Vegan Dating

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

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

Soulmates :recipe >>

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

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

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

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

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Dairy Truth – #februdairy

After (another huge success of) Veganuary, the dairy industry came up with Februdairy. It’s giving me mixed feelings. First of all, it makes me laugh a little bit, because.. seriously? Second, it makes me happy.. because apparently the dairy industry is having problems and is trying to survive. Third, it makes me sad.. because there must be a lot of desperate farmers now veganism is going so well. Don’t get me wrong, because there is nothing I like more than animal exploitation to stop, but I also want people to have a job. I just hope that the dairy farmers are brave enough to choose a different profession before it’s too late. In the end I think it makes me happy the most, because if you look at #februdairy you can see how the vegan community is fighting back. It gives me a feeling of togetherness, we are all fighting for the ones without a voice. And it’s working! It looks like Februdairy turned into a vegan campaign showing everybody the truth around dairy. In just a few days the complete opposite is happening. It makes me feel proud, hopeful and strong! We have to stand up for the voiceless!

Why is dairy so scary?
Dairy is scary for a lot of reasons:
-A cow gives milk for the same reason a dog, a mouse, a lion and even humans give milk. It’s meant for her baby. Cows are not here in the world to provide milk for human consumption. We are not calves.
-We are the only species on earth that keeps consuming milk after we need it and also the only species that consumes milk from a different species.
-To get the milk, a cow get artificially inseminated every year. After the cow gives birth her baby is taken away from her within less than 72 hours. The calf is put in a crate by him/herself. A lot of male calves are killed straight after birth or sold for veal. Females will go through the same process as their mothers.
-A dairy cow goes to slaughter when she is around 5-6 years old (the average natural lifespan for a cow could be as long as 25 years), because around that time she will give less milk. At that time most of the cows are weakened a lot (some of them can’t even stand on their legs anymore, they’re called: downers) by the conditions they have lived in. She will be sold for meat. So every sip of milk is linked to the meat industry.
-Due to infections, caused by the machines and always lactating, there is blood and pus in milk. It’s legal for milk to contain up to 400 million pus cells per litre. This means that one teaspoonful of milk can max. have two million pus cells.
-In milk there are hormones and growth factors. This is necessary for the calf to keep drinking from her/his mother and to grow fast into a 750-1000 kg adult cow.
-Cow’s milk is unnatural to drink, unless you’re a calf. Therefore it’s unhealthy for humans. There are studies that that, for example, countries with lowest rates of dairy consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. There are also studies that say that dairy increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This is a known for promoting cancer. And this isn’t all, there are a lot more negative health related issues around dairy!
-Then there is the saturated animal fat, casein and lactose. This is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes, bloating/wind and cramps, allergies, ovarian cancer.
-Dairy is all about money. The government and the dairy industry do not care about your health. Do your own research!

What can you do to make a difference? 
-Drink plant-based milk: oat, rice, soya, almond, cashew, macadamia.
-Only eat plant based yogurt, ice cream, cheese, creams or anything that otherwise may contain cow’s milk, like biscuits, crisps, cakes etc.. there is so much choice!
-Vote with your money. Every time you choose a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk, there is supply and demand. If supermarkets sell more plant-based milk and less cow’s  milk, slowly but surely there will be less and less dairy cows.
-Speak up! Tell people about the dairy industry. Tell the truth and hopefully more and more people will make the connection.

Do you still drink cow’s milk or did you swap it for a plant-based alternative? What is your favourite (my one is oat milk)? Do you have something you’d like to share or do you have a question? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Personal #2 – Life these days

The last time (also the first time) I wrote a personal post was back in September. A lot has happened in the meantime, so I thought it’s really time to write an update. In my first personal post you could read about the fact that a lot of things were going to change for me. Things have changed now. Seriously changed. They even changed a lot more than I could imagine.

