McDonalds and Coca Cola to be promoted at huge (sport) events, most food in hospitals is awful and remember how the fast food restaurants were the first ones to open after lockdown?

How can we trust the government and the WHO to care about our health and safety?

Facts
There used to be a post that claimed that the virus Covid19 is patented and the patent is owned by the Gates Foundation. If you now search the web, there are a lot of articles that say that it is not true. True or not true, the post with the claim is now deleted by the so called ‘Fact Checkers’.

Fact Checkers have been around for a while, but they never have been so active as now. Who are these Fact Checkers and can we trust them? It turns out that most fact checking organisations are members of the ‘International Fact-Checking Network’. It is set up by the ‘Poynter Institute for Media Studies’. When we look at the funders we find: The Gates Foundation and Google.

Here is a list of some of the most common fact checkers: Full Fact, NewsGuard, Politifact, Health Feedback, FactCheck.org and Infotagion. Many of these companies are also funded by Facebook. The last one, Infotagion, is very new and especially here to fact check everything around Covid19. They are mainly funded by variety of worldwide politicians, but they do not share who is actually doing the fact checking itself.

The term ‘conspiracy theorist’ is a term that most of us associate with untrustworthy. Many people laugh about the so called ‘conspiracies’ and there are literally articles that tell you ‘how to deal with conspiracy theorist’. The result of articles like that, is that whenever you now hear someone say anything that goes against the government or the WHO, they are labelled as ‘conspiracy theorist’ and you do not believe them (without doing your own research!). I’m not saying that every ‘conspiracy theory’ is true, but if some of them were true, isn’t this exactly what they would want you to think? It’s a mind game.

The Social Dilemma
The Social Dilemma is a documentary that Netflix released on January the 26th, 2020. I really like this documentary, because I like how coincidentally it’s released at the same time as the start of this so called pandemic and fact checkers being more active. The first whole hour of the documentary is about something we actually already know; we are being controlled through social media. Then in the last 30 minutes, the documentary focuses fully on ‘conspiracy theories’ and the danger of that. Warning you to not believe people who believe ‘strange and bizarre theories’. What this documentary does, is using the truth (for credibility) to tell you a lie and keep you asleep.

Mainstream Media
When you listen to the mainstream media, you will mainly hear the one-sided story about how dangerous the virus is and how we need to take the measures serious. What they are doing is spreading fear. When people are scared, or scared for each other, then people are more likely to obey.
Did you ever think why it’s only a one-sided story? There are many people (including many doctors and professors) who say something different and they are not heard. When they do get some attention, they are made ridiculous, put away as ‘conspiracy theorists’ or they are not given any proper answers.

After the protest in Berlin on the 29th of August 2020, there was nobody who was reporting how there were no peaks. What they did show everyone, was how the protest were aggressive and how people were using violence. They showed you the few videos of people who were disrupting the protests (you could ask yourself if those people were maybe hired, but that is maybe a step too far for you) and holding up Nazi symbols. They were not showing how many people, from all backgrounds, were peacefully standing up for their (and everyone’s) freedom. They were not even giving the real numbers of people who were there. It was said there were around 30,000 people, but in real life there were 100,000’s of people. Why would they lie about this? Could it be because when people hear that there are many people doubting it all, they are starting to doubt as well?
There was a most amazing speech by Robert F. Kennedy Jr (nephew of former president John F. Kennedy), but his words didn’t make it to the mainstream media. If his name was mentioned at all, it was mentioned together with the many disruptions and violence. I encourage you to listen his speech though. It is definitely worth your time.

Then what about the artists who were offered money to promote the measures?
People who you look up to, telling you to stay at home and to wear a face mask. That is clever. It also makes me wonder why it is necessary to offer artist money to do something like this. I personally do not respect the decision to take money for this.

Last but not least, I want to talk about journalists. There are a few (independent) journalists who do their research work, but their stories are not published. This means that they do not have any income, so I think that many of them are making the decision to write what they do publish (the one-sided story). I do urge all journalist to do their research and get the truth out there. I’m not a journalist, but I still felt the need to do a crazy amount of research, to write this article. This wouldn’t have been necessary, if real journalists would do their job. I know it is hard, but it has never been more important to report the truth. Be a hero and make a difference!

Influenza Viruses
There are 4 types of influenzas viruses; A, B, C and D. Some of the symptoms of influenza are: (sudden) fever and a (usually dry) cough. The one we have to deal with mostly is type A. One of the type A influenzas is the H1N1 (Swine Flu).

The Swine Flu was also declared a pandemic. This was in 2009 and it was coming from Mexico. The WHO declared it to be over in August 2010. At the time, I heard of it, but I didn’t even know that it was a pandemic back then (I actually just found out, but that might be completely my own fault). It did affect lots of people, including children. It was also dangerous for people in risk groups, like people with underlying causes. It was calculated that it killed in between 150,000 to 575,000 people. Why wasn’t there a similar response like the response we had/have now? When the Swine Flu was discovered, nobody knew how many people would die eventually, but nobody was told to stay at home, shut down businesses, wear face masks and keep a 2 meter distance. Some of the symptoms of the Swine Flu are: chills, fever, cough, sore throat. And you know what is the most remarkable, it comes back every year since then. It is one of the flu-types we can get during flu season.
Also, remember that any alive or dead RNA can make a positive PCR test. And flu season is starting right now, as it’s from October-May.

Transparency
The problem is that there are too much things that are highly illogical. You can’t trust the mainstream media and there is just no transparency. When this is the case, people are going to look for answers. Everyone who looks for information and then asks (critical) questions is then called a ‘conspiracy theorist’. It’s a vicious circle. It wouldn’t happen if they were transparent and honest in the first place.

Then there is something as freedom of speech. Asking questions, having an opinion is your human right. It shouldn’t be censored or deleted, but answered and explained.

THE NEW NORMAL
Bill Gates said that he wants to vaccinate the entire population.
 Now, all the world leaders are telling you ‘we can’t go back to normal, until we have a vaccine’.

In the beginning, they said that the few measures they gave was just to flatten the curve. We were advised to wash and sanitise our hands more, to keep our distance and to stay at home where possible. Most people agreed that this was the right thing to do. So, people rushed to stock up on sanitisers and hand soap (and toilet paper for some reason), stayed at home where possible and didn’t meet up as much. 
Then they came with the lockdown. It was just for 3 weeks though. The rules during lockdown were the following (UK):

-Shopping for basic necessities.
-One form of exercise a day – either alone or with members of your household.
-Medical need or to provide care help vulnerable person.
-Travel to work – but only if necessary and you cannot work from home.

Then they extended it for ‘just’ another 3 weeks. But after 6 weeks, it took a very long time before things were a little bit more normal. Places started to open very slowly again, with fast food places opening as one of the first and the gym opening as one of the last. 

After the lockdown they advised us to wear facial masks and eventually that ended in the 3 main measures we have today. Now you have to wear a mask whenever you enter a shop or another public place. You also have to wear one in the gym, when walking into a pub or when entering a restaurant for example. Only when you are entering the building though, because you don’t have to wear one during the exercise or as soon as you sit down. Which, I personally, find super illogical.
A lot of it doesn’t make sense, but the inconvenience and controlling factor is very high. Still, people obey.

They are now announcing a second lockdown and in some countries and areas, people are in lockdown already. They have always been talking about a second wave since the beginning, so it is not coming as a surprise to me. I’m very curious to see how much people are still going to just obey. I can see a rise of people who dare to ask questions, who can see how illogical, destructive and ridiculous this all is. Of course, everyone wants to protect others, but we are also protecting others and ourselves when we do not obey. Every death is sad and when it’s your grandma or father, it’s very hard. Death is part of life though and whilst you’re alive, you should live your life. The way we are living now is not living. We’re (literally) locked up and it’s unnatural. Like I mentioned before, I think we need to ask ourselves if the Covid19 deaths we are preventing, are weighing up to the suffering and the many deaths caused by the measures. Why do we only care about people who are dying from a virus, but ignore for example domestic abuse and the suicides that are rising since this all started?

There are many headlines saying how we will never go back to normal (as in, how it was before Covid19) and that this is the new normal. It happened/happens so slowly though. Every time there was/is another step, another measure, another rule, another thing to get used to. We are already so used to people wearing masks or staying away from each other, that I catch myself thinking how people are touching each other and how they are not wearing masks, whenever I watch a movie. Do you have this too? Then I think you need to ask yourself how normal that is.

There is something I want to ask you. It doesn’t matter if you choose to wear a mask or not, but please stop taking selfies and pictures with the mask (on). Let’s try our very best to not make it the new normal. Show your smile! When I look around me and on social media, I see that the masks are being made fun and cool. Masks, whatever the print, are not fun or cool. I think we can all agree on that? We also shouldn’t teach the younger generations that, the situation we are living in now, is normal.

The Kids
Let’s talk about the younger generation. Did you wonder what this must feel and look like for them? Children are now growing up in a world where they are told to be scared of others; adults and even their own friends. They grow up thinking that people are dirty and full of contagious bacteria, so they need to stay away from everyone. They see people with masks on and people who are stepping back to keep a distance from them. They are told to wash their hands and to put on hand gel several times a day. 
Children as young as 8 years old have to wear a mask in the hallways at school and I know many children with very dry and sometimes painful hands, due to washing and sanitising a lot of times a day. Parents and teachers who are telling them that it’s all because there is a scary virus that can make you ill and/or kill you (or it can kill your grandparents and it will be your fault!). It sounds like a movie. There is actually a 2003 American series called ‘Dead Zone’ that has basically the exact scenario of this pandemic. It’s episode 14, season 2. It’s about children catching a coronavirus that comes from China, who have to go into lockdown and is eventually cured with chloroquine.

