BOOK: The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben

What if we could understand animals (better)? For example, what if we knew how they think, what they are capable of and how they survive and evolved in this world? There are many studies when it comes to understanding animals and ‘their language’. Peter Wohlleben was kind enough to translate this into a book: ‘The Inner Life Of Animals – Surprising Observations of a Hidden World’. He runs an environmentally friendly woodland in Germany after working for the forest commission for 20 years. Peter has a lot of animals himself, like dogs, horses and goats. Because he is out in the open a lot, mainly forest land, he is also surrounded by a lot of wild animals. He speaks a lot from his own experience, but then reflects on the behaviour found in the studies he mentions. This way it’s easy to understand and imagine.

Though Peter isn’t vegan himself, he almost writes like he is one. For example, he writes: “When people reject acknowledging too much in the way of emotions in animals, I have the vague feeling that there’s a bit of fear that human beings could lose their special status. Even worse, it would become much more difficult to exploit animals. Every meal eaten or leather jacket worn would trigger moral considerations that would spoil their enjoyment.”. Personally I find it a little strange that he understands animals so well and he can see it this clear, but then he can still exploit them himself. This is actually the only thing I think is such a shame, but other than that, I think this is an amazing book. Especially for people who are vegan for the animals or want to understand animals better. It’s fascinating how the animal world works. Some things will sound familiar to you, but others are so surprising and you can’t help but feeling compassionate and understanding even towards things you wouldn’t think you would.

Something I really like is that the chapters in the book are very short (mostly only a few pages long). This makes it very easy to read. All the subjects (different emotions, feelings etc.) are divided in different chapters. This makes it an easy read and a nice book to just pick up once in a while, instead of reading it from cover to cover at once.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is curious about how animals see this world. Besides it’s eye-opening, it’s also entertaining. I really enjoyed reading this book myself. If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here. Peter Wohlleben is also the author of the internationally best seller ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. I haven’t read this book, but I’ve heard good things about it though.

Have you read this book or would you like to read this book after reading my review? I would love to know what you think of this book and if you have the same or a totally different opinion from my one. Please let me know in the comments below or contact me via Instagram. Thank you! X

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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

Cheers to 2019

Happy New Year to youuu!! I’m still getting used to the idea, but it really is 2019 now. Before telling you about my new resolutions, I thought it will be nice to reflect on last years. If you read the article ‘New Beginnings‘, then you know that my resolutions for 2018 were: Eat Healthy, Exercise More, Read More and More Mindfulness. These were the main things I wanted to focus on.

Eating healthy was a little up and down. I did very well at times, but I also did very bad at times. I actually had some periods were I did quite a lot of binge eating. I’m not sure why I did this. The only reason I can come up with is, because I can. I get greedy when I see lots of yummy food and then I want to taste it all and waste nothing.  No good! Exercise wise was also a little up and down. In general I did well and last Summer/Autumn I did really well. I did really good work outs and went for runs a few times a week. It was lovely and I actually started to enjoy it. I did this until the clock changed to wintertime. Then I almost stopped immediately. Because before I started my workday it was still dark and by the time I was off, it was dark again. This year my work times will change and so I will have time to work out during the day. I’m very excited for this.

Something I definitely did is more reading. Everything I read in 2018:
-‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo.
‘Sensation’ by Isabel Losada.
-All 7 Harry Potter books.
-‘Surprise Me’ by Sophie Kinsella.
-‘The 4 Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz.
-‘The Mastery Of Love’ by Don Miguel Ruiz (still reading this).
-‘The Inner Life of Animals’ by Peter Wohlleben (still reading this).
This is about a book a month. Although some books (the Harry Potter ones) I read very fast and some I read over a few months. This year I want to finish the last 2 books from this list and after that I would like to read more books of Don Miguel Ruiz, but also ‘How Not To Die’ by Michael Greger (I already own this book for 2 years I think, shame on me) and I want to read the Harry Potter books again (yes, sorry.. haha!). I’m sure I will have time for more books and in the end of the year my list will be longer than just the ones I mentioned just now. If you have any good recommendations, please comment below. It can be of all genres, I’m just not a big fan of horrors. I love books with a meaning, where you can learn something about any subject, but life and nutrition is favourite. I also like books that make me laugh.

In 2018 I made a big step when it comes to Mindfulness. I still need to improve on living more in the now, but I mediated more and longer than ever before. This is something I definitely want to keep doing and become better at. I used mediation to deal with some hate feelings I had. This was a problem for me and something I didn’t want to feel. Meditations really helped me to get rid of these feelings or sometimes to deal with it in a better way. I have to admit that in the last 2 months of 2018 I didn’t do a lot, so even more reason to put it back on my list for 2019.

Now, for 2019 I will not only tell you my list of things I want to improve, but also of things I want to accomplish this year. It will be an important year for me, because in 2 years time I want to start travelling full-time with my van and so I need to make a plan to realise this. Here we go:

Taking Better Care of Myself
This is something I really want to focus on. I’m going to turn 30 next month and it’s time I take this more serious. I often forget myself a little in everything I do or I simply don’t allow myself, but this year it’ll be a must. Last month I got myself a full body massage and that was so nice. I want to do things like that more often. Spend money on myself, on things I really enjoy and especially where I benefit from health wise. This also includes losing some weight. Yes!! I want to lose weight (starting today, because I had 2 doughnuts over the weekend,, oops!). This doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with my body or that I don’t love my body. I don’t even identify myself as ‘fat’, but I think it will be healthy to lose a bit. So that is what I will be focusing on a bit. I’m not going to follow a certain diet, but as I really want to take eating healthy (more whole foods) and exercising to the next level (my personal next level, haha!), I assume this will be a nice side effect. I also want to focus on mindfulness en meditating more. I learned so much about it in 2018 and it brought me a lot and I’m sure I’m only on 1% of the benefits it can give me.

