UK – Bristol

A while ago I read that Bristol is a very up coming city when it comes to veganism and that it’s even one of the best cities in the UK for vegan options. Bristol is only an hour drive from where I live most of the time and so I decided to take my van and explore the city. Even though I did take my van, I’m not posting this under ‘Vanlife’, because all I basically used my van for was sleeping. For me Bristol was all about good vegan food, sunshine, beautiful historic buildings and the best views! If you want to know what to do in Bristol and where to eat, please keep reading and I hope I can inspire you to visit this lovely city as well.

I planned to leave on Saturday morning, but as I was a little slow and had to make a stop at Halfords (one of my fuses burned), it was more 14:00 by the time I left. I did some research on Park4Night to figure out where I could best park my van, but when I came to my chosen parking area, it was all full. The second option was the zoo. So I went there next. A lot of people were just leaving the zoo and so there were some free spaces and I found a perfect parking spot next to a beautiful tree. I arrived there just after 15:00 and it turned out that parking after 15:00 is free. Lucky me!

I took the bus to the city centre (bus 8) and there I searched on Happy Cow for a nice vegan restaurant. I decided to walk to ‘Vx’, an all vegan junk food restaurant. Honestly, the picture of a milkshake that included a donut and whipped cream made me go, haha! I only ate 2 apples so far and was quite hungry. I know this isn’t a very healthy thing to do, but I just didn’t take the time to eat a proper meal. It was a lovely walk in the sunshine and Nola and I enjoyed the first proper sights of Bristol. The area where the restaurant is located, is quite dodgy though and I wouldn’t feel safe walking there when it’s dark. I ordered the milkshake, that turned out to be a Vego milkshake.. I mean, can it get any better? I also ordered the Vx burger. If you go for junk food, you should do it right, right? The milkshake was so yum! The donut tasted fresh, the whipped cream delicious and it was really like drinking a vego bar. I think they used coconut milk and I do think that with maybe Oatly Barista it would taste even better. But in their defence, I think everything tastes better with Oatly Barista. The burger was ok. It was a good burger, but not very special. It came with tortilla crisps, but I was too full to eat those and so I took them with me. They have a little shop in the restaurant too,with lots of vegan goodies and I bought some chocolate to take with me to the Netherlands. The people who work in Vx are super nice and the restaurant is very dog friendly. I also would come back again for the milkshake. Only maybe the next time I will invite someone to come with me, so we can share it (I was sooo full and it took me quite a while to finish it). What was a little unfortunate is that I forgot to change shoes and I was wearing my vans. Weird enough, they happen to be my least comfortable shoes. So my feet were hurting and because of all that junk food, I didn’t feel very energetic. I struggled a little to get all the way back to the bus stop, but I made it and I was happy to see my van in the end of the day and to instantly relax. It’s a good thing to have your bed close by all the time.

It was the first night that I was sleeping in my van in a very unfamiliar place. I was so excited, that I didn’t sleep very well, but I was ok the next day. Around 9:00 there were zoo visitors coming into the parking area, but the ticket guys were all guiding them towards the other side first. I was the only one parked up in the back. I got ready and walked up to the guy to buy a ticket. He looked a bit confused, but he did sell me a ticket. Only £4 for a whole day. I’m definitely coming back to this park up. I found a cafe called ‘East Village’ and it was only a short walk. It was a beautiful walk though, with many nice houses, amazing trees and the stunning building of Clifton College. Arriving at ‘East Village’, I fell in love instantly. This is one of the prettiest cafes ever. The ceilings are super high, it feels so spacious and everything is just done well. I felt like staying there the whole day. It’s a vegetarian cafe, but a lot of what they offer is vegan. I was doubting between the savoury waffles or the acai bowl, but then decided on the acai bowl. I wanted to eat lots of healthy things today as I had so much junk food the day before. I also went for a fresh orange juice as that is my favourite! It was one of the prettiest bowls I’ve ever seen. It looked so nice, that I didn’t want to eat it, haha! I obviously did though and it was delicious, exactly what I needed. On the map I saw that there was a park not far from there, with a tower you can climb. So after a lovely slow breakfast I set off again. I swapped my vans for my hiking boots btw. It did look a little ridiculous with the clothes I was wearing, but I didn’t care. Comfy rules!