Maybe some of you were born in a subculture, religion or maybe even a sect (if not, then I hope you can maybe imagine this). I’m sure that the majority who was raised like this, will admit that, growing up in that particular way (of beliefs), will always stay with them. Even though they are maybe not living that lifestyle anymore, it is always in the back of their heads. I personally experience this, because I was raised a Christian myself. And even though I do not consider myself a Christian anymore, I still notice that I was raised like that, good and bad. Now imagine you are a child who grows up in the madness we are in now. I’m sure that this whole crisis will have a huge impact on children, still noticeable when they are adults.

It is said that the first 5-7 years of a human being are crucial. We learn a lot in these years and by the time we are 7 years old we start putting things together. In these first years of development, a base is established. We form an image of the world and the people around us. 
A child is like a blanc, an empty canvas if you will. They believe what they are told and they definitely believe what they see and feel. Now, imagine being a 5-year-old who is looking at the world for the first time the way it is now.

Not only 5 year olds of course, but it affects all children, teenagers and adult very hard as well, as we talked about earlier.

Nothing like this should become the new normal!!

After all this information, I have one last question: Why are you still blindly obeying?

MY PLAN
Democracy is completely gone, but one of the biggest crimes, I find, is that they are using us to fight each other. It’s like we are their weapons. People tell each other off, judging each other and even call the police on each other! I know that many people do this, because they are scared, but this doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

They are dividing us. Which makes sense, because when we unite we would be stronger. There seem to be two groups at the moment: people who believe that the government and the WHO have our best interest and people who doubt everything and do their own research. To go from the first group to the second group is scary. To let go of the idea that the government is here for you to be safe and happy, means going against everything you have always believed growing up.
You might think ‘I need more proof that the government and the WHO are not having our best interest’. You could also ask yourself: Where is the proof that you can trust the government and the WHO? Because at the moment, there is more proof against them, than for them.
Maybe it’s time to ask questions and to see the other side. You are not alone! There are many people who stand up for themselves and for others.

I don’t want to tell you, this is my plan and this is the solution, so listen to me! I don’t want you to listen to me or see the world exactly the way I see it. With ‘my plan’, I just want to encourage you to love. Try your best to look at the bigger picture and stop listening to the one-sided story they are telling us. When you are listening to the mainstream media or the prime minister, try listening to what they are not saying for a change.

I want to thank you so much for reading my article. I worked so hard on this, for days and days. I poured all my energy into this. I really hope that it makes you think and see another side of the story. I hope it encourages you to not always believe what you see at first sight or what you are told, but to do your own research. And whenever you wake up and start to see things differently (in your own time) or when things will show, do I want to say ‘I told you so?’ Not at all! I actually hope that what I believe (I have a very clear idea of what I think is happening), is not true and that I am very very wrong. But if it turns out that I was right, I will just welcome you with all the love in the world!

I want to send you all my love now as well! I have hope, because I know that love, positivity and light are always stronger than hate, negativity and darkness. Make sure that you are happy from the inside, raise your vibration and spread love as much as you can.

At this point, it doesn’t matter anymore who you like or dislike, who you have things in common with or who you have nothing in common with. In other words: It doesn’t matter anymore who is your ‘enemy’, because we all need to unite for a better world. It’s like when we support only our club in the football leagues, but we are all supporting one team when the national team plays. That is what we need to do now! Let’s set aside our differences. Do not fight, let us UNITE!!

THANK YOU
I want to thank everyone who supported me whilst writing this article. Every message and every encouragement was really helpful and kept me motivated. I want to thank every barista, for always making me feel welcome and making me lots of matcha lattes. I want to thank everyone who is also fighting for a better world, in every way possible. I want to thank everyone who inspires me and who is dedicating time to raise awareness: my family and friends (in particular my friends Yvonne Luikens, Bruno Cruz and Barbara de Block), my lovely followers on Instagram, everyone in the many What’s App and Facebook groups, and the many (!) doctors and professors from all over the world who are preaching the truth. I also want to thank Jay Francis (@tisjeboyjay), Lange Frans (who’s Instagram account has been deleted), Isa Kriens (@isagreens), Marije Berkelaar (@marijeberkelaar) and Jorn Luka (@jornluka) to inspire me and for using their platform to spread love and awareness. Thank you all so much! I could not have done this without you all!

Forever Home – Oliver

As many of you know by now, I had to find a new home for my baby boy Oliver. I rescued him 3 years ago when he was only 2 weeks old. If you want to know how, you can read his rescue story here. I always thought that he was able to stay with the family I work for, but apparently that was based on a misunderstanding. I was heartbroken, because I never imagined having to find him a new home. It is not easy to find a new place for a close to 250kg weighing pig. If I knew he wasn’t allowed to stay I would have found him a home when he was a lot younger. As soon as I heard he had to go, I was super stressed. I didn’t know where to start, how to transport him and when I heard he had to have his ear tagged before traveling I almost lost it. I couldn’t see how I was ever going to manage that all. Oliver is lovely, but it’s not like he is always cooperating very well.

I contacted all the sanctuaries I knew and all the sanctuaries I was able to find that were close and further away. Everything was full for pigs and with every message that came back I lost confidence of finding him a good place. It was such a hard and stressful time for me. A few sanctuaries recommended contacting ‘Pigs in the Woods’ though. They were very far away, but they also help with rehoming pigs. So, as a last resource I send them a message. They didn’t have a place for him, but he was going to be on a waiting list. When I heard that the waiting list is very long, I actually gave up on that as well. I did fill in the form though and I explained that it was urgent (I had 2 months before the family I work for moved houses) and then I got a message back from them. The lady said that she was going to visit a sanctuary the next day and that she would mention him. I didn’t hear back and I was too nervous to ask about it. Then almost a week later she send me another message that she might have found him a place, because she visited another sanctuary that just freed space for more pigs. She send me the contact details of a lady called Michelle Morgan. It was already quite late in the evening, so I decided to send a message first. But I got a message back straight away, asking me to give her a call. So I did. And within 2 minutes Michelle took away all my worries and stress! She told me that she would take Oliver and he was very welcome to live with them forever. She also was able to do transport and they would do his ear tag at the sanctuary by their vet. It was such a huge moment of gratefulness! It was very emotional!

Then about 2 weeks later they came to get him. First he was going by trailer, but in the end they came and get him with their van (my baby boy had his own little vanlife adventure! Haha!). It was so lovely to meet Michelle and her husband Julian! I was crying straight away, because of all the tension and the huge feeling of gratefulness. I was also feeling stressy, because Oliver has a lot of strengths (literally), but doing what I want him to do is not one of them. But to all of our surprise he got into the van straight away. Only to get straight out though! I thought we were lost and it was going to be a huge battle, but within 5 minutes he was in again and I quickly shut the door. I was shaking of adrenaline, but we did it! It was going so much better than I expected. It was a 4 hour drive back, but he slept the whole way and he was quite sleepy when he got out. As he is deaf, he didn’t even notice that they openend the van when they arrived. He was greeted (Michelle filmed it) straight away by their dog Sheldon, by their 2 kids and lots of other animals. I’ve watched that video about 50 times!

It is going very well ever since! After a period of getting used to his new surroundings, he lived with a group of goats for a while, but since a few weeks he actually has 2 huge pig girls to share his field and life with. It was a little tricky in the beginning, because he was a little scared of them at first and he broke out of his field (he is super good at this!) to be with Michelle and Julian, but it’s going better and better. It makes me so happy, because he was aways so lonely when he lived with me. Something that always broke my heart, but I couldn’t have another pig at the place. I was going to get him a friend after the move, but as you now know everything went a lot different. Seeing him with other animals and with lots of attention, gives me the happiest feeling! He is surrounded by lots and lots of rescued animals who are all lucky animals, because they all have Michelle and Julian looking after them and they are the best!! This is also one of the reasons why I’m writing this, because I would love to tell you their story, to make you aware of how special and inspiring they are.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Michelle (51) used to live in South Africa and in 1996 she met Julian (49), who was on holiday over there. They moved in together very quickly and now, 24 years later, they have been married for 15 years. All this time they always wanted to move back to Wales, as Julian is from there. Michelle really fell in love with Wales, after visiting Julian’s family many times. They both wanted to move there to have land and keep a few animals. They never thought of having a sanctuary though. The reasons why they eventually did is so inspiring and I have to share this with you!

The first reason has something to do with family life. Michelle was working in the hotel industry, Julian was working in IT and both of them loved their jobs. They tried for children for about 10 years, but without any succes. Then one day Julian came home and said: ‘what about fostering?’. They started to look into that and eventually they did. They now have 2 long term foster children. They both have severe special needs. Their daughter Sophie (15) has down syndrome, ADHD as well as severe learning and their son Charlie (21) has global development delay. Michelle feels very strongly that they couldn’t have biological children, because they were meant to have Charlie and Sophie. I find this an amazing thought and I totally believe as well that everything happens for a reason. Michelle: ‘Destiny is faith and these children were waiting in the wings to make our lives complete, which they have!’. Michelle left the hotel industry to focus on family life and when they were asked to foster Sophie, she knew she needed an extra pair of hands. They kids often each need one to one care and sometimes appointments would fall on the same dates. She needed help and that is where Julian left IT.

They were living at Basingstoke at the time when Michelle went to a petting zoo one day. This is where she got inspired to make their dream happen. Not because she had such an amazing experience, but the opposite, she was horrified. She saw animals being handled very roughly by children and staff being on their phones not caring one bit. When she got home she said to Julian: ‘Let’s move to Wales, let’s get a smallholding and let’s rescue some animals!’.

This wasn’t the only reason though. In 2018 Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer and her tumor has an 84% chance of coming back in the first 5 years. This is when Michelle said to Julian: ‘If the second cancer is the one that comes and takes me off of this planet, do I want to be taken off it from a smallholding in Wales surrounded by animals or do I want to be taken of it here in a mid-terrace in Basingstoke?’. The answer was pretty simple! She says that the silver lining in her cancer diagnoses is that it pushed them to what they had been discussing for years. Now, that is the way to see and take life!