OLIVER
Something that I didn’t foresee was that I became a pig mum within 2 weeks of moving. You maybe already know this if you follow my blog or my Instagram, because I posted about Oliver here and a lot on Instagram too. He even has his own Instagram profile. Last Friday he turned 12 weeks, what means he’s already with me for over 10 weeks! Mid December he moved to the barn and he’s doing amazing. He is so lovely and I love him so so much! He brought me a lot, mostly good things. Actually only good things. I said mostly, because looking after him is a big responsibility and I always worry about him. He is all healthy now, what is amazing, but I worry about his future. I’m doing my best to raise him well, but he will be big and he sometimes forgets he is strong. This is why I choose to not have another pig for now. It will be nice for him to have a companion, but I’m worried that accidents will happen (mainly with the small kids I’m looking after). Two big pigs together will be maybe too much to handle when they’re both full size. So I want to see what it is like when he is bigger and in the field. By then I hope he will still accept a companion and if not, that he will be ok by himself. Especially when I’m traveling in a few years.

STRUGGLE
Lately I feel that I struggle with being vegan. Don’t get me wrong, being vegan itself is the easiest thing. Doing the right thing for the animals, my health, the environment and so many things more is the best decision I’ve ever made. My struggle is with the fact that the rest of the world isn’t vegan. In the first years of being vegan it was bothering me as well, but I can feel the feeling is getting stronger and stronger. I think this is for a few reasons. Since I have Oliver, there are a lot of people who want to make a funny comment about him, in terms of ‘bacon’ ‘bbq’ ‘spare ribs’ etc. Or people who ask me why I have him or what I am going to do with him. As in ‘will I eat him’. This bothers me so so much (and this is a very nice and polite way of expressing myself comparing to what I actually feel at moments like that). Even only writing it down now, makes me very angry. To be really honest with you, what I feel at moments like that is hate. I don’t want to feel it and I’m a very positive person and I always try to see things in a positive way or at least to not let it get to me, but I’m failing terribly. I’m really struggling with this more since I’d say 6 months and it got worse since I moved and have Oliver. In the country side there are so many meat/dairy/egg/hunting related things around me. The pigs in the fields next to the house, the cows and other animals I see in the fields, hunting the pheasants next to the house, but also the people everywhere. It’s more ‘normal’ here it seems, what makes it so hard for me. How can people be so distant from all these beautiful animals? They must be so lost in society and tradition, that I should actually feel sorry for them. This all is so hard and definitely the hardest things about being vegan. Why do people not get it? Why don’t they see what I see? Where is their compassion? I feel like it bothers me more and more and sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself. I always have an answer for everything, but for this one it seems I’m stuck.

VANLIFE
Something super exciting is that I bought my van. Last year, in November. It’s a white Citroën Relay from 2014. So far I stripped and cleaned it. I wanted to fit in the skylight ventilator and the window before Xmas, but it was too cold. I have the insulation ready to fit in, but there is so much condensation (because of the cold as well) that I have to wait with that too. I will wait until there is a weekend with temperatures above 15C. Hopefully this will come soon, because in March my dad is coming to help me and the insulation needs to be done by then. Overall, I just need to be patient, what is super hard, because I want to work on it. I’m so excited for it to be finished and me moving in.

HEALTHWISE
Last year I didn’t work out much, I made less time for yoga/mediation and mindfulness and I ate too much junk food. This year I want to change that and it’s going super well so far. I’m eating clean and I’m seriously working out almost every day. I’m trying to make sure I live in the now and I start my mornings with yoga and meditation. One of the things I also started doing since the first of January, is writing down what I did every day, like a little journal. I bought a day-a-page diary for this and I do this every evening before I go to sleep. It’s not so much for writing down my feelings etc. but more to remember what I did that day. This works great for living more mindful. I also started to read more, what was one of my new years resolutions. I love reading.