On my way to the Brandon Hill park I bumped into a zero waste shop: Smaller Footprints. Zero waste shops are popping up everywhere now! It was closed, but I waited 10 min for it to open. It was so nice! The girl who worked there, called Eve, told me that they opened over 5 months ago and that it was going well. We had such a lovely chat. I told her the whole story of Oliver and as she was thinking about van life too, we had a good chat about that too. She was also vegan and so we actually had a lot of things to talk about. We were chatting for quite a while! But after I bought a 2 year supply of dental tabs (no joke) and a new black metal reusable straw, I left. I was so happy that I decided to wear my hiking boots by the way, because Bristol is a lot of hills, going up and down. It was a lovely walk with lots of sunshine and as Brandon Hill park is already quite high up, there was a lovely view over Bristol. I took a little break and then climbed the Cabot Tower. The stairs are very narrow, but it’s very much worth it. I loved the views! It was such a good day as well to enjoy the view. Coming down again, Nola and I relaxed a little in the park, sitting in a rain of blossom and then made our way to ‘Beets n Roots’, to have lunch.

The cafe ‘Beets n Roots’ is all about healthy food. Exactly what I wanted! The only thing is that dogs are not allowed inside. Luckily it was very nice weather and so it was more than ok to sit outside (and they did let me go to the toilet, taking Nola with me). The staff is very friendly and one of the girls even offered to be Nola’s dogsitter. I ordered the Buddha Bowl. They come in 2 sizes. Because I had a biscuit as big as my head for snack (from East Village) a little earlier, I ordered the small buddha bowl with tofu and a coconut water. The food was so so good! There were different kinds of (fermented) salad, cauliflower, quinoa and humous. I didn’t want to over eat, but I could have easily eaten a big bowl of this. Next time! Because I couldn’t sit inside, I couldn’t charge my phone though. Luckily, a little further down the road was a Costa and so I had a tea there whilst my phone was on the charger. When charged sufficiently, I made my way to the very popular suspension bridge.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge was opened in 1864 and has been a toll bridge ever since. They use the money for the bridge’s maintenance. The bridge links Clifton (Bristol) to Leigh Woods (North Somerset). It is super high and very beautiful. I’m not crazy about heights, but I did want to cross it. So I did and even though I found it a little scary, it also gave me an empowered feeling. It gave me a similar feeling as standing in front of a tall building (which is my favourite). Feeling very small and very big at the same time. The sun was starting to go down and I did enjoy the lovely rays on the grass, next to the bridge. I didn’t want to walk too far for dinner, but opening my Happy Cow app, I saw that there was an Indian restaurant, called Thali, with lots of vegan options, a 20 min walk from where I was. I didn’t have Indian food for so long, so I went for it. The restaurants looked rather fun too.

It turned out that Thali was on the corner, only a few buildings down from ‘Smaller Footprints’. So I passed it earlier that day, but I didn’t notice. Probably because I was still buzzing from the positive energy the shop (and Eve) gave me. I was the first customer and even though dogs also weren’t allowed, the waiter who welcomed me let me off (as I promised nobody would notice Nola). After that he got the chef to come and he cuddled Nola and showed her to the rest of the kitchen staff (so far from not being noticed, haha!). It was so hard to choose food here, because there were a lot of vegan options and everything sounded so delicious. Eventually I picked a dish that was made out of little dishes. So it was perfect and it was also very tasty. I really enjoyed it. Together with a flatbread on the side, it cost me about £11, which I thought was a good price as well. I also really liked that it was a modern Indian restaurant. Often I find Indian restaurants a little dusty and dated, but there was a good vibe here.

Just before Nola and I got back to the van, the sun made everything look golden and so Nola and I enjoyed the last sun rays of the day on top of the hill. It was so lovely. Great end of the day. I decided to drive back to work that evening, because my battery only had one more stripe (I’ve got some electrical issues) and it didn’t make sense to only stay the night, drain the battery and then drive back. What a beautiful Easter weekend! I will definitely come back to Bristol.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Vx Junk food bar: 125 East St, BS3 4ER.
East Village: Boyce’s Ave, Clifton, BS8 4AA.
Smaller Footprints: 9 Regent St, BS8 4HW.
Brandon Hill/Cabot Tower: Park St, Bristol BS1 5RR.
Beets n Roots: 39 Cotham Hill, BS6 6JY.
Suspension Bridge: Bridge Rd, Leigh Woods, BS8 3PA.
Thali: 1 Regent St, BS8 4HW.