They first wanted to just have a smallholding with a couple of animals, but when they rescued the first 2 animals, they realised the need. This is when they seriously started their sanctuary and they now have over 80 rescued animals! They have Welsh large pigs, Kune Kune pigs, lambs and sheep, ducks, turkeys, roosters and ex battery hens, goats and a dog. Julian is basically the man with the strength and does all the maintenance. Due to Michelle having had cancer she is quite weak in her hands, but that is why she gets to do all the loving, which I think is such an important role. Her chores are: tickling, scratching, cuddling and kissing. How amazing!

Their sanctuary never rehomes. All animals can live there for the rest of their lives. The only exception is when there is an issue what causes the animal unhappiness. For example, they once had a boar called Jeffrey who they couldn’t castrate, because he was too old and the operation could have killed him. They couldn’t keep him on their land, because of the female pigs that they have. Keeping him would  mean that he had to be in a pen by himself, with the smell of the female pigs around him all the time, that would drive him crazy. But luckily they have a farmer across the road who also has a small holding who was able to keep him there with no females. He is now happy over there!

Michelle became vegan 2 years before she was diagnosed with cancer. She decided that she wanted to know where her food came from. She heard some horrifying things in the media and wondered if they were true. So she started researching herself. She is very visual, which means that telling her about slaughterhouses and the horrible circumstances animals live in, isn’t helping her that much. So, she started to watch videos and documentaries and that is how she started to realise it all. Michelle: ‘I thought how can I call myself an animals lover? I can’t! I have to call myself a dog lover, a cat lover, because I was eating pigs, cows and all other commercial animals.’. So much has changed since then. She said that she used to be someone who ate her body weight in chicken and bacon, but since researching the horrible industry and seeing how much cruelty existed, she turned around completely. Michelle: ‘Talking about the cruelty makes me rather emotional, because animals are sentient beings and we shouldn’t eat them or use them for anything. You can also be way more healthier having a plant based diet!’. She does believe everyone has a choice of what to put in their mouth. She chooses to not preach veganism, but to show people and live by example. She hopes that when other people see their lifestyle and meet their animals, that they start to think differently. Some friends have already. How great is that!

During chemo therapie though, her body rejected all food! Everything she ate was thrown up again, except for.. meat! It broke her heart, but luckily she is now off all the chemo and active treatment. She is so happy, because she couldn’t imagine being outside with all the lovely pigs and then go inside to eat pork. Julian is not 100% vegan yet, but he doesn’t eat any meat of the species of animals that they keep. Which is a good start, especially cuz they have so many different species already. Veganism is very important to Michelle! Michelle: ‘You look into the faces of these animals and they are not just animals, they have hearts, they have traits, they have personalities and they are absolutely fabulous and each one has its own character and depth. I absolutely love it!’.

Michelle and Julian tell me that they used to be quite materialistic. Michelle had a big handbag and shoe fetish, collecting many big brands. Julian would buy loads of electronics and gadgets. Since moving to Wales their life has changed 360 degrees. They are now big into recycling, sustainability, animal welfare and care! She was telling me that she bought an industrial poop scoop and broom the other day and she was so excited when it arrived and that it was the same excitement she used to feel when a handbag or a pair of shoes arrived. I absolutely love this!!

Michelle: ‘Cancer taught me to live my best life and Julian fully agrees’. The diagnosis turned their life upside down, but it also showed us what we actually need and what we want to do. They hope to even purchase more land around them, so they can rescue even more animals! They would love their sanctuary to grow a good reputation. In my eyes they already have, because with so much honest love and care, you can’t top that. They don’t want to open to the general public, but instead they want to open for parents who have children with special needs. Many special needs children can’t go to other sanctuaries or petting zoos, where it can be quite busy and noisy because of other people. So families can call them and, by appointment only, they can come and visit. They are making sure there is only one family at the time. This way the children can meet and touch animals and learn about them in a safe and calm environment.

They are a 100% non profit organisation and every penny spend on the sanctuary comes from their own pocket. This is why any donation is gladly accepted and appreciated. All this money goes towards the animals directly! I donate £30 every month (every 13th, because that is the day Oliver moved there), which I hope to increase in the future. If you can spare a bit of money, even if it’s just a little bit or even if its just a one time thing, please donate via PayPal: info@safehavensanctuary.co.uk. They use this money for all the right reasons!!

Aren’t they amazing people?! I told you! I love them both so much and I’m forever grateful that they came into my life and I trust them completely when it comes to my lovely boy Oliver! Do you have a question or do you have something you want to say? You can do this below or you can do this via Instagram: @freedomevermore and @safe_haven_animal_sanctuarys (give them a follow!!). Thank you! X

 

Protein Powders (Whey vs Perform)

IMG_1845_polarrCan you imagine living without a protein powder? Can you even make smoothies and pancakes without it? So many people are using protein powders nowadays, that I thought it was time to write something about  it. I will explain to you what protein powders are, if they are necessary, what different protein powders there are available, what you need to know and consider when you are choosing a protein powder and what protein powder I personally recommend. 

WHAT IS PROTEIN POWDER?
The first thing I want to say about protein powder is that it’s actually nothing more than a clever marketing trick. When you tell people that they need more and more protein, before they become protein deficient or that it’s the only way to build proper muscle, people will start to believe you eventually. This is exactly the case when it comes to protein powder. A lot of people are into fitness these days and this made the protein powder market explode! People now believe that you cannot build muscle without consuming a protein shake straight after your work out or that you need to consume all 9 essential amino acids (protein) at once for our body to actually use it. This isn’t true. As long as you consume enough  protein and a variety of protein sources during the day, your body will be just fine.

But in short: Protein powder is a dietary supplement, mostly used by athletes, to meet their need for (extra) protein.

2E01AA15-9721-4F70-8C4B-7BE1C11DFB62DO YOU NEED A PROTEIN POWDER?
In my opinion protein powders are just a crazy hype and the average person does not need it. Am I against protein powders? No! I am even using some myself now and again.

How much protein do you need:
Most people who eat a healthy and varied diet, with enough calories, do not have to worry about their protein intake. When you eat a balanced diet like that, you will most of the time even consume more protein than necessary. This is when you live a normal life with an average amount of exercise. When you exercise quite a lot you will need to increase your food/calorie intake. This actually automatically makes sure that your protein intake increases as well. So if you are going to the gym a few times a week just to stay fit and you make sure you watch your food intake, you are fine.
It changes a little bit when you are an athlete. When you train on a daily basis, you want your body to recover quickly. Extra protein can help. This doesn’t mean that you need to go crazy on your protein intake, but especially when you want to stay lean, an extra protein shake a day can be helpful. This way you are helping your muscles to recover quickly (without consuming too much fat and carbs), so you’re ready for the next training.

IMG_5808_polarrIn numbers:
It’s recommended to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. This is for the average person, which means that you need about 46-56 grams of protein a day. For athletes it’s recommended to consumes 1.6 – 1.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. Note, that your body weight is the body weight that is your healthy body weight. When you are over or underweight, you don’t calculate the kg’s you lack or your excess weight.

When do you use a protein powder:
Before I will answer this questions, I want to make sure that, as a nutritionist, I first of all would always recommend you to consume protein by eating proper food. By proper food I mean whole food plant based food. This is always better than a protein powder. I don’t want to go into this subject too much for now, but very short: One of the main reasons why this is important, is because, 1 type of food isn’t only protein or only carbs, but it contains a lot more nutrients that are all very valuable. The reason why a varied diet is so important, is because all these nutrients work together. One can’t be absorbed without the other etc. So always make sure that you eat a varied diet, because that is the base of a healthy diet.

I love smoothie bowls! I especially love to eat these for lunch (which is technically my breakfast as I do intermittent fasting on most days). Just a smoothie bowl and whatever I will have for dinner, wouldn’t give me enough protein for that day. So, this is actually the only occasion where I use a protein powder. To just add some extra protein to a bowl full of other nutrients. I mainly do this on days that I work out or when I have a busy day. On days that I don’t work out, but I do eat a smoothie bowl, I don’t always add the extra protein.

5F4D3A57-0B75-46EB-AF2F-BA3E12709944On days where you’re asking a lot from your body, you might also want to consume a little extra protein, to support your muscles a little extra. So maybe during a day of hiking or before/after a huge work out. Add some protein powder to your pancakes, flapjacks or drink it as a smoothie/shake.

When you are an athlete and you are training on a daily basis, consuming enough protein is a must. You want your muscles to recover quickly, so they are ready for the next training. A lot of athletes are way too obsessed about protein though. You just need enough, not a crazy amount. A daily scoop of protein powder on top of a varied diet is a good idea and  gives you a nice top up. That varied diet should also contain extra protein coming from food, like: beans, lentils and tempeh etc. Because, again, the focus on getting most of your protein from the whole foods you eat is super important.

CHOOSING A PROTEIN POWDER:
When you want to use a protein powder, the most important thing is to choose well, which means: choose quality! There are so many different protein powders available, all claiming that they are the best. This makes it quite hard to choose. Because how do you know you are picking something nutritious and not something that does more harm than good? Most protein powders are made with whey powder (this comes from dairy), but nowadays there is also a whole range of plant based protein powders available.

Whey vs Plant Based:
Whey is one of the 2 main types of protein in dairy milk. The other one is casein. To make cheese, these 2 proteins are separated. The whey (the watery part) is the by-product. Whey powder is highly processed.

Plant Based protein can come from a lot of different sources, but the leading types are: soy beans, hemp seeds and peas. By removing most of the fat and the carbs and by isolating the protein you get plant based protein. There are also raw powders, which is a lot less processed.