Do you recognise some things? Do you have questions? Or do you have something you’d like to share after reading my more personal stuff? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

New Beginnings

Is it a little pathetic that I’m super excited about the fact that the first of January is on a Monday? Because I totally am! I’m a big sucker for New Years Resolutions and I always make a list of a few things. Every year (like basically all people) you can find ‘eat healthy and exercise more’ on this list. You might think, why would you put it on the list every year? It’s not there because I feel like I failed last year, but I think it’s an important thing to put on the list and I think that is why it’s such a popular one. Every year again you have to look after your body. It’s always better to put it on the list and give it some attention. Going into the new year with the idea to be better for your body is the first step to a good year. I always make small lists with quite general things. When I was a teenager I used to make a huge list and those never worked. It didn’t work because I used to always write down every little detail and felt like a failure whenever I couldn’t or didn’t do something. It was just too long and I was too obsessive to do everything from the whole list perfectly. It’s a classic mistake and I won’t be surprised if this sounds familiar. Nowadays I write down a few things I want to improve or pay more attention to. I write them down on the top of my daily to do list, so I’m reminded every time I look at that list (which is a lot). I also write down why I want to do it better and why it’s important to me, together with a little suggestion routine. I used to make tight schedules, but that of course didn’t work. Now I try my best, I motivate myself by reading why and I just try to make better decisions every day. It’s also important that you reflect a few times a year. You can do that every month (like me), but if that sounds a like a little too much, you could also do it every time a new season starts for example.

Here are the things that are important to me personally, what and why I want to improve and how I will do it. Maybe it will inspire you.

Eat Healthy.
Everybody always thinks I eat super healthy. But I do have my weaknesses and I do not always eat healthy. There are actually 2 things I have to pay more attention to. The most important one is to eat on normal times. This has always been a thing for me. Where other people eat breakfast lunch and dinner on set times, I eat all over the place. On the days I work, breakfast and lunch are mostly ok. It’s on the days I’m off and basically all dinner times where it goes wrong. I sometimes eat ridiculously early. This is most of the time not a proper meal and it also makes me hungry later in the evening (what ends in snacking). Sometimes I eat very late (and then I eat way too much, because I’m so hungry + it’s never good to sleep with a very full stomach) and sometimes I skip it all together. The best way for me to be better at this, is to be well prepared. Cooking different dishes in advance and prep meals in a way that I only have to heat it up or mix it together. This doesn’t only help for eating on set times, but I also tend to eat a lot healthier this way. It just saves so much time.
The second thing is to stop eating too much chocolate. I love chocolate! And after meal times I often crave some. Chocolate is actually the only thing I eat that contains sugar. I do think it’s fine to eat a bit now and then, but I just find it almost impossible to only eat a little piece. This takes a lot of willpower and discipline. That is a shame, because that is exactly what you need to solve this big problem. Haha!

Exercise More.
Ok, I have to admit that last year I wasn’t very good with exercising regularly. I hardly did any yoga, because I like to do that in the morning, but my ex and I had different work times and it wasn’t possible living in a studio. There were some weeks I was doing very well, doing at least something. I did little work outs before lunch for example and that felt very good, but it never lasted. This was because of my relationship, holidays and also later this year because I moved and rescued Lucky Oliver (a piglet). This shouldn’t be excuses, but I find it difficult to fit it all in one day with a lot going on. I do have to let go and just do it though and doing some is better than none. So I will focus more on that.

Read more. 
I actually only read when I’m on the train or aeroplane by myself, what is almost never. I love reading. It’s relaxing, educational and it inspires me so much. I always say I don’t have time, but actually it’s because I do not make it a priority. I could easily spend a little less time on social media and spend that time reading instead. So that is what I’m going to do. At the moment I’m still reading ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo. I love this book. Even though I already did a lot of the things she talks about, based on my own experience. I love reading it, mostly because I recognise myself and her journey to tidy up. I love learning new tricks and it gives me a good perspective of how we treat everything around us. I have a long list of books I still want to read and I’m determined to do so this year. Reading is so important and it’s definitely something I want to increase even more once I’m traveling around Europe with my van one day.