Have you ever been to Bristol or would you love to go now you read this? Please let me know about your experiences or if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments. You can also tag me in your pictures or use #planetmanel on instagram. Thank you! X

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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

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

Sweet Reminder

Did you know that blueberries are great for your memory? So do you have a lot of studying to do for a test? This recipe will be a great breakfast or snack on the days you need it most. The dates and banana give you extra energy and the hemp seeds give you some protein. You can use frozen blueberries from the supermarket, but I prefer to freeze fresh blueberries myself. I personally think that it’s tastier this way. Make sure you use nice soft dates though. With the right ingredients, this is a super healthy smoothie + it’s super quick to make. It’s also very delicious and easy to take with you. Remember to drink this smoothie to remember!

SWEET REMINDER

Serves: 1

300 ml water
1 tbsp hemp powder
1 ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1-3 dates

-Blend the water with the hempseed until it’s milk.
-Add the rest of the ingredients until smooth.

Are you going to try to make this recipe? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Eliane

As some of you know, 7 months ago, I moved from London to the countryside. I now live close to Newbury. Very close to me is a little town called Hungerford. Hungerford is a lovely  town with lots of little shops and boutiques. My employers told me there is a very nice cafe too, where there is lots of vegan food. So I was meaning to check it out, but then so much happened. I had my pig Oliver and my van etc etc. So I never really took the time to go and check it out. Until last week. I was getting some things for my van and a new bag of food for Oliver in Newbury and very randomly I thought, lets check out that place. So I drove to Hungerford, parked the car and stepped into Eliane.

When you walk in you can straight away see all the food on you left. It’s all right in front of you, where you can properly see it. There are little signs in front of it, so you can see what it is and if it’s vegan. Almost everything is vegan, even though they’re an omnivore cafe. The food looks very good, colourful and full of nutrients. There was a lovely French lady helping me. She knew a lot, was super helpful and I think she really is doing the cafe good. You can choose 4 things for £12,95. There are also a number of treats available,with at least 3 vegan options. I’ve got them all: Mango cake, raw chocolate cake and a vegan snicker bar. I kindly got a little (paper!) take away box, as I was sure I couldn’t eat everything in one time, haha! I also ordered an organic golden milk, which is one of their specials. Another lovely girl walked with me to my table, what was super helpful. I picked a table outside, because it was lovely weather and I had my dog Nola with me. The food was AMAZING! I can truly say that this was one of the tastiest meals I’ve had. So many flavours and you can just taste that it’s healthy and good for you. I loved it! The golden milk was also the best I’ve had and I can understand why it’s one of their specials. The meal was so good and filling, that I decided to take all my treats home and eat them later. I normally do not like fruit cake too much, so I was least excited about the mango cake. Funny enough, I loved it. It was super fresh, and moist and not too sweet. The other 2 were so good too, it’s hard to choose which one I liked best, but the vegan snicker bar was heavenly though! I definitely recommend all of this food.

The outside of Eliane is very lovely and you just want to go in to take a look inside. I’m sure that’s why they put the food right at the entrance, because as soon as you see that, you want to eat it. Very clever! There are quite a few tables inside (it’s bigger then you expect) and walking all the way to the back, you can sit outside. They also do a vegan breakfast, that includes a vegetable patty, a variety of vegetables (like mushrooms, spinach etc) on heritage grain toast. I’ll make sure to try this the next time. They offer a lot of different drinks. You can choose from organic smoothies, juices, chai and matcha lattes, coffee and teas. Everything is free from refined sugar and they use organic where possible. I really love this place! It’s a shame they’re not all vegan. Maybe one day they will be.

**I want to thank Eliane for their food and many the treats they gave me!**

WHO? Eliane.
WHERE? The Courtyard, 24 High St, Hungerford RG17 0NF.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (Amazing healthy food and great staff. I would have given them a 9 if they were all vegan.)

Did you visit Hungerford before and did you know about Eliane already? What was your experience? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Why Dairy is Scary

I already briefly gave some attention on this subject in one of my Vegan Advice posts and last February against the #februdairy campaign.  But as there is still so much ignorance when it comes to dairy I decided to write a whole, more detailed, article about only dairy. There is so much information available nowadays, but still there are people who truly don’t know the truth about the dairy industry. I really hope to also reach those people. 