IMG_3072_polarrWHAT TO LOOK FOR IN PROTEIN POWDER:
For anyone who is looking for a protein powder, I’m sure the first thing you look at is the protein content. Understandable! And this isn’t wrong, but make sure that this is not your only criteria. It is important that your protein powder is coming from a good source, that it’s high quality and that there aren’t any nasty fillers, sugars, sweeteners or other additives. Always check things like this before you decide to put it in your body.
Personally I find it very important that I know that the carbon footprint is as low as possible and that the company that makes the protein powder is an honest company that wants to do good in the world. I also always appreciate it when there is a bit of fibre in the powder and anything that makes the protein powder better as in: added vitamins and mineral for example.

WHEY vs PERFORM:
To show you the difference, I compared the average whey powder with the plant based protein powder Perform. I wrote down some of the biggest differences and similarities. 

Whey:
-Comes from animals and therefore alone it’s harming your body, as it’s unnatural to consume milk coming from another species + after your body doesn’t need it anymore.
-Is harsh on the environment as the animal agriculture industry is responsible for at least 18% of the world’s carbon footprint.
-Makes animals suffer and being killed.
-Is mostly a little higher in protein.
-Contains all 9 essential amino acids.
-The BCAA often comes from duck feathers, kitten fur, horse hair and there are even reports saying it comes from human hair.
-Is very low in (added) fibre or doesn’t contain fibre at all.
-Can contain a lot of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners.
-Can contain a lot of fillers and other additives.
-Can contain heavy metals.
-Sourced from the highest quality ingredients and batch test to ensure it’s 100% safe.
-Contains hormones and can contain antibiotics.
-Often makes you feel bloated and it can give you other digestive issues (cramps, loose stools etc.).
-Very common to trigger acne or any other skin issues.
-Has a negative impact on your gut health.
-Is very highly processed.
-Plastic (sometimes recyclable) packaging.

Perform:
-Comes from plants and therefore your body can handle it well.
-Has a small carbon footprint.
-Does not harm animals.
-Is a little lower in protein than most whey versions.
-Made with real food ingredients.
-Contains all 9 amino acids.
-The BCAA is coming from plants only.
-Contains fibre, which can help by digestion.
-Is enhanced with an enzyme complex for better absorption.
-Uses stevia as a sweetener.
-Doesn’t contain any fillers/additives.
-It’s third party tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.
-Is easy on your digestive system thanks to the fermentation process.
-Doesn’t have a negative impact on your gut.
-Contains added turmeric extract to optimise recovery (so cool!).
-Is 100% raw and minimally processed.
-100% biodegradable (home compostable) packaging.*
-Scoopless!!! You can order a scoop separately (less plastic!).
-Free UK shipping for orders over £60.
-30 day money back guarantee.
-Made in the UK.

*Some of their packaging is still plastic, but the transition is happening as ‘we speak’.

IMG_1453_polarrWHAT I RECOMMEND:
I used to have the vanilla flavoured, raw protein powder from ‘Garden of Life’. I really like the taste and I think it is one of the better protein powders available. Until now.. because I discovered Perform from Vivo Life. It was recommended to me by Seb Alex (an animal rights activist who I respect very much) and after doing a bit of research I decided to give it a go. Good timing as well, because my container from Garden of Life was nearly finished. Perform has so much benefits, that every time I discovered another awesome thing, I thought it couldn’t get any better, but every time it did get better. This inspired me to write about protein powders and to share this awesome brand with you. I get asked about protein powders and protein in general quite often and I really hope that this will help you.

6DB33DA9-27DF-4675-8E6A-4495C55F90A6I ordered the madagascar vanilla flavour (as Seb said it was the best best best best), but they do offer more flavours: raw cacao, salted maca caramel, acai & blueberry and banana & cinnamon. But apart from that the taste of the madagascar vanilla was very nice indeed, I love everything about this protein powder. The taste is important of course and I love how natural it tastes. This makes it perfect for anything and gives you the freedom to add other flavours as well. All of the suppliers meet strict EU compliance and quality control standards, and grow according to the VGANIC brand promise. Another thing that I really like is that their packaging is 100% compostable (transitioning) and that for ever bag they sell via their website, they plant a tree (80.000+ trees are planted already). They do this for the purpose of reforestation, agroforestry and reducing extreme poverty for local villagers. And if this isn’t incredible enough, they offset all their carbon emissions to renewable energy projects around the world to support a cleaner and greener future AND they also donate 20p per sale to Street Games Charity. Amazing!

Perform Nutritional Facts:
Perform is all raw and all plant based. In every scoop (2 heaped tbs = 36gr) there is 25 gr of protein and 6gr of BCAA (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valin). They also use a turmeric (95% curcuminoids) extract to optimise recovery. The pea protein is fermented for better digestion and the hemp protein is cold processed, these are enhanced with an enzyme complex (ginger extract, papain, peppermint leaf and black pepper extract) for better absorption.

Vivo Life:
They don’t only do Perform protein powders, they also do vitamins, supplements and other amazing health products. Go check it out HERE.

DISCOUNT: Whatever you order from their website, please use the code: ‘SEB10’ . This way you get a 10% discount and you also help fighting for animals rights, as Seb Alex gets a percentage as well. This is a typical situation of a win win win!

NOTE: This is not an add, I did not get payed to write this. I am just an enthousiast!

Are you already using Perform or anything else from VivoLife? Are you going to try it? Do you have any questions? Ask me anything and please let me know all about your experience, I would love to hear it! You can do this by commenting down below or via my Instagram account @FreedomEvermore. Thank you! X

Menstrual Cup Enthusiasm

In 2017 I wrote some articles about the menstrual cup, but as it’s becoming more popular, the market is expanding and a lot more people have heard of the menstrual cup by now, I decided to write a new post. I think it’s much handier to have everything in one post instead of in separate posts. So here we go, more period talk! 

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Photo by: Organicup

Question! Are you using a menstrual cup yet or do you have no idea what I am talking about? In both cases, I think this article will help you. I will explain what a menstrual cup is, what the benefits are, I’ll answer some faq and I’ve reviewed some brands for you (Lunette, Organicup and Nixit). Hopefully, this information will give you the confidence to give it a try or if you are already using one, then you might want to learn about the different brands that I’ve tested. Either way, I hope you will enjoy this article and you will share it with anyone who might benefit from it. Let’s make a difference when it comes to periods.
I’m using menstrual cups for over 2 years already and I love them. I do have to say that I never had any anxieties around them and I found it quite easy from the start. This is why I recommend you to get comfortable with your body and in this case, especially with your vagina. Know what is what and know what it feels like. Get to know your body! Menstrual cups make my period much more bearable. During the day I often forget that I’m on my period, as I don’t have to think about changing tampons or pads. Let’s say that I’m a real menstrual cup enthusiast!

WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP EXACTLY?
Simple and short: A menstrual cup is a little cup, usually made out of silicone, that you bring into your vagina when menstruating. It doesn’t absorb any fluids, but rather holds it.

IMG_2985_polarrTHE BENEFITS OF A MENSTRUAL CUP:
– A cup doesn’t absorb all the fluids, like tampons and pads, but the cup holds all the fluids in your vagina. This way you stay naturally lubricated and healthy from the inside.
– One of the main reasons I like menstrual cups so much, is that it’s so much better for the environment than tampons or pads. How many tampons do you use per cycle? It’s probably in between 15-20. That is a lot of unnecessary waste. This is apart from all the packaging (so much plastic!). All together it’s just a lot if you compare it with the fact that you only need 1 menstrual cup in your life (about 3-4 in a lifetime).
-Reading that, you will understand that this is also why it’s a lot more cost-effective. A menstrual cup costs, on average, £20-£30. If you look after your cup well, then the cup can last you for about 20 years. A quick calculation tells us that this is super cheap in comparison of £2000-£2500 you will spend on tampons/pads in those 20 years.
-There are 0 chemicals involved. A very different story from tampons and pads, as there are pesticide residue, parabens and phthalates linked to hormone disruption, antibacterial chemicals like triclosan, and various carcinogens including styrene and chloroform found in tampons and pads.
-Now this is debatable, but there are people who experiencing less cramps or no cramps at all anymore after switching to the cup.
-You can wear the cup to prevent surprises. It doesn’t mean you have to wear it all the time, but if there is a day/night where you can’t afford a bloody surprise, just insert it, just in case.
-No nasty smells. As the cup is inside your vagina, there is 0 smell.
-You can use a menstrual cup in all ages.

HOW TO USE A MENSTRUAL CUP:
-When using a cup for the first time, make sure you sterilise it first, by putting the cup into boiling water for 5 minutes. Do this every time your period is finished as well, so it’s ready for the next use.
-Wash your hands.
-Sit on the toilet or squat.
-Fold the cup (either in a C shape or when using a disc type, *by squeezing it with your thumb and forefinger).
-Insert it and let it unfold into your vagina (you can make sure it has properly unfolded by gently moving your finger around the cup). *When using a disc, make sure that you tuck it up behind your pubic bone and that you can feel our cervix underneath the cup.
-Empty the cup 2-4 times a day (depending on how heavy your period is that day).
-Take it out by gently pulling the stem. When it’s almost out, make sure you also hold the bottom of the cup (wriggle it a little if necessary). *When using a disc, untuck the rim from your pubic bone and gently pull it out, keeping it level (to avoid spillage).
-After using it, rinse the cup with cold water first and then with warm water. After this you can also use a cup cleanser or a natural soap.

TIP: when you’re new to menstrual cups, try practicing in the shower, it makes things easier.

FAQ:
-Can everyone use a menstrual cup? Yes! It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are male or female, if you are a virgin or have given birth.. if you have a vagina and you menstruate, the menstrual cup is for you. 
-Can a menstrual cup get lost in your vagina?
 No! This can never ever happen. The only way out is the same way it went in. Your uterus can not swallow a cup as the opening on your cervix is way too small.
-Can I wear it at night? Definitely. Simply empty it before you go to sleep and when you wake up the next morning. On heavier days, you might want to use a pad for extra protection.
-Can I use the toilet without taking the cup out? Yes. Your vagina has nothing to do with where your urine comes from.
-How many times do I have to empty the cup? Depending on how heavy your period is, you have to empty it, on average, 2-4 times a day. When emptying it, simply rinse it and insert it again.