More mindfulness.
I’m a very mindful person, but the last few months I wasn’t sure where I was in my own story, if you know what I mean. With the move, ‘new’ work and rescuing Lucky Oliver I lived in the past and the future a lot more than I wanted. Weeks flew by, time went so fast, I forgot things, mixed things up didn’t know what day it was and I was living in my head, rather than in the moment. Now I had a break from it all and rested a lot over the Xmas break, I think I’m more likely to live more in the now again. I will train myself to be more conscious and to create more space and peace in my head this way.

Are these things you also find important? Or does your list look very different? I would love to hear the things that are important to you and how you try to actually stick to it. Do you have a certain tactic or do you have something to say or add to this? Please let me know in the comments below. Thank you! X

 

Minimalism #2 – Presents

Did everybody have a nice Xmas?! For a child, waking up on Xmas morning is probably one of the most exciting things and I’m sure that over the years most of you still feel some of that excitement. Waking up to unwrap your presents is just something really exciting. What did you get this Xmas? Did it make you happy? But most important: Did it spark joy when you were holding it? Because what if it didn’t? What if you don’t like your gifts or it’s something you won’t use (because it’s not vegan for example)? It’s always a thing, isn’t it? Especially when you are (or when you’re trying to be) a minimalist or have a very specific taste (like me..). You do not want to come across as ungrateful and disappoint the person who got out of his/her way to get you something. But Xmas without presents also sounds a little boring. It’s just so tricky! Do these situations sound rather familiar on this Christmas day? If it does, then I can hopefully help you to not experience this again. This will not only be helpful at Christmas time of course, but in any situation where people normally like to give you a present. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations..

I love getting people presents. I honestly love it a lot more than receiving a present myself. Looking or finding something you know somebody will really enjoy is such a nice feeling. Then when they open it and they really like it.. that makes me so happy! I like to spoil and get out of my way to get people something they (hopefully) really like. I’m sure I’m not the only one. This means that people who are giving you a present will be sad if you do not like what they got you. This makes me sad too. Not only because of their disappointment and effort, but also the money they’ve spent. Presents should make you happy, not sad. So here are some tips to save everybody from all this hassle:

*Tell people exactly what will make you happy. 
You can tell people exactly what you want. You can either write down the exact specifications, send them a picture or even a (Amazon) link. This way you’re very sure you get what you like or need. The whole surprise will be gone though, so it’s a little less fun I think.

*Make a list of general things that will make you happy. 
This is what I did. It’s all things you can eat and use anyway, things that will finish, make a memory or a favour. This way people can still kind of choose what to get you and it’ll be much more of a surprise for yourself. Most of the things are sustainable already, because they can be consumed. Try to think of more sustainable choices when you make your list. To give you some ideas:
-Soy toxin free candles.
-Your favourite Lush products or any other cruelty free brand you like.
-You favourite chocolate.
-Chia seed.
-Bag of nuts (cashews, almonds, macadamia).
-Bag of spirulina, matcha powder or any other powder you use.
-Essential oils.
-Incense.
-iBooks / iTunes / Movies.
-Going vegan for a week.
-Theatre/Cinema tickets.
-Donation to animal charity.
-Going out for dinner and pay for themselves as their gift to you.
-Donation towards your dream.
-Gift cards for the Whole Foods Market or any of your favourite stores.

You have to make sure that everybody knows about your wishes and/or list, otherwise you will still get things that you might not like. If you tell people about your wishes, make sure you tell them exactly why you have a list. Obviously, do this in the nicest possible way. I’m sure a lot of people are also happy, because this makes it a lot easier for them to get you something you actually like. Though, what if people still get you something you don’t like or you will not use? If that person knew about your wishes, then it’s their own risk. What I do is, I ask if they want to keep it themselves or I give it to somebody else. It maybe takes a while before people understand that it’s a lot better to get you something you’re actually happy with. In general, everybody likes to get you something you actually enjoy, so it should be alright in the end. It’s important to be honest though, because if you react all happy and excited for something that you do not like, people will do it again and you can’t blame them.