I want to tell you about the 3 most important things when it comes to dairy: Morality, Health and Environment. For me personally, the moral side is most important. Though you might find the health facts really interesting or you care more about the environment. It doesn’t really matter, because I think all 3 of them are very important. If you don’t believe me (and you shouldn’t, because there is so much false information on the internet), please do your own research. Let this article be a stepping stone to more knowledge about what it is really like. I always encourage people to think for themselves and to do their own research. Don’t instantly believe what you hear and what you read. You are the only one who can make a decision for yourself. Believing the dairy industry by what they say about needing milk for strong bones etc. is the whole problem to begin with. These are lies to make you buy dairy, so they can earn money, your money! So please think for yourself and decide if you still want to support the dairy industry after knowing this all.

THE MORAL SIDE
Let’s start from the whole beginning: Why do cows give milk? For the same reason humans give milk. To feed their baby. If a woman gives birth to her baby she starts producing milk to make her baby grow. This is the same for mammal animals, so also for cows. This is why the farmer artificially inseminate the cows ever year to make her pregnant. So every year the cow gives birth to a baby. In order for us to get the milk, the calf can’t stay with his/her mother, because it would drink the milk. The milk the farmers earn money with, so that means that as much milk as possible needs to be sold. This is why the farmer takes the baby calf away from his/her mum and feeds it a milk substitute. If you are a mother yourself, imagine your baby taken away from you within hours (up to 72 hours) after birth? Because this is the time a baby calf gets to spend with his/her mother. The mother licks her baby clean, she cares for her baby, feeds her baby, bonds with her baby and then her baby is taken away from her. They call for their baby and the baby cries out for his/her mother, but there is nothing they can do. The mother goes back into the herd and they all get milked twice a day by machines.

Then what happens to the baby calf? This depends. If the baby is a female she will end up living the same life as her mum. She is impregnated every year and every year a baby is taken away from her and the same will happen over and over again. When the cow is about 5-7 years old they will start to give less milk, what means they won’t be profitable enough. By this time they’ve given birth to 3-5 babies. Because they aren’t profitable  anymore for milk  they go to slaughter. Their tired bodies will be sold for meat. If the baby calf is a male there are 2 options: instant death or their bodies will be sold and called: veal. Male calves are not going to produce milk and so they are useless for the dairy industry. This is why a lot of male calves get killed right after birth. They’ve spent 283 days growing in their mother’s womb and as soon as they come out their life is over. Veal is meat from a baby cow. They can be as young as 4 weeks old and as ‘old’ as 26 weeks old. There are different kinds of veal for different kinds of meat textures/colours. Some get fed only milk to make their meat pinkish and some are weened quickly to make their meat look more red. There are even calves that are fed a diet very low in iron so they get anaemic, just so their meat is more pink.

By buying any kind of dairy (organic or non organic) you support this cruelty. For one bite of cheese or one sip of milk a cow died, a baby called out for his/her mother and a mother cried out for her baby.

HEALTHWISE
We need to drink milk every day for strong bones. Especially children! But.. do we? This is what we hear all our lives, over and over again. When you hear something over and over again from since you can remember, you start to believe it and most of us never question it. That is what you are taught, that is what everybody does, that is what your family has been doing and so that is what you know. Only it turns out milk isn’t as good for you as they say it is. It’s actually the opposite. Milk is not good for you at all and it’s actually bad for your bones. It makes your bones weaker instead of stronger. The reason they say it’s good for your bones is because your bones need calcium and there is a lot of calcium in milk. The problem is, this calcium can’t get absorbed by your body as well and even extracts existing calcium from your bones. Also, dairy cows don’t drink milk after about 9 weeks old and they don’t suffer from weak bones. Why is that? They get their calcium from plants! So can we. In fact, the calcium in plants can actually be absorbed by our bodies. You have probably heard about osteoporosis. If not.. this is a disease that weakens your bones. They get more fragile and break faster. A lot of people think they need to drink more milk to prevent this, whilst in fact you can develop osteoporosis by drinking milk. This means milk is doing the opposite from what they advertise. Osteoporosis isn’t the only disease you can get from drinking milk. Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer are all linked to dairy too.

Then there are hormones, antibiotics, blood and puss. For example, to make a baby calf grow into a big adult cow there are hormones in milk, just like there were hormones in your mother’s milk. All these hormones come into your body too. Dairy cows also get antibiotics, this is to prevent them from getting ill. A lot of dairy cows are kept inside all year around or only get to go outside for a few months a year. That makes it easy for diseases to spread. Antibiotics are the solution and even though most cows are not allowed to be milked for a short period of time after getting antibiotics, there is always some left behind and that all ends up in the milk they produce. Because of the milking machines and the massive amount of milk that is taken from the cows every day, their udders are often infected, what means that not only is there milk going into the milking machine, but also blood and puss. This isn’t an exception, but there is actually a legal amount of puss and blood cells in every carton of milk. Just gross if you ask me.