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Photo by: Lunette

-How do I empty the cup on public toilets? When the public toilet lacks a sink, but you really need to empty your cup, just empty it and use a bit of toilet paper to take off most fluid and insert again. As soon as you get home, make sure you rinse it well, before inserting it again. You can also use specially designed menstrual cup wipes. Emptying your cup in a sink-less public toilet might be a bit messier, but it’s totally doable.
-Does it ever leak? It shouldn’t, but on heavier days I find that they sometimes leak a little bit when not emptying it in time. You can just use some extra protection on these days or empty the cup a bit more often. When it leaks a lot, there is something not quite right. Maybe you didn’t insert it properly or you have to try another brand, shape or size.
-Does one cup fit all? Are all vaginas the same? Nope. So, it can happen that not all menstrual cups are for you. This is why it’s nice that there are different brands, sizes and shapes. If you tried one brand and it didn’t work for you, you might have to try another brand, shape or size.
-In what sizes do menstrual cups come? The sizes really depend on the brand. Most brands offer 2 sizes though. One for people who have not given birth vaginally and one for people who did give birth vaginally. Some brands also offer a mini size, especially for teens. Sometimes you have to experiment a little bit with what size is best for you.
-Can I feel the cup inside me? You are not meant to feel the cup at all. If you do, you maybe have to (insert it again and) push it up a bit higher. What can also help is to cut off (a part of) the stem.
-Can I wear a menstrual cup with an IUD? Yes. It’s safe to use a cup in combination with an IUD.
-Can I have sex with a menstrual cup? Yes and no, depending on what cup you are using. With the traditional shape you need to remove the cup before penetration. When using a disc type (like Nixit), penetration is possible. You might want to use a bit of extra lube though.
-Does a menstrual cup protect me from getting pregnant? No! A menstrual cup should never be used as a contraceptive.

THE DIFFERENT BRANDS (review):
Since I started using menstrual cups, I’ve tried 3 brands. All 3 cups are very different from each other, which gives me good knowledge about some of the differences. The cups were all given to me by the companies themselves, for me to review.

Lunette Cup
This is the first cup I’ve ever tried. The cup feels firm, but with a soft touch. Their cups come in different colours (pick your favourite!) and they offer 2 sizes. I think it’s the perfect size for me (I have size/model 1) and it hardly ever leaks. I also think that this is becuase of it being quite firm. It’s flexible enough to move with your body, but firm enough to push against the walls of your vagina. This is the cup I’m using on most of my periods. Spoiler alert: the Lunette is my favourite cup!

 

OrganiCup
I find the Organicup is quite a small/lean cup in comparison to other cups, even though it comes in 3 sizes (I have size A). The material is very flexible too. This makes them very easy to insert and they are also super easy to take out again. This is nice, especially when you just started using a cup for the first time. I think for this reason the OrganiCup is great for teens. They even have a special cup for teens (size mini). Something else I like about Organicup is that their packaging is simple and it’s 100% recyclable.

IMG_3226_polarrNixit
When I saw this cup I had to try it. The Nixit is very different from the more common cups as it’s more like a disc shape. It also works a little bit different as you need to tuck the rim behind your pubic bone after inserting it. I’ve tried it on 3 periods now and it’s ok, but I’m not blown away by it. On my heavier days it leaked a bit quicker and removing it can be quite messy. I find it a little harder to insert, as you have to slide it in and push it quite far to the back, making sure your cervix is underneath. But as it’s quite flexible, this is a little tricky. I will keep using it, but I rather use it on my lighter days. It did go better every time I used it though. So, even when you’re maybe an experienced menstrual cup user like me, I guess you have to get used to this one a bit.
With a disc shape cup you can have mess free period sex. I haven’t tried this myself (yet), but it is something which maybe makes you choose the Nixit over a more classic shaped cup. Or maybe it’s the gorgeous colour that makes you choose Nixit!

GIVE IT A TRY!
Please give menstrual cups a try. Don’t be scared, just practice. Don’t give up after 1 or even after a few tries. Maybe you need to practice a few cycles, maybe you need to try a different brand, size or shape.. but it will all be worth it.

Are you using a menstrual cup yet? How are they working for you? Or would you like to try it? Then go and get yourself one. I’d love to hear how you’re getting along! Or if you have any questions, please let me know down below (or you can send me a DM) or you can also contact me via Instagram (@freedomevermore). Thank you! X

Be a better Instagrammer

IMG_3268As many of you noticed, I started a new Instagram account (@FreedomEvermore) a few weeks ago. Even though I have 10K+ followers on my Planet Manel account, I decided that Freedom Evermore is my main account from now on. Now you might think, why would you do that? Many Instagrammers would love to have 10K+ followers and starting over, means that I will lose all these followers (and losing the SwipeUp, which I admit.. I do miss!). This is true. But I have a very good reason. Instagram was not giving me any joy anymore and I will tell you why.

7F43EF8F-0865-4F8B-83D6-4FC65E6E67DEWhy did I start a new Instagram account? 
I started Planet Manel to stay in touch with like minded people and to promote my blog. In the beginning it grew very slowly, then it grew very quickly for a while and then it slowed down a bit more again. Which was fine, because I kept the same group of people I was interacting with and it was fun. But then from about April/May this year my interaction went down down down. I didn’t know why, because I wasn’t doing anything different. Because of this I was less and less active. I didn’t post as much anymore and I didn’t really comment on anything anymore. Less people were seeing my posts, I lost followers and I went from 250-500 likes a post to 30-40 likes. I maybe got 1-2 comments on every post and only a few DM’s a IMG_3270week. The fun was gone and for months I was not motivated enough to be active. When I saw that more people had this problem, I started to research it a little and found out that this is becuase of the algorithm that Instagram changed, around spring time. For a while I tried really hard to beat it and to get back to where I was. A lot of my followers stopped following me over the summer and I felt like it was an impossible job to get back in touch. So I started to play with the idea of starting something new, but I wasn’t sure for a long time. However, bit by bit I started to see benefits if I would. I was also able to start fresh, create a new style and to grow a super strong community from the start. So about a month ago I decided that I was going to give it a try. Great decision!

IMG_6230_polarrConfession time!
When my Planet Manel account really started to grow (a few years ago), I was spending a lot of time on my phone and I wanted to reduce this. I thought by buying likes (that were given automatically on the hashtags I provided), I was still able to give likes, whilst spending less time on my phone. And this worked for a while. I actually met lovely people through this, but I also noticed that I got more distant from my followers this way. So I maybe did this for about a year and then stopped it again. I think, because I did this, my account was seen as dodgy and the algorithm hit me hard in the beginning of this year. Even though I stopped paying for likes ages ago. So please learn from this.. and never do this. It doesn’t work long term and eventually it takes away all the fun. There is no winning.

IMG_3269Let’s beat the algorithm!
When starting my new account I researched and learned more about the algorithm. I don’t want this to happen again, so I prepared myself from the start. I also really want to build a strong community. I do not only want to focus on the relationship I have with my followers, but I want my followers to be a real group of like minded people, with lots of interaction. This way we can use Instagram to help each other, to inspire each other and to motivate each other. I want to make it fun again! Many of you told me that you suffer from the algorithm and this is why I decided to write  down everything I know and this way we can help each other. I divided it into 2 simple sections ‘What to do’ and ‘What not to do’. There are tips to work with the algorithm, but also tips to make your account more attractive to people. Let’s make Instagram fun again and use it the way we want to; let’s spread positive energy! Are you with me?!

WHAT TO DO: 
-Post every day: Try to at least post once a day. This will make sure that the algorithm (and your followers) knows your account is ‘active’.
-Post videos: Instagram really is upping their video share. They want you to spend as much time on their app as possible. Pictures make someone stay for a few seconds and videos can makes people stay minutes.
-Swap your personal account to a business account: this way you can keep track of the analytics and, for example, make better choices of what and when to post.
-Post when people are most active: Check where most of your followers are from and makes sure your post when they are awake and active (popular times: early morning after waking up, lunch time and around dinner time).
-Use hashtags: use popular hashtags that are resonating with the picture you are posting and with what your account is about.
-Use Instagram Stories: Post a few stories a day, throughout the day. This will keep your followers see you a few times a day and they are more likely to connect with you.
-Encourage your followers to turn on notifications: By turning on notifications, the person makes sure they will not miss anything you post.  This way your posts will not get ‘lost’.
-Go live from time to time and save it: this way you automatically move to the beginning of everyone’s stories.
-Tag locations: This makes it easy to find things for your followers. This doesn’t only make your post more interesting, but it also will show your picture to everyone who looks at that particular location.
-Pre write and plan: Plan your posts. This way you will be more consistent. Write your posts (a week or weeks) in advance and make sure you have enough content to go with it. There are even certain apps that will help you with this. They will help you showing what your account will look like and you can also schedule your posts. This will help you with timing, but also with spending less time thinking and writing during the day. This way you can focus on interacting a lot more.
-High quality pictures: A high quality picture will attract more people to your post/account than a poor quality picture. Simple as that. Bright pictures often do better than dark pictures, but you can mix it up as well.
-House style: Before posting anything, create a house style. Use the same: filters, colours, fonts etc. Make sure that your followers will recognise your style. People are also naturally attracted to things that look pretty and in harmony.
-Overall look: More people will be attracted to your account when the overall look is better. This is also part of your house style actually. Choose a few colours and stick with it. Show harmony and just make it look attractive.
-Meaningful posts: Make sure that your posts mean something and add something to someone’s life.
-Ask away: Ask questions in your posts, this way it will make your followers think about what you wrote and it is more likely they will write a comment.
-Comment: Many people don’t know, but comments are more important than likes. I personally think they are more fun too! Comments make you more visible and visible for longer.
-Be personal and real: I like it when I can see the real person behind the account and so this is the same for your followers. Make sure that people can see you and you being real.  Post pictures and videos of you, your life and of what you are all about. You can make it as personal as you want of course, that is all up to you.
-Shoutouts/tagging: Show your love, appreciation and support by tagging people and giving them shoutouts. I really like this and I also discovered a lot of really inspiring people on Instagram through this.
-Run contests, challenges and giveaways: This is fun and makes your followers more engaged, also with each other! It also makes you visible for the followers of your followers and this way you can meet more awesome people.