Save Money
This one is very important. More important than in other years. I want to travel Europe with my van. I want to leave in about 2 years and so I need to have a lot of savings for this, otherwise I can’t. Saving money isn’t one of my strengths, but I will try my very best to save as much as I can. I want to at least have £12.000 before I go.

Live (more) Waste Free
I have to! And not only me.. We have to! There is just too much waste and of course I especially refer to plastic waste. I find this very hard though, because there is literally plastic everywhere! I just purchased some organic cotton drawstring bags for myself and I will try my very best to buy my fruit and veggies without plastic. I also plan to go to the farmers market more often (I aim to go every week) and buy waste free. Together with eating more whole foods and eating less junk, it actually all falls into place. It will be an exciting journey. I already have things like a reusable water bottle, tea cup etc. but I want to focus on inspiring more people doing the same. Together we can make a difference. Hopefully there will be huge change in 2019 when it comes to producing less waste.

More Vegan Activism 
Of course I’m always very active when it comes to spreading the vegan message. Not everyone is always very happy with this, haha! But nowadays people are more open to it and that is amazing. I talk about veganism a lot, help people become vegan and share information, but this year I want to do a little extra. I would like to join a Cube of Truth, donate money to organisations and people who make a real difference and there is something else I can’t say too much about yet. It has something to do with the next thing on my list:

Become a Nutritionist and Life Coach 
This is something I really want!! For the last 2-3 years I’m thinking about doing it, but this year I’m actually going to do it. To help people, but also because I find this super interesting on its own. I have a very clear goal why I want to become a nutritionist and a life coach and I’m sure you will find out this year. I’m super excited about it! I do find it a little scary too, to start learning again. Of course you’re learning every day, but this is different. There will be exams etc. and I need to do well. Luckily I love learning about food and nutrition, its a true passion. So I hope that will make it a lot easier.

Spend less time on Social Media 
I think this is something that is going to be a thing in 2019. I hear a lot of people about it. I don’t want to be less active, but there are many times I just automatically open my social media accounts without even thinking about it. I sometimes click on it whilst I just checked it 5 min before as well. In all honesty, I can say that I’m addicted. No good! So this year I want to focus on using that (wasted) time on mindfulness, reading books, studying + working on my blog and my new project.

I think you can say that my list is almost one goal, because they all connect in a way. It’s like a puzzle. But then again.. life is like a puzzle isn’t it? We just have to figure it out and connect the right pieces. Here is to a year full of success, happiness and love!

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? What are the main thing you will focus on this year? Do you have tips or something you’d like to say about this all, please do! You can do this in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram. Thank you! X

Rescue Hens

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegan Advice #4

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

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

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

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

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

Being Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bon Vie Tops

I was gifted these great looking tops with beautiful designs from ‘The Bon Vie’. This is the company of a lovely girl who started to make tops with vegan designs. She always loved animals, but it wasn’t until about 2 years ago she came to realise how many animals suffered on a daily basis. This made her go vegan. She also started to volunteer at animal sanctuaries and shelters, trying to make a difference. But about 6 months ago she felt like she wanted to do more and make a bigger impact. She already knew a lot about T-shirts and graphic, so she decided to combine those 2 and I’m happy she did. Her designs are so nice. Quite different from other ones. The Bon Vie is all about spreading awareness and bringing people together. In the future she hopes to switch to recycled shirts to help the environment. I think the avocado shirt is so cute.. ‘Wanna Avocuddle?’ hehe.. This T-shirt I like best in white, so the design is very visible. I really like the V-neck too. I don’t like tops with the color too high and V-necks are perfect, my favourite. Both the other tops, whilst not having a V-neck, are low cuts and that is the best thing about these tops. Out of all the design and shapes, I chose the avocado T-shirt, but I said I also liked the elephant and the ‘I just want to yoga all day, eat yum vegan food and save animal’. It was hard to choose! When I received my parcel it turned out she also include the other 2 designs. So sweet en generous of her! And it turns out I like the elephant the best. Even though it has a round neck, I absolutely love it. It has such a nice fit and I really like the colour, a very nice, not so common, blue. A few weeks ago I bought new elephant trousers and they are a perfect combination together. Very nice for the summer. Make me so happy!

The shirts are a very nice shape and fit nicely. The T-shirts are quite a small fit, so if you like a lose fit, I recommend choosing a size bigger than you normally get. Though the tank top was perfect fit. You can go to The Bon Vie website to see all the other designs. For every sale, $2 goes to help animals! This either goes to a sanctuary or a shelter (it changes on a regular basis). So you don’t only get a nice top, you’re also doing it for a good cause. Help yourself to a nice T-shirt and help an animal to have a better life. Where are you waiting for?

Are you familiar with The Bon Vie tops? Do you love them as much as I do? Please show me your choice on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. You can also tag me (and @thebonvie) of course. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Veganism and Christianity

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to be: Highly Attractive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Act With Kindness

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

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

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

Do you always try to be kind? Do you find it hard or does it come very natural to you? Do you have something to add to this, something to say about this or do you have questions? Please let me know! You can do this in the comments below or you can send me a message via CONTACT. Thank you! X