So why do doctors and health experts recommend dairy for strong bones and an overall healthy lifestyle? Because that is what they’re taught. Doctors that recommend dairy aren’t evil doctors, but they just don’t know any better, just like a lot of people. In their study doctors only get 1 hour of nutrition a week and often it’s very dated. You probably wonder why this is dated and why they aren’t taught the right information anyway?! Because, and this might be very shocking to you, this is how the government makes money. The medical industry is one of the largest there is and there is a lot of money going around. If people will live healthier lifestyles they won’t get ill as much, they won’t need as much medicine and so the medical industry won’t make as much money. Yes, this is how it works. I  know part of you maybe doesn’t want to believe this, but do your research and also.. just think!

ENVIRONMENT
Why is milk bad for the environment? Because of alllll the dairy cows. There are over 264 million dairy cows in the world. That is a lot of animals and they’re not just any animal, they’re cows. Big and heavy animals that eat a lot, drink a lot and poop and urinate a lot. Only 1 dairy cow produces about 50 kg’s of poo and urine every day. That is 264.000.000 x 50 KG every day.. do the maths. All this produces a lot of CO2 and it all goes into the earth. It goes into the ground, into the water ad right into the oceans, polluting our world. The world where we and so many other animals live on. This is the world where our children are growing up, where their children will grow up.. think about the damage we are doing to these amazing animals, our own health and our world!

ALTERNATIVES (where do you get your protein/calcium?)
Lucky there are so many alternatives that are actually good for you. You can find protein/calcium in a lot of plants. A few examples: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Collards (!), Beans (esp: Soy beans, Black turtle beans, Navy beans, White beans), Oranges and Dried figs. There are also a lot of plant-based milks and often they are calcium-fortified, what means that they contain a lot of extra calcium. A few examples of plant-based milks: soy, rice, almond, oat, hazelnut, hemp. You can also find a lot of protein/calcium in tofu and tempeh.

I used to drink a lot of milk (it was my favourite and I would easily drink a liter a day) and I loved cheese, yogurt and anything that had something to do with dairy. I still like milk, cheese and yogurt, but now I choose for plant-based options. They’re delicious and they’re even more delicious now I know that there weren’t any calves taken from their mother or cows killed. I can fully enjoy it because I know that it’s good for me and the world.

If you can choose between doing harm or not doing harm? Why would you choose to do harm? Please consider a vegan lifestyle!

Did you know all this about dairy? Were you surprised and do you look at dairy in a different way now? Do you have any more questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask me! you can do this in the comments below or you can also send me a private message if you like. Thank you for reading and I really hope that you consider going dairy free, X.

 

Fair Share

Only 5 more nights until the day of love! Do you have a Valentine (yet)? Are you going to do something special? Last year the recipe ‘Soulmates‘ was a great success, so I came up with another Valentine’s recipe for this year. What is more romantic than sharing? Because isn’t love all about sharing? Sharing your thoughts, your happiness, your pain, your smoothie bowl.. Yes! Start Valentine’s Day as romantic as can be, with this lovely pink smoothie bowl to share! You can decorate it the way you like it.. I let the kids help me with the decoration of mine and that meant an overdose on edible glitters, haha! Oh well.. is there something as too much glitter? Not according the 3 year old girl I look after! Everybody who makes one of my recipes for Valentine’s Day will get a shoutout on my Instagram! Don’t forget to tag me, so I can see your creation. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

FAIR SHARE

Serves: 2

-2 cups unsweetened plant-based yogurt
-1 cup frozen raspberries
-1 big ripe banana
-1 tsp chia seed
-decorations: coconut flakes, edible glitters or flowers, sugar ornaments etc.

-Put everything in the blender until smooth.
-Decorate with coconut, glitters, edible flowers or whatever you think your love will like. You can actually make it really personal this way.. be creative!
-Serve immediately.

Will you share this smoothie bowl with your love this Valentine’s day?! Please let me know when you do. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Every Valentine’s recipe picture will get a shoutout! 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 Year’s 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 also 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