WHAT NOT TO DO:
-Pay for followers or likes: Never buy followers or likes. When the algorithm picks up on this, your account will be listed as spam and this is no good. You will be less visible for everyone.
-Edit your post: You can edit your post, but wait 2 hours after posting. So please wait with adding/taking away things or with correcting any spelling mistakes. The algorithm finds this suspicious and it results in you moving down, what makes you less visible.
-Comment with just emoticons: Instagram do not recognise an emoticon as a comment, so always make sure you add text.

IMG_3271Conclusion 
After reading all this, I hope you can see that the most important thing on Instagram is to be real and interactive. And if you think about it, and what you will notice when you apply all this, is that Instagram will be so much more fun this way. So in a way I think that the algorithm helps you. I hated it at first, but it also showed me that the way to enjoy it and to get more out of it, is to be more active and real. I now get more likes, comments and DM’s with 150+ followers than I got with 10K+ followers. My followers can see me again and I can see them. I met so much beautiful people through this within a month. It also challenges me to actually read things and to actually be inspired and be motivated. So, instead of trying to fight it, go with it!

Did you know all this and are you already applying some of these things? If yes, great job and let’s connect. If not, try it out and let’s connect! Let us all connect! See you on Instagram! I want to thank you for reading this and I hope it will help you. X

Vegan Activism – with Ricardo Viana

As The Official Animal Rights March is this Saturday, I wanted to show you why activism is so important and why coming to the march is one of the least things you can do. Please read my interview with Ricardo Viana and get inspired to make history! Do I see you there?! 

When I was visiting the Vegan Festival in Southampton, I met Ricardo Viana. Or actually, we didn’t really meet, I looked him up when I was back home. I did this, because I saw him speaking about veganism. Even though I missed almost all of the speech, I wanted to know more about him and his reason to become a vegan activist. He happily agreed on doing a little interview and so I found myself driving back to Southampton the following Friday. It was so easy to interview him, because he instantly knew his answer to every question. I wanted to share this with you, to make you understand the importance of speaking up.

Ricardo was born in Santo Tirso, Portugal, in 1994, but he came to the UK in 2017. He now is a vegan activist, mostly in Southampton. He does a lot for the Anonymous for the Voiceless. Here is why and how he became vegan and decided to fight for animal rights:

How did you come into contact with veganism?
After 6 months of being a vegetarian, I came across a video on Facebook. The video was called ‘Why Vegetarians Should Go Vegan‘, by ‘The Vegan Activist’. Within minutes I realised that vegan values were the same as my personal values. Being vegan made so much sense, because it meant that I’d be true to myself. So I instantly became vegan.

What is your main reason to be vegan?
I went vegan, first of all, for the animals. Later I learned that it is also better for the environment, for my health, that you save water and that it’s better for wildlife etc. There are so many pros and no cons at all. I said to myself that being vegan is the best thing I could do.

What means veganism to you?
To be the best version of ourselves, in the best way possible! For ourselves, the animals and the planet. To not inflict any harm, because if we can choose not to harm, why would we? Veganism is showing compassion and kindness to every living thing that exist.

What is the hardest part about being vegan?
The negative comments I receive. Especially from family and friends. It’s hard to hear it from them, because it always makes me question ‘Why is this even a question?’ and ‘Why is being vegan weird in their eyes?’. You want the people you love most to be vegan too or to at least understand veganism.

Do you miss anything that isn’t vegan?
Back in Portugal, there is a sandwich called Francesinha (Little French). It originally comes from Porto and it’s the best sandwich in the world. It’s made with different layers of bread and fillings; bread, different kinds of meat, bread, eggs, bread again and then melted cheese. It’s surrounded by fries and there is also a special Francesinha sauce. As you can see, it’s not vegan at all, but luckily, a lot of restaurants offer a vegan version now. It’s made with mock meat mostly or with mushrooms or anything really. There are different versions nowadays. It really tastes so similar to the original one and I always eat it whenever I’m back in Portugal.

When did you decide to become an activist?
The idea came in November 2017, after watching videos from Earthling Ed. Then one day I was walking on the street and there was an ‘Anonymous of the Voiceless’ demonstration going on. A girl came to talk to me, trying to talk to me about veganism. I told her I was vegan already, but that I would like to become a part of activism as well. She directed me and in January I got the chance to do my first thing.

What was your first thing as an activist?
I did a ‘Cube of Truth’ with Earthling Ed, in Portsmouth. It was amazing! I talked to Ed and I told him he inspired me to become a vegan activist. It was a really nice experience. At first I started in the cube, but later on I swapped with somebody, so I could talk to the people too. Before actually talking to people by myself, I shadowed with Ed. Then the very first time I talked to someone by myself it was quite hard, because the man I talked to was very defensive. Of course I didn’t give up and luckily the conversations I had later on, went really well.

How important is activism?
In my opinion activism is very important! Not only vegan activism, but every kind of activism. When you believe in something, you should fight for it. So it doesn’t matter if it’s for animal rights, woman rights.. anything really. If you think something needs more attention, then you should make an effort.
If we share the vegan word, if we plant more seeds and change people’s mind, we have supply and demand. Supermarkets and restaurants will have to change, because there is a demand. If we can change the supply and demand, we can change everything and that is how the world becomes a vegan world. It’s the least that we can do for the animals, the planet and ourselves!

How do you deal with negative people?
What we have to remember in activism (and not only in activism), is that if we transmit a negative energy back to the people who are rude or negative, we are not only giving them something that they will use against you, but we are also not showing the whole point of veganism. Veganism stands for compassion and kindness to everyone. I always suggest that you cut evil when you receive some. I take the negative comment and then answer it in the most positive way that I can, so the public can see that I’m not against them. I don’t see them as the enemy, I just want to help. A lot of the people have a very good response to that.

Do you have specific goals?
The ultimate goal is obviously to make the world vegan. Something I would like to see short-term, is more vegan restaurants in Southampton. At the moment there is only one in the centre.

What is an easy, but effective way to spread the message, that everybody can do?
Every little thing you share about veganism, is already doing activism. Like simply sharing vegan videos, pictures and mentioning veganism in conversations. Talk about veganism with other people. This all is more like passive activism, but it is always helpful. Always do whatever you can!

Who and or what is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration for sure, is Earthling Ed! I look at him with so much similarity. If I have to recommend videos to someone, I recommend his videos. He is really on the right track. I look at him as a mentor. He does what I want to do.

Is there anything you want to add to this?
To those who are not vegan (yet), I would like to say: please look into veganism. If you have doubts about veganism for health, then watch ‘What The Health’. If you have doubts regarding the environment, watch ‘Cowspiracy’. If you never thought about veganism at all, then do some research for yourself and make your own conclusion.
To those who are vegan already I would like to say: If you want to see a vegan world, see more vegan options and if you want a less pain inflicted world (it doesn’t matter for what reason you’re vegan), then fight for your lifestyle. Think about vegan activism, do it, because it’s the least we can do!


I hope that this inspired you to look into veganism more and/or to speak up about veganism! If you can and want to do more into the world of activism, please look into it as well. Maybe there is already something being organised close to where you live or maybe you can set up something yourself. Make your voice heard for the ones that can’t speak for themselves!

I want to thank Ricardo for doing this interview with me and for being so inspiring and brave. You are somebody I admire a lot. You are making a change. Also, you are one of the nicest persons I ever met. Thank you so much for answering the questions with so much love, compassion and enthusiasm. Your heart is definitely in the right place! You are changing the world and I hope you’ll witness the day that the world is a vegan world.

Did this interview inspire you and would you like more information on how to get involved? Do you have questions about going vegan or anything else.. please contact me! I would also love to see your activism pictures and read your stories about how you are making this world a better place. You can show me by tagging me on Instargam or by using #planetmanel. Thank you for reading, X.

 

Packaging Free Shopping in London

A while ago I was in London again for a few days. Even though I live fairly close to London, I’m there a lot less than I expected to be. I’ve had a great time being in my beloved city and I went back home with lots of inspiration. I stayed with my employer’s family, around Battersea, which is  a lovely area. The 2 most important things on my planning were, to visit Unity Diner (which I did, but will write a separate article about) and to visit the Whole Foods Market. I always go to the Whole Foods Market when I’m in London, because that is the shop I miss the most. They offer quite a range of products which you can buy in bulk and package free and that is exactly what I wanted to do. They have dried fruits, different types of rice, beans, seeds, nuts, oats, herbs and spices etc. I had a real purpose this time and I planned to do this on the last day, just before I’d go home.

On Saturday Portobello Road was on my to do list. This is my favourite part of London. Notting Hill is so pretty and there is so much life, inspiration and lovely things on Portobello Road. Especially on Saturday. It’s busy though, because on the weekend most of the people are tourist. I love all the market stalls, where I used to get lots of my fruit and veggies. It’s something else I miss. Where I live in the county side, weird enough, is no good farmers market, but in London there are so many. I wish I could carry it all home. I love to see new cafe’s, shops and (vegan) options everywhere and ever time I come to this lovely street, there are some. This time, the one that made me the happiest (apart from the vegan donuts) was a little shop called: Liberté Chérie.