I hope this will help you. Oh and this actually will not only help you, but it is also better for the environment, especially if you ask for more sustainable presents. Good luck!

Do you have more ideas I could add to the list? Or anything else you’d like to share after reading this post? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Vegan Advice #5 (Xmas edition)

I got more questions asked, that I would like to answer here. This way everybody can read it in case more people have these questions about veganism. I answer everything from my own perspective. I’m sure there are people with a different opinion though. The last time I wrote a Vegan Advice I answered the following questions: ‘Why are you not going to the zoo?’, ‘Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?’ and ‘Do you take any supplements?’. As it’s almost Xmas, I thought of doing a Xmas edition of the Vegan Advice article. They aren’t per se Xmas related though, but recently I get these sort of questions a lot and I’m sure more vegans get these too: ‘Would you buy non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you accept non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?’. Here we go..

Would you buy non vegan things as a present?
No! Very simple and straight forward. I used to do it in the very beginning, but very soon I realised that it doesn’t make sense to spend my money on non vegan things. There are actually 3 reasons. First of all, I do not want a non vegan brand to get my support through buying it. Second, my biggest wish is for the whole world to go vegan. Giving other people non vegan things doesn’t only make them doubt about how serious veganism is for me and in general, but it also tells them it’s kind of ok that they still want products that involve cruelty and/or environmental damage. Third..I really like to show them that vegan things aren’t that weird, disgusting or hard to find. Giving vegan gifts is a nice way to show people how nice and positive veganism is.

Would you accept non vegan things as a present?
No! This is sometimes really hard and I understand that you might think ‘it doesn’t matter anymore now, because it has already been purchased’. But as I said at the first question as well, about other people thinking it’s kind of ok, this is the same for accepting non vegan gifts. People won’t take my decision to live a vegan lifestyle serious, but even worse is that if I would tell them it’s ok, they might do it again. If it’s about food, then it can also make me ill as I haven’t been consuming non vegan foods and drinks for years now. I think it also comes down to principles. It’s my principal that I do not want to be involved with non vegan things. It’s hard sometimes, because there are occasions people tried hard to get me something and then I have to disappoint them. But what helps me is thinking in this way: what if I had an allergy? I couldn’t accept it then, so why would I accept it if my reason is to consciously make the world a better place?

Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?
This is quite a hot topic. I know that a lot of people are struggling with this. A lot of people are the only vegan in their family and this makes it really hard, because you want to enjoy the Xmas dinner with your family, but then you have to sit at the table whilst there are people eating and complimenting the dead animals on the table. Personally I can’t do this. Luckily almost my whole family is vegan or vegetarian and we are having 100% vegan Xmas dinners for the last couple of years. I feel very lucky. If this wasn’t the case then I would not attend the Xmas dinner. I know that is quite radical, but I just can’t do it. I rather miss out (even though I love Xmas so much!), than to feel incredibly sad and have the feeling I want to cry the whole time. It would feel like torture to me. So how do you deal with this if you aren’t as lucky as I am? If you can’t bare it, then I suggest looking for like minded people (I’m sure they can’t be that hard to find) and organise a Xmas pot luck. I hope everybody will have a good Xmas though!