Liberté Chérie is a zero waste, plastic and packaging free, shop! I obviously needed to go inside. There was only one other person inside and when she left, I had a lovely chat with the owner. A very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly Frenchman. He told me that they just opened this morning (how lucky was I?!) and that most of the products he sold were grown in England. A few were from France and elsewhere though: things that can’t grow in England or are not available (like almonds or certain peas for example). Also some of the herbs and spices came from countries like India or Turkey, but his aim was to have as much as possible from England. Even though it was a tiny shop, they sell quite a lot of different things. Of course there are the beans, rice, oats and seeds etc, but also oils, different types of vinegar and even soap nuts. Next to the pantry products, there is a small range of waste free/plastic free products like water bottles and lunch boxes etc. you can buy. It is a lovely shop, set up with a lot of passion. There was such a lovely atmosphere and I felt like I never wanted to leave again. Haha! I could have stayed there, staring at all these lovely products, listening to the stories of inspiration behind it all. I had more things to do though, so we exchanged Instagram profiles and I said my goodbyes. Unfortunately it was only midday and I didn’t want to walk around with lots of (heavy) things for the rest of the day and so I decided not to buy anything. Next time when I’m in London with my van, I’ll definitely get some lovely things here. Did I mention that the prices were quite compatible as well? Whenever you are around there or you live nearby, please visit this lovely shop.

It was such a coincidence, because on that same morning, when I walked towards the bus stop, I had to wait at a traffic light and when I looked up I couldn’t be any happier. Right in front of me, on the other side of the road, was a zero waste/plastic free shop! It was called ‘The Source’, what I think is a perfect name for a shop like that. It was closed though and I was on my way to visit the girls I looked after before. So I couldn’t wait for it to open (even though it was gonna open in 5 min). I promised myself to come back the next day. Now you understand that it was an extra nice treat for me to discover ‘Liberté Chérie’ a few hours later. Anyway, the next morning, I had to take the same bus from that same bus stop and so it was a perfect, cuz I was able to quickly pop in. I was so excited, that I was a little early and Nola (my dog) and I had to wait a little bit. When it opened we went straight in and it was heaven!! There was soooo much! It is quite a big shop and there are so many containers with so many different things. I didn’t know where to look and what to do first. The owner told me that they normally don’t allow dogs inside, but luckily Nola is very small and I carried her whilst we had a little chat. They also have a shop in Chiswick and so, from what I know of, there are 4 options in London to shop zero waste and plastic free. That is amazing! It makes me so happy that shops like this exist and can exist. He told me that it was going well and it was busy.. YES! I asked if I could take some pictures and that was fine. It’s a good thing that I was early, so I was able to take some nice pics, without having to wait for people to finish. Haha! They sell so many things.. too many to write down. One of the nicest things, was that they did freeze-dried veggies. I really wanted to buy things and I even brought my zero waste bags with me, but I was carrying too many things (3 bags and Nola) already. I still had the whole day in front of me and so I couldn’t. I should have brought my backpack, silly me! Later I did regret not getting a little bit of those freeze-dried veggies though, cuz they would have been light and easy to carry around. So next time, I’ll definitely get those. So for those of you who live in or around Battersea, please go and visit ‘The Source’ (and tell me how good those freeze-dried veggies are!).

Please, when you live in London, try to make trips to shops like this. These are the shops we want to support. This is the future. This is the way to no more plastic, a lot less waste and lovely wholesome and healthy food. Even when you don’t live very close to one, just go once in a while and buy in bulk. It will save you money too. Try to think of a way to go and help to make these shops work!

The Whole Foods Market: 63-97 Kensington High Street, W8 5SE.
Liberté Chérie: 291 Portobello Road, W10 5TD.
The Source Battersea: 99 St John’s Rd, SW11 1QY.
The Source Chiswick: 24 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W4 1QP.

Do you already shop at shops like this? Are there any shops near you where you can shop waste free and without plastic? Or do you live in London and are you shopping at one of these amazing shops? I’d love to hear about it! You can do this in the comments below or via Instagram. Thank you! X

Dark Moon (vegan) Chocolate

Last year I was delighted to see that there would be a vegan market in Newbury. As this is the closest town for me and there are hardly any vegan things around, I of course went to check it out. It was fairly small, but I was happy to see some familiar faces. I got a hotdog and a yummy brownie and when I made another round I saw something that attracted me like magnet. Big balls of chocolate covered in nuts! I’ve never seen anything like this before and so I had a little chat with the owner to get to know the product. Even though I just bought a brownie, I couldn’t resist getting one of these (in my eyes) magic balls too. I’m so happy I did, because they are amazing!! Since then I ordered them for Xmas and my birthday, in different flavours. I can’t keep them from you and I would love you to try them and so I thought it was time to tell you about this lovely inspiring brand: Dark Moon Chocolate!

First of all I’d like to introduce you to the owner: Dan (35), who was born in Bristol, now lives in a lovely market town Frome, which has a bustling independent trader scene. He used to work as a Food Production Manager at a Farm shop. This seems a bit strange for a vegan, but he wasn’t vegan when he started working there. One day whilst he was stroking some of the cows in the barn (he always used to go and feed them with all the veg scraps from the kitchen) it made him think. He thought ‘I’d always been an animal lover and yet I was eating these beautiful creatures that deserved better’. From that moment he stopped eating animals. He’d always worked in the food industry which he fell into by pure accident and it just turns out that he really loved it. I’m happy he does, because what he does now, makes everyone happy. Time to ask him some questions!

What made you decide to start your own business and why chocolate?
I started it out of necessity, after having to leave my full-time employment because of health problems. I’ve suffered with arthritis and mechanical issues in my legs since I was 19 and had a bad flare-up in my ankle last summer. I had to leave, as it was predominantly an on your feet job. I chose chocolate because I’ve always enjoyed making chocolates and it’s always been my favourite sweet food. I can also sit down when making them, which helps me manage my bad ankle. It seems funny that about 6 months before starting Dark Moon, I made a passing comment to one of my staff members, that I’d love to just make chocolates. Strange how things turn out! I’m now fully self-employed, doing three separate part-time endeavours, the chocolate is the one that really keeps me going though. I’m also an artist and craftsman.

How did you come up with the name ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
My star product is a sweet chocolate ‘scotch egg’. The non vegan version is a Cadburys Creme egg, wrapped in brownie. I just had to make it vegan. I make all the centres myself, so I can make loads of fabulous flavours. I wanted a name that referred to the chocolate in some way. I use dark chocolate and they also look a bit like a moon, so it kind of just made sense. When I searched for the name ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ on instagram, someone else had already coined it, although the account looked old and was based in America. Just to be on the safe side, I chose ‘Dark Moon Vegan’. I trade under the banner of ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ at markets though. It also means that I can have a really cool logo of a dark full moon!

How did you get yourself out there?
Despite all the hype around social media marketing and online presence, for me the best way to get myself out there was to actually physically do it. Meet my customers and spend time in the real world. It felt a bit like jumping into the unknown at first, booking markets and not knowing if I was going to sell much. I was actually astonished at how well the chocolates did. Off the back of that, my online sales are also really starting to grow.

What are the ingredients you like to use and where do you get them from?
My go to chocolate is a bitter sweet dark Belgian chocolate, it’s 54% and it’s really well balanced. Most people who aren’t fans of strong dark chocolate, usually like this one when they’ve given it a try. The company also re-invests directly back into the cocoa farmers to create a more sustainable approach to cocoa farming. I use a fair trade sugar and coconut oil, that my partner gets from her health store. I use a gluten-free buckwheat flour from a company located in the south-west. All my packaging is recyclable and I don’t use single use plastics. I have now ran out of the parcel tape I was using for online orders and will be using an eco-friendly paper tape for my online orders.

Where can people order your chocolate?
I currently do orders through social media and email, I’ll be developing a website to make things a little easier very soon. My email is darkmoon.frome@gmail.com and my Instagram and Facebook is @darkmoonvegan.

Which chocolate is your personal favourite?
My favourite dark moon at the moment has to be ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ (I ordered 2 of these the last time and they are my favourite too, they are AMAZING!). It’s a salted caramel centre wrapped in a peanut butter brownie then coated on more chocolate and roasted peanuts. It’s inspired by a very well known chocolate bar – the clue is in the weird name! 

What are your plans for the future when it comes to ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
I’m really just looking to keep things small scale, I’m happy doing markets and fairs and selling online. To keep things interesting there will always be new flavours to try and occasional one off products.

Is there anything else you like people to know?
I have a chocolate problem. (I’m happy he does!! Haha..)

Will there be a special for Easter by any chance?
Of course, I’m in the process of doing a regular monthly subscription box, which will contain new flavours and products. For Easter I am making Vegan Creme Eggs, Caramel Eggs and Chocolate Orange Eggs. There will also be little mini creme eggs, keep your eyes open as these kind of items will be limited edition!

Now, are you excited yet? An amazing chocolate brand, with ridiculous flavours, you can order online, without any plastic packaging! It won’t get any better than this!

Dark Moon Vegan chocolate is my favourite for sure (esp ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ ..just Wohw!) and I hope you’ll find out for yourself soon. They also make a lovely gift btw! I’d love to hear what you think of these chocolates if you decide to try them. Please let me know in the comments below or on Instagram! Thank you! X

0Waste #5: Cleaning

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ – ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ and ‘0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less (chemical) waste whilst cleaning!

SOAP NUTS 
We all need to wash our clothes once in a while. We sweat, we spill and we get dirty in all sorts of ways. What laundry soap do you use? There is a ton of choice, but did you ever think about what will be best for the environment? I never did, until a few years ago. All the soap you use will go through the drain and most of the laundry soap contain horrible chemicals and are not biodegradable. This is why I use soap nuts. I once bought a bag from Ecozone and I’m still using that same bag and it’s still pretty full. It last for soooo long. I use 5-6 nuts per cycle and I use those same nuts at least 3-5 times. So imagine how much money it will save you as well. It’s super easy to use and it’s such a natural product. I love them!