Do you agree with me or do you see it in a different way? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Minimalism #1

Nowadays everything has to be bigger or more. The bigger, the better! More of the bigger is what makes people happy. Does it? Do 3 sports cars, a mansion, the newest gadgets, (lots of) expensive clothes, even more shoes and a perfect manicure really make you happy? Very cliché, but you can not buy happiness and if you could, I’m sure there would be people making a huge profit out of it. Because everybody wants happiness. People do tend to buy stuff to feel happy and almost everybody owns more than they actually need. Most people have cupboards full of stuff and a lot of that stuff we don’t actually need or use. For example, most people own a lot of clothes, but they only wear a small collection of these clothes. Also, almost everybody has stuff in storage and I’m sure if I’d ask you what you keep in your storage space, you don’t know exactly what’s on that attic anymore or what’s in those bags in the back of the cupboard. Why do we feel the need to own all this stuff? When it comes too actual stuff, I believe less is more. People have the habit to collect and to keep it all though, for a lot of different reasons.

More is better.
If one is amazing, more must be better. So if we already have 1 item of something, but we see another one, we like even better, we tend to buy it. We didn’t need it, but because the newer one was for example more beautiful or came with an extra function, you wanted to own it. Do we get rid of the old one? Most of the time we don’t. Because you know.. it was still good and why get rid of something you can still use?! This is how we build up a lot of stuff. Stuff we already had. If things need replacement, then it’s fine, but do make sure you get rid of the old one. Throw it away when it’s broken or donate it in case somebody else can still make use of it.

Being a part of something.
How many things do you own, because everybody owns one? And did you really wanted to have that new iPhone or was it because you can show off? Some people buy something (and I think everybody has an example, if you’re really honest), because others have it. Especially when something becomes a hype, you might feel the need to be a part of it.

What if’s. 
This is a tricky one and I think everybody recognises this reason to keep something. The ‘what if’s’. What if I need it when this or that happens.. What if the old one breaks or gets lost.. What if.. What if.. We’re probably all guilty of keeping something (or a lot of somethings) you didn’t use for ages, but you keep because what if one day you might need it? Though, we can’t live like this. In the meantime somebody else maybe really needs it, so it’s better to donate it. When the time comes you really need it, you can go and get it (again), so you can use it straight away. Get rid of your ‘what if’s’, because what if you will never use it?

Sentimental value.
Old tickets, pictures, clothes/shoes, books.. or anything really. We all own things that make us think back of the time we used it or when we were given things. This is perfectly fine. I have a memory box myself. It’s nice to keep some things that have value because of (mostly) happy times. But do you need 5 very similar pictures? Do you need to keep that book you already read? Do you need all of those used train tickets? Do we need some of that stuff at all? Try to make a selection of things you really see as valuable or the things you used during happy times. If the memory is so important to you, it will not fade. You don’t need every single material piece to remember it by.

Go through all your stuff and ask yourself, why do I want to keep it and do I really need it? Don’t hold on to things you don’t use or need. I will write about minimalism again soon, for now I hope this helps you to look at everything you own in a different way.

Do you own things you don’t use or need? Will you be going through your stuff to see why you’re keeping certain things? Do you have something to add to this, something to say about this or do you have questions? Please let me know! You can do this in the comments below or you can send me a message via CONTACT. Thank you! X

Personal #1 – Making my dream come True!

I never wrote a personal post before, but I have big news and I also feel like sharing certain things once in a while. So from now on you can expect some more personal posts here. There we go..

If you’re following me on Instagram, you might know that I have some exciting news to share. I waited a bit with making it public as I wanted to be sure about a few things first. Also I had to get used to the idea myself a little bit. I can’t tell you that I am now, at least not for a 100%, because it’s quite a life changing thing (and no I’m not pregnant haha!). Not only that, it will also make a very big dream, I’ve had for quite a while, come true. So what is it? Well.. first of all, I’m moving! I’m moving next month, out of my beloved London (and my very much loved flat!!) and to the country side. I’ll still be close to London though. It’s a little over an hour from Paddington. So that’s nice. I will move to a farm house where I will be partly looking after the children I looked after before. I will also look after the animals they are going to get (chickens, horses, pigs (!), dogs etc.) and I will do some garden/household work as well. And living in the countryside means that I can finally adopt a dog (so exciting!) for myself. So this is one part of the big news and already so lovely. But there is more..

For many years I have this dream, to get a van and build my house in there. So that is what I’m going to do. I will hopefully find my van in the end of this year or in the beginning of next year. Then the whole process can start and I hope to finish it (asap) in the spring/summer. I will live in my van as soon as it’s finished (I can already not wait!). Then over the weekends and in the holidays, I can do little try out trips through the UK and Ireland. I always wanted to see more of the UK and doing it like this will be the best way ever. After 2-3 years, my dog and I will cross the North Sea and then I will travel around Europe. This for me is the ultimate feeling of freedom, in so many ways. Personal freedom, but also living in peace, free from (most) bills, the norm of staying in one place and other society expectations. I will just live my own life in my own world. I will not isolate myself, but I can if I want to. That feeling is amazing and suits my character perfectly. I will see so much of the world and I’m sure I will learn so much about myself, nature and planet earth.

At the moment I’m getting rid of a lot of things. There is so much stuff I don’t need. I will have to live like a proper minimalist. Luckily I was already living quite minimalistic. I’m also already looking for a van (orientation more) and researching all the possibilities. Super exciting, but a lot of work. If you have any tips.. please share them with me! Vanlife here I come!

Do you have any tips for me? Or anything else you’d like to share after reading my first personal post? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

What I eat in a Day! #3

I thought let’s do another ‘What I eat in a Day’ post. I often get questions about this and people always seem to be interested in what I (do) eat. I also like to show people that we, vegan, can just have normal and delicious food. So here we go!

I just picked a random day: I always start my day with a big glass of luke warm water, the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This isn’t something I love drinking, but it gives me a good feeling as it gives me energy and a boost of vitamin C. It also has a cleansing effect and for me it’s perfect to start my day. About an hour later I drink my green smoothie. This is a smoothie with 2 very ripe bananas, a big handful of spinach, 1/2 tsp spirulina, 1/2 tsp wheatgrass and 1 tsp of linseed. I use a little bit of water to blend it. I had this with 1/2 a medium sized papaya. When I got to work they had a bowl full of delicious fresh plums from the garden they went to at the weekend. So I just had to  snack on those in the morning. So delicious! It makes me think of my childhood as we had 2 plum trees, full of plums, in the garden where I grew up. A little later in the morning I was quite hungry weird enough, so I made myself a small bowl of porridge. As a topping I used some strawberries, coconut, cinnamon and a little bit op agave nectar. Just to keep me going until lunch time.

For lunch (around 14:00) I made myself a little chickpea salad with 1/2 an avocado (+ salt/pepper/lemon juice/a drop of sesame seed oil and a little bit of smoked paprika), a sweet potato from the oven and some sugar snaps on the side. I love lunches like this. They are filling, nutritious and just delicious. I had my lunch fairly late today as I had the porridge around 10:30. Normally I will eat porridge around 9:00ish, but the plums were in the way there.. haha! I wasn’t actually hungry all afternoon, but I did get myself al little treat at Starbucks later on (around 16:00). My ultimate treat there is a Green Tea Latte with soy milk (and some cinnamon on the top). I love it! Unfortunately they put sugar in there, so I only have it now and then. In the morning I made my Nori Nori recipe, so I could take some pictures for the recipe I will share here soon. They are little wraps from nori sheets, filled with spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper, alfalfa and tempeh. So as I made them, I had those for dinner, with some extra spinach on the side. It’s definitely one of m favourite recipes, so tasty and very healthy! I wasn’t feeling hungry in the evening, so I only had a cup of bedtime tea a little bit before I went to sleep. Also I drink about 2-3 litres of water a day.