SUPERMARKET CLEANING PRODUCTS 
If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products, then at least try to use natural products that won’t harm the environment and come in a recycle bottle (and make sure you do recycle them properly!). The 2 most popular brands are Method and Ecover. Method is my favourite out of these 2 as their products smell amazing. I do sometimes use the fabric softener from Ecover for my towels and bed sheets. Both brands are biodegradable though and are safe to use around children and animals. I’d still recommend making and using your own products whenever you can, but otherwise this is a good alternative.

SPONGES/CLOTHS
Most cloths are made out of plastic, you need to search a little if you want anything else. You can get cotton cloths, which are a good choice, but I also really like these. They are a combination between a cloth and a sponge. They are lovely to clean with (tables, surfaces, bathrooms, kitchens etc.) and the best thing of all, they are biodegradable. You’d probably think ‘but what about the plastic that they come in’? Guess what.. it’s biodegradable too (in municipal composting facilities). There are 5 cloths in 1 pack and each cloth can be used up to 300 times (as in, you can machine wash them for 300 times) and after that they can go into the compost. I like using these or I’d choose a cloth made out of organic cotton, hemp or bamboo.

MAKE YOUR OWN
It’s totally easy to make your own cleaning products. I will give you a recipe that is a nice all-rounder and you can use around the kitchen, bathroom, all services (be careful with granite, stone and some wooden services though!) and all other things you can think of. I use the peels from the lemons I use in the morning for my morning water and the ones I use for my salad dressing, this way I use them again in such a good way. If you don’t consume lemons regularly (you should though, hehe..), you can maybe make a nice lemonade and use those peels. Anyway.. First step: purchase a nice glass bottle with a spray option (brown glass) and then follow this recipe:

Makes: 500 ml

Ingredients:
-Peels of 6-8 lemons
-250 ml white vinegar
-Essential oils (optional)
-Fresh rosemary (optional)
-250 ml water (spring or pre-boiled)

-Weck jar (500 ml)
-Glass spray bottle (500 ml)

-Put the lemons in the weck jar (until it’s nicely full, you don’t need to stamp them in) and fill it up with the vinegar.
-Add a few drops of essential oil or include some fresh rosemary.
-Give it a little stir before closing the weck jar.
-Put it away in a dark and dry place and leave it for about 3 weeks.
-Use a fine colander to separate the water from the lemons/rosemary.
-Pour it into your spray bottle and fill it up with cold (spring or pre boiled) water.
-Clean, clean, clean!

What cleaning products are you using? Will you make your own? I’d love to hear how you get on. Please let me know in the comments below, by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ and ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste in the bathroom!

LINERS/PADS 
One of the last things I struggled with, was liners. I like to use the ultra thin liners from ‘Bodyform’. I absolutely love them! But apart from that they obviously aren’t zero waste or plastic free for that matter, to make things worse, they are also individually wrapped. And using one every day, quickly adds up. So I tried to find a good reusable liner for a while, but they are all so thick and wearing them with lace thongs (only underwear I wear) is just not comfortable. I did find these ones that are quite thin (could be even thinner and maybe a little smaller) and I find them usable. I still don’t love them, but at least it will keep me from using disposable ones. All tips on this subject are welcome! Talking about periods, you can also buy proper pads that are very absorbent, in case you don’t like to use cups. They feel a lot more comfortable than the disposable pads too. Just look on Etsy for example, there are soooo many and loads of different colours and designs.

MENSTRUAL CUPS
Let’s talk about the menstrual cup again. I wrote about these before and they definitely belong on the list with products for living a more waste free life. Also, I’m still a big fan. More and more woman started to use a cup and that is so positive. They are  simply perfect when you decide to live a (more) zero waste lifestyle. I’m using my one for almost 2 years and my cup still looks like it’s new. I have 2 cups actually, the Organicup and my most used one, the Lunette. In case you’re not using one yet, but you are curious, in the articles I explain exactly what they are and how to use them. Please learn about them and aim to use one. It might sound weird and you might have to practice a little at first, but it is soooo worth it. Trust me!

FACIAL CLEANSING 
Me and my face. It’s like the skin on my face lives her own life. I have break-outs since I can remember and even though I kinda accepted it, I always try to find the best way to care for my skin. I tried sooo many things, but something I’m sticking to for a while now, is using simple facial cloths and this little brush I found in a shop called ‘Søstrene Grenes’. I accidentally bumped into this shop when visiting The Hague. I always wash my face with the tea tree oil soap from ‘Faith In Nature’ and 1-2 a week I use the brush (or cloth). It works like a gentle scrub. My skin is reacting well and I love that it’s waste free. The little brush is made out of some sort of silicone, but it’s super durable and I think it will last me a life time really. I’m very happy I found something like this. Works a treat!

NAIL FILE
There are many types of files, metal ones, paper or plastic disposable ones and glass ones. I personally never used the disposable ones, but they are popular though. I always used the metal ones, but they do have a plastic bit on them. I still have a few and I still use them, because even though they have some plastic, they do last ages, years and years really. A few years ago, my mum gave me this glass nail file and I love it. It files really well. It’s actually my best file. The only problem is that, because it’s quite thick, it’s hard to do the sides and little corners of your nails. It’s very gentle on your nails though and that is the main reason I love using it.

BODY BRUSH
Who doesn’t have a plastic (puff) sponge to use under the shower? I used to have lots of them. After a while they go bad and I threw them away to get a new one. They made my skin feel nice and soft and so I never gave it much thought. About 1-2 years ago I stopped using them, because I didn’t want to be responsible for that much waste and so I looked for an alternative. I tried different things and I now have a wooden brush with cactus bristles. I really like it. The bristles are quite hard, but I personally like that. If you have a sensitive skin, you might want to use something softer. When I bought it, I didn’t realise that the bristles are stuck in a little layer of plastic though. Such a shame. Eventually, when this one is not usable anymore, I have to look for something that has no plastic at all. Tips are welcome!

COTTON PADS
Some girls and woman like to use wipes or cotton pads to take their make up off. Especially their eye make up. I never use them, but when you do like to use them, did you know that you can buy reusable pads? There are nice soft ones in lots of colours and designs. Look on Etsy for example and invest in a nice set. This way, you will not only create less waste, but it will also safe you money, because you can use reusable pads for so much longer. Make sure you get nice soft ones, made out of organic cotton or bamboo for example.

TOOTHBRUSH 
Who uses a toothbrush?! Haha.. I’d be surprised if you say ‘not me’. But who’s still using a plastic toothbrush? I’m sure the answers of this last question are not all the same. Many people are still using plastic toothbrushes, even though they are one of the most used plastics in the world. There are so many brands that will sell you a nice toothbrush made out of bamboo though, whereby all the materials are natural, even the bristles. Please go for this option, as it will make such a big difference. I use the ‘Humble Brush‘ toothbrush and I’m very happy with this brand. I personally really like the look of them as well, especially the ones with the black bristles. There are all sorts of colours though, even multi coloured ones. Pick your colour and brush away.

WOODEN COMB
This is one of my most loved zero waste, plastic free items. My wooden comb! I have long hair and so I need something to untangle it once in a while. Luckily my hair doesn’t tangle easily and so I only brush my hair 2-3 times a week. Before I got my wooden comb, I used to always use a plastic hairbrush. I didn’t know any better. Until, about a year ago, I read something about the use of a wooden comb. Apparently this is much better for your hair as well. Wooden combs are more gentle and it doesn’t tend to break your hair as fast. My comb I simply got from Amazon as I couldn’t find a nice one anywhere else (I’m so picky). It’s beautiful! It has a nice grip, I love the colour, size and the little carvings. The teeth of the comb are perfect as well. They aren’t too big or too small, they’re not too close together or too far apart. I feel very lucky to have found it.

COTTON BUDS 
Something I also struggled finding a replacement for, are cotton buds. I love using cotton buds. It feels so nice in my ears, haha! But the little plastic sticks are the worst! So even though I still have some left from the last time I bought them (they never seem to finish), I hate using them now. About a year ago I tried to research for a replacement. There are bamboo ones (Humble Brush sells these as well), but I also found a metal one. I know it sounds a little scary and uncomfortable and I did have to get used to it a bit as well. Once you start using it though, it’s actually ok. It’s a little different, but just as satisfying as the ones you’re used to. I like my metal one now, because it will last forever and so I won’t be creating any waste when it comes to looking after my ears.

SAFETY RAZOR 
I actually, basically do not shave. I’m very much against the whole ‘girls need to shave’ rule. I never shave my legs or my arm pits, but I do shave my bikini line area though. Just to make it look neat, especially when I’m actually in my bikini. I think it’s ok to look after yourself in that way. You can make yourself presentable in public places when it comes to intimate areas like this, but without going over the top. At the moment I’m actually still using my plastic razor, simply because it doesn’t need replacement yet. But as soon as it does, I will invest in a nice safety razor. The one on the picture is from my sister-in-law, who is very happy with hers. Did you invest in one yet?

BEAUTY PRODUCTS 
I can’t stress this enough: Use natural beauty products! Not only for the planet, but also for yourself. No one likes the idea of putting chemicals on their skin, but weird enough, many people do it every day. Swap your chemical products in plastic packaging for natural (biodegradable) products with plastic free (or at least recyclable) packaging. There are many brands nowadays that offer nice products. I love using tooth tabs (look at the pic of the toothbrush) for example. Are you using these yet? I’d still love to learn about this subject a little more though, so tips are very welcome.

I hope this was helpful and will motivate you to swap (some) things in your every day  beauty routine. Do you have more tips or more things you can change/swap in the bathroom, please let me know in the comments or contact me via Instagram (@planetmanel). Thank you! X