Do you eat similar to me? Or do you have a whole different routine? I’d love to hear about it. Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

ART: Maria Tiqwah

Quite a while ago I discovered the amazing artist Maria Tiqwah on Facebook. I asked her if she’d  like to be on my blog and though it has been a while since the first time we spoke, she still agreed to it. Lucky me and lucky you, because she makes amazing things. I think she is super talented and her work should be out there more! Maria was born in Boskoop (Netherlands), in October 1982. Already since a very young age she is fascinated by animals. Her first words (yes, before ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’) were ‘cat’ and ‘fish’. Because her love for animals, she always drew animals. That is also where her inspiration is coming from. She says: ‘Animals move me, amaze me and fascinate me. They make me smile and that smile I want to pass on via my paintings’.

In August 2011, Maria watched a horrible video about the bio industry. She decided she didn’t want to contribute to this cruel industry any longer and she gave the sausage, she just got that morning, to the dog of her employer. At first she thought that veganism was a little extreme, but when she did educate herself and found out what was behind dairy, eggs and honey, she became vegan. She only uses vegan materials to make her paintings. When she became vegan she checked everything and luckily it turned out everything she was using was vegan already. She only uses 1 little brush for everything. She doesn’t like to use 20 different brushes and 100 different colours. She rather shapes her brush in different shapes and mixes colours herself. For her paintings she uses a combination of: soft pastel, water colours (aquarelle) and a white gel pen on paper. She likes soft pastel as she can work faster and it gives nice bright colours. ‘The water colours are perfect for sharp lines and details’ she says and she uses the gel pen for the white bits in a painting. For the aquarelle paper she uses, she always has to make sure she gets the right one as some paper is made with gelatine. She used to use oil based paint and then she would sometimes work on a painting for 100 hours, within 1 year. With he technique she is using now, she can finish a painting in about 20 hours. She makes about 10 painting a year now.

With her paintings she wants to show people the love, beauty and individuality of animals. This way she hopes there will be more respect for animals. This is why she also used a few of her paintings to create organic, ‘Happy Vegan T-shirts‘. Take a look, because I can tell you, it’s totally worth it (+ worldwide shipping)! At the moment she doesn’t have any particular plans for the future, but she will be on VegFestNL in Utrecht (Netherlands). She was there last year for the first time and she loved it. So make sure you check her out when you’re there! She would also love to find a nice vegan friendly gallery for her paintings (Tips are welcome!).

Maria is quite a busy woman, because making beautiful paintings isn’t the only thing she does. She also runs her own green advertisement business. Some clients are: ‘Partij voor de Dieren’ (Party for the Animals – a political party in the Netherlands) and ‘Dier & Recht’ (Animal & Right – a organisation for animals). Last year she also published a little book with her paintings, called ‘En nu wat Vroluks‘ (direct translation: and now something cheerful). It’s a little book with her paintings, combined with poetry (from several writers) about animals. She also volunteers, doing some graphic design work for Dutch organisations: ‘Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme‘ (direct translation: Dutch organisation for Veganism) and for ‘Melk, je kan zonder!‘ (direct translation: Milk, you can do without!). And if this isn’t enough yet, she also volunteers for Plenty Food. This is a plant-based development aid organisation that helps families in Africa. At the moment they have a project running, where you can buy a fruit tree (€12,50) for a family in Kenya.

Nowadays Maria lives, with her husband Raqib, in Istanbul. They fell in love in 2005 and in 2009 they decided to move to the popular Turkish city. For them it’s the perfect place to live, as both cultural and geographical, it’s in the middle of the Netherlands and Kurdistan (where her husband is from). You can buy her work, though she doesn’t like to send her paintings via the mail. The easiest way would be to come to the VegFestNL in the Netherlands (28/29 of October 2017) or to plan a trip to Istanbul! You can always contact her via Facebook or by email: maria@colourfulgreen.nl. At the moment she is only doing free work, but in the future she will maybe do commissions too.

Something Maria would like to pass on to you all:
Follow your heart and enjoy life, to be vegan in a non vegan world isn’t always easy! Also she would like to share something she finds really helpful herself: a presentation about ‘Sustainable Activism’ by Melany Joy.

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

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